’Tis Pity She’s a Whore, by John Ford



A Room in Donado’s House.

Enter Bergetto and Poggio.

Bergetto. Does my uncle think to make me a baby still? No, Poggio; he shall know I have a sconce now.

Poggio. Ay, let him not bob you off like an ape with an apple.

Bergetto. ’Sfoot, I will have the wench, if he were ten uncles, in despite of his nose, Poggio.

Poggio. Hold him to the grindstone, and give not a jot of ground; she hath in a manner promised you already.

Bergetto. True, Poggio; and her uncle, the doctor, swore I should marry her.

Poggio. He swore; I remember.

Bergetto. And I will have her, that’s more: did’st see the codpiece-point she gave me, and the box of marmalade?

Poggio. Very well; andkiss’d you, that my chops water’d at the sight on’t: there is no way but to clap up a marriage in hugger-mugger.

Bergetto. I will do it; for I tell thee, Poggio, I begin to grow valiant methinks, and my courage begins to rise.

Poggio. Should you be afraid of your uncle?

Bergetto. Hang him, old doating rascal! no; I say I will have her.

Poggio. Lose no time then.

Bergetto. I will beget a race of wise men and constables that shall cart whores at their own charges; and break the duke’s peace ere I have done, myself. — Come away.



A Room in Florio’s House.

Enter Florio, Giovanni, Soraxzo, Anxabella, Putana, and Vasques.

Florio. My lord Soranzo, though I must confess
The proffers that are made me have been great,
In marriage of my daughter; yet the hope
Of your Still rising honours has prevail’d
Above all other jointures: here she is;
She knows my mind; speak for yourself to her,
And hear you, daughter, see you use him nobly:
For any private speech, I’ll give you time.
Come, son, and you the rest; let them alone;
Agree [they] as they may.

Soranzo. I thank you, sir.

Giovanni. Sister, be not all woman, think on me. [Aside to Ann.

Soranzo. Vasques.

Vasques. My lord.

Soranzo. Attend me without

[Exeunt all but Soranzo and Annabella.

Annabella. Sir, what’s your will with me?

Soranzo. Do you not know What I should tell you?

Annabella. Yes; you’ll say you love me.

Soranzo. And I will swear it too; will you believe it?

Annabella. Tis no point of faith.

Enter Giovanni, in the Gallery, above.

Soranzo. Have you not will to love?

Annabella. Not you.

Soranzo. Whom then?

Annabella. That’s as the fates infer.

Giovanni. Of those I’m regent now.

Soranzo. What mean you, sweet?

Annabella. To live and die a maid.

Soranzo. Oh, that’s unfit.

Giovanni. Here’s one can say that’s but a woman’s note.

Soranzo. Did you but see my heart, then would you swear

Annabella. That you were dead.

Giovanni. That’s true, or somewhat near it.

Soranzo. See you these true love’s tears?

Annabella. No.

Giovanni. Now she winks.

Soranzo. They plead to you for grace.

Annabella. Yet nothing speak.

Soranzo. Oh, grant my suit.

Annabella. What is’t?

Soranzo. To let me live —

Annabella. Take it.

Soranzo. Still yours.

Annabella. That is not mine to give.

Giovanni. One such another word would kill his hopes.

Soranzo. Mistress, to leave those fruitless strifes of wit,
Know I have lov’d you long, and lov’d you truly:
Not hope of what you have, but what you are,
Hath drawn me on; then let me not in vain
Still feel the rigour of your chaste disdain:
I’m sick, and sick to the heart.

Annabella. Help, aqua vitae!

Soranzo. What mean you?

Annabella. Why, I thought you had been sick.

Soranzo. Do you mock my love?

Giovanni. There, sir, she was too nimble.

Soranzo. Tis plain; she laughs at me. — [Aside.]
These scornful taunts
Neither become your modesty or years.

Annabella. You are no looking-glass; or if you were,
I would dress my language by you.

Giovanni. I am confirm’d.

Annabella. To put you out of doubt, my lord, methinks
Your common sense should make you understand,
That if I lov’d you, or desired your love,
Some way I should have given you better taste:
But since you are a nobleman, and one
I would not wish should spend his youth in hopes,
Let me advise you to forbear your suit,
And think I wish you well, I tell you this.

Soranzo. Is’t you speak this?

