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ESCAL. Be it as your wisdom will.
See that Claudio
Some run from brakes1 of vice, and answer none;2
Where is the Provost?
Enter ELBOW, FROTH, Clown, Officers, etc. ELB. Come, bring them away: if these be good people in a Commonweal, that do nothing but use their abuses in common houses, I know no law: bring them away.
ANG. How now, Sir! What's your name? and what's the matter?
ELB. If it please your Honour, I am the poor Duke's
ANG. Benefactors! Well; what benefactors are they? are they not malefactors?
ELB. If it please your Honour, I know not well what they are: but precise villains they are, that I am sure of; and void of all profanation in the world that good Christians ought to have.
ESCAL. This comes off well: here's a wise Officer !
CLO. He cannot, Sir: he's out at elbow.
ANG. What are you, Sir?
ELB. He, Sir? A tapster, Sir; parcel-bawd; one that serves a bad woman; whose house, Sir, was, as they say, pluck'd down in the Suburbs; and now she professes a hot-house, which, I think, is a very ill house too. ESCAL. How know you that?
1 (1) racks (tortioners'); (2) thickets.
• no question. • bath-house, i.e. presumably a brothel.
ELB. My wife, Sir, whom I detest before Heaven and ACT II your Honour Sc. I
ESCAL. HOW! thy wife?
ELB. Ay, Sir: whom, I thank Heaven, is an honest
ESCAL. Dost thou detest her therefore?
ELB. I say, Sir, I will detest myself also, as well as she, that this house, if it be not a bawd's house, it is pity of her life, for it is a naughty house.
ESCAL. How dost thou know that, Constable ?
ELB. Marry, Sir, by my wife: who, if she had been a
ELB. Ay, Sir, by Mistress Overdone's means: but as she spit in his face, so she defied him.
CLO. Sir, if it please your Honour, this is not so.
ELB. Prove it before these varlets here, thou honourable
ESCAL. [to ANGELO.] Do you hear how he misplaces?
CLO. Very well: you being then, if you be remember'd,
cracking the stones of the aforesaid prunes
FROTH. Ay, So I did, indeed.
CLO. Why, very well: I telling you then, if you be
remember'd, that such a one, and such a one, were past cure of the thing you wot of, unless they kept very good diet, as I told you
FROTH. All this is true.
CLO. Why, very well, then!
ESCAL. Come, you are a tedious fool: to the purpose!
CLO. Sir, but you shall come to it, by your Honour's leave.
CLO. Why, very well; I hope here be truths! He, Sir, sitting, as I say, in a lower2 chair, Sir-'twas in the Bunch of Grapes, where, indeed, you have a delight to sit, have you not?
FROTH. I have so; because it is an open room, and good
CLO. Why, very well, then: I hope here be truths!
When nights are longest there. I'll take my leave,
Hoping you'll find good cause to whip them all.
CLO. Once, Sir? there was nothing done to her once.
CLO. I beseech your Honour, ask me.
ESCAL. Well, Sir-what did this gentleman to her? 139
Good Master Froth, look upon his Honour; 'tis for a good purpose. Doth your Honour mark his face? ESCAL. Ay, Sir, very well.
CLO. Nay, I beseech you, mark it well.
ESCAL. Well, I do so.
CLO. Doth your Honour see any harm in his face?
ESCAL. Why, no.
CLO. I'll be suppos'd upon a book, his face is the worst thing about him. Good, then: if his face be the worst thing about him, how could Master Froth do the Constable's wife any harm? I would know that of your Honour.
ESCAL. He's in the right. Constable, what say you to it? ELB. First, an it like you, the house is a respected house: next, this is a respected fellow; and his mistress is a respected woman.
CLO. By this hand, Sir, his wife is a more respected person than any
of us all.
ELB. Varlet, thou liest; thou liest, wicked varlet: the time is yet to come that she was ever respected with man, woman, or child.
CLO. Sir, she was respected with him before he married
ESCAL. Which is the wiser here? Justice or Iniquity ?1
ELB. O thou caitiff! O thou varlet! O thou wicked Hannibal! I respected with her, before I was married to her?—If ever I was respected with her, or she with me, let not your Worship think me the poor Duke's Officer!-Prove this, thou wicked Hannibal, or I'll have mine action of battery on thee.
ESCAL. If he took you a box o' the ear, you might have your action of slander too.
ELB. Marry, I thank your good Worship for it. What is 't
your Worship's pleasure I shall do with this wicked caitiff? ESCAL. Truly, Officer, because he hath some offences in him that thou would'st discover if thou could'st, let him continue in his courses till thou know'st what they are. ELB. Marry, I thank your Worship for it. Thou see'st, thou wicked varlet, now, what's come upon thee! Thou art to continue now, thou varlet: thou art to continue. ESCAL. [to FROTH.] Where were you born, friend? FROTH. Here in Vienna, Sir. ESCAL. Are you of fourscore pounds a year?
1 constable or clown?
FROTH. Yes, an 't please you, Sir.
ESCAL. So.-[to the Clown.] What trade are you of, Sir?
ESCAL. Your mistress's name?
CLO. Mistress Overdone.
ESCAL. Hath she had any more than one husband? 190
ESCAL. Nine! Come hither to me, Master Froth.
FROTH. I thank your Worship. For mine own part, I never come into any room in a taphouse but I am drawn in. ESCAL. Well, no more of it, Master Froth: farewell. [Exit FROTH.]- Come you hither to me, Master Tapster; what's your name, Master Tapster?
ESCAL. What else?
CLO. Bum, Sir.
ESCAL. "Troth, and your bum is the greatest thing about you: so that, in the beastliest sense, you are Pompey the Great. Pompey, you are partly a bawd, Pompey, howsoever you colour it in being a tapster, are you not? Come, tell me true: it shall be the better for you. CLO. Truly, Sir, I am a poor fellow that would live. ESCAL. How would you live, Pompey?
By being a
bawd? What do you think of the trade, Pompey? Is it a lawful trade?
CLO. If the Law would allow it, Sir.
ESCAL. But the Law will not allow it, Pompey; nor it shall not be allow'd in Vienna.
CLO. Does your Worship mean to geld and splay all the youth of the City?
ESCAL. No, Pompey.
CLO. Truly, Sir, in my poor opinion, they will to 't then.
ESCAL. There are pretty orders beginning, I can tell you:
1 (1) liquor, (2) to the gallows.