Read THE CUSTOM OF THE COUNTRY - ACT V of Beaumont & Fletcher's Works - The Custom of the Country, free online book, by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher, on

Actus Quintus. Scena Prima.

Enter Rutilio and Duarte.

Rut. You like the Letter?

Dua. Yes, but I must tell you You tempt a desperate hazard, to sollicite The mother, (and the grieved one too, ’tis rumor’d) Of him you slew so lately.

Rut. I have told you
Some proofs of her affection, and I know not
A nearer way to make her satisfaction
For a lost Son, than speedily to help her
To a good Husband; one that will beget
Both Sons and Daughters, if she be not barren.
I have had a breathing now, and have recovered
What I lost in my late service, ’twas a hot one:
It fired and fired me; but all thanks to you Sir,
You have both freed and cool’d me.

Dua. What is done Sir, I thought well done, and was in that rewarded, And therefore spare your thanks.

Rut. I’le no more Whoring:
This fencing ’twixt a pair of sheets, more wears one
Than all the exercise in the world besides.
To be drunk with good Canary, a meer Julip
Or like gourd-water to’t; twenty Surfeits
Come short of one nights work there. If I get this Lady
As ten to one I shall, I was ne’re denied yet,
I will live wondrous honestly; walk before her
Gravely and demurely
And then instruct my family; you are sad,
What do you muse on Sir?

Dua. Truth I was thinking
What course to take for the delivery of your letter,
And now I have it: but faith did this Lady
(For do not gull your self) for certain know,
You kill’d her Son?

Rut. Give me a Book I’le swear’t;
Denyed me to the Officers, that pursued me,
Brought me her self to th’ door, then gave me gold
To bear my charges, and shall I make doubt then
But that she lov’d me? I am confident
Time having ta’ne her grief off, that I shall be
Most welcome to her: for then to have wooed her
Had been unseasonable.

Dua. Well Sir, there’s more mony, To ma[ke] you handsome; I’le about your business: You know where you must stay?

Rut. There you shall find me:
Would I could meet my Brother now, to know,
Whether the Jew, his Genius, or my Christian,
Has prov’d the better friend. [Exit.

Dua. O who would trust
Deceiving woman! or believe that one
The best, and most Canoniz’d ever was
More than a seeming goodness? I could rail now
Against the sex, and curse it; but the theam
And way’s too common: yet that Guiomar
My Mother; (nor let that forbid her to be
The wonder of our nation) she that was
Mark’d out the great example, for all Matrons
Both Wife and Widow; she that in my breeding
Exprest the utmost of a Mothers care,
And tenderness to a Son; she that yet feigns
Such sorrow for me; good God, that this mother,
After all this, should give up to a stranger,
The wreak she ow’d her Son; I fear her honour.
That he was sav’d, much joyes me, and grieve only
That she was his preserver. I’le try further,
And by this Engine, find whether the tears,
Of which she is so prodigal, are for me,
Or us’d to cloak her base hypocrisie. [Exit.

Enter Hippolyta and Sulpitia.

Hip. Are you assur’d the charm prevails?

Sulp. Do I live?
Or do you speak to me? Now this very instant
Health takes its last leave of her; meager paleness
Like winter, nips the Roses and the Lilies,
The Spring that youth, and love adorn’d her face with.
To force affection, is beyond our art,
For I have prov’d all means that hell has taught me,
Or the malice of a woman, which exceeds it,
To change Arnoldo’s love, but to no purpose:
But for your bond-woman-

Hip. Let her pine and dye;
She remov’d, which like a brighter Sun,
Obscures my beams, I may shine out again,
And as I have been, be admir’d and sought to:
How long has she to live?

Sulp. Lady, before
The Sun twice rise and set, be confident,
She is but dead; I know my Charm hath found her.
Nor can the Governours Guard; her lovers tears;
Her Fathers sorrow, or his power that freed her,
Defend her from it.

Enter Zabulon.

Zab. All things have succeeded,
As you could wish; I saw her brought sick home;
The image of pale death, stampt on her fore-head.
Let me adore this second Hecate,
This great Commandress, of the fatal Sisters,
That as she pleases, can cut short, or lengthen
The thread of life.

Hip. Where was she when the inchantment First seis’d upon her?

