The Actors’ Names.n3839

ROOKSBILLn4248a great builder in Covent Garden
CROSSWILLn4249a Country Gentleman, lodger in his Buildings
COCKBRAINn4250a Justice of Peace, the Weeder of the Garden
NICHOLASn4259A young gentleman, Rooksbill’s son
GABRIELA young gentleman, Crosswill’s elder son
MIHILn4256A young gentleman, Cross[will’s] younger son
ANTHONYA young gentleman, Cockbrain’s son
MUN Clotpolln4251a foolish gullgg3218
DRIBLOWn1571Captain of the Philoblathicin3840
BELTn4252Crosswill’s servant
RALPHn4255Dorcas’ servant
A Citizen
A Parson
A Tailor
A Shoemaker
A Vintner
A Drawer
PIGDamaris’ servant
[A Boy]
LUCYRooksbill’s daughter
KATHERINECrosswill’s daughter
DORCAS, alias Damarisn4253Crosswill’s niece
MARGERY Howletn4254a bawd
Two punksgg438
A Laundress

A Prologue.

2PrologueHe that could never boast, nor seek the way,
        To prepare friends to magnify his play,
        Nor rail at’s auditory for unjust,
        If they not liked it, nor was so mistrust-
        ful ever in himself, that he besought
        Preapprobation though they liked it not;
        Nor ever had the luck to have his name
        Clapped up above hisn2175 merit, nor the shame
        To be cried down below it: he this night
        Your fair and free attention does invite.
        Only he prays no prejudice be brought
        By any that before-hand wish it nought;
        And that ye all be pleased to hear and see,
        With candour suiting his integrity.
        That for the writer; something we must say
        Now in defence of us, and of the play.
        We shall present no scandal or abuse,
        To virtue or to honour; nor traduce
        Person of worth; nor point at the disgrace
        Of any one residing in the place
        On which our scene is laid, nor any action show,
        Of thing has there been done, for ought we know.
        Though it be probable that such have been.
        But if some vicious persons be brought in,
        As no new buildings, nor the strongest hold
        Can keep out rats and vermin bad and bold,
        Let not the sight of such be ill endured;
        All sores are seen and searched before th’n2176 are cured.
        As ruffian, bawd, and the licentious crew,
        Too apt to pester situations new.

Another Prologuen2177.

3Prologue’Tis not amiss ere we begin our play,
        T’entreat you, that you take the same survey
        Into your fancy, as our poet took,
        Of Covent Garden, when he wrote his book,
        Some ten years since, when it was grown with weeds,
        Not set, as now it is, with noble seeds,
        Which make the garden glorious. And much
        Our poet craves and hopes you will not grutchgg1965
        It him, that since so happily his pen
        Foretold its fair improvement, and that men
        Of worth and honour should renown the place,
        The play may still retain its former grace.
ACT ONEn2230
[In one of the streets being built around the Piazza of Covent Garden, outside a house with a balcony]
COCKBRAIN and ROOKSBILL [enter]n7320

4CockbrainAye, marrygg177, sir! This is something like!n7321 These appear like buildings! Here’s architecturen211 expressedn212 indeed! It is a most sightly situation, and fit for gentry and nobility.n213

5RooksbillWhen it is all finished, doubtless it will be handsome.

6CockbrainIt will be glorious! And yond magnificent piecen283, the Piazzo, will excel that at Venicen284, by hearsay – I ne’er travelledn285n4573. A hearty blessing on their brains, honours, and wealths, that are projectorsn286, furtherers, and performers of such great works. And now I come to you, Master Rooksbill: I like your rowgg1623 of houses most incomparably. Your money never shone so on your counting-boardsn288 as in those structures.

7RooksbillI have piled up a leashn289 of thousand pounds in walls and windows there.n7322

8CockbrainIt will all come again with large increasen290. And better is your money thus let outgg1624 on red and white, than upon black and whiten291, I say. You cannot think how I am taken with that row! How even and straight they are!n292 And so are all indeed. The surveyorn293, what e’er he wasn4574, has manifested himself the master of his great art. How he has wedded strength to beauty; state to uniformity; commodiousness with perspicuity!n294 All, all as ’t should be!

9RooksbillIf all were as well tenanted and inhabited by worthy persons.n214

10CockbrainPhew; that will follow. What new plantationn295 was ever peopled with the better sort at first? Nay, commonly the lewdest bladesgg649 and naughty-packsgg1626 are either necessitated to ’em, or else do prove the most forward venturers.gg1627n298 Is not lime and hairn299 the first in all your foundationsn300? Do we not soil or dung our lands, before we sow or plant anything that’s good in ’em? And do not weeds creep up first in all gardens? And why not then in this? Which never was a garden until now; and which will be the garden of gardensn301, I foresee ’t. And for the weeds in it, let me alone for the weeding of them out. And so as my reverend ancestor Justice Adam Overdon302 was wont to say, “In Heaven’s name and the King’s”, and for the good of the commonwealthn1562, I will go about itn303.

11RooksbillI wouldgg24 a few more of the worshipfulgg1628 hereaboutsn1561, whether they be in commissiongg545n305 or notn4575, were as well minded that way as you are, sir; we should then have all sweet and clean, and that quickly too.

12CockbrainI have thought upon a way for’t, Master Rooksbill, and I will pursue it; viz.gg1387, to find out all the enormitiesn307, yet be myself unspied, whereby I will tread out the spark of impiety, whilst it is yet a spark and not a flame; and break the egg of a mischief, whilst it is yet an egg and not a cockatrice.gg1629 Then doubt not of worthy tenants for your houses, Master Rooksbilln309.

13RooksbillI hope, sir, your best furtherance.

14CockbrainI had a letter but last night from a worthy friend, a West Country gentlemann310, that is now coming up with his family to live in towngg1630n312 here; and [his]n3111 desire is to inhabit in these buildings. He was to lie at Hammersmithn313 last night and requested an early meeting of me this morning here, to assist him in the taking of a house. It is my business hither; for he could never do ’t himself. He has the oddest, touchy, wrangling humour – but in a harmless way, for he hurts nobody, and pleases himself in it. His children have all the trouble of it, that do anger him in obeying him sometimes. You will know him anon. I mean, he shall be your tenant. And luckily he comes.

15Crosswill   (to GABRIEL and KATHERINE)n2179   It is not enough you tell me of obedience. Or that you are obedient. But I will be obeyed in my own way. Do you seen314 –?

16CockbrainMy noble friend Master Crosswill, right happily met.

17CrosswillYour troublesome friend, Master Cockbrain.

18CockbrainNo trouble at all, sir, though I have preventedgg1631 yours in finding a fit house for you.

19CrosswillYou ha’ not, ha’ you, ha?n316

20CockbrainActum estn436, Master Crosswill. But civility pardon me, is not this your daughter?[COCKBRAIN and KATHERINE] kiss [in greeting].n3247

21CrosswillAll the she-things I have; and would I were well rid of her too.n317

22CockbrainSweet Mistress Katherine, welcome – Master Gabriel, I take it?

23GabrielGabriel Crosswill is my name.

24CockbrainBut where’s your younger sonn1565, Mihil? There’s a spark!gg1290n346

25CrosswillA spark? A dunce I fear by this time, like his brother Sheepsheadgg1632 there.

26GabrielGabriel is my proper name.

27CrosswillI have not seen him this twelve-month, since I chambered him a student here in town.n348

28CockbrainIn town, and I not know it?

29CrosswillHe knows not yet of my coming neither, nor shall not till I steal upon him;n349 and if I find him mopishgg1633 like his brother, I know what I will do.

30CockbrainHave you not heard from him lately?

31CrosswillYes, often by his letters; less I could read, more comfort in ’em.n351 I fear he’s turned precisian,gg1634 for all his epistles end with “Amen”; and the matter of ’em is such as if he could teach me to ask him blessing.

32RooksbillA comfortable hearing of a young man.

33CrosswillIs it so, sir? But I’ll new mould him if it be so – I’ll tell you, Master Cockbrain: never was such a father so crossed in his children. They will not obey me in my way. I grant, they do things that other fathers would rejoice at. But I will be obeyed in my own way, d’ ye see? Here’s my eldest son. Mark how he stands, as if he had learned a posturen3112 at Knightsbridge spittlen11652 as we came along while-ere.gg1635 He was not only born without wit, but with an obstinate resolution never to have any. I mean, such wit as might become a gentleman.

34CockbrainWas that resolution born in him, think you?n355

35CrosswillIt could never grow up in him still as it does else. When I would have him take his horse, and follow the dogs, and associate [with] gentlemenn3240, in hawking, hunting, or suchlike exercises, he’ll run you a-footgg1636 five mile another way, to meet the brethren of the separation,n357 at such exercisesn358 as I never sent him to, I am suren4576, on worky daysgg1637. And whereas most gentlemen run into other men’s booksn360, in hands that they care not who reads, he has a book of his own short-writingn361 in his pocket, of such stuff as is fit for no man’s reading indeed but his own.

36GabrielSurely, sir –

37CrosswillSure, you are an ass. Hold your tongue.

38GabrielYou are my father.

39Rooksbill   [Aside]   What comfort should I have, were my son such?

40CrosswillAnd he has done nothingn3241 but hanged the head, as you see now, ever since holiday sports were cried up in the country.n362 And but for that, and to talk with some of the silenced pastorsn363 here in townn3385 about it, I should not have drawn him up.

41RooksbillI would I could change a son w’ you, sir.

42CrosswillWhat kind of thing is thy son, ha? Dost thou look like one that could have a son fit for me to father, ha? And yet the best take both, and ’t please you at all adventures, ha!

43RooksbillI am sure there cannot be a worse or more debauched reprobate than mine is, living.

44CrosswillAnd is the devil too good a master for him, think’st thou, ha? Wherein can I deserve so ill at thy hands, fellow, whate’er thou art, that thou should’st wish me cumbered with a worse burden, when thou hearest me complain of this, ha? What is this fellown364 that you dare know him, friend Cockbrain? I will not dwell within three parishes of him.

45Rooksbill   [Aside to COCKBRAIN]   My tenant! Bless me from him! I had rather all my rents were bawdy housesn365.

46Cockbrain   [Aside to ROOKSBILL]   Think nothing of his words, he’ll forget all instantly. The best natured man living.

47CrosswillDost thou stand like a son now that hears his father abused, ha?

48GabrielI am praying for the conversion of the young man he speaks of.

49CockbrainWell said, Master Gabriel.

50CrosswillBut by the way, where’s your son, Anthony? Have you not heard of him yet?

51CockbrainNever since he forsook me, on the discontent he took in that he might not marry your daughter there. And where he lives, or whether he lives or not, I know not. I hope your daughter is a comfort to you.

52CrosswillYes, in keeping her chamber whole weeks together, sullenning upon her samplery breech-workn366, when I was in hope she would have made me a grandfather ere nown367. But she has a humour, forsooth, since we put your son by hern368, to make me a matchbroker, her marriage-makern369; when I tell you, friend, there has been so many untoward matches of parents’ makingn370, that I have sworn she shall make her own choice, though it be of one I hate. Make me her match-maker! Must I obey her, or she me, ha?

53CockbrainI wish, with tears, my son had had her nown3028.

54KatherineWherein, sir, – under correction – do I disobey you?

55CrosswillIn that very word, under correction, thou disobey’st me. Are you to be under correction at these years,n371 ha? If I ha’ not already taught you manners beyond the help of correction, go, seek a wiser father to mend ’em.

56KatherineYet give me leave, dear sir, in my excuse –

57CrosswillLeave out correction, then.

58KatherineIf I were forward as many maidens are,
        To wish a husband, must I not be sought?
        I never was a gadder;gg1638n372 and my mother,
        Before she died, adjuredgg1639 me to be none.
        I hope you’ll give me leave to keep your house.n4269

59CrosswillLa, there again! How subtly she seeks dominion over me! No, housewife, no; you keep no house of mine. I’ll nestle you no longer under my wing. Are you not fledgegg1640n3113? I’ll have you fly out, I,n375 as other men’s daughters do; and keep a house of your own if you can find it.

60GabrielWe had a kinswoman flewn376 out too lately, I take it.n377

61CrosswillWhat tell’st thou me of her, wise-acres?n378gg1641 Can they not fly out a little, but they must turn arrant whoresn1123, ha?n379 Tell me of your kinswoman? ’Tis true, she was my niece;n380 she went to ’tn381 a little afore her time. Some two years since, and so fled from religion; and is turned Turk, we fear.n382 And what of that in your precisianicalgg1634 wisdom? I have such children as no man has. But, as I was saying, would ye top me, huswife, ha? Look you, now I chide her, she says nothing. Is this obedience, ha?

62KatherinePerhaps I might unfortunately cast my affection on a man that would refuse me.n384

63CrosswillThat man I would desire to know. Show me that man. See if I swingen385 him not [who] daresn3242 slight my daughter.

64Cockbrain   [Aside]   Still the old humour, self-willed, cross, and touchy; but suddenly reconciled.   [Aloud to CROSSWILL]   Come, Master Crosswill, to the business.

65CrosswillOh, you told me of a house you had found for me.

66CockbrainYes, sir. And here’s the landlord.

67CrosswillDoes he look or go like one could let a house worthy of me?n386

68CockbrainSir, we have able builders here, that will not carry least show of their buildings on their backs.n387 This is a rich, sufficient man, I assure you, and my friend.

69CrosswillI cry him heartily mercy, and embrace him. And now I note you better, you look like Thriftn8819 itself.
DORCAS enters above upon a balcony.n388 GABRIEL
gazes at her. DORCAS is habitedgg1642 like a courtesan of Venice

I cannot think you will throw away your houses at a cast.n391 You have a son, perhaps, that may, by the commendations you gave of him. Let’s see your house.

70CockbrainCome away, Master Gabriel.

71CrosswillCome, sir, what do you gape and shake the head at there? I’ll lay my life he has spied the little cross upon the new church yond, and is at defiance with it.n392 Sirrah, I will make you honour the first syllable of my namen3029. My name is Will Crosswill, and I will have my humour. Let those that talk of me for it speak their pleasure, I will do mine.

72GabrielI shall obey you, sir.

73CrosswillNow you are in the right. You shall indeed. I’ll make your heart ache else, d’ ye see?n393

74GabrielBut truly, I was looking at that imagen3030, that painted idolatrous image yonder, as I take it.

75Cockbrain   [Aside.]   O heresy!n394   [Aloud to the others]   It is some lady or gentlewoman standing upon her balcony.n395

76BeltHer belle coney? Where is it? I can spy from her foot to her face, yet I can see no belle coney she has.n396

77CockbrainWhat a knave’s this? That’s the balcony she stands on, that which jetsn397 out so on the forepart of the house. Every house here has one of ’em.

78Belt’Tis very good; I like the jetting out of the forepart very well; it is a gallant fashionn399 indeed.

79Cockbrain   [Aside]   I guess what she is, what e’er I have said. O Justice, look to thine office.

80CrosswillCome now, to this house, and then to my son Mihil, the spark you spoke of. And if I find him cross too, I’ll cross him. Let him look to ’t. D’ ye see?

81CockbrainI’ll see you housed; and then about my projectn3031, which is for weeding of this hopeful garden.n400[Exit all] [except GABRIEL and DORCAS].
GABRIEL stays last, looking up at her. [Then GABRIEL exits.]

