The Knight of the Burning Pestle/Act V
[A Room in the House of Venturewell.]
Venturewell: I will have no great store of company at the
wedding; a couple of neighbours and their wives; and we will have a capon in stewed broth, with marrow, and a good piece of beef stuck with rosemary.
[[[Enter Jasper, with his face mealed.]|]]
Jasper: Forbear thy pains, fond man! It is too late.
Venturewell: Heaven bless me! Jasper!
Jasper: Ay, I am his ghost,
Whom thou hast injured for his constant love; Fond worldly wretch! who dost not understand In death that true hearts cannot parted be. First know, thy daughter is quite borne away On wings of angels, through the liquid air, To far out of thy reach, and never more Shalt thou behold her face: but she and I Will in another world enjoy our loves; Where neither father's anger, poverty, Nor any cross that troubles earthly men, Shall make us sever our united hearts. And never shalt thou sit or be alone In any place, but I will visit thee With ghastly looks, and put into thy mind The great offences which thou didst to me: When thou art at thy table with thy friends, Merry in heart, and filled with swelling wine, I'll come in midst of all thy pride and mirth, Invisible to all men but thyself, And whisper such a sad tale in thine ear Shall make thee let the cup fall from thy hand, And stand as mute and pale as death itself.
Venturewell: Forgive me, Jasper! Oh, what might I do,
Tell me, to satisfy thy troubled ghost?
Jasper: There is no means; too late thou think'st of this.
Venturewell: But tell me what were best for me to do?
Jasper: Repent thy deed, and satisfy my father,
And beat fond Humphrey out of thy doors.
[Wife. Look, George; his very ghost would have
Humphrey: Father, my bride is gone, fair Mistress Luce: My soul's the fount of vengeance, mischief's sluice.
Venturewell: Hence, fool, out of my sight with thy fond passion!
Thou hast undone me.
[He beats him to the floor.]
Humphrey: Hold, my father dear,
For Luce thy daughter's sake, that had no peer!
Venturewell Thy father, fool! there's some blows more; begone.— [He beats him up again.]
Jasper, I hope thy ghost be well appeased To see thy will performed. Now will I go To satisfy thy father for thy wrongs.
[Aside and exit Venturewell.]
Humphrey: What shall I do? I have been beaten twice,
And Mistress Luce is gone. Help me, device! Since my true love is gone, I never more, Whilst I do live, upon the sky will pore; But in the dark will wear out my shoe-soles In passion in Saint Faith's church under Paul's.
Wife: George, call Ralph hither; if you love me,
call Ralph hither: I have the bravest thing for him to do, George; prithee, call him quickly.
Citizen: Ralph! Why, Ralph, boy!
Ralph. Here, sir.
Cit. Come hither, Ralph; come to thy mistress, boy.
Wife. Ralph, I would have thee call all the youths
together in battle-ray, with drums, and guns, and flags, and march to Mile-End in pompous fashion, and there exhort your soldiers to be merry and wise, and to keep their beards from burning, Ralph; and then skirmish, and let your flags fly, and cry, "Kill, kill, kill!" My husband shall lend you his jerkin, Ralph, and there's a scarf; for the rest, the house shall furnish you, and we'll pay for't. Do it bravely, Ralph; and think before whom you perform, and what person you represent.
Ralph. I warrant you, mistress; if I do it not, for
the honour of the city and the credit of my master, let me never hope for freedom!
Wife. 'Tis well spoken, i'faith. Go thy ways;
thou art a spark indeed.
Cit. Ralph, Ralph, double your files bravely,
Ralph. I warrant you, sir.
Cit. Let him look narrowly to his service; I shall
take him else. I was there myself a pikeman once, in the hottest of the day, wench; had my feather shot sheer away, the fringe of my pike burnt off with powder, my pate broken with a scouring-stick, and yet, I thank God, I am here.[Drums within.
Wife. Hark, George, the drums!
Cit. Ran, tan, tan, tan, tan, tan! Oh, wench, an
thou hadst but seen little Ned of Aldgate, Drum-Ned, how he made it roar again, and laid on like a tyrant, and then struck softly till the ward came up, and then thundered again, and together we go! "Sa, sa, sa, bounce!" quoth the guns; "Courage, my hearts!" quoth the captains; "Saint George!" quoth the pikemen; and withal, here they lay: and there they lay: and yet for all this I am here, wench.
