’Tis Pity She’s a Whore, by John Ford



An Apartment in Florio’s House.

Enter Giovanni and Annabella.

Giovanni. Come, Annabella, no more Sister now,
But Love, a name more gracious; do not blush,
Beauty’s sweet wonder, but be proud to know
That yielding thou hast conquer’d, and inflamed
A heart, whose tribute is thy brother’s life.

Annabella. And mine is his. Oh, how these stolen contents
Would print a modest crimson on my cheeks,
Had any but my heart’s delight prevail’d!

Giovanni. I marvel why the chaster of your sex
Should think this pretty toy call’d maidenhead,
So strange a loss; when, being lost, ’tis nothing,
And you are still the same.

Annabella. Tis well for you;
Now you can talk.

Giovanni. Music as well consists
In th’ ear, as in the playing.

Annabella. Oh, you are wanton! —
Tell on’t, you were best; do.

Giovanni. Thou wilt chide me then.
Kiss me — so! thus hung Jove on Leda’s neck,
And suck’d divine ambrosia from her lips.
I envy not the mightiest man alive;
But hold myself, in being king of thee,
More great than were I king of all the world:
But I shall lose you, sweetheart.

Annabella. But you shall not.

Giovanni. You must be married, mistress.

Annabella. Yes! to whom?

Giovanni. Some one must have you.

Annabella. You must.

Giovanni. Nay, some other.

Annabella. Now prithee do not speak so; without jesting
You’ll make me weep in earnest.

Giovanni. What, you will not!
But tell me, sweet, canst thou be dared to swear
That thou wilt live to me, and to no other?

Annabella. By both our loves I dare; for didst thou know,
My Giovanni, how all suitors seem
To my eyes hateful, thou would’st trust me then.

Giovanni. Enough, I take thy word: sweet, we must part;
Remember what thou vow’st; keep well my heart.

Annabella. Will you be gone?

Giovanni. I must.

Annabella. When to return?

Giovanni. Soon.

Annabella. Look you do.

Giovanni. Farewell. [Exit.

Annabella. Go where thou wilt, in mind I’ll keep thee here,
And where thou art, I know I shall be there.

Enter Putana.

Putana. Child, how is’t, child? well, thank heav’n, ha?

Annabella. O guardian, what a paradise of joy Have I past over!

Putana. Nay, what a paradise of joy have you past under! why, now I commend thee, charge. Fear nothing, sweet-heart; what though he be your brother? your brother’s a man, I hope; and I say still, if a young wench feel the fit upon her, let her take any body, father or brother, all is one.

Annabella. I would not have it known for all the world.

Putana. Nor I indeed; for the speech of the people; else ’twere nothing.

Florio. (within) Daughter Annabella!

Annabella. O me! my father, Here, sir:— reach my work.

Florio. (within) What are you doing?

Annabella. So; let him come now.

Enter Florio, followed by Richardetto as a Doctor of Physic, and Philotis, with a Lute.

Florio. So hard at work! that’s well; you lose no time.
Look, I have brought you company; here’s one,
A learned doctor, lately come from Padua,
Much skill’d in physic; and, for that I see
You have of late been sickly, I entreated
This reverend man to visit you some time.

Annabella. You are very welcome, sir.

Richardetto. I thank you, mistress:
Loud fame in large report hath spoke your praise,
As well for virtue as perfection;21
For which I have been bold to bring with me
A kinswoman of mine, a maid, for song
And music, one perhaps will give content;
Please you to know her.

Annabella. They are parts I love,
And she for them most welcome.

Philotis. Thank you, lady.

Florio. Sir, now you know my house, pray make not strange;
And if you find my daughter need your art,
I’ll be your pay-master.

Richardetto. Sir, what I am
She shall command.

Florio. You shall bind me to you.
Daughter, I must have conference with you
About some matters that concern us both.
Good master doctor, please you but walk in,
We’ll crave a little of your cousin’s cunning;22
I think my girl 23 hath not quite forgot
To touch an instrument; she could have don’t;
We’ll hear them both.

Richardetto. I’ll wait upon you, sir.


21 As well for virtue as perfection.] For perfect beauty, or fullness of accomplishments.

22 Cunning.] i. e skill in music: the word is used in this sense by all our old writers.

23 I think my girl.] See pp. 19 and 146.


A Room in Soranzo’s House.

Enter Soranzo, with a Book.

Loves measure is extreme, the comfort pain;
The life unrest, and the reward disdain.

