Page images
PDF
EPUB

Thor. Do you study for excuse? why all the

country Is full on't.

Frank. With your license, 't is not charitable,
I'm sure it is not fatherly, so much
To be o'erswayłd with credulous conceit
Of mere impossibilities; but fathers
Are privileged to think and talk at pleasure.
Thor. Why, canst thou yet deny thou hast no

wife?
Frantk. What do you take me for? an atheist ?
One that nor hopes the blessedness of life
Hereafter, neither fears the vengeance due
To such as make the marriage-bed an inn?
Am I become so insensible of losing
The glory of creation's work, my soul ?
Oh, I have lived too long!

Thor. Thou hast, dissembler.
Durst thou perséver yet, and pull down wrath
As hot as flames of hell, to strike thee quick
Into the grave of horror? I believe thee not;
Get from my sight!

Frank. Sir, though mine innocence
Needs not a stronger witness than the clearness
Of an uperish'd conscience; yet for that
I was inform’d, how mainly you had been
Possess'd of this untruth,—to quit all scruple,
Please you peruse this letter; 't is to you.

Thor. From whom?
Frank. Sir Arthur Clarington, my master.
Thor. Well, sir.

[Reads
Frank. On every side I am distracted ;
Am waded deeper into mischief
Than virtue can avoid; but on I must:
Fate leads me; I will follow.'-[Aside.]—There you

read What may confirm you.

on I must : Fate leads me; I will follow.] With the usual inconsistency of

Thor. Yes, and wonder at it.
Forgive me, Frank ; credulity abus'd me.
My tears express my joy; and I am sorry
I injured innocence.

Frank. Alas! I knew
Your rage and grief.proceeded from your love
To me; so I conceiv'd it.

Thor. My good son,
I'll bear with many faults in thee hereafter;
Bear thou with mine.
Frank. The peace is soon concluded.

Re-enter Old CARTER and SUSAN. Car. Why, master Thorney, do you mean to talk out your dinner ? the company attends your coming. What must it be, master Frank, or son Frank? I am plain Dunstable.'

Thor. Son, brother, if your daughter like to have

it so.

Frank. I dare be confident, she is not alter'd
From what I left her at our parting last:-
Are you, fair maid ?

Sus. You took too sure possession
Of an engaged heart.

Frank. Which now I challenge.

Car. Marry, and much good may it do thee, son. Take her to thee: and when's the day?

Thor. To-morrow, if you please. To use ceremony Of charge and custom were to little purpose; Their loves are married fast enough already.

those who seek to smother their conscience by plunging deeper into guilt, Frank observes, just below, that the fate which here “leads him on," pursues

-GIFFORD. 1 I am plain Dunstable,] i, e. blunt and honest. The proverb is of very ancient date, and is not even yet quite worn out; only, as Sir Hugh says, the phrase is a little variations : for, with the usual propensity of our countrymen to assist the memory by alliteration, a man like Carter is now downright Dunstable.-GIFFORD. "As plain as Dunstable road” occurs among the Proverbs of Bedfordshire, given by Fuller in his Worthies; and hence, no doubt, the application of the phrase to plain and honest people.

Car. A good motion. We'll e’en have a household dinner, and let the fiddlers go scrape; let the bride and bridegroom dance at night together: no matter for the guests :-to-morrow, Sue, to-morrow. Shall 's to dinner now?

Thor. We are on all sides pleased, I hope.
Sus. Pray Heaven I may deserve the blessing sent

me!
Now my heart's settled.

Frank. So is mine.

Car. Your marriage-money shall be received before your wedding shoes can be pulled on. Blessings on you both! Frank. [Aside.] No man can hide his shame from

Heaven that views him: In vain he flees whose destiny pursues him. Mirjonéz

important Exeunt.

the

ACT II. SCENE I.

The Fields near Edmonton.
Enter ELIZABETH Sawyer, gathering sticks.
Saw. And why on me? why should the envious

world
Throw all their scandalous malice upon me ?
'Cause I am poor, deform’d, and ignorant,
And like a bow buckled

and bent

together,
By some more strong in mischiefs than myself,
Must I for that be made a common sink,
For all the filth and rubbish of men's tongues
To fall and run into ? Some call me witch,
And being ignorant of myself, they go
About to teach me how to be one; urging,
what my bad tongue (by their bad usage made so)

hus far the hand of Ford is visible in every line. Of the act which follows, much may be set down, without hesitation, to the credit of Decker GIFFORD.