82[Dorcas]n3114Why should not we in England use that freedom
        The famous courtesans have in Italy?
        We have the art, and know the theory
        To allure and catch the wandering eyes of loversn7323;
        Yea, and their hearts too. Butn402 our stricter laws
        Forbidn9169 the public practice. Our desires
        Are high as theirs: our wills as apt and forward;
        Our wits as ripe, our beauties more attractive;
        Or travellers are shrewd liars. Where’s the letgg339?
        Only in bashful, coward custom, that
        Stoops i’ the shoulders, and submits the neck
        To bondage of authority, to these laws
        That men of feeble age and weaker eye-sight
        Have framed to bar their sons from youthful pleasures.
        Possets and caudlesn403 on their queasy stomachs,
        Whilst I fly outn404 in braven405 rebellion;
        And offer, at the least, to break these shackles
        That hold our legs together; and begin
        A fashion which, pursued by Cyprian dames,n406
        May persuade justice to allow our games.n407
        Who knows? I’ll try. Francisca, bring my lute.n408n401
Francisca enters with a lute.
[Exit Francisca]
While [DORCAS] is tuning her lute, NICHOLAS
Rooksbill, ANTHONY in a false beard,
and CLOTPOLL enter [below].

83ClotpollTroth, I have a great mind to be one of the Philoblathici,gg1643 a Brother of the Blade and Battoon,gg1644 as you translate it, now ye have beat it into my head. But I fear I shall never come on and off handsomely. I have mettlen412 enough, methinks, but I know not how, methinks, to put it out.

84NicholasWe’ll help you out with it, and set it flying for you, never doubt it.

85ClotpollObotts,gg1645 you mean my money metal, I mean my valour mettle, I.

86AnthonyPeace, hark.

87ClotpollT’other flies fast enough already.

88NicholasPox on ye, peace.
[DORCAS sings]n414

89NicholasO most melodious.

90ClotpollMost odious, did you say? It is methinks most odoriferous.

91AnthonyWhat new devise can this be? Look![DORCAS exits from the balcony.]

92NicholasShe is vanished. Is ’t not the mountebank’s wifen415 that was here; and now come again to play some new merry tricksn416 by herself?

93ClotpollA bottsgg1645 on ’t, I never saw that mountebank; they say, he brought the first resort into this new plantation, and sowed so much seed of knavery and cozenage here, that ’tis fear’d ’twill never out.n418

94NicholasNay, but this creature: what can she be?

95ClotpollAnd then again, he drew such flocks of idle people to him, that the players, they say, cursed him abominably.n419

96AnthonyThou ever talk’st of the wrong matter.n2180

97ClotpollCry mercy, Brothers of the Blade and Battoon. Do you think if I give my endeavour to it, I shall ever learn to roar and carry it as you do, that have it naturally, as you say?

98NicholasYes, as we’ll beat it into you. But this woman, this musical woman, that set herself out to show so, I would be satisfied in her.

99ClotpollAnd she be as able as she seems, she has in her to satisfy youn3032, and you were a Brother of ten Blades, and ten Battoons.

100NicholasI vown420 – peace. I’ll battoon thy teeth into thy tongue else. She bears a stately presence.n8820 Thou never saw’st her before, didst thou, Tony?

101AnthonyNo; but I heard an inkling at the Paris Tavernn421 last night of a she-gallant that had travelled France and Italy; and that she would –

102Clotpoll   [Aside to himself,writing in his notebook]n2181    Battoon thy teeth into thy tonguen422”.

103Anthony– plant some of her foreign collections, the fruits of her travels, in this garden here, to try how they would grow or thrive on English earth.

104NicholasYoung Pig was speaking of such a one to me, and that she was a mumper.gg1647

105ClotpollWhat’s that, a Sister of the Scabbard,n424 Brother of the Blade?

106NicholasCome, come; we’ll in, we’ll in; ’tis one of our father’s buildings; I’ll see the inhabitants.n2182 Some money, Clotpoll, furnish, I say, and quickly – I vow –

107ClotpollYou shall, you shall.

108NicholasWhat shall I?

109ClotpollVow twice before you have it.

110NicholasI vow, and I vow again, I’ll coinn441 thy brains –[NICHOLAS threatens to strike CLOTPOLL]

111ClotpollHold, hold, take your poll money   [CLOTPOLL gives NICHOLAS money]   n442; I thought I would have my will;    [Aside to himself, writing in his notebookn2183]   and the word I look for, “I’ll coin thy brains. I do not love to give my money for nothing. I have a volume of words here, the worst of ’em is as good as a blow; and then I save my crownn443 whole half a dozen times a day, by half a crown a time. There’s half in half saved by that.

112NicholasCome, let’s appear civiln444, till we have our entrance, and then as occasion serves – [They] knock.

113[Francisca]n6172Who would you speak withal?

114NicholasYour mistress, little one.

115FranciscaDo you know her, sir?

116NicholasNo; but I would know hern445, that’s the business: I mean the musical gentlewoman that was fiddling, and so many in the what-do-’e-call-’t e’en now.n446

117FranciscaWhat-do-call her, sir, I pray?

118NicholasWhat-do-call her? ’Tis not come to that yet, prithee let me see and speak with her first.

119FranciscaYou are disposed, I think.

120NicholasWhat should we do here else?

121FranciscaYou won’t thrust in upon a body whether one will or no?n447

122Anthony, NicholasAway, you monkeyn448.[NICHOLAS and ANTHONY exit,
forcing their way past FRANCISCA]

123FranciscaO me, what do you mean?

124ClotpollO my brave Philoblathici![All exit]
[Inside the house]
Enter DORCAS, alias Damyris, [MARGERY]

125[Dorcas]What’s the matter, the girl cries out so?

126MargeryI know not. I fear some rude company, some of the wild crew,gg807 are broke into the house.
[FRANCISCA and NICHOLAS heard offstagen2185]

127FranciscaWhither would you go? You won’t rob the house, will ye?

128NicholasWill ye be quiet, whiskin?gg430

129MargeryOh me, ’tis so: hell’s broke loosen2186. This comes of your new fingle-fanglegg1648 fashion, your preposterous Italian way, forsooth.n7324 Would I could have kept my old ways of pots and pipes, and my strong-water course for customers.gg1649 The very first twang of your fiddle guts has broke all, and conjured a legion of devils among us.

130NicholasNay, there’s but a leashn453 of us. How now? Who have we here? Are these the far travelled ladies? O thou party purple, or rather parboiled bawd.n454

131Margery   [To DORCASn2187]   What shall I do?

132[DORCAS]   [To MARGERY]   Out, alas!n4601 Sure they are devils indeed.

133NicholasArt thou travelled 'cross the seas from the Bankside hither, old Countess of Codpiece Rown455?

134Clotpoll   [Aside to himself, writing in his notebookn2188]   “Party purple and parboiled bawd –”

135AnthonyAnd is this the damsel that has been in France and Italy?

136Clotpoll   [Aside to himself, writing in his notebook]   “Codpiece Row”.

137MargeryPeace, ye roaring scabs.gg1650 I’ll be sworn she supped at Paris Tavern last night, and lay not long ago at the Venice by Whitefriars Dock.n457n7325

138NicholasPrithee, what is she, Madge?

139MargeryA civil gentlewoman you see she is.

140NicholasShe has none of the best faces.n2189 But is she warrantable?gg428n458 I have not had a civil night these three months.

141[Margery]Nor none are like to have here, I assure you.

142NicholasOh, Madge, how I do long thy thing to ding diddle ding!

143MargeryOh, Nick, I am not in the humour; no more is she to be o’ the merry pingg1651 now. I am sure her case is too lamentable. But if you will all sit down, I’ll give you a bottle of wine, and we’ll relate her story to you, so you will be civil.n2190

144NicholasWell, for once I care not if we be.
A table, bottle, lightn4260, and tobacco pipes [brought on]n2191

Let us set to’t, then; sit down, Brother Tony, sit down, gentlewoman, we shall know your name anon. I hope it will fall in your story; sit down, Clotpoll.

145ClotpollYou will call me Brother Clotpoll too when I have taken my oath, and paid my entrance into the fraternityn461 of the Blade and the Battoon.

146Nicholas’Tis like we shall. Now Lady of the Stygian Laken3027, thou black infernal Madge, begin the dismal story, whilst I begin the bottle.

147MargeryThis gentlewoman, whose name is Damyris –

148NicholasDamyris? Stay. Her nick-name then is Dammy,n462 so we may call her when we grow familiar. And to begin that familiarity, Dammy, here’s to you –Drinks a toast

149[Dorcas]And what’s your nick-name, I pray, sir?n7326

150NicholasNick.n463 Only Nick; Madge there knows it.

151[Dorcas]Then I believe your name is Nicholas.

152NicholasI vow – witty. Yes, Dammy, and my surname is Rooksbill, and so is my father’s too. And what do you make o’ that?

153[Dorcas]Nothing, not I, sir.   [Aside]   Sure, this is he.

154NicholasAnd I would he were nothing, so I had all he has. I must have t’other glass to wash him out of my mouth, he furs it worse than Mundungus tobacco.n464 Here, old Madge   [Drinks a toastn2192]   and to all the birds that shall wonder at thy owletshipn7327, when thou rid’st in an ivy-bush called a cart.n465

155MargeryWell, mad Nick, I’ll pledge thee in hope to see as many flutter about the tree that thou shalt climb backwards.n466[Drinks a toast]

156NicholasA pox! Thou wilt be stifled with offal and carrot leaves before that day.n467

157[Dorcas]Fie, fie, what talk’s this?   [Aside]   ’Tis he, I am confident.

158MargeryThese are our ordinary compliments, we wish no harm.

159NicholasNo, Dammy, I vow, not I to any breathing.

160MargeryBut your father, Nick – is he that Rooksbill – ?

161Nicholas“But my father”! Pox rot ye, why do ye put me in mind of him again? He sticks i’ my throat, now I’ll wash him a little further – Here, Brother Tony –[Drinks a toast]

162AnthonyGramercy,n468 Brother Nick.[Drinks a toast]

163ClotpollAnd to all the Brothers that are, and are to be of the Blade and the Battoon.

164NicholasThere said you well, Clotpoll. Here ’tis –Drink[s a toast]
[MARGERY] sets away the bottle.n3248

165MargeryI would but have asked you whether your father were that Rooksbill that is called the great builder.

166NicholasYes, marry, is it he, forsooth. He has built I know not how many houses hereabout, though he goes, Dammy, as if he were not worth a groat; and all his clothes I vow are not worth this hiltn2193, except those he wears, and prays for fair weather in, on my Lord Mayor’s Day;n469 and you are his tenant, though perhaps you know it not,n470 and may be mine; therefore use me welln2194. For this house and the rest I hope will be mine, as well as I can hope he is mortal, of which I must confess I have been in some doubt, though now I hope again he will be the first shall lay his bones i’ the new church, though the churchyard be too good for him before ’tis consecrated.n471 So give me the t’other cup, for now he offends my stomach.n7328 Here’s to thee now, Clotpoll.[Drinks a toast]

167ClotpollAnd to all the Sisters of the Scabbard, Brother in Election.   [Drinks a toast]       [Aside to MARGERY and ANTHONY]   D’ ye hear, pray talk of his father no more, for the next brings him to the belly-workgg2783, and then he’ll drink him quite through him.

168MargeryAnd so we shall have a foul house.

169AnthonyNo, he shall stick there.   [To DORCAS]   Now to the story, gentlewoman, ’twas that we sat for.

170NicholasAye, to the story. I vow I had almost forgot it, and I am the worst at sackgg483 in a morning. Dear Dammy, to the story.

171[Dorcas]Good sir, my heart’s too full to utter ’t.

172NicholasTroth, and my head’s too full to hear it. But I’ll go out and quarrel with somebody to settle my brains, then go down to Mick Crosswill to put him in mind of our meeting today; then if you will meet me at the Goatn473 at dinnern474, we’ll have it all at large.

173[Dorcas]Will you be there indeed, sir? I would speak with you seriously.

174NicholasDammy, if I be not, may my father outlive me.

175AnthonyWe both here promise you he shall be there by noon.

176Clotpoll’Lady, ’tis sworn by Blade and by Battoon.

177NicholasThis will be the bravest discovery for Mihiln475, the new Italian Bona Roban476 Catsoe.n477NICHOLAS, ANTHONY, and CLOTPOLL exitn9170

178MargeryWhy so sad on the sudden, niecen478?

179[Dorcas]But do you think he’ll come as he has promised?

180MargeryHe never breaks a promise with any of us, though he fail all the honest part o’ the world.n479 But I trust you are not taken with the ruffian. You’ll ne’er get penny by him.

181[Dorcas]I prithee, peace, I care not.

182RalphBut mistressn1558, there is a gallant now below, a jingle boyn480 indeed, that has his pockets full of crowns that chide for vent. Shall I call him up to you?

183[Dorcas]I will see no man.

184MargeryHow’s that? I hope you jest.

185[Dorcas]Indeed, I hope you jest.

186MargeryYou will not hinder the house, I hope. Marry! This were a humour and ’t would last. Go fetch him up.

187[Dorcas]I’ll fly then outn481 at window.   [Draws a knife]   Nay, by this steeln482 ’tis true.

188MargeryWhat’s the matter? Have I got a mad woman into the house? What, do you go about to break me the first day of your coming, before you have hanselledn483 a couch or a bedside in ’t? Were you but now all o’ th’ heighgg1652 to set yourself out for a sign with your fiddle cum twang,n485 and promise such wondersn9172, forsooth, and will not now be seen? Pray, what’s the riddle?

189[Dorcas]I’ll tell thee all anon. Prithee, excuse me. I know thy sharen1560 of his sin’s bountyn1559 would not come to thus much: take it, I give it thee. And prithee, let me be honest till I have a mind to be otherwise, and I’ll hinder thee nothing.

190MargeryWell, I’ll dismiss the gallant, and send you, sirrah, for another wench. I’ll have Bess Buffleheadgg1720 again. This kicksy, wincyn487 giddibrain will spoil all. I’ll no more Italian tricks –[MARGERY and RALPH exit.]n3249

191[Dorcas]Thus some have by the frenzy of despair
        Fumouslygg1653 run into the sea to throw
        Their wretched bodies, but when come near
        They saw the billows rise, heard Boreas’gg2797 blow,
        And horrid death appearing on the main,gg1685n489
        A sudden fear hath sent them back again.[Exit DORCAS]

