Read ACT II. of Fair Em, free online book, by William Shakespeare, on

     Scene I-Manchester-The Mill 

     [Enter Em and Trotter, the Millers man, with a kerchife on his
     head, and an Urinall in his hand.]

     Trotter, where have you been?

     Where have I been? why, what signifies this?

     A kerchiefe, doth it not?

     What call you this, I pray?

     I say it is an Urinall.

     Then this is mystically to give you to understand, I have
     been at the Phismicaries house.

     How long hast thou been sick?

     Yfaith, even as long as I have not been half well, and that
     hath been a long time.

     A loitering time, I rather imagine.

     It may be so:  but the Phismicary tells me that you can help

     Why, any thing I can do for recovery of thy health be right
     well assured of.

     Then give me your hand.

     To what end?

     That the ending of an old indenture is the beginning of a
     new bargain.

     What bargain?

     That you promised to do any thing to recover my health.

     On that condition I give thee my hand.

     Ah, sweet Em!

     [Here he offers to kiss her.]

     How now, Trotter! your masters daughter?

     Yfaith, I aim at the fairest. 
        Ah, Em, sweet Em! 
        Fresh as the flower,
        That hath pour
        To wound my heart,
        And ease my smart,
        Of me, poor thief,
        In prison bound ­

        So all your rhyme
        Lies on the ground. 
     But what means this?

     Ah, mark the device ­
        For thee, my love,
        Full sick I was,
        In hazard of my life. 
        Thy promise was
        To make me whole,
        And for to be my wife. 
        Let me enjoy
        My love, my dear,
        And thou possess
        Thy Trotter here.

     But I meant no such matter.

     Yes, woos, but you did.  I’ll go to our Parson, Sir John, and
     he shall mumble up the marriage out of hand.

     But here comes one that will forbid the Banes.

     [Here enters Manvile to them.]

     Ah, Sir, you come too late.

     What remedy, Trotter?

     Go, Trotter, my father calls.

     Would you have me go in, and leave you two here?

     Why, darest thou not trust me?

     Yes, faith, even as long as I see you.

     Go thy ways, I pray thee heartily.

     That same word (heartily) is of great force.  I will go.  But
     I pray, sir, beware you come not too near the wench.

     [Exit Trotter.]

     I am greatly beholding to you. 
     Ah, Maistres, sometime I might have said, my love,
     But time and fortune hath bereaved me of that,
     And I, an object in those gratious eyes,
     That with remorse earst saw into my grief,
     May sit and sigh the sorrows of my heart.

     In deed my Manvile hath some cause to doubt,
     When such a Swain is rival in his love!

     Ah, Em, were he the man that causeth this mistrust,
     I should esteem of thee as at the first.

     But is my love in earnest all this while?

     Believe me, Em, it is not time to jest,
     When others joys, what lately I possest.

     If touching love my Manvile charge me thus,
     Unkindly must I take it at his hands,
     For that my conscience clears me of offence.

     Ah, impudent and shameless in thy ill,
     That with thy cunning and defraudful tongue
     Seeks to delude the honest meaning mind! 
     Was never heard in Manchester before
     Of truer love then hath been betwixt twain: 
     And for my part how I have hazarded
     Displeasure of my father and my friends,
     Thy self can witness.  Yet notwithstanding this,
     Two gentlemen attending on Duke William,
     Mountney and Valingford, as I heard them named,
     Oft times resort to see and to be seen
     Walking the street fast by thy fathers door,
     Whose glauncing eyes up to the windows cast
     Gives testies of their Maisters amorous heart. 
     This, Em, is noted and too much talked on,
     Some see it without mistrust of ill ­
     Others there are that, scorning, grin thereat,
     And saith, ‘There goes the millers daughters wooers’. 
     Ah me, whom chiefly and most of all it doth concern,
     To spend my time in grief and vex my soul,
     To think my love should be rewarded thus,
     And for thy sake abhor all womenkind!

     May not a maid look upon a man
     Without suspitious judgement of the world?

     If sight do move offence, it is the better not to see. 
     But thou didst more, unconstant as thou art,
     For with them thou hadst talk and conference.

     May not a maid talk with a man without mistrust?

     Not with such men suspected amorous.

     I grieve to see my Manviles jealousy.

     Ah, Em, faithful love is full of jealousy. 
     So did I love thee true and faithfully,
     For which I am rewarded most unthankfully.

     [Exit in a rage.  Manet Em.]

     And so away?  What, in displeasure gone,
     And left me such a bittersweet to gnaw upon? 
     Ah, Manvile, little wottest thou
     How near this parting goeth to my heart. 
     Uncourteous love, whose followers reaps reward
     Of hate, disdain, reproach and infamy,
     The fruit of frantike, bedlome jealousy!

