1.1[1]   Enter Petruchi, with Bufo, Pynto and Muretto in poor habits.


All free, and all forgiven.


                                        Bless her majesty.


Henceforth, my friends, take heed how you so hazard

Your lives and fortunes on the peevish motion

Of every discontent; you will not find

Mercy so rife at all times.


                                             Gracious sir!

Your counsel is more like an oracle

Than man’s advice. For my part I dare speak

For one—I rather will be racked asunder

Than e’er again offend so wise a majesty.


’Tis well. Your lives are once more made your own.

I must attend the execution

Of your hot general; each shift now for yourselves.       Exit Petruchi.         


Is he gone? Ha, ha, ha! We have the common capony[3] of the clear heavens once more o’er our heads, sirs.[4]


We are at liberty out of the hangman’s clutches—now mark what good language and fair words will do, gentlemen.


Good language! O, let me go back and be hanged rather than live within the rotten infection of thy cankered breath; the poison of a flatterer’s tongue is thousand times more deadly than the twinges of a rope. Thou birth of an unlucky planet, I abhor thee.


Fie, fie! Can you rail on your friends thus?


Friends? My friend? Captain, come from that slippery eel, captain. His very cradle was in dirt and mud, his milk the oil of serpents, his mother a mangy mermaid, and a male crocodile begat him.


This needs not, sweet[5] signor Pynto.


Sweet signor? Sweet cog-foist![6] Go hang thyself, thou’dst jeer the very rags I wear off my back with thy fustians of sweet, precious, unmatchable, rare, wise, judicious … hey-do! Pox on thee, sirrah. Sirrah, hast not thou many a time and often devoured a whole table of mine, garnished with plenty, nay, variety of good wholesome fare, under the colour of telling news with a roughy[7] compliment?


Good fare of thine!


Nay, dear gentlemen.


Mine? Aye, mine, sycophant! I—dost mark me?—to supply thy tatters,[8] pawned a whole study of ephemerides,[9] so rich that they might have set up a corporation of almanac makers—and what had I in return but protestations—hearest thou this, maunderer?[10]—that I was, for learning, the soundest; for bounty, the royalest; for discourse, the sententiousest; for behaviour, the absolutest; for all endowments of mind and body, the most accomplished that nature ever called her workmanship. But, thou dog, thou scoundrel, my beggary was the fruits of thy flattery. Stand off, rascal, off!


This is excellent, ’faith.


How, how? I flatter ye! What thee? Thee—a poor, lousy, uncloaked impostor, a deceitful, cozening, cheating, dull decoying fortune-teller. Thou pawn books? Thou, patched out of an old shepherds’ calendar[11] that discoursest in time of the change of the weather. And whose were thy ephemerides? Why, Impudence, wert thou ever worth Erra Pater’s Prognostication?[12] Thou learned? In what? By filching, stealing, borrowing, eating, collecting, and counting with as weather-wise idiots as thyself. Once in twelve months thou wert indeed delivered (like a big-bellied wife) of a two-penny almanac at Easter. A hospital boy in a blue coat[13] shall transcribe as much in six hours to serve all the year. Thou a table of meat? Yes, astronomers’ fare—air; or at a feast upon high holy days, three red sprats in a dish; that was held gluttony so. I flatter thee? Thou learned?


Rascal! Cannibal that feedest upon man’s flesh!


Nay, pray, pray heartily, gentlemen; in good earnest, and as I live, and by this hand now—


Right, thou put’st me in mind what I should call thee. Who wast the cause of all the late insurrection for which we were all like to be hanged, and our brave general Alphonso is this day to suffer for? Who but thou! Forsooth; the influences of the stars, the conjunction of the planets: the prediction of the celestial bodies were peremptory that, if he[14] would but attempt a civil commotion, he should (aye, marry, should he) be straight crowned present King of Aragon. Now, you[15] ’Gyptianly man i’th’moon,[16] your divination hath fairly mounted him. Poor gentleman, he’s sure to leave his head in pawn for giving credit to thy prognosticating ignorance.


I scorn thee, parasite.


You are a stinking, starved-gut star-gazer. Is that flattery or no?