Edited by Michael Leslie

n3839   The Actors’ Names. No actors are named in this list, which is a list of parts to be played. [go to text]

n4248   ROOKSBILL Rooksbill's name conveys a sense of slight disdain for a money man: 'Rook' can mean cheat or extort (OED rook v1). [go to text]

n4249   CROSSWILL Crosswill's name expresses the perversity of his character: willful and always determined to act both irritably and against his own and others' expectations. [go to text]

n4250   COCKBRAIN Cockbrain's name indicates his folly. See OED cock-brain: 'One to whom is ascribed the brain of a cock; a light-headed, rash, and foolish person. Cf. bird-witted.' [go to text]

n4259   NICHOLAS Like his father, Nicholas Rooksbill's family name suggests a propensity for cheating and fraud; and so he has behaved in seducing and then abandoning Dorcas (Damyris). His forename, Nicholas, is always 'Nick' in the text, and in 1.2 Dorcas plays on its associations to his discomfort: 'Old Nick', the Devil. [go to text]

n4256   MIHIL A variant of Michael and found often in Irish names. During the play he is sometimes addressed as 'Mich'. [go to text]

n4251   MUN Clotpoll A clodpoll, clotpoll, or clodpate is a thick-headed person, a fool (OED clod-pate). 'Mun' is probably a diminutive of Edmund (see the exactly contemporary, familiar address to Edmund 'Mun' Verney). However, the Muns were street gang in London in the mid seventeenth century (OED Mun), making the choice of name particularly appropriate, given Clotpoll's aspirations. [go to text]

gg3218   gull a credulous person; one easily imposed upon; a dupe, simpleton, fool (OED gull n, 3) [go to text]

n1571   DRIBLOW Captain Driblow, a miles gloriosus, is a common dramatic type. The contemporary London street gangs of high-spirited young men were often led by soldiers returning from military action but without a position or role in civilian life. See the summary description in Keith Thomas, The Ends of Life, pp. 62-63. Driblow resembles Lording Barry's Captain Puff in Ram Alley. Driblow's name also suggests one who no longer possesses potency (compare dry-bob), sometimes sexual potency, or who is dessicated and withered. See OED dry a. 2.a and 15.a. [go to text]

n3840   Philoblathici Captain Driblow leads the gang of riotous young men to which Mihil, Nicholas, and Anthony belong, and to membership of which Mun Clotpoll aspires. 'Philobathici' is the classicising name of the Brotherhood of the Blade and Batton and the name is a compound of Philo=lover and blathici, which appears to be a variant of blether or blather, or blatter, all meaning to talk idly, loudly, volubly, or foolishly, and all recorded in use in the period of the play (OED blether, blatter v. 1; blatter v 1). [go to text]

n4252   BELT Belt's name expresses the fact that he is always being struck by Crosswill. [go to text]

n4255   RALPH Sometime printed as 'Rafe' in the original text, indicating pronunciation. [go to text]

n4253   DORCAS, alias Damaris Dorcas is the name of the woman raised from the dead by Peter in Acts 9.36. The name is appropriate, since this character is redeemed from a moral death in the course of the play, being saved by her cousin Mihil from a life of prostitution. Her pseudonym, Damyris, also implies redemption: in Acts 17.34 Damaris is one of those converted having heard St. Paul preaching in Athens. [go to text]

n4254   MARGERY Howlet Listed as Margery in 'The Actors' Names' (the cast list), she is called 'Madge' by other characters and in the original speech prefixes. Margery was a common forename and, both in full and in the diminutive, has a homely, plebeian quality. 'Howlet' is a diminutive of 'owl'; again, rather homely. But owls are typically associated with the dark and, in early modern literature, with the loss of virginity. [go to text]

n4257   FRANCISCA The alternative, Frances, and the diminutive, Frank, were often used as stock names for prostitutes. [go to text]

gg438   punks prostitute [go to text]

n2175   his this [go to text]

n2176   th’ they [go to text]

n2177   Another Prologue This prologue appears to be added for a revival of the play in the early 1640s [go to text]

gg1965   grutch OED to murmer, complain, repine [go to text]

n2230   ACT ONE Although there is no formal division in the 1659 printed text, Act One is composed of two scenes. The first is the only outdoor scene in the play, set in the middle of the building work for the new Covent Garden development. The characters who come on stage in the first scene are able to see the new church designed by Inigo Jones and the central piazza; but the way they refer to the church tells us that they are not in the Piazza but in one of the surrounding streets, amid buildings whose social character is still very much to be determined. This first scene raises questions about physical space, who 'owns' and controls it, and how different kinds of control compete or coexist; and the physical circumstances of the stage - positioning, movement, sitting, standing - enable these social, urban, and even political questions to be rendered vivid and stark. Who will ultimately control the 'scene' of Covent Garden: the incoming gentry, the City money man, or the would-be urban magistrate? Will all these established figures find that the unpredictable energies of urban life, embodied in the generation just into adulthood, escape their grasp? How space is 'owned' and controlled will pervade the play and the question connects with almost every other topic encountered in The Weeding of Covent Garden, not least in Act 1's second scene, when the would-be prostitute Dorcas discovers that, while she possesses the power of enticement through the prospect of sex, expressed by her brazen self-display on the balcony, any resulting transaction will mean that the customer - and in Nick's case a very particular customer - will own and control both the building and her body.
This act immediately establishes the major issue of the play in terms of relationships: fathers and their children (this is a motherless play). Within a few moments three fathers are seen: Rooksbill, the property speculator; Cockbrain, the aspiring arbiter of morality; and Crosswill, a West Country gentleman who has decided to sell his lands and move to London. All three have children but all are, in their different ways and to different degrees, alienated from them. Cockbrain arrives with two of his three children sourly in his train, each taking revenge for his heavy-handedness by frustrating their father: Gabriel has become ostentatiously puritanical, the opposite of his father's gentry culture, a heavy blow from the elder son and heir; and, her father having prevented her preferred marriage, Katherine refuses to accept responsibility for any decisions or to become independent in any way. Crosswill is soon to track down his third child, his younger son Mihil, who is supposed to be studying law but is actually living a dissolute life as a young man-about-town, and has the hope of marrying Rooksbill's daughter Lucy. Rooksbill has two children who do not appear in the first scene: the daughter, Lucy; but also a son, Nick, a ne'er-do-well, violent roisterer with whom he is not in contact. Cockbrain's son Anthony, disgusted by his father's interference in his planned marriage to Crosswill's daughter Katherine, has disguised himself and is submerged in London's young, male, gentry culture, somewhat half-heartedly embracing the life of riot. Cockbrain aspires to the heroic role in cleansing the new district and setting a virtuous moral tone, in imitation of Justice Adam Overdo in Ben Jonson's Bartholomew Fair.
Act One not only sets the scene physically, but makes important contemporary political and social references. The Covent Garden setting enables Brome to make wry commentary about the rapid development of the area between the cities of London and Westminster and about new architectural styles associated with Inigo Jones, the old antagonist of Brome's former master, Ben Jonson. Cockbrain's anxieties concerning these newly developed areas reflect contemporary debate concerning the likely social composition of Covent Garden in particular, and the difficulty of controlling the spread of profitable enterprises and activities frowned upon by the authorities, in particular drinking establishments such as taverns and inns, and the commercial sex trade. Connected with the concern about rapid and unregulated urbanisation, the arrival of Crosswill and his two children from the country introduces reference to two attempts by Charles I to control social and religious activity: his proclamation that the members of the aristocracy and gentry should remain in their home localities and not move to London; and the attempt to sustain popular pastimes and rituals in the face of more militant Protestant disapprobation, represented by Crosswill's elder son, Gabriel.
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n2231   1.1 The first scene reveals shifting status and power relationships and it does so not least through striking contrasts between phases of the scene. At first Cockbrain, the aspiring magistrate, enters attempting to enthuse and propitiate Rooksbill, the investor. Cockbrain tries a variety of approaches, none very satisfactory. By virtue of his resistence and almost monosyllabic responses to Cockbrain's enthusiasm, Rooksbill asserts his dominance: Rooksbill may be just a citizen, but the brute fact of his wealth is lost on neither of them. But he is immediately and effortlessly displaced on the arrival of Crosswill, a country gentleman whose invincible assumption of superiority is paradoxically based on the land he has just sold and the title to gentry status it has hitherto given him.
The initial dialogue between Cockbrain and Rooksbill, the only two characters on stage, sets the scene; the energetic eruption of Crosswill and his hand-to-hand family conflict with his children Gabriel and Katherine, and their servant Belt, constitutes a second phase, full of vehemence, insult, and noise.
The horizontal stage picture is then transformed by the appearance of a woman on a balcony: Dorcas (Crosswill's niece), having been seduced by Rooksbill's son Nick before the opening of the play, has run away and now claims to be Italian, taking the name 'Damaris'. She is seen first by the fathers, Katherine and Gabriel, and Belt. The aspiring magistrate Cockbrain recognizes Dorcas's self-presentation as that of a prostitute advertising her wares but conceals the fact in order not to drive away Crosswill, the potential tenant, or Rooksbill, the property investor. Belt, the servant, has no need to be guarded and he responds with frank admiration of Dorcas's body, especially her prominently displayed breasts, associating them and her provocative physicality with the architectural novelty of the Venetian balcony on which she stands: her 'belle coney'.
The other characters leave the stage, again creating a striking change both visual and in terms of characters, their movement, and their dynamic. Dorcas's speech decries the sexual double standard and claims a sexual liberty for women (though not with total confidence). The character of the scene then changes abruptly once more. Dorcas sings and is seen by a group of the young male roisterers as they enter: Nick Rooksbill (who does not recognize her as his former conquest in the country), Anthony (Cockbrain's son), and Clotpoll, a young man who aspires to membership of their riotous gang, the Philoblathici. Having seen Dorcas advertising herself on the balcony, playing the lute and singing, they force their way into her house. The destabilizing culture of street gangs, especially in the new districts outside traditional City control, remains a theme throughout the play.
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n7320   COCKBRAIN and ROOKSBILL [enter] Video The play opens with these two characters alone on stage, a fact that will become striking slightly later when the Crosswill family, dominated by the loquacious and domineering father, burst upon the scene and crowd the stage. Cockbrain and Rooksbill's exchange, though quieter, is nonetheless significant: it establishes the fictional physical space of Covent Garden, in course of building, and it also establishes the themes of economic instability, social indeterminacy, and manipulation that will dominate the play.
Exploring the opening with actors revealed, first, the weight of exposition and topical detail; and it focused attention on the need for a theatrical dynamic to capture the audience's attention and commitment. Intriguingly, the actors found this by exposing Cockbrain's difficulty in retaining the attention and assent of Rooksbill. The latter speaks little, with more testy anxiety than enthusiasm, and prosaically; Cockbrain's attempts to enthuse the monied landlord seem ever more exaggerated and desperate.
The actors developed two strategies in particular: allowing Rooksbill to remain silent, creating ever greater awkwardness for Cockbrian ; and anchoring Rooksbill towards the rear of the stage, with Cockbrain moving constantly but always having to return to the unmoving and unmoved Rooksbill .
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n7321   Aye, marry, sir! This is something like! Video Cockbrain's exuberant exclamation gives the audience the impression that we are hearing part of an exchange that has begun before the play opens. The actor must choose how anxious to make Cockbrain appear already. Cockbrain seems to keep anticipating a response from Rooksbill betraying some enthusiasm, however little; instead he is greeted with silence, an air of worried abstraction, and a relentless attention to the practicalities of investment and returns. [go to text]

gg177   marry a common intensifier or expletive, a contraction of 'By Mary', 'By Mary of God' [go to text]

n211   architecture See the Introduction for a fuller discussion of this topic. The first English usage noted in the OED is in the title of John Shute's The First and Chief Grounds of Architecture (1563). The status of building design arts and of the words 'architecture' and 'architect' is changing rapidly during this period. The principal known house designer of the previous century, Robert Smythson, was never termed 'architect' before the twentieth century, but Covent Garden’s surveyor, Inigo Jones (1573-1652), clearly makes claims for his art and his own professional standing, basing them on connections with classical architecture (through Vitruvius [c.75 BCE-15 BCE] in particular) and modern European architectural practice and theory (particularly through Andrea Palladio (1508-1580), but with Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446) as the first modern to gain this status). Cockbrain is playing, somewhat naïvely, on the new, fashionable enthusiasm for architecture as he seeks to keep Rooksbill patient at the lack of financial return on his building investments. See Mark Girouard, Robert Smythson and the Elizabethan Country House (London: Yale U.P. 1986); Christy Anderson, Inigo Jones and the Classical Tradition (Cambridge: CUP, 2006); Giles Worsley, Inigo Jones and the European Classical Tradition (London: Yale University press, 2007). [go to text]

n212   expressed Meaning to utter, but in The Weeding of Covent Garden here with a particular heightened emphasis due to a connection with works of art and their assertions of importance, and perhaps with the emblematic, as in rebuses and symbolic forms in which the visual rivals the verbal in ability to communicate elevated and complex ideas. The subterranean metaphor of 'pressing' connects with printing and stamping, as in 'impresa' and 'impression'. For the range of connected meanings and connotations, see OED express v1, 5 a and b; 6; and 7 and the quotations therein. [go to text]

n213   nobility. Although higher-class residents were soon to be found in Covent Garden, particularly in the houses surrounding the Piazza (the earl of Stirling dates a letter to the secretary of state, Sir Francis Windebank, from 'Covent Garden, this Monday' in 1632 [Calendar of State Papers Domestic 1631-1633 (Longman, Green, 1862): 483 59]), fears over the likely social composition of the newly-developing areas between the City, Whitehall, and Westminster can be traced through the records of the Privy Council and elsewhere. From the outset taverns and inns were established, contrary to the terms of the original license to the earl of Bedford and contrary to his agreements with builders and landlords. Neither the royal authorities nor Bedford appear to have been able to control development and use, and the records imply that the magistracy charged with enforcing the terms of the licence and the leases dragged their feet. They were often drawn from the commercial class and knew that demand for entertainment was strong and therefore profits were to be made. The royal authorities sought to restrict the popularity of unlicensed taverns and inns by forbidding the serving of food. A statute of 1612 had limited the number of taverns in London to 40. On 12 July 1633 Sir Hugh Hammersley complained of the number of taverns, and Secretary Windebank’s notes show the Privy Council discussing the matter five days later (Calendar of State Papers vol. CCXLIII, p. 144) in the presence of the city alderman and vintners and ordering the Lord Mayor and aldermen for the city and the local Justices of the Peace for the suburbs to report within a month on the number of taverns operating. Covent Garden is specially mentioned. The Council ordered that the taverns cease serving food. On 2 August the Council received a report concerning 'taverns and victualling houses in Convent Garden, and a little lane adjoining lately called Russell Street'; in Covent Garden alone there were eight taverns and fifteen alehouses, and in Russell Street another 5 alehouses. The alehouses had been licenced by the Clerk of Westminster (Calendar of State Papers vol. CCXLIV, pp. 168-9). The Council ordered a radical reduction, but on 29 August the Justices of the Peace reported that many of the necessary officials were away from London and pleaded to be allowed to delay action until after Michaelmas. The Council notes in October 1633 that the matter remained 'unperfected' and ordered the Justices of the Peace 'to suppress all taverns in Covent Garden except two, all alehouse keepers except four, and all cooks except three' (Calendar of State Papers vol. CCXLVIII, p. 266). But the Covent Garden Constable, Robert Cooke, reported on 21 December that 'the vintners of Covent Garden having been commanded by the justices of the peace to forbear venting wines, and to pull down their bushes, do notwithstanding keep up their bushes and continue to sell wines' (Calendar of State Papers Vol. CCLIV, p. 335). Part of the problem with enforcement was the practice of sub-letting: on 13 February 1634 'Thomas Jones, master of his Majesty’s tents' complained to the Council that 'Anthony Paul has taken a house adjoining petitioner’s in Drury Lane, and has let the same to Robert Batty, who intends to erect it into a tavern, to the great prejudice of petitioner, and other neighbours being men of eminent quality'. He pleaded with the Council 'not to give permission for the setting up of the said tavern'. The Council agreed and commanded Sir Henry Spiller and Lawrence Whitaker, Justices of the Peace for Middlesex, to enforce the order (Calendar of State Papers vol. CCLX, p. 462). [go to text]

n283   piece 'Piece' and 'Peace' are going to be words used constantly and with various meanings throughout the play. Few contemporary lexicons define the word, but it ranges from the almost neutral 'a small bit', 'an item', to the heavily inflected, as in the monetary (a coin) and the commercial, something traded, whether it is a commodity, some real property, or a prostitute. All these meanings are active, frequently used, and connected in this play. Here it is important to note that the characters are not in the Piazza: 'yond magnificent piece'. This is not a play that takes place in the glamorous centre of the development but in the more dubious and contested surrounding streets. [go to text]

n284   Venice Brome shares his contemporaries’ fascination with Venice; no doubt the fundamental example for him is Jonson’s Volpone, but English city comedies frequently draw on knowledge and myths of Venice as they explore the new world of the London they inhabit. See Jean Remble, The Apotheosis of Venice in the Elizabethan Imagination (Tromso: University of Tromso, 1995). Venice in this play is invoked as the height of fashion, but also as a city defined and structured by trade and commerce, not by the unchanging values of a traditional, stable, hierarchical society; and defined by an equivalent sexual transgressiveness, particularly in courtesanship and prostitution. See also Brome's thorough and complex presentation of the city in The Novella.
In The Weeding of Covent Garden Cockbrain's enthusiastic comparison of the new Piazza to that at Venice is likely to be embarrassing. Cockbrain casts himself as a reformer of public and private morals; yet he admiringly compares the new development to what his contemporaries viewed as the very sink of (exciting) depravity.
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n4573   I ne’er travelled (I ne'er travelled). The parentheses indicate to an actor that this is an interruption of thought, either an aside or perhaps an embarrassed admission by Cockbrain. [go to text]