What’s here? look’t o’er again. — Tis so; so writes
This smooth licentious poet in his rhymes:
But, Sannazar, thou ly’st; for, had thy bosom
Felt such oppression as is laid on mine,
Thou would’st have kiss’d the rod that made the[e] smart.
To work then, happy muse, and contradict
What Sannazar hath in his envy writ. [Writes.

Loves measure is the mean, sweet his annoys;
His pleasures life, and his reward all joys.

Had Annabella liv’d when Sannazar
Did, in his brief Encomium,24 celebrate
Venice, that queen of cities, he had left
That verse which gain’d him such a sum of gold,
And for one only look from Annabel,
Had writ of her, and her diviner cheeks.
O, how my thoughts are —

Vasques. (within) Pray forbear; in rules of civility, let me give notice on’t: I shall be tax’d of my neglect of duty and service.

Soranzo. What rude intrusion interrupts my peace?
Can I be no where private?

Vasques. (within) Troth, you wrong your modesty.

Soranzo. What’s the matter, Vasques? who is’t?

Enter Hippolita and Vasques.

Hippolita. Tis I;
Do you know me now? Look, perjur’d man, on her
Whom thou and thy distracted lust have wrong’d.
Thy sensual rage of blood hath made my youth
A scorn to men and angels; and shall I
Be now a foil to thy unsated change?
Thou know’st, false wanton, when my modest fame
Stood free from stain or scandal, all the charms
Of hell or sorcery could not prevail
Against the honour of my chaster bosom.
Thine eyes did plead in tears, thy tongue in oaths,
Such, and so many, that a heart of steel
Would have been wrought to pity, as was mine;
And shall the conquest of my lawful bed,
My husband’s death, urg’d on by his disgrace,
My loss of womanhood, be ill-rewarded
With hatred and contempt? No; know, Soranzo,
I have a spirit doth as much distaste
The slavery of fearing thee, as thou
Dost loath the memory of what hath past.

Soranzo. Nay, dear Hippolita —

Hippolita. Call me not dear,

Nor think with supple words to smooth the grossness
Of my abuses; ’tis not your new mistress,
Your goodly madam-merchant, shall triumph
On my dejection; tell her thus from me,
My birth was nobler, and by much more free.

Soranzo. You are too violent.

Hippolita. You are too double
In your dissimulation. Seest thou this,
This habit, these black mourning weeds of care?
Tis thou art cause of this; and hast divorced
My husband from his life, and me from him,
And made me widow in my widowhood.

Soranzo. Will you yet hear?

Hippolita. More of thy perjuries?
Thy soul is drown’d too deeply in those sins;
Thou need’st not add to th’ number.

Soranzo. Then I’ll leave you;
You are past all rules of sense.

Hippolita. And thou of grace.

Vasques. Fie, mistress, you are not near the limits of reason; if my lord had a resolution as noble as virtue itself, you take the course to unedge it all. Sir, I beseech you do not perplex her; griefs, alas, will have a vent: I dare undertake madam Hippolita will now freely hear you.

Soranzo. Talk to a woman frantic! — Are these the fruits of your love?

Hippolita. They are the fruits of thy untruth, false man!
Did’st thou not swear, whilst yet my husband liv’d.
That thou would’st wish no happiness on earth
More than to call me wife? didst thou not vow,
When he should die, to marry me? for which
The devil in my blood, and thy protests,
Caus’d me to counsel him to undertake
A voyage to Ligorne, for that we heard
His brother there was dead, and left a daughter
Young and unfriended, whom, with much ado,
I wish’d him to bring hither: he did so,
And went; and, as thou know’st, died on the way.
Unhappy man, to buy his death so dear,
With my advice! yet thou, for whom I did it,
Forget’st thy vows, and leav’st me to my shame.

Soranzo. Who could help this?

Hippolita. Who? perjur’d man! thou could’st,
If thou had’st faith or love.

Soranzo. You are deceiv’d;
The vows I made, if you remember well,
Were wicked and unlawful; ’twere more sin
To keep them than to break them: as for me,
I cannot mask my penitence. Think thou
How much thou hast digress’d from honest shame,
In bringing of a gentleman to death,
Who was thy husband; such a one as he,
So noble in his quality, condition,
Learning, behaviour, entertainment, love,
As Parma could not show a braver man.

Vasques. You do not well; this was not your promise.

