The Beggar's Opera, by John Gay

ACT III

Scene 1. Newgate.

LOCKIT, LUCY.

LOCKIT. To be sure, Wench, you must have been aiding and abetting him to help him to this Escape.

LUCY. Sir, here hath been Peachum and his Daughter Polly, and to be sure they know the Ways of Newgate as well as if they had been born and bred in the Place all their Lives. Why must all your Suspicion light upon me?

LOCKIT. Lucy, Lucy, I will have none of these shuffling Answers.

LUCY. Well then —— If I know anything of him I wish I may be burnt!

LOCKIT. Keep your Temper, Lucy, or I shall pronounce you guilty.

LUCY. Keep yours, Sir —— I do wish I may be burnt. I do —— And what can I say more to convince you?

LOCKIT. Did he tip handsomely? —— How much did he come down with? Come, Hussy, don’t cheat your Father; and I shall not be angry with you —— Perhaps, you have made a better Bargain with him than I could have done —— How much, my good Girl?

LUCY. You know, Sir, I am fond of him, and would have given him money to have kept him with me.

LOCKIT. Ah Lucy! thy Education might have put thee more upon thy Guard; for a Girl in the Bar of an ale-house is always besieg’d.

LUCY. Dear Sir, mention not my Education — for ’twas to that I owe my Ruin.

Air XLI. — If Love’s a sweet Passion, &c.

When young at the Bar you first taught me to score,

And bid me be free of my Lips and no more;

I was kissed by the Parson, the Squire, and the Sot

When the guest was departed the Kiss was forgot.

But his Kiss was so sweet, and so closely he prest,

That I languish’d and pin’d till I granted the rest.

If you can forgive me, Sir, I will make a fair Confession, for to be sure he hath been a most barbarous Villain to me.

LOCKIT. And so you have let him escape, Hussy —— Have you?

LUCY. When a Woman loves; A kind Look, a tender Word can persuade her to anything —— and I could ask no other Bribe.

LOCKIT. Thou wilt always be a vulgar Slut, Lucy. — If you would not be look’d upon as a Fool, you should never do anything but upon the foot of Interest. Those that act otherwise are their own Bubbles.

LUCY. But Love, Sir, is a Misfortune that may happen to the most discreet Woman, and in Love we are all Fools alike —— Notwithstanding all that he swore, I am now fully convinc’d that Polly Peachum is actually his Wife. —— Did I let him escape (Fool that I was!) to go to her? —— Polly will wheedle herself into his Money, and then Peachum will hang him, and cheat us both.

LOCKIT. And so I am to be ruin’d, because, forsooth, you must be in Love! —— A very pretty Excuse!

LUCY. I could murder that impudent happy Strumpet:— I gave him his Life, and that Creature enjoys the Sweets of it. —— Ungrateful Macheath!

Air XLII. — South–Sea Ballad.

My Love is all Madness and Folly,

Alone I lie,

Toss, tumble, and cry,

What a happy creature is Polly!

Was e’er such a Wretch as I!

With rage I redden like Scarlet,

That my dear inconstant Varlet,

Stark blind to my Charms,

Is lost in the Arms

Of that Jilt, that inveigling Harlot!

Stark blind to my Charms,

Is lost in the Arms

Of that Jilt, that inveigling Harlot!

This, this my Resentment alarms.

LOCKIT. And so, after all this Mischief, I must stay here to be entertain’d with your Catterwauling, Mistress Puss! —— Out of my Sight, wanton Strumpet! you shall fast and mortify yourself into Reason, with now and then a little handsome Discipline to bring you to your Senses. —— Go.

Scene 2.

LOCKIT. Peachum then intends to outwit me in this Affair; but I’ll be even with him. —— The Dog is leaky in his Liquor, so I’ll ply him that way, get the Secret from him, and turn this Affair to my own Advantage. —— Lions, Wolves and Vultures don’t live together in Herds, Droves, or Flocks. —— Of all Animals of Prey, Man is the only sociable one. Every one of us preys upon the other, and yet we herd together. —— Peachum is my Companion, my Friend. —— According to the Custom of the World, indeed he may quote thousands of Precedents for Cheating me —— And shall I not make use of the Privilege of Friendship to make him a Return.