n285   I ne’er travelled Cockbrain is the butt of a joke about provincialness and the affectedness of the English about foreign travel, a common theatrical target in the period (see Don Armado in Love’s Labours Lost, for instance, and Sir Politic Would-Be in Volpone). See Clare Howard, English Travellers of the Renaissance (1914); John Stoye, English Travelers Abroad, 1604-1667: Their Influence on English Society and Politics (1952). [go to text]

n286   projectors OED: 'One who forms a project, who plans or designs some enterprise or undertaking; a founder.' But also perhaps with the pejorative sense much used in contemporary satires: 1. b. 'In invidious use: A schemer; one who lives by his wits; a promoter of bubble companies; a speculator, a cheat.' See Jonson, The Devil is an Ass, Act 1, Scene 7: FITZ-DOTTREL: 'But what is a Projector? I would conceive. / INGINE: Why, one, Sir, that projects / Ways to enrich Men, or to make 'em great, / By Suits, by Marriages, by Undertakings: / According as he sees they humour it'. [go to text]

gg1623   row a number of houses standing in a line; a street (esp. a narrow one) formed by two continuous lines of houses (OED 4a) [go to text]

n288   counting-boards OED counting, vbl. n, 3.. Cockbrain’s allusion confirms that Rooksbill is a money-man, as his name implies. [go to text]

n7322   I have piled up a leash of thousand pounds in walls and windows there. Video This opening scene is crucial for the creation of a fictional geography for the play: the audience inside the theatre must imagine themselves outside in the new development of Covent Garden, still being built. Robert Lister as Rooksbill achieved this sense of place through his gaze and intense and worried evaluation of the imagined row of houses into which he has sunk a fortune. [go to text]

n289   leash three. OED Leash n. 2 'A set of three; originally in Sporting language, used of hounds, hawks, foxes, hares, deer, etc.; hence gen.'. So, he has spent £3,000. But there’s probably also a pun on 'leases', referring to the innovative property ownership and financing of Covent Garden. [go to text]

n290   increase Seeking to ingratiate himself with Rooksbill, Cockbrain resorts to vaguely religious diction; cp. 2 Corinthians 9, v. 10 in particular. However, Crosswill will use this word in Act 2, Scene 2 ('All in good time, she may increase in virtue'[CG 2.2.speech335]) in reference to Rooksbill’s daughter Lucy and her reluctance to enter the morally-questionable realm of the tavern. Crosswill is acutely conscious both of Lucy’s sexual attractiveness ('your fair daughter, welcome pretty one. Trust me, a pretty one indeed'[CG 2.2.speech333]) and his own lack of grandchildren; the 'increase' he has in mind appears to be that of pregnancy. Hearing this Leontes-like enthusiasm for a woman young enough to be his daughter and soon to be his daughter-in-law, the audience may well harken back to Cockbrain’s use of the word, associating the financial with the dynastic and procreative. [go to text]

gg1624   let out OED to lend (money) at interest(?obs); to put out to hire; to distribute among several tenants or hirers [go to text]

n291   red and white, than upon black and white The characteristic building material of the London area is brick, because of the scarcity and expense of good building stone. For grandeur, brick buildings often had stone dressings to windows, doors, and other features. 'Black and white' refers to documents, probably here related to finance (see 'counting-boards'). Compare Much Ado About Nothing, Act 5, Scene 1: DOGBERRY 'Moreover, sir, which indeed is not under white and black, this plaintiff here, the offender, did call me ass.' There may also be reference to gambling. OED records 'black and white' referring to wood-framed buildings only from the nineteenth century onwards; leaving the beams exposed and painting them black is largely a modern phenomenon. [go to text]

n292   How even and straight they are! Cockbrain is struggling to enthuse Rooksbill and returns to praising his 'row'. Sceptical observers frequently showed a faint disdain for mere straightness as an aesthetic quality, best illustrated decades later by Sir William Temple in The Gardens of Epicurus (1692). Temple has an imaginary Eastern observer mock the simplicity of European neo-classical aesthetics: 'Among us, the beauty of building and planting is placed chiefly in some certain proportions, symmetries, or uniformities; our walks and our trees ranged so as to answer one another, and at exact distances. The Chinese scorn this way of planting, and say, a boy, that can tell an hundred, may plant walks of trees in straight lines, and over-against one another, and to what length and extent he pleases' (p. 131). [go to text]

n293   surveyor No-one was in any doubt as to who the Surveyor was: Inigo Jones. Putting such enthusiastic praise in the mouth of Cockbrain, the man who gets almost everything wrong in the play, suggests that Brome’s audience would respond with a wry, ironic scepticism to such effusive praise of Jones’s essentially foreign aesthetic. This play is roughly contemporary with the final eruption of the great quarrel between Ben Jonson, Brome's former master, and Inigo Jones, over precedence in the creation of the court masques, occasioned by the printing of Love's Triumph though Calliopolis in 1631. The perceived slight was the basis of Jonson's final outburst of antagonism, the masque 'Love's Welcome at Bolsover' (1634). See D.J. Gordon, 'Poet and Architect: The Intellectual Setting of the Quarrel between Ben Jonson and Inigo Jones' Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 12 (1949), 152-178, esp. p. 163. [go to text]

n4574   what e’er he was (what e'er he was). The parentheses are used in the printed text as a typographical sign to the actor that the phrase is to be spoken as an afterthought or aside. [go to text]

n294   How he has wedded strength to beauty; state to uniformity; commodiousness with perspicuity! Video Cockbrain’s parallel phrases are too easy; he sounds imitative and superficial. This became very apparent when the actors played Rooksbill as uninterested and inattentive and Cockbrain as increasingly desperate . Cockbrain seems driven more and more into a rhetorical style that is more suited for public advocacy: not subtle and not, in these circumstances, persuasive.
Brome is probably parodying fashionable architectural speech of the day and maybe even the proclamations permitting the development. Duggan (2000) quotes a document dated 3 May 1629, a certificate from William Laud and the incumbent of St Martin-in-the-Fields, permitting the building of the church and supporting the development proposed by Bedford: 'And in respect thereof he hath humbly besought us for our leave and licence to build the residue of the said field called Covent garden with uniform houses and buildings according to the form and proportion in our said proclamation expressed' (p. 141; Alnwick, Box 1, Envelope 2). This document is a draft and the signed and sealed version omits the material about the church. Nonetheless, it demonstrates the diction in use in connection with the development; incidentally, it confirms that, far from being at loggerheads with Laud and the local incumbent, Bedford was seizing the opportunity offered by their need to relieve overcrowding in St Martin-in-the-Field and thus mutual desire to develop parts of his Covent Garden estates. It also confirms the architectural ambitions of Laud and the Court.
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n214   worthy persons. Rooksbill speaks to this point in single sentence, single clause, curt, and grumpy response, expressing scepticism about the success of the development, particularly in its ability to attract a genteel clientele. Previous readers have suggested that Rooksbill may represent Charles I or, as Martin Butler suggests, the king’s Surveyor, Inigo Jones. But recent discussions of the development of the Bedford estates contradict the old assumption that Charles and Jones opposed the development; rather, they were prime movers and had dominant roles is design and architecture. Rooksbill has no interest in the architecture; his focus is solely on the capital he has committed and the revenue he hopes will come his way. Nor is Rooksbill likely to represent the earl of Bedford. A shrewd businessman and investor, Bedford knew exactly what he was doing, and he was unimpeachably aristocratic, whereas Crosswill denigrates the Rooksbill family as commercial City folk. Rooksbill is a speculative financier and builder, and the place to look for him is in the list of those who gained subordinate permissions from Bedford to build (see Calendar of State Papers CCCCVIII, p. 61). [go to text]

n295   plantation Cockbrain associates the creation of the new district on hitherto undeveloped land with the rich and diverse rhetoric of plantations, a word that was applied to farming and woodland management, to the insertion of new populations in inhabited areas (particularly by this date the Protestant populations inserted in Ireland), and to the new colonies in North America, particularly topical at this date as a result of the increasing success of the Virginia colony and the Great Migration of disaffected Puritans to New England. Cockbrain casts a glow of adventure and entrepreneurship over the Covent Garden speculations. [go to text]

gg649   blades smart, fashionable young men, so called from the swords or rapiers they carried as signs of their prowess (although such a reference to gallants was often familiarly laudatory, just as frequently it was contemptuous) [go to text]

gg1626   naughty-packs either 'a promiscuous or licentious woman; a prostitute' or 'an immoral or promiscuous man' (OED 11a) [go to text]

n298   venturers. Cockbrain is reassuring Rooksbill that, though the first inhabitants may be immoral and low-class, they are the ones needed to create the dynamism that will cause the plantation to succeed. The North American plantation he has in mind is more likely to be Virginia than Massachusetts. [go to text]

gg1627   venturers. 'one who ventures, in various senses; an adventurer'; but also, continuing the reference to the illicit sex trade, 'a strumpet or prostitute' (OED 1 and 3) [go to text]

n299   lime and hair Cockbrain uses the analogy of building materials: the most base and crude ingredients are necessarily used even in the finest buildings. [go to text]

n300   foundations The earl of Bedford’s problems in the development of his London estates had much to do with the issue of 'foundations' as expressed in the royal Proclamations regulating building. Unless exempted and otherwise licenced, construction was supposed to take place only on existing foundations, a provision ignored from the outset by those to whom Bedford leased the land. On 10 January 1631 the king instructed the Attorney General, Sir Robert Heath, to 'To prepare a licence to Francis Earl of Bedford, to build upon the premises called Covent Garden and Long Acre, with a pardon to the Earl, and such persons as he shall name, for offences committed against the proclamations for restraint of building upon new foundation' Calendar of State Papers vol. CLXXXII, p. 479. [go to text]

n301   garden of gardens Cockbrain invokes the pervasive and popular topic of the Garden of Eden with its wide range of connections and associations in early modern culture (see John Prest, The Garden of Eden : The Botanic Garden and the Re-creation of Paradise (London: Yale University Press, 1981) and Michael Leslie and Timothy Raylor, eds., Culture and Cultivation in Early Modern England: Writing and the Land (Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1992). In this period 'improvement' was often represented as godly, man’s exploitation of his world and environment being associated with God’s creating action. Cockbrain is again casting about for reasons and a rhetoric that will reassure Rooksbill and contain the latter's impatience, but his enthusiasm leads him into a manifest absurdity: contrary to what he asserts, Covent Garden up to this point has been a garden (hence the name) and is decisively in the process of ceasing to be so. [go to text]

n302   Overdo Cockbrain and his creator Brome both declare their allegiance and source of influence here, Cockbrain in declaring that he aims to imitate Justice Overdo and Brome in flagging his indebtedness to Jonson and, here, specifically to Bartholomew Fair (2.1). Overdo is introduced with a monologue which begins, 'Well, in Justice' name, and the King's, and for the Commonwealth!' The 1659 printing of The Weeding of Covent Garden italicizes as quotation only 'Well, in Justice' name, and the King's'; the rest of Overdo's phrase is also quoted by Cockbrain, however.
Cockbrain adapts the phrase, however, substituting 'Heaven' for 'Justice', perhaps combining the social order motives of Overdo with the Puritan concern for morality expressed most obviously by Zeal-of-the-Land Busy in Jonson's play.
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n1562   good of the commonwealth Cockbrain's motive is social and not necessarily indicative of puritanism or a militant Protestantism. London and other major early-modern European cities had long traditions of close social regulation: 'The origins of this intense, self-imposed registration and watch on inhabitants go back a long way in European history. They were not, as one might suppose, a creation of Puritan society, although theocratic presbyterian regulation would attempt to make them more all-embracing' (Valerie Pearl, 'Change and Stability in Seventeenth-Century London' London Journal 5 (1979) 3-34; p. 17). [go to text]

n303   I will go about it Cockbrain is wrong about his own involvement as principal agent in setting things right; it turns out to be his son Anthony who has the greater role, though even he cedes primacy to Mihil in the end, before Crosswill assumes the role of spokesman for the play. But Cockbrain is right that urban development often follows a cycle in which the developer has to accept an unwanted social diversity among first inhabitants, with polite society later driving out the impolite. In the case of Covent Garden, the printed text's second prologue, probably spoken at a revival of the play at the beginning of the 1640s, triumphantly confirms that by the 1640s the area had achieved respectability: 'Tis not amiss ere we begin our play, /T' intreat you, that you take the same survey / Into your fancy, as our poet took, / Of Covent Garden, when he wrote his Book, / Some ten years since, when it was grown with weeds, / Not set, as now it is, with noble seeds, / Which make the Garden glorious.' But the achievement was short-lived: thirty years later Covent Garden had reverted to a more socially mixed and less salubrious state, a character the area has retained over the centuries. [go to text]

gg24   would wish (that/to) [go to text]

gg1628   worshipful Justices of the Peace; as an honorific title for persons or bodies of distinguished rank or importance: formerly used very widely, but now restricted to the livery companies and freemasons' lodges and their masters; "Right worshipful" is applied to mayors (OED 3a) [go to text]

n1561   hereabouts Covent Garden lay outside the boundaries of the City of London, but that did not mean that it was without regulation or structure of authority. In fact the reverse may have been the case: 'Middlesex was in some respects an intensely governed county. The privy council regularly intervened in its policing, appointing special commissions to deal with vagrancy, new building, and plague control; there were between eight and ten gaol deliveries per annum (in contrast to the more usual two); regulative offences could be presented not only at quarter sessions but unusually in the court of king’s bench; from 1619 there were additional sessions for Westminster supplementing the work of the local court of burgesses. The density of regulative institutions may have ensured that prosecution rates were higher than within the traditional city' (Ian W. Archer, 'The Government of London, 1500-1650' The London Journal 26 (2001) 19-28; p. 26. The play represents the process whereby a new neighbourhood, at first without a structured system of regulation and enforcement, is being brought within the systems designed to create and preserve civil society. [go to text]

n4575   whether they be in commission or not (whether they be in commission or not). Again, the parentheses opf the 1659 printing cannot be spoken but are a typographical sign to the actor. [go to text]

n305   commission Rooksbill’s scepticism is apt: the records of the Council suggest that the Justices of the Peace, who often had a financial interest, were dragging their feet (see Introduction). [go to text]

gg545   commission the magistracy, Justices of the Peace; Commission of the Peace: the authority given under the Great Seal empowering certain persons to act as Justices of the Peace in a specified district; hence on the commission: having the office of Justice of the Peace (OED 2c) [go to text]

gg1387   viz. videlicet adv., meaning that is to say; namely: used to introduce an amplification, or more precise or explicit explanation [go to text]

n307   enormities Cockbrian’s word-choice again echoes Jonson’s Overdo in Bartholomew Fair (Act 5, scene 6): OVERDO 'Now to my enormities! Look upon me, O London! and see me, O Smithfield! the example of Justice, and Mirror of Magistrates; the true top of formality, and scourge of enormity. Hearken unto my labours and but observe my discoveries; and compare Hercules with me, if thou dar'st, of old; or Columbus, or Magellan, or our countryman Drake of later times. Stand forth you weeds of enormity and spread.' Like Overdo, Cockbrain will disguise himself, and both figures are probably influenced by the example of one of early-modern London's reforming Lord Mayors, Thomas Middleton (term: 1614): 'In 1614 the Lord Mayor himself announced with satisfaction that he had made a personal visit in heavy disguise to a number of houses which the reports of his spies indicated were being used as brothels.' Robert Ashton, 'Popular Entertainment and Social Control in Later Elizabethan and Early Stuart London', London Journal 9 (1983) 3-19; p. 15. [go to text]

