Reconstructing lost plays/Keep the Widow Waking/Act 1

Act 1. Scene 1. Margery's house

Enter Margery and Nicholas

Margery. At moontide with the owl! Why without thought

Do maidens amble sideways, crabs beside

The rock with no sand-hole to crawl into?

Nicholas. You wonder what your daughter does at night?

Ho, ho, a girl of sixteen moist and keen?

Can any mother marvel nowadays?

Margery. A Toby and his charms!

Nicholas. Catastrophes for maiden's seat of grace!

Margery. Down, menstruous devil, underneath my floor!

Nicholas. No grieving yet before the swollen fact,

Whomever may be seeding unforeseen.

Margery. My Mary now perhaps un-Maried, all

Because of man's skill to accost and wait!

Nicholas. A virgin does not die of it.

Margery. Nine, nine, nine!

Nicholas. Whenever she may lie or contradict,

Bewail more gently than you should or can.

Margery. My case repeated from so long ago!

Nicholas. There you have precedent for charity.

Margery. I will examine,-

Nicholas. Unlatching of the gate-

Margery. Discover to my harm, perhaps hers, too.

Nicholas. Brings culprits home.

Enter Mary

Mary. Ha, how? A mother waking?

Nicholas. Ha! Ha! Can any mother wonder here?

Exit Nicholas

Margery. (brandishing a candle on her face

A mother with no candle into thoughts!

Mary. A prying eye that gains more smoke than light.

Margery. Thoughts clearer than the soot in hell, I hope.

Mary. What infamy am I accused of now?

Margery. One hour later than your chore allowed!

Mary. I looked for pickets to complete the fence.

Margery. A type of wall a Toby pulls down clean!

Mary. Hee, hee, hee, hardly with no sweat at all.

Margery. Shame, biting on the world-corrupted flesh,

Still sniggers in her naked misery.

Mary. We strolled.

Margery. Or glibly sauntered in the hole of pitch.

Mary. With lights and people.

Margery. Whores Tobies will uncover and forget.

Mary. I hope not.

Margery. Hope groans at our simplicity. And then?

Mary. We kissed.

Margery. Let us discover home-results of that. (peering under her smock

Mary. Ha, underprying past all histories!

I burn because of ancient ignorance.

Margery. Dirt and grass-stains along the streaks of blood!

Mary. I stumbled.

Margery. On man's lust.

Mary. No virgin had less reason to complain.

Margery. Oh, not today perhaps before we sleep.

Exeunt Margery and Mary

Act 1. Scene 2. Anne's house

Enter Anne and Nathaniel

Anne. Grind all for Grindall, spare no jewelled fly

That hovers in unpaying houses but

Collect both dirt and money.

Nathaniel. O, mother, how will we live long enough

To spend world-wisely all the gold we have?

Anne. We do not reason why we take it all

But take it.

Nathaniel. Who must we catch now? Martha first than most?

Anne. First Martha as a friend is credited with time

Along with money, then as friends we take

Both time and money.

Nathaniel. A panoply of good for all things bad.

Anne. How else does one become rich, son?

Nathaniel. If rich, why richer?

Anne. Rich, richer, richest through the world's progression!

Nathaniel. Who next must bleed for that?

Anne. From Margery Spenser pluck out fifty pounds.

Nathaniel. Or without hindrance I will break her neck.

Anne. From Vicar Cartmell break off fifty pounds.

Nathaniel. Both crossed down carefully.

Anne. Some others of the cross I will convince

If not inveigle. How else should someone

Do good without the best of every good?

Nathaniel. Who must be snatched to prison?

Anne. Without compunction Toby Audley.

Nathaniel. I hear he offered Mary Spenser what

She handsomely would rid herself off of.

Anne. Yet what this Toby Audley got from me

He will return or warp. About these now!

Nathaniel. No gold exists but you.

Exit Nathaniel and enter Martha

Martha. I am not strangled but owe certains sums.

Anne. Do you reflect on that? I had almost

Forgotten a friend's debt when you arrived.

Martha. What if your usuries exceed the pope's?

I will repay my all with interest.

Anne. Some say your husband bends and sweats to shoe

An army's worth of men, which triple-piles

Your back with more than linen.

