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John Gay (1685–1732). The Beggar’s Opera. 1922.

Act II

Scene 1.
A Tavern near Newgate.


BEN.But pr’ythee, Matt, what is become of thy Brother Tom? I have not seen him since my Return from Transportation.

MATT.Poor Brother Tom had an Accident this time Twelvemonth, and so clever a made fellow he was, that I could not save him from those fleaing Rascals the Surgeons; and now, poor Man, he is among the Ottamys at Surgeons Hall.

BEN.So it seems, his Time was come.

JEMMY.But the present Time is ours, and no body alive hath more. Why are the Laws levell’d at us? are we more dishonest than the rest of Mankind? What we win, Gentlemen, is our own by the Law of Arms, and the Right of Conquest.

CROOK.Where shall we find such another Set of Practical Philosophers, who to a Man are above the Fear of Death?

WAT.Sound Men, and true!

ROBIN.Of try’d Courage, and indefatigable Industry!

NED.Who is there here that would not die for his Friend?

HARRY.Who is there here that would betray him for his Interest?

MATT.Show me a Gang of Courtiers that can say as much.

BEN.We are for a just Partition of the World, for every Man hath a Right to enjoy Life.

MATT.We retrench the Superfluities of Mankind. The World is avaritious, and I hate Avarice. A covetous fellow, like a Jackdaw, steals what he was never made to enjoy, for the sake of hiding it. These are the Robbers of Mankind, for Money was made for the Free-hearted and Generous, and where is the Injury of taking from another, what he hath not the Heart to make use of?

JEMMY.Our several Stations for the Day are fixt. Good luck attend us all. Fill the Glasses.

  • AIR XIX.—Fill every Glass, &c.
  • MATT.
  • Fill ev’ry Glass, or Wine inspires us,
  • And fires us
  • With Courage, Love and Joy.
  • Women and Wine should Life employ.
  • Is there ought else on Earth desirous?
  • Fill every Glass, &c.
  • Scene 2.
    To them enter MACHEATH.

    MACHEATH.Gentlemen, well met. My Heart hath been with you this Hour; but an unexpected Affair hath detain’d me. No ceremony, I beg you.

    MATT.We were just breaking up to go upon Duty. Am I to have the Honour of taking the Air with you, Sir, this Evening upon the Heath? I drink a Dram now and then with the Stage-coachmen in the way of Friendship and Intelligence; and I know that about this Time there will be Passengers upon the Western Road, who are worth speaking with.

    MACHEATH.I was to have been of that Party——but——

    MATT.But what, sir?

    MACHEATH.Is there any Man who suspects my Courage?

    MATT.We have all been Witnesses of it.

    MACHEATH.My Honour and Truth to the Gang?

    MATT.I’ll be answerable for it.

    MACHEATH.In the Division of our Booty, have I ever shewn the least Marks of Avarice or Injustice?

    MATT.By these Questions something seems to have ruffled you. Are any of us suspected?

    MACHEATH.I have a fixed Confidence, Gentlemen, in you all, as Men of Honour, and as such I value and respect you. Peachum is a Man that is useful to us.

    MATT.Is he about to play us any foul Play? I’ll shoot him through the Head.

    MACHEATH.I beg you, Gentlemen, act with Conduct and Discretion. A Pistol is your last Resort.

    MATT.He knows nothing of this Meeting.

    MACHEATH.Business cannot go on without him. He is a Man who knows the World, and is a necessary Agent to us. We have had a slight Difference, and ’till it is accommodated I shall be oblig’d to keep out of his way. Any private Dispute of mine shall be of no ill consequence to my Friends. You must continue to act under his Direction, for the moment we break loose from him, our Gang is ruin’d.

    MATT.As a Bawd to a Whore, I grant you, he is to us of great Convenience.

    MACHEATH.Make him believe I have quitted the Gang, which I can never do but with Life. At our private Quarters I will continue to meet you. A Week or so will probably reconcile us.

    MATT.Your Instructions shall be observ’d. ’Tis now high time for us to repair to our several Duties; so ’till the Evening at our Quarters in Moor-Fields we bid you farewell.

    MACHEATH.I shall wish myself with you. Success attend you.[Sits down melancholy at the Table.

  • AIR XX.—March in Rinaldo, with Drums and Trumpets.
  • MATT.
  • Let us take the Road.
  • Hark! I hear the Sound of Coaches!
  • The Hour of Attack approaches,
  • To your Arms, brave Boys, and load.
  • See the Ball I hold!
  • Let the Chymists toil like Asses,
  • Our Fire their Fire surpasses,
  • And turns all our Lead to Gold.