’Sfoot! What do you mean, signor Pynto, signor Muretto?


I will be revenged and watch my time, sirrah.




This is strange, my masters, to be so near the place of execution and prattle so loud. Come, signor Pynto, indeed, la,[17] you shall shake hands.


Let me alone, y’are a foolish captain. Muretto, I will display thee for a—   


Hang thyself, I care not for thee this![18]


Foolish captain? Foolish captain! Hark ye, Pynto, there’s no such good meaning in that word.


A parrot can echo. Talk to scholars so![19]


A proper scholar, stitched up of waste paper.


Sneaks![20] If I be a fool, I’ll bang out the wits of some of your noddles, or dry bastinado your sides. Ye doggrel,[21] mangy, scabbed owl-a-glasses.[22] I’ll maul ye, so I will.


Captain, sweet captain, nay, look now; will you put your discretion to coxcombs?


Yes, the proudest coxcombs of ’em all, if I be provoked. Foolish! Flesh and blood cannot endure it.


So, goodman sky-walker,[23] you have made a trim hand on’t, to chafe[24] yourself into a throat-cutting.


I will shred you both so small, that a very botcher shall thread[25] Spanish needles with every fillet of your itchy flesh. Call me foolish? Ye whelp’s mules[26]—my father was a corn-cutter, and my mother a mussel-woman[27]—’tis known what I am, and I’ll make you know what I am, if my choler be raised but one inch higher.


Well I see Mars and Saturn were thy planets. Thou art a valiant soldier, and there’s no dealing with ye. For the captain’s sake, I will abate my indignation, Muretto. But—


But i’thy face,[28] I’ll have no buts. S’bones,[29] the blackguard[30] is more honourably suited than any of us three. Foolish? ‘Foolish’ will never out of my head whilst I live.

Enter Velasco and Lodovico.


Long life, eternal prosperity, the blessing o’the heavens and honours of the earth crown the glorious merits of the incomparable captain Don Velasco.


The chime goes again, captain.[31]


Who are these poor creatures, Lodovico?


My lord, I know them now, they are some of the late mutineers whom you, when you took Alphonso prisoner, presented to the rigour of the law, but since, they are by the Queen’s pardon set at liberty.


I should know yonder fellow. Your name is Bufo, if I mistake not.


My name is my own name, sir, and Bufo is my name, sir. If any man shall deny it, I dare challenge him in defence of my godfathers that gave me that name, sir—and what say you to that, sir?


A shallow, unbrained, weak, foolish fellow and so forth, your lordship understands me. But for our parts, my good lord—


Well, gentlemen, I cannot tell you now

That any poor endeavours of mine own 

Can work Alphonso’s peace, yet I have spoke

And kneeled and sued for his reprieve. The Queen

Hath heard, but will not grant. This is the day,

And this the time and place, where he must render

The forfeit of his life unto the law.

I only can be sorry.

Enter Petruchi, after the hangman[32] bearing the axe

before Alphonso, with Officers.


Alphonso, here’s the place, and this the hour;

Your doom is past, and now the sword of law

Must cut the vein that swelled with such a frenzy

Of dangerous blood against your Queen and country.

Prepare yourself, ’tis now too late to hope.


Petruchi, what is done I did; my ground

Was pity of my country, not malice to’t.

I sought to free wracked Aragon from ruin,

Which a fond[33] woman’s government must bring.

O had you and the nobles of this land

A touch but of the miseries her weakness

Must force ye of necessity to feel,

You would with me have bent your naked swords

Against this female mistress of the crown,

And not have been such children to have fawned

Upon a girl’s nod.


                               You are distracted;

She is our lawful sovereign, we her subjects.


Subjects, Petruchi? Abjects, and so live;

I come to die, on to the execution.


Here’s a high Saturnal[34] spirit, captain.


Pox o’spirits. When they mount a man to the hangman’s mercy, I do not like such spirits; let me rather be a mooncalf.[35]


I come to bid farewell, and in farewell

To excuse my much ill fortune; for believe, sir,

I hold my victory an overthrow.

To tell you how incessantly I plied

Her grace for your remission were as useless

As was my suit. I[36] sorry for your youth;

Let’s part yet reconciled.


