Page images
PDF
EPUB

Liv. Saucy? strumpet
In thy desires ! 'tis in my power to cut off
The twist thy life is spun by.

Cast. Phew! you rave now:
But if you have not perish'do all your reason,
Know I will use my freedom.' You, forsooth,
For change of fresh apparel, and the pocketing
Of some well-looking ducats, were contented,
Passingly pleased-yes, marry were you, mark

it, T'

expose me to the danger now you rail at ! Brought me, nay, forced me hither, without ques

tion Of what might follow ; here you find the issue: :

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

a

. But if you have not perish'd all your reason,] i.e. destroyed; thus in a former passage:

to such perfection as no flattery

Of art can perish now.”
The verb is no longer in use in an active sense.

In the last edition of Beaumont and Fletcher, Valentine, who had stripped himself in a bravado, observes,

'Tis cold, and I am very sensible; extremely cold too ;
Yet I'll not off, till I have shamed these rascals.
I have endured as ill heats as another,
And every way; if one could perish my body,

You'll bear the blame on't.-Wit without Money. Which the editor explains in a way altogether worthy of him. “I have endured as ill heats as another; if any such heat could make my body perish in the present case, you” (those who had carried off his clothes, and exposed him to freezing !) would bear the blame of it. This is the only explanation which occurs to me.” This is sheer drivelling-read

'Tis cold, and I am very sensible;
Extremely cold too; yet I will not off,
Till I have shamed these rascals.-
I have endured as ill heats as another,
And every way; if one cold perish me,
Body, you'll bear the blame on't.

3

,

And I distrust not but it was th' appointment
Of some succeeding fate that more concern'd me
Than widowed virginity.

Liv. You are a gallant;
One of my old lord's Fancies. Peevish girl,
Was't ever heard that youth could doat on sick-

ness, A grey beard, wrinkled face, a dried-up marrow, A toothless head, a— ? — this is but a merriment, Merely but trial. Romanello loves thee; Has not abundance, true; yet cannot want: Return with me, and I will leave these fortunes, Good maid, of gentle nature.

Cast. By my hopes, I never placed affection on that gentleman, Though he desery'd well; I have told him often My resolution.

a

3 Peevish girl.] i. e. Foolish, captious, or, it may be, (as it evidently is in a former passage, p. 190.) perverse; as Castamela seems at cross-purposes with her brother. That it bore all these senses in Ford's time cannot be doubted, any more than that the more ancient meaning of peevishness was weakness, imbecility of body or of mind.

It is not a little curious that this unfortunate word (peevish) was mainly operative in effecting the condemnation of Archbishop Laud. He was accused, on the evidence of his memorandum-book, (of which bis enemies had tyrannically possessed themselves,) of a treasonable minute to this effect, at a Council Board, Strafford and Hamilton being present. “ A resolution voted at the Board to assist the King in extraordinary ways, if the Parliament should prove peevish, and refuse,” &c. There was no proof that Laud had advised that vote, and he demanded “whether, though the epithet peevish were a very peevish word, he might not write it in his private notes without treason ?''

Now in what sense was the word used ? Laud's accusers seem to have given it the meaning of wayward, perverse ; he himself apparently gives it that of foolish; and such was then its usual import.

Liv. Will you hence, and trust to
My care of settling you a peace?

Cast. No, surely;
Such treaty may break off.

Liv. Off be it broken !
I'll do what thou shalt rue.

Cast. You cannot, Livio.
Liv. So confident, young mistress mine! I'll
do't.

Exit.
Enter TROYLO.
Troy. Incomparable maid!

Cast. You have been counsellor
To a strange dialogue.

Troy. If there be constancy
In protestation of a virtuous nature,
You are secure, as the effects shall witness.

Cast. Be noble; I am credulous : my language
Hath prejudiced my heart; I and my brother
Ne’er parted at such distance: yet, I glory
In the fair race he runs; but fear the violence
Of his disorder.

Troy. Little time shall quit him. [They retire.

Enter S Ecco, leading Nitido in a garter with one

hand, a rod in the other; followed by Morosa, SILVIA, FLORIA, CLARELLA. SPADONE behind

laughing

Sec. The young whelp is mad';4 I must slice the

I worm out of his breech. I have noosed his neck

4 The

135.

young whelp is mad, fc.] See vol. i.

p. P

VOL. II.

in the collar; and I will once turn dog-leech: stand from about me, or you'll find me terrible and furious.

Nit. Ladies, good ladies, dear madam, Morosa ! Flo. Honest Secco !

Sil. What was the cause ?. what wrong has he done to thee? Clar. Why dost thou fright us so, and art so

peremptory Where we are present, fellow ?

Mor. Honey-bird, spouse, cat-a-mountain! ah, the child, the pretty poor child, the sweet-faced

child! Spa. That very word halters the earwig. Sec. Off I say, or I shall

say, or I shall lay bare all the naked truth to your faces ! his fore-parts have been too lusty, and his posteriors must do penance for't. Untruss, whiskin, untruss! away, burs ! out mare-hag mule! avaunt! thy turn comes next, avaunt! the horns of my rage are advanced; hence, or I shall gore ye! Spa. Lash him soundly; let the little ape show

tricks. Nit. Help, or I shall be throttled !

Mor. Yes, I will help thee, pretty heart; if my tongue cannot prevail, my nails shall. Barbarous minded man, let go, or I shall use my talons.

[They fight.

5 Avaunt! thy turn comes next,] The printer has repeated these words by mistake : they are now removed from the text.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Spa. Well played, dog; well played, bear! sa, sa, sa! to't, to't!

Sec. Fury, whore, bawd, my wife and the devil!

Mor. Toss-pot, stinkard, pandar, my husband and a rascal! Spa. Scold, coxcomb, baggage, cuckold!

Crabbed age and youth

Cannot jump together;
One is like good luck,

T"other like foul weather.
Troy. Let us fall in now.-(Comes forward with

Cast.)—What uncivil rudeness Dares offer a disturbance to this company? Peace and delights dwell here, not brawls and

outrage : Sirrah, be sure you show some reasons why You so forget your duty, quickly show it, Or I shall tame your choler; what's the ground on't?

Spa. Humph, how's that? how's that? is he there, with a wannion?! then do I begin to dwindle.-0, oh! the fit, the fit; the fit's upon me now, now, now, now!

[Aside. Sec. It shall out. First then, know all Christian people, Jews, and infidels, he's and she's, by

6

Crabbed age and youth, &c.] This is patched up from a despicable ditty in the Passionate Pilgrim ; foolishly attributed to Shakspeare. Spadone seems to have a sort of natural taste for these tuneful parodies.

? With a wannion.] A kind of petty imprecation, often used by our old dramatists, and equivalent to the modern vulgarism with a vengeance ! with a plague! &c. See the Introduction, p. cxlvi.

c. What follows is the burden of an old song, not worth quoting. It is found also in Shirley.

« PreviousContinue »