  • [The Gang, rang’d in the Front of the Stage, load their Pistols, and stick them under their Girdles; then go off singing the first Part in Chorus.

    Scene 3.

    MACHEATH.What a Fool is a fond Wench! Polly is most confoundedly bit.—I love the Sex. And a Man who loves Money, might as well be contented with one Guinea, as I with one Woman. The Town perhaps have been as much obliged to me, for recruiting it with free-hearted Ladies, as to any Recruiting Officer in the Army. If it were not for us, and the other Gentlemen of the Sword, Drury-Lane would be uninhabited.

  • AIR XXI.—Would you have a young Virgin, &c.
  • If the Heart of a Man is deprest with Cares,
  • The Mist is dispell’d when a Woman appears;
  • Like the Notes of a Fiddle, she sweetly, sweetly
  • Raises the Spirits, and charms our Ears,
  • Roses and Lilies her Cheeks disclose,
  • But her ripe Lips are more sweet than those.
  • Press her,
  • Caress her,
  • With Blisses,
  • Her Kisses
  • Dissolve us in Pleasure, and soft Repose.

  • I must have Women. There is nothing unbends the Mind like them. Money is not so strong a Cordial for the Time. Drawer.—[Enter Drawer.] Is the Porter gone for all the Ladies according to my Directions?

    DRAWER.I expect him back every Minute. But you know, Sir, you sent him as far as Hockley in the Hole for three of the Ladies, for one in Vinegar-Yard and for the rest of them somewhere about Lewkner’s Lane. Sure some of them are below, for I hear the Bar-Bell. As they come I will show them up. Coming, Coming.

    Scene 4.

    MACHEATH.Dear Mrs. Coaxer, you are welcome. You look charmingly to-day. I hope you don’t want the Repairs of Quality, and lay on Paint.——Dolly Trull! kiss me, you Slut; are you as amorous as ever, Hussy? You are always so taken up with stealing Hearts, that you don’t allow yourself Time to steal anything else.——Ah Dolly, thou wilt ever be a Coquette!——Mrs. Vixen, I’m yours, I always lov’d a Woman of Wit and Spirit; they make charming Mistresses, but plaguey Wives.——Betty Doxy! Come hither, Hussy. Do you drink as hard as ever? You had better stick to good wholesom Beer; for in troth, Betty, Strong-Waters will in time ruin your Constitution. You should leave those to your Betters.—What! and my pretty Jenny Diver too! As prim and demure as ever! There is not any Prude, though ever so high bred, hath a more sanctify’d Look, with a more mischievous Heart. Ah! thou art a dear artful Hypocrite.——Mrs. Slammekin! as careless and genteel as ever! all you fine Ladies, who know your own Beauty, affect an Undress.——But see, here’s Suky Tawdry come to contradict what I was saying. Everything she gets one way she lays out upon her Back. Why, Suky, you must keep at least a Dozen Talleymen. Molly Brazen! [She kisses him.] That’s well done. I love a free-hearted Wench. Thou hast a most agreeable Assurance, Girl, and art as willing as a Turtle.——But hark! I hear Music. The Harper is at the Door. If Music be the Food of Love, play on. Ere you seat yourselves, Ladies, what think you of a Dance? Come in. [Enter Harper.] Play the French Tune, that Mrs. Slammekin was so fond of.
    [A dance a la ronde in the French manner; near the end of it this Song and Chorus.

  • AIR XXII.—Cotillon.
  • Youth’s the Season made for Joys,
  • Love is then our Duty,
  • She alone who that employs,
  • Well deserves her Beauty.
  • Let’s be gay,
  • While we may,
  • Beauty’s a Flower, despis’d in Decay,
  • Youth’s the Season, &c.
  • Let us drink and sport to-day,
  • Ours is not to-morrow.
  • Love with youth flies swift away,
  • Age is nought but Sorrow.
  • Dance and sing,
  • Time’s on the Wing.
  • Life never knows the Return of Spring.

  • Chorus.Let us drink, &c.

    MACHEATH.Now, pray Ladies, take your Places. Here Fellow. [Pays the Harper.] Bid the Drawer bring us more Wine. [Exit Harper.] If any of the Ladies choose Ginn, I hope they will be so free to call for it.

    JENNY.You look as if you meant me. Wine is strong enough for me. Indeed, Sir, I never drink Strong-Waters, but when I have the Cholic.