                                         With all my heart;

It is my glory that I was reduced

By the best man at arms that ever knighthood

Hath styled a soldier. Alas! What souls are those?

Now, now, in seeing them I die too late.


O brave general, O noble general, we are still the rags of the old regiment. The truth on’t is, we were loath to leave thee, till thy head and shoulders parted companies. But sweet, good, dear general, take courage. What? We are all mortal men, and must every one pass this way, as simple as we stand here.


Give me thy hand, farewell. The Queen is merciful in sparing you. I have not aught to give thee but my last thanks.


Blurt[37] o’giving, our clothes are paid for, and a day will come shall quit us all.


Art thou and thou there too? Well, leave thy art

And do not trust the fictions[38] of the stars,

They spoke no truth by me. My lord Velasco,

That creature there, Muretto, is a man

Of honest heart; for my sake take him to you.

And now soft peace to all.


I will burn my books, forswear the liberal sciences, and that is my resolution.


Go thy way for the arrantest[39] general that ever led crew of brave skelderers.[40]


Will you make ready, sir?


                                          Petruchi, yes.[41]

I have a debt to pay, ’tis nature’s due.

Fellow, before thou ask my pardon, take it;

Be sure and speedy in thy fatal blow.


Never fear clean shaving, sir.


May I have leave to meditate?


                                                 You may.


A gallant resolution, even in death.

Enter Queen, Collumello,[42] Almado[43], Herophil, and attendants.


Stay execution—’tis her highness’ pleasure!

Alphonso, rise ye, and behold the Queen.


Beshrew the voice of majesty. My thoughts

Were fixed upon an upper region now

And traffic not with earth. Alas, great woman,

What newer tyranny, what doom, what torments

Are borrowed from the conclave of that hell

Where legions of worse devils than are in hell

Keep revels—a proud woman’s heart? What plagues

Are broached[44] from thence to kill me?

Pynto Aside[45]

The moon is now Lady of the Ascendant, and the man will die raving.[46]


                                                                   Fie, Alphonso,

Will you commit another strange commotion

With your unruly tongue, and what you cannot

Perform in act, attempt to do in words?

A dying man be so uncharitable?[47]


Cry mercy, she is Queen of Aragon,

And would with her own eyes, instead of masques

And courtly sports, behold an act of death.

Queen, welcome Queen, here—quaff my blood like wine

And live a brave she-tyrant.[48]


                                                       Alas, poor man.


‘Poor man’! That looks on me, delighted to destroy me.

Bufo [Aside]

Good boy, i’faith. By this hand he speaks just as I would do, for all that he is so near being made puddings’ meat.


You are sorry

For your late desperate rudeness, are you not?


By all my miseries, these taunts are cruelty

Worse than the hangman’s axe. I am not sorry,

Nay more, will not be sorry! Know from me

I hate your sex in general—not you

As y’are a Queen, but as y’are a woman.

Had I a term of life could last forever,

And you could grant it, yes, and would, yet all

Or more should never reconcile my heart

To any she[49] alive. Are ye resolved?


His spirit flies out in his daring language.

Alphonso, though the law require thy head,

Yet I have mercy where I see just cause.

You’ll be a new man?


                                       Oh! A woman’s tongue

Is sharper than a pointed steel. Tender madam,

I kiss your royal hand and call you fair.

Assure this noble, this uncovered presence

That richest virtue is your bosom’s tenant,

That you are absolutely great and good;

I’ll flatter all the vices of your sex,

Protesting men are monsters, women angels,

No light ones, but full weighty, nature’s best;

I’ll proclaim lust a pity, pride a handsomeness,

Deceit, ripeness of wit; bold scandalous scolding,

A bravery of spirit; bloody cruelty,

Masculine justice. More—I will maintain

That Queens are chief for rule, you, chief of Queens,

If you’ll but give me leave to die in peace!

Pray give me leave to die—pray, good, now do.

What think ye? ’Tis a royal grant. Henceforth

Heaven be the rest you choose, but never come at.

A kind farewell to all!


                                   Can you endure

To let a rebel prate? Off with his head,

And let him then dispute.