Forespeaks their cattle,' doth bewitch their corn,
Themselves, their servants, and their babes at nurse.
This they enforce upon me; and in part
Make me to credit it; and here comes one
Of my chief adversaries.

Enter Old BANKS.
Banks. Out, out upon thee, witch!
Saw. Dost call me witch ?

Banks. I do, witch, I do; and worse I would, knew I a name more hateful. What makest thou upon my ground? Saw. Gather a few rotten sticks to warm me.

Banks. Down with them when I bid thee, quickly ; I'll make thy bones rattle in thy skin else.

Saw. You won't, churl, cut-throat miser!—there they be ;-[Throws them down.)—would they stuck cross thy throat, thy bowels, thy maw, thy midriff.

Banks. Say'st thou me so, hag? Out of my ground!

[Beats her. Saw. Dost strike me, slave, curmudgeon! Now thy bones ache, thy joints be cramped, and convulsions stretch and crack thy sinews! Banks. Cursing, thou hag ! take that, and that.

[Beats her and exit. Saw. Strike, do and wither'd may that hand

and arm Whose blows have lamed me, drop from the rotten

trunk ! Abuse me! beat me! call me hag and witch! What is the name ? where, and by what art learn'd, What spells, what charms or invocations, May the thing call’d Familiar be purchased ?

Enter CUDDY BANKS, and several other Clowns. Cud. A new head for the tabor, and silver tipping 1 Forespeaks their cattle.) A very common term for bewitch. In Buiton's“ Anatomy of Melancholy,” the two words are used together, as nearly synonymous. “They are in despaire, surely forespoken or bewitched.”

for the pipe; remember that: and forget not five leash of new bells.

1 Cl. Double bells ;-Crooked-Lane--you shall have 'em strait in Crooked-Lane :-double bells all, if it be possible.

Cud. Double bells ? double coxcombs ! trebles, buy me trebles, all trebles; for our purpose is to be in the altitudes.

2 Cl. All trebles ? not a mean?

Cud. Not one. The morris is so cast, we'll have neither mean nor base in our company, fellow Rowland.

3 Cl. What! nor a counter ?

Cud. By no means, no hunting counter ; leave that to the Enfield Chase men: all trebles, all in the altitudes. Now for the disposing of parts in the morris, little or no labour will serve.

i When the sports of our ancestors were rude and few, morrisdancers formed a very favourite part of their merry meetings. They were first undoubtedly a company of people that represented the military dances of the Moors (once the most lively and refined people in Europe), in their proper habits and arms, and must have been sufficiently amusing to an untravelled nation like the English; but, by degrees, they seem to have adopted into their body all the prominent characters of the other rustic May-games and sports, which were now probably declining, and to have become the most anomalous collection of performers that ever appeared at once upon the stage of the world. Besides the hobby-horse, there were the fool (not the driveller, as Tollet supposes, but the buffoon of the party), May, or Maid, Marian, and her paramour a friar, a serving-man, a piper, and two Moriscoes. These, with their bells, rings, streamers, &c. all in motion at one time, must have, as Rabelais says, made a tintamarre de diable! Their dress is prettily described by Fletcher :

Soto. Do you know what sports are in season?
Silvio. I hear there are some afoot.

Soto. Where are your bells then,
Your rings, your ribands, friend, and your clean napkins;

Your nosegay in your hai, pinn'd up ? &c.-Women Pleased. When the right good-will with which these worthy persons capered is taken into consideration, the clean napkin, which was never omitted, will not appear the least necessary part of the apparatus. Thus Clod, in the mask of Gipsies, observes, "They should be morris-dancers by their jingle, but they have no napkins."

The hobby-horse, who once performed the principal character in the dance, and whose banishment from it is lamented with such ludicrous pathos by our old dramatists, was a light frame of wickerwork, fur

« PreviousContinue »