George Chapman, Ben Jonson,
John Marston
EASTWARD HO!

1605

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BACCHUS

Only mentioned. At the Blue Anchor tavern, Security and Bramble find the knight and his crew on their knees for too much drinking. Security explains they are praying for the success of their voyage, while Bramble observes cynically that the three adventurers are praying to god Bacchus.

BRAMBLE

Master Bramble is the lawyer who draws the papers for the transfer of property from Gertrude to Petronel after the marriage and concomitantly for the sale of the land. At the Blue Anchor tavern, the malicious Security brings Bramble along, apparently to take their leave of Sir Petronel. In fact, Security believes that Bramble's wife is eloping with Petronel. Bramble notices that the masked lady's garments look very much like Winifred's, Security's wife, and he tells Security so. Because he believes that the fugitive masked lady is Bramble's wife, Security laughs, telling Bramble he sails to Cuckold Haven. When Sir Petronel, Quicksilver, and Security are imprisoned, Bramble comes to the Counter to offer them legal advice. Bramble tells Sir Petronel and Quicksilver that there are no judges in town till the next session, so the prisoners cannot be bailed. However, if they have a friend to vouch for them to some justice of the town, they may be bailed. Bramble presents their case in legal terms, telling them that they may claim the imprisonment was done under terror and they might start an action of false detention against Touchstone. When Quicksilver hears from Wolf that Golding showed pity for them, he sends Bramble away, telling him to trouble them no more with his legal winding devices.

BRAMBLE, MISTRESS

Mistress Bramble is Bramble's wife and a "ghost character". When Sir Petronel plots to trick Security and elope with Winifred, he tells the usurer that he is to run away with Bramble's wife, thus generating a number of deceits and disguises.

BUTCHER

The Butcher of Eastcheap is a "ghost character". He sends Slitgut to the banks of the Thames to honor Saint Luke with an offering of ox's horns.

COACHMAN

The Coachman is hired to take Gertrude on her journey to Sir Petronel's fictional castle in the country. Early in the morning at the inn, the Coachman complains that these citizens who want to go away from London are too impatient. Still eating, the Coachman complains that these lords and ladies want him to move so fast that he cannot have his breakfast.

CONSTABLE

The Constable brings the crestfallen Sir Petronel and Quicksilver under arrest. Announcing the rebel Quicksilver that Golding is the city's deputy alderman, the Constable explains he was prepared to ship the rascals off to the Low Countries for vagrancy, but one of them says he is a knight. The Constable thought it fit to present the two vagrants to the deputy alderman for judgment. Golding tells the Constable they are free from the charge of vagrancy. When the Constable wants to leave, Golding tells him to remain because the two will have other charges. Touchstone arraigns Quicksilver on suspicion of felony, while Sir Petronel is an accessory to the offense. The Constable takes both rascals to prison.

DANAE

Only mentioned. When she is deserted and penniless, Gertrude sings a sad song about Jove's seduction of Danae. Gertrude gives a personal interpretation to the classical myth. She sings that Jove fell into Danae's lap in a shower of gold, and that is how Danae got the clap.

DRAWER

The Drawer draws and serves wine in Billingsgate at the Blue Anchor tavern. While Seagull, Spendall, and Scapethrift are waiting for Sir Petronel on their appointment to sail to Virginia, the Drawer asks the captain if they would have more wine. Receiving the order to fill all the pots in the house with wine, the Drawer exits promising the Captain they will have all they can command. When Sir Petronel and his party, including the fugitive masked lady, are ready to leave, the Drawer enters announcing that one of the watermen warned that they cannot leave at once because there is a storm coming and it is dangerous to go against the tide. Expecting a wreck to happen, the Drawer is around when Winifred is cast ashore at St. Katherine's and he offers her shelter in his friend's house. The Drawer recognizes Winifred and reports that a porter hired by the gentleman accompanying Winifred brought some clothes to the tavern. He believes the clothes belong to Winifred and he offers to fetch them.

EPERNOUM, COUNT

Count Epernoum is a Welsh knight and a "fictional character". At Touchstone's house, the future bridegroom Sir Petronel arrives later than expected claiming he met some friends. Since he wants to impress Touchstone, he invents a fictional Count Epernoum with whom he had a pleasant conversation.

FLASH, SIR PETRONEL

Sir Petronel Flash is an impecunious knight who wants to gain wealth by marrying Gertrude, the daughter of the rich goldsmith Touchstone. Petronel intends to sell Gertrude's land to Security and to sail off to Virginia with the money. He has stowed away all his belongings secretly on a ship and hopes to sail away as soon as the transfer of property papers are drawn and sealed. At Security's house, Petronel has breakfast with his host and takes his leave of Winifred, giving her a ring. At an inn, just before Gertrude's departure to her husband's fictional eastward castle, Petronel enters with Security and the Scrivener to have the papers signed by Gertrude. Petronel lies to Gertrude that the papers are about the sale of some poor tenement houses he owns, because he needs the money to furnish his castle. When the papers are signed, Petronel exits with Quicksilver and Security, instructing the usurer to bring him the money from the sale of the land at the Blue Anchor tavern. Petronel lies, telling Security in utmost confidence that he intends to elope with Bramble's wife, while in fact he intends to take Winifred, Security's wife, away with him. At the Blue Anchor tavern, Petronel announces to his hired crew that a masked lady will join them on their voyage. When he is warned that they must not leave for the ship at once because of the coming storm, the inebriated Petronel disregards the warning and orders everybody to embark. The boat is wrecked and Sir Petronel is cast ashore on the Isle of Dogs. Here he meets Quicksilver and Seagull. Since they are still drunk, Petronel believes they are in France and speaks French to the two gentlemen who happened to pass by. Deploring his misfortune, Petronel observes that all the money he had is on the bottom of the river. The Constable brings Petronel and Quicksilver before Golding, the new deputy alderman, saying that they were about to be shipped away to the Low Countries as vagrants. Touchstone confronts Petronel with his trickery and has him taken to prison. When Bramble visits the prisoners, Petronel asks the lawyer if they can be bailed. When Touchstone comes to prison, apparently to rescue Golding, Petronel asks his "father" for forgiveness. When Gertrude enters in the company of the other women, Petronel appeals to his "dear lady-wife" to forgive him. In the final reconciliation scene, Touchstone blesses Petronel and Gertrude as husband and wife.