                                        I should have used

The privilege of time, had I known this.[50]

You must not talk so loud.


                                           My lords, a word.

What if we pardoned him? I think the nearness

Of his arrival to the stroke of death[51]

Will ever be a warning to his loyalty.


How! Pardon him? What means your majesty?

What can you hope from one so wholly drowned

In melancholy and sour discontent

That, should he share the crown, he would employ’t

On none but apes and flatterers?


                                                     Spare, my lord,

Such liberal censure; rather rein the fury

Of justice than so spur it on. Great mistress,

I will not plead my services, but urge

The glories you may challenge[52] by your mercy.

It will be a most sweet becoming act

To set you in the chronicles of memory.


Velasco, thou art not more brave in arms

To conquer with thy valour than thy courtesy.

Alphonso, take thy life; who took thee prisoner

Is now become thy spokesman.


                                                  Pah,[53] mock not

Calamity so grossly.


                                 You are too desperate:

The Queen hath freely pardoned you.


                                                            And more—

To purchase kind opinion of thy sex,

Ourself will lend our help. Lords, all your hands.[54]


But is the Queen in earnest?


                                             It becomes her;

Mercy is God-like.


                             Officers, be gone.                      Exit Officers

Such objects for a royal presence are

Unfit. Here, kiss our hand [Alphonso does so]; we dare conceive

That ’twas thy height of youth, not hate of us

Drew thee to those attempts, and both we pardon.


Do not the stars run a wrong bias now, signor Pynto?


Venus is Lady of the Ascendant, man. I knew if once he pass[55] the fatal hour, the influence would work another way.


Very likely; your reasons are infallible.


What can our favours challenge?[56]


                                                    More true service,

True faith, true love, than I have words to utter.


Which we accept. Lead on, here ends this strife,

When law craves justice, mercy should grant life.

Exit all but Pynto and his fellows.


Go thy ways for a sure, sound-brained piece whilst thou livest; ‘Pynto,’ say I, ‘now, now, now, am I an ass?’ Now, my masters, hang yourselves, ’sfoot, I’ll stand to’t. That man, whoever he be (better or worse, all’s one), who is not star-wise is nature’s fool. Your astronomer hath the heavens, the whole globe of the earth, and the vast gulf of the sea itself for his proper kingdom, his fee-simple,[57] his own inheritance; who looks not any higher[58] than the top of a steeple or a maypole is worthy to die in a ditch. But to know the conjunctions of the planets,the influences of the celestial bodies,[59] the harmony of the spheres, frost and snow, hail and tempests, rain and sunshine, nay, life and death—here’s cunning, to be deep in speculation, to be groping the secrets of nature.


O, sir, there, there, there.


Let me alone. I say it myself, I know I am a rare fellow; why, look, look ye, we are all made, or let me be stewed in star-shot.[60] Pish, I am confident, and we shall all mount, believe it.


Shall we? Nay then, I am resolved.


Friar Bacon was but a brazen head, in comparison of him.[61]


But why should you not have said so much before, goodman[62] Jolthead?


Nay, look ye, captain, there’s a time for all things.


For all this, what will become of us? Is the sign lucky to venture the begging of a cast suit?[63] Let me be resolved of that once.


’Twas wisely urged, captain.


Man’s richest ornament is his nakedness, gentlemen, variety of clothing is the surquedry[64] of fools; wise men have their proper solace in the linings of their minds. As for fashions, ’tis a disease for a horse.[65]


Never richer stuff came from man![66]


’Zooks,[67] ’tis a scurvy, a pocky, and a naked answer. A plague of all your sentences, whilst I am like to starve with hunger and cold,

Enter messenger.


By your leave, gentlemen, the lord Alphonso hath sent you this purse of gold, commands ye to put yourselves into costly suits, and repair to court.


How? To court?


Where you may happily see him crowned King, for that’s the common report. I was charged to urge you to be very speedy. Farewell, gentlemen.



What think ye now, my hearts of gold?


Hearts of gold indeed now, signor.


Pish, I am a coxcomb, aye? O, the divinity of—


Bawl no more, the weather’s cold, I must have utensicles.[68] Follow your leader, ho!                                                                       Exit all.




