« PreviousContinue »
your children, our masters wise children bewrayed their good natures, and in the garments of our master's children yours made a marriage; this all stood upon us poor children and your young children, to show that old folks may be overtaken by children.
Pris. Here's children indeed, I'll never for
Mem. I will; Accius, come forth.
Sper. Neighbour, these things cannot be recalled, therefore as good consent; seeing in all our purposes also we mist the mark, for they two will match their children.
Pris. Well, of that more anon; not so suddenly, lest our ungracious youths think we dare do no other; but in truth their loves stir up pature in me.
Mem. Come, Accius, thou must be married to Silena. How art thou minded ?
Acc. What, for ever and ever?
Acc. I shall never be able to abide it, it will be so tedious.
Stel. Silena, thou must be betrothed to Accius, and love him for thy husband.
Sil. I had as leave have one of clouts.
you will not, another will. Sil. I thank you for mine old cap.
Acc. And if you be so lusty, lend me two shillings.
Pris. We are happy, we mist the foolish match.
Mem. Come, you shall presently be contracted.
Drom. Contract their wits no more, they be shrunk close already.
Acc. Well, father, here's my hand, strike the bargain.
Sil. Must he lie with me?
Enter VICINA, MÆSTIUS, and SERENA.
Vic. I forbid the banes *.
Ris. What, doest thou think them rats, and fearest they should be poisoned :
Mem. You, Vicina ? wherefore?
Vic. Hearken :- About eighteen years ago, I nurst thee a son, Memphio, and thee a daughter, Stellio.
Vic. I had at that time two children of mine own, and being poor, thought it better to change them than kill them ;. I imagined if by device I could thrust my children into your houses, they would be well brought up in their youth, and wisely provided for in their age; nature wrought with me, and when they were weaned, I sent home mine instead of yours, which hitherto
you have kept tenderly as yours : growing in years, I found the children I kept at home to love dearly; at first like brother and sister, which I rejoiced at; but at length too forward in affection, which although inwardly I could not mislike, yet openly I seemed to disallow; they increased in their loving humours; I ceased not to chastise them for their loose demeanours: at last it came to my ears that my son that was out with Memphio was a fool, that my daughter with Stellio was also unwise, and yet being brother and sister there was a match in hammering betwixt them.
* The play upon the word rendered it necessary to preserve the old spelling.
Mem. What monstrous tale is this!
Vic. My very bowels yearned within me, that I should be author of such vile incest, and hinderance to lawful love: I went to the good woman, Mother Bombie, to know the event of this practice, who told me this day I might prevent the danger, and upon submission escape the punishment: hither I am come to claim my children, though both fools, and to deliver yours, both living
Mem. Is this possible? how shall we believe it? Stel. It cannot sink into my head. .
Vic. This trial cannot fail : your son, Memphio, had a mole under his ear; I framed one under my child's ear by art, you shall see it taken away by the juice of mandrage; behold. Now for your son's; no herb can undo that nature hath done. Your daughter, Stellio, hath on her wrist a mole, which I counterfeited on my daughter's arm, and that shall you see taken away as the other. Thus you see I do not dissemble, hoping you will pardon me as I have pitied them.
Mem. This is my son; Oh, fortunate Memphio!
Stel. This is my daughter; more than thrice happy Stellio!
Mæs. How happy is Mæstius, thou blessed, Serena, that being neither children to poor parents, nor brother and sister by nature, may enjoy our love by consent of parents and nature,
Acc. Soft, I'll not swap my father for all this.
Sil. What, do you think I'll be cozened of my father? Methinks I should not. Mother Bombie told me my father knew me not, my mother bore me not, falsely bred, truly begot; a botts on Mother Bombie.
Drom. Mother Bombie told us we should be found cozeners, and in the end be cozened by cozeners : farewell, Mother Bom.
Ris. I heard Mother Bombie say, that thou shalt die a beggar; beware of Mother Bombie.
Pris. Why, have you all been with Mother Bombie ?
Luc. All, and as far as I can see she foretold all.
Mem. Indeed she is cunning and wise, never doing harm, but still practising good: seeing these things fall out thus, are you content, Stellio, the match
forward? Stel. Aye, with double joy; having found for a fool a wise maid, and finding between them both exceeding love.
Pris. Then, to end all jars, our children's matchès shall stand with our good liking. Livia, enjoy Candius.
Sper. Candius, enjoy Livia.
Cand. How shall we recompense fortune, that to our loves hath added our parents' good wills?
Mæst. How shall we requite fortune, that to our loves hath added lawfulness, and to our poor estate competent living ?
Mem. Vicina, thy fact is pardoned; though the law would see it punished; we be content to keep Silena in the house with the new married couple.
Stel. And I do maintain Accius in our house.
Vic. Come, my children, though fortune hath not provided you lands, yet you see you are not destitute of friends : I shall be eased of a charge both in purse and conscience; in conscience, having revealed my lewd practises; in purse, having you kept of alms.
Acc. Come, if you be my sister, 'tis the better
Sil. Come, brother, methinks it is better than it was; I should have been but a bald bride; I'll eat as much pie as if I had been married.
Mem. Let's also forgive the knavery of our boys, since all turns to our good haps.
Stel. Agreed, all are pleased, now the boys are unpunished.
Enter HACKNEYMAN, SERJEANT, and SCRIVENER.
Hack. Nay, soft, take us with you and seek redress for our wrongs, or we'll complain to the mayor.
Pris. What's the matter?
Hack. I arrested Memphio's boy for a horse; after much mocking, at the request of his fellow