A Select Collection of Old English Plays, Volume 9 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 508 pages of information about A Select Collection of Old English Plays, Volume 9.

BRA.  Mistress, I will; he shall not pass this land,
But I will bring him bound with this strong hand.

[Exeunt.

SCENE II.

The Street before the House of Anselm’s Mother.

Enter MISTRESS ARTHUR, poorly.

MRS ART.  O, what are the vain pleasures of the world,
That in their actions we affect them so? 
Had I been born a servant, my low life
Had steady stood from all these miseries. 
The waving reeds stand free from every gust,
When the tall oaks are rent up by the roots. 
What is vain beauty but an idle breath? 
Why are we proud of that which so soon changes? 
But rather wish the beauty of the mind,
Which neither time can alter, sickness change,
Violence deface, nor the black hand of envy
Smudge and disgrace, or spoil, or make deform’d. 
O, had my riotous husband borne this mind,
He had been happy, I had been more blest,
And peace had brought our quiet souls to rest.

    Enter YOUNG MASTER ARTHUR.

Y. ART.  O, whither shall I fly to save my life
When murder and despair dogs at my heels? 
O misery! thou never found’st a friend;
All friends forsake men in adversity: 
My brother hath denied to succour me,
Upbraiding me with name of murderer;
My uncles double-bar their doors against me;
My father hath denied to shelter me,
And curs’d me worse than Adam did vile Eve. 
I that, within these two days, had more friends
Than I could number with arithmetic,
Have now no more than one poor cypher is,
And that poor cypher I supply myself: 
All that I durst commit my fortunes to,
I have tried, and find none to relieve my wants. 
My sudden flight and fear of future shame
Left me unfurnish’d of all necessaries,
And these three days I have not tasted food.

MRS ART.  It is my husband; O, how just is heaven! 
Poorly disguis’d, and almost hunger-starv’d! 
How comes this change?

Y. ART.  Doth no man follow me? 
O, how suspicious guilty murder is! 
I starve for hunger, and I die for thirst. 
Had I a kingdom, I would sell my crown
For a small bit of bread:  I shame to beg,
And yet, perforce, I must or beg or starve. 
This house, belike, ’longs to some gentlewoman,
And here’s a woman:  I will beg of her. 
Good mistress, look upon a poor man’s wants. 
Whom do I see? tush!  Arthur, she is dead. 
But that I saw her dead and buried,
I would have sworn it had been Arthur’s wife;
But I will leave her; shame forbids me beg
Of one so much resembles her.

MRS ART.  Come hither, fellow! wherefore dost thou turn
Thy guilty looks and blushing face aside? 
It seems thou hast not been brought up to this.

Y. ART.  You say true, mistress; then for charity,
And for her sake whom you resemble most. 
Pity my present want and misery.

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A Select Collection of Old English Plays, Volume 9 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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