Fiction > Harvard Classics > Philip Massinger > A New Way to Pay Old Debts
Philip Massinger (1583–1640).  A New Way to Pay Old Debts.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
Act IV
Scene I

  LOV.  ’Tis well; give me my cloak; I now discharge you
From further service. Mind your own affairs;
I hope they will prove successful.
  ALL.        What is blest        4
With your good wish, my lord, cannot but prosper.
Let aftertimes report, and to your honour,
How much I stand engag’d, for I want language
To speak my debt; yet if a tear or two        8
Of joy, for your much goodness, can supply
My tongue’s defects, I could——
  LOV.        Nay, do not melt:
This ceremonial thanks to me’s superfluous.        12
  OVER.  (within.) Is my lord stirring?
  LOV.  ’Tis he! oh, here’s your letter. Let him in.

  OVER.  A good day to my lord!
  LOV.        You are an early riser,        16
Sir Giles.
  OVER.  And reason, to attend your lordship.
  LOV.  And you, too, Master Greedy, up so soon!
  GREEDY.  In troth, my lord, after the sun is up,        20
I cannot sleep, for I have a foolish stomach
That croaks for breakfast. With your lordship’s favour,
I have a serious question to demand
Of my worthy friend Sir Giles.        24
  LOV.        Pray you use your pleasure.
  GREEDY.  How far, Sir Giles, and pray you answer me
Upon your credit, hold you it to be
From your manor-house, to this of my Lady’s Allworth’s?        28
  OVER.  Why, some four mile.
  GREEDY.        How! four mile, good Sir Giles——
Upon your reputation, think better;
For if you do abate but one half-quarter        32
Of five, you do yourself the greatest wrong
That can be in the world; for four miles riding
Could not have rais’d so huge an appetite
As I feel gnawing on me.        36
  MAR.        Whether you ride,
Or go afoot, you are that way still provided,
An it please your worship.
  OVER.        How now, sirrah? Prating        40
Before my lord! No difference! Go to my nephew,
See all his debts discharg’d, and help his worship
To fit on his rich suit.
  MAR.        [Aside.]  I may fit you too.        44
Toss’d like a dog still!  Exit.
  LOV.        I have writ this morning
A few lines to my mistress, your fair daughter.
  OVER.  ’Twill fire her, for she’s wholly yours already.—        48
Sweet Master Allworth, take my ring; ’twill carry you
To her presence, I dare warrant you; and there plead
For my good lord, if you shall find occasion.
That done, pray ride to Nottingham, get a licence,        52
Still by this token. I’ll have it dispatch’d,
And suddenly, my lord, that I may say,
My honourable, nay, right honourable daughter.
  GREEDY.  Take my advice, young gentleman, get your breakfast;        56
’Tis unwholesome to ride fasting. I’ll eat with you,
And eat to purpose.
  OVER.        Some Fury’s in that gut:
Hungry again! Did you not devour, this morning,        60
A shield of brawn, and a barrel of Colchester oysters?
  GREEDY.  Why, that was, sir, only to scour my stomach,
A kind of a preparative. Come, gentleman,
I will not have you feed like the hangman of Flushing,        64
Alone, while I am here.
  LOV.        Haste your return.
  ALL.  I will not fail, my lord.
  GREEDY.        Nor I, to line        68
My Christmas coffer.  Exeunt GREEDY and ALLWORTH.
  OVER.        To my wish: we are private.
I come not to make offer with my daughter
A certain portion,—that were poor and trivial:        72
In one word, I pronounce all that is mine,
In lands or leases, ready coin or goods,
With her, my lord, comes to you; nor shall you have
One motive to induce you to believe        76
I live too long, since every year I’ll add
Something unto the heap, which shall be yours too.
  LOV.  You are a right kind father.
  OVER.        You shall have reason        80
To think me such. How do you like this seat?
It is well wooded, and well water’d, the acres
Fertile and rich; would it not serve for change,
To entertain your friends in a summer progress?        84
What thinks my noble lord?
  LOV.        ’Tis a wholesome air,
And well-built pile; and she that’s mistress of it,
Worthy the large revenue.        88
  OVER.        She the mistress!
It may be so for a time: but let my lord
Say only that he likes it, and would have it
I say, ere long ’tis his.        92
  LOV.        Impossible.