    MACHEATH.Just the Excuse of the fine Ladies! Why, a Lady of Quality is never without the Cholic. I hope, Mrs. Coaxer, you have had good Success of late in your Visits among the Mercers.

    COAXER.We have so many interlopers——Yet with Industry, one may still have a little Picking. I carried a silver-flower’d Lutestring, and a Piece of black Padesoy to Mr. Peachum’s Lock but last Week.

    VIXEN.There’s Molly Brazen hath the Ogle of a Rattle-Snake. She rivetted a Linen-Draper’s Eye so fast upon her, that he was nick’d of three Pieces of Cambric before he could look off.

    BRAZEN.Oh dear Madam!——But sure nothing can come up to your handling of Laces! And then you have such a sweet deluding Tongue! To cheat a Man is nothing; but the Woman must have fine Parts indeed who cheats a Woman.

    VIXEN.Lace, Madam, lies in a small Compass, and is of easy Conveyance. But you are apt, Madam, to think too well of your Friends.

    COAXER.If any woman hath more Art than another, to be sure, ’tis Jenny Diver. Though her Fellow be never so agreeable, she can pick his Pocket as coolly, as if money were her only Pleasure. Now that is a Command of the Passions in a Woman!

    JENNY.I never go to the Tavern with a Man, but in the View of Business. I have other Hours, and other sorts of Men for my Pleasure. But had I your Address, Madam——

    MACHEATH.Have done with your Compliments, Ladies; and drink about: You are not so fond of me, Jenny, as you use to be.

    JENNY.’Tis not convenient, Sir, to shew my Fondness among so many Rivals. ’Tis your own Choice, and not the Warmth of my Inclination that will determine you.

  • AIR XXIII.—All in a misty Morning, &c.
  • Before the Barn-Door crowing,
  • The Cock by Hens attended,
  • His Eyes around him throwing,
  • Stands for a while suspended.
  • Then One he singles from the Crew,
  • And cheers the happy Hen;
  • With how do you do, and how do you do,
  • And how do you do again.
  • MACHEATH.Ah Jenny! thou art a dear Slut.

    TRULL.Pray, Madam, were you ever in keeping?

    TAWDRY.I hope, Madam, I han’t been so long upon the Town, but I have met with some good-fortune as well as my Neighbours.

    TRULL.Pardon me, Madam, I meant no harm by the Question; ’Twas only in the way of Conversation.

    TAWDRY.Indeed, Madam, if I had not been a Fool, I might have liv’d very handsomely with my last Friend. But upon his missing five Guineas, he turn’d me off. Now I never suspected he had counted them.

    SLAMMEKIN.Who do you look upon, Madam, as your best sort of Keepers?

    TRULL.That, Madam, is thereafter as they be.

    SLAMMEKIN.I, Madam, was once kept by a Jew; and bating their Religion, to Women they are a good sort of People.

    TAWDRY.Now for my Part, I own I like an old Fellow: For we always make them pay for what they can’t do.

    VIXEN.A spruce Prentice, let me tell you, Ladies, is no ill thing, they bleed freely. I have sent at least two or three Dozen of them in my time to the Plantations.

    JENNY.But to be sure, Sir, with so much Good-fortune as you have had upon the Road, you must be grown immensely rich.

    MACHEATH.The Road, indeed, hath done me Justice, but the Gaming-Table hath been my Ruin.

  • AIR XXIV.—When once I lay with another Man’s Wife, &c.
  • JENNY.
  • The Gamesters and Lawyers are Jugglers alike,
  • If they meddle, your all is in Danger.
  • Like Gypsies, if once they can finger a Souse,
  • Your Pockets they pick, and they pilfer your House
  • And give your Estate to a Stranger.

  • A Man of Courage should never put any thing to the Risque but his Life. These are the Tools of a Man of Honour. Cards and Dice are only fit for cowardly Cheats, who prey upon their Friends.
    [She takes up his Pistol. Tawdry takes up the other.

    TAWDRY.This, Sir, is fitter for your Hand. Besides your Loss of Money, ’tis a Loss to the Ladies. Gaming takes you off from Women. How fond could I be of you! But before Company ’tis ill bred.

    MACHEATH.Wanton Hussies!

    JENNY.I must and will have a Kiss to give my Wine a Zest.
    [They take him about the Neck and make signs to Peachum and Constables, who rush in upon him.

    Scene 5.
    To them, PEACHUM and Constables.

