Page images


Jul. And the attendants who have waited on us-
Duke. They were my friends; who, having done

Are gone about their own.

Jul. Why, then, 'tis clear. That I was ever born !—[Aside.] What are you, sir? Duke. (Rises.) I am an honest man- -that

may content you! Young, nor ill-favour'd-Should not that content you? I am your husband, and that must content you. Jul. I will


[Going, L. Duke. You are at home, already. [Staying her.

Jul. I'll not endure it !-But remember thisDuke, or no duke, I'll be a duchess, sir ! [Crosses, L.

Duke. A duchess! You shall be a queen,—to all Who, by the courtesy, will call you so.

Jul. And I will have attendance !

Duke. So you shall,
When you have learnt to wait upon yourself.

Jul. To wait upon myself! Must I bear this?
I could tear out my eyes, that bade you woo me,
And bite my tongue in two, for saying yes! [Crosses, R.

Duke. And if you should, 'twould grow again.-
I think, to be an honest yeoman's wife
(For such, my would-be duchess, you will find me,)
You were cut out by nature.

Jul. You will find, then,
That education, sir, has spoilt me for it.
Why! do you think I'll work ?

Duke. I think 'twill happen, wife.

Jul. What! Rub and scrub
Your noble palace clean ?

Duke. Those taper fingers
Will do it daintily.
Jul. And dress


victuals (If there be any)?-Oh! I could go mad! [Crosses, L. Duke. And mend my hose, and darn my nightcaps

neatly; Wait, like an echo, till you're spoken to

Jul. Or like a clock, talk only once an hour?

Duke. Or like a dial; for that quietly
Performs its work, and never speaks at all.
Jul. To feed your poultry and your hogs! Oh,

monstrous !
And when I stir abroad, on great occasions,
Carry a squeaking tithe pig to the vicar;
Or jolt with higglers' wives the market trot,
To sell your eggs and butter !

[Crosses, E.
Duke. Excellent !
How well you sum the duties of a wife !
Why, what a blessing I shall have in you !

Jul. A blessing !

Duke. When they talk of you and me,
Darby and Joan shall be no more remember'd ;-
We shall be happy!

Jul. Shall we?

Duke. Wondrous happy!
Oh, you will make an admirable wife!

Jul. I'll make a devil.
Duke. What ?
Jul. A


devil. Duke. Oh, no. We'll have no devils. Jul. I'll not bear it!

father's ! Duke. Gently; you forget You are a perfect stranger to the road.

Jul. My wrongs will find a way, or make one.

Duke. Softly!
You stir not hence, except to take the air ;
And then I'll breathe it with you.

Jul. What, confine me?
Duke. 'Twould be unsafe to trust you yet abroad,
Jul. Am I a truant school-boy?

Duke. Nay, not so ;
But you must keep your bounds.

Jul. And if I break them,
Perhaps you'll beat me.-

Duke. Beat you!

I'll to my

The man that lays his hand upon a woman,
Save in the

way of kindness, is a wretch Whom 'twere gross flattery to name a coward. I'll talk to you, lady, but not beat you.

Jul. Well, if I may not travel to my father,
I may write to him, surely !--And I will-
If I can meet within your spacious dukedom
Three such unhoped-for miracles at once,
As pens, and ink, and paper.

Duke. You will find them
In the next room. A word, before you go.
You are my wife, by every tie that's sacred;
The partner of my fortune and


bed Jul. Your fortune!

Duke. Peace !--No fooling, idle woman! Beneath th' attesting eye of Heaven I've sworn To love, to honour, cherish, and protect you. No human power can part us. What remains, then? To fret, and worry, and torment each other, And give a keener edge to our hard fate By sharp upbraidings, and perpetual jars ?Or, like a loving and a patient pair, (Waked from a dream of grandeur, to depend Upon their daily labour for support) To soothe the taste of fortune's lowliness With sweet consent, and mutual fond endearment ? Now to your chamber—write whate'er you please, But pause before you stain the spotless paper, With words that may inflame, but cannot heal !

Jul. Why, what a patient worm you take me for!

Duke. I took you for a wife; and, ere I've done,
I'll know you for a good one.

Jul. You shall know me
For a right woman, full of her own sex;
Who, when she suffers wrong, will speak her anger;
Who feels her own prerogative, and scorns,
By the proud reason of superior man,
To be taught patience, when her swelling heart
Cries out revenge!

[Exit, R.U.E.

Duke. Why, let the flood rage on! There is no tide in woman's wildest passion But hath an ebb.—I've broke the ice, however.Write to her father !-She may write a folioBut if she send it !-'Twill divert her spleen,The flow of ink may save her blood-letting, Perchance she may have fits !—They are seldom mortal, Save when the doctor's sent for. Though I have heard some husbands say, and wisely, A woman's honour is her safest guard, Yet there's some virtue in a lock and key.

[Goes of to lock door-returns. So thus begins our honeymoon.—'Tis well ! For the first fortnight, ruder than March winds, She'll blow a hurricane. The next, perhaps, Like April, she may wear a changeful face Of storm and sunshine :--and, when that is past, She will break glorious as unclouded May; And where the thorns grew bare, the spreading blossoms Meet with no lagging frost to kill their sweetness.Whilst others,—for a month's delirious joy, Buy a dull age of penance, we, more wisely, Taste first the wholesome bitter of the cup, That after to the very lees shall relish; And to the close of this frail life prolong The pure delights of a well-governed marriage. [Exit, R.



THERE are three


in which men take

from his purse,

hard it is to tell
Which of the three is worse;
But all of them are bad enough

To make a body curse.

You're riding out some pleasant day,

And counting up your gains ; A fellow jumps from out a bush,

And takes your horse's reins, Another hints some words about A bullet in



It's hard to meet such pressing friends

In such a lonely spot;
It's very hard to lose your cash,

But harder to be shot;
And so you take your wallet out,

Though you would rather not.
Perhaps you're going out to dine-

Some filthy creature begs, You'll hear about the cannon ball

That carried off his pegs, And says it is a dreadful thing

For men to lose their legs.

He tells you of his starving wife,

His children to be fed, Poor little, lovely innocents,

All clamorous for breadAnd so you kindly help to put

A bachelor to bed.

You're sitting on your window seat

Beneath a cloudless moon :
You hear a sound, that seems to wear

The semblance of a tune;
As if a broken fife should strive

To drown a cracked bassoon.

And nearer, nearer still, the tide

Of music seems to come, There's something like a human voice

And something like a drum;

« PreviousContinue »