The Knight of the Burning Pestle/Act IV

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Act IV

[[[Scene I.]|]]

[[[A Street.]|]]

[[[Enter Jasper and the Boy.]|]]

Jasper: There, boy, deliver this; but do it well.

Hast thou provided me four lusty fellows,

[Gives a letter.

Able to carry me? and art thou perfect
In all thy business?

Boy: Sir, you need not fear;

I have my lesson here, and cannot miss it:
The men are ready for you, and what else
Pertains to this employment.

Jasper: There, my boy;

Take it, but buy no land.

[He gives the Boy some money.]

Boy: Faith, sir, 'twere rare

To see so young a purchaser. I fly,
And on my wings carry your destiny.

Jasp. Go, and be happy! [Exit Boy.] Now, my latest hope,

Forsake me not, but fling thy anchor out,
And let it hold! Stand fixed, thou rolling stone,
Till I enjoy my dearest! Hear me, all
You powers, that rule in men, celestial!


[Wife. Go thy ways; thou art as crooked a sprig

as ever grew in London. I warrant him, he'll
come to some naughty end or other; for his
looks say no less: besides, his father (you
know, George) is none of the best; you heard


him take me up like a flirt-gill, and sing
bawdy songs upon me; but, i'faith, if I live,

Cit. Let me alone, sweetheart: I have a trick in

my head shall lodge him in the Arches for one
year, and make him sing peccavi ere I leave
him; and yet he shall never know who hurt
him neither.

Wife. Do, my good George, do!

Cit. What shall we have Ralph do now, boy? 30

Boy. You shall have what you will, sir.

Cit. Why, so, sir; go and fetch me him then, and

let the Sophy of Persia come and christen him
a child.

Boy. Believe me, sir, that will not do so well; 'tis

stale; it has been had before at the Red Bull.

Wife. George, let Ralph travel over great hills, and

let him be very weary, and come to the King
of Cracovia's house, covered with black velvet;
and there let the king's daughter stand in her


window, all in beaten gold, combing her golden
locks with a comb of ivory; and let her spy
Ralph, and fall in love with him, and come
down to him, and carry him into her father's
house; and then let Ralph talk with her.

Cit. Well said, Nell; it shall be so.—Boy, let's

ha't done quickly.

Boy. Sir, if you will imagine all this to be done

already, you shall hear them talk together; but
we cannot present a house covered with black


velvet, and a lady in beaten gold.

Cit. Sir boy, let's ha't as you can, then.

Boy. Besides, it will show ill-favouredly to have a

grocer's prentice to court a king's daughter.

Cit. Will it so, sir? you are well read in histories!

I pray you, what was Sir Dagonet? was not he
prentice to a grocer in London? Read the
play of "The Four Prentices of London,"
where they toss their pikes so. I pray you,
fetch him in, sir, fetch him in.


Boy. It shall be done.—It is not our fault, gentlemen. [Exit.

Wife. Now we shall see fine doings, I warrant ye,


Scene II.

[[[A Hall in the King of Moldavia's Court.]|]]

[[[Enter the Princess Pompiona of Moldavia, Ralph, Tim, and George with his wife.]|]]

Wife: Oh, here they come! How prettily the King of Cracovia's daughter is dressed!

Citizen: Ay, Nell, it is the fashion of that country, I warrant ye.

Pompiona: Welcome, Sir Knight, unto my father's court,

King of Moldavia; unto me Pompiona,
His daughter dear! But, sure, you do not like
Your entertainment, that will stay with us
No longer but a night.

Ralph: Damsel right fair,

I am on many sad adventures bound,
That call me forth into the wilderness;
Besides, my horse's back is something galled,
Which will enforce me ride a sober pace.
But many thanks, fair lady, be to you
For using errant knight with courtesy!

Pompiona: But say, brave knight, what is your name and birth?

Ralph: My name is Ralph; I am an Englishman,

(As true as steel, a hearty Englishman,)
And prentice to a grocer in the Strand
By deed indent, of which I have one part:
But fortune calling me to follow arms,
On me this only order I did take
Of the Burning Pestle, which in all men's eyes
I bear, confounding the ladies' enemies.