    PEACHUM.I seize you, Sir, as my Prisoner.

    MACHEATH.Was this well done, Jenny?——Women are Decoy Ducks; who can trust them! Beasts, Jades, Jilts, Harpies, Furies, Whores!

    PEACHUM.Your Case, Mr. Macheath, is not particular. The greatest Heroes have been ruin’d by Women. But, to do them Justice, I must own they are a pretty sort of Creatures, if we could trust them. You must now, Sir, take your Leave of the Ladies, and if they have a mind to make you a Visit, they will be sure to find you at home. This Gentleman, Ladies, lodges in Newgate. Constables, wait upon the Captain to his Lodgings.

  • AIR XXV.—When first I laid Siege to my Chloris, &c.
  • At the Tree I shall suffer with Pleasure,
  • At the Tree I shall suffer with Pleasure,
  • Let me go where I will,
  • In all kinds of Ill,
  • I shall find no such Furies as these are.
  • PEACHUM.Ladies, I’ll take care the Reckoning shall be discharg’d.
    [Exit Macheath, guarded with Peachum and Constables.

    Scene 6.
    The Women remain.

    VIXEN.Look ye, Mrs. Jemmy, though Mr. Peachum may have made a private Bargain with you and Suky Tawdry for betraying the Captain, as we were all assisting, we ought all to share alike.

    COAXER.I think Mr. Peachum, after so long an Acquaintance, might have trusted me as well as Jenny Diver.

    SLAMMEKIN.I am sure at least three Men of his hanging, and in a Year’s time too, (if he did me Justice) should be set down to my Account.

    TRULL.Mrs. Slammekin, that is not fair. For you know one of them was taken in Bed with me.

    JENNY.As far as a Bowl of Punch or a Treat, I believe Mrs. Suky will join with me.——As for any thing else, Ladies, you cannot in Conscience expect it.

    SLAMMEKIN.Dear Madam——

    TRULL.I would not for the World——

    SLAMMEKIN.’Tis impossible for me——

    TRULL.As I hope to be sav’d, Madam——

    SLAMMEKIN.Nay, then, I must stay here all Night——

    TRULL.Since you command me.
    [Exeunt with great Ceremony.

    Scene 7, Newgate.
    LOCKIT, Turnkeys, MACHEATH, Constables.

    LOCKIT.Noble Captain, you are welcome. You have not been a Lodger of mine this Year and a half. You know the Custom, Sir. Garnish, Captain, Garnish. Hand me down those Fetters there.

    MACHEATH.Those, Mr. Lockit, seem to be the heaviest of the whole Set. With your Leave, I should like the further Pair better.

    LOCKIT.Look ye, Captain, we know what is fittest for our Prisoners. When a Gentleman uses me with Civility, I always do the best I can to please him.——Hand them down I say.——We have them of all Prices, from one Guinea to ten, and ’tis fitting every Gentleman should please himself.

    MACHEATH.I understand you, Sir. [Gives Money.] The Fees here are so many, and so exorbitant, that few Fortunes can bear the Expense of getting off handsomely, or of dying like a Gentleman.

    LOCKIT.Those, I see, will fit the Captain better—Take down the further Pair. Do but examine them, Sir—Never was better work.——How genteely they are made!——They will fit as easy as a Glove, and the nicest Man in England might not be asham’d to wear them. [He puts on the Chains.] If I had the best Gentleman in the Land in my Custody I could not equip him more handsomely. And so, Sir—I now leave you to your private Meditations.

    Scene 8.

  • AIR XXVI.—Courtiers, Courtiers, think it no Harm, &c.
  • Man may escape from Rope and Gun;
  • Nay, some have out-liv’d the Doctor’s Pill;
  • Who takes a Woman must be undone,
  • That Basilisk is sure to kill.
  • The Fly that sips Treacle is lost in the Sweets,
  • So he that tastes Woman, Woman, Woman,
  • He that tastes Woman, ruin meets.

  • To what a woful Plight have I brought myself! Here must I (all Day long, ’till I am hang’d) be confin’d to hear the Reproaches of a Wench who lays her Ruin at my Door——I am in the Custody of her Father, and to be sure, if he knows of the matter, I shall have a fine time on’t betwixt this and my Execution.——But I promis’d the Wench Marriage——What signifies a Promise to a Woman? Does not Man in Marriage itself promise a hundred things that he never means to perform? Do all we can, Women will believe us; for they look upon a Promise as an Excuse for following their own Inclinations.——But here comes Lucy, and I cannot get from her.——Wou’d I were deaf!

