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Wife. Good sir, by all our vows I do beseech you, Show me the true cause of your discontent.

Hus. Money, money, money ; and thou must supply me.

Wife. Alas, I am the least cause of your discontent ;
Yet what is mine, either in rings or jewels,
Use to your own desire; but I beseech you,
As you are a gentleman by many bloods,
Though I myself be out of your respect,
Think on the state of these three lovely boys
You have been father to.

Hus. Puh! bastards, bastards, bastards; begot in tricks, begot in tricks.

Wife. Heaven knows how those words wrong me: but I may
Endure these griefs among a thousand more.
O call to mind your lands already mortgag’d,
Yourself wound into debts, your hopeful brother
At the university in bonds for you,
Like to be seiz'd upon ; and-

Hus. Have done, thou harlot,
Whom, though for fashion-sake I married,
I never could abide. Think'st thou, thy words
Shall kill my pleasures ? Fall off to thy friends;
Thou and thy bastards beg; I will not bate
A whit in humour. Midnight, still I love you,
And revel in your company! Curb’d in,
Shall it be said in all societies,
That I broke custom ? that I flagg‘d in money ?
No, those thy jewels I will play as freely
As when my state was fullest.
Wife.

Be it so.
Hus. Nay, I protest (and take that for an earnest), [Spurns her.
I will for ever hold thee in contempt,
And never touch the sheets that cover thee,
But be divorc'd in bed, till thou consent
Thy dowry shall be sold, to give new life
Unto those pleasures which I most affect.

Wife. Sir, do but turn a gentle eye on me, And what the law shall give me leave to do, You shall command.

Hus. Look it be done. Shall I want dust, And like a slave wear nothing in my pockets

[Holds his hands in his pockets. But my bare hands, to fill them up with nails ? O much against my blood! Let it be done. I was never made to be a looker-on, A bawd to dice; I 'll shake the drabs myself, And make them yield : I say, look it be done. Wife. I take my leave : it shall.

(Exit.

Hus.

Speedily, speedily.
I hate the very hour I chose a wife:
A trouble, trouble! Three children, like three evils,
Hang on me. Fie, fie, fie! Strumpet and bastards !

Enter three Gentlemen.
Strumpet and bastards!

i Gent. Still 'do these loathsome thoughts jar on your tongue ?
Yourself to stain the honour of your wife,
Nobly descended ? Those whom men call mad,
Endanger others; but he's more than mad
That wounds himself; whose own words do proclaim
Scandals unjust, to soil his better name.
It is not fit; I pray, forsake it.

2 Gent. Good sir, let modesty reprove you.
3 Gent. Let honest kindness sway so much with you.

Hus. Good den; I thank you, sir ; how do you ? Adieu !
I am glad to see you. Farewell instructions, admonitions.

[Exeunt Gentlemen.

Enter a Servant. How now, sirrah? What would you ?

Ser. Only to certify you, sir, that my mistress was met by the way, by them who were sent for her up to London by her honourable uncle, your worship’s late guardian.

Hus. So, sir, then she is gone; and so may you be ;
But let her look the thing be done she wots of,
Or hell will stand more pleasant than her house
At home.

[Exit Servant.

Enter a Gentleman.
Gent. Well or ill met, I care not.
Hus.

No, nor I.
Gent. I am come with confidence to chide you.
Hus.

Who? me?
Chide me? Do't finely then ; let it not move me:
For if thou chid'st me angry, I shall strike.

Gent. Strike thine own follies, for 't is they deserve
To be well beaten. We are now in private ;
There's none but thou and I. Thou art fond and peevish;
An unclean rioter; thy lands and credit
Lie now both sick of a consumption :
I am sorry for thee. That man spends with shame,
That with his riches doth consume his name;
And such art thou.
Hus.

Peace!
Gent.

No, thou shalt hear me further. Thy father's and forefathers' worthy honours,

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Which were our country monuments, our grace,
Follies in thee begin now to deface.
The spring-time of thy youth did fairly promise
Such a most fruitful summer to thy friends,
It scarce can enter into men's beliefs
Such dearth should hang upon thee. We that see it
Are sorry to believe it. In thy change,
This voice into all places will be hurld-
Thou and the devil have deceiv'd the world.

Hus. I'll not endure thee.
Gent.

But of all the worst,
Thy virtuous wife, right honourably allied,
Thou hast proclaim'd a strumpet.
Hus.

Nay, then I know thee;
Thou art her champion, thou; her private friend;
The party you wot on.
Gent.

O ignoble thought !
I am past my patient blood. Shall I stand idle,
And see my reputation touch'd to death?

Hus. It has gall’d you, this; has it ?
Gent.

No, monster; I will prove
My thoughts did only tend to virtuous love.

Hus. Love of her virtues ? there it goes.
Gent.

Base spirit,
To lay thy hate upon the fruitful honour
Of thine own bed !

[They fight, and the Husband is hurt. Hus.

Oh!
Gent.

Wilt thou yield it yet?
Hus. Sir, sir, I have not done with you.
Gent. I hope, nor ne'er shall do.