Air XLIII. — Packington’s Pound.

Thus Gamesters united in Friendship are found,

Though they know that their Industry all is a Cheat;

They flock to their Prey at the Dice–Box’s Sound,

And join to promote one another’s Deceit.

But if by mishap

They fail of a Chap,

To keep in their hands, they each other entrap.

Like Pikes, lank with Hunger, who miss of their Ends,

They bite their Companions and prey on their Friends.

Now, Peachum, you and I, like honest Tradesmen are to have a fair Trial which of us can overreach the other. —— Lucy. —— [Enter Lucy.] Are there any of Peachum’s People now in the House?

LUCY. Filch, Sir, is drinking a Quartern of Strong–Waters in the next Room with Black Moll.

LOCKIT. Bid him come to me.

Scene 3.

LOCKIT, FILCH.

LOCKIT. Why, Boy, thou lookest as if thou wert half starv’d, like a shotten Herring.

FILCH. One had need have the Constitution of a Horse to go through with the Business. —— Since the favourite Child-getter was disabled by a Mishap, I have pick’d up a little Money by helping the Ladies to a Pregnancy against their being call’d down to Sentence. —— But if a Man cannot get an honest Livelihood any easier way, I am sure, ’tis what I can’t undertake for another Session.

LOCKIT. Truly, if that great Man should tip off, ’twould be an irreparable Loss. The vigor and Prowess of a Knight–Errant never sav’d half the Ladies in Distress that he hath done. —— But, Boy, canst thou tell me where thy Master is to be found?

FILCH. At his Lock, Sir, at the Crooked Billet.

LOCKIT. Very well. — I have nothing more with you. [Exit Filch.] I’ll go to him there, for I have many important Affairs to settle with him; and in the way of these Transactions, I’ll artfully get into his Secret —— So that Macheath shall not remain a Day longer out of my Clutches.

Scene 4, A Gaming–House.

MACHEATH in a fine tarnish’d Coat, BEN BUDGE, MATT OF THE MINT.

MACHEATH. I am sorry, Gentlemen, the Road was so barren of Money. When my Friends are in Difficulties, I am always glad that my Fortune can be serviceable to them. [Gives them Money.] You see, Gentlemen, I am not a mere Court Friend, who professes every thing and will do nothing.

Air XLIV. — Lillibullero.

The Modes of the Court so common are grown,

That a true Friend can hardly be met;

Friendship for Interest is but a Loan,

Which they let out for what they can get,

’Tis true, you find

Some Friends so kind,

Who will give you good Counsel themselves to defend.

In sorrowful Ditty,

They promise, they pity,

But shift you for Money, from Friend to Friend.

But we, Gentlemen, still have Honour enough to break through the Corruptions of the World. —— And while I can serve you, you may command me.

BEN. It grieves my Heart that so generous a Man should be involv’d in such Difficulties, as oblige him to live with such ill Company, and herd with Gamesters.

MATT. See the Partiality of Mankind! —— One man may steal a Horse, better than another may look over a Hedge. —— Of all Mechanics, of all servile handi-crafts-men, a Gamester is the vilest. But yet, as many of the Quality are of the Profession, he is admitted among the politest Company. I wonder we are not more respected.

MACHEATH. There will be deep Play to-night at Mary-bone, and consequently Money may be pick’d up upon the Road. Meet me there, and I’ll give you the Hint who is worth Setting.

MATT. The Fellow with a brown Coat with a narrow Gold Binding, I am told, is never without Money.

MACHEATH. What do you mean, Matt? —— Sure you will not think of meddling with him! —— He’s a good honest kind of a Fellow, and one of us.

BEN. To be sure, Sir, we will put ourselves under your Direction.

MACHEATH. Have an Eye upon the Money–Lenders. —— A Rouleau, or two, would prove a pretty sort of an Expedition. I hate Extortion.

MATT. Those Rouleaus are very pretty things. —— I hate your Bank Bills. —— There is such a Hazard in putting them off.

MACHEATH. There is a certain Man of Distinction, who in his Time hath nick’d me out of a great deal of the Ready. He is in my Cash, Ben; —— I’ll point him out to you this Evening, and you shall draw upon him for the Debt. —— The Company are met; I hear the Dice–Box in the other Room. So, Gentlemen, your Servant. You’ll meet me at Mary-bone.