Wife. Be thankful for it, George; for indeed 'tis 100
A Street (and afterwards Mile-End).
Enter Ralph and Company of Soldiers (among whom are William Hammerton, and George Greengoose), with drums and colours..
Ralph. March fair, my hearts! Lieutenant, beat
the rear up.—Ancient, let your colours fly; but have a great care of the butcher's hooks at Whitechapel; they have been the death of many a fair ancient.—Open your files, that I may take a view both of your persons and munition.—Sergeant, call a muster.
Serg. A stand!—William Hammerton, pewterer!
Ham. Here, captain!
Ralph. A corselet and a Spanish pike; 'tis well: 10
can you shake it with a terror?
Ham. I hope so, captain.
Ralph. Charge upon me. [He charges on Ralph.]
—'Tis with the weakest: but more strength, William Hammerton, more strength. As you were again!—Proceed, Sergeant.
Serg. George Greengoose, poulterer!
Ralph. Let me see your piece, neighbour Greengoose:
when was she shot in?
Green. An't like you, master captain, I made a shot
even now, partly to scour her, and partly for audacity.
Ralph. It should seem so certainly, for her breath is
yet inflamed; besides, there is a main fault in the touch-hole, it runs and stinketh; and I tell you moreover, and believe it, ten such touch-holes would breed the pox in the army. Get you a feather, neighbour, get you a feather, sweet oil, and paper, and your piece may do
well enough yet. Where's your powder?
Ralph. What, in a paper! as I am a soldier and a
gentleman, it craves a martial court! you ought to die for't. Where's your horn? answer me to that.
Green. An't like you, sir, I was oblivious.
Ralph. It likes me not you should be so; 'tis a
shame for you, and a scandal to all our neighbours, being a man of worth and estimation,
to leave your horn behind you: I am afraid 'twill breed example. But let me tell you no more on't.—Stand, till I view you all.—What's become o' the nose of your flask?
1st Sold. Indeed, la, captain, 'twas blown away with
Ralph. Put on a new one at the city's charge.—
Where's the stone of this piece?
2nd Sold. The drummer took it out to light tobacco. 50
Ralph. 'Tis a fault, my friend; put it in again.—
You want a nose,—and you a stone.—Sergeant, take a note on't, for I mean to stop it in the pay.—Remove, and march! [They march.] Soft and fair, gentlemen, soft and fair! double your files! as you were! faces about! Now, you with the sodden face, keep in there! Look to your match, sirrah, it will be in your fellow's flask anon. So; make a crescent now; advance your pikes; stand and
give ear!—Gentlemen, countrymen, friends, and my fellow-soldiers, I have brought you this day, from the shops of security and the counters of content, to measure out in these furious fields honour by the ell, and prowess by the pound. Let it not, oh, let it not, I say, be told hereafter, the noble issue of this city fainted; but bear yourselves in this fair action like men, valiant men, and free men! Fear not the face of the enemy, nor the noise of the
guns, for, believe me, brethren, the rude rumbling of a brewer's cart is far more terrible, of which you have a daily experience; neither let the stink of powder offend you, since a more valiant stink is nightly with you. To a resolvèd mind his home is everywhere: I speak not this to take away The hope of your return; for you shall see (I do not doubt it) and that very shortly Your loving wives again and your sweet children,
Whose care doth bear you company in baskets. Remember, then, whose cause you have in hand, And, like a sort of true-born scavengers, Scour me this famous realm of enemies. I have no more to say but this: stand to your tacklings, lads, and show to the world you can as well brandish a sword as shake an apron. Saint George, and on, my hearts!
All. Saint George, Saint George! [Exeunt.
[Wife. 'Twas well done, Ralph! I'll send thee 90
a cold capon a-field and a bottle of March beer; and, it may be, come myself to see thee.
Cit. Nell, the boy hath deceived me much; I did
not think it had been in him. He has performed such a matter, wench, that, if I live, next year I'll have him captain of the galley-foist, or I'll want my will.]
A Room in Merrythought's House.
Mer. Yet, I thank God, I break not a wrinkle more
than I had. Not a stoop, boys? Care, live with cats: I defy thee! My heart is as sound as an oak; and though I want drink to wet my whistle, I can sing;
Come no more there, boys, come no more there; For we shall never whilst we live come any more there.
