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Cut. Or, if he do simulare himself frigidum, odio uxoris, or so?
Ott. I say he is adulter manifestus then.
True. You will not do me that wrong, sir?
Cut. And mine too.
True. Nay, hear the conclusion, sir.
Ott. Then, frigiditatis causa
Cut. Yes, causa frigiditatis
Mor. O, mine ears!
Ott. She may have libellum divortii against you.
Ott. If you confess it.
Cut. Which I would do, sir
Mor. I will do any thing.
Ott. And clear myself in foro conscientia-
Mor. Yet more.
Ott. Exercendi potestate.
EPICENE rushes in, followed by HAUGHTY, CENTAURE, MAVIS, Mistress OTTER, DAW, and LA-FOOLE.
Epi. I will not endure it any longer. Ladies, I beseech you, help me. This is such a wrong as never was offered to poor bride before: upon her marriage-day to have her husband conspire against her, and a couple of mercenary companions to be brought in for form's sake, to persuade a separation! If you had blood or virtue in you, gentlemen, you would not suffer such
earwigs about a husband, or scorpions to creep between man and wife.
Mor. O the variety and changes of my torment! Hau. Let them be cudgell'd out of doors by our grooms.
Cen. I'll lend you my footman.
Mav. We'll have our men blanket them in the hall. Mrs. Ott. As there was one at our house, madam, for peeping in at the door.
Daw. Content, i' faith.
True. Stay, ladies and gentlemen; you'll hear before you proceed.
Mav. I'd have the bridegroom blanketted too.
Hau. Yes, by my troth.
Mor. O mankind generation!
Hau. Yes, for sir Dauphine's sake.
La-F. He is as fine a gentleman of his inches, madam, as any is about the town, and wears as good colours when he lists.
True. Be brief, sir, and confess your infirmity: she'll be a-fire to be quit of you, if she but hear that named once, you shall not entreat her to stay: she'll fly you like one that had the marks upon him.
Mor. Ladies, I must crave all your pardons-
Mor. For a wrong I have done to your whole sex, in marrying this fair and virtuous gentlewoman
Cler. Hear him, good ladies.
Mor. Being guilty of an infirmity, which, before I conferred with these learned men, I thought I might have concealed
True. But now being better informed in his conscience
by them, he is to declare it, and give satisfaction, by asking your public forgiveness.
Mor. I am no man, ladies.
All. How !
Mor. Utterly unabled in nature, by reason of frigidity, to perform the duties, or any the least office of a husband. Mav. Now, out upon him, prodigious creature. Cen. Bridegroom uncarnate!
Hau. And would you offer it to a young gentlewoman? Mrs. Ott. A lady of her longings
Epi. Tut, a device, a device, this! it smells rankly, ladies. A mere comment of his own.
True. Why, if you suspect that, ladies, you may have him search'd
Daw. As the custom is, by a jury of physicians.
La-F. Yes, faith, 'twill be brave.
Mor. O me, must I undergo that?
Mrs. Ott. No, let women search him, madam; we can do it ourselves.
Mor. Out on me, worse!
Epi. No, ladies, you shall not need, I'll take him with all his faults.
Mor. Worst of all!
Cler. Why then, 'tis no divorce, doctor, if she consent not?
Cut. No, if the man be frigidus, it is de parte uxoris, that we grant libellum divortii, in the law.
Ott. Ay, it is the same in theology.
True. Nay, sir, be not utterly disheartened; we have yet a small relic of hope left, as near as our comfort is blown out. Clerimont, produce your brace of knights. What was that, master parson, you told me in errore qualitatis, e'en now!-Dauphine, whisper the bride, that she carry it as if she were guilty, and ashamed. [Aside.
Ott. Marry, sir, in errore qualitatis (which master doctor did not forbear to urge), if she be found corrupta, that is, vitiated or broken up, that was pro virgine desponsa, espoused for a maid
Mor. What then, sir?
Ott. It doth dirimere contractum, and irritum reddere too.
True. If this be true, we are happy again, sir, once more. Here are an honourable brace of knights, that shall affirm so much.
Daw. Pardon us, good master Clerimont.
La-F. You shall excuse us, master Clerimont.
Cler. Nay, you must make it good now, knights, there is no remedy; I'll eat no words for you, nor no men: you know you spoke it to me.
Daw. Is this gentleman-like, sir?
True. Jack Daw, he's worse than sir Amorous; fiercer a great deal. [Aside to DAW.]-Sir Amorous, beware, there be ten Daws in this Clerimont.
[Aside to LA-FOOLE.
La-F. I'll confess it, sir.
Daw. Will you, sir Amorous, will you wound reputation?
La-F. I am resolved.
True. So should you be too, Jack Daw: what should keep you off she's but a woman, and in disgrace: he'll be glad on't.
Ďaw. Will he? I thought he would have been angry. Cler. You will dispatch, knights; it must be done, i'faith.
True. Why, an it must, it shall, sir, they say: they'll ne'er go back.-Do not tempt his patience.
[Aside to them.
Daw. Is it true indeed, sir?
Mor. What is true, gentlemen? what do you assure
Daw. That we have known your bride, sir—
Cler. Nay, you must be plain, knights, as you were to
Ott. Ay, the question is, if you have carnaliter, or no?
La-F. Carnaliter! what else, sir?
Ott. It is enough; a plain nullity.
Mor. O let me worship and adore you, gentlemen!
[Weeps. Mor. Yes, to my hand, I thank these knights. Master parson, let me thank you otherwise.
[Gives him money.
Cen. And have they confess'd? Mav. Now out upon them, informers ! True. You see what creatures you may bestow your favours on, madams.
Hau. I would except against them as beaten knights, wench, and not good witnesses in law.
Mrs. Ott. Poor gentlewoman, how she takes it!
Hau. Be comforted, Morose, I love you better for't. Cen. So do I, I protest.
Cut. But, gentlemen, you have not known her since matrimonium?
Daw. Not to-day, master doctor.
La-F. No, sir, not to-day.
Cut. Why, then I say, for any act before, the matrimonium is good and perfect; unless the worshipful bridegroom did precisely, before witness, demand, if she were virgo ante nuptias.
Epi. No, that he did not, I assure you, master doctor.