« PreviousContinue »
Possess’d of this untruth, -to quit all scruple
Thor. From whom?
you read may confirm
Frank. Alas! I knew
-on I must : Fate leads me ; I will follow.] Ford has furnished Frank with the same apology which he had previously put in the mouth of Giovanni. See vol. i., p. 140. Nothing need be added to what is said on that passage, to which the reader will have the goodness to turn. Giovanni, indeed, is a villain of a gigantic stamp, but he has an accomplice in his crime, and is at once seducing and seduced; whereas, the person before us is a cold, calculating wretch, an agent of evil, upon principle; for (to say nothing of his fearful perjuries in the first scene) he must have planned the seduction of Winnifrede, with the full knowledge of his engagement to marry Susan. With the usual inconsistency of those who seek to smother their conscience by plunging deeper into guilt, be observes, just below, that the fate which here "leads him on,"
Thor. My good son,
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
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
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; get me a brace of boys at a burthen, Frank; the nursing shall not stand thee in a pennyworth of milk; reach her home and spare not: when's the day? Thor. To-morrow, if you please. To use cere
mony Of charge and custom were to little purpose; Their loves are married fast enough already.
9 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.
Car. A good motion. We'll e'en have an 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-mor
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. Blessing on you both! Frank. (Aside.) No man can hide his shame
from Heaven that views him; In vain he flees whose destiny pursues him.'
ACT II.-SCENE I.
The Fields near Edmonton.
Enter Elizabeth SAWYER, gathering sticks. Saw. And why on nie? 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,
' Thus 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.
By, some more strong in mischiefs than myself,
This they enforce upon me; and in part
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
? Forespeaks their cattle.] A very common term for bewitch. Thus Burton: “ They are surely forespoken, or bewitched."— Anat. of Mel.
And Jonson : “Pray Heaven, some of us be not a witch, gossip, to forespeak the matter thus."-Staple of News. And see Cynthia's Revels, vol. ii. p. 275. It is but justice to the speaker to observe, that she details the process of witch-making with dreadful accuracy; there is but too much reason to believe, that many a Mother Sawyer has been formed in this manner.
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 aches, thy joints cramps, 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 for the pipe; remember that: and forget not five leash of new bells.
I CI. Double bells;-Crooked-Lanet-you shall
3 This is more than usually harsh and rugged. An imprecation is evidently intended, and to render it at all intelligible, the lines must be filled up somewhat in this way. Now [may] aches [strike) thy bones! cramps (rack] thy joints! and convulsions, &c.
4“ Crooked-Lane," my old friend, Mr. Waldron, observes, “ leads from Eastcheap to Fish-street-hill, opposite the Monument; and bas now (1812) several shops where such kinds of knacks are still sold.” In the present rage for demolition, and re-construction on new plans, such local notices may be worth preserving.