Enter Boy, and two Men bearing a Coffin.
Boy. God save you, sir!
Mer. It's a brave boy. Canst thou sing?
Boy. Yes, sir, I can sing; but 'tis not so necessary 10
at this time.
Mer. [Sings.] Sing we, and chant it;
Whilst love doth grant it.
Boy. Sir, sir, if you knew what I have brought you,
you would have little list to sing.
Mer. [Sings.] Oh, the Mimon round,
Full long I have thee sought, And now I have thee found, And what hast thou here brought?
Boy. A coffin, sir, and your dead son Jasper in it. 20 [Exit with Men.
Mer. Dead! [Sings.] Why, farewell he! Thou wast a bonny boy, And I did love thee.
Jasp. Then, I pray you, sir, do so still.
Mer. Jasper's ghost![Sings.
Thou art welcome from Stygian lake so soon; Declare to me what wondrous things in Pluto's court are done.
Jasp. By my troth, sir, I ne'er came there; 'tis too
hot for me, sir.
Mer. A merry ghost, a very merry ghost![Sings.
And where is your true love? Oh, where is yours?
Jasp. Marry, look you, sir! [Removes the cloth, and Luce rises out of the Coffin.
Mer. Ah, ha! art thou good at that, i'faith? [Sings.
With hey, trixy, terlery-whiskin, The world it runs on wheels: When the young man's ——, Up goes the maiden's heels.
Mistress Merrythought and Michael within.
Mist. Mer. [within.] What, Master Merrythought!
will you not let's in? what do you think shall
become of us?
What voice is that that calleth at our door?
Mist. Mer. [within.] You know me well enough;
I am sure I have not been such a stranger to you.
And some they whistled, and some they sung, Hey, down, down! And some did loudly say, Ever as the Lord Barnet's horn blew, Away, Musgrave, away!
Mist. Mer. [within.] You will not have us starve
here, will you, Master Merrythought?
Jasp. Nay, good sir, be persuaded; she is my mother:
If her offences have been great against you, Let your own love remember she is yours, And so forgive her.
Luce. Good Master Merrythought,
Let me entreat you; I will not be denied.
Mist. Mer. [within.] Why, Master Merrythought,
will you be a vexed thing still?
Mer. Woman, I take you to my love again; but
you shall sing before you enter; therefore despatch your song and so come in.
Mist. Mer. [within.] Well, you must have your
will, when all's done.—Mick, what song canst thou sing, boy?
Mich. [within.] I can sing none, forsooth, but 'A
Lady's Daughter, of Paris properly,'
[Sings within. It was a lady's daughter, &c.
Merrythought opens the Door; enter Mistress Merrythought and Michael.
Mer. Come, you're welcome home again. 70 [Sings.
If such danger be in playing, And jest must to earnest turn, You shall go no more a-maying——
Vent. [within.] Are you within, sir? Master
Jasp. It is my master's voice: good sir, go hold him
In talk, whilst we convey ourselves into Some inward room.
[Exit with Luce.
Mer. What are you? are you merry?
You must be very merry, if you enter.
Vent. [within.] I am, sir.
Mer. Sing, then.
Vent. [within.] Nay, good sir, open to me.
Mer. Sing, I say,
Or, by the merry heart, you come not in!
Vent. [within.] Well, sir, I'll sing. [Sings. Fortune, my foe, &c.
Merrythought opens the Door: Enter Venturewell.
Mer. You are welcome, sir, you are welcome: you
see your entertainment; pray you, be merry.
Vent. Oh, Master Merrythought, I'm come to ask you 90
Forgiveness for the wrongs I offered you, And your most virtuous son! they're infinite; Yet my contrition shall be more than they: I do confess my hardness broke his heart, For which just Heaven hath given me punishment More than my age can carry; his wandering spirit, Nor yet at rest, pursues me every where, Crying, "I'll haunt thee for thy cruelty." My daughter, she is gone, I know not how, Taken invisible, and whether living
Or in the grave, 'tis yet uncertain to me. Oh, Master Merrythought, these are the weights Will sink me to my grave! forgive me, sir.
Mer. Why, sir, I do forgive you; and be merry;
And if the wag in's lifetime played the knave, Can you forgive him too?
Vent. With all my heart, sir.
Mer. Speak it again, and heartily.
