Reconstructing lost plays/Keep the Widow Waking/Act 2

Act 2. Scene 1. The Greyhound tavern

Enter Anne and Nathaniel

Anne. The blinking Morpheus is unable to

And to our query frowns indifferently?

Nathaniel. More: a hill-side of whiskers hard and stiff

Against the Boreas of each argument.

Anne. A constable, ho!

Enter Barless

Barless. Madam, whose heart must we cause to stop beating awhile this day or whose reputation should we irremediably sink?

Anne. Follow and apprehend without winking as we go.

Nathaniel. We greedily seek Toby Audley's purse

Or equally emaciated trunk.

Barless. A Toby is within?

Nathaniel. The slave pretends to sleep or die at least.

Barless. We gently wake up some with pole and mace.

Enter Toby

Toby. Sir?

Barless. If you look for and discover remains of metal, sir, though chipped out of door-hinges, I call here for no reason; if not, prepare to look for straw in prison.

Toby. Not readily, sir.

Anne. Not yet means none. Away with him and let

Resourceless negligence grieve in his sleep!

Exeunt Barless and Toby

Nathaniel. Thereby we stand as fixed and straight as he,

The coolest fool inside the coldest dark,

Perhaps to suck on stones or study dirt,

In clogs of iron, flat on straw, earned by

The industry of no industry, to be kept tight

Unless from there the slave acknowledges

And greets with thanks a very moneyed friend.

Anne. A something from his nothings on this day

Or in two months is meat inside our house.

Enter Martha

Martha. Ho, you are welcome to our place of rest.

Nathaniel. More lively than the grave, I dare admit,

Though far more dangerous.

Martha. Where drinks are served all day and sometimes half

The lurching wakeful night.

Anne. Yet what of that?

Martha. But for companionship.- Taste gratis now. (offering a cup

Nathaniel. Refuse outright.

Martha. Begin with one.

Anne. You have seen, Martha, sore examples of

My feeblest head in matters of this kind.

Martha. I will watch over.

Nathaniel. Some kinds of avid kindness look unkind.

Martha. More.

Anne. (drinking


Nathaniel. Good.

Exit Nathaniel

Martha. No matter. Drink again to drink agog.

Anne. (drinking

Let strictness fly, a boy, I often think,

Too closely watching over watchfulness.

Martha. O, surely, by all accounts I hear.

Anne. His glassy boyhood is all telescope,

A magnifier of my revolutions

As I soon circle all the earth for gold.

Martha. On widows of the finest moonlight? Why?

The painful losses in society

That forced enclosure can entail- in short,

Be joyful as we are, more so when one

Considers all the money you possess,

One who among all widows taste the best.

Anne. I know him as the brother of the- true,

As brother of the other- O, my head!

He as the "Golden Hind" to pillage gold-

Enter John

John. I understand this widow.

Martha. See Toby's sorry brother. Why grieve thus?

Because of your mishaps, friend widow, caused

By Toby, cheating and irreverent,

The wayward engine he seeks to repair.

Anne. May devils burn off nail or toe should this

Resemble a strict brother for my cause.

John. I have of you a miniature, I think,

By Oliver drawn, gentlest of its kind.

Anne. No. Truthfully?

John. I demonstrate each truth without ado.

Exit John

Martha. This brother will show wonders of temptation.

Anne. Who keeps my picture?

Martha. I can reveal, but let curiosity

Divine forthcoming pleasures all at once.

Re-enter John

John. The prettiest image of love and despair!

Anne. Excellence in art more than in the subject! Who owns the picture?

John. A brother's secret never blabbed about.

Anne. Toby?

Martha. Toby, madam. Learn at last to be loved before sinking into clay.

Anne. I scarcely understand much less believe what yet appears before astonished eyes.

Enter Margery and Mary

Margery. There stands yon luckiest prize and prizer.

Mary. Why do you not murder or at least maim the woman's part in one who robs your daughter of her truest love?

Margery. A woman who conquers without meaning to, it seems.

Mary. Examine well the workings of a whore.

John. Understand what she possesses, what most lack, then recognize why a Toby or many other all-eyes, all-ears woman-lovers yield. To know that, I need not study at the Bodleian.

Mary. I'll study this. (striking Anne

Anne. Ha! Ha! I am half murdered.

Martha. Defend my friend from loosest boulders dropped

From envy's grumbling mountain.

Margery. How, loose? I will at all times defend our city marvel against any daughter's jealousy.

John. Why do you strike at luxuriant nature? Gaze at face and allure and cease to inquire or wonder why you lose.

Mary. A practicer of charms, I hourly ween.

Anne. I know nothing of charms or allure.- O, heat on my face and neck!

Martha. Unconscious incitements are the primest movers.

