Arden, cheer up thy spirits, and droop no more My gracious lord, the duke of somerset, Hath freely given to thee and to thy heirs, By letters patent from his majesty, All the lands of the abbey of feversham. Read them, and leave this melancholy mood. Franklin, thy love prolongs my weary life; And but for thee how odious were this life, That shows me nothing but torments my soul, And those foul objects that offend mine eyes, Which makes me wish that for this vale of heaven The earth hung over my head and covered me. Love letters past twixt Mosbie and my wife, And they have privy meetings in the town: Nay, on his finger did I spy the ring Which at our marriage-day the priest put on.
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Arden, cheer up thy spirits, and droop no more My gracious lord, the duke of somerset, Hath freely given to thee and to thy heirs, By letters patent from his majesty, All the lands of the abbey of feversham.
Read them, and leave this melancholy mood. Franklin, thy love prolongs my weary life; And but for thee how odious were this life, That shows me nothing but torments my soul, And those foul objects that offend mine eyes, Which makes me wish that for this vale of heaven The earth hung over my head and covered me.
Love letters past twixt Mosbie and my wife, And they have privy meetings in the town: Nay, on his finger did I spy the ring Which at our marriage-day the priest put on. Can any grief be half so great as this? Comfort thyself, sweet friend; it is not strange That women will be false and wavering. Ay, but to dote on such a one as he Is monstrous, Franklin, and intolerable.
Why, what is he? A botcher, and no better at the first; Who, by base brokage getting some small stock, Crept into service of a nobleman, And by his servile flattery and fawning Is now become the steward of his house, And bravely jets it in his silken gown. Yes, the lord Clifford, he that loves not me, But through his favor let him not grow proud, For were he by the lord protector backed, He should not make me to be pointed at.
I am by birth a gentlfr. In any case be not too jealious. Nor make no question of her love to thee; But, as securely, presently take horse, And lie with me at London all this term; For women, when they may, will not, But, being kept back, straight grow outrageous.
Summer nights are short, and yet you rise ere day. Had I been wake, you had not risen so soon. But this night, sweet Alice, thou hast killed my heart, I heard thee call on Mosbie in thy sleep.
And thereof came it, and therefore blame not me. I know it did, and therefore let it pass. I must to London, sweet Alice, presently. But tell me do you mean to stay there long? No longer there till my affairs be done. He will not stay above a month at Most. A month? Ay me! Sweet Arden, come again Within a day or two, or else I die. I cannot long be from thee gentle Alice. Whilst Michael fetch our horses from the field, Franklin and I will down unto the key; For I have certain goods there to unload.
Exeunt Arden and Franklin. Ere noon he means to take horse and away! Sweet news is this. Sweet Mosbie is the man that hath my heart: And he usurps it, having nought but this, That I am tied to him by marriage. Whether it be or no, he shall be mine, In spite of him, of hymen, and of rites.
Be not afraid; my husband is now from home. He whom you wot of, Mosbie, mistress Alice, Is come to town, and sends you word by me In any case you may not visit him. Not visit him? No, nor take no knowledge of his being here. But tell me, is he angry or displeased? Should seem so, for he is wondrous sad. Ask Mosbie how I have incurred his wrath; Bear him from me these pair of silver dice, With which we played for kisses many a time, And when I lost, I won, and so did he; - Such winning and such losing jove send me, And bid him, if his love do not decline, Come this morning but along my door, And as a stranger but salute me there: This may he do without suspect or fear.
Exit Adam. I know he loves me well, but dares not come, Because my husband is so jealious, And these my marrow prying neighbors blab, Hinder our meetings when we would confer.
How, now Michael, whither are you going? Ay; but, Michael, see you keep your oath, And be secret as you are resolute. I understand the painter here hard by Hath made report that he and sue is sure. But he hath sent a dagger sticking in a heart, With a verse or two stolen from a painted cloth: The which I hear the wench keeps in her chest.
Trust not to that, Michael. Who would not venture upon house and land, When he may have it for a right down blow? Yonder comes Mosbie. Michael, get thee gone, And let not him nor any know thy drifts. Exit Michael. Mosbie, my love! Away, I say, and talk not to me now. A word or two, sweet heart, and then I will. Where is your husband? There let him be; hence forward know me not.
Is this the end of all thy solemn oaths? Is this the fruit thy reconcilement buds? To try thy constancy have I been strange; Would I had never tried, but lived in hope! Yet pardon me, for love is jealous. I am content for to be reconciled, And that I know, will be mine overthrow. Thine overthrow? First let the world dissolve. Nay, Mosbie, let me still enjoy thy love, And happen what will, I am resolute. My saving husband hoards up bags of gold To make our children rich, and now is he Gone to unload the goods that shall be thine, And he and Franklin will to London straight.
To London, Alice? Ah, would we could! I happened on a painter yesternight, The only cunning man of Christendom; For he can temper poison with his oil, That whoso looks upon the work he draws Shall, with the beams that issue from his sight, Suck venom to his breast and slay himself. Sweet Alice he shall draw thy counterfeit, That Arden may by gazing on it perish. Ay, but Mosbie that is dangerous, For thou or i, or any other else, Coming into the chamber where it hangs may die.
Then tell me, master Mosbie, shall I have her? Then, brother, to requite this courtesy, You shall command my life, my skill, and all. Ah, that thou couldst be secret. Fear him not; leave; I have talked sufficient. You know not me that ask such questions.
Might I without control, Enjoy thee still, then Arden should not die: But seeing I cannot, therefore let him die. Enough, sweet Alice; thy kind words make me melt. Your trick of poisoned pictures we dislike; Some other poison would do better far.
Ay, such as might be put into his broth, And yet in taste not to be found at all. I know your mind, and here I have it for you. Put but a dram of this into his drink, Or any kind of broth that he shall eat, And he shall die within an hour after. As I am a gentlewoman, clarke, next day Thou and Susan shall be married.
In good time; see where my huskand comes, master Mosbie, ask him the question yourself. Exit clarke Mosbie. Hath any other interest herein? As for the lands, Mosbie, they are mine By letters patent from his majesty. But I must have a mandate for my wife; They say you seek to rob me of her love: Villain, what makes thou in her company? Arden, I thought not on her, I came to thee, But rather than I pocket up this wrong.
What will you do, sir? Revenge it on the proudest of you both. So, sirrah, you may not wear a sword, The statute makes against artificers. I warrant that I do. Ah, master Arden, you have injured me: I do appeal to God and to the world. Why, canst thou deny thou wert a butcher once? Measure me what I am, not what I was. Why, what art thou now but a velvet drudge, A cheating steward, and base minded peasant.
Forget them, Mosbie: I had cause to speak, When all the knights and gentlemen of kent Make common table-talk of her and thee. Who lives that is not touched with slanderous tongues. Then, Mosbie, to eschew the speech of men, Upon whose general bruit all honor hangs, Forbear his house.
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ARDEN OF FEVERSHAM
But tell me, is he angry or displeased? It should seem so, for he is wondrous sad. Stay, Adam, stay; thou wert wont to be my friend. Ask Mosbie how I have incurred his wrath; Bear him from me these pair of silver dice, With which we played for kisses many a time, And when I lost, I won, and so did he;— Such winning and such losing Jove send me! And bid him, if his love do not decline, To come this morning but along my door, And as a stranger but salute me there: This may he do without suspect or fear. Here enters Michael.