    Scene 9.

    LUCY.You base Man you,——how can you look me in the Face after what hath passed between us?——See here, perfidious Wretch, how I am forc’d to bear about the Load of Infamy you have laid upon me——O Macheath! thou hast robb’d me of my Quiet——to see thee tortur’d would give me Pleasure.

  • AIR XXVII.—A lovely Lass to a Friar came, &c.
  • Thus when a good Housewife sees a Rat
  • In her Trap in the Morning taken,
  • With Pleasure her Heart goes pit-a-pat,
  • In Revenge for her Loss of Bacon.
  • Then she throws him
  • To the Dog or Cat
  • To be worried, crush’d and shaken.
  • MACHEATH.Have you no Bowels, no Tenderness, my dear Lucy, to see a Husband in these Circumstances?

    LUCY.A Husband!

    MACHEATH.In ev’ry Respect but the Form, and that, my Dear, may be said over us at any time.——Friends should not insist upon Ceremonies. From a Man of Honour, his Word is as good as his Bond.

    LUCY.’Tis the Pleasure of all you fine Men to insult the Women you have ruin’d.

  • AIR XXVIII.—’Twas when the Sea was roaring, &c.
  • How cruel are the Traitors,
  • Who lye and swear in jest,
  • To cheat unguarded Creatures
  • Of Virtue, Fame, and Rest!
  • Whoever steals a Shilling,
  • Through Shame the Guilt conceals:
  • In Love the perjur’d Villain
  • With Boasts the Theft reveals.
  • MACHEATH.The very first Opportunity, my Dear, (have but Patience) you shall be my Wife in whatever manner you please.

    LUCY.Insinuating Monster! And so you think I know nothing of the Affair of Miss Polly Peachum.——I could tear thy Eyes out!

    MACHEATH.Sure, Lucy, you can’t be such a Fool as to be jealous of Polly!

    LUCY.Are you not married to her, you Brute, you.

    MACHEATH.Married! Very good. The Wench gives it out only to vex thee, and to ruin me in thy good Opinion. ’Tis true, I go the House; I chat with the Girl, I kiss her, I say a thousand things to her (as all Gentlemen do) that mean nothing, to divert myself; and now the silly Jade hath set it about that I am married to her, to let me know what she would be at. Indeed, my dear Lucy, these violent Passions may be of ill consequence to a Woman in your Condition.

    LUCY.Come, come, Captain, for all your Assurance, you know that Miss Polly hath put it out of your Power to do me the Justice you promis’d me.

    MACHEATH.A jealous Woman believes everything her Passion suggests. To convince you of my Sincerity, if we can find the Ordinary, I shall have no Scruples of making you my Wife; and I know the Consequence of having two at a time.

    LUCY.That you are only to be hang’d, and so get rid of them both.

    MACHEATH.I am ready, my dear Lucy, to give you Satisfaction——If you think there is any in Marriage.——What can a Man of Honour say more?

    LUCY.So then, it seems, you are not married to Miss Polly.

    MACHEATH.You know, Lucy, the Girl is prodigiously conceited. No Man can say a civil thing to her, but (like other fine Ladies) her Vanity makes her think he’s her own for ever and ever.

  • AIR XXIX.—The Sun had loos’d his weary Teams &c.
  • The first time at the Looking-glass
  • The Mother sets her Daughter,
  • The Image strikes the smiling Lass
  • With Self-love ever after,
  • Each time she looks, she, fonder grown,
  • Thinks ev’ry Charm grows stronger.
  • But alas, vain Maid, all Eyes but your own
  • Can see you are not younger.

  • When Women consider their own Beauties, they are all alike unreasonable in their Demands; for they expect their Lovers should like them as long as they like themselves.

    LUCY.Yonder is my Father——perhaps this way we may light upon the Ordinary, who shall try if you will be as good as your Word.——For I long to be made an honest Woman.

    Scene 10.
    PEACHUM, LOCKIT with an Account-Book.

    LOCKIT.In this last Affair, Brother Peachum, we are agreed. You have consented to go halves in Macheath.

    PEACHUM.We shall never fall out about an Execution——But as to that Article, pray how stands our last Year’s Account?

    LOCKIT.If you will run your Eye over it, you’ll find ’tis fair and clearly stated.