[1.2]                                   Enter Velasco and Lodovico.



Prithee persuade me not.


                                       You’ll lose your honour.


I’d rather lose my honour than my faith.[69]

O, Lodovico, thou art witness with me, that I have sworn, and pledged my heart, my truth to her deserving memory, whose beauty is through the world unfellowed.


Hear the wisdom of sword-men! They deal all by strength, not policy. What excuse[70] shall be feigned? Let me know that.


‘Excuse’? Why, Lodovico, I am sick,

And I am sick indeed, sick to the soul.


For a decayed tilter, or a known coward, this were tolerable now. But to the business—I have solicited your widow.


Will she not speak with me?


Young widows, and grave old ones too, by your leave, care not so much for talking—if you come once to them you must do, and do, and do again, again and again. All’s too little, you’ll find it.


Come, friend, you mock my miseries.


It’s a fine laughing matter when the best and most approved soldier of the world should be so heart-sick for love of a placket. Well, I have sent your wise servant (for fools are best to be trusted in women’s things) to my cousin Shaparoon, and by him your second letter. You shall shortly hear what news. My cousin is excellently traded in these mortal businesses of flesh and blood, and will hardly come off with two denials.


If she prevail,[71] Lodovico—


What then? Ply your occupation when you come to’t, ’tis a fit season of the year. Women are honeymoon if a man could jump with them at the instant, and prick ’em in the right vein, else this Queen would never have saved a traitor from the block, and suddenly made him her King and husband. But no more of that, there’s danger in’t. Y’are sick you say?


Pierced through with fiery darts much worse than death.


Why your only present remedy is then, as soon as you can, to quench those fires in the watery channels of qualification.[72] Soft, no more words, behold a prodigy.


Enter Collumello, Almado[73] bare[-headed], Alphonso and the Queen crowned, Herophil, Petruchi with a guard.[74] The King and Queen take their states.[75]



Long live Alphonso, King of Aragon.


Then we are sovereign?


                                     As free as I by birth,

I yield to you, my lord, my crown, my heart,

My people, my obedience. In exchange,

What I demand is love.


                                     You cannot miss it.

There is but one thing that all human[76] power

Or malice of the devil could set a-broach[77]

To work on for a breach ’twixt you and me.


One thing? Why, is there one thing then, my lord?


Yes, and ’tis only this—y’are still a woman.


A woman? Said you so, sir?


                                             I confess

You have deserved more service, more regard

From me, in my particular, than life

Can thank you for; and that you may conceive

My fair acknowledgment, although ’tis true

I might command, yet I will make a suit,

An earnest suit t’ye.[78]


                                It must then be granted.


That to redeem awhile some serious thoughts

Which have misdeemed[79] your sex, you’ll be content

I be a married bachelor one se’nnight.

You cannot but conceive.[80]


                                        How’s this?


                                                          Fine work.


Alas, my lord, this needs no public mention.


Nay, madam, hear me. That our[81] courts be kept

Under a several[82] roof; that you and I

May not for such a short time come together.


I understand you not.


                                 Your patience, madam,

You interrupt me. That no message pass

Of commendation, questioning our healths,

Our sleeps, our actions, or what else belongs

To common courtesy ’twixt friend and friend.

You must be pleased to grant it; I’ll have it so.


No message of commends?


                                            Pah, you demur.

It argues your distrust.


                                    I am content.

The King should be obeyed. Pray heaven all be well.


Velasco, thou wert he didst conquer me,

Didst take me prisoner; wert in that the means

To raise me up thus high. I thank thee for’t.

I thought to honour thee in a defence

Of the Queen’s beauty, but we’ll now defer’t.

Yet hand your mistress, lead her to the court,

We and our lords will follow, there we’ll part.

A seven days’ absence cannot seem but short.

                                                                 Ex[it] all.[83]


[1] ‘ACTUS PRIMUS’ in Q. There are act divisions but no scene divisions in Q.

[2] Omnesin Q. Elsewhere in SDs, Q has ‘All’ (eg: 1.1.319 – B3v, 1.2.35 – B4r,  2.2.84 – C2v,  3.3.9 – D3v).

