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Vortiger, Fellmonger, Buttonmonger, [Brazier,]
Grazier[s], [and other] petitioners.
This way his majesty comes.
Thank your good lordship.
When you hear yon door open--
Very good, my lord.
Be ready with your [several] suits; put forward.
That's a thing every man does naturally, sir,
That's a suitor, if he mean to speed.
'Tis well y'are so deep-learn'd; take no denials.
No, my good lord.
Not any, if you love
The prosperity of your [suits]; you mar all utterly
And overthrow your fruitful hopes forever
If either fifth or sixth, nay, tenth repulse
Fasten upon your bashfulness.
Say you so, my lord?
We can be troublesome and we list.
[Aside] I felt it but too late in the [general]
Of your rank brotherhood, which now I'll thank you
While this vexation is in play, I'll study
To raise a second, then a third to that,
One still to back another. I'll make quietness
As dear and precious to him as night's rest
To a man in suits in law: he shall be glad
To yield up power; if not, it shall be had.
Hark! I protest my heart was coming upward, I thought the
door had open'd.
Marry, would it had, sir.
I have such a treacherous heart of mine own, 'twill throb
at the very fall of a farthingale.
Not if it fall on the rushes.
Yes, truly, if there be no light in the room I shall
throb presently. The first time it took me my wife was i'
th' company; I remember the room was not half so light as
this, but I'll be sworn I was a whole hour a-finding on
Byrlady, y'had a long time of throbbing on't then!
Still I felt men, but I could feel no women; I thought
they had been all sunk. I have made a vow for't, I'll
never have a meeting by candlelight again.
Yes, sir, in lanthorns.
Yes, sir, in lanthorns, but I'll never trust a naked
candle again, take 't on my word.
Enter Constantius and
Hark there, stand close! It opens now indeed.
Oh, majesty, what art thou! I'd give any man half my suit
to deliver my petition now; 'tis in the behalf of
button-makers, and so it seems by my flesh.
[To the Gentlemen] Pray do not follow me, unless
To wonder at my garments; there's no cause
I give you why you should. 'Tis shame enough
Methinks for me to look upon myself;
It grieves me that more should: the other weeds
Became me better, but the lords are pleas'd
To force me to wear these; I would not else.
I pray be satisfied, I call'd you not.
Wonder of madness, can you stand so idle
And know [that] you must die?
We are all commanded, sir;
Besides it is our duty to your grace
To give attendance.
What a wild thing's this!
We marvel though you tremble at death's name
When you'll not see the cause why you are [cowards].
All our attendances are far too little
On our own selves, yet you'll give me attendance
Who looks to you the whilst, and so you vanish
Strangely and fearfully. For charity's sake,
Make not my presence guilty of your sloth;
Withdraw, young men, and find you honest business.
[Aside to First Gentleman] What hopes have we to
rise by following him?
I'll give him over shortly.
[Aside to Second Gentleman] He's too nice,.
Too holy for young gentlemen to follow
That have good faces and sweet running fortunes.
Eight hours a day in serious contemplation
Is but a bare allowance, no higher food
To th' soul than bread and water to the body,
And that's but needful then: more would do better.
Let's all kneel together; ['twill] move pity:
I have been at begging a hundred suits.
How happy am I in the sight of you!
Here are religious souls that lose no time.
With what devotion do they kneel to heaven
And seem to check me that am so remiss!
I bring my zeal amongst you, holy men;
[If I see any kneel and I sit out,]
That hour is not well serv'd, methinks. Strict souls,
You have been of some order in your times?
Graziers and braziers some, and this a fellmonger.
Here's my petition.
Mine, an't like your grace.
Look upon mine, I am the longest suitor:
I was undone seven years ago, my lord.
I have mock'd my good hopes. Call you these petitions?
Why, there's no form of prayer among 'em all!
Yes, i' th' [bottom] there's [some] half a line
Prays for your majesty if you look on mine.
Make your request to heaven, not to me.
'Las, mine's a supplication for brass buttons, sir.
There's a great enormity). in wool, I beseech your grace consider
Pastures rise to twopence an acre, my lord. What will this world come to?
I do beseech your grace!
Good your grace!
Oh, this is one of my afflictions
That with the crown enclos'd me! I must bear it.
Your grace's answer to my supplication!
To mine, my lord!
No violent storm lasts ever,
That's all the comfort on't.
Your highness' answer!
We are almost half undone, the country beggar'd!
See, see, he points to heaven, as who should say
There's enough there; but 'tis a great way thither.
There's no good to be done here, I see that; we may all
spend our mouths like a company of hounds in the chase of
a royal deer, and go home and fall to cold mutton
bones, when we have done.
My wife will hang me; that's my destiny.
Exeunt [all but
Thanks, heaven, 'tis over; we should never know rightly
The sweetness of a calm but for a tempest.
Here's a [wish'd] hour for contemplation now,
All still and silent; this is a true kingdom.
Alas, this is but early
And gentle to the troops of businesses
That flock about authority, my lord.
You must forthwith settle your mind to marry.
Suddenly there's no pause given;
The peoples' wills are violent,
And covetous of succession from your loins.
From me there can come none: a profess'd abstinence
Hath set a virgin [seal] upon my blood
And alter'd all the course; the heat I have
Is all enclos'd within a zeal to [virtue],
And that's not fit for earthly propagation.
Alas, I shall but forfeit all their hopes;
I'm a man made without desires, tell 'em.