Pompiona: Oft have I heard of your brave countrymen,

And fertile soil and store of wholesome food;
My father oft will tell me of a drink
In England found, and nipitato called,
Which driveth all the sorrow from your hearts.

Ralph: Lady, 'tis true; you need not lay your lips

To better nipitato than there is.

Pompiona: And of a wild fowl he will often speak,

Which powdered-beef-and-mustard callèd is:
For there have been great wars 'twixt us and you;
But truly, Ralph, it was not 'long of me.
Tell me then, Ralph, could you contented be
To wear a lady's favour in your shield?

Ralph: I am a knight of a religious order,

And I will not wear a favour of a lady
That trusts in an Antichrist and false traditions.

Citizen: Well said, Ralph! Convert her, if thou canst.

Ralph: Besides, I have a lady of my own

In merry England, for whose virtuous sake
I took these arms; and Susan is her name,
A cobbler's maid in Milk Street; whom I vow
Ne'er to forsake whilst life and Pestle last.

Pompiona: Happy that cobbling dame, whoe'er she be,

That for her own, dear Ralph, hath gotten thee!
Unhappy I, that ne'er shall see the day
To see thee more, that bear'st my heart away!

Ralph: Lady, farewell; I needs must take my leave.

Pompiona: Hard-hearted Ralph, that ladies dost deceive!

Citizen: Hark thee, Ralph: there's money for thee

[He gives the bag of money to Ralph.]; give something in the King of
Cracovia's house; be not beholding to him.]

Ralph: Lady, before I go, I must remember

Your father's officers, who truth to tell,
Have been about me very diligent:
Hold up thy snowy hand, thou princely maid!
[Giving her the money.] There's twelve-pence for your father's chamberlain;
And another shilling for his cook,
For, by my troth, the goose was roasted well;
And twelve-pence for your father's horse-keeper,
For 'nointing my horse-back, and for his butter
There is another shilling; to the maid
That washed my boot-hose there's an English groat
And two-pence to the boy that wiped my boots;
And last, fair lady, there is for yourself
Three-pence, to buy you pins at Bumbo-fair.

Pompiona: Full many thanks; and I will keep them safe

Till all the heads be off, for thy sake, Ralph.

Ralph: Advance, my squire and dwarf! I cannot stay.

Pompiona: [Laughing delicately.] Thou kill'st my heart in passing thus away.

[Exeunt all.]

Wife. I commend Ralph yet, that he will not stoop

to a Cracovian; there's properer women in
London than any are there, I-wis.

Scene III.

A Room in the House of Venturewell.

Enter Venturewell, Humphrey, Luce, and Boy.

[Wife. But here comes Master Humphrey and his

love again now, George.

Cit. Ay, cony; peace.]

Vent. Go, get you up; I will not be entreated;

And, gossip mine, I'll keep you sure hereafter
From gadding out again with boys and unthrifts:
Come, they are women's tears; I know your fashion.—
Go, sirrah, lock her in, and keep the key
Safe as you love your life.

[Exeunt Luce and Boy.

Now, my son Humphrey,
You may both rest assurèd of my love


In this, and reap your own desire.

Hum. I see this love you speak of, through your daughter,

Although the hole be little; and hereafter
Will yield the like in all I may or can,
Fitting a Christian and a gentleman.

Vent. I do believe you, my good son, and thank you;

For 'twere an impudence to think you flattered.

Hum. It were, indeed; but shall I tell you why?

I have been beaten twice about the lie.

Vent. Well, son, no more of compliment. My daughter

Is yours again: appoint the time and take her;


We'll have no stealing for it; I myself
And some few of our friends will see you married.

Hum. I would you would, i'faith! for, be it known,

I ever was afraid to lie alone.

Vent. Some three days hence, then.

Hum. Three days! let me see:

'Tis somewhat of the most; yet I agree,
Because I mean against the appointed day
To visit all my friends in new array.

Enter Servant.

Serv. Sir, there's a gentlewoman without would speak 30

with your worship.

Vent. What is she?

Serv. Sir, I asked her not.

Vent. Bid her come in.[Exit Servant.

Enter Mistress Merrythought and Michael.

Mist. Mer. Peace be to your worship! I come as a

poor suitor to you, sir, in the behalf of this child.

Vent. Are you not wife to Merrythought?