     [Here enter Mountney to Em.]

     But here comes one of these suspitious men: 
     Witness, my God, without desert of me,
     For only Manvile, honor I in heart,
     Nor shall unkindness cause me from him to start.

     For this good fortune, Venus, be thou blest,
     To meet my love, the mistress of my heart,
     Where time and place gives opportunity
     At full to let her understand my love.

     [He turns to Em and offers to take her by the hand, and she
     goes from him.]

     Fair mistress, since my fortune sorts so well,
     Hear you a word.  What meaneth this? 
     Nay, stay, fair Em.

     I am going homewards, sir.

     Yet stay, sweet love, to whom I must disclose
     The hidden secrets of a lovers thoughts,
     Not doubting but to find such kind remorse
     As naturally you are enclined to.

     The Gentle-man, your friend, Sir,
     I have not seen him this four days at the least.

     Whats that to me? 
     I speak not, sweet, in person of my friend,
     But for my self, whom, if that love deserve
     To have regard, being honourable love,
     Not base affects of loose lascivious love,
     Whom youthful wantons play and dally with,
     But that unites in honourable bands of holy rites,
     And knits the sacred knot that Gods ­

     [Here Em cuts him off.]

     What mean you, sir, to keep me here so long? 
     I cannot understand you by your signs;
     You keep a pratling with your lips,
     But never a word you speak that I can hear.

     What, is she deaf? a great impediment. 
     Yet remedies there are for such defects. 
     Sweet Em, it is no little grief to me,
     To see, where nature in her pride of art
     Hath wrought perfections rich and admirable ­

     Speak you to me, Sir?

     To thee, my only joy.

     I cannot hear you.

     Oh, plague of Fortune!  Oh hell without compare! 
     What boots it us to gaze and not enjoy?

     Fare you well, Sir.

     [Exit Em.  Manet Mountney.]

     Fare well, my love.  Nay, farewell life and all! 
     Could I procure redress for this infirmity,
     It might be means she would regard my suit. 
     I am acquainted with the Kings Physicians,
     Amongst the which theres one mine honest friend,
     Seignior Alberto, a very learned man. 
     His judgement will I have to help this ill. 
     Ah, Em, fair Em, if Art can make thee whole,
     I’ll buy that sence for thee, although it cost me dear. 
     But, Mountney, stay:  this may be but deceit,
     A matter fained only to delude thee,
     And, not unlike, perhaps by Valingford. 
     He loves fair Em as well as I ­
     As well as I? ah, no, not half so well. 
     Put case:  yet may he be thine enemy,
     And give her counsell to dissemble thus. 
     I’ll try the event and if it fall out so,
     Friendship, farewell:  Love makes me now a foe.

     [Exit Mountney.]

     Scene II.

     An Ante-Chamber at the Danish Court.

     [Enter Marques Lubeck and Mariana.]

     Trust me, my Lord, I am sorry for your hurt.

     Gramercie, Madam; but it is not great: 
     Only a thrust, prickt with a Rapiers point.

     How grew the quarrel, my Lord?

Lubeck.  Sweet Lady, for thy sake.  There was this last night two masks in one company, my self the formost.  The other strangers were:  amongst the which, when the Musick began to sound the Measures, each Masker made choice of his Lady; and one, more forward than the rest, stept towards thee, which I perceiving, thrust him aside, and took thee my self.  But this was taken in so ill part that at my coming out of the court gate, with justling together, it was my chance to be thrust into the arm.  The doer thereof, because he was the original cause of the disorder at that inconvenient time, was presently committed, and is this morning sent for to answer the matter.  And I think here he comes.

     [Here enters Sir Robert of Windsor with a Gaylor.]

     What, Sir Robert of Windsor, how now?

     Sir Robert
     Yfaith, my Lord, a prisoner:  but what ails your arm?

     Hurt the last night by mischance.

     Sir Robert
     What, not in the mask at the Court gate?

     Yes, trust me, there.

     Sir Robert
     Why then, my Lord, I thank you for my nights lodging.

     And I you for my hurt, if it were so.  Keeper, away, I
     discharge you of your prisoner.

     [Exit the Keeper.]

     Sir Robert
     Lord Marques, you offered me disgrace to shoulder me.

Lubeck.  Sir, I knew you not, and therefore you must pardon me, and the rather it might be alleged to me of mere simplicity to see another dance with my Maistris, disguised, and I my self in presence.  But seeing it was our happs to damnify each other unwillingly, let us be content with our harms, and lay the fault where it was, and so become friends.