Scene 5. Peachum’s Lock.

A Table with Wine, Brandy, Pipes, and Tobacco.

LOCKIT. The Coronation Account, Brother Peachum, is of so intricate a nature, that I believe it will never be settled.

PEACHUM. It consists indeed of a great Variety of Articles. —— It was worth to our People, in Fees of different kinds, above ten Instalments. —— This is part of the Account, Brother, that lies open before us.

LOCKIT. A Lady’s Tail of rich Brocade —— that, I see, is dispos’d of.

PEACHUM. To Mrs. Diana Trapes, the Tally–Woman, and she will make a good Hand on’t in Shoes and Slippers, to trick out young Ladies, upon their going into Keeping ——

LOCKIT. But I don’t see any Article of the Jewels.

PEACHUM. Those are so well known that they must be sent abroad —— You’ll find them enter’d upon the Article of Exportation. —— As for the Snuff–Boxes, Watches, Swords, &c. —— I thought it best to enter them under their several Heads.

LOCKIT. Seven and twenty Women’s Pockets complete; with the several things therein contain’d; all Seal’d, Number’d, and Enter’d.

PEACHUM. But, Brother, it is impossible for us now to enter upon this Affair. — We should have the whole Day before us. —— Besides, the Account of the last Half Year’s Plate is in a Book by itself, which lies at the other Office.

LOCKIT. Bring us then more Liquor. —— To-day shall be for Pleasure —— To-morrow for Business — Ah, Brother, those Daughters of ours are two slippery Hussies —— Keep a watchful eye upon Polly, and Macheath in a day or two shall be our own again.

Air XLV. — Down in the North Country, &c.

LOCKIT.

What Gudgeons are we Men!

Ev’ry Woman’s easy Prey.

Though we have felt the Hook, agen

We bite and they betray.

The Bird that hath been trapt,

When he hears his calling Mate,

To her he flies, again he’s clapt

Within the wiry Grate.

PEACHUM. But what signifies catching the Bird, if your Daughter Lucy will set open the Door of the Cage?

LOCKIT. If Men were answerable for the Follies and Frailties of the Wives and Daughters, no Friends could keep a good Correspondence together for two Days. —— This is unkind of you, Brother; for among good Friends, what they say or do goes for nothing.

Enter a Servant.

SERVANT. Sir, here’s Mrs. Diana Trapes wants to speak with you.

PEACHUM. Shall we admit her, Brother Lockit?

LOCKIT. By all means —— She’s a good Customer, and a fine-spoken Woman —— And a Woman who drinks and talks so freely, will enliven the Conversation.

PEACHUM. Desire her to walk in. [Exit Servant.

Scene 6.

PEACHUM, LOCKIT, MRS. TRAPES.

PEACHUM. Dear Mrs. Dye, your Servant —— One may know by your Kiss, that your Ginn is excellent.

TRAPES. I was always very curious in my Liquors.

LOCKIT. There is no perfum’d Breath like it. — I have been long acquainted with the Flavour of those Lips — Han’t I, Mrs. Dye.

TRAPES. Fill it up —— I take as large Draughts of Liquor, as I did of Love. —— I hate a Flincher in either.

Air XLVI. — A Shepherd kept Sheep, &c.

In the Days of my Youth I could bill like a Dove, fa, la la, &c.
Like a Sparrow at all times was ready for Love, fa, la la, &c.
The Life of all Mortals in Kissing should pass,
Lip to Lip while we’re young — then the Lip to the Glass, fa, la la, &c.

But now, Mr. Peachum, to our Business. —— If you have Blacks of any kind, brought in of late; Mantoes — Velvet Scarfs —— Petticoats —— Let it be what it will —— I am your Chap —— for all my Ladies are very fond of Mourning.

PEACHUM. Why, look ye, Mrs. Dye —— you deal so hard with us, that we can afford to give the Gentlemen, who venture their Lives for the Goods, little or nothing.