Zab. Taking the fresh air,
In the company of the Governour, and Count Clodio,
Arnoldo too, was present with her Father,
When, in a moment (so the servants told me)
As she was giving thanks to the Governour,
And Clodio, for her unexpected freedom,
As if she had been blasted, she sunk down,
To their amazement.

Hip. ’Tis thy master-piece
Which I will so reward, that thou shalt fix here,
And with the hazard of thy life, no more
Make tryal of thy powerful Art; which known
Our Laws call death: off with this Magical Robe,
And be thy self.

Enter Governour, Clodio, and Charino.

Sulp. Stand close, you shall hear more.

Man. You must have patience; all rage is vain now,
And piety forbids, that we should question
What is decreed above, or ask a reason
Why heaven determines this or that way of us.

Clod. Heaven has no hand in’t; ’tis a work of hell.
Her life hath been so innocent, all her actions
So free from the suspicion of crime,
As rather she deserves a Saints place here,
Than to endure, what now her sweetness suffers.

Char. Not for her fault, but mine Sir, Zenocia suffers:
The sin I made, when I sought to rase down
Arnoldo’s love, built on a Rock of truth,
Now to the height is punish’d. I profess,
Had he no birth, nor parts, the present sorrow
He now expresses for her, does deserve her
Above all Kings, though such had been his rivals.

Clod. All ancient stories, of the love of Husbands To vertuous Wives, be now no more remembred.

Char. The tales of Turtles, ever be forgotten, Or, for his sake believ’d.

Man. I have heard, there has been
Between some married pairs, such sympathy,
That th’ Husband has felt really the throws
His Wife then teeming suffers, this true grief
Confirms, ’tis not impossible.

Clod. We shall find Fit time for this hereafter; let’s use now All possible means to help her.

Man. Care, nor cost, Nor what Physicians can do, shall be wanting; Make use of any means or men.

Char. You are noble.
[Exeunt Man. Clod, and Char.

Sulp. Ten Colledges of Doctors shall not save her. Her fate is in your hand.

Hip. Can I restore her?

Sulp. If you command my Art.

Hip. I’le dye my self first.
And yet I’le go visit her, and see
This miracle of sorrow in Arnoldo:
And ’twere for me, I should change places with her,
And dye most happy, such a lovers tears
Were a rich monument, but too good for her,
Whose misery I glory in: come Sulpitia,
You shall along with me, good Zabulon
Be not far off.

Zab. I will attend you Madam. [Exeunt.

Enter Duarte, and a Servant.

Ser. I have serv’d you from my youth, and ever You have found me faithful: that you live’s a treasure I’le lock up here; nor shall it be let forth, But when you give me warrant.

Dua. I rely
Upon thy faith; nay, no more protestations,
Too many of them will call that in question,
Which now I doubt not: she is there?

Ser. Alone too,
But take it on my life, your entertainment,
Appearing as you are, will be but course,
For the displeasure I shall undergo
I am prepar’d.

Dua. Leave me, I’le stand the hazard. [Exit Servant.
The silence that’s observ’d, her close retirements,
No visitants admitted, not the day;
These sable colours, all signs of true sorrow,
Or hers is deeply counterfeit. I’le look nearer,
Manners give leave-she sits upon the ground;
By heaven she weeps; my picture in her hand too;
She kisses it and weeps again.

Enter Guiomar.

Gui. Who’s there?

Dua. There is no starting back now Madam.

Gui. Ha, another murderer! I’le not protect thee, Though I have no more Sons.

Dua. Your pardon Lady, There’s no such foul fact taints me.

Gui. What makes thou here then? Where are my servants, do none but my sorrows Attend upon me? speak, what brought thee hither?

Dua. A will to give you comfort.

Gui. Thou art but a man.
And ’tis beyond a humane reach to do it,
If thou could raise the dead out of their graves,
Bid time run back, make me now what I was,
A happy Mother; gladly I would hear thee,
But that’s impossible.

Dua. Please you but read this; You shall know better there, why I am sent, Than if I should deliver it.

Gui. From whom comes it?

Dua. That will instruct you. I suspect this stranger,
Yet she spake something that holds such alliance
With his reports; I know not what to think on’t;
What a frown was there? she looks me through, & through,
Now reads again, now pauses, and now smiles;
And yet there’s more of anger in’t than mirth,
These are strange changes; oh I understand it,
She’s full of serious thoughts.