FOND, MISTRESS

Mistress Fond and Mistress Gazer are two curious gossips of London. At the inn, the two chatterboxes watch the fuss created by Gertrude before taking the coach to Sir Petronel's fictional castle in the country. Mistress Fond calls Mistress Gazer to attend the boisterous event of the new lady's departure. Mistress Fond emits the malicious rumor according to which Gertrude is married to a fine castle in the country. The town gossip generates the ironic fiction in which the lady's knight killed all the giants in his hypothetical castle and therefore he was knighted. Mistress Fond's exaggeration regarding Sir Petronel's castle foreshadows the fact that the castle does not exist.

FRANCIS QUICKSILVER

Francis Quicksilver is Touchstone's apprentice and a rebel youth. The name carries alchemical connotations and suggests instability, intelligence, and quick movements, being related to Mercury. Quicksilver comes drunk to his master's shop in the morning, which wins Touchstone's disapproval. Though he is always in debt and maintains a woman and an expensive horse in town, Quicksilver pretends he is the son of a gentleman and his motto is "Eastward ho!" When Touchstone dismisses him for suspected false dealings, Quicksilver goes to Security's house, where he meets his woman Sindefy. At Security's house, Quicksilver, Sindefy, and Security plot how to trick Gertrude out of her land. When Sir Petronel enters with his new wife, Quicksilver is introduced as a knight and Sindefy as a gentleman's daughter just arrived from the country. After Gertrude is tricked into signing the papers for the sale of her land, Quicksilver runs to Security's house to fetch Winifred, who is going to elope with Sir Petronel. At the Blue Anchor tavern, Quicksilver brings Winifred disguised in her own gown, pretending she is Petronel's cousin who comes to say good-bye. After having a lot to drink, Quicksilver embarks on the boat, together with Winifred, Petronel, and his crew, despite the storm warning. Following the boat's wreck, Quicksilver is cast ashore and meets Sir Petronel and Seagull, who are in the same lamentable situation. Quicksilver offers to take them to his woman's house in London. The Constable brings Petronel and Quicksilver before Golding, the new deputy alderman, saying that they were about to be shipped away to the Low Countries as vagrants. Touchstone confronts Quicksilver with his trickery and has him taken to prison. In prison, Bramble visits Quicksilver and Petronel, offering them legal counsel. When the penitent Quicksilver hears that Golding showed pity for their situation and sent him some money, he is impressed. He dismisses the lawyer and says he will put his fate into God's hands. In a gesture of magnanimity, the reformed Quicksilver tells Wolf to give the money to the other prisoners and ask them to pray for him. When Touchstone comes to prison, ostensibly to rescue Golding, the repentant Quicksilver sings a heart-breaking song of repentance. After Touchstone forgives him and Golding suggests that he should marry Sindefy, Quicksilver does one more penance. He wants to go dressed in rags through the streets of London, to give an example of humility to the people of Cheapside. Quicksilver speaks the play's Epilogue. He notices that the people of London are already crowding to see them exit the Counter and gathered in multitude, as is if when attending a pageant. Effecting the transition from the real world to the reality of the theatrical show, Quicksilver addresses the audience. He wants them to come to the show once a week, just as they are drawn to a pageant every year.

GAZER, MISTRESS

Mistress Fond and Mistress Gazer are two curious gossips of London. At the inn, the two chatterboxes watch the fuss created by Gertrude before taking the coach to Sir Petronel's fictional castle in the country. Mistress Gazer compares Gertrude's first day of ladyship with the launching ceremony of a new ship. Mistress Gazer extends the comparison by saying that there are twice as many people to see Gertrude take coach as there were to see a new ship take water.

GENTLEMAN, FIRST and SECOND

The First Gentleman is walking with the Second Gentleman on the shore at the Isle of Dogs when they see the drenched Sir Petronel and Seagull. Thinking they have been shipwrecked on the coast of France, Sir Petronel speaks French to the gentlemen. He tells them he is a poor English knight who has been shipwrecked. The First Gentleman responds in French, asking him in amazement if he is a knight from England. When the Second Gentleman reverts to English, realizing that the castaways are too drunk to know where they are, the First Gentleman tells them they are on the Isle of Dogs and they must have drowned in a tavern before embarking on such weather. The First Gentleman adds he knows Sir Petronel well and he is one of the thirty-pound knights. The allusion is to the purchase of knighthoods recently authorized by James I. The Second Gentleman adds information regarding Sir Petronel's illicit ascension to knighthood. He says this knight stole his knighthood for four pounds on the grand day, giving to a page all the money in his purse.

GERTRUDE

Gertrude is Touchstone's eldest daughter. According to her father, she is wanton and ambitious. She is to marry Sir Petronel Flash because she owns some land left to her by her grandmother. Gertrude is impatient to be married and become a lady. Once married, Gertrude and Mistress Touchstone are very impatient to leave for Sir Petronel's fictional castle. When Touchstone enters with Mildred, presenting Golding as his new son-in-law, Gertrude behaves haughtily and claims she is a lady and it is humiliating for her to have an apprentice as a brother-in-law. Security and the Scrivener bring in papers for the sale of her land, which Gertrude signs unknowingly, thinking that Sir Petronel wanted to sell some poor tenement houses in order to furnish his fictional eastward castle. Gertrude and Mistress Touchstone leave for the airy castle in the country. Eventually, Touchstone reports that the two women, having realized there is no castle at the end of their journey, have returned to London by the Weeping Cross. When she faces her father, Gertrude is not repentant. According to her logic, though her knight has run away and sold all her land, she is still a lady. Touchstone sends Gertrude away with Sindefy to teach her a lesson. He foresees that, when all the money, equipage, and jewelry is gone, Gertrude will return repentant to her father. At a poor alehouse, Gertrude deplores her penniless situation. Mistress Touchstone visits her, suggesting that she should appeal to Mildred for help. In the final reconciliation scene, Gertrude comes to prison in the company of the other women. When Sir Petronel asks his "dear lady-wife" for forgiveness, it is understood that Gertrude will grant it.