Soranzo. I care not; let her know her monstrous life.
Ere I’ll be servile to so black a sin,
I’ll be a curse. — Woman, come here no more;
Learn to repent, and die; for, by my honour,
I hate thee and thy lust: you have been too foul,

Vasques. This part has been scurvily play’d. [Aside.

Hippolita. How foolishly this beast contemns his fate,
And shuns the use of that, which I more scorn
Than I once lov’d, his love! but let him go,
My vengeance shall give comfort to his woe.25

Vasques. Mistress, mistress, madam Hippolita! pray, a word or two.

Hippolita. With me, sir?

Vasques. With you, if you please.

Hippolita. Whatis’t?

Vasques. I know you are infinitely moved now, and you think you have cause; some I confess you have, but sure not so much as you imagine.

Hippolita. Indeed!

Vasques. O you were miserably bitter, which you followed even to the last syllable; ’faith, you were somewhat too shrewd: by my life, you could not have took my lord in a worse time since I first knew him; tomorrow, you shall find him a new man.

Hippolita. Well, I shall wait his leisure.

Vasques. Fie, this is not a hearty patience; it comes sourly from you; ’troth, let me persuade you for once.

Hippolita. I have it, and it shall be so; thanks opportunity — [Aside.] — Persuade me! to what?

Vasques. Visit him in some milder temper. O, if you could but master a little your female spleen, how might you win him!

Hippolita. He will never love me. Vasques, thou hast been a too trusty servant to such a master, and I believe thy reward in the end will fall out like mine.

Vasques. So perhaps too.

Hippolita. Resolve26 thyself it will. Had I one so true, so truly honest, so secret to my counsels, as thou hast been to him and his, I should think it a slight acquittance, not only to make him master of all I have, but even of myself.

Vasques. O you are a noble gentlewoman!

Hippolita. Wilt thou feed always upon hopes? well, I know thou art wise, and seest the reward of an old servant daily, what it is.

Vasques. Beggary and neglect.

Hippolita. True; but, Vasques, wert thou mine, and would’st be private to me and my designs, I here protest, myself, and all what I can else call mine, should be at thy dispose.

Vasques. Work you that way, old mole? then I have the wind of you — [Aside.] — I were not worthy of it by any desert that could lie within my compass; if I could —

Hippolita. What then?

Vasques. I should then hope to live in these my old years with rest and security.

Hippolita. Give me thy hand: now promise but thy silence,
And help to bring to pass a plot I have;
And here, in sight of Heaven, that being done,
I make thee lord of me and mine estate.

Vasques. Come, you are merry; this is such a happiness that I can neither think or believe.

Hippolita. Promise thy secrecy, and ’tis confirm’d.

Vasques. Then here I call our good genii for witnesses, whatsoever your designs are, or against whomsoever, I will not only be a special actor therein, but never disclose it till it be effected.

Hippolita. I take thy word, and, with that, thee for mine;
Come then, let’s more confer of this anon. —
On this delicious bane my thought shall banquet,
Revenge shall sweeten what my griefs have tasted.
[Aside, and exit with Vasques.

24 when Sannazar
Did in his brief Encomium, &c. ]

This is the well known Epigram, beginning

“Viderat Hadriacis Venetam Neptunus in undis

Stare urbem,” &c.

It is given by Coryat, who thus speaks of it: “I heard in Venice that a certaine Italian poet, called Jacobus Sannazarius, had a hundred crownes bestowed upon him by the Senate of Venice for each of these verses following. I would to God my poetical friend Master Benjamin Johnson were so well rewarded for his poems here in England, seeing he hath made many as good verses (in my opinion) as those of Sannazarius.” Tom is right. The verses have nothing very extraordinary in them; but they flattered the vanity of the republic: and after all, there is no great evil in overpaying a poet once in fifteen centuries, for so long it is between the times of Virgil and Sannazarius.

25 To his woe.] i. e. to the woe occasioned by his falsehood. She recurs to this idea in the concluding speech of this scene.

26 Resolve thyself it will.] i. e. assure, convince thyself. The word occurs just below in the same sense.


The Street.

Enter Richardetto and Philotis.

Richardetto. Thou seest, my lovely niece, these strange mishaps,
How all my fortunes turn to my disgrace;
Wherein I am but as a looker-on,
Whilst others act my shame, and I am silent.

Philotis. But, uncle, wherein can this borrow’d shape
Give you content?

