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


L. All. By this you know how strong the motives were

That did, my lord, induce me to dispense

A little, with my gravity, to advance,

In personating some few favours to him,

The plots and projects of the down-trod Wellborn.

Nor shall I e'er repent, although I suffer

In some few men's opinions for't, the action;

For he that ventur'd all for my dear husband

Might justly claim an obligation from me

To pay him such a courtesy; which had I

Coyly or over-curiously〖Fastidiously.〗 denied,

It might have argu'd me of little love

To the deceased.

Lov. What you intended, madam,

For the poor gentleman hath found good success;

For, as I understand, his debts are paid,

And he once more furnish'd for fair employment:

But all the arts that I have us'd to raise

The fortunes of your joy and mine, young Allworth,

Stand yet in supposition, though I hope well;

For the young lovers are in wit more pregnant

Than their years can promise; and for their desires,

On my knowledge, they are equal.

L. All. As my wishes

Are with yours, my lord; yet give me leave to fear

The building, though well grounded: to deceive

Sir Giles, that's both a lion and a fox

In his proceedings, were a work beyond

The strongest undertakers; not the trial

Of two weak innocents.

Lov. Despair not, madam:

Hard things are compass'd oft by easy means;

And judgment, being a gift deriv'd from Heaven,

Though sometimes lodg'd i' the hearts of worldly men,

That ne'er consider from whom they receive it,

Forsakes such as abuse the giver of it.

Which is the reason that the politic

And cunning statesman, that believes he fathoms

The counsels of all kingdoms on the earth,

Is by simplicity oft over-reach'd.

L. All. May he be so! Yet, in his name to express it,

Is a good omen.

Lov. May it to myself

Prove so, good lady, in my suit to you!

What think you of the motion?

L. All. Troth, my lord,

My own unworthiness may answer for me;

For had you, when that I was in my prime,

My virgin flower uncropp'd, presented me

With this great favour; looking on my lowness

Not in a glass of self-love, but of truth,

I could not but have thought it as a blessing

Far, far beyond my merit.

Lov. You are too modest,

And undervalue that which is above

My title, or whatever I call mine.

I grant, were I a Spaniard, to marry

A widow might disparage me; but being

A true-born Englishman, I cannot find

How it can taint my honour: nay, what's more,

That which you think a blemish is to me

The fairest lustre. You already, madam,

Have given sure proofs how dearly you can cherish

A husband that deserves you; which confirms me,

That, if I am not wanting in my care

To do you service, you'll be still the same

That you were to your Allworth: in a word,

Our years, our states, our births are not unequal,

You being descended nobly, and alli'd so;

If then you may be won to make me happy,

But join your lips to mine, and that shall be

A solemn contract.

L. All. I were blind to my own good,

Should I refuse it; [Kisses him] yet, my lord, receive me

As such a one, the study of whose whole life

Shall know no other object but to please you.

Lov. If I return not, with all tenderness,

Equal respect to you, may I die wretched!

L. All. There needs no protestation, my lord,

To her that cannot doubt.—

Enter WELLBORN, [handsomely apparelled]

You are welcome, sir.

Now you look like yourself.

Well. And will continue

Such in my free acknowledgment, that I am

Your creature, madam, and will never hold

My life mine own, when you please to command it.

Lov. It is a thankfulness that well becomes you.

You could not make choice of a better shape

To dress your mind in.

L. All. For me, I am happy

That my endeavours prosper'd. Saw you of late

Sir Giles, your uncle?

Well. I heard of him, madam,

By his minister, Marrall; he's grown into strange passions

About his daughter. This last night he look'd for

Your lordship at his house, but missing you,

And she not yet appearing, his wise head

Is much perplex'd and troubl'd.

Lov. It may be,

Sweetheart, my project took.

L. All. I strongly hope.

Over. [within.] Ha! find her, booby, thou huge lump of nothing,

I'll bore thine eyes out else.

Well. May it please your lordship,

For some ends of mine own, but to withdraw

A little out of sight, though not of hearing,

You may, perhaps, have sport.