GOLDING

Golding is Touchstone's industrious apprentice. Touchstone relies on him and leaves him in charge of the shop when he is away. Since Gertrude marries Sir Petronel to fulfill her own and her mother's ambitions of social ascent, Touchstone gives his younger daughter, Mildred, as a wife to Golding. When Touchstone presents Golding as his son-in-law to the newly married Gertrude and to Mistress Touchstone, the two women show contempt at being related to a mere apprentice. Later, Golding comes from the Guildhall with the news that he has been appointed deputy alderman, but he is modest and considers this position of little importance. When Sir Petronel and his former mate Quicksilver are brought before him for judgment, Golding asks Touchstone respectfully if he can bring charges against them. Golding gives Quicksilver the benefit of a moralizing speech about how the former apprentice has scorned all good advice from his fellows. Touchstone charges Quicksilver on suspicion of felony and the knight as being accessory in the receipt of stolen goods, and Golding orders the Constable to take the prisoners away to the Counter. Later, when Wolf brings letters from Sir Petronel and Quicksilver asking Touchstone for forgiveness, Golding is impressed and tries to convince his father-in-law to withdraw the charges. Seeing that Touchstone is adamant in letting the rascals stay in prison, Golding gives Wolf money to make the prisoners' lives easier. In an attempt to force Touchstone to see the prisoners, Golding comes to the Counter and tells Wolf to imprison him. Golding gives Wolf his ring, asking him to give it to Touchstone with the plea to come to prison for his bail. When Touchstone comes to prison, Golding enters with Quicksilver who sings his song of repentance. Touchstone is impressed with Quicksilver's penitence. Golding is happy that everything has turned out for the better.

GRANDMOTHER

Gertrude's grandmother is a "ghost character". She has bequeathed some land on Gertrude, which makes the young lady a ready prey for the fortune hunter Sir Petronel.

HAMLET

Hamlet is the footman waiting on Gertrude and Mistress Touchstone at the inn. Preparing to leave for Sir Petronel's fictional country castle, Mistress Touchstone and the new "lady" are impatient. Hamlet orders the coach for the ladies and Potkin sends him back to brush the old mistress. The reference is probably to a mare, but the ironic allusion is to Mistress Touchstone. When the coach arrives, Hamlet prepares to take his place at the back. When she sees him running behind the coach, Mistress Touchstone, in her naïveté, asks if this man is going to run after the coach all the way. Since Gertrude shows similar little knowledge of the footman's duties, Mistress Touchstone suggests that the poor man should have at least a hobbyhorse to ride on.

HOLDFAST

Holdfast is a guardian at the Counter. While Bramble visits Security in prison, Holdfast announces to the usurer that a gentleman wants to speak with him. Holdfast excuses his prisoner, reporting that the old man is a little crazed with imprisonment. Since that gentleman is Golding, who comes incognito, Holdfast lets him in only after Sir Petronel and Quicksilver exit.

JOVE

Only mentioned. When she is deserted and penniless, Gertrude sings a sad song about Jove's seduction of Danae. Gertrude gives a personal interpretation to the classical myth. She sings that Jove fell into Danae's lap in a shower of gold, and that is how Danae got the clap.

LANCELOT, SIR

Only mentioned. When Gertrude is deserted and penniless, living in a poor alehouse, she dreams of Sir Lancelot and the Knights of the Round Table. In a discussion with Sindefy, Gertrude daydreams of knights in shining armor coming to rescue her from her predicament.

LORD MAYOR

The Lord Mayor of London is a "ghost character". When the two rascals Sir Petronel and Quicksilver are judged before Golding, the new deputy alderman, Touchstone says he will go presently to the Lord Mayor and get a warrant to confiscate Security's assets for the benefit of the crown.

MILDRED

Mildred is Touchstone's youngest daughter. According to her father, she is modest and serious, a model of good behavior. At Touchstone's house, Mildred is sewing unobtrusively while her sister tries fashionable dresses and waits impatiently for her bridegroom, the knight. Touchstone offers Mildred's hand to Golding. The obedient daughter consents to the marriage eagerly. Mildred's wedding to Golding is to take place on the morning when Gertrude and Mistress Touchstone are leaving for Sir Petronel's fictional eastward castle. When Gertrude is about to embark on her journey, Mildred comes to say good-bye to her sister. She offers rosemary for remembrance, while Touchstone introduces Golding as Mildred's husband. Gertrude and Mistress Touchstone are displeased at having a humble apprentice for a relative, so Mildred exits with Touchstone and her husband. When Gertrude is in disgrace, penniless, and deserted by her husband, Mildred tries to intercede with her father for Gertrude. Though her pleas cannot soften Touchstone, Golding's action forces things to happen. While Mildred and Mistress Touchstone are pleading, Wolf brings the news that Golding is in prison. When she pleads for her husband this time, Touchstone acts immediately and goes to prison to bail his favorite son-in-law. Mildred is part of the final reconciliation scene in prison. Though she does not speak, she is happy with how things have turned out.

PAGE

The Page of Sir Petronel Flash announces to Touchstone that his master is going to visit him presently.

PETRONEL FLASH

Sir Petronel Flash is an impecunious knight who wants to gain wealth by marrying Gertrude, the daughter of the rich goldsmith Touchstone. Petronel intends to sell Gertrude's land to Security and to sail off to Virginia with the money. He has stowed away all his belongings secretly on a ship and hopes to sail away as soon as the transfer of property papers are drawn and sealed. At Security's house, Petronel has breakfast with his host and takes his leave of Winifred, giving her a ring. At an inn, just before Gertrude's departure to her husband's fictional eastward castle, Petronel enters with Security and the Scrivener to have the papers signed by Gertrude. Petronel lies to Gertrude that the papers are about the sale of some poor tenement houses he owns, because he needs the money to furnish his castle. When the papers are signed, Petronel exits with Quicksilver and Security, instructing the usurer to bring him the money from the sale of the land at the Blue Anchor tavern. Petronel lies, telling Security in utmost confidence that he intends to elope with Bramble's wife, while in fact he intends to take Winifred, Security's wife, away with him. At the Blue Anchor tavern, Petronel announces to his hired crew that a masked lady will join them on their voyage. When he is warned that they must not leave for the ship at once because of the coming storm, the inebriated Petronel disregards the warning and orders everybody to embark. The boat is wrecked and Sir Petronel is cast ashore on the Isle of Dogs. Here he meets Quicksilver and Seagull. Since they are still drunk, Petronel believes they are in France and speaks French to the two gentlemen who happened to pass by. Deploring his misfortune, Petronel observes that all the money he had is on the bottom of the river. The Constable brings Petronel and Quicksilver before Golding, the new deputy alderman, saying that they were about to be shipped away to the Low Countries as vagrants. Touchstone confronts Petronel with his trickery and has him taken to prison. When Bramble visits the prisoners, Petronel asks the lawyer if they can be bailed. When Touchstone comes to prison, apparently to rescue Golding, Petronel asks his "father" for forgiveness. When Gertrude enters in the company of the other women, Petronel appeals to his "dear lady-wife" to forgive him. In the final reconciliation scene, Touchstone blesses Petronel and Gertrude as husband and wife.