    PEACHUM.This long Arrear of the Government is very hard upon us! Can it be expected that we would hang our Acquaintance for nothing, when our Betters will hardly save theirs without being paid for it. Unless the People in Employment pay better, I promise them for the future, I shall let other Rogues live besides their own.

    LOCKIT.Perhaps, Brother, they are afraid these Matters may be carried too far. We are treated by them with Contempt, as if our Profession were not reputable.

    PEACHUM.In one respect indeed our Employment may be reckon’d dishonest, because, like Great Statesmen, we encourage those who betray their Friends.

    LOCKIT.Such Language, Brother, any where else, might turn to your Prejudice. Learn to be more guarded, I beg you.

  • AIR XXX.—How happy are we, &c.
  • When you censure the Age,
  • Be cautious and sage,
  • Lest the Courtiers offended should be:
  • If you mention Vice or Bribe,
  • ’Tis so pat to all the Tribe;
  • Each cries——That was levell’d at me.
  • PEACHUM.Here’s poor Ned Clincher’s Name, I see. Sure, Brother Lockit, there was a little unfair Proceeding in Ned’s Case: for he told me in the Condemn’d Hold, that for Value receiv’d, you had promis’d him a Session or two longer without Molestation.

    LOCKIT.Mr. Peachum——this is the first time my Honour was ever call’d in Question.

    PEACHUM.Business is at an end—if once we act dishonourably.

    LOCKIT.Who accuses me?

    PEACHUM.You are warm, Brother.

    LOCKIT.He that attacks my Honour, attacks my Livelihood——And this Usage——Sir——is not to be borne.

    PEACHUM.Since you provoke me to speak—I must tell you too, that Mrs. Coaxer charges you with defrauding her of her Information-Money, for the apprehending of curl-pated Hugh. Indeed, indeed, Brother, we must punctually pay our Spies, or we shall have no Information.

    LOCKIT.Is this Language to me, Sirrah,——who have sav’d you from the Gallows, Sirrah!
    [Collaring each other.

    PEACHUM.If I am hang’d, it shall be for ridding the World of an arrant Rascal.

    LOCKIT.This Hand shall do the Office of the Halter you deserve, and throttle you——you Dog!——

    PEACHUM.Brother, Brother——We are both in the Wrong——We shall be both Losers in the Dispute——for you know we have it in our Power to hang each other. You should not be so passionate.

    LOCKIT.Nor you so provoking.

    PEACHUM.’Tis our mutual Interest; ’tis for the Interest of the World we should agree. If I said any thing, Brother, to the Prejudice of your Character, I ask pardon.

    LOCKIT.Brother Peachum——I can forgive as well as resent.——Give me your Hand. Suspicion does not become a Friend.

    PEACHUM.I only meant to give you Occasion to justify yourself. But I must now step home, for I expect the Gentleman about this Snuff-box, that Filch nimm’d two Nights ago in the Park. I appointed him at this Hour.

    Scene 11.

    LOCKIT.Whence come you, Hussy?

    LUCY.My Tears might answer that Question.

    LOCKIT.You have then been whimpering and fondling, like a Spaniel, over that Fellow that hath abus’d you.

    LUCY.One can’t help Love; one can’t cure it. ’Tis not in my Power to obey you, and hate him.

    LOCKIT.Learn to bear your Husband’s Death like a reasonable Woman. ’Tis not the fashion, now-a-days, so much as to affect Sorrow upon these Occasions. No Woman would ever marry, if she had not the Chance of Mortality for a Release. Act like a Woman of Spirit, Hussy, and thank your Father for what he is doing.

  • AIR XXXI.—Of a noble Race was Shenkin.
  • LUCY.
  • Is then his Fate decreed, Sir?
  • Such a Man can I think of quitting?
  • When first we met, so moves me yet,
  • O see how my Heart is splitting!
  • LOCKIT.Look ye, Lucy—There is no saving him——So, I think, you must ev’n do like other Widows——buy yourself Weeds, and be cheerful.

  • You’ll think ere many Days ensue
  • This Sentence not severe;
  • I hang your Husband, Child, ’tis true,
  • But with him hang your Care.
  • Twang dang dillo dee.

  • Like a good Wife, go moan over your dying Husband. That, Child, is your Duty—Consider, Girl, you can’t have the Man and the Money too—so make yourself as easy as you can, by getting all you can from him.

    Scene 12.

    LUCY.Though the Ordinary was out of the way to-day, I hope, my Dear, you will, upon the first Opportunity, quiet my Scruples——Oh Sir!——my Father’s hard heart is not to be soften’d, and I am in the utmost Despair.