Gui. You are just, you Heavens,
And never do forget to hear their prayers,
That truly pay their vows, the defer’d vengeance,
For you, and my words sake so long defer’d,
Under which as a mountain my heart groans yet
When ’twas despair’d of, now is offer’d to me;
And if I lose it, I am both wayes guilty.
The womans mask, dissimulation help me.
Come hither friend, I am sure you know the Gentleman,
That sent these charms.

Dua. Charms Lady?

Gui. These charms;
I well may call them so, they’ve won upon me,
More than ere letter did; thou art his friend,
(The confidence he has in thee, confirms it)
And therefore I’le be open breasted to thee;
To hear of him, though yet I never saw him,
Was most desir’d of all men; let me blush,
And then I’le say I love him.

Dua. All men see, In this a womans vertue.

Gui. I expected
For the courtesie I did, long since to have seen him,
And though I then forbad it, you men know,
Between our hearts and tongues there’s a large distance;
But I’le excuse him, may be hitherto
He has forborn it, in respect my Son
Fell by his hand.

Dua. And reason Lady.

Gui. No, he did me a pleasure in’t, a riotous fellow,
And with that insolent, not worth the owning;
I have indeed kept a long solemn sorrow,
For my friends sake partly; but especially
For his long absence.

Dua. O the Devil.

Guio. Therefore
Bid him be speedy; a Priest shall be ready
To tye the holy knot; this kiss I send him,
Deliver that and bring him.

Dua. I am dumb: A good cause I have now, and a good sword, And something I shall do, I wait upon you. [Exeunt.

Enter Manuel, Charino, Arnoldo, Zenocia, born in a chair. 2 Doctors, Clodio.

Doct. Give her more air, she dyes else.

Arn. O thou dread power,
That mad’st this all, and of thy workmanship
This virgin wife, the Master piece, look down on her;
Let her minds virtues, cloth’d in this fair garment,
That worthily deserves a better name
Than flesh and bloud, now sue, and prevail for her.
Or if those are denyed, let innocence,
To which all passages in Heaven stand open,
Appear in her white robe, before thy throne;
And mediate for her: or if this age of sin
Be worthy of a miracle, the Sun
In his diurnal progress never saw
So sweet a subject to imploy it on.

Man. Wonders are ceas’d Sir, we must work by means.

Arno. ’Tis true, and such reverend Physicians are;
To you thus low I fall then; so may you ever
Be stil’d the hands of Heaven, natures restorers;
Get wealth and honours; and by your success,
In all your undertakings, propagate
Your great opinion in the world, as now
You use your saving art; for know good Gentlemen,
Besides the fame, and all that I possess,
For a reward, posterity shall stand
Indebted to you, for (as Heaven forbid it)
Should my Zenocia dye, robbing this age
Of all that’s good or gracefull, times succeeding,
The story of her pure life not yet perfect,
Will suffer in the want of her example.

Doct. Were all the world to perish with her, we
Can do no more, than what art and experience
Give us assurance of, we have us’d all means
To find the cause of her disease, yet cannot;
How should we then, promise the cure?

Arn. Away,
I did bely you, when I charg’d you with
The power of doing, ye are meer names only,
And even your best perfection, accidental;
What ever malady thou art, or Spirit,
As some hold all diseases that afflict us,
As love already makes me sensible
Of half her sufferings, ease her of her part,
And let me stand the butt of thy fell malice,
And I will swear th’art mercifull.

Doct. Your hand Lady; What a strange heat is here! bring some warm water.

Arn. She shall use nothing that is yours; my sorrow Provides her of a better bath, my tears Shall do that office.

Zeno. O my best Arnoldo!
The truest of all lovers! I would live
Were heaven so pleas’d, but to reward your sorrow
With my true service; but since that’s denied me,
May you live long and happy: do not suffer
(By your affection to me I conjure you)
My sickness to infect you; though much love
Makes you too subject to it.

Arn. In this only

Zenocia wrongs her servant; can the body
Subsist, the Soul departed? ’tis as easie
As I to live without you; I am your husband,
And long have been so, though our adverse fortune,
Bandying us from one hazard to another,
Would never grant me so much happiness,
As to pay a husbands debt; despite of fortune,
In death I’le follow you, and guard mine own;
And there enjoy what here my fate forbids me.

Clod. So true a sorrow, and so feelingly Exprest, I never read of.

Man. I am struck With wonder to behold it, as with pity.