[They fight again. Hus. Have you got tricks ? Are you in cunning with me?

Gent. No, plain and right:
He needs no cunning that for truth doth fight. [HUSBAND falls down.

Hus. Hard fortune! am I levelled with the ground?
Gent. Now, sir, you lie at mercy.
Hus.

Ay, you slave.
Gent. Alas, that hate should bring us to our grave!
You see, my sword 's not thirsty for your life:
I am sorrier for your wound than you yourself.
You ’re of a virtuous house; show virtuous deeds;
'T is not your honour, 't is your folly bleeds.
Much good has been expected in your life;
Cancel not all men's hopes : you have a wife,
Kind and obedient; heap not wrongful shame
On her and your posterity ; let only sin be sore,
And by this fall, rise never to fall more.
And so I leave you.

[Erit. Hus,

Has the dog left me then,

After his tooth has left me ? O, my heart
Would fain leap after him. Revenge, I say ;
I’m mad to be reveng'd. My strumpet wife,
It is thy quarrel that rips thus my flesh,
And makes my breast spit blood ;-but thou shalt bleed.
Vanquish'd ? got down? unable even to speak ?
Surely 't is want of money makes men weak :
Ay, 't was that o'erthrew me: I'd ne'er been down else.

[Exit.

SCENE III.-Another Room in the same.

Enter WIFE, in a riding suit, and a Servant.
Ser. 'Faith, mistress, if it might not be presumption
In me to tell you so, for his excuse
You had small reason, knowing his abuse.

Wife. I grant I had ; but, alas,
Why should our faults at home be spread abroad?
'T is grief enough within doors. At first sight
Mine uncle could run o'er his prodigal life
As perfectly as if his serious eye
Had number'd all his follies :
Knew of his mortgag'd lands, his friends in bonds,
Himself wither'd with debts; and in that minute
Had I added his usage and unkindness,
'T would have confounded every thought of good :
Where now, fathering his riots on his youth,
Which time and tame experience will shake off, -
Guessing his kindness to me (as I smooth'd him
With all the skill I had, though his deserts
Are in form uglier than an unshap'd bear),
He's ready to prefer him to some office
And place at court; a good and sure relief
To all his stooping fortunes. 'T will be a means, I hope,
To make new league between us, and redeem
His virtues with his lands.

Ser. I should think so, mistress. If he should not now be kind to you, and love you, and cherish you up, I should think the devil himself kept open house in him.

Wife. I doubt not but he will. Now prithee leave me; I think I hear him coming. Ser. I am gone.

[Erit. Wife. By this good means I shall preserve my lands, And free my husband out of usurers' hands. Now there's no need of sale; my uncle 's kind : I hope, if aught, this will content his mind. Here comes my husband.

Enter HUSBAND. Hus. Now, are you come? Where's the money? Let's see the

money. Is the rubbish sold ? those wise-acres, your lands? Why, when? The money? Where is it? Pour it down ; down with it, down with it: I say pour 't on the ground; let 's see it, let s see it.

Wife. Good sir, keep but in patience, and I hope my words shall like

you well. I bring you better comfort than the sale of my dowry. Hus. Ha! what's that ?

Wife. Pray do not fright me, sir, but vouchsafe me hearing. My uncle, glad of your kindness to me and mild usage (for so I made it to him), hath, in pity of your declining fortunes, provided a place for you at court, of worth and credit; which so much overjoy’d me

Hus. Out on thee, filth! over and overjoyed, when I'm in torment? [Spurns her.] Thou politic whore, subtiler than nine devils, was this thy journey to nunck? to set down the history of me, of my state and fortunes ? Shall I, that dedicated myself to pleasure, be now confined in service? to crouch and stand like an old man i' the hams, my hat off? I that could never abide to uncover my head i' the church ? Base slut! this fruit bear thy complaints.

Wife. O, heaven knows
That my complaints were praises, and best words,
Of you and your estate. Only, my friends
Knew of your mortgag'd lands, and were possess'd
Of every accident before I came.
If you suspect it but a plot in me,
To keep my dowry, or for mine own good,
Or my poor children's, (though it suits a mother
To show a natural care in their reliefs,)
Yet I'll forget myself to calm your blood :
Consume it, as your pleasure counsels you ;
And all I wish even clemency affords ;
Give me but pleasant looks, and modest words.
Hus. Money, whore, money, or I 'll —

Draws a dagger.
Enter a Servant hastily.
What the devil! How now! thy hasty news ?

Ser. May it please you, sir

Hus. What ! may I not look upon my dagger? Speak, villain, or I will execute the point on thee: Quick, short. Ser. Why, sir, a gentleman from the university stays below to speak

Erit. Hus. From the university ? so; university :—that long word runs through me.

[Exit. Wife. Was ever wife so wretchedly beset ? Had not this news stepp'd in between, the point Had offer'd violence unto my breast. That which some women call great misery Would show but little here; would scarce be seen Among my miseries. I may compare, For wretched fortunes, with all wives that are. Nothing will please him, until all be nothing.

with you.

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