A Woman Killed
MISTRESS ANNE FRANKFORD, his wife
SIR FRANCIS ACTON, her brother
SIR CHARLES MOUNTFORD
MASTER WENDOLL, befriended by Frankford
MASTER CRANWELL, an old gentleman
Other serving-men and women
FALCONER and Huntsmen
SUSAN, sister to Sir Charles Mountford
SHERIFF, Officers, KEEPER, SHAFTON
OLD MOUNTFORD, uncle
SANDY, former friend
RODER, former tenant
Serving-woman and ANNE's two little children
I come but like a harbinger,1 being sent
To tell you what these preparations mean.
Look for no glorious state; our Muse is bent
Upon a barren subject, a bare scene.
We could afford this twig a timber-tree,
Whose strength might boldly on your favors build;
Our russet, tissue; drone, a honey-bee;
Our barren plot, a large and spacious field;
Our coarse fare, banquets; our thin water, wine;
Our brook, a sea; our bat's eyes, eagle's sight;
Our poet's dull and earthly Muse, divine;
Our ravens, doves; our crow's black feathers, white.
But gentle thoughts, when they may give the foil,
Save them that yield, and spare where they may spoil
1. The officer who goes ahead of the court to arrange for its entertainment.
A WOMAN KILLED
ACT I, SCENE I
Enter Master John Frankford, Mistress Anne [Frankford,]
Sir Francis Acton, Sir Charles Mountford, Master Malby,
Master Wendoll, and Master Cranwell
SIR F. Some music, there! None lead the bride a dance?
SIR C. Yes, would she dance The Shaking of the Sheets;
But that's the dance her husband means to lead her.
WEN. That's not the dance that every man must dance,
According to the ballad.
SIR F. Music, ho!
By your leave, sister,-by your husband's leave,
I should have said,-the hand that but this day
Was given you in the church I'll borrow.-Sound!
This marriage music hoists me from the ground.
FRANK. Ay, you may caper; you are light and free!
Marriage hath yoked my heels; pray, then, pardon me.
SIR F. I'll have you dance too, brother!
SIR C. Master Frankford
Y'are a happy man, sir, and much joy
Succeed your marriage mirth: you have a wife
So qualified, and with such ornaments
Both of the mind and body. First, her birth
Is noble, and her education such
As might become the daughter of a prince;
Her own tongue speaks all tongues, and her own hand
Can teach all strings to speak in their best grace,
From the shrill'st treble to the hoarsest bass.
To end her many praises in one word,
She's Beauty and Perfection's eldest daughter,
Only found by yours, though many a heart hath sought her.
FRANK. But that I know your virtues and chaste thoughts,
I should be jealous of your praise, Sir Charles.
CRAN. He speaks no more than you approve.
MAL. Nor flatters he that gives to her her due.
ANNE. I would your praise could find a fitter theme
Than my imperfect beauties to speak on!
Such as they be, if they my husband please
They suffice me now I am married.
This sweet content is like a flattering glass,
To make my face seem fairer to mine eye;
But the least wrinkle from his stormy brow
Will blast the roses in my cheeks that grow.
SIR F. A perfect wife already, meek and patient!
How strangely the word husband fits your mouth,
Not married three hours since! Sister, 'tis good;
You that begin betimes thus must needs prove
Pliant and duteous in your husband's love.-
Gramercies, brother! Wrought her to't already,-
"Sweet husband," and a curtsey, the first day?
Mark this, mark this, you that are bachelors,
And never took the grace of honest man;
Mark this, against1 you marry, this one phrase:
In a good time that man both wins and woos
That takes his wife down in her wedding shoes.
FRANK. Your sister takes not after you, Sir Francis:
All his wild blood your father spent on you;
He got her in his age, when he grew civil.
All his mad tricks were to his land entailed,
And you are heir to all; your sister, she
Hath to her dower her mother's modesty.
SIR C. Lord, sir, in what a happy state live you!
This morning, which to many seems a burden,
Too heavy to bear, is unto you a pleasure.
This lady is no clog, as many are;
She doth become you like a well-made suit,
In which the tailor hath used all his art;
Not like a thick coat of unseasoned frieze,1
Forced on your back in summer. She's no chain
To tie your neck, and curb ye to the yoke;
But she's a chain of gold to adorn your neck.
You both adorn each other, and your hands,
Methinks, are matches. There's equality
In this fair combination; y'are both
Scholars, both young, both being descended nobly.
There's music in this sympathy; it carries
Consort and expectation of much joy,
Which God bestow on you from this first day
Until your dissolution,-that's for aye!
SIR F. We keep you here too long, good brother Frankford.
Into the hall; away! Go cheer your guests.
What! Bride and bridegroom both withdrawn at once?
If you be missed, the guests will doubt their welcome,
And charge you with unkindness.
FRANK. To prevent it,
I'll leave you here, to see the dance within.