TRAPES. The hard Times oblige me to go very near in my Dealing. —— To be sure, of late Years I have been a great Sufferer by the Parliament. —— Three thousand Pounds would hardly make me amends. —— The Act for destroying the Mint, was a severe Cut upon our Business ——’Till then, if a Customer stept out of the way —— we knew where to have her —— No doubt you know Mrs. Coaxer —— there’s a Wench now (’till today) with a good Suit of Clothes of mine upon her Back, and I could never set eyes upon her for three Months together. —— Since the Act too against Imprisonment for small Sums, my Loss there too hath been very considerable, and it must be so, when a Lady can borrow a handsome Petticoat, or a clean Gown, and I not have the least Hank upon her! And, o’ my Conscience, now-a-days most Ladies take a Delight in cheating, when they can do it with Safety.

PEACHUM. Madam, you have had a handsome Gold Watch of us t’other Day for seven Guineas. —— Considering we must have our Profit —— To a Gentleman upon the Road, a Gold Watch will be scarce worth the taking.

TRAPES. Consider, Mr. Peachum, that Watch was remarkable, and not of very safe Sale. —— If you have any black Velvet Scarfs —— they are a handsome Winter-wear, and take with most Gentlemen who deal with my Customers. —— ’Tis I that put the Ladies upon a good Foot. ’Tis not Youth or Beauty that fixes their Price. The Gentlemen always pay according to their Dress, from half a Crown to two Guineas; and yet those Hussies make nothing of their bilking of me. —— Then too, allowing for Accidents. —— I have eleven fine Customers now down under the Surgeon’s Hands —— What with Fees and other Expenses, there are great Goings-out and no Comings in, and not a Farthing to pay for at least a Month’s Clothing. —— We run great Risques — great Risques indeed.

PEACHUM. As I remember, you said something just now of Mrs. Coaxer.

TRAPES. Yes, Sir. —— To be sure I stript her of a Suit of my own Clothes about two Hours ago; and have left her as she should be, in her Shift, with a Lover of hers at my House. She call’d him up Stairs, as he was going to MAry-bone in a Hackney Coach. —— And I hope, for her own sake and mine, she will persuade the Captain to redeem her, for the Captain is very generous to the Ladies.

LOCKIT. What Captain?

TRAPES. He thought I did not know him —— an intimate Acquaintance of yours, Mr. Peachum —— Only Captain Macheath —— as fine as a Lord.

PEACHUM. To-morrow, Mrs. Dye, you shall set your own Price upon any of the Goods you like —— We have at least half a Dozen Velvet Scarfs, and all at your Service. Will you give me leave to make you a Present of the Suit of Night-clothes for your own wearing? —— But are you sure it is Captain Macheath.

TRAPES. Though he thinks I have forgotten him; no body knows him better. I have taken a great deal of the Captain’s Money in my Time at second-hand, for he always lov’d to have his ladies well drest.

PEACHUM. Mr. Lockit and I have a little Business with the Captain; —— You understand me —— and we will satisfy you for Mrs. Coaxer’s Debt.

LOCKIT. Depend upon it —— We will deal like Men of Honour.

TRAPES. I don’t enquire after your Affairs —— so whatever happens, I wash my hands on’t —— It hath always been my Maxim, that one Friend should assist another —— But if you please —— I’ll take one of the Scarfs home with me. ’Tis always good to have something in Hand.

Scene 7. Newgate.

LUCY.
Jealousy, Rage, Love and Fear are at once tearing me to pieces,
How am I weather-beaten and shatter’d with Distresses!

Air XLVII. — One Evening, having lost my Way, &c.

I’m like a Skiff on the Ocean tost,

Now high, now low, with each Billow born,

With her Rudder broke, and her Anchor lost,

Deserted and all forlorn.

While thus I lie rolling and tossing all Night,

That Polly lies sporting on seas of Delight!

Revenge, Revenge, Revenge,

Shall appease my restless Sprite.

I have the Rats-bane ready. —— I run no Risque; for I can lay her Death upon the Ginn, and so many die of that naturally that I shall never be call’d in question. —— But say, I were to be hang’d. —— I never could be hang’d for any thing that would give me greater Comfort, than the poisoning that Slut.

Enter FILCH.

FILCH. Madam, here’s Miss Polly come to wait upon you.

LUCY. Show her in.

Scene 8.

LUCY, POLLY.

