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A Select Collection of Old English Plays, Volume 9

by Various

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The Exchange.


Y. ART. I tell you true, sir; but to every manI would not be so lavish of my speech:Only to you, my dear and private friend,Although my wife in every eye be heldOf beauty and of grace sufficient,Of honest birth and good behaviour,Able to win the strongest thoughts to her,Yet, in my mind, I hold her the most hatedAnd loathed object, that the world can yield.

Y. LUS. O Master Arthur, bear a better thoughtOf your chaste wife, whose modesty hath wonThe good opinion and report of all:By heaven! you wrong her beauty; she is fair.

Y. ART. Not in mine eye.

Y. LUS. O, you are cloy'd with dainties, Master Arthur,And too much sweetness glutted hath your taste,And makes you loathe them: at the firstYou did admire her beauty, prais'd her face,Were proud to have her follow at your heelsThrough the broad streets, when all censuring tonguesFound themselves busied, as she pass'd along,T'extol her in the hearing of you both.Tell me, I pray you, and dissemble not,Have you not, in the time of your first-love,Hugg'd such new popular and vulgar talk,And gloried still to see her bravely deck'd?But now a kind of loathing hath quite chang'dYour shape of love into a form of hate;But on what reason ground you this hate?

Y. ART. My reason is my mind, my ground my will;I will not love her: if you ask me why,I cannot love her. Let that answer you.

Y. LUS. Be judge, all eyes, her face deserves it not;Then on what root grows this high branch of hate?Is she not loyal, constant, loving, chaste:Obedient, apt to please, loath to displease:Careful to live, chary of her good name,And jealous of your reputation?Is she not virtuous, wise, religious?How should you wrong her to deny all this?Good Master Arthur, let me argue with you.

[They walk aside.


FUL. O Master Anselm! grown a lover, fie!What might she be, on whom your hopes rely?

ANS. What fools they are that seem most wise in love,How wise they are that are but fools in love!Before I was a lover, I had reasonTo judge of matters, censure of all sorts,Nay, I had wit to call a lover fool,And look into his folly with bright eyes.But now intruding love dwells in my brain,And franticly hath shoulder'd reason thence:I am not old, and yet, alas! I doat;I have not lost my sight, and yet am blind;No bondman, yet have lost my liberty;No natural fool, and yet I want my wit.What am I, then? let me define myself:A dotard young, a blind man that can see,A witty fool, a bondman that is free.

FUL. Good aged youth, blind seer, and wise fool,Loose your free bonds, and set your thoughts to school.


O. ART. 'Tis told me, Master Lusam, that my sonAnd your chaste daughter, whom we match'd together,Wrangle and fall at odds, and brawl and chide.

O. LUS. Nay, I think so, I never look'd for better:This 'tis to marry children when they're young.I said as much at first, that such young bratsWould 'gree together e'en like dogs and cats....