Annabella. Yes, I myself; yet know,
(Thus far I give you comfort) if mine eyes
Could have pick’d out a man, amongst all those
That sued to me, to make a husband of,
You should have been that man; let this suffice,
Be noble in your secrecy, and wise.

Giovanni. Why, now I see she loves me.

Annabella. One word more.
As ever virtue liv’d within your mind,
As ever noble courses were your guide,
As ever you would have me know you lov’d me,
Let not my father know hereof by you:
If I hereafter find that I must marry,
It shall be you or none.

Soranzo. I take that promise.

Annabella. Oh, oh my head!

Soranzo. What’s the matter, not well?

Annabella. Oh, I begin to sicken.

Giovanni. Heaven forbid! [Exit from above.

Soranzo. Help, help, within there, ho!

Enter Florio, Giovanni, and Putana.

Look to your daughter,37 Signior Florio.

Florio. Hold her up, she swoons.

Giovanni. Sister, how do you?

Annabella. Sick — brother, are you there?

Florio. Convey her to bed instantly, whilst I send for a physician; quickly, I say.

Putana. Alas, poor child!

[Exeunt all but Soranzo.

Re-enter Vasques.

Vasques. My lord.

Soranzo. Oh, Vasques! now I doubly am undone,
Both in my present and my future hopes:
She plainly told me that she could not love,
And thereupon soon sicken’d; and I fear
Her life’s in danger.

Vasques. By’r lady, sir, and so is yours, if you knew all. [Aside.] —’Las, sir, I am sorry for that; may be, ’tis but the maids-sickness, an over-flux of youth; and then, sir, there is no such present remedy as present marriage. But hath she given you an absolute denial?

Soranzo. She hath, and she hath not; I’m full of grief;
But what she said, I’ll tell thee as we go.


37 Look to your daughter.] The old copy gives this speech to the brother. It is evidently a continuation of Soronzo’s call for assistance.


Another Room in the same.

Enter Giovanni and Putana.

Putana. Oh, sir, we are all undone, quite undone, utterly undone, and shamed for ever: your sister, oh your sister!

Giovanni. What of her? for heaven’s sake, speak; how does she?

Putana. Oh that ever I was born to see this day!

Giovanni. She is not dead, ha? is she?

Putana. Dead! no, she is quick; —’tis worse, she is with child. You know what you have done; heaven forgive you! ’tis too late to repent now, heaven help us!

Giovanni. With child? how dost thou know’t?

Putana. How do I know’t? am I at these years ignorant what the meanings of qualms and water — pangs be? of changing of colours, queasiness of stomachs, pukings, and another thing that I could name? Do not, for her and your credit’s sake, spend the time in asking how, and which way, ’tis so: she is quick, upon my word; if you let a physician see her water, you are undone.

Giovanni. But in what case is she?

Putana. Prettily amended: ’twas but a fit, which I soon espied, and she must look for often henceforward.

Giovanni. Commend me to her, bid her take no care;38
Let not the doctor visit her, I charge you;
Make some excuse, till I return. — Oh me!
I have a world of business in my head.
Do not discomfort her —
How do these news perplex me! If my father
Come to her, tell him she’s recover’d well;
Say ’twas but some ill diet — d’ye hear, woman?
Look you to’t.

Putana. I will, sir.


38 Bid her take no care.] i. e. bid her not lo be too anxious, or apprehensive.


Another Room in the same.

Enter Florio and Richardetto.

Florio. And how do you find her, sir?

Richardetto. Indifferent well;
I see no danger, scarce perceive she’s sick,
But that she told me, she had lately eaten
Melons, and, as she thought, those disagree’d
With her young stomach.

Florio. Did you give her aught?

Richardetto. An easy surfeit-water, nothing else;
You need not doubt her health; I rather think
Her sickness is a fulness of her blood —
You understand me?

Florio. I do; you counsel well;
And once, within these few days, will so order it,
She shall be married ere she know the time.

Richardetto. Yet let not haste, sir, make unworthy choice:
That were dishonour.

Florio. Master doctor, no;
I will not do so neither: in plain words,
My Lord Soranzo is the man I mean.

Richardetto. A noble and a virtuous gentleman.

Florio. As any is in Parma: not far hence,
Dwells Father Bonaventure, a grave friar,
Once tutor to my son; now at his cell
I’ll have them married.

Richardetto. You have plotted wisely.

Florio. I’ll send one straight to speak with him to-night.

Richardetto. Soranzo’s wise; he will delay no time.

Florio. It shall be so.

Enter Friar and Giovanni.