LUCY. Dear Madam, your Servant. —— I hope you will pardon my Passion, when I was so happy to see you last. —— I was so over-run with the Spleen, that I was perfectly out of myself. And really when one hath the Spleen, everything is to be excus’d by a Friend.

Air XLVIII. —— Now Roger, I’ll tell thee because thou’rt my Son.

When a Wife’s in her Pout,

(As she’s sometimes, no doubt;)

The good Husband as meek as a Lamb,

Her Vapours to still,

First grants her her Will,

And the quieting Draught is a Dram.

Poor Man!

And the quieting Draught is a Dram.

—— I wish all our Quarrels might have so comfortable a Reconciliation.

POLLY. I have no Excuse for my own Behaviour, Madam, but my Misfortunes. —— And really, Madam, I suffer too upon your Account.

LUCY. But, Miss Polly —— in the way of Friendship, will you give me leave to propose a Glass of cordial to you?

POLLY. Strong–Waters are apt to give me the Head–Ache —— I hope, Madam, you will excuse me.

LUCY. Not the greatest Lady in the Land could have better in her Closet, for her own private drinking. —— You seem mighty low in Spirits, my Dear.

POLLY. I am sorry, Madam, my Health will not allow me to accept of your Offer —— I should not have left you in the rude manner I did when we met last, Madam, had not my Papa haul’d me away so unexpectedly —— I was indeed somewhat provok’d, and perhaps might use some Expressions that were disrespectful. —— But really, Madam, the Captain treated me with so much Contempt and Cruelty, that I deserv’d your Pity, rather than your Resentment.

LUCY. But since his Escape, no doubt all Matters are made up again. —— Ah Polly! Polly! ’tis I am the unhappy Wife; and he loves you as if you were only his Mistress.

POLLY. Sure, Madam, you cannot think me so happy as to be the object of your Jealousy. —— A Man is always afraid of a Woman who loves him too well —— so that I must expect to be neglected and avoided.

LUCY. Then our Cases, my dear Polly, are exactly alike. Both of us indeed have been too fond.

Air XLIX. — O Bessy Bell.

POLLY. A Curse attend that Woman’s Love,

Who always would be pleasing.

LUCY. The Pertness of the billing Dove,

Like Tickling, is but teasing.

POLLY. What then in Love can Woman do;

LUCY. If we grow fond they shun us.

POLLY. And when we fly them, they pursue:

LUCY. But leave us when they’ve won us.

LUCY. Love is so very whimsical in both Sexes, that it is impossible to be lasting. —— But my Heart is particular, and contradicts my own Observation.

POLLY. But really, Mistress Lucy, by his last Behaviour, I think I ought to envy you. —— When I was forc’d from him, he did not shew the least Tenderness. —— But perhaps, he hath a Heart not capable of it.

Air L. — Would Fate to me Belinda give.

Among the Men, Coquets we find,

Who court by turns all Woman-kind;

And we grant all the Hearts desir’d,

When they are flatter’d, and admir’d.

The Coquets of both Sexes are Self-lovers, and that is a Love no other whatever can dispossess. I hear, my dear Lucy, our Husband is one of those.

LUCY. Away with these melancholy Reflections —— indeed, my dear Polly, we are both of us a Cup too low —— Let me prevail upon you to accept of my Offer.

Air LI. — Come, sweet Lass.

Come, sweet Lass,

Let’s banish Sorrow

’Till To-morrow;

Come, sweet Lass,

Let’s take a chirping Glass.

Wine can clear

The Vapours of Despair

And make us light as Air;

Then drink, and banish Care.

I can’t bear, Child, to see you in such low Spirits. —— And I must persuade you to what I know will do you good. —— I shall now soon be even with the hypocritical Strumpet. [Aside.

Scene 9.

POLLY. All this Wheedling of Lucy cannot be for nothing. —— At this time too! when I know she hates me! —— The Dissembling of a Woman is always the Forerunner of Mischief. —— By pouring Strong–Waters down my Throat, she thinks to pump some Secrets out of me —— I’ll be upon my Guard, and won’t taste a Drop of her Liquor, I’m resolv’d.

Scene 10.

LUCY, with Strong–Waters. POLLY.