POLDAVY

Poldavy is a tailor who comes to Touchstone's house to respond to Gertrude's extravagant tastes in clothing. Poldavy brings her a gown, a Scotch farthingale, and a French fan. At Gertrude's impatient demand to know whether the gown fits her, Poldavy responds that it does, and, if not, his "steel instrument" will fix it. Though it has only one eye, the tailor argues it can rectify any imperfection in the waist. Poldavy refers to his needle, but the sexual innuendo is patent. Poldavy advises Gertrude to have the behavior and poise of the ladies of fashion, who do all things light. Even when they fall, they do it lightly, according to the decorum at court.

PORTER

The Porter is a "ghost character" He is hired by Quicksilver to carry Winifred's clothes to the Blue Anchor tavern. When Winifred is cast ashore, the Drawer remembers that the Porter brought the clothes to the tavern and offers to fetch them. Thus, Winifred is able to change at the Drawer's friend's house and look as if nothing had happened.

POTKIN

Potkin is a tankard bearer at an inn in London. When Gertrude and Mistress Touchstone prepare for the journey to Sir Petronel's fictional eastward castle, they make a lot of fuss and are very impatient. While Hamlet calls for the ladies' coach, Potkin calls Hamlet back to attend to the old mistress. Sindefy tells Potkin to put off his tankard, put on a blue coat, and become Mistress Touchstone's valet.

QUICKSILVER, FRANCIS

Francis Quicksilver is Touchstone's apprentice and a rebel youth. The name carries alchemical connotations and suggests instability, intelligence, and quick movements, being related to Mercury. Quicksilver comes drunk to his master's shop in the morning, which wins Touchstone's disapproval. Though he is always in debt and maintains a woman and an expensive horse in town, Quicksilver pretends he is the son of a gentleman and his motto is "Eastward ho!" When Touchstone dismisses him for suspected false dealings, Quicksilver goes to Security's house, where he meets his woman Sindefy. At Security's house, Quicksilver, Sindefy, and Security plot how to trick Gertrude out of her land. When Sir Petronel enters with his new wife, Quicksilver is introduced as a knight and Sindefy as a gentleman's daughter just arrived from the country. After Gertrude is tricked into signing the papers for the sale of her land, Quicksilver runs to Security's house to fetch Winifred, who is going to elope with Sir Petronel. At the Blue Anchor tavern, Quicksilver brings Winifred disguised in her own gown, pretending she is Petronel's cousin who comes to say good-bye. After having a lot to drink, Quicksilver embarks on the boat, together with Winifred, Petronel, and his crew, despite the storm warning. Following the boat's wreck, Quicksilver is cast ashore and meets Sir Petronel and Seagull, who are in the same lamentable situation. Quicksilver offers to take them to his woman's house in London. The Constable brings Petronel and Quicksilver before Golding, the new deputy alderman, saying that they were about to be shipped away to the Low Countries as vagrants. Touchstone confronts Quicksilver with his trickery and has him taken to prison. In prison, Bramble visits Quicksilver and Petronel, offering them legal counsel. When the penitent Quicksilver hears that Golding showed pity for their situation and sent him some money, he is impressed. He dismisses the lawyer and says he will put his fate into God's hands. In a gesture of magnanimity, the reformed Quicksilver tells Wolf to give the money to the other prisoners and ask them to pray for him. When Touchstone comes to prison, ostensibly to rescue Golding, the repentant Quicksilver sings a heart-breaking song of repentance. After Touchstone forgives him and Golding suggests that he should marry Sindefy, Quicksilver does one more penance. He wants to go dressed in rags through the streets of London, to give an example of humility to the people of Cheapside. Quicksilver speaks the play's Epilogue. He notices that the people of London are already crowding to see them exit the Counter and gathered in multitude, as is if when attending a pageant. Effecting the transition from the real world to the reality of the theatrical show, Quicksilver addresses the audience. He wants them to come to the show once a week, just as they are drawn to a pageant every year.

SAINT LUKE

Only mentioned. The Butcher, Slitgut's master, sends his apprentice to Cuckold's Haven with a pair of ox's horns to do homage to Saint Luke. In art, Saint Luke's evangelistic emblem is an ox and this has led to his patronage of butchers.

SCAPETHRIFT

Scapethrift is a rascal associate to Captain Seagull and Spendall. Petronel has hired the three adventurers to sail his ship to Virginia after he gets hold of Gertrude's money. At the Blue Anchor tavern, Seagull, Spendall, and Scapethrift wait for Sir Petronel on appointment. Scapethrift expresses skepticism about the masses of gold awaiting adventurers in Virginia. When Sir Petronel announces to them that a masked lady will join them on their voyage, Scapethrift and Spendall welcome her on the ship. After much drinking and dancing, the drunken party composed of Sir Petronel and his crew, Winifred and Quicksilver embark on a boat to go to the ship, despite the storm warning. It is not clear what happens to Scapethrift after the boat wreck.

SCRIVENER

The Scrivener attends Gertrude's signing of the papers by which she unknowingly approves the sale of her land.