Friar. Good peace be here, and love!

Florio. Welcome, religious friar; you are one
That still bring blessing to the place you come to.

Giovanni. Sir, with what speed I could, I did my best
To draw this holy man from forth his cell,
To visit my sick sister’; that with words
Of ghostly comfort, in this time of need,
He might absolve her, whether she live or die.

Florio. Twas well done, Giovanni; thou herein
Hast show’d a Christian’s care, a brother’s love:
Come, father, I’ll conduct you to her chamber,
And one thing would entreat you.

Friar. Say on, sir.

Florio. I have a father’s dear impression,
And wish, before I fall into my grave,
That I might see her married, as ’tis fit;
A word from you, grave man, will win her more
Than all our best persuasions.

Friar. Gentle sir,
All this I’ll say, that Heaven may prosper her.



A Room in Richaudetto’s House.

Enter Grimaldi.

Grimaldi. Now if the doctor keep his word, Soranzo,
Twenty to one you miss your bride. I know
Tis an unhoble act, and not becomes
A soldier’s valour; but in terms of love,
Where merit cannot sway, policy must:
I am resolv’d, if this physician
Play not on both hands, then Soranzo falls.

Enter Richardetto.

Richardetto. You are come as I could wish; this very night
Soranzo, ’tis ordain’d, must be affied
To Annabella, and, for aught I know,

Grimaldi. How!

Richardetto. Yet your patience;
The place, ’tis friar Bonaventure’s cell.
Now I would wish you to bestow this night
In watching thereabouts; ’tis but a night:—
If you miss now, tomorrow I’ll know all.

Grimaldi. Have you the poison?

Richardetto. Here ’tis, in this box;
Doubt nothing, this will do’t; in any case,
As you respect your life, be quick and sure.

Grimaldi. I’ll speed him.

Richardetto. Do. — Away; for ’tis not safe
You should be seen much here — ever my love!

Grimaldi. And mine to you. [Exit.

Richardetto. So! if this hit, I’ll laugh and hug revenge;
And they that now dream of a wedding-feast,
May chance to mourn the lusty bridegroom’s ruin:
But to my other business — niece Philotis!

Enter Philotis.

Philotis. Uncle.

Richardetto. My lovely niece, You have bethought you?

Philotis. Yes — and, as you counsell’d,
Fashion’d my heart to love him; but he swears
He will to-night be married; for he fears
His uncle else, if he should know the drift,
Will hinder all, and call his coz to shrift.

Richardetto. To-night? why best of all; but let me see,
I— ha! — yes — so it shall be; in disguise
We’ll early to the friar’s — I have thought on’t.

Philotis. Uncle, he comes.

Enter Bergetto and Poggio.

Richardetto. Welcome, my worthy coz.

Bergetto. Lass, pretty lass, come buss, lass! A-ha, Poggio! [Kisses her.

Richardetto. There’s hope of this yet.39 [Aside.
You shall have time enough; withdraw a little,
We must confer at large.

Bergetto. Have you not sweetmeats, or dainty devices for me?

Philotis. You shall [have] enough, sweetheart.

Bergetto. Sweetheart! mark that, Poggio. By my troth I cannot choose but kiss thee once more for that word, sweetheart. Poggio, I have a monstrous swelling about my stomach, whatsoever the matter be.

Poggio. You shall have physic for’t, sir.

Richardetto. Time runs apace.

Bergetto. Time’s a blockhead.

Richardetto. Be ruled; when we have done what’s fit to do,
Then you may kiss your fill, and bed her too.


39 There’s hope of this yet.] The 4to erroneously gives this hemistich to Philotis. If it be not a side-speech of the uncle, it must be considered as a continuation of poor Poggio’s rapture at the condescension of his mistress.


Florio’s House.

Annabella’s Chamber. A Table with Wax Lights; Annabella at Confession before the Friar; she weeps and wrings her hands.

Friar. I am glad to see this penance; for, believe me,
You have unripp’d a soul so foul and guilty,
As I must tell you true, I marvel how
The earth hath borne you up; but weep, weep on,
These tears may do you good; weep faster yet,
Whilst I do read a lecture.

Annabella. Wretched creature!

