SCENE I. [A room in Lady All worth's house.]


Lov. 'Tis well; give me my cloak; I now discharge you

From further service. Mind your own affairs;

I hope they will prove successful.

All. What is blest

With your good wish, my lord, cannot but prosper.

Let aftertimes report, and to your honour,

How much I stand engag'd, for I want language

To speak my debt; yet if a tear or two

Of joy, for your much goodness, can supply

My tongue's defects, I could——

Lov. Nay, do not melt:

This ceremonial thanks to me's superfluous.

Over. (within.) Is my lord stirring?

Lov. 'Tis he! oh, here's your letter. Let him in.


Over. A good day to my lord!

Lov. You are an early riser,

Sir Giles.

Over. And reason, to attend your lordship.

Lov. And you, too, Master Greedy, up so soon!

Greedy. In troth, my lord, after the sun is up,

I cannot sleep, for I have a foolish stomach

That croaks for breakfast. With your lordship's favour,

I have a serious question to demand

Of my worthy friend Sir Giles.

Lov. Pray you use your pleasure.

Greedy. How far, Sir Giles, and pray you answer me

Upon your credit, hold you it to be

From your manor-house, to this of my Lady's Allworth's?

Over. Why, some four mile.

Greedy. How! four mile, good Sir Giles——

Upon your reputation, think better;

For if you do abate but one half-quarter

Of five, you do yourself the greatest wrong

That can be in the world; for four miles riding

Could not have rais'd so huge an appetite

As I feel gnawing on me.

Mar. Whether you ride,

Or go afoot, you are that way still provided,

An it please your worship.

Over. How now, sirrah? Prating

Before my lord! No difference! Go to my nephew,

See all his debts discharg'd, and help his worship

To fit on his rich suit.

Mar. [Aside.] I may fit you too.

Toss'd like a dog still! Exit.

Lov. I have writ this morning

A few lines to my mistress, your fair daughter.

Over. 'Twill fire her, for she's wholly yours already.—

Sweet Master Allworth, take my ring; 'twill carry you

To her presence, I dare warrant you; and there plead

For my good lord, if you shall find occasion.

That done, pray ride to Nottingham, get a licence,

Still by this token. I'll have it dispatch'd,

And suddenly, my lord, that I may say,

My honourable, nay, right honourable daughter.

Greedy. Take my advice, young gentleman, get your breakfast;

'Tis unwholesome to ride fasting. I'll eat with you,

And eat to purpose.

Over. Some Fury's in that gut:

Hungry again! Did you not devour, this morning,

A shield of brawn, and a barrel of Colchester oysters?

Greedy. Why, that was, sir, only to scour my stomach,

A kind of a preparative. Come, gentleman,

I will not have you feed like the hangman of Flushing,

Alone, while I am here.

Lov. Haste your return.

All. I will not fail, my lord.

Greedy. Nor I, to line

My Christmas coffer. Exeunt GREEDY and ALLWORTH.

Over. To my wish: we are private.

I come not to make offer with my daughter

A certain portion,—that were poor and trivial:

In one word, I pronounce all that is mine,

In lands or leases, ready coin or goods,

With her, my lord, comes to you; nor shall you have

One motive to induce you to believe

I live too long, since every year I'll add

Something unto the heap, which shall be yours too.

Lov. You are a right kind father.

Over. You shall have reason

To think me such. How do you like this seat?

It is well wooded, and well water'd, the acres

Fertile and rich; would it not serve for change,

To entertain your friends in a summer progress?

What thinks my noble lord?

Lov. 'Tis a wholesome air,

And well-built pile; and she that's mistress of it,

Worthy the large revénue.

Over. She the mistress!

It may be so for a time: but let my lord

Say only that he likes it, and would have it

I say, ere long 'tis his.

Lov. Impossible.

Over. You do conclude too fast, not knowing me,

Nor the engines〖Devices.〗 that I work by. 'Tis not alone

The Lady Allworth's lands, for those once Wellborn's

(As by her dotage on him I know they will be,)

Shall soon be mine; but point out any man's

In all the shire, and say they lie convenient

And useful for your lordship, and once more

I say aloud, they are yours.

Lov. I dare not own

What's by unjust and cruel means extorted;

My fame and credit are more dear to me,

Than so to expose them to be censur'd by

The public voice.

Over. You run, my lord, no hazard.

Your reputation shall stand as fair,

In all good men's opinions, as now;

Nor can my actions, though condemn'd for ill,

Cast any foul aspersion upon yours.

For, though I do contemn report myself

As a mere sound, I still will be so tender

Of what concerns you, in all points of honour,

That the immaculate whiteness of your fame,

Nor your unquestioned integrity,

Shall e'er be sullied with one taint or spot

That may take from your innocence and candour.〖Stainlessness.〗

All my ambition is to have my daughter

Right honourable, which my lord can make her:

And might I live to dance upon my knee

A young Lord Lovell, born by her unto you,

I write nil ultra〖Nothing beyond.〗 to my proudest hopes.

As for possessions and annual rents,

Equivalent to maintain you in the port

Your noble birth and present state requires,

I do remove that burthen from your shoulders,

And take it on mine own: for, though I ruin

The country to supply your riotous waste,

The scourge of prodigals, want, shall never find you.

Lov. Are you not frighted with the imprecations

And curses of whole families, made wretched

By your sinister practices?

Over. Yes, as rocks are,

When foamy billows split themselves against

Their flinty ribs; or as the moon is mov'd,

When wolves, with hunger pin'd, howl at her brightness.

I am of a solid temper, and, like these,

Steer on a constant course. With mine own sword,

If called into the field, I can make that right,

Which fearful enemies murmur'd at as wron g.

