The Beggar's Opera

Act III. Scene IV.

LUCY. Jealousy, Rage, Love and Fear are at once tearing me to pieces, How I am weather-beaten and shatter'd with Distresses!

AIR XLVI. One Evening, having lost my Way, &c.

I'm like a Skiff on the Ocean tost,

Now high, now low, with each Billow born,

With her Rudder broke, and her Anchor lost,

Deserted and all forlorn.

While thus I lie rolling and tossing all Night,

That Polly lies sporting on Seas of Delight!

Revenge, Revenge, Revenge,

Shall appease my restless Spirit.

I have the Rats-bane ready. - I run no Risque; for I can lay her Death upon the Ginn, and so many die of that naturally that I shall never be call'd in question. - But say, I were to be hang'd. - I never could be hang'd for any thing that would give me greater Comfort, than the poisoning that Slut.

[Enter Filch.]

FILCH. Madam, here's Miss Polly come to wait upon you.

LUCY. Show her in.

[Enter Polly.]

Dear Madam, your Servant. - I hope you will pardon my Passion, when I was so happy to see you last. - I was so over-run with the Spleen, that I was perfectly out of myself. And really when one hath the Spleen, every thing is to be excus'd by a Friend.

AIR XLVII. Now Roger, I'll tell thee because thou 'rt my Son.

When a Wife's in her Pout,

(As she's sometimes, no doubt;)

The good Husband as meek as a Lamb,

Her Vapours to still,

First grants her her Will,

And the quieting Draught is a Dram. Poor Man!

And the quieting Draught is a Dram.

- I wish all our Quarrels might have so comfortable a Reconciliation.

POLLY. I have no Excuse for my own Behaviour, Madam, but my Misfortunes. - And really, Madam, I suffer too upon your Account.

LUCY. But, Miss Polly - in the way of Friendship, will you give me leave to propose a Glass of Cordial to you?

POLLY. Strong-Waters are apt to give me the Headache - I hope, Madam, you will excuse me.

LUCY. Not the greatest Lady in the Land could have better in her Closet, for her own private drinking. - You seem mighty low in Spirits, my Dear.

POLLY. I am sorry, Madam, my Health will not allow me to accept of your Offer. - I should not have left you in the rude manner I did when we met last, Madam, had not my Papa haul'd me away so unexpectedly - I was indeed somewhat provok'd, and perhaps might use some Expressions that were disrespectful. - But really, Madam, the Captain treated me with so much Contempt and Cruelty, that I deserv'd your Pity, rather than your Resentment.

LUCY. But since his Escape, no doubt all Matters are made up again. -Ah Polly! Polly! 'tis I am the unhappy Wife; and he loves you as if you were only his Mistress.

POLLY. Sure, Madam, you cannot think me so happy as to be the object of your Jealousy. - A Man is always afraid of a Woman who loves him too well - so that I must expect to be neglected and avoided.

LUCY. Then our Cases, my dear Polly, are exactly alike. Both of us indeed have been too fond.

AIR XLVIII. O Bessy Bell.

POLLY. A Curse attend that Woman's Love,

Who always would be pleasing.

LUCY. The Pertness of the billing Dove,

Like Tickling, is but teazing.

POLLY. What then in Love can Woman do:

LUCY. If we grow fond they shun us.

POLLY. And when we fly them, they pursue:

LUCY. But leave us when they've won us.

LUCY. Love is so very whimsical in both Sexes, that it is impossible to be lasting. - But my Heart is particular, and contradicts my own Observation.

POLLY. But really, Mistress Lucy, by his last Behaviour, I think I ought to envy you. - When I was forc'd from him, he did not shew the least Tenderness. - But perhaps, he hath a Heart not capable of it.

AIR XLIX. Would Fate to me Belinda give.

Among the Men, Coquettes we find,

Who court by turns all Woman-kind;

And we grant all their Hearts desir'd,

When they are flatter'd, and admir'd.

The Coquettes of both Sexes are Self-lovers, and that is a Love no other whatever can dispossess. I hear, my dear Lucy, our Husband is one of those.

LUCY. Away with these melancholy Reflections, - indeed, my dear Polly, we are both of us a Cup too low - Let me prevail upon you to accept of my Offer.

AIR L. Come, sweet Lass.

Come, sweet Lass,

Let's banish Sorrow

'Till To-morrow;

Come, sweet Lass,

Let's take a chirping Glass.

Wine can clear

The Vapours of Despair

And make us light as Air;

Then drink, and banish Care.

I can't bear, Child, to see you in such low Spirits. - And I must persuade you to what I know will do you good. [Aside.] I shall now soon be even with the hypocrytical Strumpet. [Exit.]

POLLY. All this Wheedling of Lucy cannot be for nothing. - At this time too! when I know she hates me! - The Dissembling of a Woman is always the Forerunner of Mischief. - By pouring Strong-Waters down my Throat, she thinks to pump some Secrets out of me, - I'll be upon my Guard, and won't taste a Drop of her Liquor, I'm resolv'd.

[Re-enter Lucy, with Strong-Waters.]

LUCY. Come, Miss Polly.

POLLY. Indeed, Child, you have given yourself trouble to no purpose. - You must, my Dear, excuse me.