    MACHEATH.But if I could raise a small Sum——Would not twenty Guineas, think you, move him?——Of all the Arguments in the way of Business, the Perquisite is the most prevailing——Your Father’s Perquisites for the Escape of Prisoners must amount to a considerable Sum in the Year. Money well tim’d, and properly apply’d, will do anything.

  • AIR XXXIII.—London Ladies.
  • If you at an Office solicit your Due,
  • And would not have Matters neglected;
  • You must quicken the Clerk with the Perquisite too,
  • To do what his Duty directed.
  • Or would you the Frowns of a Lady prevent,
  • She too has this palpable Failing,
  • The Perquisite softens her into Consent;
  • That Reason with all is prevailing.
  • LUCY.What Love or Money can do shall be done: for all my Comfort depends upon your Safety.

    Scene 13.

    POLLY.Where is my dear Husband?——Was a Rope ever intended for this Neck!——O let me throw my Arms about it, and throttle thee with Love!——Why dost thou turn away from me?——’Tis thy Polly——’Tis thy Wife.

    MACHEATH.Was there ever such an unfortunate Rascal as I am!

    LUCY.Was there ever such another Villain!

    POLLY.O Macheath! was it for this we parted? Taken! Imprison’d! Try’d! Hang’d—cruel Reflection! I’ll stay with thee ’till Death—no Force shall tear thy dear Wife from thee now.——What means my Love?——Not one kind Word! not one kind Look! think what thy Polly suffers to see thee in this Condition.

  • AIR XXXIV.—All in the Downs, &c.
  • Thus when the Swallow, seeking Prey,
  • Within the Sash is closely pent,
  • His Comfort, with bemoaning Lay,
  • Without sits pining for th’ Event.
  • Her chatt’ring Lovers all around her skim;
  • She heeds them not (poor Bird!) her Soul’s with him.
  • MACHEATH.I must disown her. [Aside] The Wench is distracted.

    LUCY.Am I then bilk’d of my Virtue? Can I have no Reparation? Sure Men were born to lie, and Women to believe them! O Villain! Villain!

    POLLY.Am I not thy Wife?——Thy Neglect of me, thy Aversion to me too severely proves it.——Look at me.——Tell me, am I not thy Wife?

    LUCY.Perfidious Wretch!

    POLLY.Barbarous Husband!

    LUCY.Hadst thou been hang’d five Months ago, I had been happy.

    POLLY.And I too——If you had been kind to me ’till Death, it would not have vexed me——And that’s no very unreasonable Request, (though from a Wife) to a Man who hath not above seven or eight Days to live.

    LUCY.Art thou then married to another? Hast thou two Wives, Monster?

    MACHEATH.If Women’s Tongues can cease for an Answer——hear me.

    LUCY.I won’t.—Flesh and Blood can’t bear my Usage.

    POLLY.Shall I not claim my own? Justice bids me speak.

  • AIR XXXV.—Have you heard of a frolicksome Ditty, &c.
  • How happy could I be with either,
  • Were t’other dear Charmer away!
  • But while you thus teaze me together,
  • To neither a Word will I say;
  • But tol de rol, &c.
  • POLLY.Sure, my Dear, there ought to be some Preference shewn to a Wife! At least she may claim the Appearance of it. He must be distracted with his Misfortunes, or he could not use me thus.

    LUCY.O Villain, Villain! Thou hast deceiv’d me——I could even inform against thee with Pleasure. Not a Prude wishes more heartily to have Facts against her intimate Acquaintance than I now wish to have Facts against thee. I would have her Satisfaction, and they should all out.

  • AIR XXXVI.—Irish Trot.
  • POLLY.I am bubbled.
  • LUCY.I’m bubbled.
  • POLLY.O how I am troubled!
  • LUCY.Bambouzled, and bit!
  • POLLY.My Distresses are doubled.
  • LUCY.When you come to the Tree, should the Hangman refuse,
    These Fingers, with Pleasure, could fasten the Noose.
  • POLLY.I’m bubbled, &c.
  • MACHEATH.Be pacified, my dear Lucy——This is all a Fetch of Polly’s, to make me desperate with you in case I get off. If I am hang’d, she would fain have the Credit of being thought my Widow——Really, Polly, this is no time for a Dispute of this sort; for whenever you are talking of Marriage, I am thinking of Hanging.

    POLLY.And hast thou the Heart to persist in disowning me?