This gives no satisfaction to their wills, my lord:
I prov'dos. them with such words, but all were
Their sturdy voices blew 'em into clouds.
A virgin of the highest subject's blood
They have pick'd out for your embrace, and send her
Bless'd with their general wishes into fruitfulness.
See where she comes, my
[Moving aside] [I] never felt
Unhappy hand of misery till this touch;
A patience I could find for all but this.
My lord, your vow'd love ventures me but dangerously.
'Tis but to strengthen a vexation politicly.
That's an uncharitable practice, trust me, sir.
No more of that.
But say he should affect me, sir,
How should I 'scape him then? I have but one faith, my
And that you have already; our late contract's
A divine witness to't.
Leave it to me still;
I am not without shifting rooms and helps
For all my projects [I] commit with you.
[Aside] 'Tis an ungodly way to come to honour;
I do not like 't; I love Lord Vortiger,
But not these practices; th'are too uncharitable.
Are you a virgin?
Never yet, my lord,
Known to the will of man.
Oh, blessed creature!
And does too much felicity make you surfeit?
Are you in soul assured there is a state
Prepared for you, for you, a glorious one,
In midst of heaven, now in the state you stand?
And had you rather, after much known misery,
Cares and hard labours, mingled with a curse,
Throng but to th' door and hardly get a place there?
Think, has the world a folly like this madness?
Keep still that holy and immaculate fire,
You chaste lamp of eternity; 'tis a treasure
Too precious for death's moment to partake,
This twinkling of short life. Disdain as much
To let mortality know you as stars
To kiss the pavements; y'have a substance
As excellent as theirs, holding your pureness:
They look upon corruption, as you do,
But are stars still; be you a virgin too.
I'll never marry, what though my troth be engag'd
To Vortiger. Forsaking all the world
I save it well and do my faith no wrong.
Y'have mightily prevail'd, great virtuous lord;
I'm bound eternally to praise your goodness.
Enter Vortiger and
I carry thoughts away as
pure from man
As ever made a virgin's name immortal.
I will do that for joy I never did
Nor ever will again.
[He kisses her.] Exit
My lord, he's taken.
I'm sorry for't; I like not that so well:
They're somewhat too familiar for their time methinks;
This way of kissing is no course to vex him.
Why, I that have a weaker faith and patience
Could endure more than that coming from woman.
Dispatch and bring his answer speedily.
My lord, my gracious lord.
Beshrew thy heart.
They all attend your grace.
I would not have 'em;
'Twould please me better and they'ld all depart
And leave the court to me, or put me out
And take it to theirselves.
The noon is past, my lord;
Meat's upon the table.
Meat! Away, get from me;
Thy memory's diseas'd. What saint's eve's this?
Saint Agatha, I take [it].
Oh, is it so?
I am not worthy to be serv'd before her,
And so return I pray.
He'll starve the guard and this be suffer'd; if we set
court bellies by a monastery clock, he that breaks a
fellow's pate now will scarce be able to crack a louse
within this twelvemonth.
Sure 'tis forgetfulness and not man's will
That leads him forth into licentious ways;
He cannot certainly commit such errors
And think upon 'em truly as they are acting.
Why's abstinence ordain'd but for such seasons?
Devonshire and Stafford.
My lord, y'have pleas'd to put us to much pains,
But we confess 'tis portion of our duties.
Will your grace please to walk? Dinner stays for you.
I have answer'd that already.
But, my lord,
We must not so yield to you, pardon me:
'Tis for the general good; you must be rul'd, sir.
Your health and life is dearer to us now;
Think where you are, at court: this is no monastery.
But, sir, my conscience keeps still where it was;
I may not eat this day.
We have sworn you shall,
And plentifully too; we must preserve you, sir,
Though you'll be wilful: 'tis no slight condition
To be a king.
Would I were less than man.
What, will you make the people rise, my lord,
In great despair of your continuance
If you neglect the means that must sustain you?
I never eat on [eves].
But now you must:
It concerns others' healths that you take food;
Y'have chang'd your life, you well may change your mood.
This is beyond all cruelty.
'Tis our care, my lord.
 and: if
 rank: 1) arrant, notorious, 2) foul-smelling
 Marry: an oath derived from the name
of the Virgin Mary
 farthingale: a woman's hooped petticoat
 rushes: straw, which was used to cover the
 Byrlady: by our Lady, an oath (appears
variously as berlady and be-lady.
 weeds: garments
 nice: scrupulous, precise.
 enormity: quantity, surplus. Probably a reference
to the glut of English dyed wool cloth in the late
1610's, after foreign countries banned its importation to
retaliate against England's own ban on exporting undyed
cloth to be dyed overseas.
 Pastures rise to twopence an acre: "I
cherished a hope for a short time that this passage might
also help to throw some light on the date of the play,
but reference to J. E. Thorold Roger's History of
Agriculture and Prices in England soon showed how
scantly are the surviving data for forming any
conclusions as to the fluctuations in pastoral rents at
this period" (Bald).
 royal deer: deer that escaped a hunt led
by a king or queen; hunting dogs were traditionally given
the deer's entrails as a reward, but only if it didn't
escape, of course.
 prov'd: reproved
 Saint Agatha: St. Agatha's day is
 he that breaks a fellow's pate...crack a louse:
i.e., because the court will not only adopt a monastic
eating schedule but will also tonsure their hair, where
lice could no longer hide.
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