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Enter Friar JAcomo.
F. Jac. This is the hour wherein I shall proceed; O happy hour, wherein I shall convert
An infidel, and bring his gold into our treasury!
But soft, is not this Barnardine? it is;
And, understanding I should come this way,
Wilt thou not speak? thou think'st I see thee not;
[Strikes him and he falls.
Enter BARABAS and ITHAMORE.
Bar. Why, how now, Jacomo, what hast thou done? F. Jac. Why, stricken him that would have struck at me. Bar. Who is it?
Barnardine? now out, alas! he's slain.
Itha. I, master, he's slain; look how his brains drop out on's nose.
1 Scene: the front of Barabas' house.
2 I am tempted to arrange the verse thus :-
Wherein I shall convert an infidel,
F. Jac. Good sirs, I have done't, but nobody knows it but you two-I may escape.
Bar. So might my man and I hang with you for company.
Itha. No, let us bear him to the magistrates.
F. Jac. Good Barabas, let me go.
Bar. No, pardon me; the law must have its course. I must be forced to give in evidence,
That being importuned by this Barnardine
To be a Christian, I shut him out,
And there he sat now I, to keep my word,
And give my goods and substance to your house,
Unto your friary, because you stayed.
Itha. Fie upon 'em, master; will you turn Christian when holy friars turn devils and murder one another? Bar. No, for this example I'll remain a Jew: Heaven bless me; what! a friar a murderer ? When shall you see a Jew commit the like?
Itha. Why, a Turk could ha' done no more. Bar. To-morrow is the sessions; you shall to it. 40 Come, Ithamore, let's help to take him hence.
F. Jac. Villains, I am a sacred person; touch me not. Bar. The law shall touch you, we'll but lead you, we; 'Las I could weep at your calamity.
Take in the staff too, for that must be shown :
Law wills that each particular be known.
Enter1 BELLAMIRA and PILIA-Borsa.
Bell. Pilia-Borsa, did'st thou meet with Ithamore?
Bell. And didst thou deliver my letter?
Pilia. I did.
Bell. And what think'st thou? will he come?
Pilia. I think so, but yet I cannot tell; for at the reading of the letter he look'd like a man of another world.
Bell. Why so?
Pilia. That such a base slave as he should be saluted by such a tall man as I am, from such a beautiful dame as you.
Bell. And what said he?
Pilia. Not a wise word, only gave me a nod, as who should say, “Is it even so;" and so I left him, being driven to a non-plus at the critical aspect of my terrible
Bell. And where didst meet him?
Pilia. Upon mine own freehold, within forty feet of the gallows, conning his neck-verse,2 I take it, looking of a friar's execution, whom I saluted with an old hempen proverb, Hodie tibi, cras mihi, and so I left him to the
1 Scene: a balcony of Bellamira's house.
2 The verse read by criminals to entitle them to "benefit of clergy." The first words of the 51st Psalm were commonly chosen.
mercy of the hangman: but the exercise1 being done, see where he comes.
Itha. I never knew a man take his death so patiently as this friar; he was ready to leap off ere the halter was about his neck; and when the hangman had put on his hempen tippet, he made such haste to his prayers, as if he had had another cure to serve; well, go whither he will, I'll be none of his followers in haste: And, now I think on't, going to the execution, a fellow met me with a muschatoes 2 like a raven's wing, and a dagger with a hilt like a warming-pan, and he gave me a letter from one Madam Bellamira, saluting me in such sort as if he had meant to make clean my boots with his lips; the effect was, that I should come to her house. I wonder what the reason is; it may be she sees more in me than I can find in myself: for she writes further, that she loves me ever since she saw me, and who would not requite such love? Here's her house, and here she comes, and now would I
were gone; I am not worthy to look upon her. Pilia. This is the gentleman you writ to. Itha. Gentleman! he flouts
in a poor Turk of tenpence? 3
me; what gentry can be
I'll be gone.
1 Sermon. Cf. Richard III. iii, 2 :—
"I thank thee, good Sir John, with all my heart;
I am in debt for your last exercise."
2 I.e., a pair of mustachios.
3 The contemptuous expression "Turk of tenpence is found in
Dekker's Satiromastix, &c.
Bell. Is't not a sweet-faced youth, Pilia?
Itha. Again, "sweet youth;" [Aside]-did not you, sir, bring the sweet youth a letter?
Pilia. I did, sir, and from this gentlewoman, who, as myself, and the rest of the family, stand or fall at your service.
Bell. Though woman's modesty should hale me back, I can withhold no longer; welcome, sweet love. Itha. Now am I clean, or rather foully out of the way. [Aside.
Bell. Whither so soon?
Itha. I'll go steal some money from my master to make me handsome [Aside]: Pray pardon me, I must go and see a ship discharged.
Bell. Canst thou be so unkind to leave me thus ? Pilia. And ye did but know how she loves you, sir. Itha. Nay, I care not how much she loves me. Sweet Bellamira, would I had my master's wealth for thy sake. Pilia. And you can have it, sir, an if you please. Itha. If 'twere above ground I could and would have it; but he hides and buries it up, as partridges do their eggs, under the earth.
Pilia. And is't not possible to find it out?
Itha. By no means possible.
Bell. What shall we do with this base villain then?
[Aside to PILIA-Borsa.
Pilia. Let me alone; do you but speak him fair:
[Aside to her.
But [sir] you know some secrets of the Jew,