Mist. Mer. Yes, truly. Would I had ne'er seen

his eyes! he has undone me and himself and his
children; and there he lives at home, and sings


and hoits and revels among his drunken companions!
but, I warrant you, where to get a penny
to put bread in his mouth he knows not: and
therefore, if it like your worship, I would entreat
your letter to the honest host of the Bell
in Waltham, that I may place my child under
the protection of his tapster, in some settled
course of life.

Vent. I'm glad the heavens have heard my prayers. Thy husband,

When I was ripe in sorrows, laughed at me;


Thy son, like an unthankful wretch, I having
Redeemed him from his fall, and made him mine,
To show his love again, first stole my daughter,
Then wronged this gentleman, and, last of all,
Gave me that grief had almost brought me down
Unto my grave, had not a stronger hand
Relieved my sorrows. Go, and weep as I did,
And be unpitied; for I here profess
An everlasting hate to all thy name.

Mist. Mer. Will you so, sir? how say you by 60

that?—Come, Mick; let him keep his wind
to cool his pottage. We'll go to thy nurse's,
Mick: she knits silk stockings, boy; and we'll
knit too, boy, and be beholding to none of
them all.

[Exit with Michael.

Enter Boy.

Boy. Sir, I take it you are the master of this house.

Vent. How then, boy!

Boy. Then to yourself, sir, comes this letter. [Gives letter.

Vent. From whom, my pretty boy?

Boy. From him that was your servant; but no more 70

Shall that name ever be, for he is dead:
Grief of your purchased anger broke his heart.
I saw him die, and from his hand received
This paper, with a charge to bring it hither:
Read it, and satisfy yourself in all.

Vent. [Reads.] Sir, that I have wronged your love

I must confess; in which I have purchased
to myself, besides mine own undoing, the ill
opinion of my friends. Let not your anger,
good sir, outlive me, but suffer me to rest in


peace with your forgiveness: let my body (if
a dying man may so much prevail with you)
be brought to your daughter, that she may
truly know my hot flames are now buried, and
withal receive a testimony of the zeal I bore
her virtue. Farewell for ever, and be ever
happy! Jasper.
God's hand is great in this: I do forgive him;
Yet I am glad he's quiet, where I hope
He will not bite again.—Boy, bring the body,


And let him have his will, if that be all.

Boy. 'Tis here without, sir.

Vent. So, sir; if you please,

You may conduct it in; I do not fear it.

Hum. I'll be your usher, boy; for, though I say it,

He owed me something once, and well did pay it.


Scene IV.

Another Room in the House of Venturewell.

Enter Luce.

Luce. If there be any punishment inflicted

Upon the miserable, more than yet I feel,
Let it together seize me, and at once
Press down my soul! I cannot bear the pain
Of these delaying tortures.—Thou that art
The end of all, and the sweet rest of all,
Come, come, oh, Death! bring me to thy peace,
And blot out all the memory I nourish
Both of my father and my cruel friend!—
Oh, wretched maid, still living to be wretched,


To be a say to Fortune in her changes,
And grow to number times and woes together!
How happy had I been, if, being born,
My grave had been my cradle!

Enter Servant.

Serv. By your leave,

Young mistress; here's a boy hath brought a coffin:
What 'a would say, I know not; but your father
Charged me to give you notice. Here they come.


Enter Boy, and two Men bearing a Coffin.

Luce. For me I hope 'tis come, and 'tis most welcome.

Boy. Fair mistress, let me not add greater grief

To that great store you have already. Jasper


(That whilst he lived was yours, now dead
And here enclosed) commanded me to bring
His body hither, and to crave a tear
From those fair eyes, (though he deserved not pity,)
To deck his funeral; for so he bid me
Tell her for whom he died.

Luce. He shall have many.—

Good friends, depart a little, whilst I take
My leave of this dead man, that once I loved.

[Exeunt Boy and Men.

Hold yet a little, life! and then I give thee
To thy first heavenly being. Oh, my friend!