Char. If you that are a stranger, suffer for them,
Being tied no further than humanity
Leads you to soft compassion; think great Sir,
What of necessity I must endure,
That am a Father?

Hippolyta, Zabulon, and Sulpitia at the door.

Zab. Wait me there, I hold it Unfit to have you seen; as I find cause, You shall proceed.

Man. You are welcom Lady.

Hip. Sir, I come to do a charitable office, How does the patient?

Clod. You may enquire Of more than one; for two are sick, and deadly, He languishes in her, her health’s despair’d of, And in hers, his.

Hip. ’Tis a strange spectacle, With what a patience they sit unmov’d! Are they not dead already?

Doct. By her pulse, She cannot last a day.

Arn. Oh by that summons, I know my time too!

Hip. Look to the man.

Clod. Apply Your Art, to save the Lady, preserve her, A town is your reward.

Hip. I’le treble it, In ready gold, if you restore Arnoldo_; For in his death I dye too.

Clod. Without her I am no more.

Arn. Are you there Madam? now
You may feast on my miseries; my coldness
In answering your affections, or hardness,
Give it what name you please, you are reveng’d of,
For now you may perceive, our thred of life
Was spun together, and the poor Arnoldo
Made only to enjoy the best Zenocia,
And not to serve the use of any other;
And in that she may equal; my Lord Clodio
Had long since else enjoyed her, nor could I
Have been so blind, as not to see your great
And many excellencies far, far beyond
Or my deservings, or my hopes; we are now
Going our latest journey, and together,
Our only comfort we desire, pray give it,
Your charity to our ashes, such we must be,
And not to curse our memories.

Hip. I am much mov’d.

Clod. I am wholly overcome, all love to women
Farewell for ever; ere you dye, your pardon;
And yours Sir; had she many years to live,
Perhaps I might look on her, as a Brother,
But as a lover never; and since all
Your sad misfortunes had original
From the barbarous Custom practis’d in my Country,
Heaven witness, for your sake I here release it;
So to your memory, chaste Wives and Virgins
Shall ever pay their vowes. I give her to you;
And wish, she were so now, as when my lust
Forc’d you to quit the Country.

Hip. It is in vain
To strive with destiny, here my dotage ends,
Look up Zenocia, health in me speaks to you;
She gives him to you, that by divers ways,
So long has kept him from you: and repent not,
That you were once my servant, for which health
In recompence of what I made you suffer,
The hundred thousand Crowns, the City owes me,
Shall be your dower.

Man. ’Tis a magnificent gift, Had it been timely given.

Hip. It is believe it, Sulpitia.

Enter a Servant, and Sulpitia.

Sulp. Madam.

Hip. Quick, undoe the charm; Ask not a reason why; let it suffice, It is my will.

Sulp. Which I obey and gladly. [Exit.

Man. Is to be married, sayest thou?

Ser. So she sayes Sir, And does desire your presence. [They are born off in chairs.

Man. And tell her I’le come.

Hip. Pray carry them to their rest; for though already, They do appear as dead, let my life pay for’t, If they recover not.

Man. What you have warranted, Assure your self, will be expected from you; Look to them carefully; and till the tryal,-

Hip. Which shall not be above four hours.

Man. Let me Intreat your companies: there is something Of weight invites me hence.

All. We’ll wait upon you. [Exeunt.

Enter Guiomar, and Servants.

Guio. You understand what my directions are, And what they guide you to; the faithfull promise You have made me all.

All. We do and will perform it.

Guio. The Governour will not fail to be here presently; Retire a while, till you shall find occasion, And bring me word, when they arrive.

All. Wee shall Madam.

Guio. Only stay you to entertain.

1 Ser. I am ready.

Guio. I wonder at the bold, and practis’d malice,
Men ever have o’ foot against our honours,
That nothing we can do, never so vertuous,
No shape put on so pious, no not think
What a good is, be that good ne’re so noble,
Never so laden with admir’d example,
But still we end in lust; our aims, our actions,
Nay, even our charities, with lust are branded;
Why should this stranger else, this wretched stranger,
Whose life I sav’d at what dear price sticks here yet,
Why should he hope? he was not here an hour,
And certainly in that time, I may swear it
I gave him no loose look, I had no reason;
Unless my tears were flames, my curses courtships;
The killing of my Son, a kindness to me.
Why should he send to me, or with what safety
(Examining the ruine he had wrought me)
Though at that time, my pious pity found him,
And my word fixt; I am troubled, strongly troubled.