Friar. Ay, you are wretched, miserably wretched,
Almost condemn’d alive. There is a place,
List, daughter! in a black and hollow vault,
Where day is never seen; there shines no sun,
But flaming horror of consuming fires,
A lightless sulphur, choak’d with smoky fogs
Of an infected darkness: in this place
Dwell many thousand thousand sundry sorts
Of never-dying deaths: there damned souls
Roar without pity; there are gluttons fed
With toads and adders; there is burning oil
Pour’d down the drunkard’s throat; the usurer
Is forced to sup whole draughts of molten gold;
There is the murderer for ever stabb’d,
Yet can he never die; there lies the wanton
On racks of burning steel, whilst in his soul
He feels the torment of his raging lust. —

Annabella. Mercy! oh mercy!

Friar. There stand these wretched things,
Who have dream’d out whole years in lawless sheets
And secret incests, cursing one another:
Then you will wish each kiss your brother gave,
Had been a dagger’s point; then you shall hear
How he will cry, “Oh, would my wicked sister
Had first been damn’d, when she did yield to lust!”—
But soft, methinks I see repentance work
New motions in your heart; say, how is’t with you?

Annabella. Is there no way left to redeem my miseries?

Friar. There is, despair not; Heaven is merciful,
And offers grace even now. Tis thus agreed:
First, for your honour’s safety, that you marry
My lord Soranzo; next, to save your soul,
Leave off this life, and henceforth live to him.

Annabella. Ah me!

Friar. Sigh not; I know the baits of sin
Are hard to leave; oh, ’tis a death to do’t.
Remember what must come: are you content?

Annabella. I am.

Friar. I like it well; we’ll take the time.
Who’s near us there?

Enter Florio and Giovanni.

Florio. Did you call, father?

Friar. Is lord Soranzo come?

Florio. He stays below.

Friar. Have you acquainted him at full?

Florio. I have,
And he is overjoy’d.

Friar. And so are we:
Bid him come near.

Giovanni. My sister weeping? — Ha!
I fear this friar’s falsehood. [Aside.] — I will call him. [Exit.

Florio. Daughter, are you resolv’d?

Annabella. Father, I am.

Re-enter Giovanni with Soranzo and Vasques.

Florio. My lord Soranzo, here
Give me your hand; for that, I give you this.
[Joins their hands.

Soranzo. Lady, say you so too?

Annabella. I do, and vow
To live with you and your’s.

Friar. Timely resolv’d;
My blessing rest on both! more to be done,
You may perform it on the morning-sun.



The Street before the Monastery.

Enter Grimaldi with his Rapier drawn, and a dark Lantern.

Grimaldi. Tis early night as yet, and yet too soon
To finish such a work; here I will lie
To listen who comes next. [He lies down.

Enter Bergetto and Philotis disguised; and followed, at a distance, by Richardetto and Poggio.

Bergetto. We are almost at the place, I hope, sweetheart.

Grimaldi. I hear them near, and heard one say “sweetheart.”
Tis he; now guide my hand, some angry justice,
Home to his bosom. — Now have at you, sir!

[Stabs Bergetto, and exit.

Bergetto. Oh help, help! here’s a stitch fallen in my guts; oh for a flesh-tailor quickly — Poggio!

Philotis. What ails my love?

Bergetto. I am sure I cannot piss forward and backward, and yet I am wet before and behind; lights! lights! ho, lights!

Philotis. Alas, some villain here has slain my love.

Richardetto. Oh Heaven forbid it; raise up the next neighbours
Instantly, Poggio, and bring lights. — [Exit Pog.
How is’t, Bergetto? slain! It cannot be;
Are you sure you are hurt?

Bergetto. O my belly seethes like a porridge-pot; some cold water, I shall boil over else: my whole body is in a sweat, that you may wring my shirt; feel here — why, Poggio!

Re-enter Poggio, with Officers, and Lights.

Poggio. Here; alas! how do you?

Richardetto. Give me a light. What’s here? all blood! O sirs,
Signior Donado’s nephew now is slain.
Follow the murderer with all the haste
Up to the city, he cannot be far hence;
Follow, I beseech you.

Officers. Follow, follow, follow. [Exeunt.

Richardetto. Tear off thy linen, coz, to stop his wounds; Be of good comfort, man.

Bergetto. Is all this mine own blood? nay, then, good night with me. Poggio, commend me to my uncle, dost hear? bid him, for my sake, make much of this wench: oh — I am going the wrong way sure, my belly aches so — oh farewell, Poggio! — oh! — oh! — [Dies.

Philotis. O he is dead.

Poggio. How! dead!