gg1629   cockatrice. 'a serpent, identified with the BASILISK, fabulously said to kill by its mere glance, and to be hatched from a cock's egg'; 'cockatrice' is used prominently in the Bible and maybe has this connotation in particular in this period; but it is also used as a term for prostitute (see Dekker, Lanthorne and Candlelight (1608), 3.267: 'the Cockatrice that hatcheth all these eggs of evils' (Williams) and The Guls Horne-book (1609): 'whether that young conjurer (in Hogsheads) at midnight, keeps a gelding now and then to visit his Cockatrice' (p. 33) [go to text]

n309   Then doubt not of worthy tenants for your houses, Master Rooksbill Cockbrain is reassuring Rooksbill that an alliance between developers and the magistracy will achieve a successful social and thus financial result. [go to text]

n310   gentleman Cockbrain’s description of Crosswill is neutral; perhaps the neutrality is an index of how unsure Cockbrain is concerning Rooksbill’s response to news that his new tenant is from outside the known world of urban sophistication. Cockbrain reassures Rooksbill that Crosswill is a 'gentleman' but, as the play will suggest through the class and status instabilities of the new social world of Covent Garden, 'gentleman' is an increasingly contested condition in this period. [go to text]

n312   town Though the OED doubts that the usage to mean London specifically does not operate predominantly before 1700, in this play it seems to be assumed. [go to text]

gg1630   town 'without article, after prepositions and verbs, as in, out of, to town, to leave town, etc.: i.e. the particular town under consideration, or that in or near which the speaker is at the moment; the town with which one has to do, the market-town, the chief town of the district or province, the capital; in England since c 1700 spec. said of London' (OED 4b) [go to text]

n3111   [his] 1659: and desire [go to text]

n313   lie at Hammersmith Sleep the night at Hammersmith. Hammersmith at this time was a village at some distance from London, about 6 miles from the boundaries of the city. [go to text]

n2179   (to GABRIEL and KATHERINE) Stage direction moved from the end of Crosswill's speech [go to text]

n314   Do you see This is the first use of one of Crosswill’s characteristic phrases. His son Mihil will echo him. [go to text]

gg1631   prevented came before, anticipated [go to text]

n316   ha? Crosswill’s other characteristic expression: 'ha!', and 'ha' you, ha?' [go to text]

n436   Actum est Latin: It is done. [go to text]

n3247   [COCKBRAIN and KATHERINE] kiss [in greeting]. 1659: Kisse. This is set in the right margin. [go to text]

n317   would I were well rid of her too. This is a motherless play. Crosswill’s boorish 'she-things' and expressed desire to be rid of his daughter looks very like a defensive overcompensation. [go to text]

n1565   younger son Mihil turns out to be the character who guides the plot to a comedic conclusion: achieving his own marriage to Lucy, daughter of the wealthy Rooksbill; Anthony's marriage to Mihil's sister Katharine, despite the previous opposition of both fathers; his cousin Dorcas's marriage to her seducer Nick; and the recovery of his elder brother Gabriel from the madness of religious zealotry. Mihil achieves this through his wits alone: he is a younger brother, at best provided with an education in the Inns of Court. Throughout the play Mihil's words and actions are shaped by the plight of the younger brother in a gentry family. [go to text]

n346   spark! Here the term seems complimentary, an elegant and vigorous young man-about-town. But Cockbrain has already used the word to indicate the first showings of sin or vice that will engulf all if it is not immediately extinguished: 'I will tread out the spark of impiety, whilest it is yet a spark and not a flame'. [go to text]

gg1290   spark! young foppish man (gallant) (OED n2. 2a) [go to text]

gg1632   Sheepshead 'A fool, simpleton; also as adj., stupid.' (OED 2a) [go to text]

n348   town. Chambered OED chamber v5 'To lodge in, or as in, a chamber'. Here, however, there is a reference to residence in the Inns of Court, for Mihil has been sent to London to learn the law: OED chamber n 3. pl. a. 'Rooms forming part of a house or tenement arranged for occupation by single persons; esp. rooms in the Inns of Court occupied by lawyers; also, sets of rooms in a block of buildings for offices, etc.'. 'Chambers' is still used in this sense. [go to text]

n349   steal upon him; Like Cockbrain, Crosswill is a father all for subterfuge. But in both cases the fathers overestimate their cleverness and are either exposed or easily manipulated by their offspring. [go to text]

gg1633   mopish 'given to or characterized by moping', looking melancholy all the time (OED 2) [go to text]

n351   ’em. Crosswill means, the more letters, the less I could get comfort from them. His son's apparent religious zeal renders him uneasy as being not at all what a gentleman's son should display when at the Inns of Court. [go to text]

gg1634   precisian, 'one who is rigidly precise or punctilious in the observance of rules or forms'; 'in the 16th and 17th centuries synonymous with Puritan' (OED) [go to text]

n3112   a posture 1659. McClure notes that Pearson follows some copies in appearing to read 'à posture', but the accent seems to be a stray mark. McClure amends to read 'of posture', but this is awkward and unnecessary: Gabriel has learned a particular way of carrying himself, that characteristic of the hot protestant. [go to text]

n11652   spittle The Knightsbridge Hospital, probably dating from the thirteenth or fourteenth centuries, served lepers, the destitute, and the simple-minded; and it was transferred to the control of St Bartholomew's Hospital in 1549. [go to text]

gg1635   while-ere. a while before [go to text]

n355   Was that resolution born in him, think you? Cockbrain’s question turns out to be shrewd and Crosswill’s response shows how little he knows his children. Gabriel is putting on a display of Puritanism to punish his father. [go to text]

n3240   associate [with] gentlemen 1659: associate Gentlemen [go to text]

gg1636   a-foot on foot [go to text]

n357   the brethren of the separation, Separatists had been a feature of English Protestantism since the middle of Elizabeth I’s reign, rejecting the structure of authority in the Church of England and asserting instead the autonomous authority of each congregation. Subject to continual attempts to repress them and return their members to the state Church, with its episcopal hierarchy and ultimate control by the central government, many Separatists emigrated, legally and illegally, to the Low Countries and the German Protestant states, and then to some of the North American colonies, notably including the Mayflower pilgrims who founded the Plymouth Plantation. Many also remained in England, however, chiefly in London, East Anglia, and the South East. [go to text]

n358   exercises Exercise, in the sense of a religious meeting or rite, was particularly applied to the meetings of Puritan congregations (OED exercise n.10). Crosswill is playing on the sense of physical exercise too (OED exercise n.7), continuing with the theme of Gabriel’s pedestrian exploits a few lines earlier. [go to text]

n4576   I am sure (I am sure) [go to text]

gg1637   worky days work days (OED workaday) [go to text]

n360   books Incur debt, and so are found in lists of debtors. [go to text]

n361   short-writing Shorthand. Known throughout the history of writing, shorthand was popularised in England first in Timothy Bright's Characterie. An Arte of Shorte, Swifte, and Secrete Writing by Character (1588). In that title speed is matched with secrecy as the advantage of the system. Bright received a patent of monopoly from Elizabeth I, but some months before that expired a new system was proposed by John Willis. Unlike Bright’s system, where symbols stood for whole words, Willis’s The Art of Stenographie (1602) was phonetic and alphabetic. Published anonymously, The Art of Stenographie was popular and went through at least 14 editions by 1648. Willis’s system was joined by that of Thomas Shelton, Short-Writing (1626), used by Samuel Pepys and Thomas Jefferson, for instance. The Bohemian educational reformer Jan Amos Komenski (Comenius), visiting London in 1642, was startled to see more than half the congregation at a sermon taking notes in shorthand. See Valerie Pearl, 'Change and Stability in Seventeenth-century London', London Journal, 5 (1979) 3-34. [go to text]

n3241   has done nothing has nothing [go to text]

n362   ever since holiday sports were cried up in the country. The issue of country pastimes was one of the most contested in the culture wars of the early seventeenth century. More militant, Calvinist protestants had increasingly sought to suppress sports and pastimes in the later Elizabethan period, judging them to be either Popish or pagan and conducive to immorality. Such country pastimes and games included village football, Maypoles and other May Day festivities, and the Whitsun and other Ales used to raise money for local charities and other causes. However, James I vigorously defended them in his Declaration of 1618. Originally ordered to be read from every pulpit, James backed down in the face of considerable opposition within the Church. Charles I reissued the Declaration as the Book of Sports in 1633, again causing considerable resentment and hostility. Kaufmann notes (p. 73) that 'The King's Declaration was issued on October 10, 1633. The play is probably not that late.' He documents disputes among various authorities within the Caroline regime that antedate the Declaration and surmises that the play is responding to popular knowledge of these.
In 1643, after the outbreak of the Civil Wars, the Book of Sports was condemned to be burned, and the triumphant Parliamentary regime suppressed country pastimes. One of the first acts of the restored monarchy in 1660 was to erect a huge Maypole in London. See Leah S. Marcus, The Politics of Mirth: Jonson, Herrick, Milton, Marvell, and the Defense of Old Holiday Pastimes (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1986) and Ronald Hutton, The Rise and Fall of Merry England: The Ritual Year, 1400-1700 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994).
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n363   silenced pastors Ministers banned from preaching by the central government and ecclesiastical authorities. With a play on Gabriel talking to the silenced. [go to text]

n3385   here in town Steggle comments that 'Gabriel the Puritan, reluctant to come even to London, came only because of Covent Garden's Puritan links' (Richard Brome, p. 49. But Crosswill makes no explicit reference to Covent Garden here and the association with this specific area seems assumed by modern critics on the basis of the dubious association of the earl of Bedford's development with Puritan opposition to the Caroline regime. [go to text]

n364   fellow Here used contemptuously [go to text]

n365   bawdy houses Brothels. Only too likely in this district, as Rooksbill knows. However, at the end of the play he protects the bawd Margery, claiming her as one of his tenants. Rooksbill is leasing some of his property to brothel-keepers and in all likelihood knows it. [go to text]

n366   breech-work Work on a sampler, or practice piece of embroidery. 'Breech work' means clothes making or mending, unrecorded in OED. [go to text]

n367   a grandfather ere now Crosswill and Rooksbill are strikingly interested in grandchildren [go to text]

n368   since we put your son by her Prevented her from making her own choice, of Cockbrain’s son. [go to text]

n369   marriage-maker matchmaker [go to text]

n370   so many untoward matches of parents’ making Parental involvement in marriage decisions remained strong in the early seventeenth century, particularly when wealth and influence were at stake. Though marriage over the strong objections of either party appears to have been rare, there was probably growing tension in the period between family and kin direction and an increasing sense of the primacy of individual choice and the desire for affective unions. [go to text]

n3028   I wish, with tears, my son had had her now Cockbrain's line is iambic pentameter, all the more obvious after Crosswill's emphatic and chaotic rhythms. Katherine shifts into iambic pentameter two lines later, which she will continue in her four-line speech after her father's interruption. The verse effects a tonal change: the Katherine-Anthony love plot is introduced and their status as a heroine and hero in a romantic comedy is communicated. [go to text]

n371   these years, The play does not specify Katherine's age, but she has clearly reached adulthood. She is probably in her early twenties, old enough for marriage and unmarried for long enough to render her father anxious. [go to text]

n372   gadder; Katherine clearly refers to the same tradition based on Proverbs, contrasting the stay-at-home good woman with the gadding harlot, unconsciously here to her cousin Dorcas. [go to text]

gg1638   gadder; One who gads about, who wanders idly looking for pleasure, perhaps up to no good. From Proverbs 5.6 (mobility of the 'strange woman' and 7.11-12, and elsewhere. See Donald Lupton, London and the Country Carbonadoed (1632): 'they hold that a harsh place of Scripture, That women must be no goers or gadders abroad' (p. 30); and Barnabe Rich, My Ladies Looking Glasse (1616): 'Solomon thinketh that a good woman should be a home housewife, he pointeth her out her housework. She overseeth the ways of her household, she must look to her children, her servants and family: but the paths of a harlot (he saith) are moveable, for now she is in the house, now in the streets, now she lieth in wait in every corner, she is still gadding from place to place, from person to person, from company to company: from custom to custom she is ever more wandering: her feet are wandering, her eyes are wandering, her wits are wandering, her ways are like the ways of a serpent: hard to be found out' (p. 43). [go to text]

gg1639   adjured charged me under oath [go to text]

n4269   If I were forward as many maidens are, To wish a husband, must I not be sought? I never was a gadder; and my mother, Before she died, adjured me to be none. I hope you’ll give me leave to keep your house. Katherine responds in iambic pentameter, the first verse of the play and here immediately audible as such. The change communicates to the audience a seriousness of topic, the sadness of her position, and Katherine's role as a romantic heroine. [go to text]

n3113   fledge ] fledge. McClure changes this to 'fledged', but 'fledge' is not necessarily a verb here and this edition therefore leaves the word unchanged. [go to text]

gg1640   fledge OED fledge a 1. Of young birds (rarely of the wings): Fit to fly; having the feathers fully developed, fledged. 2. Furnished for flight. Const. with. Also fig. [go to text]

n375   I, 1659: I. The same typographical sign is used for 'I' or 'Aye' in the first edition, and it is usually clear from context which is meant. In this case both readings could be defended. [go to text]

n377   We had a kinswoman flew out too lately, I take it. Gabriel uses a cool, oblique comment to needle his father. [go to text]

n376   flew Gabriel takes Crossbrain’s fledge and draws on the contemporary sexual connotation of 'to fly' (copulation). See Brome, Demoiselle 3.2 [DM 3.2.speech562]. [go to text]

gg1641   wise-acres? wiseacre: one who would be thought wise [go to text]

n378   wise-acres? The etymology of this term seems to be the Middle Dutch 'wijsseggher', a soothsayer (OED Wiseacre). However, in English there is a false etymological link to 'acres'; and this is obviously appropriate to Gabriel as the elder son, expected to inherit the Crosswill family's estates, even though the physical acres have just been sold by his father. [go to text]

n379   Can they not fly out a little, but they must turn arrant whores, ha? Crosswill attacks Gabriel’s extreme position: is there no middle way between being totally under the control of a parent and selling oneself as a whore? [go to text]

n1123   whores Laura Gowing (Domestic Dangers: Women, Words, and Sex in Early Modern London, p. 59) points out that 'the word ''whore'' rarely meant a real prostitute, and the word of insult was understood to be related only opaquely to actual sex'. But in this play 'whore' does mean prostitute (it is only used again in connection with Betty and Francisca) and the connection with unlicensed and commercial sexual activity is essential. [go to text]

n380   niece; Gabriel calls her a 'kinswoman'; Crosswill calls her his niece. Dorcas's exact relationship to other members of the Crosswill family is never clarified. It was not unusual in this period for an illegitimate child to be brought up in the same household with the father’s legitimate children, being politely differentiated by being called nephew or niece. See OED Nephew 1b, citing William Harrison Description of England: 'For nephews might say in those days, "Father, shall I call you uncle?" And uncles also; "Son, I must call thee nephew."' A similar ambiguity lurks over the status of Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing: she is not the acknowledged daughter of Leonato or Antonio; and the embarrassment of her interactions with Don Pedro suggests that there are impediments to her making a distinguished marriage. If this is the case, Crosswill's alarm at the growing affection between Gabriel and Dorcas is more explicable: they are half-brother and sister. [go to text]

n381   went to ’t Became sexually active before marriage [go to text]