Enter a Servant.

Ser. The Gentlemen are come.

Guio. Then bid ’em welcome-I must retire. [Exit.

Enter Rutilio, and Duarte.

Ser. You are welcom Gentlemen.

Rut. I thank you friend, I would speak with your Lady.

Ser. I’le let her understand.

Rut. It shall befit you. How do I look Sir, in this handsome trim? [Exit Servant. Me thinks I am wondrous brave.

Duar. You are very decent.

Rut. These by themselves, without more helps of nature,
Would set a woman hard; I know ’em all,
And where their first aims light; I’le lay my head on’t,
I’le take her eye, as soon as she looks on me,
And if I come to speak once, woe be to her,
I have her in a nooze, she cannot scape me;
I have their several lasts.

Dua. You are throughly studied, But tell me Sir, being unacquainted with her, As you confess you are-

Rut. That’s not an hours work, I’le make a Nun forget her beads in two hours.

Dua. She being set in years, next none of those lusters Appearing in her eye, that warm the fancy; Nor nothing in her face, but handsom ruines.

Rut. I love old stories: those live believ’d, Authentique, When 20. of your modern faces are call’d in, For new opinion, paintings, and corruptions; Give me an old confirm’d face; besides she sav’d me, She sav’d my life, have I not cause to love her? She’s rich and of a constant state, a fair one, Have I not cause to wooe her? I have tryed sufficient All your young Phillies, I think this back has try’d ’em, And smarted for it too: they run away with me, Take bitt between the teeth, and play the Devils; A staied pace now becomes my years; a sure one, Where I may sit and crack no girths.

Dua. How miserable, If my Mother should confirm, what I suspect now, Beyond all humane cure were my condition! Then I shall wish, this body had been so too. Here comes the Lady Sir.

Enter Guiomar.

Rut. Excellent Lady, To shew I am a creature, bound to your service, And only yours-

Guio. Keep at that distance Sir; For if you stir-

Rut. I am obedient. She has found already, I am for her turn; With what a greedy hawks eye she beholds me! Mark how she musters all my parts.

Guio. A goodly Gentleman, Of a more manly set, I never look’d on.

Rut. Mark, mark her eyes still; mark but the carriage of ’em.

Guio. How happy am I now, since my Son fell,
He fell not by a base unnoble hand!
As that still troubled me; how far more happy
Shall my revenge be, since the Sacrifice,
I offer to his grave, shall be both worthy
A Sons untimely loss, and a Mothers sorrow!

Rut. Sir, I am made believe it; she is mine own,
I told you what a spell I carried with me,
All this time does she spend in contemplation
Of that unmatch’d delight: I shall be thankfull to ye;
And if you please to know my house, to use it;
To take it for your own.

Guio. Who waits without there?

Enter Guard, and Servants, they seize upon Rut. and bind him.

Rut. How now? what means this, Lady?

Guio. Bind him fast.

Rut. Are these the bride-laces you prepare for me? The colours that you give?

Dua. Fye Gentle Lady, This is not noble dealing.

Guio. Be you satisfied, I seems you are a stranger to this meaning, You shall not be so long.

Rut. Do you call this wooing-Is there no end of womens persécutions?
Must I needs fool into mine own destruction?
Have I not had fair warnings, and enough too?
Still pick the Devils teeth? you are not mad Lady;
Do I come fairly, and like a Gentleman,
To offer you that honour?

Guio. You are deceiv’d Sir,
You come besotted, to your own destruction:
I sent not for you; what honour can ye add to me,
That brake that staff of honour, my age lean’d on?
That rob’d me of that right, made me a Mother?
Hear me thou wretched man, hear me with terrour,
And let thine own bold folly shake thy Soul,
Hear me pronounce thy death, that now hangs o’re thee,
Thou desperate fool; who bad thee seek this ruine?
What mad unmanly fate, made thee discover
Thy cursed face to me again? was’t not enough
To have the fair protection of my house,
When misery and justice close pursued thee?
When thine own bloudy sword, cryed out against thee,
Hatcht in the life of him? yet I forgave thee.
My hospitable word, even when I saw
The goodliest branch of all my blood lopt from me,
Did I not seal still to thee?

Rut. I am gone.