LUCY. Come, Miss Polly.

POLLY. Indeed, Child, you have given yourself trouble to no purpose. —— You must, my Dear, excuse me.

LUCY. Really, Miss Polly, you are as squeamishly affected about taking a Cup of Strong–Waters as a Lady before Company. I vow, Polly, I shall take it monstrously ill if you refuse me. —— Brandy and Men (though Women love them ever so well) are always taken by us with some Reluctance —— unless ’tis in private.

POLLY. I protest, Madam, it goes against me. —— What do I see! Macheath again in Custody! —— Now every Glimm’ring of Happiness is lost.

[Drops the Glass of Liquor on the Ground.

LUCY. SInce things are thus, ’m glad the Wench hath escap’d; for by this Event, ’tis plain, she was not happy enough to deserve to be poison’d. [Aside.

Scene 11.

LOCKIT, MACHEATH, PEACHUM, LUCY, POLLY.

LOCKIT. Set your Heart to rest, Captain. —— You have neither the Chance of Love or Money for another Escape —— for you are order’d to be call’d down upon your Trial immediately.

PEACHUM. Away, Hussies! —— This is not a Time for a Man to be hamper’d with his Wives. —— You see, the Gentleman is in Chains already.

LUCY. O Husband, Husband, my Heart long’d to see thee; but to see thee thus distracts me.

POLLY. Will not my dear Husband look upon his Polly? Why hadst thou not flown to me for Protection? with me thou hadst been safe.

Air LII. — The last time I went o’er the Moor.

POLLY. Hither, dear Husband, turn your Eyes.

LUCY. Bestow one Glance to cheer me.

POLLY. Think with that Look, thy Polly dies.

LUCY. O shun me not —— but hear me.

POLLY. ’Tis Polly sues.

LUCY. ’Tis Lucy speaks.

POLLY. Is thus true Love requited?

LUCY. My Heart is bursting.

POLLY. Mine too breaks.

LUCY. Must I

POLLY. Must I be slighted?

MACHEATH. What would you have me say, Ladies? —— You see this Affair will soon be at an end, without my disobliging either of you.

PEACHUM. But the settling this Point, Captain, might prevent a Law–Suit between your two Widows.

Air LIII. Tom Tinker’s my true Love.

MACHEATH.

Which way shall I turn me —— How can I decide?

Wives, the Day of our Death, are as fond as a Bride.

One Wife is too much for most Husbands to hear,

But two at a time there’s no mortal can bear.

This way, and that way, and which way I will,

What would comfort the one, t’other Wife would take ill.

POLLY. But if his own Misfortunes have made him insensible to mine —— A Father sure will be more compassionate —— Dear, dear Sir, sink the material Evidence, and bring him off at his Trial —— Polly, upon her Knees begs it of you.

Air LIV. — I am a poor Shepherd undone.

When my Hero in Court appears,

And stands arraign’d for his Life;

Then think of poor Polly’s Tears;

For Ah! poor Polly’s his Wife.

Like the Sailor he holds up his Hand,

Distrest on the dashing Wave.

To die a dry Death at Land,

Is as bad as a wat’ry Grave.

And alas, poor Polly!

Alack, and well-a-day!

Before I was in Love,

Oh! every Month was May.

LUCY. If Peachum’s Heart is harden’d; sure you, Sir, will have more Compassion on a Daughter. —— I know the Evidence is in your Power. —— How then can you be a Tyrant to me? [Kneeling.

Air LV. — Ianthe the lovely, &c.

When he holds up his Hand arraign’d for his Life,

O think of your Daughter, and think I’m his Wife!

What are Cannons or Bombs, or clashing of Swords?

For Death is more certain by Witnesses Words.

Then nail up their Lips; that dread Thunder allay;

And each Month of my Life will hereafter be May.

LOCKIT. Macheath’s Time is come, Lucy —— We know our own Affairs, therefore let us have no more Whimpering or Whining.

Air LVI. — A Cobler there was, &c.

Ourselves, like the Great, to secure a Retreat,

When Matters Require it, must give up our Gang:

And good reason why,

Or, instead of the Fry,

Ev’n Peachum and I.

Like poor petty Rascals, might hang, hang;

Like poor petty Rascals, might hang.