Lov. You shall direct me.Steps aside.

Enter OVERREACH, with distracted looks, driving in MARRALL

before him, [with a box]〖In Quarto this entrance occurs after “took,” above.〗

Over. I shall sol fa you, rogue!

Mar. Sir, for what cause

Do you use me thus?

Over. Cause, slave! Why, I am angry,

And thou a subject only fit for beating,

And so to cool my choler. Look to the writing;

Let but the seal be broke upon the box

That hast slept in my cabinet these three years,

I'll rack thy soul for't.

Mar. Aside. I may yet cry quittance,

Though now I suffer, and dare not resist.

Over. Lady, by your leave, did you see my daughter lady?

And the lord her husband? Are they in your house?

If they are, discover, that I may bid 'em joy;

And, as an entrance to her place of honour,

See your ladyship be on her left hand, and make curtsies

When she nods on you; which you must receive

As a special favour.

L. All. When I know, Sir Giles,

Her state requires such ceremony, I shall pay it;

But in the meantime, as I am myself,

I give you to understand, I neither know

Nor care where her honour is.

Over. When you once see her

Supported, and led by the lord her husband,

You'll be taught better.——Nephew.

Well. Sir.

Over. No more?

Well. 'Tis all I owe you.

Over. Have you redeem'd rags

Made you thus insolent?

Well. [in scorn.]Insolent to you!

Why, what are you, sir, unless in your years,

At the best, more than myself?

Over. [Aside.] His fortune swells him:

'Tis rank〖Obvious.〗 he's married.

L. All. This is excellent!

Over. Sir, in calm language, though I seldom use it,

I am familiar with the cause that makes you

Bear up thus bravely; there's a certain buzz

Of a stol'n marriage, do you hear? of a stol'n marriage,

In which, 'tis said, there's somebody hath been cozen'd;

I name no parties.

Well. Well, sir, and what follows?

Over. Marry, this; since you are peremptory. Remember,

Upon mere hope of your great match, I lent you

A thousand pounds: put me in good security,

And suddenly, by mortgage or by statute,

Of some of your new possessions, or I'll have you

Dragg'd in your lavender robes〖Clothes in pawn were said to be “laid up in lavender.”〗 to the gaol. You know me,

And therefore do not trifle.

Well. Can you be

So cruel to your nephew, now he's in

The way to rise? Was this the courtesy

You did me “in pure love, and no ends else”?

Over. End me no ends! Engage the whole estate,

And force you spouse to sign it, you shall have

Three or four thousand more, to roar and swagger

And revel in bawdy taverns.

Well. And beg after;

Mean you not so?

Over. My thoughts are mine, and free.

Shall I have security?

Well. No, indeed you shall, not,

Nor bond, nor bill, nor bare acknowledgment;

Your great looks fright not me.

Over. But my deeds shall.

Outbrav'd! Both draw.

L. All. Help, murder! murder!

Enter Servants

Well. Let him come on,

With all his wrongs and injuries about him,

Arm'd with his cut-throat practices to guard him;

The right that I bring with me will defend me,

And punish his extortion.

Over. That I had thee

But single in the field!

L. All. You may; but make not

My house your quarrelling scene.

Over. Were't in a church,

By Heaven and Hell, I'll do't!

Mar. Now put him to

The shewing of the deed. [Aside to WELLBORN.]

Well. This rage is vain, sir;

For fighting, fear not, you shall have your hands full,

Upon the least incitement; and whereas

You charge me with a debt of a thousand pounds,

If there be law, (howe'er you have no conscience,)

Either restore my land, or I'll recover

A debt, that's truly due to me from you,

In value ten times more than what you challenge.

Over. I in thy debt! O impudence! did I not purchase

The land left by thy father, that rich land,

That had continued in Wellborn's name

Twenty descents; which, like a riotous fool,

Thou didst make sale of it? Is not here inclos'd

The deed that dost confirm it mine?

Mar. Now, now!

