A monologue from the play by Thomas Middleton
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Michaelmas Term. Thomas Middleton. London: Arthur Johnson, 1607.
Now my desires are full. I long to warm myself by th’ wood. A fine journey in the Whitsun holydays, i’faith, to ride down with a number of citizens and their wives,
some upon pillions, some upon side-saddles, I and little Thomasine i’ th’ middle, our son and heir, Sim Quomodo,
in a peach-colour taffeta jacket, some horse-length, or a long yard before us. There will be a fine show on’s,
I can tell you–where we citizens will laugh and lie down, get all our wives with child against a bank, and get up again.
Stay; hah! hast thou wit, i’faith? ’twill be admirable to see how the very thought of green fields puts a man into sweet inventions!
I will presently possess Sim Quomodo of all the land; I have a toy and I’ll do’t: and because I see before mine eyes that most of our heirs prove notorious rioters after our deaths,
and that cozenage in the father wheels about to folly in the son–what’s got over the devil’s back (that’s by knavery) must be spent under his belly (that’s by lechery):
being awake in these knowings, why should not I oppose ’em now, and break Destiny of her custom? I have took the course:
I will forthwith sicken, call for my keys, make my will, and dispose of all; give my son this blessing, that he trust no man,
keep his hand from a quean and a scrivener, live in his father’s faith, and do good to nobody: then will I begin to rave like a fellow of a wide conscience,
and, for all the world, counterfeit to the life that which I know I shall do when I die; take on for my gold,
my lands, and my writings, grow worse and worse, call upon the devil, and so make an end. By this time I have indented with a couple of searchers,
who, to uphold my device, shall fray them out a’ th’ chamber with report of sickness; and so, la, I start up, and recover again!
For in this business I will trust, no, not my spirits, Falselight and Shortyard, but, in disguise, note the condition of all;
how pitiful my wife takes my death, which will appear by November in her eye, and the fall of the leaf in her body,
but especially by the cost she bestows upon my funeral, there shall I try her love and regard; my daughter’s marrying to my will and liking;
and my son’s affection after my disposing: for, to conclude, I am as jealous of this land as of my wife, to know what would become of it after my decease.