PEACHUM. Set your Heart at rest, Polly. —— Your Husband is to die today. —— Therefore if you are not already provided, ’tis high time to look about for another. There’s comfort for you, you Slut.

LOCKIT. We are ready, Sir, to conduct you to the Old Baily.

Air LVII. — Bonny Dundee.

MACHEATH.

The charge is prepar’d; the Lawyers are met,

The Judges all rang’d (a terrible Show!)

I go, undismay’d. —— For Death is a Debt,

A Debt on Demand. —— So take what I owe.

Then farewell, my Love —— Dear Charmers, adieu.

Contented I die ——’Tis the better for you.

Here ends all Disputes for the rest of our Lives,

For this way at once I please all my Wives.

Now, Gentlemen, I am ready to attend you.

Scene 12.

LUCY, POLLY, FILCH.

POLLY. Follow them, Filch, to the Court. And when the Trial is over, bring me a particular Account of his Behaviour, and of everything that happen’d —— You’ll find me here with Miss Lucy. [Exit Filch.] But why is all this Musick?

LUCY. The prisoners, whose Trials are put off ’till next Session, are diverting themselves.

POLLY. Sure there is nothing so charming as Musick! I’m fond of it to Distraction! —— But alas! —— now, all Mirth seems an Insult upon my Affliction. —— Let us retire, my dear Lucy, and indulge our Sorrows. —— The noisy Crew, you see, are coming upon us. [Exeunt.

A Dance of Prisoners in Chains, &c.

Scene 13. The Condemn’d Hold

MACHEATH, in a melancholy Posture.

Air LVIII. — Happy Groves.

O cruel, cruel, cruel Case!

Must I suffer this Disgrace?

Air LIX. — Of all the Girls that are so smart.

Of all the Friends in time of Grief,

When threatening Death looks grimmer,

Not one so sure can bring Relief,

As this best Friend, a Brimmer. [Drinks.

Air LX. — Britons strike home.

Since I must swing —— I scorn, I scorn, to wince or whine. [Rises.

Air LXI. — Chevy Chase.

But now again my Spirits sink;

I’ll raise them high with Wine.

[Drinks a glass of Wine.

Air LXII. — To old Sir Simon the King.

But Valour the stronger grows,

The stronger Liquor we’re drinking;

And how can we feel our Woes

When we’ve lost the Trouble of Thinking? [Drinks.

Air LXIII. — Joy to Great Caesar.

If thus —— A Man can die

Much bolder with Brandy.

[Pours out a Bumper of Brandy.

Air LXIV. — There was an old Woman.

So I drink off this Bumper. —— And now I can stand the Test.

And my Comrades shall see, that I die as brave as the Best. [Drinks.

Air LXV. — Did you ever hear of a gallant Sailor.

But can I leave my pretty Hussies,

Without one Tear, or tender Sigh?

Air LXVI. — Why are mine Eyes still flowing.

Their Eyes, their Lips, their Busses

Recall my Love —— Ah must I die!

Air LXVII. — Green Sleeves.

Since Laws were made for ev’ry Degree,

To curb Vice in others, as well as me,

I wonder we han’t better Company,

Upon Tyburn Tree!

But Gold from Law can take out the Sting;

And if rich Men like us were to swing,

’Twould thin the Land, such Numbers to string

Upon Tyburn Tree!

JAILOR. Some Friends of yours, Captain, desire to be admitted —— I leave you together.

Scene 14.

MACHEATH, BEN BUDGE, MATT OF THE MINT.

MACHEATH. For my having broke Prison, you see, Gentlemen, I am order’d immediate Execution. —— The Sheriff’s Officers, I believe, are now at th Door. —— That Jemmy Twitcher should peach me, I own surpris’d me! ——’Tis a plain Proof that the World is all alike, and that even our Gang can no more trust one another than other People. Therefore, I beg you, Gentlemen, look well to yourselves, for in all probability you may live some Months longer.

MATT. We are heartily sorry, Captain, for your Misfortune. —— But ’tis what we must all come to.

MACHHEATH. Peachum and Lockit, you know, are infamous Scoundrels. Their Lives are as much in your Power, as yours are in theirs. —— Remember your dying Friend! ——’Tis my last Request. —— Bring those Villains to the Gallows before you, and I am satisfied.