Vent. I do, sir;
Now, by my soul, I do.
Re-enter Luce and Jasper.
With that came out his paramour; She was as white as the lily flower: Hey, troul, troly, loly! With that came out her own dear knight; He was as true as ever did fight, &c. Sir, if you will forgive 'em, clap their hands together; there's no more to be said i' the matter.
Vent. I do, I do.
[Cit. I do not like this. Peace, boys! Hear me,
one of you: every body's part is come to an
end but Ralph's, and he's left out.
Boy. 'Tis 'long of yourself, sir; we have nothing
to do with his part.
Cit. Ralph, come away!—Make an end on him, as
you have done of the rest, boys; come.
Wife. Now, good husband, let him come out and
Cit. He shall, Nell.—Ralph, come away quickly,
and die, boy!
Boy. 'Twill be very unfit he should die, sir, upon 130
no occasion—and in a comedy too.
Cit. Take you no care of that, sir boy; is not his
part at an end, think you, when he's dead?— Come away, Ralph!]
Enter Ralph, with a forked Arrow through his Head.
Ralph. When I was mortal, this my costive corps
Did lap up figs and raisins in the Strand; Where sitting, I espied a lovely dame, Whose master wrought with lingel and with awl, And underground he vampèd many a boot. Straight did her love prick forth me, tender sprig, To follow feats of arms in warlike wise
Through Waltham-desert; where I did perform Many achievements, and did lay on ground Huge Barbarossa, that insulting giant, And all his captives soon set at liberty. Then honour pricked me from my native soil Into Moldavia, where I gained the love Of Pompiona, his belovèd daughter; But yet proved constant to the black thumbed maid Susan, and scornèd Pompiona's love;
Yet liberal I was, and gave her pins, And money for her father's officers. I then returnèd home, and thrust myself In action, and by all men chosen was Lord of the May, where I did flourish it, With scarfs and rings, and posy in my hand. After this action I preferrèd was, And chosen city-captain at Mile-End, With hat and feather, and with leading-staff, And trained my men, and brought them all off clear, Save one man that berayed him with the noise.
But all these things I Ralph did undertake Only for my belovèd Susan's sake. Then coming home, and sitting in my shop With apron blue, Death came into my stall To cheapen aquavitæ; but ere I Could take the bottle down and fill a taste, Death caught a pound of pepper in his hand, And sprinkled all my face and body o'er And in an instant vanishèd away.
[Cit. 'Tis a pretty fiction, i'faith.]
Ralph. Then took I up my bow and shaft in hand,
And walked into Moorfields to cool myself: But there grim cruel Death met me again, And shot this forkèd arrow through my head; And now I faint; therefore be warned by me, My fellows every one, of forkèd heads! Farewell, all you good boys in merry London! Ne'er shall we more upon Shrove-Tuesday meet, And pluck down houses of iniquity;—
My pain increaseth;—I shall never more Hold open, whilst another pumps both legs, Nor daub a satin gown with rotten eggs; Set up a stake, oh, never more I shall! I die! fly, fly, my soul, to Grocers' Hall! Oh, oh, oh, &c.
[Wife. Well said, Ralph! do your obeisance to
the gentlemen, and go your ways: well said, Ralph!]
[Ralph rises, makes obeisance, and exit
Mer. Methinks all we, thus kindly and unexpectedly 190
reconciled, should not depart without a song.
Vent. A good motion.
Mer. Strike up, then!
Better music ne'er was known Than a quire of hearts in one. Let each other, that hath been Troubled with the gall or spleen, Learn of us to keep his brow Smooth and plain, as ours are now: Sing, though before the hour of dying;
He shall rise, and then be crying, "Hey, ho, 'tis nought but mirth That keeps the body from the earth!"
Cit. Come, Nell, shall we go? the play's done.
Wife. Nay, by my faith, George, I have more
manners than so; I'll speak to these gentlemen first.—I thank you all, gentlemen, for your patience and countenance to Ralph, a poor fatherless child; and if I might see you at my house, it should go hard but I would have a
bottle of wine and a pipe of tobacco for you: for, truly, I hope you do like the youth, but I would be glad to know the truth; I refer it to your own discretions, whether you will applaud him or no; for I will wink, and whilst you shall do what you will. I thank you with all my heart. God give you good night!—Come, George.