SEAGULL

Seagull is the captain of the ship arranged by Petronel to sail away to Virginia with all his possessions. At the Blue Anchor tavern, Seagull, Spendall, and Scapethrift wait for Sir Petronel on appointment. The Captain tells his mates metaphorically that Virginia longs for them to share the rest of her maidenhood. He informs everybody that a whole country of Englishmen is there and most of them have married Indian women. Seagull says the Indians love the Englishmen so much that they lay all their treasures at their feet. Despite Scapethrift's skepticism about the masses of gold awaiting adventurers in Virginia, Seagull says Gold is more plentiful there than copper is in England. Seagull's creates a utopian image of America, where the chamber pots are of gold, prisoners are fettered in gold, and children gather rubies and diamonds on the beach. Seagull's utopia expands from plentiful foods to matters of freedom. After giving his favorable picture of life to come in Virginia, Seagull gets to the practical details. He tells his mates it takes six weeks to sail to America. When Sir Petronel announces to them that a masked lady will join them on their voyage, Seagull welcomes her on the ship. After much drinking and dancing, the drunken party embark on a boat to go to the ship, despite the storm warning. Following the boat wreck, Seagull is cast ashore on the Isle of Dogs and he meets Sir Petronel and Quicksilver, who are in the same lamentable situation. Seagull exits with his mates but it is not clear what happens to him after that. It may be inferred that he was shipped to the Low Countries.

SECURITY

Security is an old usurer in London, a pander and a usurer, who guards his young wife Winifred jealously. He readily agrees to help Sir Petronel defraud Gertrude of her land. When Sir Petronel tells him in confidence that he intends to elope with the attorney, Bramble's wife to Virginia, Security is malicious enough to agree to help Sir Petronel in the deceit. Security is unaware that he is the intended cuckold, not of the lawyer. In his spite, Security invents a disguise for the runaway lady by offering Sir Petronel his own wife's gown. Thus, Security claims, Bramble will be deceived into thinking that the woman is Security's wife, while at the same time Winifred will be safely at home in her old gown. In fact, Security's suggestion causes Winifred to be disguised in her own clothes, while her husband believes she is Bramble's wife. At the Blue Anchor tavern, Security delivers Sir Petronel's money from the sale of Gertrude's land. He brings Bramble along, apparently to take his leave of Sir Petronel. Since Security thinks Sir Petronel is taking Bramble's wife away, he considers it fun to have the cuckolded husband in attendance. After alluding scornfully to cuckolds, Security takes his leave of Sir Petronel and exits with Bramble. At his house, Security notices Winifred's absence, he realizes the deceit and exits crying in despair: "A boat, a boat, a boat, full hundred marks for a boat!" Following the wreck of his boat in the storm, Security is cast ashore at Cuckold's Haven. He is placed in prison for fraud, and Wolf reports that the prisoner has gone almost mad. When Bramble visits him, Security will not see him and speaks of nothing but his horns. In the final reconciliation scene, when Security is still haunted by the idea of having been cuckolded, Winifred denies it energetically. Touchstone intervenes with a speech. According to Touchstone, being a cuckold should be a comfort, as this is an argument that he has a beautiful wife. In Touchstone's special logic, Security is a usurer and therefore bound to go to Hell anyway. Security accepts his situation and welcomes Winifred back.

SINDEFY

Sindefy is a London prostitute. Security nicknames her Sin. Sindefy is Quicksilver's mistress. On the morning after Quicksilver has been dismissed, Sindefy helps him dress as a knight and wonders how he will maintain his status without money. Sindefy agrees to be introduced to Gertrude as a noble lady from the country and to act as her companion in the deceit planned by Sir Petronel and Quicksilver. Just before Gertrude's departure for Sir Petronel's fictional eastward castle, Security presents Sindefy to Gertrude as a gentlewoman who will wait on her. Sindefy accompanies Gertrude to the country in search of Petronel's non-existent castle. When Gertrude returns crestfallen from her journey, Sindefy tries to cheer her up. At the poor alehouse, they are lodged after Touchstone has repudiated Gertrude. Sindefy tells Gertrude that the hostess will not give them any food unless the lady pays her debts. When Gertrude falls prey to illusions, wishing the fairies to work miracles for her, Sindefy disillusions her. In the final reconciliation scene, when Sindefy accompanies the other women to prison, Golding suggests that Francis Quicksilver should marry Sindefy and Security should provide her dowry.

SLITGUT

Slitgut is an apprentice to a butcher in Eastcheap. His master sent him to Cuckold's Haven with a pair of ox horns to pay homage to Saint Luke as well as King John, who cuckolded a butcher. While he is on the Thames shore, he witnesses the wrecking of the ships and reports how Winifred is fished out of the water. When he takes Security out of the water, Slitgut pities the old man but wonders why the castaway is furious for having been cast ashore at Cuckold's Haven. Slitgut describes how he sees a woman floating in the distance, almost at Saint Katherine's, with her clothes floating around her. He sees how she swims and reports someone setting down a ladder and rescuing her. Slitgut witnesses Sir Petronel's party being cast ashore. After seeing Quicksilver, Sir Petronel, and Seagull come out of the water all wet and still drunk, Slitgut decides to come down from his observing point. The fact that so many shipwrecks occurred during the tempest leads Slitgut to the conclusion that Heaven sent punishment for profaning Saint Luke's memory with the ridiculous custom of the ox's horns. Slitgut decides to throw away the offering and he exits.

SPENDALL

Spendall is a rascal associate to Captain Seagull and Scapethrift. Petronel has hired the three adventurers to sail his ship to Virginia. Spendall swears everybody to secrecy because of the delicate nature of the voyage. According to Spendall, Sir Petronel booked the passage under a false name and he intended to sail away secretly with his wife's money. At the Blue Anchor tavern, Seagull, Spendall, and Scapethrift wait for Sir Petronel. Hearing Seagull praising Virginia's famed bounty, Spendall is eager to know how far it is and how long it would take him to reach those great treasures. When Sir Petronel tells them that a masked lady will join them on their voyage, Spendall and Scapethrift welcome her on board the ship. After much drinking and dancing, the drunken party composed of Sir Petronel and his crew, Winifred and Quicksilver embark on a boat to go to the ship, despite the storm warning. It is not clear what happens to Spendall after the boat wreck.