John. Protect my brother's love from army rats

Set to devour munitions, bowstrings, toes-

Margery. Do not ask this of Martha only. I repeat: in this I yearn to belong to Anne against this daughter.

John. Present a demonstration on that theme.

Margery. Then thus and thus. (striking Mary

Mary. Ha! Blood-spurts on my face and shirt!

John. The least harm she could do.

Martha. Violence to prevent more.

Anne. No one deserves effusions of this kind.

Margery. Tush, I dwindled while longing for occasion.

John. Do you consider? Are you convinced? How may one contradict? That boy, like those in Roman baths remembered by Petronius- what should I say? Beauty can entice.

Anne. Oh no, he is too young.

Mary. And she too old.

John. As did Falloppio, Toby amid clefts and folds of flesh in either old or young finds the bulb whose touch women best receive in pleasure.

Martha. Request opinions from our moral men.

Mary. Those? If so, I go.

Exit Mary, enter Nicholas and Francis

Nicholas. A widow, I think, ripe.

Martha. She is too old.

Nicholas. Oh, no. For what? Love? How? Who can say so of anyone, much less the widow as a window to new-found loves?

Francis. Did I hear one say: "love one another as I love you"?

Nicholas. Who?

Francis. Forgotten! However that may be, persevere in such manners, people, as seeming best for agreements.

Martha. Agreed.

John. Agreed.

Nicholas. We pray it may be so.

Francis. Thus Abraham's resourceful servant kneeled

For any maid to lay her pitcher down

And give him water with the kneeling troop

Of camels when his master looked afar

To marry forlorn Isaac.

Martha. True, I hope.

Anne. If destined for my bed, I first must get

A lover out of prison.

Margery. Whoop, some truth in that.

Nicholas. First out of prison then into a marriage that sticks.

Margery. No shop-window of despair but the lesson itself, often the longest and bleakest.

Francis. Marriage? The most exciting sacrament, I declare or even gasp out while pronouncing.

Nicholas. I have heard some say that of marriage many times, the most naked sacrament, I say.

Anne. We talk of impossibility made reeling drunk with impossibility.

John. Oh, no. Mr brother loves you.

Anne. No.

John. Indeed, he does.

Anne. How does he love after refusing even to pay me?

John. He says he loves, often declaring that he could eat perfumes out of your body. Know thereby how a lover's distraction prevents his earning mere money even in its proper usage.

Margery. Forgetful at all hours, say of my daughter's love and his brother's.

John. The king slept out parliament for seven years yet received his pay throughout: thus a widow may win despite a brother's lack of coinage.

Nicholas. To be brief, we ask with the philosopher what is money.

Francis. Nothing, something, everything.

Nicholas. Religion forbids us to say what.

Francis. Or rather says- I do not know what else.

Anne. He shows no love of me.

John. Because of that ugly imp perched on our face which keeps us from ourselves: timidity.

Anne. He does not ask to see me.

John. Just so: a man too timid even to appear timid. Indeed, in confusion, he often forgets to simper among rivals.

Anne. He often blusters on his way to extravagance.

John. To chase away face-shrinking grimaces.

Martha. Come, widow; you have drunk but half of what

I wished this hour amid two women's joys.

Anne. I should not.

Margery. Why? No friend hereabout?

John. Figs! Many men and women all your own!

Nicholas. As certain as- what, Francis Holiday?

Francis. As certain as may be by faith alone.

Martha. Before and all around perspectives widen, all

To gratify love-feelings once thought dead,

To be renewed and newly vivified.

John. All yours.

Exeunt Anne, Martha, John, Margery, Nicholas, and Francis

Act 2. Scene 2. Anne's house

Enter Nathaniel and Mary

Nathaniel. You wish to see my mother and get gold?

Mary. Gold altogether only when I sit

Beside yourself.

Nathaniel. Why?

Mary. Ho, can you guess?

Nathaniel. No.

Mary. That face and figure! Maidens say no more.

Nathaniel. No maiden any more. So fanciful

As to forget what woman speaks to me?

Mary. To one man only, as I rightly guess.

Nathaniel. Me?

Mary. True. You have gloriously hit it.

Nathaniel. Have you no lover hankering at home?

Mary. No.

Nathaniel. Not one named Toby?

Mary. No more, I hope.

Nathaniel. Before he went, the man deposited

A bag of bones inside your belly-case.

Mary. You have ingloriously hit it.

Nathaniel. I say farewell.

Mary. Oh no. Stay.

Nathaniel. Not undertake my mother for your sake?

Mary. No.

Nathaniel. With me, then?

Mary. With you alone.

Nathaniel. In knowing what I know, why try to catch?

Mary. I have something on me to make a man

Almost forget what is.

Nathaniel. I know you have and also what in you

Is growing larger evermore each day.

