Act 3, Scene IV

Scene: Before a Barber's Shop, Waltham.

Enter RALPH, Host, Tim, and GEORGE.

Wife.    
Oh, Ralph's here, George!—God send thee good luck, Ralph!]
Host.    
Puissant knight, yonder his mansion is.
Lo, where the spear and copper basin are!
Behold that string, on which hangs many a tooth,
Drawn from the gentle jaw of wandering knights!
I dare not stay to sound; he will appear.
[Exit.
Ralph.
Oh, faint not, heart! Susan, my lady dear,
The cobbler's maid in Milk Street, for whose sake
I take these arms, oh, let the thought of thee
Carry thy knight through all adventurous deeds;
And, in the honour of thy beauteous self,
May I destroy this monster Barbarossa!—
Knock, squire, upon the basin, till it break
With the shrill strokes, or till the giant speak.
[Tim knocks upon the basin.

Enter Barber.

[Wife.    
Oh, George, the giant, the giant!—Now, Ralph, for thy life!]
Barber.
What fond unknowing wight is this, that dares
So rudely knock at Barbarossa's cell,
Where no man comes but leaves his fleece behind?
Ralph.
I, traitorous caitiff, who am sent by fate
To punish all the sad enormities
Thou hast committed against ladies gent
And errant knights. Traitor to God and men,
Prepare thyself; this is the dismal hour
Appointed for thee to give strict account
Of all thy beastly treacherous villanies.
Barber.
Fool-hardy knight, full soon thou shalt aby
This fond reproach: thy body will I bang;
[Takes down his pole.
And, lo, upon that string thy teeth shall hang!
Prepare thyself, for dead soon shalt thou be.
Ralph.
Saint George for me!
[They fight.
Barber.
Gargantua for me!
[Wife.    
To him, Ralph, to him I hold up the giant; set out thy leg before, Ralph!
Citizen.
Falsify a blow, Ralph, falsify a blow! the giant lies open on the left side.
Wife.    
Bear't off, bear't off still! there, boy!— Oh, Ralph's almost down, Ralph's almost down!]
Ralph.
Susan, inspire me! now have up again.
[Wife.    
Up, up, up, up, up! so, Ralph! down with him, down with him, Ralph!
Citizen.
Fetch him o'er the hip, boy!
[Ralph knocks down the Barber.
Wife.    
There, boy! kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, Ralph!
Citizen.
No, Ralph; get all out of him first.]
Ralph.
Presumptuous man, see to what desperate end
Thy treachery hath brought thee! The just gods,
Who never prosper those that do despise them,
For all the villanies which thou hast done
To knights and ladies, now have paid thee home
By my stiff arm, a knight adventurous.
But say, vile wretch, before I send thy soul
To sad Avernus, (whither it must go)
What captives holdst thou in thy sable cave?
Barber.
Go in, and free them all; thou hast the day.
Ralph.
Go, squire and dwarf, search in this dreadful cave,
And free the wretched prisoners from their bonds.
[Exeunt Tim and George.
Barber.
I crave for mercy, as thou art a knight,
And scorn'st to spill the blood of those that beg.
Ralph.
Thou show'd'st no mercy, nor shalt thou have any;
Prepare thyself, for thou shalt surely die.

Re-enter Tim leading a Man winking, with a Basin under his Chin.

Tim.
Behold, brave knight, here is one prisoner,
Whom this vile man hath usèd as you see.
[Wife.    
This is the first wise word I heard the squire speak.]
Ralph.
Speak what thou art, and how thou hast been used,
That I may give him condign punishment.
Man.
I am a knight that took my journey post
Northward from London; and in courteouswise
This giant trained me to his loathsome den,
Under pretence of killing of the itch;
And all my body with a powder strewed,
That smarts and stings; and cut away my beard,
And my curled locks wherein were ribands tied;
And with a water washed my tender eyes,
(Whilst up and down about me still he skipt,)
Whose virtue is, that, till my eyes be wiped
With a dry cloth, for this my foul disgrace,
I shall not dare to look a dog i' the face.
[Wife.    
Alas, poor knight!—Relieve him, Ralph; relieve poor knights, whilst you live.]
Ralph.
My trusty squire, convey him to the town,
Where he may find relief.—Adieu, fair knight.
[Exeunt Man with Tim, who presently re-enters.

Re-enter GEORGE, leading a second Man, with a patch over his nose.