TOUCHSTONE, WILLIAM

William Touchstone is a successful goldsmith at Goldsmith's Row, and father to Gertrude and Mildred. His tag line is "work upon that now." When Sir Petronel arrives, Touchstone informs him that his daughter's dowry consists of land inherited from her grandmother and nothing else. Touchstone gives Mildred's hand in marriage to Golding, convinced that the honest couple would do better than the ambitious noble pair. Touchstone offers to give Mildred a good dowry and pay for the wedding expenses. Just before Gertrude's departure for Sir Petronel's fictional eastward castle, Touchstone brings Mildred and Golding to say good-bye. Seeing that Gertrude and Mistress Touchstone treat Golding with contempt, ashamed of being related to an apprentice, Touchstone exits with the couple. Touchstone is aware of Sir Petronel's plot of deserting Gertrude and sailing to Virginia, but he predicts they will not reach far in this storm. As for Gertrude and his wife, Touchstone reports they have returned disillusioned. When Golding reports that Sir Petronel and his party have been cast ashore at Greenwich and the Constable has arrested them, Touchstone sees these events as divine justice. Touchstone tells Golding to commit the two rascals to prison, and he concludes with a moralizing comment. As regards Security, Touchstone says he will go to the Lord Mayor to get a warrant and confiscate the usurer's assets for the crown. When Wolf brings Touchstone two letters from Quicksilver and Sir Petronel, in which they ask for forgiveness, Touchstone is unimpressed with reports of their good behavior. Moreover, Touchstone will not hear any of Mildred's pleas for mercy. However, when Wolf reports that Golding has been arrested, Touchstone rushes to prison to bail his favorite son-in-law. In prison, Quicksilver sings a heart-breaking song about his transgression and how he wishes his master would come and rescue him. Touchstone is impressed and forgives him and the repentant Sir Petronel. In the reconciliation scene, Touchstone has a final moralizing speech. He refers to the reformation of the thrifty son, the punishment of the usurer, and the return of the prodigal child.

TOUCHSTONE, MISTRESS

Mistress Touchstone is wife to Touchstone and mother of Gertrude and Mildred. She has high ambitions for her daughter because she thinks her husband would not have the privilege of nobility because he was a fool. Mistress Touchstone is so eager to have Gertrude married into nobility that she offers to pay for the wedding ceremony. After the wedding, Mistress Touchstone and Gertrude are impatient to leave for Sir Petronel's fictional eastward castle. When Touchstone enters with Mildred and Golding, announcing that they are married with his consent, Mistress Touchstone shows contempt at having an apprentice as a son-in-law. Mistress Touchstone and Gertrude leave for the airy castle in the country. Eventually, Touchstone reports that the two women, having realized there is no castle at the end of their journey have returned to London by the Weeping Cross. Mistress Touchstone advises Gertrude to ask forgiveness of her father, but the daughter is scornful. Touchstone forgives his foolish wife, who has been his cross for thirty years, and Mistress Touchstone remains with her husband at his house. Mistress Touchstone visits the still disdainful Gertrude at the poor alehouse where she is lodged, advising her to go to Mildred and ask for help. At Touchstone's house, Mistress Touchstone and Mildred plead in vain for Gertrude's pardon, but the goldsmith will not relent. In the final reconciliation scene in prison, Mistress Touchstone is present when Touchstone forgives his errant daughter.

WATERMAN

The Waterman on the Thames is a "ghost character". He sends the Drawer to warn Sir Petronel that his voyage must be put off because of the oncoming storm. The Waterman says that the sky is overcast and a porpoise was seen at London Bridge, which is always a sign of tempests.

WHACHUM, LORD

Lord Whachum is a "fictional character". At Touchstone's house, the future bridegroom Sir Petronel arrives later than expected claiming he met some friends. Since he wants to impress Touchstone, he invents a fictional Lord Whachum with whom he played a match at balloon for four crowns.

WILLIAM TOUCHSTONE

William Touchstone is a successful goldsmith at Goldsmith's Row, and father to Gertrude and Mildred. His tag line is "work upon that now." When Sir Petronel arrives, Touchstone informs him that his daughter's dowry consists of land inherited from her grandmother and nothing else. Touchstone gives Mildred's hand in marriage to Golding, convinced that the honest couple would do better than the ambitious noble pair. Touchstone offers to give Mildred a good dowry and pay for the wedding expenses. Just before Gertrude's departure for Sir Petronel's fictional eastward castle, Touchstone brings Mildred and Golding to say good-bye. Seeing that Gertrude and Mistress Touchstone treat Golding with contempt, ashamed of being related to an apprentice, Touchstone exits with the couple. Touchstone is aware of Sir Petronel's plot of deserting Gertrude and sailing to Virginia, but he predicts they will not reach far in this storm. As for Gertrude and his wife, Touchstone reports they have returned disillusioned. When Golding reports that Sir Petronel and his party have been cast ashore at Greenwich and the Constable has arrested them, Touchstone sees these events as divine justice. Touchstone tells Golding to commit the two rascals to prison, and he concludes with a moralizing comment. As regards Security, Touchstone says he will go to the Lord Mayor to get a warrant and confiscate the usurer's assets for the crown. When Wolf brings Touchstone two letters from Quicksilver and Sir Petronel, in which they ask for forgiveness, Touchstone is unimpressed with reports of their good behavior. Moreover, Touchstone will not hear any of Mildred's pleas for mercy. However, when Wolf reports that Golding has been arrested, Touchstone rushes to prison to bail his favorite son-in-law. In prison, Quicksilver sings a heart-breaking song about his transgression and how he wishes his master would come and rescue him. Touchstone is impressed and forgives him and the repentant Sir Petronel. In the reconciliation scene, Touchstone has a final moralizing speech. He refers to the reformation of the thrifty son, the punishment of the usurer, and the return of the prodigal child.