n382   turned Turk, we fear. Become a prostitute. Cp. John Marston, The Dutch Courtesan 2.1 and Thomas Decker, 1 Honest Whore 4.1.175. The phrase associates the sexual slide from chastity to promiscuity with a slide away from Christianity, particularly with reference to the threatening Ottoman empire. See Richard Daborne, A Christian Turned Turk (1612). There was much interest in this period in the differences in sexual mores of Middle Eastern and Eastern societies; see the interest in Turkish sexuality in The Novella. [go to text]

gg1634   precisianical 'one who is rigidly precise or punctilious in the observance of rules or forms'; 'in the 16th and 17th centuries synonymous with Puritan' (OED) [go to text]

n384   Perhaps I might unfortunately cast my affection on a man that would refuse me. Katherine’s comment expresses the fear that, by stepping out of the usual processes of match-making which involved intermediaries and negotiations by parents or others, she may expose herself to rejection. Doing so could result in serious consequences for the woman in the period. See Diana O’Hara, Courtship and Constraint: Rethinking the Making of Marriage in Tudor England (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000). [go to text]

n385   swinge To beat, flog, whip, thrash (OED swinge v, 1). [go to text]

n3242   not [who] dares 1659: not dares [go to text]

n386   Does he look or go like one could let a house worthy of me? Rooksbill must look shabby and behave less than elegantly. This moment is important to the characterization of Crosswill, however: he uses the same formula in speaking of Rooksbill’s suitability as a landlord as he does the latter’s suitability as a father. Houses, sons, all are one to Crosswill when he’s defining class superiority. [go to text]

n387   Sir, we have able builders here, that will not carry least show of their buildings on their backs. Cockbrain is reassuring Crosswill that Rooksbill's shabbiness does not indicate impoverishment: London builders, though suitably rich, don’t display their wealth in a way likely to offend their social superiors. [go to text]

n8819   Thrift Emblems of thrift [go to text]

n388   balcony. This stage direction begins the major staging problem of this first act, a sequence of stage moments which is printed as a single scene. This first section has the three fathers, Belt, and Crosswill’s children at street level, from which they see Dorcas at a balcony. They leave, but are succeeded at street level by Nicholas, Anthony, and Clotpoll, who listen to her song and then seek to enter the house. They force their way past the maid Francesca and into the room with Dorcas and her bawd, Madge. There are at least two separate scenes, one outdoor and one indoor. But where is the division? Dorcas must exit when Nicholas says 'She’s vanished'. The stage must clear when the young men force their way into the house, so that Dorcas and Madge can enter and the audience can reimagine the scene as inside the house and up one storey. Similar problems of staging and the absence of stage directions occur in other Brome plays, such as The Late Lancashire Witches 4.1 and Mad Couple Well Match’d 3.1. [go to text]

gg1642   habited dressed [go to text]

n391   at a cast. Figurative use of a hunting phrase, 'the spreading out of the hounds in different directions in search of a lost scent' (OED). The point appears to be that the builders are canny businessmen. [go to text]

n392   little cross upon the new church yond, and is at defiance with it. Just what was the import of Gabriel’s apparent gaze at the top of the new church in Covent Garden is somewhat vexed. Martin Butler (Theatre and Crisis, pp. 147-8) follows received opinion when he associates the church’s Tuscan order with republicanism and opposition to Charles I: 'Like Salisbury's Royal Exchange, Covent Garden was a prestigious assertion of dynastic wealth and power right at the heart of London. It was also a challenge to Laud’s conforming ministry. Covent Garden church was the first church to be built in London since the Reformation and the puritan earl reserved its patronage to himself, resisting the attempts of the vicar of St. Martin-in-the-Fields to control the living. Architecturally, it reflected the earl’s principles, being built in the deliberately plain Tuscan style, the lowest of the five orders and usually treated by architects as a purely theoretical style; it implied a return to the primitive and vernacular. The square too, an Italianate piazza, was unlike anything in London; perhaps it would have reminded contemporaries of the wealth and republicanism of Venice'. Clearly, there are problems with this: Crosswill assumes Gabriel is opposed to the church, yet Gabriel is a Puritan; he would be expected to respond positively to the architecture of a godly aristocrat. The Piazza generally does not resemble anything in Venice (even though Cockbrain thinks it does; but he significantly says as he makes the comparison that he has never travelled), but is more likely to have been influenced by squares in Livorno, Paris, or Madrid (see Dianne Duggan, '"London the Ring, Covent Garden the Jewell of that Ring": New Light on Covent Garden' Architectural History 43 (2000) 140-161, note 7). The designer of the church is Inigo Jones, the king’s Surveyor, hardly an opposition figure or likely to design an edifice to express opposition to the king’s ecclesiastical policies. Jones’s designs for Covent Garden’s St Paul’s connect with his Tuscan works for the king at the nearby St. James’s Palace. This play demonstrates, as does Brome’s Venetian play The Novella, that the primary connotation of Venice for this audience is licentiousness and immorality. More recent scholarship on the building history of Covent Garden sets this right, particularly works by Dianne Duggan. In '"London the Ring, Covent Garden the Jewell of that Ring": New Light on Covent Garden' Architectural History 43 (2000) 140-161, she demonstrates that new evidence from letters and legal statements evidence 'provides for the first time documentary confirmation that Jones was not only the surveyor of the whole project, but along with Charles I was the driving force behind the design. Bedford, while patron of the development, can be shown to have played only a restricted role in the architecture of the Piazza and church' (p. 141). Gabriel’s assumed censorious gaze sees not the work of a godly earl but rather an expression of something certainly not vernacular: an obviously Italianate and potentially papist structure. Brome’s joke is reinforced when Gabriel clarifies that he was not looking at the church but at the 'Venetian' prostitute on the Palladian balcony in the same sightline. To the Puritan eye both Dorcas and St Paul’s, Covent Garden, are provocative, expressions of both actual prostitution and the figurative Scarlet Whore of Babylon. [go to text]

n3029   first syllable of my name But which first syllable? Crosswill means his given name, and so 'Will'; but Gabriel seems to learn the lesson of the family name: Cross. [go to text]

n393   d’ ye see? Do you see? [go to text]

n3030   image Delight in and hatred of images formed one of the ideological battlegrounds of the Stuart period: the image was distrusted by some militant Protestants as enticing and deceiving, and characteristic of Popish corruption. Sure enough, Dorcas is displaying herself to advertise illicit sexuality, stressing her claimed Italian and therefore Catholic origins. She aspires to be a whore, even if not the Scarlet Whore of Babylon. As will become clearer as the scene continues, her display and allure are connected with the Italianate architecture of the Piazza of Covent Garden itself, which seduces and corrupts the native English eye and imagination. [go to text]

n394   O heresy! Cockbrain immediately sees Dorcas as a prostitute, but tries to put the others off the scent. He must mislead them to be more sure of Crosswill taking the house so that he, Cockbrain, can fulfil his commission from Rooksbill. It is characteristic that Cockbrain applies a religious term (heresy) to a social infraction. [go to text]

n395   balcony. Video The Covent Garden development may have contained the first such balconies in England. Their novelty explains the servant Belt's lack of knowledge of them and also a sense of racy contemporaneity in the scene. Cockbrain knows this is a prostitute advertising herself but is keen to divert others from that knowledge, and the realisation that the development he is promoting as socially exclusive is being colonised by the commercial sex trade and other forms of vicious life. Cockbrain has called the new development a 'plantation'; but his plantation is now being 'planted' by a different kind of coloniser, the prostitute. See The Novella, and also James Shirley's Celestina in The Lady of Pleasure (1635), who strikingly hits many of the same notes (idolatry, gazing, and attracting the eyes of the unsophisticated visitor to the newly fashionable town): 'my balcony / Shall be the courtier's idol, and more gazed at / Than all the pageantry at Temple Bar / By country clients.' (1.2.92-95)
Discussion among editors and actors of this scene drew attention to the many other instances of women appearing at windows or balconies in plays of this period. In some the women are conscious of display and sexual advertisement; in others they are unconscious, but those observing them interpret their appearance in the light of a well-known code of sexual and commercial display.
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n396   Her belle coney? Where is it? I can spy from her foot to her face, yet I can see no belle coney she has. 1659 spells this 'Bellconey'. 'Balcony' was pronounced with the stress on the middle syllable until the 1780s at least (so stressed in William Cowper, 'The Diverting History of John Gilpin' [1782]) making Belt's misunderstanding easily credible. His emphasis renders the word obscene, with the auditoy pun on belle=beautiful or fine, coney/cunny=female genitalia. It is characteristic that the servant is given this line, even though Brome himself had and continued to acknowledge servant-class origins. [go to text]

n397   jets juts. This echoes the vocabulary of James I's (much reissued) proclamations against new building. [go to text]

n399   gallant fashion Gallant is ambiguous: courtier-like, but also with a sexual connotation. It may be that, in courtesan mode, her breasts are showing or barely covered. [go to text]

n3031   and then about my project The actor has to decide how much, if any, of this line is aside. 'I'll see you housed' could be addressed to Crosswill, but the rest of the line cannot: Crosswill does not know of Cockbrain's ambition to be a reformer of manners and of Covent Garden. Does Cockbrain address that to Rooksbill; or to the audience, as everyone else (except Gabriel and Dorcas) leaves the stage? [go to text]

n400   weeding of this hopeful garden. 'Weeding' and 'hopeful garden' are italicised here in 1659. [go to text]

n3114   [Dorcas] In the Dramatis Personae, the name 'Dorcas' is followed by 'alias Damyris', the name under which Dorcas is concealing herself and using as a prospective prostitute. The Stage Directions in this scene have indicated her as Dorcas, but now her Speech Prefix is 'Dam.', for Damyris. [go to text]

n7323   To allure and catch the wandering eyes of lovers As the actor Adam Kay pointed out, this line may be a sign that Dorcas is inexperienced. Her version of prostitution seems more than a little tinged with romantic diction and expectations. [go to text]

n402   But This passage is aggressively repunctuated for clarity; the reader should compare with the original spelling text. The phrase might conceivably mean 'but for the fact that', though the grammar of that reading remains problematic. [go to text]

n9169   Forbid Forbids 1659 [go to text]

gg339   let (n) hindrance [go to text]

n403   Possets and caudles Possets and caudles are both drinks often given to the sick or those in weak health, particularly women after childbirth; and as aphrodisiacs. [go to text]

n404   fly out Dorcas picks up again 'flying' and 'flying out' as sexual euphemism. [go to text]

n405   brave An ambiguous word: courageous, finely attired, and sexually active [go to text]

n406   Cyprian dames, A euphemism, drawn from devotees of Aphrodite/Venus, and hence licentious. By the eighteenth century 'Cyprian dames' are prostitutes. [go to text]

n407   games. Brome doesn’t use a scene-terminating couplet often. This again marks out Damaris's speech as exceptional. [go to text]

n401   Why should not we in England use that freedom The famous courtesans have in Italy? We have the art, and know the theory To allure and catch the wandering eyes of lovers; Yea, and their hearts too. But our stricter laws Forbid the public practice. Our desires Are high as theirs: our wills as apt and forward; Our wits as ripe, our beauties more attractive; Or travellers are shrewd liars. Where’s the let? Only in bashful, coward custom, that Stoops i’ the shoulders, and submits the neck To bondage of authority, to these laws That men of feeble age and weaker eye-sight Have framed to bar their sons from youthful pleasures. Possets and caudles on their queasy stomachs, Whilst I fly out in brave rebellion; And offer, at the least, to break these shackles That hold our legs together; and begin A fashion which, pursued by Cyprian dames, May persuade justice to allow our games. Who knows? I’ll try. Francisca, bring my lute. Video Dorcas’s speech is a tour de force. Only she and Katherine speak in verse up to this point, and Katherine’s verse passage is only five lines long. It is also a tour de force in the sense that this is a speech about breaching the boundaries, transgressing, being free, in the most assertively rule-bound linguistic moment in the play. As such its form embodies Dorcas's conflicts. In 1659 the pointing is heavy, breaking up the lines. This edition retains the forceful punctuation (except as indicated in [NOTE 402] because it seems to suggest Dorcas’s hesitation and struggle, despite the boldness of her words.
Actors and editors, in working on this speech, discussed and questioned how clear Dorcas's hesitation could or should be to an audience at this stage. This is the audience's first view of Dorcas and they have no knowledge of her history. To them at this stage she could seem simply a confident and perhaps admirably 'empowered' young woman, who sees clearly that her body is her primary asset and is determined to use her society's fixation on sex to make her fortune. To test this, three actors were asked to perform the speech without any other knowledge of Dorcas's history. All, to varying degrees, emphasised her assertiveness, used confident direct address to the audience, and made her sexually knowing.
Adam Kay's performance alerted the audience to the speech as formal persuasion and suggested that Dorcas intended to shock with her emancipation and advocacy of a cause ; Robert Lister seemed to stress location - this was about England, not Venice; and in his rendition the structure of phrases as rhetorically powerful and persuasive was particularly clear ; Alan Morrissey's performance differed in using a chair to simulate the prominence and position of authority Dorcas has on the balcony, and he emphasised the shock of Dorcas's conduct by exaggerating her opening of her legs. Morrissey was also struck by the character of the verse.
Discussion among actors and editors subsequently, and with the plot explained, raised significant issues . What difference would it make were the speech to be performed by a boy actor? How shocked would an audience be later in the play to discover that, having thought themselves in sophisticated collusion with an experienced courtesan, they were in fact looking at an innocent and inexperienced young country-woman, condemned to an unprotected life of prostitution after being seduced by a metropolitan scoundrel? How would costume effect this, especially the colour of wig used by the boy actor? A blond wig would contribute to the sense that things do not quite add up in Dorcas's self-presentation. Does she have all the 'props' of the courtesan -- lute, balcony, revealing clothes -- but perhaps possess them awkwardly, as new to her?
This soliloquy assumes an extraordinary prominence and authority, even though there are some ambiguities of interpretation. How long, for instance, does Gabriel remain on the stage? Does he hear any part of the soliloquy? Is Dorcas aware of those below? Leaving these questions aside, the soliloquy operates remarkably: Dorcas draws on the themes and the rhetoric that have been established through this lengthy first scene: freedom; art; artistic theory (the analogy of the architecture); children becoming independent. This is also intensely theatrical and surely there is a profitable analogy with theatre itself here, an invocation of the space as transgressive, as scopic, as oppressive, with Dorcas seeking to turn the tables on the male gazers. A male, in the person of Nick, has 'ruined' her; her speech is a linguistic attempt at least to seize on gazing as a means of manipulating and controlling. She backs down, of course. Dorcas's bravado and salesmanship connect with Cockbrain's attempts to overcome Rooksbill's doubts at the beginning of the scene. Both Dorcas and Cockbrain claim status through a false sophistication based on references to Italy.
Dorcas's speech, its challenge to the audience, and the association with a servant bringing a lute, all resemble the opening of Dryden's Marriage a la Mode, when Doralice enters with her maid and says, 'Beliza, bring the lute into this arbour' and then sings in praise of adultery (1.1-19).
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n408   lute. Images of women playing instruments frequently allude to sexual activity. See also The Novella and Brome’s use of the image of the lute-playing courtesan. See E Winternitz, Musical Instruments and their Symbolism in Western Art (1979) [go to text]

n409   NICHOLASRooksbill, ANTHONY in a false beard,and CLOTPOLL enter [below]. The entrance of these three seems almost drawn directly from Thomas Dekker’s The Guls Horne-book (1609), where young gallants are urged to accept invitations to dubious and exploitative parties: 'To conclude, count it an honour, either to invite, or to be invited to any rifling [dicing party]; for commonly though you find much satin there, yet you shall likewise find many citizens' sons, and heirs, and younger brothers there who smell out such feasts more greedily than tailors hunt upon Sundays after weddings. And let any hook draw you either to a fencer's supper, or to a player's that acts such a part for a wager; for by this means you shall get experience, by being guilty to their abominable shaving [cheating].' Nick corresponds to the citizen’s son; Anthony the younger brother; Clotpoll is likely an heir, soon to be tricked into spending up his inheritance.
Costume becomes important at this point. The young men must be dressed recognisably, wearing clothes and accessories that suggest military swagger. In particular they need swords (there are jokes in the play about the low quality of these), battoons, and sashes ('ribands').
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gg1643   Philoblathici, philo=lover; blathici=version of bladei; but there may also be a connection with 'blether', nonsense [go to text]