George.
Puissant Knight, of the Burning Pestle hight,
See here another wretch, whom this foul beast
Hath scotched and scored in this inhuman wise.
Ralph.
Speak me thy name, and eke thy place of birth,
And what hath been thy usage in this cave.
2nd Man.
I am a knight, Sir Pockhole is my name,
And by my birth I am a Londoner,
Free by my copy, but my ancestors
Were Frenchmen all; and riding hard this way
Upon a trotting horse, my bones did ache;
And I, faint knight, to ease my weary limbs
Light at this cave; when straight this furious fiend,
With sharpest instrument of purest steel,
Did cut the gristle of my nose away,
And in the place this velvet plaster stands:
Relieve me, gentle knight, out of his hands!
[Wife.    
Good Ralph, relieve Sir Pockhole, and send him away; for in truth his breath stinks.]
Ralph.
Convey him straight after the other knight.—Sir Pockhole, fare you well.
2nd Man.
Kind sir, good night.
[Exit with George, who presently re-enters.
3rd Man.
[within]. Deliver us!
[Cries within.
Woman.
[within]. Deliver us!
[Wife.    
Hark, George, what a woeful cry there is! I think some woman lies-in there.]
3rd Man.
[within]. Deliver us!
Woman.
[within]. Deliver us!
Ralph.
What ghastly noise is this? Speak, Barbarossa,
Or, by this blazing steel, thy head goes off!
Barber.
Prisoners of mine, whom I in diet keep.
Send lower down into the cave,
And in a tub that's heated smoking hot,
There may they find them, and deliver them.
Ralph.
Run, squire and dwarf; deliver them with speed.
[Exeunt Tim and George.
[Wife.    
But will not Ralph kill this giant? Surely I am afraid, if he let him go, he will do as much hurt as ever he did.
Citizen.
Not so, mouse, neither, if he could convert him.
Wife.    
Ay, George, if he could convert him; but a giant is not so soon converted as one of us ordinary people. There's a pretty tale of a witch, that had the devil's mark about her, (God bless us!) that had a giant to her son, that was called Lob-lie-by-the-fire; didst never, hear it, George?
Citizen.
Peace, Nell, here comes the prisoners.]

Re-enter TIM, leading a third Man, with a glass of lotion in his hand, and GEORGE leading a Woman, with diet-bread and drink in her hand.

George.
Here be these pinèd wretches, manful knight,
That for this six weeks have not seen a wight.
Ralph.
Deliver what you are, and how you came
To this sad cave, and what your usage was?
3rd Man.
I am an errant knight that followed arms
With spear and shield; and in my tender years
I stricken was with Cupid's fiery shaft,
And fell in love with this my lady dear,
And stole her from her friends in Turnbull Street,
And bore her up and down from town to town,
Where we did eat and drink, and music hear;
Till at the length at this unhappy town
We did arrive, and coming to this cave,
This beast us caught, and put us in a tub,
Where we this two months sweat, and should have done
Another month, if you had not relieved us.
Woman.
This bread and water hath our diet been,
Together with a rib cut from a neck
Of burned mutton; hard hath been our fare:
Release us from this ugly giant's snare!
3rd Man.
This hath been all the food we have received;
But only twice a-day, for novelty,
He gave a spoonful of this hearty broth
To each of us, through this same slender quill.
[Pulls out a syringe.
Ralph.
From this infernal monster you shall go,
That useth knights and gentle ladies so!—
Convey them hence.
[3rd Man and Woman are led off, by Tim and George, who presently re-enter.
[Citizen.
Cony, I can tell thee, the gentlemen like Ralph.
Wife.    
Ay, George, I see it well enough.—Gentlemen, I thank you all heartily for gracing my man Ralph; and I promise you, you shall see him oftener.]
Barber.
Mercy, great knight! I do recant my ill,
And henceforth never gentle blood will spill.
Ralph.
I give thee mercy; but yet shalt thou swear,
Upon my Burning Pestle, to perform
Thy promise utterèd.
Barber.
I swear and kiss.
[Kisses the Pestle.
Ralph.
Depart, then and amend.—
[Exit Barber.
Come, squire and dwarf; the sun grows towards his set,
And we have many more adventures yet.
[Exeunt.
[Citizen.
Now Ralph is in this humour, I know he would ha' beaten all the boys in the house, if they had been set on him.
Wife.    
Ay. George, but it is well as it is: I warrant you, the gentlemen do consider what it is to overthrow a giant.]