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The Little French Lawyer A Comedy

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Actus Primus. Scena Prima.

Enter Dinant, a[n]d Cleremont.

Din. Disswade me not.Clere. It will breed a brawl.Din. I care not, I wear a Sword.Cler. And wear discretion with it,Or cast it off, let that direct your arm,'Tis madness else, not valour, and more baseThan to receive a wrong.Din. Why would you have meSit down with a disgrace, and thank the doer?We are not Stoicks, and that passive courageIs only now commendable in Lackies,Peasants, and Tradesmen, not in men of rankAnd qualitie, as I am.Cler. Do not cherishThat daring vice, for which the whole age suffers.The blood of our bold youth, that heretoforeWas spent in honourable action,Or to defend, or to enlarge the Kingdom,For the honour of our Country, and our Prince,Pours it self out with prodigal expenceUpon our Mothers lap, the Earth that bred usFor every trifle; and these private Duells,Which had their first original from the Fr[enc]h(And for which, to this day, we are justly censured)Are banisht from all civil Governments:Scarce three in Venice, in as many years;In Florence, they are rarer, and in allThe fair Dominions of the Spanish King,They are never heard of: Nay, those neighbour Countries,Which gladly imitate our other follies,And come at a dear rate to buy them of us,Begin now to detest them.Din. Will you end yet—Cler. And I have heard that some of our late Kings,For the lie, wearing of a Mistris favour,A cheat at Cards or Dice, and such like causes,Have lost as many gallant Gentlemen,As might have met the great Turk in the fieldWith confidence of a glorious Victorie,And shall we then—Din. No more, for shame no more,Are you become a Patron too? 'tis a new one,No more on't, burn't, give it to some Orator,To help him to enlarge his exercise,With such a one it might do well, and profitThe Curat of the Parish, but for Cleremont,The bold, and undertaking Cleremont,To talk thus to his friend, his friend that knows him,Dinant that knows his Cleremont, is absurd,And meer Apocrypha.Cler. Why, what know you of me?Din. Why if thou hast forgot thy self, I'le tell thee,And not look back, to speak of what thou wertAt fifteen, for at those years I have heardThou wast flesh'd, and enter'd bravely.Cler. Well Sir, well.Din. But yesterday, thou wast the common second,Of all that only knew thee, thou hadst billsSet up on every post, to give thee noticeWhere any difference was, and who were parties;And as to save the charges of the LawPoor men seek arbitrators, thou wert chosenBy such as knew thee not, to compound quarrels:But thou wert so delighted with the sport,That if there were no just cause, thou wouldst make one,Or be engag'd thy self: This goodly callingThou hast followed five and twenty years, and studiedThe Criticismes of contentions, and art thouIn so few hours transform'd? certain this nightThou hast had strange dreams, or rather visions.Clere. Yes, Sir,I have seen fools, and fighters, chain'd together,And the Fighters had the upper hand, and whipt first,The poor Sots laughing at 'em....