WINIFRED

Winifred is Security's young wife. Though her husband pampers her, she prefers Sir Petronel and is ready to elope with him. At the Blue Anchor tavern, Winifred enters disguised in her own gown (supplied by Security, who believes the absconding woman is Bramble's wife, not his own). Quicksilver pretends she is Sir Petronel's cousin, a lady who comes to say good-bye who will not take off her mask in a tavern. Though Security is present, he does not recognize his wife. Winifred is silent while she is in the tavern, but she starts crying on seeing Security. With utmost cynicism, Sir Petronel asks Security to take the lady aside and comfort her. Thinking she is Mistress Bramble, Security tries to console her by saying that she is rid of an old jealous wimp to enjoy the arms of a loving young knight. Following the boat wreck, Winifred is cast ashore at Saint Katherine's (where the hospital for prostitutes is located). The Drawer rescues Winifred and offers clothes and shelter in the house of his friends. In the final reconciliation scene in prison, Winifred enters with the other women. When Security complains he has been cuckolded, Winifred denies it energetically. Touchstone intervenes with his ambivalent logic about cuckoldry, which determines Security to welcome Winifred back, using his favorite diminutive "Winny" as a peace offering.

WOLF

Wolf is the keeper of the prison in which Sir Petronel, Quicksilver, and Security are incarcerated. Wolf brings letters from Sir Petronel and Quicksilver addressed to Touchstone, asking for forgiveness. A third letter is from Security who, according to Wolf, is almost mad in prison. Touchstone wonders why Wolf, as a warden of the prison, wishes to have his prisoners released. Wolf says he was impressed with these prisoners and pities them. Wolf reports that the three prisoners are penitent and devout. They will sit up all night and sing psalms, waking the entire prison. As for Quicksilver, Wolf reports he is extremely penitent. Golding gives him money to make the prisoners' life easier. Back to prison, Wolf brings the three prisoners the message that Touchstone would not withdraw his charges. When Golding comes to prison, offering himself as a convict to force Touchstone to come and bail him, Wolf comments that Golding's action shows he has no personal ambition. He is willing to act as a messenger, taking Golding's ring to Touchstone and telling the goldsmith that his son-in-law is under arrest. Wolf shows the ring and announces the news of Golding's imprisonment, which makes Touchstone rush to his son-in-law's rescue. In prison, Wolf attends the final reconciliation scene, when all conflicts are resolved.

Synopsis:

In the Prologue, the authors claim that they are not imitating the other "Ho!" plays (Westward Ho! and Northward Ho!), asserting the superiority and appropriateness of this title over those.

I.i The goldsmith, William Touchstone has a good apprentice, Golding, and a bad apprentice, Francis Quicksilver. Likewise, he has a meek daughter, Mildred, and a proud daughter, Gertrude. His wife, Mrs. Touchstone, is a nag.

II.i Gertrude wants nothing more than to marry a knight and become a lady so she can ride about in a coach and put on airs. Mrs. Touchstone wants nothing better for Gertrude. The two of them conspire to marry Gertrude to a forty-pound knight (that is, a knight who bought his title from James I for forty pounds-a tactic of James I's for raising money)—this forty-pound knight is named Sir Petronel Flash. Petronel has misrepresented his station to Gertrude in order to marry her for a tract of land Gertrude was given by her grandmother. Although Petronel has told Gertrude he has a castle in the East, the truth is he has nothing. Petronel has staked all his fortunes on a voyage to Virginia, which he is sponsoring—and for which he requires the extra money Gertrude's estate will bring if he marries her.

II.i Francis Quicksilver is a lout. He spends his days at the theatres rather than plying his trade under the apprenticeship of Touchstone. He demonstrates his knowledge of plays by quoting liberally from Henry IV, The Spanish Tragedy, Tamburlaine, etc. As Mrs. Touchstone is setting up the marriage of Gertrude and Petronel, Touchstone is quietly arranging the marriage of Mildred and Golding.

II.ii Quicksilver has delusions of being a gallant, and spends much of his time with young gentry and forty-pound knights, gambling, drinking, and lending them money. He helps entrap these young wags in the web of Security, the usurer, by gaining their confidence, signing notes of indebtedness for loans with them for which Security would proceed only against the knight to recover the whole sum extended on credit.

After the weddings, Gertrude becomes insufferable. She insists upon being called "Your ladyship" and such, which Mrs. Touchstone accepts as only fitting but Touchstone rejects.

Quicksilver is shortly thereafter relieved of his apprenticeship for his wayward habits.

II.ii Quicksilver goes to Security, retrieves his "gallant's" wardrobe, and falls into a plot to get Petronel's money (the which Petronel has only just received from his marriage to Gertrude.) Because of Petronel's over-extended credit, and the fact that his former creditors are after him, he is easy prey for Quicksilver.

II.iii Quicksilver convinces Petronel to con Gertrude into signing over a deed of sale of her land to Security.

III.i Petronel gives Winifred a diamond, and her husband Security (unsuspecting of his intentions) bids her kiss him. Of course, Security is only greasing the wheels of his confidence trick, or so he thinks.

III.ii Just before Gertrude sets off to see her new castle (which she supposes is in the East somewhere) she is given for a maidservant one Sindefy, who happens to be Quicksilver's punk and Security's agent in the swindle of Gertrude and Petronel, and persuaded to sign a deed of sale over to Security by both Quicksilver and Petronel—it is done before a scrivener and Security's lawyer, Bramble. Gertrude then leaves in her beloved coach for the non-existent castle of Petronel.

Petronel, having no intention of remaining true to his marriage vows, conspires with Quicksilver to get Security's young wife, Winifred, to accompany Petronel on the voyage to Virginia. Petronel first tells Security that he is enamored of the lawyer Bramble's wife, and that Security can assist Petronel by bringing Bramble out to see them off on their voyage (in order, supposedly, to get Bramble out of his house so that Quicksilver can get in, disguise Bramble's wife, and slip her by the attorney without his knowledge—but actually to do the same to Security with Winifred while Security believes the woman to be Bramble's wife.) Security unwittingly assists them to cuckold him by offering one of Winifred's new dresses as a disguise for Bramble's wife—he says that it will be quite a good joke on Bramble that Bramble will think they are stealing Winifred when, in fact, they are stealing Bramble's wife. This is especially poignant in that Security is a January character to Winifred's May, and is most jealous of her.

III.iii The night of the voyage comes and a tempest stirs. The wife stealing goes off as planned. Quicksilver passes the "disguised" Winifred past Security and Bramble, the latter insists that they are making off with Winifred, but Security, believing her to be Bramble's wife, "tut-tut's" Bramble. After they see the group off and Security goes to his empty house, he realizes he has been duped and cuckolded.

