The Beggar's Opera

Act III. Scene V.

AIR LVII. Happy Groves.

O cruel, cruel, cruel Case!

Must I suffer this Disgrace?

AIR LVIII. Of all the Girls that are so smart.

Of all the Friends in time of Grief,

When threatning Death looks grimmer,

Not one so sure can bring Relief,

As this best Friend, a Brimmer. [Drinks.]

AIR LIX. Britons strike home.

Since I must swing,--I scorn, I scorn to wince or whine.


AIR LX. Chevy Chase.

But now again my Spirits sink;

I'll raise them high with Wine. [Drinks a Glass of Wine.]

AIR LXI. To old Sir Simon the King.

But Valour the stronger grows,

The stronger Liquor we'er drinking;

And how can we feel our Woes,

When we've lost the Trouble of Thinking? [Drinks.]

AIR LXII. Joy to Great Caesar.

If thus--A Man can die

Much bolder with Brandy. [Pours out a Bumper of Brandy.]

AIR LXIII. There was an old Woman.

So I drink off this Bumper.--And now I can stand the Test,

And my Comrades shall see, that I die as brave as the Best.


AIR LXIV. Did you ever hear of a gallant Sailor.

But can I leave my pretty Hussies,

Without one Tear, or tender Sigh?

AIR LXV. Why are mine Eyes still flowing.

Their Eyes, their Lips, their Busses

Recall my Love,--Ah must I die!

AIR LXVI. Green Sleeves.

Since Laws were made for ev'ry Degree,

To curb Vice in others, as well as me,

I wonder we han't better Company,

Upon Tyburn Tree!

But Gold from Law can take out the Sting;

And if rich Men like us were to swing,

'Twou'd thin the Land, such Numbers to string

Upon Tyburn Tree!

JAILOR. Some Friends of yours, Captain, desire to be admitted

I leave you together.

[Enter Ben Budge, Matt of the Mint.]

MACHEATH. For my having broke Prison, you see, Gentlemen, I am

order'd immediate Execution.--The Sheriff's Officers, I believe, are

now at the Door.--That Jemmy Twitcher should peach me, I own

surpris'd me!--'Tis a plain Proof that the World is all alike, and

that even our Gang can no more trust one another than other People.

Therefore, I beg you, Gentlemen, look well to yourselves, for in all

probability you may live some Months longer.

MATT. We are heartily sorry, Captain, for your Misfortune.--But 'tis

what we must all come to.

MACHEATH. Peachum and Lockit, you know, are infamous Scoundrels.

Their Lives are as much in your Power, as yours are in theirs.--

Remember your dying Friend!--'Tis my last Request.--Bring those

Villains to the Gallows before you, and I am satisfied.

MATT. We'll do't.

JAILOR. Miss Polly and Miss Lucy intreat a Word with you.

MACHEATH. Gentlemen, adieu.

[Exeunt Ben Budge and Matt.]

[Enter Lucy and Polly.]

MACHEATH. My dear Lucy--My dear Polly--Whatsoever hath pass'd

between us is now at an end--If you are fond of marrying again, the

best Advice I can give you, is to Ship yourselves off for the West-

Indies, where you'll have a fair Chance of getting a Husband a-piece,

or by good Luck, two or three, as you like best.

POLLY. How can I support this Sight!

LUCY. There is nothing moves one so much as a great Man in Distress.

AIR LXVII. All you that must take a Leap, &c.

LUCY. Would I might be hang'd!

POLLY. --And I would so too!

LUCY. To be hang'd with you.

POLLY. --My Dear, with you.

MACHEATH. O leave me to Thought! I fear! I doubt!

I tremble! I droop!--See, my Courage is out.

[Turns up the empty Bottle.]

POLLY. No Token of Love?

MACHEATH.--See, my Courage is out.

[Turns up the empty Pot.]

LUCY. No Token of Love?

POLLY. --Adieu.

LUCY. --Farewell.

MACHEATH. But hark! I hear the Toll of the Bell.

CHORUS. Tol de rol lol, &c.

JAILOR. Four Women more, Captain, with a Child apiece! See, here

they come.

[Enter Women and Children.]

MACHEATH. What--four Wives more!--This is too much--Here--tell the

Sheriff's Officers I am ready.

[Exit Macheath guarded.]

[To them, Enter Player and Beggar.]

PLAYER. But, honest Friend, I hope you don't intend that Macheath

shall be really executed.

BEGGAR. Most certainly, Sir.--To make the Piece perfect, I was for

doing strict poetical Justice.--Macheath is to be hang'd; and for the

other Personages of the Drama, the Audience must have suppos'd they

were all either hang'd or transported.

PLAYER. Why then, Friend, this is a downright deep Tragedy. The

Catastrophe is manifestly wrong, for an Opera must end happily.

BEGGAR. Your Objection, Sir, is very just, and is easily remov'd.

For you must allow, that in this kind of Drama, 'tis no matter how

absurdly things are brought about--So--you Rabble there--run and cry,

A Reprieve!--let the Prisoner be brought back to his Wives in


PLAYER. All this we must do, to comply with the Taste of the Town.

BEGGAR. Through the whole Piece you may observe such a Similitude of

Manners in high and low Life, that it is difficult to determine

whether (in the fashionable Vices) the fine Gentlemen imitate the

Gentlemen of the Road, or the Gentlemen of the Road the fine

Gentlemen.--Had the Play remained, as I at first intended, it would

have carried a most excellent Moral. 'Twould have shewn that the

lower Sort of People have their Vices in a degree as well as the

Rich: And that they are punish'd for them.

[To them, Macheath with Rabble, &c.]

MACHEATH. So, it seems, I am not left to my Choice, but must have a

Wife at last.--Look ye, my Dears, we will have no Controversy now.

Let us give this Day to Mirth, and I am sure she who thinks herself

my Wife will testify her Joy by a Dance.

ALL. Come, a Dance--a Dance.

MACHEATH. Ladies, I hope you will give me leave to present a Partner

to each of you. And (if I may without Offence) for this time, I take

Polly for mine.--And for Life, you Slut,--for we were really

marry'd.--As for the rest.--But at present keep your own Secret. [To



AIR LXVIII. Lumps of Pudding, &c.

Thus I stand like the Turk, with his Doxies around;

From all Sides their Glances his Passion confound;

For Black, Brown, and Fair, his Inconstancy burns,

And the different Beauties subdue him by turns:

Each calls forth her Charms to provoke his Desires:

Though willing to all, with but one he retires.

But think of this Maxim, and put off your Sorrow,

The Wretch of To-day, may be happy To-morrow.

CHORUS. But think of this Maxim, &c.