Mary. Yet what of that? One with him, or annulled,

The rest with you.

Nathaniel. Hah, closer?

Mary. Begin by kissing.

Nathaniel. Hah!

Mary. Why turn your face half-way?

Nathaniel. Hah, touching close?

Mary. Why not?

Nathaniel. Touching may be injurious. Thus the careful Israelite who lifted his arm to steady the arch as it tottered was instantly blasted to smoke and bloody bones on rock heaps as soon as he touched it. Likewise, a man of sin comfortably eats and drinks damnation at the communion table.

Mary. What if I dote on you? How may that be

Helped as I long I thrive?

Nathaniel. Mere impudence made doubly frantic by

Man's sympathy towards you!

Mary. Some sympathy is then admitted, sir?

Nathaniel. But not specifically on your behalf.

Mary. A maiden overbold, but otherwise

Has she something a man complains about?

Nathaniel. No.

Mary. Then you are striving to get bolder, sir.

Nathaniel. Not that either.

Mary. What, then?

Nathaniel. Nothing.

Mary. Not changeable in any pleasant way,

By any word or deed caressing us?

Nathaniel. No.

Mary. No?

Nathaniel. But say: what thing distinguishes you from

A whore in riot for man's getting-ins?

Mary. I care for no revenues.

Nathaniel. Who wears so many meshes to entrap?

Mary. No piece of wood here to resist your awl!

Nathaniel. O, no. I will not make head that way. I see and hear designs. The might of woman is calculated weakness.

Mary. The weakness of man is calculated might.

Nathaniel. I swear you'll make me mad soon.

Mary. Perhaps foolish, not yet angry.

Nathaniel. Neither.

Mary. Can you tell?

Nathaniel. I weaken as I weaken.

Mary. Then why resist throughout? Come forward. To

Let go is pleasure half assured.

Nathaniel. I meet you short of that.

Mary. I feel you never can come short of me.

Nathaniel. A siren to raze down Ulysses' pole!

Mary. I love you, ready to yield most or all.

Nathaniel. Agreed, but will your mother?

Enter Margery

Margery. I do.

Nathaniel. Hah?

Margery. Why should she not conjoin with the handsomest, the worthiest I know?

Mary. I was near saying that before you came.

Nathaniel. I was near raving so before you came.

Margery. Without wonder in either case.

Mary. I love that man.

Margery. Right glad of that.

Nathaniel. She does not know me.

Mary. I hurried from Fleet Ditch to the Tower to catch and say so.

Margery. A mother wins with such a son.

Nathaniel. No son yet.

Margery. Why not?

Mary. Out of shyness, I believe.

Margery. No need.

Nathaniel. What manner is this on either side?

Mary. No need. (kissing him

Margery. Youth flies when we but think it crawls. To it!

Nathaniel. Hah, no.

Exit Nathaniel

Margery. No way there?

Mary. With patience.

Margery. Ask your proto-child for patience, for I have little.

Mary. With patience and cunning.

Margery. Improved. Back to the widow now with both!

Exeunt Mary and Margery

Act 2. Scene 3. Barless' house

Enter Nicholas and Francis

Nicholas. We meet because a man is dying fast.

Francis. I absolutely rejoice at it.

Nicholas. You heartily mean you clamor at his ascension should he heed signs and admonitions consequent to our ministrations.

Francis. Sincerely.

Nicholas. I know the man's soul to be a hard and green nut, difficult to chew prior to use.

Francis. He will deny to pay our fee should we

Request it avidly?

Nicholas. See where he lies and shrewdly judge our fate.

(Barless is revealed in bed and groaning

Francis. Our constable?

Nicholas. Yes, truly but too tentatively.

Francis. He wakes.

Nicholas. Sir constable?

Barless. Ha?

Francis. Sir, are you dying?

Barless. I fear so, but what dripping kites are these?

Is man's flesh ever sticking on your beaks?

Francis. A reprobate, a heathen of the old

Imperial evil?

Nicholas. Perhaps not yet. Sir constable, I say-

Barless. Sir? Sir? Let me alone to die at will.

Francis. We resolutely refuse at once.

Barless. What is your wish with me, then? Am I not

To be left all alone and die at last?

Nicholas. No.

Francis. No.

Barless. Why not, I beg to know?

Nicholas. A sinner must be saved.

Barless. From what, sir honeycrows?

Francis. From death in life and life in death, unless

You will, rejoicing, kiss at last with Christ.

Barless. O no, I will not go.

Nicholas. Not jumping with your savior hanging down

His arms especially to take up yours?

Barless. No savior of mine, fool.

Francis. A reprobate, I can tell.

Barless. Awful foolish nonsense, as stupid to my ear as forgotten silence. Are you satisfied? Will you go and let me die content without regret?

Nicholas. No.

Francis. No.

