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Beaumont & Fletcher's Works (1 of 10) - the Custom of the Country   By: (1579-1625)

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Persons Represented in the Play.

Count Clodio, Governour and a dishonourable pursuer of Zenocia. Manuel du Sosa, Governour of Lisbon, and Brother to Guiomar. Arnoldo, A Gentleman contracted to Zenocia. Rutilio, A merry Gentleman Brother to Arnoldo. Charino, Father to Zenocia. Duarte, Son to Guiomar, a Gentleman well qualified but vain glorious . Alonzo, a young Portugal Gentleman, enemy to Duarte. Leopold, a Sea Captain Enamour'd on Hippolyta. Zabulon, a Jew, servant to Hippolyta. Jaques, servant to Sulpitia. Doctor. Chirurgion. Officers. Guard. Page. Bravo. Knaves, of the Male Stewes . Servants.


Zenocia, Mistress to Arnoldo, and a chaste Wife . Guiomar, a vertuous Lady, Mother to Duarte. Hippolyta, a rich Lady, wantonly in Love with Arnoldo. Sulpitia, a Bawd, Mistress of the Male Stewes .

The Scene sometimes Lisbon, sometimes Italy.

The principal Actors were Joseph Taylor . Robert Benfeild . John Lowin . William Eglestone . Nicholas Toolie . Richard Sharpe . John Underwood . Thomas Holcomb .

Actus primus. Scena prima .

Enter Rutilio, and Arnold[o].

Rut. Why do you grieve thus still?

Arn. 'Twould melt a Marble, And tame a Savage man, to feel my fortune.

Rut. What fortune? I have liv'd this thirty years, And run through all these follies you call fortunes, Yet never fixt on any good and constant, But what I made myself: why should I grieve then At that I may mould any way?

Arn. You are wide still.

Rut. You love a Gentlewoman, a young handsom woman, I have lov'd a thosand, not so few.

Arn. You are dispos'd.

Rut. You hope to Marry her; 'tis a lawful calling And prettily esteem'd of, but take heed then, Take heed dear Brother of a stranger fortune Than e're you felt yet; fortune my foe is a friend to it.

Arn. 'Tis true I love, dearly, and truly love, A noble, vertuous, and most beauteous Maid, And am belov'd again.

Rut. That's too much o' Conscience, To love all these would run me out o' my wits.

Arn. Prethee give ear, I am to Marry her.

Rut. Dispatch it then, and I'le go call the Piper.

Arn. But O the wicked Custom of this Country, The barbarous, most inhumane, damned Custom.

Rut . 'Tis true, to marry is a Custom I' the world; for look you Brother, Wou'd any man stand plucking for the Ace of Harts, With one pack of Cards all dayes on's life?

Arn. You do not Or else you purpose not to understand me.

Rut. Proceed, I will give ear.

Arn. They have a Custom In this most beastly Country, out upon't.

Rut. Let's hear it first.

Arn. That when a Maid is contracted And ready for the tye o'th' Church, the Governour, He that commands in chief, must have her Maiden head, Or Ransom it for mony at his pleasure.

Rut. How might a man atchieve that place? a rare Custom! An admirable rare Custom: and none excepted?

Arn. None, none.

Rut. The rarer still: how could I lay about me, In this rare Office? are they born to it, or chosen?

Arn. Both equal damnable.

Rut. Me thinks both excellent, Would I were the next heir.

Arn. To this mad fortune Am I now come, my Marriage is proclaim'd, And nothing can redeem me from this mischief.

Rut. She's very young.

Arn. Yes.

Rut. And fair I dare proclaim her, Else mine eyes fail.

Arn. Fair as the bud unblasted.

Rut. I cannot blame him then, if 'twere mine own case, I would not go an Ace less.

Arn. Fye Rutilio , Why do you make your brothers misery Your sport and game?

Rut. There is no pastime like it.

Arn. I look'd for your advice, your timely Counsel, How to avoid this blow, not to be mockt at, And my afflictions jeer'd... Continue reading book >>

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