ANS. Sweet mistress, he bequeath’d you
to the earth;
You promis’d him to be his wife till death,
And you have kept your promise: but now, since
The world, your husband, and your friends suppose
That you are dead, grant me but one request,
And I will swear never to solicit more
Your sacred thoughts to my dishonest love.
MRS ART. So your demand may be no prejudice
To my chaste name, no wrong unto my husband,
No suit that may concern my wedlock’s breach,
I yield unto it; but
To pass the bounds of modesty and chastity,
Sooner will I bequeath myself again
Unto this grave, and never part from hence,
Than taint my soul with black impurity.
ANS. Take here my hand and faithful heart to
That I will never tempt you more to sin:
This my request is—since your husband dotes
Upon a lewd, lascivious courtesan—
Since he hath broke the bonds of your chaste bed,
And, like a murd’rer, sent you to your grave,
Do but go with me to my mother’s house;
There shall you live in secret for a space,
Only to see the end of such lewd lust,
And know the difference of a chaste wife’s bed,
And one whose life is in all looseness led.
MRS ART. Your mother is a virtuous matron held:
Her counsel, conference, and company
May much avail me; there a space I’ll stay,
Upon condition, as you said before,
You never will move your unchaste suit more.
ANS. My faith is pawn’d. O, never
had chaste wife
A husband of so lewd and unchaste life!
A Room in Mistress Mary’s House.
Enter MISTRESS MARY, MISTRESS SPLAY, and BRABO.
BRA. Mistress, I long have serv’d you,
These bristled hairs upon my grave-like chin
Were all unborn; when I first came to you,
These infant feathers of these ravens’ wings
Were not once begun.
MRS SPLAY. No, indeed, they were not.
BRA. Now in my two moustachios for a need,
(Wanting a rope) I well could hang myself;
I prythee, mistress, for all my long service,
For all the love that I have borne thee long,
Do me this favour now, to marry me.
Enter YOUNG MASTER ARTHUR.
MRS MA. Marry, come up, you blockhead! you great
What! wouldst thou have me marry with a devil!
But peace, no more; here comes the silly fool,
That we so long have set our lime-twigs for;
Begone, and leave me to entangle him.
[Exeunt MISTRESS SPLAY and BRABO.
Y. ART. What, Mistress Mary?
MRS MA. O good Master Arthur,
Where have you been this week, this month, this year?
This year, said I? where have you been this age?
Unto a lover ev’ry minute seems
Time out of mind:
How should I think you love me,
That can endure to stay so long from me?