     Sir Robert
     Yfaith, I am content with my nights lodging, if you be content
     with your hurt.

     Not content that I have it, but content to forget how I came
     by it.

     Sir Robert
     My Lord, here comes Lady Blaunch, lets away.

     [Enter Blaunch.]

     With good will.  Lady, you will stay?

     [Exit Lubeck and Sir Robert.]

     Madam ­

Blaunch.  Mariana, as I am grieved with thy presence:  so am I not offended for thy absence; and were it not a breach to modesty, thou shouldest know before I left thee.

     How near is this humor to madness!  If you hold on as you
     begin, you are in a pretty way to scolding.

     To scolding, huswife?

     Madam, here comes one.

     [Here enters one with a letter.]

     There doth in deed.  Fellow, wouldest thou have any thing with
     any body here?

     I have a letter to deliver to the Lady Mariana.

     Give it me.

     There must none but she have it.

     [Blaunch snatcheth the letter from him.  Et exit messenger.]

Blaunch.  Go to, foolish fellow.  And therefore, to ease the anger I sustain, I’ll be so bold to open it.  Whats here?  Sir Robert greets you well?  You, Mastries, his love, his life?  Oh amorous man, how he entertains his new Maistres; and bestows on Lubeck, his öd friend, a horn night cap to keep in his witt.

     Madam, though you have discourteously read my letter, yet I
     pray you give it me.

     Then take it:  there, and there, and there!

     [She tears it.  Et exit Blaunch.]

Mariana.  How far doth this differ from modesty!  Yet will I gather up the pieces, which happily may shew to me the intent thereof, though not the meaning.

     [She gathers up the pieces and joins them.]

’Your servant and love, sir Robert of Windsor, Alias William the Conqueror, wisheth long health and happiness’.  Is this William the Conqueror, shrouded under the name of sir Robert of Windsor?  Were he the Monarch of the world he should not disposess Lubeck of his Love.  Therefore I will to the Court, and there, if I can, close to be friends with Lady Blaunch; and thereby keep Lubeck, my Love, for my self, and further the Lady Blaunch in her suit, as much as I may.


     Scene III

     Manchester.  The Mill.

     [Enter Em sola.]

     Jealousy, that sharps the lovers sight,
     And makes him conceive and conster his intent,
     Hath so bewitched my lovely Manvils senses
     That he misdoubts his Em, that loves his soul;
     He doth suspect corrivals in his love,
     Which, how untrue it is, be judge, my God! 
     But now no more ­Here commeth Valingford;
     Shift him off now, as thou hast done the other.

     [Enter Valingford.]

     See how Fortune presents me with the hope I lookt for. 
     Fair Em!

     Who is that?

     I am Valingford, thy love and friend.

     I cry you mercy, Sir; I thought so by your speech.

     What aileth thy eyes?

     Oh blind, Sir, blind, stricken blind, by mishap, on a sudden.

Valingford.  But is it possible you should be taken on such a sudden?  Infortunate Valingford, to be thus crost in thy love!  Fair Em, I am not a little sorry to see this thy hard hap.  Yet nevertheless, I am acquainted with a learned Phisitian that will do any thing for thee at my request.  To him will I resort, and enquire his judgement, as concerning the recovery of so excellent a sense.

     Oh Lord Sir:  and of all things I cannot abide Phisicke, the
     very name thereof to me is odious.

Valingford.  No? not the thing will do thee so much good?  Sweet Em, hether I cam to parley of love, hoping to have found thee in thy woonted prosperity; and have the gods so unmercifully thwarted my expectation, by dealing so sinisterly with thee, sweet Em?

     Good sir, no more, it fits not me
     To have respect to such vain fantasies
     As idle love presents my ears withall. 
     More reason I should ghostly give my self
     To sacred prayers for this my former sin,
     For which this plague is justly fallen upon me,
     Then to harken to the vanities of love.

     Yet, sweet Em,
     Accept this jewell at my hand, which I
     Bestowe on thee in token of my love.

     A jewell, sir! what pleasure can I have
     In jewels, treasure, or any worldly thing
     That want my sight that should deserne thereof? 
     Ah, sir, I must leave you: 
     The pain of mine eyes is so extreme,
     I cannot long stay in a place.  I take my leave.

     [Exit Em.]

Valingford.  Zounds, what a cross is this to my conceit!  But, Valingford, search the depth of this devise.  Why may not this be fained subteltie, by Mountneys invention, to the intent that I seeing such occasion should leave off my suit and not any more persist to solicit her of love?  I’ll try the event; if I can by any means perceive the effect of this deceit to be procured by his means, friend Mountney, the one of us is like to repent our bargain.