Well. I do acknowledge none; I ne'er pass'd over

Any such land. I grant, for a year or two

You had it in trust; which if you do discharge,

Surrend'ring the possession, you shall ease

Yourself and me of chargeable suits in law,

Which, if you prove not honest, as I doubt it,

Must of necessity follow.

L. All. In my judgment,

He does advise you well.

Over. Good! good! Conspire

With you new husband, lady; second him

In his dishonest practices; but when

This manor is extended〖Seized.〗 to my use,

You'll speak in an humbler key, and sue for favour.

L. All. Never: do not hope it.

Well. Let despair first seize me.

Over. Yet, to shut up thy mouth, and make thee give

Thyself the lie, the loud lie, I draw out

The precious evidence; if thou canst forswear

Thy hand and seal, and make a forfeit of

Opens the box, [and displays the bond.]

Thy ears to the pillory, see! here's that will make

My interest clear—ha!

L. All. A fair skin of parchment.

Well. Indented, I confess, and labels too;

But neither wax nor words. How! thunderstruck?

Not a syllable to insult with? My wise uncle,

Is this your precious evidence? Is this that makes

Your interest clear?

Over. I am o'erwhelm'd with wonder!

What prodigy is this? What subtle devil

Hath raz'd out the inscription, the wax

Turned into dust? The rest of my deeds whole

As when they were deliver'd, and this only

Made nothing! Do you deal with witches, rascal?

There is a statute〖The law against witchcraft.〗 for you, which will bring

Your neck in an hempen circle; yes, there is;

And now 'tis better thought for, cheater, know

This juggling shall not save you.

Well. To save thee,

Would beggar the stock of mercy.

Over. Marrall!

Mar. Sir.

Over. Flattering him. Though the witnesses are dead, your testimony

Help with an oath or two: and for thy master,

Thy liberal master, my good honest servant,

I know thou wilt swear anything, to dash

The cunning sleight: besides, I know thou art

A public notary, and such stand in law

For a dozen witnesses: the deed being drawn too

By thee, my careful Marrall, and delivered

When thou were't present, will make good my title.

Wilt thou not swear this?

Mar. I! No, I assure you:

I have a conscience not sear'd up like yours;

I know no deeds.

Over. Wilt thou betray me?

Mar. Keep him

From using of his hands, I'll use my tongue,

To his no little torment.

Over. Mine own varlet

Rebel against me!

Mar. Yes, and uncase〖Flay.〗 you too.

“The idiot, the patch, the slave, the booby,

The property fit only to be beaten

For your morning exercise,” your “football,” or

“The unprofitable lump of flesh,” your “drudge,”

Can now anatomise you, and lay open

All your black plots, and level with the earth

Your hill of pride, and, with these gabions〖Wicker baskets filled with earth used to protect soldiers when digging trenches.〗 guarded

Unload my great artillery, and shake,

Nay pulverize, the walls you think defend you.

L. All. How he foams at the mouth with rage!

Well. To him again.

Over. O that I had thee in my gripe, I would tear thee

Joint after joint!

Mar. I know you are a tearer,

But I'll have first your fangs par'd off, and then

Come nearer to you; when I have discover'd,〖Revealed.〗

And made it good before the judge, what ways

And devilish practices you us'd to cozen

With an army of whole families, who yet live,

And but enrolled for soldiers, were able

To take in〖Capture.〗 Dunkirk.

Well. All will come out.

L. All. The better.

Over. But that I will live, rogue, to torture thee,

And make thee wish, and kneel in vain, to die,

These swords that keep thee from me should fix here,

Although they made my body but one wound,

But I would reach thee.

Lov. Aside. Heaven's hand is in this;

One bandog〖Fierce watchdog.〗 worry the other!

Over. I play the fool,

And make my anger but ridiculous:

There will be a time and place, there will be, cowards,

When you shall feel what I dare do,

Well. I think so:

You dare do any ill, yet want true valour

To be honest, and repent.

Over. They are words I know not,

Nor e'er will learn. Patience, the beggar's virtue,


Shall find no harbour here:—after these storms

At length a calm appears. Welcome, most welcome!

