Act 2, Scene I

Scene: A Street.


Ne'er tell me of this happiness; 'tis nothing;
The state they bring with being sought-to, scurvy!
I had rather make mine own play, and I will do.
My happiness is in mine own content,
And the despising of such glorious trifles,
As I have done a thousand more. For my humour,
Give me a good free fellow, that sticks to me,
A jovial fair companion; there's a beauty!
For women, I can have too many of them;
Good women too, as the age reckons 'em,
More than I have employment for.
You're happy.
My only fear is that I must be forced,
Against my nature, to conceal myself:
Health and an able body are two jewels.
If either of these two women were offer'd to me now,
I would think otherwise, and do accordingly;
Yes, and recant my heresies, I would, sir,
And be more tender of opinion,
And put a little of my travell'd liberty
Out of the way, and look upon 'em seriously.
Methinks, this grave-carried wench——
Methinks, the other,
The home-spoken gentlewoman, that desires to be fruitful,
That treats of the full manage of the matter
(For there lies all my aim), that wench, methinks,
If I were but well set on, for she is affable,
If I were but hounded right, and one to teach me:
She speaks to th' matter, and comes home to th' point!
Now do I know I have such a body to please her,
As all the kingdom cannot fit her with, I am sure on't,
If I could but talk myself into her favour.
That's easily done.
That's easily said; 'would 'twere done!
You should see then how I would lay about me.
If I were virtuous, it would never grieve me,
Or anything that might justify my modesty;
But when my nature is prone to do a charity,
And my calf's tongue will not help me——
Will you go to 'em?
The cannot but take it courteously.
I'll do my part,
Though I am sure 'twill be the hardest I e'er play'd yet;
A way I never tried too, which will stagger me;
And, if it do not shame me, I am happy.
Win 'em, and wear 'em; I give up my interest.
What say you, monsieur Belleur?
'Would I could say,
Or sing, or anything that were but handsome!
I would be with her presently!
Yours is no venture;
A merry, ready wench.
A vengeance squibber!
She'll fleer me out of faith too.
I'll be near thee;
Pluck up thy heart; I'll second thee at all brunts.
Be angry, if she abuse thee, and beat her a little;
Some women are won that way.
Pray be quiet,
And let me think: I am resolved to go on;
But how I shall get off again——
I am persuaded
Thou wilt so please her, she'll go near to ravish thee.
I would 'twere come to that once! Let me pray a little.
Now for thine honour. Pinac! Board me this modesty,
Warm but this frozen snow-ball, 'twill be a conquest
(Although I know thou art a fortunate wencher,
And hast done rarely in thy days) above all thy ventures.
You will be ever near?
At all necessities;
And take thee off, and set thee on again, boy,
And cherish thee, and stroke thee.
Help me out too:
For I know I shall stick i' th' mire. If ye see us close once,
Be gone, and leave me to my fortune, suddenly,
For I am then determined to do wonders.
Farewell, and fling an old shoe. How my heart throbs!
Would I were drunk! Farewell, Pinac! heaven send us
A joyful and a merry meeting, man!
And cheer thy heart up! and remember, Belleur,
They are but women.
I had rather they were lions.
About it; I'll be with you instantly.—
[Exeunt Belleur and Pinac.


Shall I ne'er be at rest? no peace of conscience?
No quiet for these creatures? am I ordain'd
To be devour'd quick by these she-cannibals?
Here's another they call handsome; I care not for her,
I ne'er look after her: When I am half tippled,
It may be I should turn her, and peruse her;
Or, in my want of women, I might call for her;
But to be haunted when I have no fancy,
No maw to th'matter——Now! why do you follow me?