Hast thou deceived me thus, and got before me?
I shall not long be after. But, believe me,
Thou wert too cruel, Jasper, 'gainst thyself,
In punishing the fault I could have pardoned,
With so untimely death: thou didst not wrong me,
But ever wert most kind, most true, most loving;
And I the most unkind, most false, most cruel!
Didst thou but ask a tear? I'll give thee all,
Even all my eyes can pour down, all my sighs,
And all myself, before thou goest from me:


These are but sparing rites; but if thy soul
Be yet about this place, and can behold
And see what I prepare to deck thee with,
It shall go up, borne on the wings of peace,
And satisfied. First will I sing thy dirge,
Then kiss thy pale lips, and then die myself,
And fill one coffin and one grave together.


Come, you whose loves are dead,
And, whiles I sing,
Weep, and wring


Every hand, and every head
Bind with cypress and sad yew;
Ribands black and candles blue
For him that was of men most true!

Come with heavy moaning,
And on his grave
Let him have
Sacrifice of sighs and groaning;
Let him have fair flowers enow,
White and purple, green and yellow,


For him that was of men most true!

Thou sable cloth, sad cover of my joys,
I lift thee up, and thus I meet with death.

[Removes the Cloth, and Jasper rises out of the Coffin.

Jasp. And thus you meet the living.

Luce. Save me, Heaven!

Jasp. Nay, do not fly me, fair: I am no spirit:

Look better on me; do you know me yet?

Luce. Oh, thou dear shadow of my friend!

Jasp. Dear substance;

I swear I am no shadow; feel my hand,
It is the same it was; I am your Jasper,
Your Jasper that's yet living, and yet loving.


Pardon my rash attempt, my foolish proof
I put in practice of your constancy;
For sooner should my sword have drunk my blood,
And set my soul at liberty, than drawn
The least drop from that body: for which boldness
Doom me to any thing; if death, I take it,
And willingly.

Luce. This death I'll give you for it; [Kisses him.

So, now I am satisfied you are no spirit,
But my own truest, truest, truest friend:
Why do you come thus to me?


Jasp. First, to see you;

Then to convey you hence.

Luce. It cannot be;

For I am locked up here, and watched at all hours,
That 'tis impossible for me to scape.

Jasp. Nothing more possible. Within this coffin

Do you convey yourself: let me alone,
I have the wits of twenty men about me;
Only I crave the shelter of your closet
A little, and then fear me not. Creep in,
That they may presently convey you hence:
Fear nothing, dearest love; I'll be your second;

90 [Luce lies down in the Coffin, and Jasper covers her with the cloth.

Lie close: so; all goes well yet.—Boy!

Re-enter Boy and Men.

Boy. At hand, sir.

Jasp. Convey away the coffin, and be wary.

Boy. 'Tis done already. [Exeunt Men with the Coffin.

Jasp. Now must I go conjure. [Exit into a Closet.

Enter Venturewell.

Vent. Boy, boy!

Boy. Your servant, sir.

Vent. Do me this kindness, boy; (hold, here's a crown;)

Before thou bury the body of this fellow,
Carry it to his old merry father, and salute him
From me, and bid him sing; he hath cause.

Boy. I will, sir.

Vent. And then bring me word what tune he is in, 100

And have another crown; but do it truly.
I have fitted him a bargain now will vex him.

Boy. God bless your worship's health, sir!

Vent. Farewell, boy! [Exeunt severally.

Scene V.

A Street before Merrythought's House.

Enter Merrythought.

[Wife. Ah, old Merrythought, art thou there again?

let's hear some of thy songs.]

Mer. [Sings.]
Who can sing a merrier note
Than he that cannot change a groat?

Not a denier left, and yet my heart leaps: I do
wonder yet, as old as I am, that any man will
follow a trade, or serve, that may sing and laugh,
and walk the streets. My wife and both my
sons are I know not where; I have nothing
left, nor know I how to come by meat to supper;


yet am I merry still, for I know I shall find it
upon the table at six o'clock; therefore, hang


I would not be a serving-man
To carry the cloak-bag still,
Nor would I be a falconer
The greedy hawks to fill;
But I would be in a good house,
And have a good master too;
But I would eat and drink of the best,


And no work would I do.

This it is that keeps life and soul together,
mirth; this is the philosopher's stone that they
write so much on, that keeps a man ever

Enter Boy.

Boy. Sir, they say they know all your money is

gone, and they will trust you for no more drink.

Mer. Will they not? let 'em choose! The best is,

I have mirth at home, and need not send abroad
for that; let them keep their drink to themselves.