  OVER.  You do conclude too fast, not knowing me,
Nor the engines 2 that I work by. ’Tis not alone
The Lady Allworth’s lands, for those once Wellborn’s        96
(As by her dotage on him I know they will be,)
Shall soon be mine; but point out any man’s
In all the shire, and say they lie convenient
And useful for your lordship, and once more        100
I say aloud, they are yours.
  LOV.        I dare not own
What’s by unjust and cruel means extorted;
My fame and credit are more dear to me,        104
Than so to expose them to be censur’d by
The public voice.
  OVER.        You run, my lord, no hazard.
Your reputation shall stand as fair,        108
In all good men’s opinions, as now;
Nor can my actions, though condemn’d for ill,
Cast any foul aspersion upon yours.
For, though I do contemn report myself        112
As a mere sound, I still will be so tender
Of what concerns you, in all points of honour,
That the immaculate whiteness of your fame,
Nor your unquestioned integrity,        116
Shall e’er be sullied with one taint or spot
That may take from your innocence and candour. 3
All my ambition is to have my daughter
Right honourable, which my lord can make her:        120
And might I live to dance upon my knee
A young Lord Lovell, born by her unto you,
I write nil ultra 4 to my proudest hopes.
As for possessions and annual rents,        124
Equivalent to maintain you in the port
Your noble birth and present state requires,
I do remove that burthen from your shoulders,
And take it on mine own: for, though I ruin        128
The country to supply your riotous waste,
The scourge of prodigals, want, shall never find you.
  LOV.  Are you not frighted with the imprecations
And curses of whole families, made wretched        132
By your sinister practices?
  OVER.        Yes, as rocks are,
When foamy billows split themselves against
Their flinty ribs; or as the moon is mov’d,        136
When wolves, with hunger pin’d, howl at her brightness.
I am of a solid temper, and, like these,
Steer on a constant course. With mine own sword,
If called into the field, I can make that right,        140
Which fearful enemies murmur’d at as wrong.
Now, for these other piddling complaints
Breath’d out in bitterness; as when they call me
Extortioner, tyrant, cormorant, or intruder        144
On my poor neighbour’s right, or grand incloser
Of what was common, to my private use;
Nay, when my ears are pierc’d with widows’ cries.
And undone orphans wash with tears my threshold,        148
I only think what ’tis to have my daughter
Right honourable; and ’tis a powerful charm
Makes me insensible of remorse, or pity,
Or the least sting of conscience.        152
  LOV.        I admire
The toughness of your nature.
  OVER.        ’Tis for you,
My lord, and for my daughter, I am marble;        156
Nay more, if you will have my character
In little, I enjoy more true delight
In my arrival to my wealth these dark
And crooked ways, than you shall e’er take pleasure        160
In spending what my industry hath compass’d.
My haste commands me hence; in one word, therefore,
Is it a match?
  LOV.        I hope, that is past doubt now.        164
  OVER.  Then rest secure; not the hate of all mankind here,
Nor fear of what can fall on me hereafter,
Shall make me study aught but your advancement
One story higher: an earl! if gold can do it.        168
Dispute not my religion, nor my faith;
Though I am borne thus headlong by my will,
You may make choice of what belief you please,
To me they are equal; so, my lord, good morrow.  Exit.        172
  LOV.  He’s gone—I wonder how the earth can bear
Such a portent! I, that have liv’d a soldier,
And stood the enemy’s violent charge undaunted,
To hear this blasphemous beast am bath’d all over        176
In a cold sweat: yet, like a mountain, he
(Confirm’d in atheistical assertions)
Is no more shaken than Olympus 5 is
When angry Boreas loads his double head        180
With sudden drifts of snow.
Enter LADY ALLWORTH, Waiting Woman, and AMBLE

  L. ALL.        Save you, my lord!
Disturb I not your privacy?
  LOV.        No, good madam;        184
For your own sake I am glad you came no sooner,
Since this bold bad man, Sir Giles Overreach,
Made such a plain discovery of himself,
And read this morning such a devilish matins,        188
That I should think it a sin next to his
But to repeat it.