LUCY. Really, Miss Polly, you are as squeamishly affected about taking a Cup of Strong-Waters as a Lady before Company. I vow, Polly, I shall take it monstrously ill if you refuse me. - Brandy and Men (though Women love them ever so well) are always taken by us with some Reluctance - unless 'tis in private.

POLLY. I protest, Madam, it goes against me. - What do I see! Macheath again in Custody! - Now every Glimm'ring of Happiness is lost.

[Drops the Glass of Liquor on the Ground.]

LUCY. Since things are thus, I'm glad the Wench hath escap'd: for by this Event, 'tis plain, she was not happy enough to deserve to be poison'd.

[Enter Lockit, Macheath, Peachum.]

LOCKIT. Set your Heart to rest, Captain. - You have neither the Chance of Love or Money for another Escape, - for you are order'd to be call'd down upon your Trial immediately.

PEACHUM. Away, Hussies! - This is not a Time for a Man to be hamper'd with his Wives . - You see, the Gentleman is in Chains already.

LUCY. O Husband, Husband, my Heart long'd to see thee; but to see thee thus distracts me?

POLLY. Will not my dear Husband look upon his Polly? Why hadst thou not flown to me for Protection? with me thou hadst been safe.

AIR LI. The last time I went o'er the Moor.

POLLY. Hither, dear Husband, turn your Eyes.

LUCY. Bestow one Glance to cheer me.

POLLY. Think with that Look, thy Polly dies.

LUCY. O shun me not - but hear me.

POLLY. 'Tis Polly sues.

LUCY. - 'Tis Lucy speaks.

POLLY. Is thus true Love requited?

LUCY. My Heart is bursting.

POLLY. - Mine too breaks.

LUCY. Must I

POLLY. - Must I be slighted?

MACHEATH. What would you have me say, Ladies? - You see this affair will soon be at an end, without my disobliging either of you.

PEACHUM. But the settling this Point, Captain, might prevent a Law-

Suit between your two Widows.

AIR LII. Tom Tinker's my true Love.

MACHEATH. Which way shall I turn me - How can I decide?

Wives, the Day of our Death, are as fond as a Bride.

One Wife is too much for most Husbands to hear,

But two at a time there's no mortal can bear.

This way, and that way, and which way I will,

What would comfort the one, t' other Wife would take ill.

POLLY. But if his own Misfortunes have made him insensible to mine -

A Father sure will be more compassionate - Dear, dear Sir, sink the material Evidence, and bring him off at his Trial - Polly upon her Knees begs it of you.

AIR LIII. I am a poor Shepherd undone.

When my Heroe in Court appears,

And stands arraign'd for his Life;

Then think of poor Polly's Tears;

For Ah! poor Polly's his Wife.

Like the Sailor he holds up his hand,

Distrest on the dashing Wave.

To die a dry Death at Land,

Is as bad as a watery Grave.

And alas, poor Polly!

A lack, and well-a-day!

Before I was in Love,

Oh! every Month was May.

LUCY. If Peachum's Heart is harden'd; sure you, Sir, will have more Compassion on a Daughter. - I know the Evidence is in your Power. - How then can you be a Tyrant to me? [Kneeling.]

AIR LIV. Ianthe the lovely, &c.

When he holds up his Hand arraign'd for his Life,

O think of your Daughter, and think I'm his Wife!

What are Canons, or Bombs, or clashing of Swords?

For Death is more certain by Witnesses Words.

Then nail up their Lips; that dread Thunder allay;

And each Month of my Life will hereafter be May.

LOCKIT. Macheath's Time is come, Lucy. - We know our own Affairs, therefore let us have no more Whimpering or Whining.

AIR LV. A Cobler there was, &c.

Ourselves, like the Great, to secure a Retreat,

When Matters require it, must give up our Gang:

And good reason why,

Or, instead of the Fry,

Ev'n Peachum and I.

Like poor petty Rascals, might hang, hang;

Like poor petty Rascals, might hang.

PEACHUM. Set your Heart at rest, Polly. - Your Husband is to die to-

day. - Therefore if you are not already provided, 'tis high time to look about for another. There's Comfort for you, you Slut.

LOCKIT. We are ready, Sir, to conduct you to the Old Baily.

AIR LVI. Bonny Dundee.

MACHEATH. The Charge is prepar'd; the Lawyers are met,

The Judges all rang'd (a terrible Show!)

I go, undismay'd. - For Death is a Debt,

A Debt on Demand. - So take what I owe.

Then farewell, my Love - Dear Charmers, adieu.

Contented I die - 'Tis the better for you.

Here ends all Disputes the rest of our Lives,

For this way at once I please all my Wives.

Now, Gentlemen, I am ready to attend you.

[Exeunt Macheath, Lockit, and Peachum.]

[Enter Filch.]

POLLY. Follow them, Filch, to the Court. And when the Trial is over, bring me a particular Account of his Behaviour, and of every thing that happen'd - You'll find me here with Miss Lucy. [Exit Filch.] But why is all this Musick?

LUCY. The Prisoners, whose Trials are put off 'till next Session, are diverting themselves.

POLLY. Sure there is nothing so charming as Music! I'm fond of it to Distraction! - But alas! - now, all Mirth seems an Insult upon my Affliction. - Let us retire, my dear Lucy, and indulge our Sorrows. -

The noisy Crew, you see, are coming upon us. [Exeunt.]

[A Dance of Prisoners in Chains, &c.]