Richardetto. He’s dead indeed;
Tis now too late to weep: let’s have him home,
And, with what speed we may, find out the murderer.

Poggio. Oh my master! my master! my master!



A Room in Hippolita’s House.

Enter Vasques and Hippolita.

Hippolita. Betroth’d?

Vasques. I saw it.

Hippolita. And when’s the marriage-day?

Vasques. Some two days hence.

Hippolita. Two days! why man I would but wish two hours,
To send him to his last, and lasting sleep;
And, Vasques, thou shalt see I’ll do it bravely.

Vasques. I do not doubt your wisdom, nor, I trust, you my secrecy; I am infinitely yours.

Hippolita. I will be thine in spite of my disgrace.
So soon? O wicked man! I durst be sworn,
He’d laugh to see me weep.

Vasques. And that’s a villainous fault in him.

Hippolita. No, let him laugh; I am arm’d in my resolves:
Be thou still true.

Vasques. I should get little by treachery against so hopeful a preferment, as I am like to climb to —

Hippolita. Even to — my bosom, Vasques. Let my youth
Revel in these new pleasures; if we thrive,
He now hath but a pair of days to live.



The Street before the Cardinal’s Gates.

Enter Florio, Donado, Richardetto, Poggio, and Officers.

Florio. Tis bootless now to shew yourself a child,
Signior Donado, what is done, is done
Spend not the time in tears, but seek for justice.

Richardetto. I must confess, somewhat I was in fault,
That had not first acquainted you what love
Past ’twixt him and my niece; but, as I live,
His fortune grieves me as it were mine own.

Donado. Alas, poor creature, he meant no man harm,
That I am sure of.

Florio. I believe that too.
But stay, my masters; are you sure you saw
The murderer pass here?

Officer. An it please you, sir, we are sure we saw a ruffian, with a naked weapon in his hand all bloody, get into my lord Cardinal’s Grace’s gate; that we are sure of; but for fear of his grace (bless us!) we durst go no farther.

Donado. Know you what manner of man he was?

Officer. Yes sure, I know the man; they say he is a soldier: he that lov’d your daughter, sir, an’t please ye; ’twas he for certain.

Florio. Grimaldi, on my life.

Officer. Ay, ay, the same.

Richardetto. The Cardinal is noble; he no doubt
Will give true justice.

Donado. Knock some one at the gate.

Poggio. I’ll knock, sir. [Knocks.

Servant. [within] What would ye?

Florio. We require speech with the lord Cardinal
About some present business; pray inform
His grace, that we are here.

Enter Cardinal, followed by Grimaldi.

Cardinal. Why how now, friends! what saucy mates are you,
That know nor duty nor civility?
Are we a person fit to be your host;
Or is our house become your common inn,
To — beat our doors at pleasure? What such haste
Is yours, as that it cannot wait fit times?
Are you the masters of this commonwealth,
And know no more discretion? Oh, your news
Is here before you; you have lost a nephew,
Donado, last night by Grimaldi slain:
Is that your business? well, sir, we have knowledge on’t,
Let that suffice.

Grimaldi. In presence of your grace,
In thought, I never meant Bergetto harm:
But, Florio, you can tell, with how much scorn
Soranzo, back’d with his confederates,
Hath often wrong’d me; I to be reveng’d,
(For that I could but win him else to fight)
Had thought, by way of ambush, to have kill’d him,
But was, unluckily, therein mistook;
Else he had felt what late Bergetto did:
And though my fault to him were merely chance,
Yet humbly I submit me to your grace, [Kneeling.
To do with me as you please.

Cardinal. Rise up, Grimaldi. [He rises.
You citizens of Parma, if you seek
For justice, know, as Nuncio from the pope,
For this offence I here receive Grimaldi
Into his Holiness’ protection:
He is no common man, but nobly born,
Of princes’ blood, though you, sir Florio,
Thought him too mean a husband for your daughter.
If more you seek. for, you must go to Rome,
For he shall thither; learn more wit for shame, —
Bury your dead:— away, Grimaldi — leave ’em!

[Exeunt Cardinal and Grimaldi.

Donado. Is this a churchman’s voice? dwells justice here?

Florio. Justice is fled to heaven, and comes no nearer.
Soranzo? — was’t for him? O impudence!
Had he the face to speak it, and not blush?
Come, come, Donado, there’s no help in this,
When cardinals think murder’s not amiss:
Great men may do their wills, we must obey,
But Heaven will judge them for’t, another day.



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