[3] capony, is this a clown’s error for ‘canopy’ or Q’s? Bufo makes verbal errors elsewhere that are certainly in the clown’s tradition (eg: lines 180 [arrantest] and 327 [utensicles] in this first scene), and ‘capony’ could be a play on ‘capon’ meaning something like ‘foolishness’. OED cites ‘caponier’ as “a covered passage across the ditch of a fortified place,” which is suggestive given Bufo’s military calling, but the earliest date given is 1683. I have decided to err on the side of conservatism and retain Q’s reading here.

[4] This and Muretto’s following speech are set as verse in Q, but both are unmetrical and neither character is given verse elsewhere.

[5] The comma follows ‘sweet’ rather than ‘not’ in Q. I have moved it on the assumption that ‘sweet’ is an adjective modifying ‘signor Pynto’ rather than a complement of ‘This’. Pynto’s reply confirms this.

[6] cog-foist, ‘cog a foist’ in Q. The compound, made up of two verbs that relate to dishonest dicing, means ‘cheat’ (OED ‘cog’ n4).

[7] OED ‘Rough’ adj. III. 3. “Of persons, diction, style, etc.: Wanting grace or refinement; unpolished, rugged.”

[8] tatters, ‘totters’ in Q; Bang suggests the emendation. OED (under ‘tattern1) notes the plural form denotes: tattered or ragged clothing” and gives ‘totter’ as a 17th century variant.

[9] ephemerides, the plural of ‘ephemeris’: “an astronomical almanac” (OED 3).

[10] maunderer = a professional beggar.

[11] shepherds’ calendar = “a calendar containing weather predictions and seasonable instructions for the use of shepherds [...] proverbially referred to as an unreliable source of information,” (OED).

[12] Erra Pater’s Prognostication, an almanac which went through many editions in the 17th century, its full title being: A prognostication for ever, made by Erra Pater, a Iew, borne in Iury, Doctor in Astronomie and Physick very profitable to keep the body in health. And also Ptholomeus saith the same. Of the ten editions available in online facsimile at EEBO (ranging in publication date from 1582 to 1700) those published around the presumed composition date of The Queen are 1610, 1625 and 1630.

[13] A hospital boy in a blue coat = a child brought up in a charitable institution—poor and with a basic education.

[14] he for ‘a’’ in Q. Changed silently hereafter.

[15] you, ‘your’ in Q. Pynto is called ‘the man in the moon’ at 5.2.228 – Bang suggested ‘you’ here.

[16] ‘Gipsonly may i’th’moon’ in Q; ‘may’ is presumably a typo for ‘man’ (see previous note). ‘Gipson’ was used by Nashe (Martins Months Minde [1589]) for ‘gipsy’/‘Egyptian’—“Hee the manner of a Gipson,” (quoted in OED under ‘Gipsy’). ‘Gipsonly’ is, therefore, equivalent to ‘gipsy-like’ or ‘Egyptian-like’, referring to the Romany reputation for fortune-telling and the tradition that they originated from Egypt. I have opted to use ‘’Gyptianly’ in an attempt to convey the sense while keeping close to the sound of Muretto’s words.

[17] indeed, la, ‘la’ was commonly used as an intensifier; cf: Hamlet [F] 4.5.57: “Indeed, la? Without an oath…” 

[18] There is some business here; perhaps Muretto gives the ‘fig’ gesture with his thumb.

[19] In Q: ‘A Parrat can eccho, talk to Schollers so.’ My reading supposes elision, with ‘To’ dropped—“To talk to scholars so!”

[20] Sneaks = a ‘sneak’ was “a sneaking, mean-spirited, paltry, or despicable person” (OED n 1a).

[21] doggrel, ‘Dogrel’ in Q, the initial capital and italicization implying a proper name. Bufo appears to be conflating the insult ‘dog’ (note ‘mangy’ as the following adjective) and ‘doggerel’. OED gives ‘doggrel’ as a variant of ‘doggerel’.

[22] owl-a-glasses, from ‘Owl-glass’, a jester, derived from Eulenspiegel, the name of a medieval German jester. Bufo’s use of the plural, plus his tendency to confuse words, makes me tentatively hyphenate Q’s ‘owlaglasses’; Bufo is perhaps conflating ‘owl-glass’ with a reference to a bespectacled, owlish Pynto.