30 [Sings.

For Julian of Berry, she dwells on a hill,
And she hath good beer and ale to sell,
And of good fellows she thinks no ill;
And thither will we go now, now, now,
And thither will we go now.

And when you have made a little stay,
You need not ask what is to pay,
But kiss your hostess, and go your way;
And thither will we go now, now, now,


And thither will we go now.

Enter another Boy.

2nd Boy. Sir, I can get no bread for supper.

Mer. Hang bread and supper! let's preserve our

mirth, and we shall never feel hunger, I'll
warrant you. Let's have a catch, boys;
follow me, come.[They sing.
Ho, ho, nobody at home!
Meat, nor drink, nor money ha' we none.
Fill the pot, Eedy,
Never more need I.


Mer. So, boys; enough. Follow me: Let's change

our place, and we shall laugh afresh.


[Wife. Let him go, George; 'a shall not have any

countenance from us, nor a good word from
any i' the company, if I may strike stroke

Cit. No more 'a sha'not, love. But, Nell, I will

have Ralph do a very notable matter now, to
the eternal honour and glory of all grocers.—
Sirrah! you there, boy! Can none of you



Enter Boy.

Boy. Sir, your pleasure?

Cit. Let Ralph come out on May-day in the morning,

and speak upon a conduit, with all his
scarfs about him, and his feathers, and his rings,
and his knacks.

Boy. Why, sir, you do not think of our plot; what

will become of that, then?

Cit. Why, sir, I care not what become on't: I'll

have him come out, or I'll fetch him out myself;


I'll have something done in honour of
the city: besides, he hath been long enough
upon adventures. Bring him out quickly; or,
if I come in amongst you——

Boy. Well, sir, he shall come out, but if our play

miscarry, sir, you are like to pay for't.

Cit. Bring him away then! [Exit Boy.

Wife. This will be brave, i'faith! George, shall

not he dance the morris too, for the credit of
the Strand?


Cit. No, sweetheart, it will be too much for the boy.

Oh, there he is, Nell! he's reasonable well in
reparel: but he has not rings enough.]

Ralph. London, to thee I do present the merry month

of May;
Let each true subject be content to hear me what
I say:
For from the top of conduit-head, as plainly
may appear,
I will both tell my name to you, and wherefore I
came here.
My name is Ralph, by due descent though not
ignoble I
Yet far inferior to the stock of gracious grocery;
And by the common counsel of my fellows in the


With gilded staff and crossèd scarf, the May-lord
here I stand.
Rejoice, oh, English hearts, rejoice! rejoice, oh,
lovers dear!
Rejoice, oh, city, town, and country! rejoice,
eke every shere!
For now the fragrant flowers do spring and sprout
in seemly sort,
The little birds do sit and sing, the lambs do make
fine sport;
And now the birchen-tree doth bud, that makes the
schoolboy cry;
The morris rings, while hobby-horse doth foot it
The lords and ladies now abroad, for their disport
and play,
Do kiss sometimes upon the grass, and sometimes in
the hay;
Now butter with a leaf of sage is good to purge the


Fly Venus and phlebotomy, for they are neither
Now little fish on tender stone begin to cast their
And sluggish snails, that erst were mewed, do creep
out of their shellies;
The rumbling rivers now do warm, for little boys to 
The sturdy steed now goes to grass, and up they 
hang his saddle;
The heavy hart, the bellowing buck, the rascal, and 
the pricket,
Are now among the yeoman's peas, and leave the 
fearful thicket:
And be like them, oh, you, I say, of this same noble 
And lift aloft your velvet heads, and slipping off 
your gown,
With bells on legs, and napkins clean unto your 
shoulders tied,


With scarfs and garters as you please, and "Hey for 
our town!" cried.
March out, and show your willing minds, by twenty 
and by twenty,
To Hogsdon or to Newington, where ale and cakes 
are plenty;
And let it ne'er be said for shame, that we the 
youths of London
Lay thrumming of our caps at home, and left our 
custom undone.
Up, then, I say, both young and old, both man and 
maid a-maying,
With drums, and guns that bounce aloud, and merry 
tabor playing!
Which to prolong, God save our king, and send his 
country peace,
And root out treason from the land! and so, my 
friends, I cease.