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Sc. I

Enter Provost.

ESCAL. Be it as your wisdom will.
PROV. Here, if it like your Honour.

See that Claudio
Be executed by nine to-morrow morning:
Bring him his Confessor, let him be prepar'd,
For that's the utmost of his pilgrimage. [Exit Provost.
ESCAL. Well, Heaven forgive him; and forgive us all!
Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall:

Some run from brakes1 of vice, and answer none;2
And some condemned for a fault alone.

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
Constable, and my name is Elbow; I do lean upon
justice, Sir, and do bring in here before your good
Honour two notorious benefactors.


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 !
ANG. Go to! What quality are they of? Elbow is your
name? Why dost thou not speak, Elbow?

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.
3 is well worded.

• 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
woman cardinally given, might have been accus'd in
fornication, adultery, and all uncleanliness there.
ESCAL. By the woman's means?

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
man, prove it.

ESCAL. [to ANGELO.] Do you hear how he misplaces?
CLO. Sir, she came in great with child; and longing
(saving your Honour's reverence) for stew'd prunes:
Sir, we had but two in the house, which at that very
distant time stood, as it were, in a fruit-dish, a dish of
some three-pence; your Honours have seen such dishes;
they are not China dishes, but very good dishes—
ESCAL. Go to, go to: no matter for the dish, Sir!
CLO. No, indeed, Sir, not of a pin: you are therein in the
right. But to the point. As I say, this Mistress Elbow,
being, as I say, with child, and being great-bellied, and
longing, as I said, for prunes; and having but two in
the dish, as I said, Master Froth here, this very man,
having eaten the rest, as I said, and, as I say, paying
for them very honestly-for, as you know, Master
Froth, I could not give you three-pence again-
FROTH. No, indeed.




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


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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!
What was done to Elbow's wife, that he hath cause to
complain of? Come me to what was done to her.
CLO. Sir, your Honour cannot come to that yet.
ESCAL. No, Sir, nor I mean it not.

CLO. Sir, but you shall come to it, by your Honour's leave.
And I beseech you look into Master Froth here, Sir;
a man of fourscore pound a year; whose father died at
Hallowmas-was 't not at Hallowmas, Master Froth?
FROTH, All-Hallond1 Eve.


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

for winter.

CLO. Why, very well, then: I hope here be truths!
ANG. This will last out a night in Russia,

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When nights are longest there. I'll take my leave,
And leave you to the hearing of the cause,

Hoping you'll find good cause to whip them all.
ESCAL. I think no less. Good morrow to your Lordship.
Now, Sir, come on! What was done to Elbow's wife,
once more?

CLO. Once, Sir? there was nothing done to her once.
ELB. I beseech you, Sir, ask him what this man did
to my wife.

CLO. I beseech your Honour, ask me.

ESCAL. Well, Sir-what did this gentleman to her? 139
CLO. I beseech you, Sir, look in this gentleman's face.

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.

1 All-Hallows'.

2 easy.


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
with her.

ESCAL. Which is the wiser here? Justice or Iniquity ?1
Is this true?

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?


Sc. I

Sc. I

FROTH. Yes, an 't please you, Sir.

ESCAL. So.-[to the Clown.] What trade are you of, Sir?
CLO. A tapster: a poor widow's tapster.

ESCAL. Your mistress's name?

CLO. Mistress Overdone.

ESCAL. Hath she had any more than one husband? 190
CLO. Nine, Sir: Overdone by the last.

ESCAL. Nine! Come hither to me, Master Froth.
Master Froth, I would not have you acquainted with
tapsters; they will draw you,' Master Froth, and you
will hang them. Get you gone, and let me hear no
more of you.

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?

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CLO. Pompey.

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.
your Worship will take order for the drabs and the
knaves, you need not to fear the bawds.

ESCAL. There are pretty orders beginning, I can tell you:
it is but heading and hanging.

1 (1) liquor, (2) to the gallows.

3 defeminise.

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