Martha. And thereby usurers the safer stand.

As a friend, not as debtor, I write down

More interests today or wish to spill.

Anne. Which?

Martha. A marriage spoken of by well-wishers.

Anne. A bullet aimed at whom?

Martha. Idea for the best of happiness.

Anne. A marriage? Fencepost to advancement, block

To talent, open road to no road?

Martha. A once so wished-for settlement of hope

Abhorred by you, I find.

Anne. Remembering the one I won to lose.

Martha. Cut down the Persian lilac to make it

Best grow next year, for everywhere the talk

Flows for a widow's marriage towards seas

Of deep contentment.

Anne. O no, a widow's settlement for me!

Exit Anne and re-enter Nathaniel

Nathaniel. My mother hugs herself in awful glee.

Martha. Faugh, I had hoped to interest this friend

In marrying for once a second time.

Nathaniel. No.

Martha. So violent?

Nathaniel. No marriage yet for her! I hold instead

Old newer joys repeated like a bride's,

The vicar's bond according to our terms.

Martha. Fine.

Nathaniel. No marriage!

Martha. Why not?

Nathaniel. I weeping lie across imagined pits

At night, suspended, hoarse in air,

But cannot rightly demonstrate why not.

Exeunt Nathaniel and Martha

Act 1. Scene 3. A street

Enter Mary and Toby

Mary. I find myself unknown.

Toby. Do I not cheer you every morning with

The heartiest salutations as we meet?

Mary. Did I yield all for nothing?

Toby. Are nothings between female haunches all?

Mary. Glib sentences to feed our detriment.

You have no sickness we must answer for.

Thanks to you I lose my uprightness. See:

In my condition, mallards knock me down.

Toby. You had entire night-born pleasures, too.

Mary. Straw-pleasures for a waggon-load of grief!

Toby. Ten in the parish could have shot straight in

What you accuse me of.

Mary. None but you did, no other can aright

A daughter muted in her nakedness,

A father naked under dirt and wood.

Toby. Foh, I am late for supper.

Mary. You wipe your beard of me. The more you eat

Into my love the fatter I become.

Behold me blowing at love's ancient fire,

Your kitchen girl with red smoke on her face.

Toby. Like chines of mutton cut the shame away.

Mary. For man the pleasure, for us rods to pull

Out, knives to scrape along the way!

Toby. A friend may see that I my poison kiss,

Or, after dinner hours, lasciviously

Lick at remains of love.- A mother near,

The emptier bear without one berry-pit!

Exit Toby and enter Margery

Margery. The mistress will arrive as caught thieves go.

Mary. A thief who leaves me with his robbery.

Margery. How will a mother do? Strike puffed eyelids,

Chide and bemoan? Oh, no.

Mary. No?

Margery. I will pour juices on his spiceless lust.

Mary. Suborn his cook to sprinkle Indian sauce

Before he hurries to his university.

Margery. O, that instruction! See how wittily

Man's forgeries undo, see how the goose,

With too much fatness empty, cries aloud

For her tormentor's knife.

Mary. Most true. To hale the foresworn back would be

As cunning as to beat a doctor and

Request more pills. Instead, to catch the next,

With unspared candle I will study man

As Toby shows him, bulging thick and long

For pleasure without trouble or delay.

Margery. Whores fornicate with devils when they pay,

In their dark hive swell thick in pleasure at

Created sweetness. What has honesty

Above suspicion yielded to us both?

Mary. A packet too unwieldy for my back.

Margery. Cannot respect achieve serenely

What harlots gain with roaring? Wise and well

Hereafter is my axiom when you bed.

Exeunt Margery and Mary

Act 1. Scene 4. The Greyhound tavern

Enter Nicholas and Francis

Nicholas. Some wonder why, at tables sloping down

With bottles, atheists always find us here.

Francis. Burn witches and forever lay down low

The faithless without hope intent to mar

What churches build on. Yet I notice this:

No atheist dares to contradict the word

When I pour drinks around.

Nicholas. Do not the saintly sit where sinners are?