    MACHEATH.And hast thou the Heart to persist in persuading me that I am married? Why, Polly, dost thou seek to aggravate my Misfortunes?

    LUCY.Really, Miss Peachum, you but expose yourself. Besides, ’tis barbarous in you to worry a Gentleman in his Circumstances.

  • POLLY.
  • Cease your Funning;
  • Force or Cunning
  • Never shall my Heart trapan.
  • All these Sallies
  • Are but Malice
  • To seduce my constant Man.
  • ’Tis most certain,
  • By their flirting
  • Women oft have Envy shown
  • Pleas’d, to ruin
  • Others wooing;
  • Never happy in their own!
  • POLLY.Decency, Madam, methinks might teach you to behave yourself with some Reserve with the Husband, while his Wife is present.

    MACHEATH.But seriously, Polly, this is carrying the Joke a little too far.

    LUCY.If you are determin’d, Madam, to raise a Disturbance in the Prison, I shall be oblig’d to send for the Turnkey to shew you the Door. I am sorry, Madam, you force me to be so ill-bred.

    POLLY.Give me leave to tell you, Madam: These forward Airs don’t become you in the least, Madam. And my Duty, Madam, obliges me to stay with my Husband, Madam.

  • AIR XXXVIII.—Good-morrow, Gossip Joan.
  • LUCY.Why how now, Madam Flirt?
  • If you thus must chatter;
  • And are for flinging Dirt,
  • Let’s try who best can spatter;
  • Madam Flirt!
  • POLLY.Why how now, saucy Jade;
  • Sure the Wench is tipsy!
  • How can you see me made[To him.
  • The Scoff of such a Gipsy?
  • Saucy Jade![To her.
  • Scene 14.

    PEACHUM.Where’s my Wench? Ah, Hussy! Hussy!——Come you home, you Slut; and when your Fellow is hang’d, hang yourself, to make your Family some Amends.

    POLLY.Dear, dear Father, do not tear me from him——I must speak; I have more to say to him——Oh! twist thy Fetters about me, that he may not haul me from thee!

    PEACHUM.Sure all Women are alike! If ever they commit the Folly, they are sure to commit another by exposing themselves——Away——Not a Word more——You are my Prisoner now, Hussy.

  • AIR XXXIX.—Irish Howl.
  • POLLY.
  • No Power on Earth can e’er divide
  • The Knot that sacred Love hath ty’d.
  • When Parents draw against our Mind,
  • The True-Love’s Knot they faster bind,
  • Oh, oh ray, oh Amborah—oh, oh, &c.
  • [Holding Macheath, Peachum pulling her.
  • Scene 15.

    MACHEATH.I am naturally compassionate, Wife; so that I could not use the Wench as she deserv’d; which made you at first suspect there was something in what she said.

    LUCY.Indeed, my Dear, I was strangely puzzled.

    MACHEATH.If that had been the Case, her Father would never have brought me into this Circumstance——No, Lucy——I had rather die than be false to thee.

    LUCY.How happy I am, if you say this from your Heart! For I love thee so, that I could sooner bear to see thee hang’d than in the Arms of another.

    MACHEATH.But could’st thou bear to see me hang’d?

    LUCY.O Macheath, I can never live to see that Day.

    MACHEATH.You see, Lucy; in the Account of Love you are in my Debt, and you must now be convinc’d, that I rather choose to die than be another’s.——Make me, if possible, love thee more, and let me owe my Life to thee——If you refuse to assist me, Peachum and your Father will immediately put me beyond all means of Escape.

    LUCY.My Father, I know, hath been drinking hard with the Prisoners; and I fancy he is now taking his Nap in his own Room——If I can procure the Keys, shall I go off with thee, my Dear?

    MACHEATH.If we are together, ’twill be impossible to lie conceal’d. As soon as the Search begins to be a little cool, I will send to thee——’Till then my Heart is thy Prisoner.

    LUCY.Come then, my dear Husband——owe thy Life to me——and though you love me not——be grateful,——But that Polly runs in my Head strangely.

    MACHEATH.A moment of Time may make us unhappy for ever.

  • AIR XL.—The Lass of Patie’s Mill, &c.
  • LUCY.
  • I like the Fox shall grieve,
  • Whose Mate hath left her Side,
  • Whom Hounds from Morn to Eve,
  • Chase o’er the Country wide.
  • Where can my Lover hide?
  • Where cheat the weary Pack?
  • If Love be not his Guide,
  • He never will come back!