[23] sky-walker = ‘astronomer’? Muretto is, of course, addressing Pynto.

[24] chafe = ‘inflame’.

[25] thread Conjectured emendation for Q’s ‘shred’ (B2r) through compositor’s confusion with the word ten words earlier. It supports the ‘botcher’ (tailor) / ‘butcher’ pun. Bang agrees.

[26] mules, ‘moiles’ in Q. ‘Mules’ here = chilblains (OED ‘Mule2’: ‘moill’ is listed as a 17th century Scottish variant); this draws on ‘itchy flesh’ in the previous line and is further by ‘corn-cutter’. There is a different use of ‘mule’ / ‘moile’ at 2.1.97.

[27] mussel-woman, unhyphenated in Q. Q’s spelling is ‘muscle’.

[28] A vulgar pun on ‘but’/‘butt’—the latter meaning was current.

[29] ’Sbones = ‘God’s bones’; a mangled oath, still more mangled in Q which reads ‘S’bores’.

[30] blackguard = ‘the lowest menial’ (OED). Used as a generic term here, not referring to any specific individual.

[31] ie: “More flattery from Muretto.”

[32] hangman = general term for an executioner; the term ‘executioner’ is used in an SD at 5.1.30.

[33] fond = foolish.

[34] Saturnal, pertaining to Saturn’s astrological influence, here Alphonso’s phlegmatic calm in the face of death.

[35] mooncalf, see 3.5.131 below and note.

[36] I sorry for your youth, Bang conjectures “I’m sorry,” but the OED gives precedents for ‘sorry’ as a verb (= to grieve / sorrow), and notes an example of such a usage by John Ford himself: Fame's Memorial Giijb (1606), “We mourne his death and sorry for his sake.”

[37] Blurt = an expression of contempt (OED).

[38] fictions, ‘fixions’ in Q. Q’s  spelling points to a play on the stars’ fixed positions and their fictions.

[39] arrantest, a Bufoism for ‘gallantest’.

[40] skelderers, Q’s ‘Sketdreus’ puzzled Bang who tentatively conjectured ‘soldiers’ or ‘skelderers’. I have adopted the latter, based on the verb ‘to skelder’: “To beg; to live by begging, esp. by passing oneself off as a wounded or disbanded soldier” (OED). The fact that the word is used by the word-mangling Bufo allows the sense to be the opposite to that apparently intended and matches ‘arrantest’ in the same speech.

[41] I have reset this line as verse, ending Petruchi’s three-foot line.

[42] Collumello, as in the list of Persons of the Play, ‘Collummello’ in this SD.

[43] Almado, ‘Almada’ in Q. The spelling ‘Almada’ occurs ten times in Q, always in SDs. ‘Almado’ is given in the ‘Persons of the Play’, where he is named in the text (three times) and in just one SD. SPs are invariably ‘Alm’. The consistency of the name in the text and the (almost) consistent use of the other form in SDs begs an interesting question: were the SDs in the compositor’s copy supplied by someone other than the playwright?

[44] broached = spurred.

[45] As Q, substantially.

[46] The moon governing lunacy. Cf: Pynto’s change of mind at line 281.

[47] The question mark does not appear in Q; ‘Can a dying man…’ is understood.

[48] There are some lineation problems here. An alternative would be:


Queen, welcome Queen, here—quaff my blood like wine

And live a brave she-tyrant. [a 3½ foot line]


Alas, poor man.


                          ‘Poor man’! that looks on me,

[D]elighted to destroy me.


Good boy, i’faith. By this hand he speaks just as I would do, for all that   he is so near being made puddings’ meat. [an aside which leaves the verse unaffected, as above l. 199]


                                          You are sorry

For your late desperate rudeness, are you not?

[49] she = woman.

[50] ie: “I would not have granted you time before your execution, but would have had it carried out immediately.”

[51] Lines 252 & 253 are set as prose in Q.

[52] challenge = to lay claim to, demand as a right. OED 5. As also l. 284.