MATT. We’ll do it.

JAILOR. Miss Polly and Miss Lucy intreat a Word with you.

MACHEATH. Gentlemen, adieu.

Scene 15.

LUCY, MACHEATH, POLLY.

MACHEATH. My dear Lucy —— My dear Polly. Whatsoever hath pass’d between us is now at an end —— if you are fond of marrying again, the best Advice I can give you is to Ship yourselves to the West–Indies, where you’ll have a fair Chance of getting a Husband a-piece, or by good Luck, two or three, as you like best.

POLLY. How can I support this Sight!

LUCY. There is nothing moves one so much as a great Man in Distress.

Air LXVII. — All you that must take a Leap, &c.

LUCY. Would I might be hang’d!

POLLY. And I would so too!

LUCY. To be hang’d with you.

POLLY. My dear, with you.

MACHEATH. O leave me to Thought! I fear! I doubt!

I tremble! I droop! —— See, my Courage is out!

[Turns up the empty Bottle.

POLLY. No Token of Love?

MACHEATH. See, my Courage is out.

[Turns up the empty Pot.

LUCY. No Token of Love?

POLLY. Adieu.

LUCY. Farewell.

MACHEATH. But hark! I hear the Toll of the Bell.

CHORUS. Tol de rol lol, &c.

JAILOR. Four Women more, Captain, with a Child apiece! See, here they come.

[Enter Women and Children.

MACHEATH. What —— four Wives more! —— This is too much —— Here —— tell the Sheriff’s Officers I am ready. [Exit Macheath guarded.

Scene 16.

To them, Enter PLAYER and BEGGAR.

PLAYER. But, honest Friend, I hope you don’t intend that Macheath shall be really executed.

BEGGAR. Most certainly, Sir. —— To make the Piece perfect, I was for doing strict poetical Justice —— Macheath is to be hang’d; and for the other Personages of the Drama, the Audience must have suppos’d they were all hang’d or transported.

PLAYER. Why then Friend, this is a downright deep Tragedy. The Catastrophe is manifestly wrong, for an Opera must end happily.

BEGGAR. Your Objection, Sir, is very just, and is easily remov’d. For you must allow, that in this kind of Drama, ’tis no matter how absurdly things are brought about —— So —— you Rabble there —— run and cry, A Reprieve! —— let the Prisoner be brought back to his Wives in Triumph.

PLAYER. All this we must do, to comply with the Taste of the Town.

BEGGAR. Through the whole Piece you may observe such a Similitude of Manners in high and low Life, that it is difficult to determine whether (in the fashionable Vices) the fine Gentlemen imitate the Gentlemen of the Road, or the Gentlemen of the Road, the fine Gentlemen. —— Had the Play remain’d, as I at first intended, it would have carried a most excellent Moral. ’Twould have shown that the lower sort of People have their Vices in a degree as well as the Rich: And that they are punish’d for them.

Scene 17.

To them, MACHEATH with RABBLE, &c.

MACHEATH. So, it seems, I am not left to my Choice, but must have a Wife at last. —— Look ye, my Dears, we will have no Controversy now. Let us give this Day to Mirth, and I an sure she who thinks herself my Wife will testify her Joy by a Dance.

ALL. Come, a Dance —— a Dance.

MACHEATH. Ladies, I hope you will give me leave to present a Partner to each of you. And (if I may without Offence) for this time, I take Polly for mine. —— And for Life, you Slut —— for we were really marry’d. —— As for the rest. —— But at present keep your own Secret.

A DANCE.

Air LXIX. — Lumps of Pudding, &c.

Thus I stand like the Turk, with his Doxies around;

From all Sides their Glances his Passion confound;

For Black, Brown, and Fair, his Inconstancy burns,

And different Beauties subdue him by turns:

Each calls forth her Charms, to provoke his Desires;

Though willing to all, with but one he retires.

But think of this Maxim, and put off your Sorrow,

The Wretch of To-day, may be happy To-morrow.

CHORUS: But think of this Maxim, &c.

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http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/g/gay/john/beggars/act3.html

Last updated Friday, February 28, 2014 at 22:19