gg1644   Battoon, a stout staff or stick used as a weapon, a cudgel, club, truncheon (OED 1) [go to text]

n412   mettle Throughout this scene there is a play on mettle as courage, metal as coin, and metal as sexual potency. [go to text]

gg1645   Obotts, a corruption of 'A pox!' (OED Botts 2) [go to text]

n414   sings] Dorcas is singing to the lute. [go to text]

n415   mountebank’s wife The references in these speeches to a 'mountebank' and his wife may refer to Volpone. But the tone seems to suggest that the audience would know of a real mountebank. I have not traced a particular story, however. As in Volpone, there is an association between the performance of the mountebank and that of the actors in a theatre, contributing to the play's intermittent metatheatricality and concern with the performance-aspect of social, particularly urban, life. [go to text]

n416   merry tricks The mountebank’s tricks OED. But his wife’s 'merry tricks' are clearly sexual. OED records 'trick' meaning 'a prostitute's session with a client' as only twentieth century and chiefly American ('turning tricks' is US slang). Trick 10. a. An instance of the sexual act or any of its variations. [go to text]

gg1645   A botts a corruption of 'A pox!' (OED Botts 2) [go to text]

n418   I never saw that mountebank; they say, he brought the first resort into this new plantation, and sowed so much seed of knavery and cozenage here, that ’tis fear’d ’twill never out. As with the previous reference to 'the mountebank's wife', the play seems to be associating charlatanage, acting, and the marketing of Covent Garden. [go to text]

n419   abominably. 1659: abhominally. In the original spelling, this is just possibly a pun on ad hominem. [go to text]

n2180   Thou ever talk’st of the wrong matter. Clotpoll is tone-deaf and cannot perform the role of roaring boy with any wit or finesse. [go to text]

n3032   satisfy you Repeatedly, Clotpoll's speeches strip away euphemism, revealing for what they really are the crude and unpleasant conduct and objectives of the other young men. Anthony has just criticized him for speaking 'of the wrong matter'. But it is more that he speaks in the wrong manner, not having either the social awareness of the need to apply a veneer of gentility or the rhetorical skill to do so. [go to text]

n420   I vow The witty young men are playing at being boors, but Clotpoll mirrors it back to them and they do not like what they see. Being without wit, Clotpoll has no irony to undercut the vulgarity and harshness of their misogyny. Here it is significant that Nick is the one who reacts; he betrayed Dorcas and will eventually marry her. He asks Anthony if he ever saw her before; ironically it is Nick himself who has been intimate with Dorcas, but does not remember. [go to text]

n8820   She bears a stately presence. Nick's tone here has a wistful reverence. There is none of the boorish bluster he displays in the next scene and he seems to resent Clotpoll's inability to imagine a more sophisticated response. [go to text]

n421   Paris Tavern See LCC, Survey of London vol. 36, for material relating to the real Paris Tavern. Thomas Dekker has a similar joke in The Guls Hornbook (1609) p 7: 'it is no more like the old Theater du munde than old Paris garden is like the king's garden at Paris'. [go to text]

n2181   Aside to himself,writing in his notebook] 1659: write table [go to text]

n422   Battoon thy teeth into thy tongue Clotpoll is pathetically copying down clever sayings. Clotpoll enjoys the anarchy of the gang and his theatrical ancestors clearly include roaring boys like Jonson’s Kastril (The Alchemist). But his naïve copying of fine phrases also associates him with Sir Andrew Aguecheek, who performs the same action and is labeled a Clodpoll (Much Ado about Nothing 3.4.168). [go to text]

gg1647   mumper. a beggar, a mendicant; a person who sponges on others (OED), from the Dutch, Momper [go to text]

n424   Sister of the Scabbard, The obvious sexual connotation is confirmed by the title of a short pamphlet in the Thomason Tracts from 1641: The sisters of the scabards holiday: or, a dialogue between two reverent and very vertuous matrons, Mrs. Bloomesbury, and Mrs. Long-Acre her neare neighbour. [electronic resource] : Wherein is discoursed how terrible, and costly the civill law was to their profession; and how they congatulate [sic] the welcome alteration (London : s.n, 1641). E.168.(8.) The fact that the two brothel-keepers are given names of Bloomsbury and Long-Acre confirms the reputation of the area to which Covent Garden is adjacent as being the haunt of prostitutes and loose-livers. [go to text]

n2182   Come, come; we’ll in, we’ll in; ’tis one of our father’s buildings; I’ll see the inhabitants. Nick is the leader of the gang; his speech and conduct raise questions about his prime motives. Is he simply after sex? Or is he showing off to other young men? Or does he mean merely to drink himself to oblivion? The stress here on his father's ownership of the house and, by virtue of that, his right to force entry and look at the occupants, suggests that in both financial and sexual matters crude possessiveness results in a sense of power that dehumanizes others. They are merely inhabitants, not people; sex objects, not women. [go to text]

n441   coin Make coins out of base metal. Here also with the sense of the physical violence of stamping coins, the equivalent of beating Clotpoll until he surrenders his money. [go to text]

n442   take your poll money[CLOTPOLL gives NICHOLAS money] Poll means head or the top of the head: OED Poll n 1. Here, as well as being part of Clotpoll’s name, the verbal play concerns a poll or capitation tax, frequently levied throughout the seventeenth century. It is not clear whether Clotpoll is aware of the double meaning: as well as the allusion to taxation, Nick is threatening to beat him on the head until he complies. [go to text]

n2183   Aside to himself, writing in his notebook 1659: write [go to text]

n443   crown Both a coin worth 5 shillings and the top of the head (OED 17 a). [go to text]

n444   civil The first of many uses of this word in the play, though Cockbrain has already used the variant 'civility' in the first scene. Notions of the civil and civility are crucial for the theme of the contest over what kind of a society is going to take shape in, inhabit, and construct Covent Garden. Angel Day, in his much republished The English secretorie Wherin is contayned, a perfect method, for the inditing of all manner of epistles and familiar letters (1586), comments instructively on 'urbanity': 'Your Urbanity likewise being derived of the Latin word urbanus, which is civil, courteous, gentle, modest, or well ruled, as men commonly are in cities and places of good government, whereof that word taketh his original' (p. 39; quoted in Phil Withington, The Politics of Commonwealth: Citizens and Freemen in Early Modern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), p. 7. See also pp. 213-224, 'Civility and Slavery'). Different characters in The Weeding of Covent Garden use the word to mean or imply many different and often contradictory things: being without a sexual disease; sexually compliant; demure; socially sophisticated; chaste; morally upstanding; politely tolerant of immoral behaviour; excessively passive and religious (in a young man); and so on. It also occurs in important combinations: civil lawyer and civil magistrate. [go to text]

n6172   [Francisca] No Speech Prefix in 1659 [go to text]

n445   I would know her Nick begins the sexual double-entendres that are going to characterise this scene. He introduces the sense of 'knowing' her sexually. [go to text]

n446   musical gentlewoman that was fiddling, and so many in the what-do-’e-call-’t e’en now. Nicholas’s words are shot through with sexual allusions. Almost everything here can be a double entendre. Fiddle and fiddling particularly, also 'what d’ye call it' for genitalia and sexual actions, are frequently used in the period. [go to text]

n447   You won’t thrust in upon a body whether one will or no? Francisca superficially means 'break into the house', but there is an obvious sexual connotation, the implication that forced entry into the house is a precursor to rape. In both this scene and the following, there is an ambiguity over the allegiance and knowingness of Francisca and Madge. Are they shocked and siding with Dorcas? Or do they see their roles as abettors of their potential clients, the young men? Francisca may be well aware of the ambiguity of her words here, teasing and provoking the young men through her word choice. [go to text]

n448   monkey 'Monkey' was often used for a sexually promiscuous person of either sex. [go to text]

n2184   1.2 There is no division at this point in 1659, but the scene must change to the interior of the house. [go to text]

n2232   1.2 Video The second scene takes place within the house where Dorcas has set herself up with a bawd or manager, Margaret (known as Madge), who is providing a ready supply of liquor for their customers. Nick in particular is manoeuvring to engage Dorcas sexually. However, Dorcas recognizes him and puts him off, apparently in the hope that she can at some point force him to make an honest woman of her; and Madge also delays in order to question him about his father's property holdings. The scene ends with the departure of the young men and the arrival offstage of another customer. But Dorcas has second thoughts about a life of prostitution and after threatening suicide persuades Madge to accept more than the equivalent of her likely commission and help her to meet Nick again.
Experimenting with staging the scene brought up many issues to do with tone and the relationships between characters. Discussions between actors and editors resulted in proposals for a range of widely different possible stagings. How frightening should the eruption of the gang of young men be? Where do Madge's allegiances lie and how dominant is she?
In this scene the issue of father/son relations is continued and emphasized. Nick's father is never far from his mind and the violent unhappiness of the relationship seems to be what drives him to ever-greater consumption of alcohol. Working on this scene with actors revealed how often Nick, apparently driven by an urge to have sex with Dorcas, forgets her and everything else when his father comes to the forefront of his mind. This poses problems for the rest of those onstage, but the actors' difficulty in dealing with a central player who has to become thoroughly distracted imitates the problem the characters are having with Nick, who does not seem able to maintain focus. Nick has probably been consuming alcohol before arriving; each mention of his father is marked by his taking another glass and he must be obviously drunk by the end of the scene.
Nick is the leader of the roistering group of young men, showing off by drinking to excess and engaging in boorish and ugly demonstrations of social superiority and power, especially with regard to Dorcas. As throughout the play, there is a sense that things may be on the brink of spinning out of control, the young men's conduct crossing the boundary from semi-sanctioned high spirits into something far darker. Even Madge, an experienced bawd, has difficulty: encouraging the young men as customers in vice, she has to work hard to set limits and maintain her control. For Dorcas, who thought she held all the cards, the scene turns into a nightmare as she recognizes her vulnerability and status as a mere commodity. She threatens suicide and has to buy a temporary safety.
This scene is shot through with questions of the dominance of space, of the perils of display, and of different kinds of possession and ownership. Many of the characters on stage are disguised or seeking to change their identities: Dorcas, Anthony, Clotpoll, and even Nick, drowning his mind and memory. They play with their own and others' names and engage in other wordplay, seeking to determine meaning rhetorically.
Many of these issues emerged forcefully in working on these scenes with actors. Dorcas's vulnerability and emotional isolation became physical, as did her corresponding powerlessness, even when her position on the stage showed her centrality to the scene. As the young men enter, she moves away to avoid Nick; isolated, she is on display as she was on the balcony, but now entirely possessed by those who gaze on her.
Experiment with staging the scene revealed that Dorcas's relationship to the audience is crucial. The audience knows nothing at the beginning of the scene of her history with Nick; her asides alert us, draw us in, and drive us to begin to put together the clues already offered by Crosswill and Gabriel's story of their fallen niece and cousin.
Madge's ambiguous role -- Dorcas's hired manager but also the enabler of the male clients -- also rose to prominence and was the subject of further discussion and increased the sense that the energies of the scene were dangerous and unpredictable; and the nasty combination of competition and emulation among the young men, a race for the bottom in terms of civilized conduct, made the urgency of the need to weed the Garden only too credible.
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gg807   wild crew, 'crew' could be neutral, meaning a gathering or group, but here the pejorative meaning is clear: 'a number of persons classed together (by the speaker) from actual connexion or common characteristics; often with derogatory qualification or connotation; lot, set, gang, mob, herd' (OED n1. 4) [go to text]

n2185   FRANCISCA and NICHOLAS heard offstage FRAN. Within [go to text]

gg430   whiskin? (1) northern dialect term in Caroline period for a shallow kind of drinking vessel; (2) slang term for a pander (OED's first recorded usage in this sense) [go to text]

n2186   hell’s broke loose Madge's references to Hell and 'a legion of devils' begin a long series in this scene. Nick's name connects him with the devil; he contracts 'Damaris' to 'Dammy', heard as a contraction of 'Damn me' also; he talks of being 'familiar' with her; Madge accuses Dorcas of conjuring. Nick says his father may not be mortal and that, if he is, he's too bad for burial even in unconsecrated ground. [go to text]

n7324   This comes of your new fingle-fangle fashion, your preposterous Italian way, forsooth. The scene begins and ends with tense and hostile exchanges between Madge and Dorcas, highlighting the precariousness of Dorcas's authority over her bawd. [go to text]

gg1648   fingle-fangle a trifle; something whimsical or fantastic (OED) [go to text]

gg1649   customers. strong water is a translation of aquafortis, but here for strong liquors, spirits [go to text]

n453   leash Three, again, using his father’s word from earlier in the scene. Nick has overheard 'legion' and plays on the sound, converting it to 'leash,' from many to three. [go to text]

n454   party purple, or rather parboiled bawd. Nick taunts Madge with mock respect (her flushed face as an attribute of gentility, purple being the imperial, regal, or aristocratic colour), but then insults her by saying she looks half boiled. Nick greets Madge as a bawd, though in fact her relationship with Dorcas is more that of an agent, even a pimp, because Dorcas has recruited her as a business manager on deciding to enter the commercial sex trade. See Paul Griffiths, 'The structure of prostition in Elizabethan London', Continuity and Change 8 (1993) 39-63, p. 44, for a summary of the many different kinds of relationships between bawds and prostitutes. In Act 5, Scene 2, Lucy asks her new husband, Mihil, of her, 'What was your widow, sir? She stunk of aquavitae fearfully'; bawds were often characterised as having bad breath, a symptom of their diseased selves. See Paul Griffiths, 'The structure of prostition in Elizabethan London', p. 46. [go to text]

n2187   To DORCAS Video In 1659 Dorcas's line is set as part of Madge's. There are a number of possible ways of playing both parts here, depending on how the relationships between Dorcas, Madge, and the young men are conceived. Does Madge ask Dorcas for instructions? Or does she already show that her real alliegance lies with the clients (she knows Nick already)? [go to text]

n4601   Out, alas! Video Dorcas appears to mean that the intruders should be expelled, but her response may simply be an alarmed exclamation, perhaps in direct address to the audience.
Dorcas's line is set as a continuation of Madge's in the 1659 printing.
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n455   Countess of Codpiece Row Southwark was notorious from the fourteenth century on as the location for a thriving sex trade. It was outside the complete control of the London city authorities, on land controlled by the Bishops of Winchester. Codpiece Row, however, was in Whitechapel and was a notorious street for brothels. It appears in Thomas Middleton's Middle Temple Masque (1619), in Dr. Almanac's censure of Shrovetuesday (a day on which apprentices attacked brothels and other places of entertainment): 'Tis in your charge to pull downe Bawdyhouses, To set your Tribe aworke, cause spoyle in Shorditch, And make Dangerous Leake there, deface Turnbul, And tickle Codpiece Rowe, ruine the Cockpit, the Poore Players ne're thriud in't, a my Co[n]science some Queane pist vpon the first Bricke.' See Jerzy Limon, 'A silenc'st bricke-layer': an allusion to Ben Jonson in Thomas Middleton's 'Masque' Notes and Queries, Dec 1994 v41 n4 p512(3) [go to text]

n2188   Aside to himself, writing in his notebook 1659: write [go to text]