ANNE. And so will I.
Exeunt Frankford and Mistress Frankford
SIR F. To part you it were sin.-
Now, gallants, while the town musicians
Finger their frets2 within, and the mad lads
And country lasses, every mother's child,
With nosegays and bride-laces3 in their hats,
Dance all their country measures, rounds and jigs,
What shall we do? Hark! They're all on the hoigh;4
They toil like mill-horses, and turn as round,-
Marry, not on the toe! Ay, and they caper,
Not without cutting; you shall see, to-morrow,
The hall-floor pecked and dinted like a mill-stone,
Made with their high shoes. Though their skill be small,
Yet they tread heavy where their hobnails fall.
SIR C. Well, leave them to their sports!-Sir Francis Acton,
I'll make a match with you! Meet to-morrow
At Chevy Chase; I'll fly my hawk with yours.
SIR F. For what? for what?
SIR C. Why, for a hundred pound.
SIR F. Pawn me some gold of that!
SIR C. Here are ten angels;1
I'll make them good a hundred pound to-morrow
Upon my hawk's wing.
SIR F. 'Tis a match; 'tis done.
Another hundred pound upon your dogs;-
Dare ye, Sir Charles?
SIR C. I dare; were I sure to lose,
I durst do more than that; here's my hand.
The first course for a hundred pound!
SIR F. A match.
WEN. Ten angels on Sir Francis Acton's hawk;
As much upon his dogs!
CRAN. I am for Sir Charles Mountford: I have seen
His hawk and dog both tried. What! Clap ye hands,
Or is't no bargain?
WEN. Yes, and stake them down.
Were they five hundred, they were all my own.
SIR F. Be stirring early with the lark to-morrow;
I'll rise into my saddle ere the sun
Rise from his bed.
SIR C. If there you miss me, say
I am no gentleman! I'll hold my day.
SIR F. It holds on all sides.-Come, to-night let's dance;
Early to-morrow let's prepare to ride:
We had need be three hours up before the bride.
Enter Nick and Jenkin, Jack Slime, Roger Brickbat, [Cicely,]
with Country Wenches, and two or three Musicians
JEN. COME, NICK, TAKE YOU JOAN MINIVER, TO TRACE WITHAL, JACK SLIME, TRAVERSE YOU WITH CICELY MILKPAIL; I WILL TAKE JANE TRUBKIN, AND ROGER BRICKBAT SHALL HAVE ISBELL MOTLEY. AND NOW THAT THEY ARE BUSY IN THE PARLOR, COME, STRIKE UP; WE'LL HAVE A CRASH1 HERE IN THE YARD.
NICK. MY HUMOR IS NOT COMPENDIOUS: DANCING I POSSESS NOT, THOUGH I CAN FOOT IT; YET, SINCE I AM FALLEN INTO THE HANDS OF CICELY MILKPAIL, I CONSENT.
SLIME. TRULY, NICK, THOUGH WE WERE NEVER BROUGHT UP LIKE SERVING COURTIERS, YET WE HAVE BEEN BROUGHT UP WITH SERVING CREATURES,-AY, AND GOD'S CREATURES, TOO; FOR WE HAVE BEEN BROUGHT UP TO SERVE SHEEP, OXEN, HORSES, BOGS, AND SUCH LIKE; AND, THOUGH WE BE BUT COUNTRY FELLOWS, IT MAY BE IN THE WAY OF DANCING WE CAN DO THE HORSE-TRICK AS WELL AS THE SERVING-MEN.
BRICK. Ay, and the cross-point2 too.
JEN. O SLIME! O BRICKBAT! DO NOT YOU KNOW THAT COMPARISONS ARE ODIOUS? NOW WE ARE ODIOUS OURSELVES, TOO; THEREFORE THERE ARE NO COMPARISONS TO BE MADE BETWIXT US.
NICK. I am sudden, and not superfluous;
I am quarrelsome, and not seditious;
I am peaceable, and not contentious;
I am brief, and not compendious.
SLIME. FOOT IT QUICKLY! IF THE MUSIC OVERCOME NOT MY MELANCHOLY, I SHALL QUARREL; AND IF THEY SUDDENLY DO NOT STRIKE UP, I SHALL PRESENTLY STRIKE THEE DOWN.
JEN. NO QUARRELING, FOR GOD'S SAKE! TRULY, IF YOU DO, I SHALL SET A KNAVE BETWEEN YE.
SLIME. I COME TO DANCE, NOT TO QUARREL. COME, WHAT SHALL IT BE? ROGERO?3
JEN. Rogero? No; we will dance The Beginning of the World.
CIC. I love no dance so well as John come kiss me now.
NICK. I THAT HAVE ERE NOW DESERVED A CUSHION, CALL FOR THE CUSHION-DANCE.
BRICK. For my part, I like nothing so well as Tom Tyler.
JEN. No; we'l...