Francis. And lie with them as well, or worse, I hope,

With curates, too, reclaiming vice back home

From taverns, brothels, dens of filth and cards.

Nicholas. Do sinners understand corruption?

Tut, only churchmen can: thus, we both win.

Why rush to kiss the godly when they have

No care of mentors in their enterprise?

Francis. Ignore them utterly.

Nicholas. I drink instead with sinners as I thrive.

Francis. I once heard of another man who said

And did the same.

Nicholas. Who?

Francis. Forgotten! Had I studied longer, I

At sermons would conclude as well as some.

Nicholas. Here comes that girl I sought with heat to claim-

Francis. Or rather to reclaim.

Nicholas. So truly and steadfastly to reclaim,

Last evening well pursued till light of dawn.

Francis. With fiercer flamelets did I follow you.

Nicholas. Quest without hope, I wager, were it once

Abetted by the members of the cloth.

Francis. On one part words and on another stares

And stupid blinking merely.

Enter Mary

Mary. Ho, am I followed by a saintly Cerberus?

Nicholas. Tut, no alarm, girl. Have you kenned the cloth?

Francis. Feel members in the cloth- or, without else

Mistaking further- members of the cloth

Behold, both promising security.

Mary. I am now of a standing different

From what I showed last night, sir reverends,

And all because of man, all-cheating man.

Nicholas. We shrewdly guess at reasons undeclared.

Francis. The queen of Sheba stood astonished: thus,

A show of wisdom forces admiration.

Nicholas. Are you virgino intacta?

Mary. Ha?

Francis. We capish Latin, of broad vantages

In clogged or closed debates. Spread openly:

The lewd and vicious maidens should avoid.

Nicholas. Have flasks of virtue spilled or all dews dried

On florient grasses you were native to?

Mary. Sir, you are pleasant with young ignorance.

Nicholas. We always strive too hard for that.

Mary. How should I say or otherwise undo?

Nicholas. We ask again: are membranes thinned to threads?

Francis. This may be safely answered, for you know

We savor of the only church allowed.

Nicholas. Beneath whose grace and might, with any kind

Of luck, the blessed faithful will be sure

Eternally to take all due rewards.

Francis. Reply in haste, for worst is often best

While spread on grounds where pardons blossom high.

Nicholas. Repeated thus: have you by men or boys

Been touched the way you would or else would not?

Mary. Can Aetna-quelling blushes answer you?

Nicholas. The answer thrills. Late at her house one night

I comforted the harried mother lest

Her virgin loosened what she strove to tie,

A something-nothing worth no radish-tail,

But what of that?

Francis. Spill water on the floor-ha! (spilling water on himself

Nicholas. No downward stream but on the mainmast high.

Francis. In demonstrations like myself again!

I say again, not harried to repeat.

Spill water on the floor: who can scoop back

The drops? Neither virginity nor life,

Once gone, can ever be recovered here.

Nicholas. Flow only once for me and I will hold.

Say: is the needless treasure truly gone?

Mary. I lost what seldom pains girls to let go.

Nicholas. The sluicegate opens. Undergo to say,

Subservient Francis, whether two stones in

One sack should be commanded in this case?

Francis. Some say so, some not. What of that? Give sticks

To frail ones halting, stoutly bear up sin.

Nicholas. Securely. I will say of these events

I love the man for sinning, for indeed

How can one pardon if we never sin?

Mary. My mother did not so express herself.

Nicholas. What of the father?

Mary. I lack a father's brow to cringe beneath.

Nicholas. What need of fathers, Francis?

Francis. No Jephtha to her harm, no Lot to his.

Nicholas. Nonvirgins must be cherished when found out

As wholesomely as those who never fall.

Mary. By whose authority?

Francis. Do you ken who we are or may become?

By Canterbury's.

Mary. I thank indulgence never heard of yet.

Francis. Indulgences? Oh no, we have suppressed

That barter of man's conscience. I conceive-

Nicholas. So may she. Still in horror we exclaim

Transfixed against the life which yields no life.

Mary. I wept to marry him, but on that plate

I care to stoop no more

Than cockles on the floor.

Francis. No marriage!

Nicholas. Hear violence on that theme above them all.