Barless. Why not? Have I not said?

Nicholas. We quickly come to glorify your soul-

Francis. Make it beatific beyond constraints

Or boundaries, as happy and replete

As children skipping, or as when I danced

With Kemp to Norwich.

Nicholas. My goodly curate of simplicity,

As Christ's quip to the children round, enough!

You see the man resists attempts to hear,

Meant to improve him very lovingly.

Francis. I see but will not heed till you command.

Barless. O! O! O! O!

Nicholas. The man in sordid rueful pains, we see!

Francis. Too ordinary in view of his state

Of mind, just right about to die two deaths,

The second worse than all, life deathless, flame

Without light yet remorselessly nightless, too,

To gnashing of a corpse eternally.

Barless. What asinity do I hear now? Will you go rot under church-pews?

Nicholas. I often have observed such signs of late.

Francis. I tremble at the sight. What should we do

To help the man's ease in this circumstance?

Nicholas. We strive to ease all in such circumstance.

"More sunshine with clay on their visages,"

I vehemently shout before they die.

Barless. Forget me here: my only prayer now.

Nicholas. Our occupation for an answer cries,

But for some hope, or half one's hope at least.

Think of us, too.

Francis. Where lies my crucifix?

Barless. Out on that now! Beliefless tokens here?

Nicholas. Have you lost it? Barless will lose far more,

All, as I think and hope.

Francis. I bought this bag of cheese, no crucifix.

Nicholas. The mind, good curate! Barless must branch forth

By measure of his mind to heaven's tree.

Francis. He has advantages to climb there now,

Two ministers of his religion

Down at their knees almost to convert,

Two ministers advantaged in their quest,

Ready to yield their utmost, don their limbs,

As Cyprian suggests, in white or red:

White for our innocence, or Jesus' bread,

Red for the martyrdom, or Jesus' blood.

Nicholas. What pastors semi-corpses cry to see?

A motley crew of tricksters, fool or knave.

Francis. Too often so.

Barless. All tipsters of a Christ impossible

To think on or appeal to unless knave

Or fool together cut our wallets neat!

Nicholas. Not we.

Francis. No, absolutely.

Nicholas. We sound and rear-

Francis. Your sides and soul.

Barless. You need not, if you please. I'll cry and moan

If you do not leave quickly as I speak.

Nicholas. Impossible!

Francis. The vicar said just so before I could.

Barless. No sin of yours may be reflected on

Outside my room, beneath a tavern sign?

Francis. I sinned but yet escaped in time thanks to

The benefit of clergy saints enjoy.

Barless. I should have clapped with mighty irons both,

Before you came for wants I do not have

Or hanker to see ministered.

Nicholas. A case of stupid ways of destiny.

Francis. Called God's will sometimes in philosophy.

Barless. When first I started sick, O why did not

The thing shoot through the lungs to make me stop

And gargle in my blood?

Nicholas. God's will.

Francis. Fate.

Enter John

John. He will not yield?

Nicholas. No.

Francis. Most horribly averse to glory-time.

John. This grieves.

Nicholas. Sir constable, at least admit for once

You will with force detest and curse the pope.

Francis. At least say you loathe Gregory's calendar.

(Barless groans

John. New speechless nothings, as I hourly fear.

Nicholas. The muffled sounds of death like silence nigh.

Francis. The dangerous, the most preposterous!

Barless. No, no, no.

John. He speaks.

Nicholas. To no one of this world.

Francis. To none we know.

(They close the curtain

John. The widow next with cunning best of all!

Exeunt Nicholas, Francis, and John

Act 2. Scene 4. Before the Greyhound tavern

Enter Nathaniel and Margery

Nathaniel. My mother never near?

Margery. Not yet exposed to daylight and its lure.

Nathaniel. I hourly cringe and wait without more news.

Margery. She laughs and drinks.

Nathaniel. But never more than so?

Margery. And sleeps.

Nathaniel. I should trudge off. A son so near despair,

For what? An entertainment, I reflect.

Margery. We'll send her happy.

Nathaniel. With Martha?

Margery. With Martha clinking far above them all.

Nathaniel. How, drinking? She?

Margery. Assure yourself all night: that and no more.

Nathaniel. Ho, happy? Why?

Exeunt Nathaniel and Margery

Act 2. Scene 5. A jail

Enter Toby and Bragg

Toby. I should leave here or die.

Bragg. Then hang yourself, fool.

Toby. In prison? No.

Bragg. Assure yourself, just so and never more.

Toby. No meat?

Bragg. You did not buy any.

Toby. With what? I stand here lacking any coin

Acceptable in England as I breathe.

Bragg. Unfortunate!

Toby. Slave, will I faint or die because of you?

Bragg. Die then whatever or however so.

Exeunt Toby and Bragg