There's comfort in thy looks. Is the deed done?

Is my daughter married? Say but so, my chaplain,

And I am tame.

Willdo. Married! Yes, I assure you.

Over. Then vanish all sad thoughts! There's more gold for thee.

My doubts and fears are in the titles drown'd

Of my honourable, my right honourable daughter.

Greedy. Here will〖Q. will I.〗 be feasting! At least for a month,

I am provided: empty guts, croak no more.

You shall be stuff'd like bagpipes, not with wind,

But bearing〖Solid.〗 dishes.

Over. Instantly be here?Whispering to WILLDO.

To my wish! to my wish! Now you that plot against me,

And hop'd to trip my heels up, that contemn'd me,

Think on't and tremble.—Loud music—They come! I hear the music.

A lane there for my lord!

Well. Think sudden heat

May yet be cool'd, sir.

Over. Make way there for my lord!


Marg. Sir, first your pardon, then your blessing, with

Your full allowance of the choice I have made.

As ever you could make use of your reason, Kneeling.

Grow not in passion; since you may as well

Call back the day that's past, as untie the knot

Which is too strongly fasten'd: not to dwell

Too long on words, this is my husband.

Over. How!

All. So I assure you; all the rites of marriage,

With every circumstance, are past. Alas! sir,

Although I am no lord, but a lord's page,

Your daughter and my lov'd wife mourns not for it;

And, for right honourable son-in-law, you may say,

Your dutiful daughter.

Over. Devil! are they married?

Willdo. Do a father's part, and say, Heaven give 'em joy!

Over. Confusion and ruin! Speak, and speak quickly,

Or thou art dead.

Willdo. They are married.

Over. Thou hadst better

Have made a contract with the king of fiends,

Than these:—my brain turns!

Willdo. Why this rage to me?

Is not this your letter, sir, and these the words?

“Marry her to this gentleman.”

Over. It cannot—

Nor will I e'er believe it, 's death! I will not;

That I, that in all passages I touch'd

At worldly profit have not left a print

Where I have trod for the most curious search

To trace my footsteps, should be gull'd by children,

Baffl'd and fool'd, and all my hopes and labours

Defeated and made void.

Well. As it appears,

You are so, my grave uncle.

Over. Village nurses

Revenge their wrongs with curses; I'll not waste

A syllable, but thus I take the life

Which, wretched, I gave to thee. Offers to kill MARGARET.

Lov. [coming forward.] Hold, for your own sake!

Though charity to your daughter hath quite left you,

Will you do an act, though in your hopes lost here,

Can leave no hope for peace or rest hereafter?

Consider; at the best you are but a man,

And cannot so create your aims, but that

They may be cross'd.

Over. Lord! thus I spit at thee,

And at thy counsel; and again desire thee,

And as thou art a soldier, if thy valour

Dares shew itself where multitude and example

Lead not the way, let's quit the house, and change

Six words in private.

Lov. I am ready.

L. All. Stay, sir,

Contest with one distracted!

Well. You'll grow like him,

Should you answer his vain challenge.

Over. Are you pale?

Borrow his help, though Hercules call it odds,

I'll stand against both as I am, hemm'd in thus.

Since, like a Libyan lion in the toil,

My fury cannot reach the coward hunters,

And only spends itself, I'll quit the place.

Alone I can do nothing; but I have servants

And friends to second me; and if I make not

This house a heap of ashes (by my wrongs,

What I have spoke I will make good!) or leave

One throat uncut,—if it be possible,

Hell, add to my afflictions! Exit.

Mar. Is't not brave sport?

Greedy. Brave sport! I am sure it has ta'en away my stomach;

I do not like the sauce.

All. Nay, weep not, dearest,

Though it express your pity; what's decreed

Above, we cannot alter.

L. All. His threats move me

No scruple, madam.

Mar. Was it not a rare trick,

An it please your worship, to make the deed nothing?

I can do twenty neater, if you please

To purchase and grow rich; for I will be

Such a solicitor and steward for you,

As never worshipful had.

