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 III

  ALL.  Whether to yield the first praise to my lord’s
Unequall’d temperance or your constant sweetness
That I yet live, my weak hands fasten’d on
Hope’s anchor, spite of all storms of despair,        4
I yet rest doubtful.
  MARG.        Give it to Lord Lovell;
For what in him was bounty, in me’s duty,
I make but payment of a debt to which        8
My vows, in that high office regist’red,
Are faithful witnesses.
  ALL.        ’Tis true, my dearest:
Yet, when I call to mind how many fair ones        12
Make wilful shipwreck of their faiths, and oaths
To God and man, to fill the arms of greatness,
And you rise up [no] 2 less than a glorious star,
To the amazement of the world,—hold out        16
Against the stern authority of a father,
And spurn at honour, when it comes to court you;
I am so tender of your good, that faintly,
With your wrong, I can wish myself that right        20
You yet are pleas’d to do me.
  MARG.        Yet, and ever.
To me what’s title, when content is wanting?
Or wealth, rak’d up together with much care,        24
And to be kept with more, when the heart pines
In being dispossess’d of what it longs for
Beyond the Indian mines? or the smooth brow
Of a pleas’d sire, that slaves me to his will,        28
And, so his ravenous humour may be feasted
By my obedience, and he see me great,
Leaves to my soul nor faculties nor power
To make her own election?        32
  ALL.        But the dangers
That follow the repulse——
  MARG.        To me they are nothing;
Let Allworth love, I cannot be unhappy.        36
Suppose the worst, that, in his rage, he kill me,
A tear or two, by you dropt on my hearse
In sorrow for my fate, will call back life
So far as but to say, that I die yours;        40
I then shall rest in peace: or should he prove
So cruel, as one death would not suffice
His thirst of vengeance, but with ling’ring torments
In mind and body I must waste to air,        44
In poverty join’d with banishment; so you share
In my afflictions, which I dare not wish you,
So high I prize you, I could undergo ’em
With such a patience as should look down        48
With scorn on his worst malice.
  ALL.        Heaven avert
Such trials of your true affection to me!
Nor will it unto you, that are all mercy,        52
Shew so much rigour: but since we must run
Such desperate hazards, let us do our best
To steer between them.
  MARG.        Your lord’s ours, and sure;        56
And, though but a young actor, second me
In doing to the life what he has plotted.
Enter OVERREACH [behind.]

The end may yet prove happy. Now, my Allworth—  [Seeing her father.]
  ALL.  To your letter, and put on a seeming anger.        60
  MARG.  I’ll pay my lord all debts due to his title;
And when with terms, not taking from his honour,
He does solicit me, I shall gladly hear him.
But in this peremptory, nay, commanding way,        64
To appoint a meeting, and, without my knowledge,
A priest to tie the knot can ne’er be undone
Till death unloose it, is a confidence
In his lordship will deceive him.        68
  ALL.        I hope better,
Good lady.
  MARG.  Hope, sir, what you please: for me
I must take a safe and secure course; I have        72
A father, and without his full consent,
Though all lords of the land kneel’d for my favour,
I can grant nothing.
  OVER.        I like this obedience:  [Comes forward.]        76
But whatsoe’er my lord writes, must and shall be
Accepted and embrac’d. Sweet Master Allworth,
You shew yourself a true and faithful servant
To your good lord; he has a jewel of you.        80
How! frowning, Meg? Are these looks to receive
A messenger from my lord? What’s this? Give me it.
  MARG.  A piece of arrogant paper, like th’ inscriptions.
  OVER.  Reads.  “Fair mistress, from your servant learn all joys        84
That we can hope for, if deferr’d, prove toys; 3
Therefore this instant, and in private, meet
A husband, that will gladly at your feet
Lay down his honours, tend’ring them to you        88
With all content, the church being paid her due.”
—Is this the arrogant piece of paper? Fool!
Will you still be one? In the name of madness what
Could his good honour write more to content you?        92
Is there aught else to be wish’d, after these two,
That are already offer’d; marriage first,
And lawful pleasure after: what would you more?
  MARG.  Why, sir, I would be married like your daughter;        96
Not hurried away i’ th’ night I know not whither,
Without all ceremony; no friends invited
To honour the solemnity.
  ALL.        An’t please your honour,        100
For so before to-morrow I must style you,
My lord desires this privacy, in respect
His honourable kinsmen are afar off,
And his desires to have it done brook not        104
So long delay as to expect 4 their coming;
And yet he stands resolv’d, with all due pomp,
As running at the ring, plays, masques, and tilting,
To have his marriage at court celebrated,        108
When he has brought your honour up to London.
  OVER.  He tells you true; ’tis the fashion, on my knowledge:
Yet the good lord, to please your peevishness,
Must put it off, forsooth! and lose a night,        112
In which perhaps he might get two boys on thee.
Tempt me no further, if you do, this goad  [Points to his sword.]
Shall prick you to him.
  MARG.        I could be contented,        116
Were you but by, to do a father’s part,
And give me in the church.
  OVER.        So my lord have you,
What do I care who gives you? Since my lord        120
Does purpose to be private, I’ll not cross him.
I know not, Master Allworth, how my lord
May be provided, and therefore there’s a purse
Of gold, ’twill serve this night’s expense; to-morrow        124
I’ll furnish him with any sums. In the mean time,
Use my ring to my chaplain; he is benefic’d
At my manor of Gotham, and call’d Parson Willdo:
’Tis no matter for a licence, I’ll bear him out in’t.        128
  MARG.  With your favour, sir, what warrant is your ring?
He may suppose I got that twenty ways,
Without your knowledge; and then to be refus’d
Were such a stain upon me!—If you pleas’d, sir,        132
Your presence would do better.
  OVER.        Still perverse!
I say again, I will not cross my lord;
Yet I’ll prevent 5 you too.—Paper and ink, there!        136
  ALL.  I can furnish you.
  OVER.        I thank you, I can write then.  Writes on his book.
  ALL.  You man, if you please, put out the name of my lord,
In respect he comes disguis’d, and only write,        140
“Marry her to this gentleman.”
  OVER.        Well advis’d.
’Tis done; away;—(MARGARET kneels.) My blessing, girl? Thou hast it.
Nay, no reply, be gone.—Good Master Allworth,        144
This shall be the best night’s work you ever made.
  ALL.  I hope so, sir.  Exeunt ALLWORTH and MARGARET.
  OVER.  Farewell!—Now all’s cocksure:
Methinks I hear already knights and ladies        148
Say, Sir Giles Overreach, how is it with
Your honourable daughter? Has her honour
Slept well to-night? or, will her honour please
To accept this monkey, dog, or paraquit, 6        152
(This is state in ladies), or my eldest son
To be her page, and wait upon her trencher?
My ends, my ends are compass’d—then for Wellborn
And the lands; were he once married to the widow——        156
I have him here—I can scarce contain myself,
I am so full of joy, nay, joy all over.  Exit.
Note 1. A room in Overreach’s house. [back]
Note 2. Inserted by Dodsley. [back]
Note 3. Trifles. [back]
Note 4. Wait for. [back]
Note 5. Anticipate your objections. [back]
Note 6. Parrot. [back]


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