Induction

Scene: Several Gentlemen sitting on Stools upon the Stage. The Citizen, his Wife, and Ralph sitting below among the audience.

Enter Speaker of the Prologue.

Speaker of the Prologue.
“From all that's near the court, from all that's great,
Within the compass of the city-walls—
We now have brought our scene——”

Citizen leaps on the Stage.

Citizen.
Hold your peace, goodman boy!
Speaker of the Prologue.
What do you mean, sir?
Citizen.
That you have no good meaning: this seven years there hath been plays at this house, I have observed it, you have still girds at citizens; and now you call your play “The London Merchant.” Down with your title, boy! down with your title!
Speaker of the Prologue.
Are you a member of the noble city?
Citizen.
I am.
Speaker of the Prologue.
And a freeman?
Citizen.
Yea, and a grocer.
Speaker of the Prologue.
So, grocer, then, by your sweet favour, we intend no abuse to the city.
Citizen.
No, sir! yes, sir: if you were not resolved to play the Jacks, what need you study for new projects, purposely to abuse your betters? why could you not be contented, as well as others, with “The legend of Whittington,” or “The Life and Death of Sir Thomas Gresham, with the building of the Royal Exchange,” or “The story of Queen Eleanor, with the rearing of London Bridge upon woolsacks?”.
Speaker of the Prologue.
You seem to be an understandng man: what would you have us do, sir?
Citizen.
Why, present something notably in honour of the commons of the city.
Speaker of the Prologue.
Why, what do you say to “The Life and Death of fat Drake, or the Repairing of Fleet-privies?”
Citizen.
I do not like that; but I will have a citizen, and he shall be of my own trade.
Speaker of the Prologue.
Oh, you should have told us your mind a month since; our play is ready to begin now.
Citizen.
'Tis all one for that; I will have a grocer, and he shall do admirable things.
Speaker of the Prologue.
What will you have him do?
Citizen.
Marry, I will have him marry——
Wife.    
[below.] Husband, husband!
Ralph.
[below.] Peace, mistress.
Wife.    
[below.] Hold thy peace, Ralph; I know what I do, I warrant ye.—Husband, husband!
Citizen.
What sayest thou, cony?
Wife.    
[below.] Let him kill a lion with a pestle, husband! let him kill a lion with a pestle!
Citizen.
So he shall.—I'll have him kill a lion with a pestle.
Wife.    
[below.] Husband! shall I come up, husband!
Citizen.
Ay, cony.—Ralph, help your mistress this way.—Pray, gentlemen, make her a little room.—I pray you, sir, lend me your hand to help up my wife: I thank you, sir.—So.
[Wife comes on the stage.
Wife.    
By your leave, gentlemen all; I'm something troublesome: I'm a stranger here; I was ne'er at one of these plays, as they say, before; but I should have seen “Jane Shore” once; and my husband hath promised me any time this twelvemonth, to carry me to “The Bold Beauchamps,” but in truth he did not. I pray you, bear with me.
Citizen.
Boy, let my wife and I have a couple of stools and then begin; and let the grocer do rare things.
[Stools are brought.
Speaker of the Prologue.
But, sir, we have never a boy to play him: every one hath a part already.
Wife.    
Husband, husband, for God's sake, let Ralph play him! beshrew me, if I do not think he will go beyond them all.
Citizen.
Well remembered, wife.—Come up, Ralph.—I'll tell you, gentlemen; let them lend him a suit of reparel and necessaries, and, by gad, if any of them all blow wind in the tail on him, I'll be hanged.
[Ralph comes on the stage.
Wife.    
I pray you, youth, let him have a suit of reparel!—I'll be sworn, gentlemen, my husband tells you true: he will act you sometimes at our house, that all the neighbours cry out at him; he will fetch you up a couraging part so in the garret, that we are all as feared, I warrant you, that we quake again: we'll fear our children with him; if they be never so unruly, do but cry, “Ralph comes, Ralph comes!” to them, and they'll be as quiet as lambs.—Hold up thy head, Ralph; show the gentlemen what you canst do; speak a huffing part; I warrant you, the gentlemen will accept of it.
Citizen.
Do, Ralph, do.
Ralph.
“By Heaven, methinks, it were an easy leap
To pluck bright honour from the pale-faced moon;
Or dive into the bottom of the sea,
Where never fathom-line touched any ground,
And pluck up drowned honour from the lake of hell.”
Citizen.
How say you, gentlemen, is it not as I told you?
Wife.    
Nay, gentlemen, he hath played before, my husband says, Mucedorus, before the wardens of our company.
Citizen.
Ay, and he should have played Jeronimo with a shoemaker for a wager.
Speaker of the Prologue.
He shall have a suit of apparel, if he will go in.
Citizen.
In, Ralph, in, Ralph; and set out the grocery in their kind, if thou lovest me.
[Exit Ralph.
Wife.    
I warrant, our Ralph will look finely when he's dressed.
Speaker of the Prologue.
But what will you have it called?
Citizen.
“The Grocer's Honour.”
Speaker of the Prologue.
Methinks “the Knight of the Burning Pestle” were better.
Wife.    
I'll be sworn, husband, that's as good a name as can be.
Citizen.
Let it be so.—Begin, begin; my wife and I will sit down.
Speaker of the Prologue.
I pray you, do.
Citizen.
What stately music have you? you have shawms?
Speaker of the Prologue.
Shawms! no.
Citizen.
No! I'm a thief, if my mind did not give me so. Ralph plays a stately part, and he must needs have shawms: I'll be at the charge of them myself, rather than we'll be without them.
Speaker of the Prologue.
So you are like to be.
Citizen.
Why, and so I will be: there's two shilling;—[Gives money.]—let's have the waits of Southwark; they are as rare fellows as any are in England; and that will fetch them all o'er the water with a vengeance; as if they were mad.
Speaker of the Prologue.
You shall have them. Will you sit down, then?
Citizen.
Ay.—Come, wife.
Wife.    
Sit you merry all, gentlemen; I'm bold to sit amongst you for my ease.
[Citizen and Wife sit down.
Speaker of the Prologue.
“From all that's near the court, from all that's great,
Within the compass of the city-walls,
We now have brought our scene. Fly far from hence
All private taxes, immodest phrases,
Whatever may but show like vicious!
For wicked mirth never true pleasure brings,
But honest minds are pleased with honest things.”—
Thus much for that we do; but for Ralph's part you must answer for yourself.
Citizen.
Take you no care for Ralph; he'll discharge himself, I warrant you.
[Exit Speaker of Prologue.
Wife.    
I'faith, gentlemen, I'll give my word for Ralph.