The Beggar's Opera

Act III. Scene I.

Scene, Newgate.

Lockit, Lucy.

LOCKIT. To be sure, Wench, you must have been aiding and abetting to help him to this Escape.

LUCY. Sir, here hath been Peachum and his Daughter Polly, and to be sure they know the Ways of Newgate as well as if they had been born and bred in the Place all their Lives. Why must all your Suspicion light upon me?

LOCKIT. Lucy, Lucy, I will have none of these shuffling Answers.

LUCY. Well then - If I know any thing of him I wish I may be burnt!

LOCKIT. Keep your Temper, Lucy, or I shall pronounce you guilty.

LUCY. Keep yours, Sir, - I do wish I may be burnt. I do - And what can I say more to convince you?

LOCKIT. Did he tip handsomly? - How much did he come down with? Come, Hussy, don't cheat your Father; and I shall not be angry with you - Perhaps, you have made a better Bargain with him than I could have done - How much, my good Girl?

LUCY. You know, Sir, I am fond of him, and would have given Money to have kept him with me.

LOCKIT. Ah Lucy! thy Education might have put thee more upon thy Guard; for a Girl in the Bar of an Ale-house is always besieg'd.

LUCY. Dear Sir, mention not my Education - for 'twas to that I owe my Ruin.

AIR XL. If Love's a sweet Passion, &c.

When young at the Bar you first taught me to score,

And bid me be free of my Lips, and no more;

I was kiss'd by the Parson, the Squire, and the Sot,

When the Guest was departed, the Kiss was forgot.

But his Kiss was so sweet, and so closely he prest,

That I languish'd and pin'd till I granted the rest.

If you can forgive me, Sir, I will make a fair Confession, for to be sure he hath been a most barbarous Villain to me.

LOCKIT. And so you have let him escape, Hussy - Have you?

LUCY. When a Woman loves; a kind Look, a tender Word can persuade her to any thing - And I could ask no other Bribe.

LOCKIT. Thou wilt always be a vulgar Slut, Lucy. - If you would not be look'd upon as a Fool, you should never do any thing but upon the foot of Interest. Those that act otherwise are their own Bubbles.

LUCY. But Love, Sir, is a Misfortune that may happen to the most discreet Women, and in Love we are all Fools alike - Notwithstanding all he swore, I am now fully convinc'd that Polly Peachum is actually his Wife. - Did I let him escape, (Fool that I was!) to go to her? -

Polly will wheedle herself into his Money, and then Peachum will hang him, and cheat us both.

LOCKIT. So I am to be ruin'd, because, forsooth, you must be in Love! - a very pretty Excuse!

LUCY. I could murder that impudent happy Strumpet: - I gave him his Life, and that Creature enjoys the Sweets of it. - Ungrateful Macheath!

AIR XLI. South-Sea Ballad.

My Love is all Madness and Folly,

Alone I lie,

Toss, tumble, and cry,

What a happy Creature is Polly!

Was e'er such a Wretch as I!

With rage I redden like Scarlet,

That my dear inconstant Varlet,

Stark blind to my Charms,

Is lost in the Arms

Of that Jilt, that inveigling Harlot!

Stark blind to my Charms,

Is lost in the Arms

Of that Jilt, that inveigling Harlot!

This, this my Resentment alarms.

LOCKIT. And so, after all this Mischief, I must stay here to be entertain'd with your Catterwauling, Mrs. Puss! - Out of my Sight, wanton Strumpet! you shall fast and mortify yourself into Reason, with now and then a little handsom Discipline to bring you to your Senses. - Go.

[Exit Lucy.]

Peachum then intends to outwit me in this Affair; but I'll be even with him. - The Dog is leaky in his Liquor, so I'll ply him that way, get the Secret from him, and turn this Affair to my own Advantage. -

Lions, Wolves, and Vultures don't live together in Herds, Droves or Flocks. - Of all Animals of Prey, Man is the only sociable one. Every one of us preys upon his Neighbour, and yet we herd together. -

Peachum is my Companion, my Friend. - According to the Custom of the World, indeed, he may quote thousands of Precedents for cheating me -

And shall not I make use of the Privilege of Friendship to make him a Return.

AIR XLII. Packington's Pound.

Thus Gamesters united in Friendship are found,

Though they know that their Industry all is a Cheat;

They flock to their Prey at the Dice-Box's Sound,

And join to promote one another's Deceit.

But if by mishap

They fail of a Chap,

To keep in their Hands, they each other entrap.

Like Pikes, lank with Hunger, who miss of their Ends,

They bite their Companions, and prey on their Friends.

Now, Peachum, you and I, like honest Tradesmen, are to have a fair Trial which of us two can over-reach the other.