Richardetto. I’ll tell thee, gentle niece:
Thy wanton aunt in her lascivious riots
Lives now secure, thinks I am surely dead,
In my late journey to Ligorne for you;
As I have caus’d it to be rumour’d out.
Now would I see with what an impudence
She gives scope to her loose adultery,
And how the common voice allows hereof;
Thus far I have prevail’d.

Philotis. Alas, I fear
You mean some strange revenge.

Richardetto. O be not troubled,
Your ignorance shall plead for you in all —
But to our business. — What! you learn’d for certain,
How Signior Florio means to give his daughter
In marriage to Soranzo?

Philotis. Yes, for certain.

Richardetto. But how find you young Annabella’s love
Inclined to him?

Philotis. For aught I could perceive,
She neither fancies him or any else.

Richardetto. There’s mystery in that, which time must shew.
She us’d you kindly?

Philotis. Yes.

Richardetto. And crav’d your company?

Philotis. Often.

Richardetto. Tis well; it goes as I could wish.
I am the doctor now, and as for you,
None knows you; if all fail not, we shall thrive.
But who comes here? — I know him; ’tis Grimaldi,
A Roman and a soldier, near allied
Unto the Duke of Montferrato, one
Attending on the nuncio of the pope
That now resides in Parma; by which means
He hopes to get the love of Annabella.

Enter Grimaldi.

Grimaldi. Save you, sir.

Richardetto. And you, sir.

Grimaldi. I have heard
Of your approved skill, which through the city
Is freely talk’d of, and would crave your aid.

Richardetto. For what, sir?

Grimaldi. Marry, sir, for this

But I would speak in private.

Richardetto. Leave us, cousin. [Phi. retires.

Grimaldi. I love fair Annabella, and would know
Whether in arts there may not be receipts
To move affection.

Richardetto. Sir, perhaps there may;
But these will nothing profit you.

Grimaldi. Not me?

Richardetto. Unless I be mistook, you are a man
Greatly in favour with the cardinal.

Grimaldi. What of that?

Richardetto. In duty to his grace,
I will be bold to tell you, if you seek
To marry Florio’s daughter, you must first
Remove a bar ’twixt you and her.

Grimaldi. Who’s that?

Richardetto. Soranzo is the man that hath her heart,
And while he lives, be sure you cannot speed.

Grimaldi. Soranzo! what, mine enemy?27 is it he?

Richardetto. Is he your enemy?

Grimaldi. The man I hate
Worse than confusion; I will tell him straight. —

Richardetto. Nay, then take my advice,
Even for his grace’s sake the cardinal;
I’ll find a time when he and she do meet,
Of which I’ll give you notice; and, to be sure
He shall not scape you, I’ll provide a poison
To dip your rapier’s point in; if he had
As many heads as Hydra had, he dies.

Grimaldi. But shall I trust thee, doctor?

Richardetto. As yourself;
Doubt not in aught. —[Exit Grim.]— Thus shall the fates decree,
By me Soranzo falls, that ruin’d me.28


27 Grim. Soranzo! what, mine enemy?] It is strange that this should appear a new discovery to Grimaldi, when he had been fully apprized of it in the rencontre with Vasques in the first act. It is not often, however, that Ford thus wholly forgets himself. In the next line there is apparently some slight error: “I’ll tell hhn straight,” should probably be, “I’ll to him straight.”

28 that ruin’d me.] The old copy reads — “that min’d me.” What a detestable set of characters has Ford here sharked up for the exercise of his fine talents! With the exception of poor Bergetto and his uncle, most of the rest seem contending which of them shall prove worthiest of the wheel and the gibbet.


Another Part of the Street.

Enter Donado, with a Letter, Bergetto, and Poggio.

Donado. Well, sir, I must be content to be both your secretary and your messenger myself. I cannot tell what this letter may work; but, as
sure as I am alive, if thou come once to talk with her, I fear thou wilt mar whatsoever I make.

Bergetto. You make, uncle! why am not I big enough to carry mine own letter, I pray?

Donado. Ay, ay, carry a fool’s head of thy own! why, thou dunce, would’st thou write a letter, and carry it thyself?

Bergetto. Yes, that I would, and read it to her with mine own mouth; for you must think, if she will not believe me myself when she hears me speak, she will not believe another’s hand-writing. Oh, you think I am a blockhead, uncle. No, sir, Poggio knows I have indited a letter myself; so I have.

Poggio. Yes truly, sir, I have it in my pocket.