Guio. And when thou went’st, to Imp thy miserie,
Did I not give thee means? but hark ungratefull,
Was it not thus? to hide thy face and fly me?
To keep thy name for ever from my memory?
Thy cursed blood and kindred? did I not swear then,
If ever, (in this wretched life thou hast left me,
Short and unfortunate,) I saw thee again,
Or came but to the knowledge, where thou wandredst,
To call my vow back, and pursue with vengeance
With all the miseries a Mother suffers?

Rut. I was born to be hang’d, there’s no avoiding it.

Guio. And dar’st thou with this impudence appear here? Walk like the winding sheet my Son was put in, Stand with those wounds?

Dua. I am happy now again; Happy the hour I fell, to find a Mother, So pious, good, and excellent in sorrows.

Enter a Servant.

Ser. The Governour’s come in.

Guio. O let him enter.

Rut. I have fool’d my self a fair thred of all my fortunes, This strikes me most; not that I fear to perish, But that this unmannerly boldness has brought me to it.

Enter Governour, Clodio, Charino.

Gov. Are these fit preparations for a wedding Lady? I came prepar’d a guest.

Guio. O give me justice; As ever you will leave a vertuous name, Do justice, justice, Sir.

Gove. You need not ask it, I am bound to it.

Guio. Justice upon this man That kill’d my Son.

Gove. Do you confess the act?

Rut. Yes Sir.

Clod. Rutilio?

Char. ’Tis the same.

Clod. How fell he thus? Here will be sorrow for the good Arnoldo.

Gove. Take heed Sir what you say.

Rut. I have weigh’d it well,
I am the man, nor is it life I start at;
Only I am unhappy I am poor,
Poor in expence of lives, there I am wretched,
That I have not two lives lent me for his sacrifice;
One for her Son, another for her sorrows.
Excellent Lady, now rejoyce again,
For though I cannot think, y’are pleas’d in blood,
Nor with that greedy thirst pursue your vengeance;
The tenderness, even in those tears denies that;
Yet let the world believe, you lov’d Duarte;
The unmatcht courtesies you have done my miseries;
Without this forfeit to the law, would charge me
To tender you this life, and proud ’twould please you.

Guio. Shall I have justice?

Gover. Yes.

Rut. I’le ask it for ye,
I’le follow it my self, against my self.
Sir, ’Tis most fit I dye; dispatch it quickly,
The monstrous burthen of that grief she labours with
Will kill her else, then blood on blood lyes on me;
Had I a thousand lives, I’d give ’em all,
Before I would draw one tear more from that vertue.

Guio. Be not too cruel Sir, and yet his bold sword- But his life cannot restore that, he’s a man too- Of a fair promise, but alas my Son’s dead; If I have justice, must it kill him?

Gov. Yes.

Guio. If I have not, it kills me, strong and goodly! Why should he perish too?

Gover. It lies in your power, You only may accuse him, or may quit him.

Clod. Be there no other witnesses?

Guio. Not any.
And if I save him, will not the world proclaim,
I have forgot a Son, to save a murderer?
And yet he looks not like one, he looks manly.

Hip. Pity so brave a Gentleman should perish. She cannot be so hard, so cruel hearted.

Guio. Will you pronounce? yet stay a little Sir.

Rut. Rid your self, Lady, of this misery; And let me go, I do but breed more tempests, With which you are already too much shaken.

Guio. Do now, pronounce; I will not hear.

Dua. You shall not, Yet turn and see good Madam.

Gove. Do not wonder. ’Tis he, restor’d again, thank the good Doctor, Pray do not stand amaz’d, it is Duarte; Is well, is safe again.

Guio. O my sweet Son,
I will not press my wonder now with questions-
Sir, I am sorry for that cruelty,
I urg’d against you.

Rut. Madam, it was but justice.

Dua. ’Tis rue, the Doctor heal’d this body again, But this man heal’d my soul, made my minde perfect, The good sharp lessons his sword read to me, sav’d me; For which, if you lov’d me, dear Mother, Honour and love this man.

Guio. You sent this letter?

Rut. My boldness makes me blush now.

Guio. I’le wipe off that,
And with this kiss, I take you for my husband,
Your wooing’s done Sir; I believe you love me,
And that’s the wealth I look for now.

Rut. You have it.

Dua. You have ended my desire to all my wishes.