I hope, sir, 'tis no blemish to my virtue:
Nor need you, out of scruple, ask that question,
If you remember you, before you travel,
The contract you tied to me: 'Tis my love, sir.,
That makes me seek you, to confirm your memory;
And that being fair and good, I cannot suffer.
I come to give you thanks too.
For what, pr'ythee?
For that fair piece of honesty you show'd, sir,
That constant nobleness.
How? for I am short-headed.
I'll tell ye then; for refusing that free offer
Of monsieur Nantolet's, those handsome beauties,
Those two prime ladies, that might well have prest ye
If not to have broken, yet to have bow'd your promise.
I know it was for mv sake, for your faith sake,
You slipt 'em off; your honesty compell'd ye;
And let me tell ye, sir, it show'd most handsomely.
And let me tell thee, there was no such matter;
Nothing intended that way, of that nature:
I have more to do with my honesty than to fool it,
Or venture it in such leak barks as women.
I put 'em off because I loved 'em not,
Because they are too queasy for my temper,
And not for thy sake, nor the contract sake,
Nor vows nor oaths; I have made a thousand of 'em;
They are things indifferent, whether kept or broken;
Mere venial slips, that grows not near the conscience;
Nothing concerns those tender parts; they are trifles:
For, as I think, there was never man yet hoped for
Either constancy or secrecy from a woman,
Unless it were an ass ordain'd for sufferance;
Nor to contract with such can be a tial!
So let them know again; for 'tis a justice,
And a main point of civil policy,
Whate'er we say or swear, they being reprobates,
Out of the state of faith, we are clear of all sides,
And 'tis a curious blindness to believe us.
You do not mean this, sure?
Yes, sure, and certain;
And hold it positively, as a principle,
As ye are strange things, and made of strange fires and fluxes,
So we are allow'd as strange ways to obtain ye,
But not to hold; we are all created errant.
You told me other tales.
I not deny it;
I have tales of all sorts for all sorts of women,
And protestations likewise of all sizes,
As they have vanities to make us coxcombs:
If I obtain a good turn, so it is,
I am thankful for it; if I be made an ass,
The 'mends are in mine own hands, or the surgeon's,
And there's an end on't.
Do not you love me then?
As I love others; heartily I love thee;
When I am high and lusty, I love thee cruelly:
After I have made a plenteous meal, and satisfied
My senses with all delicates, come to me,
And thou shalt see how I love thee.
Will not you marry me?
No, certain, no, for anything I know yet:
I must not lose my liberty, dear lady,
And, like a wanton slave, cry for more shackles.
What should I marry for? do I want anything?
Am I an inch the farther from my pleasure?
Why should I be at charge to keep a wife of mine own,
When other honest married men's will ease me,
And thank me too, and be beholding to me?
Thou think'st I am mad for a maidenhead; thou art cozen'd:
Or, if I were addicted to that diet,
Can you tell me where I should have one? Thou art eighteen now,
And if thou hast thy maidenhead yet extant,
Sure, 'tis as big as cods-head; and those grave dishes
I never love to deal withal. Dost thou see this book here?
Look over all these ranks; all these are women,
Maids, and pretenders to maidenheads; these are my conquests;
All these I swore to marry, as I swore to thee,
With the same reservation, and most righteously:
Which I need not have done neither; for, alas, they made no scruple,
And I enjoyed 'em at my will, and left 'em:
Some of 'em are married since, and were as pure maids again,
Nay, o' my conscience, better than they were bred for;
The rest, fine sober women.
Are you not ashamed, sir?
No, by my troth, sir; there's no shame belongs to it;
I hold it as commendable to be wealthy in pleasure,
As others do in rotten sheep and pasture.

Enter DE GARD.

Are all my hopes come to this? Is there no faith,
No troth, nor modesty, in men?
De Gard.
How now, sister?
Why weeping thus? Did I not prophesy?
Come, tell me why——
I am not well; pray ye pardon me.
De Gard.
Now, monsieur Mirabel what ails my sister?
You have been playing the wag with her.
As I take it,
She is crying for a cod-piece. Is she gone?
Lord, what an age is this! I was calling for ye;
For, as I live, I thought she would have ravish'd me.
De Gard.
You are merry, sir.
Thou know'st this book, De Gard, this inventory?
De Gard.
The debt-book of your mistresses; I remember it.
Why, this was it that anger'd her; she was stark mad
She found not her name here; and cried down-right,
Because I would not pity her immediately,
And put her in my list.
De Gard.
Sure she had more modesty.
Their modesty is anger to be over-done;
They'll quarrel sooner for precedence here,
And take it in more dudgeon to be slighted,
Than they will in public meetings; 'tis their natures:
And, alas, I have so many to dispatch yet,
And to provide myself for my affairs too,
That, in good faith——
De Gard.
Be not too glorious foolish;
Sum not your travels up with vanities;
It ill becomes your expectation!
Temper your speech, sir! Whether your loose story
Be true or false (for you are so free, I fear it)
Name not my sister in't, I must not hear it;
Upon your danger, name her not! I hold her
A gentlewoman of those happy parts and carriage,
A good man's tongue may be right proud to speak her.
Your sister, sir? do ye blench at that? do ye cavil?
Do ye hold her such a piece she may not be play'd withal?
I have had an hundred handsomer and nobler,
Have sued to me too, for such a courtesy;
Your sister comes i' th' rear. Since ye are so angry,
And hold your sister such a strong Recusant,
I tell ye, I may do it; and, it may be, will too;
It may be, have too; there's my free confession:
Work upon that now!
De Gard.
If I thought ye had, I would work,
And work such stubborn work should make your heart ache!
But I believe ye, as I ever knew ye,
A glorious talker, and a legend-maker
Of idle tales, and trifles; a depraver
Of your own truth: their honours fly about ye!
And so I take my leave; but with this caution,
Your sword be surer than vour tongue; you'll smart else.
I laugh at thee, so little I respect thee!
And I'll talk louder, and despise thy sister;
Set up a chamber-maid that shall out-shine her,
And carry her in my coach too, and that will kill her.
Go, get thy rents up, go!
De Gard.
You are a fine gentleman!
Now, have at my two youths! I'll see how they do;
How they behave themselves; and then I'll study
What wench shall love me next, and when I'll lose her.