Donado. A sweet one, no doubt; pray let’s see it.

Bergetto. I cannot read my own hand very well, Poggio; read it, Poggio.

Donado. Begin.

Poggio. [reads] Most dainty and honey-sweet mistress, I could call you fair, and lie as fast as any that loves you; but my uncle being the elder man, I leave it to him, as more fit for his age, and the colour of his beard. I am wise enough to tell you I can bourd29 where I see occasion; or if you like my uncle’s wit better than mine, you shall marry me; if you like mine better than his, I will marry you, in spite of your teeth. So commending my best parts to you, I rest
Yours, upwards and downwards, or you may choose. Bergetto.

Bergetto. Ah, ha! here’s stuff, uncle!

Donado. Here’s stuff indeed — to shame us all. Pray whose advice did you take in this learned letter?

Poggio. None, upon my word, but mine own.

Bergetto. And mine, uncle, believe it, nobody’s else; ’twas mine own brain, I thank a good wit for’t.

Donado. Get you home, sir, and look you keep within doors till I return.

Bergetto. How? that were a jest indeed! I scorn it, i’faith.

Donado. What! you do not?

Bergetto. Judge me, but I do now.

Poggio. Indeed, sir, ’tis very unhealthy.

Donado. Well, sir, if I hear any of your apish running to motions30 and fopperies, till I come back, you were as good not; look to’t. [Exit.

Bergetto. Poggio, shall’s steal to see this horse with the head in’s tail?

Poggio. Ay, but you must take heed of whipping.

Bergetto. Dost take me for a child, Poggio? Come, honest Poggio.


29 I can bourd where I see occasion,] i. e. jest; see Jouson, vol. iv. p. 222. In the old spelling, this word is frequently confounded with board, which, as Sir Toby truly says, meant to accost. The words in the text are borrowed from Nic. Bottom, confessedly a very facetious personage.

30 If I hear of your running to motions.] i. e. to puppet-shews; see Joiison, vol. ii. p. 7.


Friar Bonaventura’s Cell.

Enter Friar and Giovanni.

Friar. Peace! thou hast told a tale, whose every word
Threatens eternal slaughter to the soul;
I’m sorry I have heard it: would mine ears
Had been one minute deaf, before the hour
That thou cam’st to me! O young man, cast-away,
By the religious number of mine order,31
I day and night have wak’d my aged eyes
Above my strength, to weep on thy behalf:
But Heaven is angry, and be thou resolv’d,
Thou art a man remark’d to taste a mischief.32
Look for’t; though it come late, it will come sure.

Giovanni. Father, in this you are uncharitable;
What I have done, I’ll prove both fit and good.
It is a principle which you have taught,
When I was yet your scholar, that the frame
And composition of the mind doth follow
The frame and composition of [the] body:
So, where the body’s furniture is beauty,
The mind’s must needs be virtue; which aliow’d,
Virtue itself is reason but refined,
And love the quintessence of that: this proves
My sister’s beauty, being rarely fair,
Is rarely virtuous; chiefly in her love,
And chiefly, in that love, her love to me:
If her’s to me, then so is mine to her;
Since in like causes are effects alike.

Friar. O ignorance in knowledge! long ago,
How often have I warn’d thee this before?
Indeed, if we were sure there were no Deity,
Nor heaven nor hell; then to be led alone
By nature’s light (as were philosophers
Of elder times) might instance some defence.
But ’tis not so: then, madman, thou wilt find,
That nature is in Heaven’s positions blind.

Giovanni. Your age o’errules you; had you youth like mine,
You’d make her love your heaven, and her divine.

Friar. Nay, then I see thou’rt too far sold to hell:
It lies not in the compass of my prayers
To call thee back, yet let me counsel thee;
Persuade thy sister to some marriage.

Giovanni. Marriage? why that’s to damn her; that’s to prove
Her greedy of variety of lust.

Friar. O fearful! if thou wilt not, give me leave
To shrive her, lest she should die unabsolv’d.

Giovanni. At your best leisure, father: then she’ll tell you,
How dearly she doth prize my matchless love;
Then you will know what pity ’twere we two
Should have been sunder’d from each other’s arms.
View well her face, and in that little round
You may observe a world’s variety;
For colour,33 lips: for sweet perfumes, her breath;
For jewels, eyes; for threads of purest gold,
Hair; for delicious choice of flowers, cheeks;
Wonder in every portion of that throne. —
Hear her but speak, and you will swear the spheres
Make music to the citizens in heaven. —
But, father, what is else for pleasure fram’d,
Lest I offend your ears, shall go unnam’d.