Well. I do believe thee;

But first discover the quaint〖Crafty.〗 means you us'd

To raze out the conveyance?

Mar. They are mysteries

Not to be spoke in public: certain minerals

Incorporated in the ink and wax—

Besides, he gave me nothing, but still fed me

With hopes and blows; but that was the inducement

To this conundrum. If it please your worship

To call to memory, this mad beast once caus'd me

To urge you or to drown or hang yourself;

I'll do the like to him, if you command me.

Well. You are a rascal! He that dares be false

To a master, though unjust, will ne'er be true

To any other. Look not for reward

Or favour from me; I will shun thy sight

As I would do a basilisk's. Thank my pity,

If thou keep thy ears; howe'er, I will take order

Your practice shall be silenc'd.

Greedy. I'll commit him,

If you'll have me, sir.

Well. That were to little purpose;

His conscience be his prison. Not a word,

But instantly be gone.

Ord. Take this kick with you.

Amb. And this.

Furn. If that I had my cleaver here,

I would divide your knave's head.

Mar. This is the haven

False servants still arrive at. Exit.


L. All. Come again!

Lov. Fear not, I am your guard.

Well. His looks are ghastly.

Willdo. Some little time I have spent, under your favours,

In physical studies, and if my judgment err not,

He's mad beyond recovery: but observe him,

And look to yourselves.

Over. Why, is not the whole world

Include in yourself? To what use then

Are friends and servants? Say there were a squadron

Of pikes, lin'd through with shot, when I am mounted

Upon my injuries, shall I fear to charge them?

No: I'll through the battalia, and, that routed,

Flourishing his sword sheathed.〖Q. unsheathed.〗

I'll fall to execution.—Ha! I am feeble:

Some undone widow sits upon mine arm,

And takes away the use of't; and my sword,

Glu'd to my scabbard with wrong'd orphans' tears,

Will not be drawn. Ha! what are these? Sure, hangmen,

That come to bind my hands, and then to drag me

Before the judgment-seat: now they are new shapes,

And do appear like Furies, with steel whips

To scourge my ulcerous soul. Shall I then fall

Ingloriously, and yield? No; spite of Fate,

I will be forc'd to hell like to myself.

Though you were legions of accursed spirits,

Thus would I fly among you.

[Rushes forward and flings himself on the ground.]

Well. There's no help;

Disarm him first, then bind him.

Greedy. Take a mittimus,〖A writ of committal.〗

And carry him to Bedlam.

Lov. How he foams!

Well. And bites the earth!

Willdo. Carry him to some dark room,

There try what art can do for his recovery.

Marg. O my dear father! They force OVERREACH off.

All. You must be patient, mistress.

Lov. Here is a precedent to teach wicked men,

That when they leave religion, and turn atheists,

Their own abilities leave them. Pray you take comfort,

I will endeavour you shall be his guardians

In his distractions: and for your land, Master Wellborn,

Be it good or ill in law, I'll be an umpire

Between you, and this, th' undoubted heir

Of Sir Giles Overreach. For me, here's the anchor

That I must fix on.

All. What you shall determine,

My lord, I will allow of.

Well. 'Tis the language

That I speak too; but there is something else

Beside the repossession of my land,

And payment of my debts, that I must practise.

I had a reputation, but 'twas lost

In my loose course; and until I redeem it

Some noble way, I am but half made up.

It is a time of action; if your lordship

Will please to confer a company upon me

In your command, I doubt not in my service

To my king and country but I shall do something

That may make me right again.

Lov. Your suit is granted,

And you lov'd for the motion.

Well. [coming forward.] Nothing wants then

But your allowance—


But your allowance, and in that our all

Is comprehended; it being known, nor we,

Nor he that wrote the comedy, can be free,

Without your manumission; which if you

Grant willingly, as a fair favour due

To the poet's and our labours, (as you may,

For we despair not, gentlemen, of the play,)

We jointly shall profess your grace hath might

To teach us action, and him how to write. [Exeunt.]

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