Francis. No marriage! Lacking world-experiences,

Expect to find with man your waters taste

Like spew of rakes, your thighs composed of scabs,

Even of parboiled kind, a belly pained

And swelling. Know this trembling ere you clasp.

Nicholas. According to the text as we conceive.

Mary. I should not marry my seducer, then?

Nicholas. No.

Francis. No.

Nicholas. Thus Francis was discovered, sadly worn

By hasty sacraments, the sin repaired,

The virtuous broken on untutored love.

Francis. Thereby the vicar found an anchorite,

Like Samuel bent, anointing Jesse's son.

Nicholas. I gave him raiment where he naked lay

With no resource except the pipe and straw.

Francis. I entered my friend's vineyard to eat grapes,

A deed permitted in my holy text.

Enter John

John. Oh! My brother's whore!

Mary. Excellent law, in form made perfect to set free the imperfect! Having less than what commands in law, I should curse against law and a brother's love.

John. When a whore expounds on morality, watch seas enter and boats sink.

Nicholas. We object to "whore".

Francis. So do we both.

John. I will say of her what I will not say.

Mary. Good eloquence to push the good aside!

John. Is Toby yours because you say so? However a brother loves, should one show love without the show of money?

Nicholas. Law blows where our religion gently wisps.

Francis. Blessedly, for is marriage no blessed union in idea above all? I have examined that somewhere with glasses. Therefore, how can one win blessedness without agreement on both sides?

Nicholas. One finds here a curate profoundly capable of examining such a text, inspired as the best are by the blood and sweat.

Francis. I should if allowed.

Mary. O no, I now must agree perforce. Because Toby shows no love of me, I miss the man no more.

John. Safely reasoned!

Mary. I discover that my main default at the ceremony is lack of money.

Nicholas. With money you win love.

Francis. With money she is won.

John. With money you win law and I rediscover a brother, no blatant knave and brainless fool.

Nicholas. If only we were allowed to pray for it!

Francis. We cannot?

Nicholas. I find no text commending that, Francis, either in the old or new.

John. Here is one whose friend's all may resolve all.

Enter Martha

Nicholas. The widow's companion! This may indeed take.

John. You are marvellously welcome, friend.

Martha. Why? Do I dream or do I owe money? Knowing I am without, why do you loudly cry welcomes within?

John. Martha possesses a kind of nothing that may win everything.

Martha. How?

John. You have a friend who has.

Martha. Anne? She has because she takes.

John. Can she not take a husband?

Martha. Who?

John. My brother.

Martha. Ha? That frisky wag of twenty-five cunjoined with my widow no less sedate than what generally appears at sixty?

John. What of that?

Mary. Excellence in conception! After swallowing new porridge, let the foresworn forever chew on winter prunes.

Martha. How will that starve my debt?

John. Should we help this brother agree with her, we agree as our prize to divide her fortune among us all.

Martha. Thereby, I kill a debt.

Mary. Thereby, I kill a cheat.

Nicholas. Thereby, I win good to do good.

Francis. Thereby, I do the same.

John. Thereby, I get money to get money.

Nicholas. Yet this plot must be reflected on, in promising a union without hope of generation.

Francis. Misfortune beyond bounds, past Bruno's astronomy, for, in my text, pleasure without generation is a most dangerous cleft!

Nicholas. The fornication may be holy.

Francis. How? That I would hotly discover.

Nicholas. It is certainly so whenever achieved under constraints of a higher good.

Francis. The higher good is the good of all, I say, and thereby, I think and hope, two ministers of hope joyfully win.

John. Should he touch the fleece, I may yet discover a Jason in the lusty centaur.

Nicholas. Come, Francis, gently work your pate about:

Find verses to help cover nakedness.

Francis. There is some precedent in Sarah's age.

Nicholas. True, yet heed sapiently: a deed no doubt

Received for purposes of breeding Jews.

Francis. Fit, since the widow always breeds more coins.

Nicholas. Yet Sarah's womb was Hagar's.

Francis. Thus by that tale discover promises:

First of the flesh by Hagar, then of grace

By Sarah. By flesh Toby's money seems

Expressed, by grace the winning of our goods

By rendering good to humanity.

