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The London Prodigal   By:

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THE LONDON PRODIGAL, As it was played by the King's Majesties servants.

The Actor's Names in the London Prodigal.

M. FLOWERDALE (Senior), a Merchant trading at Venice. MATTH. FLOWERDALE, his Prodigal Son. M. FLOWERDALE (Junior), Brother to the Merchant. SIR LANCELOT SPURCOCK, of Lewsome in Kent. FRANCES, LUCY, DELIA, Daughters to Sir Lancelot Spurcock. DAFFODIL, ARTICHOKE, Servants to Sir Lancelot Spurcock. SIR ARTHUR GREENSHOOD, a Commander, in love with Lucy. OLIVER, a Devonshire Clothier, in love with Lucy. WEATHERCOCK, a Parasite to Sir Lancelot Spurcock. TOM CIVET, in love with Frances. DICK and RALPH, two cheating Gamesters. RUFFIAN, a Pander to Mistress Apricot a Bawd. SHERIFF and OFFICERS. A CITIZEN and his wife. Drawers.

The Scene: London (and the Parts adjacent).


SCENE I. London. A room in Flowerdale Junior's house.

[Enter old Flowerdale and his brother.]

FATHER. Brother, from Venice, being thus disguised, I come to prove the humours of my son. How hath he borne himself since my departure, I leaving you his patron and his guide?

UNCLE. Ifaith, brother, so, as you will grieve to hear, And I almost ashamed to report it.

FATHER. Why, how ist, brother? what, doth he spend beyond the allowance I left him?

UNCLE. How! beyond that? and far more: why, your exhibition is nothing. He hath spent that, and since hath borrowed; protested with oaths, alleged kindred to wring money from me, by the love I bore his father, by the fortunes might fall upon himself, to furnish his wants: that done, I have had since his bond, his friend and friend's bond. Although I know that he spends is yours; yet it grieves me to see the unbridled wildness that reins over him.

FATHER. Brother, what is the manner of his life? how is the name of his offences? If they do not relish altogether of damnation, his youth may privilege his wantonness: I myself ran an unbridled course till thirty, nay, almost till forty; well, you see how I am: for vice, once looked into with the eyes of discretion, and well balanced with the weights of reason, the course past seems so abominable, that the Landlord of himself, which is the heart of the body, will rather entomb himself in the earth, or seek a new Tenant to remain in him: which once settled, how much better are they that in their youth have known all these vices, and left it, than those that knew little, and in their age runs into it? Believe me, brother, they that die most virtuous hath in their youth lived most vicious, and none knows the danger of the fire more than he that falls into it. But say, how is the course of his life? let's hear his particulars.

UNCLE. Why, I'll tell you, brother; he is a continual swearer, and a breaker of his oaths, which is bad.

FATHER. I grant indeed to swear is bad, but not in keeping those oaths is better: for who will set by a bad thing? Nay, by my faith, I hold this rather a virtue than a vice. Well, I pray, proceed.

UNCLE. He is a mighty brawler, and comes commonly by the worst.

FATHER. By my faith, this is none of the worst neither, for if he brawl and be beaten for it, it will in time make him shun it: For what brings man or child more to virtue than correction? What reigns over him else?

UNCLE. He is a great drinker, and one that will forget himself.

FATHER. O best of all! vice should be forgotten; let him drink on, so he drink not churches. Nay, and this be the worst, I hold it rather a happiness in him, than any iniquity. Hath he any more attendants?

UNCLE. Brother, he is one that will borrow of any man.

FATHER. Why, you see, so doth the sea: it borrows of all the small currents in the world, to increase himself.

UNCLE. Aye, but the sea pales it again, and so will never your son.

FATHER. No more would the sea neither, if it were as dry as my son.

UNCLE. Then, brother, I see you rather like these vices in your son, than any way condemn them.

FATHER. Nay, mistake me not, brother, for tho I slur them over now, as things slight and nothing, his crimes being in the bud, it would gall my heart, they should ever reign in him... Continue reading book >>

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