Now, for these other piddling complaints

Breath'd out in bitterness; as when they call me

Extortioner, tyrant, cormorant, or intruder

On my poor neighbour's right, or grand incloser

Of what was common, to my private use;

Nay, when my ears are pierc'd with widows' cries.

And undone orphans wash with tears my threshold,

I only think what 'tis to have my daughter

Right honourable; and 'tis a powerful charm

Makes me insensible of remorse, or pity,

Or the least sting of conscience.

Lov. I admire〖Wonder at.〗

The toughness of your nature.

Over. 'Tis for you,

My lord, and for my daughter, I am marble;

Nay more, if you will have my character

In little, I enjoy more true delight

In my arrival to my wealth these dark

And crooked ways, than you shall e'er take pleasure

In spending what my industry hath compass'd.

My haste commands me hence; in one word, therefore,

Is it a match?

Lov. I hope, that is past doubt now.

Over. Then rest secure; not the hate of all mankind here,

Nor fear of what can fall on me hereafter,

Shall make me study aught but your advancement

One story higher: an earl! if gold can do it.

Dispute not my religion, nor my faith;

Though I am borne thus headlong by my will,

You may make choice of what belief you please,

To me they are equal; so, my lord, good morrow. Exit.

Lov. He's gone—I wonder how the earth can bear

Such a portent! I, that have liv'd a soldier,

And stood the enemy's violent charge undaunted,

To hear this blasphemous beast am bath'd all over

In a cold sweat: yet, like a mountain, he

(Confirm'd in atheistical assertions)

Is no more shaken than Olympus〖Apparently a slip for “Parnassus.”〗 is

When angry Boreas loads his double head

With sudden drifts of snow.

Enter LADY ALLWORTH, Waiting Woman, and AMBLE

L. All. Save you, my lord!

Disturb I not your privacy?

Lov. No, good madam;

For your own sake I am glad you came no sooner,

Since this bold bad man, Sir Giles Overreach,

Made such a plain discovery of himself,

And read this morning such a devilish matins,

That I should think it a sin next to his

But to repeat it.

L. All. I ne'er press'd my lord,

On others' privacies; yet, against my will,

Walking, for health' sake, in the gallery

Adjoining to your lodgings, I was made

(So vehement and loud he was) partaker

Of his tempting offers.

Lov. Please you to command

Your servants hence, and I shall gladly hear

Your wiser counsel.

L. All. 'Tis, my lord, a woman's,

But true and hearty;—wait in the next room,

But be within call; yet not so near to force me

To whisper my intents.

Amb. We are taught better

By you, good madam.

W. Wom. And well know our distance.

L. All. Do so, and talk not; 'twill become your breeding.

Exeunt AMBLE and WOMAN.

Now, my good lord; if I may use my freedom,

As to an honour'd friend——

Lov. You lessen else

Your favour to me.

L. All. I dare then say thus:

As you are noble (howe'er common men

Make sordid wealth the object and sole end

Of their industrious aims) 'twill not agree

With those of eminent blood, who are engag'd

More to prefer〖Promote.〗 their honours than to increase

The state left to them by their ancestors,

To study large additions to their fortunes,

And quite neglect their births:—though I must grant,

Riches, well got, to be a useful servant,

But a bad master.

Lov. Madam, 'tis confessed;

But what infer you from it?

L. All. This, my lord;

That as all wrongs, though thrust into one scale,

Slide of themselves off when right fills the other

And cannot bide the trial; so all wealth,

I mean if ill-acquir'd, cemented to honour

By virtuous ways achiev'd, and bravely purchas'd,

Is but as rubbish pour'd into a river,

(Howe'er intended to make good the bank,)

Rendering the water, that was pure before,

Polluted and unwholesome. I allow

The heir of Sir Giles Overreach, Margaret,

A maid well qualified and the richest match

Our north part can make boast of; yet she cannot,

With all that she brings with her, fill their mouths,

That never will forget who was her father;

Or that my husband Allworth's lands, and Wellborn's,

(How wrung from both needs now no repetition,)

Were real motives that more work'd your lordship

To join your families, than her form and virtues:

You may conceive the rest.

Lov. I do, sweet madam,

And long since have consider'd it. I know,

The sum of all that makes a just man happy

Consists in the well choosing of his wife:

And there, well to discharge it, does require

Equality of years, of birth, of fortune;

For beauty being poor, and not cried up

By birth or wealth, can truly mix with neither.

And wealth, where there such difference in years,

And fair descent, must make the yoke uneasy:—

But I come nearer.

L. All. Pray you do, my lord.

Lov. Were Overreach's states thrice centupl'd, his daughter

Millions of degrees much fairer than she is,

Howe'er I might urge precedents to excuse me,

I would not so adulterate my blood

By marrying Margaret, and so leave my issue

Made up of several pieces, one part scarlet,

And the other London blue. In my own tomb

I will inter my name first.

L. All. Aside. I am glad to hear this.——

Why then, my lord, pretend your marriage to her?

Dissimulation but ties false knots

On that straight line by which you, hitherto,

Have measur'd all your actions.

Lov. I make answer,

And aptly, with a question. Wherefore have you,

That, since your husband's death, have liv'd a strict

And chaste nun's life, on the sudden given yourself

To visits and entertainments? Think you, madam,

'Tis not grown public conference?〖Gossip.〗 Or the favours

Which you too prodigally have thrown on Wellborn

Being too reserv'd before, incur not censure?

L. All. I am innocent here; and, on my life, I swear

My ends are good.

Lov. On my soul, so are mine

To Margaret; but leave both to the event:

And since this friendly privacy does serve

But as an offer'd means unto ourselves,

To search each other farther, you having shewn

Your care of me, I my respect to you,

Deny me not, but still in chaste words, madam,

An afternoon's discourse.

L. All. So I shall hear you. [Exeunt.]

All Directories