Friar. The more I hear, I pity thee the more;
That one so excellent should give those parts
All to a second death. What I can do,
Is but to pray; and yet — I could advise thee,
Wouldst thou be ruled.

Giovanni. In what?

Friar. Why leave her yet:
The throne of mercy is above your trespass;
Yet time is left you both —

Giovanni. To embrace each other,
Else let all time be struck quite out of number;
She is like me, and I like her, resolv’d.

Friar. No more! I’ll visit her; — this grieves me most,
Things being thus, a pair of souls are lost.


31 By the religious number of mine order.] A misprint, probably, for founder; but I have changed nothing.

32 Thou art a man remark’d to taste a mischief.] i. e. marked out to experience some fearful evil: in this seuse the word mischief is sometimes used by our old writers.

33 For colour, lips.] Dodsley reads for coral, lips; but the old copy is right; colour is placed in apposition to perfume. Just below he has form for throne. In the extravagance of Giovanni’s praise, it is scarcely possible to know what terms he would adopt; but form appears too tame to be genuine, and frame occurs in the next verse but one. It is not quite clear to me, that a line has not been dropped after throne.

For world’s variety, the old copy reads “world of variety,” which spoils the metre. I suppose, the printer mistook the ’s for o’, the old abridgement of of. It would be unjust to say that the Friar has any thing in him of “the old squire of Troy;” yet he certainly betrays his duty both to God and man in the feeble resistance which he offers to the commencement and continuance of this fatal intercourse.


A Room in Florio’s House.

Enter Florio, Donado, Annabella, and Putana.

Florio. Where is Giovanni?

Annabella. Newly walk’d abroad,
And, as I heard him say, gone to the friar,
His reverend tutor.

Florio. That’s a blessed man,
A man made up of holiness; I hope
He’ll teach him how to gain another world.

Donado. Fair gentlewoman, here’s a letter, sent To you from my young cousin;34 I dare swear He loves you in his soul: would you could hear Sometimes, what I see daily, sighs and tears, As if his breast were prison to his heart.

Florio. Receive it, Annabella.

Annabella. Alas, good man! [Takes the Letter.

Donado. What’s that she said?

Putana. An’t please you, sir, she said, “Alas, good man!” Truly I do commend him to her every night before her first sleep, because I would have her dream of him; and she hearkens to that most religiously.

Donado. Say’st so? God a’ mercy, Putana! there is something for thee —[Gives her money]— and prithee do what thou canst on his behalf; it shall not be lost labour, take my word for it.

Putana. Thank you most heartily, sir; now I have a feeling of your mind, let me alone to work.

Annabella. Guardian.

Putana. Did you call?

Annabella. Keep this letter.

Donado. Signior Florio, in any case bid her read it instantly.

Florio. Keep it! for what? pray read it me here — right.

Annabella. I shall, sir. [She reads the Letter.

Donado. How do you find her inclined, signior?

Florio. Troth, sir, I know not how; not all so well As I could wish.

Annabella. Sir, I am bound to rest your cousin’s debtor.
The jewel I’ll return; for if he love,
I’ll count that love a jewel.

Donado. Mark you that?
Nay, keep them both, sweet maid.

Annabella. You must excuse me,
Indeed I will not keep it.

Florio. Where’s the ring,
That which your mother, in her will, bequeath’d,
And charged you on her blessing not to give it
To any but your husband? send back that.35

Annabella. I have it not.

Florio. Ha! have it not; where is it?

Annabella. My brother in the morning took it from me,
Said he would wear it today.

Florio. Well, what do you say
To young Bergetto’s love? are you content to
Match with him? speak.

Donado. There is the point, indeed.

Annabella. What shall I do? I must say something now. [Aside.

Florio. What say? why do you not speak?

Annabella. Sir, with your leave — Please you to give me freedom?

Florio. Yes, you have [it.]

Annabella. Signior Donado, if your nephew mean
To raise his better fortunes in his match,
The hope of me will hinder such a hope:
Sir, if you love him, as I know you do,
Find one more worthy of his choice than me;
In short, I’m sure I shall not be his wife.

Donado. Why here’s plain dealing; I commend thee for’t;
And all the worst I wish thee, is, heaven bless thee!
Your father yet and I will still be friends;
Shall we not, Signior Florio?