  L. ALL.        I ne’er press’d my lord,
On others’ privacies; yet, against my will,        192
Walking, for health’ sake, in the gallery
Adjoining to your lodgings, I was made
(So vehement and loud he was) partaker
Of his tempting offers.        196
  LOV.        Please you to command
Your servants hence, and I shall gladly hear
Your wiser counsel.
  L. ALL.        ’Tis, my lord, a woman’s,        200
But true and hearty;—wait in the next room,
But be within call; yet not so near to force me
To whisper my intents.
  AMB.        We are taught better        204
By you, good madam.
  W. WOM.        And well know our distance.
  L. ALL.  Do so, and talk not; ’twill become your breeding.  Exeunt AMBLE and WOMAN.
Now, my good lord; if I may use my freedom,        208
As to an honour’d friend——
  LOV.        You lessen else
Your favour to me.
  L. ALL.        I dare then say thus:        212
As you are noble (howe’er common men
Make sordid wealth the object and sole end
Of their industrious aims) ’twill not agree
With those of eminent blood, who are engag’d        216
More to prefer 6 their honours than to increase
The state left to them by their ancestors,
To study large additions to their fortunes,
And quite neglect their births:—though I must grant,        220
Riches, well got, to be a useful servant,
But a bad master.
  LOV.        Madam, ’tis confessed;
But what infer you from it?        224
  L. ALL.        This, my lord;
That as all wrongs, though thrust into one scale,
Slide of themselves off when right fills the other
And cannot bide the trial; so all wealth,        228
I mean if ill-acquir’d, cemented to honour
By virtuous ways achiev’d, and bravely purchas’d,
Is but as rubbish pour’d into a river,
(Howe’er intended to make good the bank,)        232
Rendering the water, that was pure before,
Polluted and unwholesome. I allow
The heir of Sir Giles Overreach, Margaret,
A maid well qualified and the richest match        236
Our north part can make boast of; yet she cannot,
With all that she brings with her, fill their mouths,
That never will forget who was her father;
Or that my husband Allworth’s lands, and Wellborn’s,        240
(How wrung from both needs now no repetition,)
Were real motives that more work’d your lordship
To join your families, than her form and virtues:
You may conceive the rest.        244
  LOV.        I do, sweet madam,
And long since have consider’d it. I know,
The sum of all that makes a just man happy
Consists in the well choosing of his wife:        248
And there, well to discharge it, does require
Equality of years, of birth, of fortune;
For beauty being poor, and not cried up
By birth or wealth, can truly mix with neither.        252
And wealth, where there such difference in years,
And fair descent, must make the yoke uneasy:—
But I come nearer.
  L. ALL.        Pray you do, my lord.        256
  LOV.  Were Overreach’s states thrice centupl’d, his daughter
Millions of degrees much fairer than she is,
Howe’er I might urge precedents to excuse me,
I would not so adulterate my blood        260
By marrying Margaret, and so leave my issue
Made up of several pieces, one part scarlet,
And the other London blue. In my own tomb
I will inter my name first.        264
  L. ALL.        Aside.  I am glad to hear this.——
Why then, my lord, pretend your marriage to her?
Dissimulation but ties false knots
On that straight line by which you, hitherto,        268
Have measur’d all your actions.
  LOV.        I make answer,
And aptly, with a question. Wherefore have you,
That, since your husband’s death, have liv’d a strict        272
And chaste nun’s life, on the sudden given yourself
To visits and entertainments? Think you, madam,
’Tis not grown public conference? 7 Or the favours
Which you too prodigally have thrown on Wellborn        276
Being too reserv’d before, incur not censure?
  L. ALL.  I am innocent here; and, on my life, I swear
My ends are good.
  LOV.        On my soul, so are mine        280
To Margaret; but leave both to the event:
And since this friendly privacy does serve
But as an offer’d means unto ourselves,
To search each other farther, you having shewn        284
Your care of me, I my respect to you,
Deny me not, but still in chaste words, madam,
An afternoon’s discourse.
  L. ALL.        So I shall hear you.  [Exeunt.]        288
Note 1. A room in Lady All worth’s house. [back]
Note 2. Devices. [back]
Note 3. Stainlessness. [back]
Note 4. Nothing beyond. [back]
Note 5. Apparently a slip for “Parnassus.” [back]
Note 6. Promote. [back]
Note 7. Gossip. [back]


Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.