n7325   Peace, ye roaring scabs. I’ll be sworn she supped at Paris Tavern last night, and lay not long ago at the Venice by Whitefriars Dock. Video With this speech Madge ceases to pretend that Dorcas is an exotic, foreign courtesan. Instead she mocks the pretence and in so doing decisively aligns herself with Nick and the young male clients. Madge is colluding with Nick, isolating Dorcas yet more. Actors and editors extensively discussed Madge's role here and the degree to which the disorder of the town becomes apparent in the young men's entrance. [go to text]

gg1650   scabs. slang term of abuse or deprecation applied to persons: a mean, low 'scurvy' fellow; a rascal, scoundrel [go to text]

n457   Whitefriars Dock. Whitefriars was one of the City liberties, particularly known for prostitution. See Mary Bly, 'Playing the Tourist in Early Modern London: Selling the Liberties Onstage' PMLA 122 (2007), pp. 61-71. Madge immediately becomes complicit with the young men, undermining Dorcas's pose as a foreigner [go to text]

n2189   She has none of the best faces. Nick is probably far gone in drink even when he enters. In any case, he doesn't recognize Dorcas, despite having seduced her, and he insults her to and about her face. [go to text]

n458   warrantable? Here, certifiable as 'clean', without disease. [go to text]

gg428   warrantable? guaranteed virtuous (OED 2) [go to text]

n2190   Oh, Nick, I am not in the humour; no more is she to be o’ the merry pin now. I am sure her case is too lamentable. But if you will all sit down, I’ll give you a bottle of wine, and we’ll relate her story to you, so you will be civil. Video Madge diverts the energy into story-telling, telling Nick at the outset that he will get no sex today. Ironically, the story is about him, but he never gets to hear it onstage. Nonetheless, Madge will sell some wine. Brome may be echoing the storytelling element in some of Shakespeare's late comedies, some of which were playing in revivals at this time, especially Pericles, where the life story of a woman about to become a prostitute dominates the play's conclusion.
Madge's invitation for the men to sit begins a series of movements, sitting and standing, that prove powerful within the scene. Madge maintains control by remaining standing ; Nick's commands to his fellows, and to Dorcas, to sit show his status as leader of the gang of young men, and also as his father's potential heir.
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gg1651   pin the pin used to tune a stringed instrument, an analogy often used for mood or disposition [go to text]

n2191   A table, bottle, light, and tobacco pipes [brought on] 1659: 'A Table, bottle, light, and Tobacco stales.' Alternatively, this could be a late indication in the manuscript that these properties are required in the scene. [go to text]

n4260   light This probably indicates a lantern or candle, but - coming immediately before 'tobacco' - could possibly mean a means of lighting a pipe, even though the OED only gives examples of this from the late seventeenth century (OED light n 14.a). [go to text]

n461   fraternity The 1659 text prints 'faternity'. It is just conceivable that this is a deliberate mistake to mock Clotpoll, but he is nowhere else said to be fat. [go to text]

n3027   Lady of the Stygian Lake The underworld lake formed from the River Styx, one of the five rivers surrounding Hades. The 'Lady' is probably the goddess Styx, who gave her name to the river and lake. The daughter of Erebus (darkness) and Nyx (night), she is one of the few female river gods and, for her help against the Titans, Zeus gave her elevated powers and forced all gods to drink from her waters when swearing an oath, the penalty for falsity being the loss (temporary or permanent) of immortality. Madge is a presiding 'goddess' of prostitution, is a water goddess of sorts having come across the Thames from Southwark, is repeatedly referred to as dark or black, and in this context she controls the magic potion, alcohol. The ironic appellation recalls Thomas Nashe's deflating but affectionate adaptation of classical materials in his rewriting in Lenten Stuff (1599) of Marlow's Hero and Leander. [go to text]

n462   Dammy, Nicholas takes ownership by giving a nickname, and a vulgar one in that it sounds like a curse. Nick shows that he feels no need to be polite or to seduce: he is buying the merchandise. [go to text]

n7326   And what’s your nick-name, I pray, sir? Video Despite her vulnerability and isolation, Dorcas's superior knowledge -- no-one else on stage is aware that she knows Nick all too well of old -- allows her to throw something of a challenge to him. Alan Morrissey caught this well by stressing 'nick-name', making it heavily sardonic. Dorcas is certainly afraid and vulnerable, but she stands her ground. Is she disgusted and offended that Nick does not even recognise her in his drunken state? [go to text]

n463   Nick. 'Nickname' is a metanalytic form of 'eke-name', an additional or supplemental name. Nick Rooksbill is enjoying patronizing wordplay here, but Dorcas refuses to be cowed or put down, expanding his name and forcing him to move beyond 'only Nick' to confirm that he is, indeed, Nicholas Rooksbill. She has clearly recognized him and responds aggressively. He is ill at ease with both the name and the identity as his father’s son (and namesake); he responds with bravado: 'what do you make o' that?' [go to text]

n464   Mundungus tobacco. Poor quality and evil-smelling tobacco, from Mondongo, tripe, evil-smelling stew, Spanish and Hispanic. Sometimes spelled 'Mundongus'. [go to text]

n2192   Drinks a toast Nick's response to the thought of his father is to drink even more. By the end of the scene he admits to being incapable of thought. Drinking toasts seems to be his way of cutting short any contemplation of the unpalatable. [go to text]

n7327   all the birds that shall wonder at thy owletship Madge is the chief bird, as the bawd; her prostitutes are 'all the other birds'. [go to text]

n465   rid’st in an ivy-bush called a cart. Bawds and prostitutes were often termed 'owls'. Nick is playing on a proverbial saying, 'to look like an owl in an ivy bush', but Nick adds the reference to the cart. Riding in or behind a cart was the punishment for prostitutes or bawds (see Gowing, pp. 104-5). The famous manager of the brothel Holland's Leaguer was in 1597 sentenced to be 'put into a cart at Newgate and be carted with a paper on her head showing her offence, from thence to Smithfield, from thence to her house, from thence to Cornhill, from thence to the Standard in Cheap[side], from thence to Bridewell, and all the way basins to be rung before her, at Bridewell to be punished, and from thence to be brought to Newgate' (Williams, 1.210). See the summary on 'carting' in Robert Ashton, 'Popular Entertainment and Social Control in Later Elizabethan and Early Stuart London', London Journal 9 (1983) 3-19; pp. 13-15. [go to text]

n466   climb backwards. Madge implies that Nick will end up climbing the ladder to the gallows. [go to text]

n467   stifled with offal and carrot leaves before that day. Bawds and whores would be pelted with rotten produce. [go to text]

n468   Gramercy, Thank you, but really here just an empty but friendly exclamation. Anthony’s sense of responsibility (either a virtue or a marker of his incorrigible citizen nature) may show that he is already becoming alarmed at his friend’s rate of drinking. [go to text]

n3248   [MARGERY] sets away the bottle. Why does Madge do this? Is she protecting an already inebriated Nick from himself? Or does she want to delay his falling into complete drunkenness until she has got some information out of him about his father? [go to text]

n2193   hilt The value of a 'hilt', a sword, comes back in Act 2, Sc. 1. The young men are wearing decidedly cheap weapons. [go to text]

n469   Lord Mayor’s Day; The day the newly elected Lord Mayor of London goes in formal procession to present himself at the Royal Courts of Justice, to swear his loyalty to the monarch, a day of great pageantry and celebration. According to his son, the miserly Rooksbill has only one set of fine clothes, and he prays they won’t get damaged by foul weather on the one day in the year he wears them. [go to text]

n470   you are his tenant, though perhaps you know it not, The Covent Garden development was characterised by labyrinthine subletting. Quality control by the authorities or the earl of Bedford as owner was thus extremely difficult. Of course, it also meant that all concerned could profit from sleazy and unlicensed businesses such as brothels and taverns while being able to disclaim direct responsibility. [go to text]

n2194   may be mine; therefore use me well Video The crudeness of 'me' and 'mine' contributes to the shocking bluntness of what Nick is saying: Dorcas need not think she has the power, even as the supplier of commercial sex. Any money he pays her will make its way back to him as landlord. Positioning Dorcas as separate and subject to the controlling gaze of Madge and the young men made this sense of possession all the stronger, as did Adam Kay's decision to touch and move Dorcas physically, eventually leaving her even more precariously and offensively positioned. [go to text]

n7328   For this house and the rest I hope will be mine, as well as I can hope he is mortal, of which I must confess I have been in some doubt, though now I hope again he will be the first shall lay his bones i’ the new church, though the churchyard be too good for him before ’tis consecrated. So give me the t’other cup, for now he offends my stomach. Video Actors working on this scene remarked how hard it was to know what to do when Nick veers off into this long invective about his father. Dorcas is forgotten and abandoned; thought of his father drives all thoughts out of Nick's mind except the consumption of yet more alcohol.
Discussion of the problem of maintaining a dynamic in the scene when its principal character becomes so detached led to a consideration of the audience's sympathy for Nick. Only at these moments of obsession do we feel any pity for him; throughout the scene his principal interaction with the other characters seems to be to try to get them to hate his father as much as he does. Yet he also plays the bully, using his father's name and status to control and engender fear.
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n471   before ’tis consecrated. The development of Covent Garden was anchored, in the manner of so many American subdivisions, by the new St Paul’s Church, reputed the first built in England since the reformation. It was under construction during the period 1631 to 1634. The churchyard wasn’t yet ready to receive burials. See Introduction, 'Architecture'. [go to text]

gg2783   belly-work Diarrhoea (this is not recorded in the OED but survives in some Caribbean versions of English) [go to text]

gg483   sack white wine from Spain: sack is derived from 'sec', and usually meant a dry white wine; hence Falstaff's enjoyment of 'sack and sugar' [go to text]

n473   Goat The Goat was a real tavern in the Covent Garden district. See F.H.W. Sheppard, ed., The Survey of London, vol. 36: The Parish of St. Paul Covent Garden pp. 192 and 322. [go to text]

n474   dinner The principal meal of the day, usually in the middle of the day in this period ('noonmeat'). [go to text]

n475   Mihil Nick assumes Mihil will want to have sex with the new prostitute; but, as yet unknown to them both, she is Mihil's lost 'cousin', Dorcas, who may be his father’s illegitimate daughter brought up as a niece. Even if she is not his half-sister, consanguinity of cousins has prevented Gabriel marrying her and it should prevent her and Mihil having sex too on grounds of near-incest. Paul Griffiths comments that 'The courtbooks confirm the significance of the bawdy house as an expression of the sexual vitality and camaraderie of males (especially young males), which overlapped with other items of male consumption, providing food and drink, and gossip and tables, as well as a route to sexual maturity', exactly what has happened in this scene. See 'The structure of prostitution in Elizabethan London', p. 55. [go to text]

n476   Bona Roba A wench, a physically-attractive young woman. Buona roba, fine dress. [go to text]

n477   Catsoe. Nick uses a variant and feminisation of catso, an Anglicisation of the Italian cazzo, a penis. In seventeenth-century English the term meant a young blade or more generally a rogue or scamp (OED catso). [go to text]

n9170   NICHOLAS, ANTHONY, and CLOTPOLL exit This Stage Direction has been moved up from its position in the 1659 printing, where it follows Madge's speech that begins 'He never breaks a promise ...'. [go to text]

n478   niece Madge calls her niece, as Crosswill has done, a catch-all for dubious or undefined relationships. [go to text]

n479   though he fail all the honest part o’ the world. As so often in this scene, words and phrases that seem neutral to others have poignant specificity for Dorcas: Nick has broken his promises to her. [go to text]

n1558   mistress Rafe or Ralph is listed in the Dramatis Personae as Dorcas's servant. He addresses the question to his mistress, therefore, and she responds. The exchange again shows that Dorcas controls her fate (at least in theory) and that Madge is her agent, not her mistress. [go to text]

n480   jingle boy 'jingle' is a sovereign coin, and by transfer a young man with lots of ready money (OED jingle n, 6); in 1659: gingle [go to text]

n481   I’ll fly then out Dorcas uses the phrase 'fly out' as she did in her soliloquy on the freedoms of prostitution. But here she means a desperate leap, freedom through suicide. [go to text]

n482   steel Dorcas must draw a knife here, hence added stage direction. [go to text]

n483   hanselled From 'handsel', a present given at the commencement of something, particularly the New Year. There are many ironic uses in the period, including others by Brome. Here Madge seems to refer to the cycle of present-giving that a new courtesan expects, as in The Novella, but also in the sense of 'christening' or inaugurating the use of a new couch. [go to text]

gg1652   all o’ th’ heigh an exclamation used as a form of encouragement (OED) [go to text]

n485   twang, Again, 'twang' is in common use to mean sexual intercourse, and picks up on Dorcas's public lute playing. [go to text]

n9172   wonders McClure prints this as singular: 'wonder'. This appears to be a misreading of a feintly-printed passage in his source copy, Library of Congress 24031999. But the plural is just visible in this copy and is clearly there in other copies. [go to text]

n1560   I know thy share How much Madge's share would be is unclear but it would depend on the exact nature of the arrangement entered into with Dorcas. It is likely that the majority of prostitutes handed over additional sums out of a client’s fee. '[Alice]Farewell gave Fowkes 'in ev[er]y vs. she gained xiid. for being bawd' See Paul Griffiths, 'The structure of prostitution in Elizabethan London' Continuity and Change 8 (1993) 39-63; pp. 46-7, and p. 45 for the quotation. [go to text]

n1559   his sin’s bounty Data on the price of a session with a London prostitute in the 1630s is hard to come by. In 'The structure of prostitution in Elizabethan London', Paul Griffiths' average for a slightly earlier period is 4 shillings, 3 pence. But higher class prostitutes, particularly those warranted without disease, and virgins could command significantly more: 'Mistress Corbet sold Katherine Williams's "maidenhead to one Mr. Paule Mowdler, a merchant", for 40s' (p. 47); 'Marie Donnelly was given £10 by a single client over several weeks. Thomasin Breame received the same amount for one afternoon’s endeavour with 'a good thick sett man with a full brest, and a short statured man' (p. 46). [go to text]

gg1720   Bufflehead a fool, blockhead (OED 1) [go to text]

n487   kicksy, wincy Alternative form of kicksey-winsey: fantastical, whimsical. [go to text]

n3249   [MARGERY and RALPH exit.] 1659: Ex. with Rafe [go to text]

gg1653   Fumously furiously, angrily (OED 5) [go to text]

gg2797   Boreas’ the god of the North wind [go to text]

n489   And horrid death appearing on the main, Dorcas again terminates the scene and does so once more in verse and with a couplet. [go to text]

gg1685   main, chief, principal (OED main n, 5a) [go to text]

n800   [COCKBRAIN sings] This song is placed before the prologue in the 1659 printing. [go to text]

n801   Away with all grief and give us more sack. In the 1659 text there is a stage direction at this point: '(Song. Now B. and Clot. askes Gabriel, Are you a brother. They fall in the burthen.)' However, Gabriel is not onstage in this scene; nor is any character conceivably identified by the initial 'B'. This can only refer to Betty, who is also absent. The annotator of Folger Shakespeare Library B4872 tries to sort this out, crossing out 'B. and Clotpoll asks Gabriel, Are you a brother' and Nicholas and Anthony’s next two lines. But it is more likely that the compositor has mistakenly placed here a reference in the manuscript to a different song, that in Act 4, scene 2, when Gabriel is confused about being a 'brother' and leads the party into dancing and singing. The final part of the stage direction - 'They fall in the burthen' - should be placed later in this scene, when Cockbrain sings again, this time a song with a refrain. Mihil and Anthony do join in that refrain, before stealing away while Cockbrain and Clotpoll are staring fixedly at each other. [go to text]

n3842   buttery sprights These spirits inhabited inns and taverns and were particularly implicated in adulterating drinks, or in punishing those who did so. [go to text]

n3843   ground looks blue The exact meaning of this phrase is unclear, but it seems to suggest the coming on of night, the twilight, when spirits begin to come abroad. [go to text]