Act 3, Scene V

Scene: The Street before Merrythought's House.

Enter Mistress MERRYTHOUGHT and MICHAEL.

[Wife.    
But, look, George; here comes Mistress Merrythought, and her son Michael.—Now you are welcome, Mistress Merrythought; now Ralph has done, you may go on.]
Mistress Merrythought.
Mick, my boy——
Michael.
Ay, forsooth, mother.
Mistress Merrythought.
Be merry, Mick; we are at home now; where, I warrant you, you shall find the house flung out of the windows. [Music within.] Hark! hey, dogs, hey! this is the old world, i'faith, with my husband. If I get in among them, I'll play them such a lesson, that they shall have little list to come scraping hither again—Why, Master Merrythought! husband! Charles Merrythought!
Merrythought.
[Appearing above, and singing.]
If you will sing, and dance, and laugh,
 And hollow, and laugh again
And then cry, “there, boys, there!” why, then,
 one, two, three, and four,
 We shall be merry within this hour.
Mistress Merrythought.
Why, Charles, do you not know your own natural wife? I say, open the door, and turn me out those mangy companions; 'tis more than time that they were fellow and fellow-like with you. You are a gentleman, Charles, and an old man, and father of two children; and I myself, (though I say it) by my mother's side niece to a worshipful gentleman and a conductor; he has been three times in his majesty's service at Chester, and is now the fourth time, God bless him and his charge, upon his journey.
Merrythought.
[Sings.]
Go from my window love, go;
Go from my window, my dear!
  The wind and the rain
  Will drive you back again;
You cannot be lodged here.

Hark you, Mistress Merrythought, you that walk upon adventures, and forsake your husband, because he sings with never a penny in his purse; what, shall I think myself the worse? Faith, no, I'll be merry. You come not here; here's none but lads of mettle, lives of a hundred years and upwards; care never drunk their bloods, nor want made them warble “Heigh-ho, my heart is heavy.”
Mistress Merrythought.
Why, Master Merrythought, what am I, that you should laugh me to scorn thus abruptly? am I not your fellow-feeler, as we may say, in all our miseries? your comforter in health and sickness? have I not brought you children? are they not like you, Charles? look upon thine own image, hard-hearted man! and yet for 'all this——
Merrythought.
[Sings.]
Begone, begone, my juggy, my puggy,
Begone, my, love, my dear!
  The weather is warm,
  'Twill do thee no harm:
Thou canst not be lodged here.—

Be merry, boys ! some light music, and more wine!
[Exit above.
[Wife.    
He's not in earnest, I hope, George, is he?
Citizen.
What if he be, sweetheart?
Wife.    
Marry, if he be, George, I'll make bold to tell him he's an ingrant old man to use his bedfellow so scurvily.
Citizen.
What I how does he use her, honey?
Wife.    
Marry, come up, sir saucebox! I think you'll take his part, will you not? Lord, how hot you have grown! you are a fine man, an' you had a fine dog; it becomes you sweetly!
Citizen.
Nay, prithee, Nell, chide not; for, as I am an honest man and a true Christian grocer, I do not like his doings.
Wife.    
I cry you mercy, then, George! you know we are all frail and full of infirmities.—D'ye hear, Master Merrythought? may I crave a word with you?]
Merrythought.
[appearing above.] Strike up lively, lads!
[Wife.    
I had not thought, in truth, Master Merrythought, that a man of your age and discretion, as I may say, being a gentleman, and therefore known by your gentle conditions, could have used so little respect to the weakness of his wife; for your wife is your own flesh, the staff of your age, your yoke-fellow, with whose help you draw through the mire of this transitory world; nay, she's your own rib: and again——]
Merrythought.
[Sings.]
I came not hither for thee to teach,
I have no pulpit for thee to preach,
I would thou hadst kissed me under the breech,
  As thou art a lady gay.
[Wife.    
Marry, with a vengeance! I am heartily sorry for the poor gentlewoman: but if I were thy wife, i'faith, greybeard, i'faith——
Citizen.
I prithee; sweet honeysuckle, be content.
Wife.    
Give me such words, that am a gentlewoman born! hang him hoary rascal! Get me some drink, George; I am almost molten with fretting: now, beshrew his knave's heart for it!]
[Exit Citizen.
Merrythought.
Play me a light lavolta. Come, be frolic.
Fill the good fellows wine.
Mistress Merrythought.
Why, Master Merrythought, are you disposed to make me wait here? You'll open, I hope; I'll fetch them that shall open else.
Merrythought.
Good woman, if you will sing I'll give you something; if not——
[Sings.
You are no love for me, Margaret,
I am no love for you.—

Come aloft, boys, aloft!
[Exit above.
Mistress Merrythought.
Now a churl's fart in your teeth, sir!—Come, Mick, we'll not trouble him; 'a shall not ding us i' the teeth with his bread and his broth, that he shall not. Come, boy; I'll provide for thee, I warrant thee. We'll go to Master Venturewell's, the merchant: I'll get his letter to mine host of the Bell in Waltham; there I'll place thee with the tapster: will not that do well for thee, Mick? and let me alone for that old cuckoldly knave your father; I'll use him in his kind, I warrant ye.
[Exeunt.

Re-enter Citizen with Beer.

[Wife.    
Come, George, where's the beer?
Citizen.
Here, love.
Wife.    
This old fornicating fellow will not out of my mind yet.—Gentlemen, I'll begin to you all; and I desire more of your acquaintance with all my heart. [Drinks.] Fill the gentlemen some beer, George. [Enter Boy.    ] Look, George, the little boy's come again: methinks he looks something like the Prince of Orange in his long stocking, if he had a little harness about his neck. George, I will have him dance fading.—Fading is a fine jig, I'll assure you, gentlemen.—Begin, brother. [Boy dances.] Now 'a capers, sweetheart!—Now a turn o' the toe, and then tumble! cannot you tumble, youth?
Boy.    
No, indeed, forsooth.
Wife.    
Nor eat fire?
Boy.    
Neither.
Wife.    
Why, then, I thank you heartily; there's twopence to buy you points withal.]