[53] Pah, ‘Phew’ in Q (and elsewhere, eg: 1.2.66, 2.3.34, 3.1.42). Given that this is a modernized text, I have decided to amend because ‘phew’ tends to be used today as an exclamation of relief, whereas in Q it represents disgust or abhorrence (as elsewhere in Ford). I have chosen ‘pah’ because of its use in Hamlet [Q2] 5.1.194 (‘puh’ in F) and its continued currency in the OED.

[54] This speech set as prose in Q. Lords, all your hands: what are the Queen and lords doing here? The context would imply that they are helping Alphonso from the place of execution, but is he getting up from a block or down from a scaffold? In 5.1, a scaffold (for the execution of Salassa) is given as a property in the opening stage direction and at an SD at 5.1.71 when Salassa is told to “go merrily up the stairs,” (5.1.69).

[55] pass in the subjunctive mood.

[56] challenge = demand (as a right), as also at line 263 below.

[57] fee-simple = permanent lease, full possession.

[58] who looks not any higher, ‘who looks any higher’ in Q. Q’s reading is obviously giving a sense opposite to that required. Bang’s suggested insertion of ‘not’ has been adopted.

[59] bodies, ‘body’ in Q. The singular form seems strange here, especially in view of Pynto’s use of ‘celestial bodies’ at 1.1.64 and 2.2.53.

[60] star-shot, ‘star-shut’ in Q. ‘Star-shot’ (also known as ‘star-jelly’) was a popular name for ‘nostoc’, a gelatinous blue-green alga, once thought to be the remains of a shooting star. The usage here is the earliest citation for the term in the OED.

[61] The reference is to the English Franciscan philosopher Roger Bacon (c. 1220–92) who was said to have made a head of brass that could speak.

[62] goodman, a mock-polite (in this context) form of address.

[63] They are in rags; Bufo wants to know if the signs are propitious for the successful begging of a discarded suit of clothes. Cf: OED ‘cast’ ppl. a. 5 which cites: “A moste lousie caste sute of his,” 1st Pt. Return from Parnass. III. i. 967 [1597].

[64] surquedry (or ‘surquidry’) = OED 2: “misused for: Excess, surfeit;” more properly ‘Arrogance’, ‘haughty pride’.

[65] fashions, a form of ‘farcy’, a disease of animals, esp. horses. Cf: Taming of the Shrew, 3.2.50, “his horse … infected with the fashions.”

[66] Playing on ‘stuff’ = material.

[67] ’Zooks, contraction of ‘gadzooks’, a mangling of the blasphemous ‘God’s hooks’, the nails of the cross.

[68] utensicles, Bufo’s attempt at ‘utensils’ which, in 17C, had a wider connotation—any article serving a useful purpose.

[69] lose my honour than my faith. Professor Lisa Hopkins points out that Ford’s motto was Fide Honor (Honour through Faith), an anagram of ‘Iohn Forde’. There appears to be a switch from verse to prose here; much of the lineation in this scene is confusing.

[70] excuse, ‘exercise’ in Q. Both Bang and, independently, Hopkins suggest ‘excuse’ which is certainly a better reading. ‘Exercise’ for ‘excuse’ is an understandable compositorial misreading of copy.

[71] prevail is subjunctive mood.

[72] qualification = ‘accomplishment’, ie: the sexual act.

[73]Almada’ in Q; cf: 1.1.188 & Note.

[74] a guard, this is probably a plural usage, as elsewhere in the play (although this would to some extent depend upon the number of mutes available).

[75] states = ‘thrones’.

[76] human, ‘humane’ in Q.

[77] a-broach, ‘a broach’ in Q. The verb ‘broach’ means ‘to spur’, so ‘to set a-broach’ here is ‘to encourage’ / ‘to hasten’ / ‘to initiate’.

[78] t’ye, ‘t’ee’ in Q. A typical Fordism; Bang used the appearance of this form in Q to support, in part, his attribution.

[79] misdeem = ‘to think ill of’.

[80] conceive = ‘to apprehend’ / ‘understand’, with also a nod towards conception.

[81] ‘our our’ in Q.

[82] several = ‘separate’, its primary definition in OED.

[83]ex. all’; cf: SD end of Scene 1.