Martha. Foresee difficulties in convincing either. How will he do for pleasure?

John. With bank-notes on her fingers.

Mary. No need of hands when man whores into cash!

Martha. Why keep a husband when she holds the purse?

John. She will find pleasure should he finger both.

Mary. O sex obscene in thinking what you will

We will as well as you!

John. Do you forbid the widow appetites?

No, find her capable and exercised.

Mary. Ha, let her finger Toby as she can

To a dry purpose: I will watch and laugh.

John. Do, while I laugh at laughter unawares.

Nicholas. With him we raise the pillar of our hopes.

Francis. Extenpore, with show of willingness,

Extending time for profit in our time.

Mary. Behold my cheater moping that he lacks

No other girl-fool for his seedless bed,

Where fast men slow girls down by fattening.

John. Let not the slave droop now.

Nicholas. We teach our Christian youths to elongate

Their thoughts above the lowest in the town.

Francis. As on a mountain I will pray so that

No devil lies between the world and us.

Mary. Trudge, Toby. To your case I will enclose

Not mine ill used but newer age-worn pits.

Enter Toby

John. Brother Toby, stand nearby to please our company of well-wishers.

Toby. Why?

John. Perhaps of main advantage in your state.

Toby. I need advantage because born too late.

Martha. You may obtain it now by marrying.

Toby. Who?

Martha. My widow friend or fiend.

Toby. Anne Grindal? A sure outcome when she rails

And threatens me with prison all week long!

John. You have not borrowed of her?

Toby. More often than holes on my clothes, the all

Complete I can return to her with thanks.

Martha. You may annul the debt by marrying.

John. The kindest woman worth six thousand pounds!

Toby. But she is old and aging as we speak.

Nicholas. I find no text forbidding age to wed.

Francis. Or youth either.

Nicholas. Fill up youth's wine-cask with her tardy love.

Francis. Like Cana's wine more luscious at the end.

Toby. Six thousand pounds!

Mary. Remember that the doleful wretch you scorn

Possesses no such dole.

Toby. Nor have I ever in my pitless dreams.

Martha. We may deliver parts of hers to you.

Toby. How?

John. Agree with friendship to discover means.

Nicholas. Is marriage no fit sacrament to you?

Francis. A holy one, I think.

Nicholas. Sublimely fitting when both organs meet.

Mary. We often hear you say so, vicar.

John. Suborned to catch a husband, she may throw

Down quills and ledgers that destroy you now.

Toby. But all my beauties in a tub of ink!

Francis. Thus Absalom was judged the comeliest, then,

His members flailing wildlier than each leaf

Astir, hung on a tree at last to die.

Enter Margery

Margery. Hah, I hear a curate in the glare of respect, even after replacing our vicar last Sunday with the filthiest sermon yet heard!

Francis. You mistake the man surely or always learn from the unschooled. Did I not expound convincingly on the joys of heaven?

Margery. Too convincingly, as a kind of prelate for centaurs.

Nicholas. Are such accusations verified?

Francis. No saint's reward emerged from my mouth but purely.

Margery. He said that angels had sexes and used them.

Nicholas. Does not Aquinas deny that six times?

Francis. Sir, I forget whether he does. However that may be, I groaned and garnered drops for many months while preparing that sermon, I'll assure the bishop, when invention with her ninefold wings kissed and wrapped me all around.

Margery. Nine hardy matrons stared and swooned throughout.

Francis. An author is impugned.

John. Another time for that. Say, Margery,

Will we put back our hands or else with chains

Retrieve from mud our sinking vessel's prize?

Margery. Which?

Mary. The widow's.

Margery. How will we rob her money?

Nicholas. We object to "rob".

Francis. So do we both.

Martha. So do I, as my only cherished friend.

John. Receive yon wretched man to make us rich.

Margery. My daughter's only vile seducer here?

Toby. Unkind because poor, madam.

Mary. He presses a girl down with bones: now let

The villain do the same with money-bags.

Margery. Agreed.

John. Drink faster nearby to inseminate

Our naked plots into more pregnant shapes.

Exeunt Nicholas, Francis, Mary, John, Martha, Toby, and Margery