Florio. Yes; why not?
Look, here your cousin comes.

Enter Bergetto and Poggio.

Donado. Oh coxcomb! what doth he make here?

Bergetto. Where is my uncle, sirs?

Donado. What is the news now?

Bergetto. Save you, uncle, save you! You must not think I come for nothing, masters; and how, and how is it? what, you have read my letter? ah, there I— tickled you, i’faith.

Poggio. But ’twere better you had tickled her in another place.

Bergetto. Sirrah sweetheart, I’ll tell thee a good jest; and riddle what it is.

Annabella. You say you’ll tell me.

Bergetto. As I was walking just now in the street, I met a swaggering fellow would needs take the wall of me; and because he did thrust me, I very valiantly call’d him rogue; he hereupon bade me draw, I told him I had more wit than so: but when he saw that I would not, he did so maul me with the hilts of his rapier, that my head sung whilst my feet caper’d in the kennel.

Donado. Was ever the like ass seen!

Annabella. And what did you all this while?

Bergetto. Laugh at him for a gull, till I saw the blood run about mine ears, and then I could not choose but find in my heart to cry; till a fellow with a broad beard (they say he is a new-come doctor) call’d me into his house, and gave me a plaster, look you, here ’tis; — and, sir, there was a young wench wash’d my face and hands most excellently; i’faith I shall love her as long as I live for it — did she not, Poggio?

Poggio. Yes, and kiss’d him too.

Bergetto. Why la now, you think I tell a lie, uncle, I warrant.

Donado. Would he that beat thy blood out of thy head, had beaten some wit into it! for I fear thou never wilt have any.

Bergetto. Oh uncle, but there was a wench would have done a man’s heart good to have look’d on her. By this light, she had a face methinks worth twenty of you, Mistress Annabella.

Donado. Was ever such a fool born?

Annabella. I am glad she liked you,36 sir.

Bergetto. Are you so? by my troth I thank you, forsooth.

Florio. Sure it was the doctor’s niece, that was last day with us here.

Bergetto. ’Twas she, ’twas she.

Donado. How do you know that, Simplicity?

Bergetto. Why does he not say so? if I should have said no, I should have given him the lie, uncle, and so have deserv’d a dry beating again; I’ll none of that.

Florio. A very modest well-behav’d young maid, as I have seen.

Donado. Is she indeed?

Florio. Indeed she is, if I have any judgment.

Donado. Well, sir, now you are free: you need not care for sending letters now; you are dismiss’d, your mistress here will none of you.

Bergetto. No! why what care I for that? I can have wenches enough in Parma for half a crown a-piece; cannot I, Poggio?

Poggio. I’ll warrant you, sir.

Donado. Signior Florio, I thank you for your free recourse you gave for my admittance; and to you, fair maid, that jewel I will give you against your marriage. Come, will you go, sir?

Bergetto. Ay, marry will I. Mistress, farewell, mistress; I’ll come again tomorrow — farewell, mistress.

[Exeunt Donado, Bergetto, and Poggio.

Enter Giovanni.

Florio. Son, where have you been? what, alone, alone still?
I would not have it so; you must forsake
This over-bookish humour. Well; your sister
Hath shook the fool off.

Giovanni. ’Twas no match for her.

Florio. ’Twas not indeed; I meant it nothing less;
Soranzo is the man I only like;
Look on him, Annabella. Come, ’tis supper-time,
And it grows late. [Exit.

Giovanni. Whose jewel’s that?

Annabella. Some sweetheart’s.

Giovanni. So I think.

Annabella. A lusty youth,
Signior Donado, gave it me to wear
Against my marriage.

Giovanni. But you shall not wear it;
Send it him back again.

Annabella. What, you are jealous?

Giovanni. That you shall know anon, at better leisure:
Welcome sweet night! the evening crowns the day.


34 From my young cousin.] Our author, like all the writers of his day, commonly uses cousin tor nephew and niece.

35 Send back that.] Florio juggles strangely with his daughter’s suitors. He tells Soranzo in Act I. that he had “his word engaged;” and yet he here endeavours to force her upon another! His subsequent conduct is not calculated to increase our respect for his character, or our sympathy for his overwhelming afflictions.

36 I am glad she lik’d you,] i.e. pleased you. So in Lear, “His face likes me not.” Maid’s Tragedy, Act ii. “What look likes you best.”— Reed.


Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:54