Gov. Now ’tis a wedding again. And if Hippolyta Make good, what with the hazard of her life, She undertook, the evening will set clear

Enter Hippolyta, leading Leopold, Arnoldo, Zenocia, in either hand, Zabulon, Sulpitia.

After a stormy day.

Char. Here comes the Lady.

Clod. With fair Zenocia,
Health with life again
Restor’d unto her.

Zen. The gift of her goodness.

Rut. Let us embrace, I am of your order too,
And though I once despair’d of women, now
I find they relish much of Scorpions,
For both have stings, and both can hurt, and cure too;
But what have been your fortunes?

Arn. Wee’l defer
Our story, and at time more fit, relate it.
Now all that reverence vertue, and in that
Zenocias constancy, and perfect love,
Or for her sake Arnoldo, join with us
In th’ honour of this Lady.

Char. She deserves it.

Hip. Hippolytas life shall make that good hereafter,
Nor will I alone better my self but others:
For these whose wants perhaps have made their actions
Not altogether innocent, shall from me
Be so supplied, that need shall not compel them,
To any course of life, but what the law
Shall give allowance to.

Zab. Sulpitia, Your Ladiships creatures.

Rut. Be so, and no more you man-huckster.

Hip. And worthy Leopold, you that with such fervour, So long have sought me, and in that deserv’d me, Shall now find full reward for all your travels, Which you have made more dear by patient sufferance. And though my violent dotage did transport me, Beyond those bounds, my modesty should have kept in, Though my desires were loose, from unchast art Heaven knows I am free.

Leop. The thought of that’s dead to me; I gladly take your offer.

Rut. Do so Sir, A piece of crackt gold ever will weigh down Silver that’s whole.

Gov. You shall be all my guests, I must not be denyed.

Arn. Come my Zenocia.
Our bark at length has found a quiet harbour;
And the unspotted progress of our loves
Ends not alone in safety, but reward,
To instruct others, by our fair example;
That though good purposes are long withstood,
The hand of Heaven still guides such as are good.

[Ex. omnes.

The Prologue.

So free this work is, Gentlemen, from offence,
That we are confident, it needs no defence
From us, or from the Poets-we dare look
On any man, that brings his Table-book
To write down, what again he may repeat
At some great Table, to deserve his meat.
Let such come swell’d with malice, to apply
What is mirth here, there for an injurie.
Nor Lord, nor Lady we have tax’d; nor State,
Nor any private person, their poor hate
Will be starved here, for envy shall not finde
One touch that may be wrested to her minde.
And yet despair not, Gentlemen, The play
Is quick and witty; so the Poets say,
And we believe them; the plot neat, and new,
Fashion’d like those, that are approv’d by you.
Only ’twill crave attention, in the most;
Because one point unmarked, the whole is lost.
Hear first then, and judge after, and be free,
And as our cause is, let our censure be.


Why there should be an Epilogue to a play,
I know no cause: the old and usuall way,
For which they were made, was to entreat the grace
Of such as were spectators in this place,
And time, ’tis to no purpose; for I know
What you resolve already to bestow,
Will not be alter’d, what so e’re I say,
In the behalf of us, and of the Play;
Only to quit our doubts, if you think fit,
You may, or cry it up, or silence it.

Another Prologue for the Custom of the Country.

We wish, if it were possible, you knew
What we would give for this nights look, if new.
It being our ambition to delight
Our kind spectators with what’s good, and right.
Yet so far know, and credit me, ’twas made
By such, as were held work-men in their Trade,
At a time too, when they as I divine,
Were truly merrie, and drank lusty wine,
The nectar of the Muses; Some are here
I dare presume, to whom it did appear
A well-drawn piece, which gave a lawfull birth
To passionate Scenes mixt with no vulgar mirth.
But unto such to whom ’tis known by fame
From others, perhaps only by the name,
I am a suitor, that they would prepare
Sound palats, and then judge their bill of fare.
It were injustice to decry this now
For being like’d before, you may allow
(Your candor safe) what’s taught in the old schools,
All such as liv’d before you, were not fools.

The Epilogue.

I spake much in the Prologue for the Play,
To its desert I hope, yet you might say
Should I change now from that, which then was meant,
Or in a syllable grow less confident,
I were weak-hearted. I am still the same
In my opinion, and forbear to frame
Qualification, or excuse: If you
Concur with me, and hold my judgement true,
Shew it with any sign, and from this place,
Or send me off exploded, or with grace.