IV.i Slitgut, a butcher's apprentice, is at the bend in the Thames known as Cuckold's Haven to hang a pair of Ox horns on a tree to:

  1. commemorate the cuckolding of a miller by King John at that spot, and
  2. commemorate St. Luke's day, 18 October (whose emblem of the ox's horns was also the emblem of cuckoldry, of course).

From his vantage, Slitgut sees Security's small boat founder in the storm and the usurer swept up on Cuckold's Haven still in his nightclothes. Security accepts his fate and returns home.

Next, Winifred is swept up onto shore after her boat has sunk (where she was riding with Quicksilver to the ship) and Winifred is washed up on St. Katherine's (a place where penitent whores went). She is met by the drawer of the tavern where she was sneaked past Security (the drawer had followed expecting trouble). He takes her back where she began and gives her some of her dry clothing, which she had left behind.

Next Quicksilver is washed up on Wapping (where pirates were hanged) without his fine clothes; they have been washed away in the river. He speaks words of repentance for his foul deeds and leaves to wander.

Next, Petronel and the sea captain are washed up on the Isle of Dogs (on the opposite shore from Greenwich where James I held court, placing he who would be a knight on the wrong side of the river from the court). They believe, because they had been so drunk when they set out, that they have shipwrecked on the coast of France. They are met by Quicksilver who, apparently forgetting his penitence, contrives to have them live by chiseling money and counterfeiting silver. Petronel and the sea captain follow him.

Next Winifred enters newly-attired and meets Security. She convinces him that she was merely asleep when he had come home earlier and that he had not been cuckolded at all.

IV.ii By this time Gertrude has returned from the East, and Touchstone has learned that there was no castle (which he had suspected all the while). Golding, because of his high and honest ways, has suddenly been made a deputy alderman, which pleases Touchstone greatly.

Gertrude, still too proud to kneel to her father, is cast away from Touchstone's house with her servant, Sindefy.

Petronel and Quicksilver are caught by the police and brought to Touchstone, who has Golding sit in judgment of them. Touchstone prefers charges against Quicksilver for conversion of his wealth, Petronel for conspiracy against Gertrude, and Security for fraud. All three are thrown into prison to await the sessions.

V.i Mrs. Touchstone prevails upon Gertrude to go to Mildred and have her beg Touchstone to release Petronel and Quicksilver from jail.

V.ii Touchstone learns from the jailer, Wolf, that the three men have become truly penitent and holy in jail. Touchstone fears he will relent if he hears anymore and refuses to listen to the conversion of Petronel, Quicksilver, and Security. He forbids Mildred or Gertrude or Golding to entreat for their release and refuses to read the petitions the prisoners send to him for forgiveness.

V.iii Golding conspires with Wolf to pretend to arrest Golding so that Touchstone will be forced to come to the prison in order to bail him. The idea being that, once Touchstone sees the contrition of his three enemies, he will relent.

V.iv Despite his adamancy not to visit the jail, Touchstone relents when he learns that Golding has been arrested.

V.v The plan works. Touchstone hears Quicksilver singing his "Repentance" and drops his charges against all three. Petronel begs and receives forgiveness of his wife, Gertrude. Quicksilver is required to marry Sindefy, which he gladly accepts (and, in his contrition, insists upon walking home through Cheapside in his prison clothes to act as an example to the children). Security must give Sindefy a dower and accept his cuckolding because that he "being a usurer, and likely to go to hell, the devils will never torment you; they'll take you for one o' their own race." To this Security is resolved. All ends qualifiedly happy.

Characterization:

The characters, for the most part, reflect the Jonsonian interest in alchemy. The good characters generally are named for their golden characteristics—Touchstone, Golding. Quicksilver is named for his mercurial character.

Other names—such as Sindefy (defier of sin), Security (he who takes back security for a loan of money), Petronel Flash (a petronel is a horse-pistol, attached to the breast belt of a cavalryman, it also means anything which hangs from such a belt, therefore his name means, first, simply a hanger-on and, second, a flash-in-the-pan-the "pan" also being an image of a pistol, or a flintlock (the "pan" being the flat plate which the hammer struck to ignite the powder behind the ball)), Seagull, Scapethrift, Spendall, Slitgut, Holdfast, Wolf, Fangs, and Bramble all tend to be shorthand definitions of the characters or their trades.

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Notes of interest:

This is a CITY COMEDY. That is, a comedy set in London and about Londoners and their ways. Shakespeare wrote no city comedies. His Merry Wives of Windsor comes closest, but because it is set in Windsor and not London, it is not technically of this genre.

The prologue states "Nor is our title utterly enforced," engaging in a double entendre. First, it means that the titles granted to the forty-pound knights are truly enforced titles. Second, it indicates that the play's title, Eastward Ho!, is not merely enforced by the other popular plays which preceded it, Northward Ho! and the very popular Westward Ho!, but has its own raison d'être and stands by itself as an apt title for the work in question.

"Eastward Ho!" was the cry of Thames river boatmen plying the water, which alerted shoreside persons that the boat was about to launch and head East, for anyone interested in purchasing passage in that direction. It is significant to this play for several reasons:


  • First, the ill-fated voyage to Virginia, although it will ultimately head West across the ocean, must begin by heading east up the Thames to the ship.
  • Second, James I's court at Greenwich lay East of the city and the forty-pound knights, those seeking special favors and elevation in rank could be said to have an "Eastward Ho!" mentality, such as demonstrated by Petronel Flash in his purchase of his court title, by Gertrude in her obsessive need to be made a lady of the court, and even in Quicksilver, who, after being relieved of his apprenticeship, first considers going to court for preferment. East in this case is also taken as the opposite of going off for hanging at Tyburn, where criminals and the low-lifes went, which was in the West.
  • Third, Gertrude goes to the East to discover that she has been duped by Petronel Flash, so East can be seen as a sort of area to go in order to be undeceived. This is also apparent in the Forth instance:
  • It is to the East that Petronel Flash, Quicksilver, Security, and Winifred flee, are shipwrecked, and come to terms with their self-recognition.

Clothing imagery is very important in the play. Quicksilver changes his apprentice clothes for a gallant's clothes and loses them in the river at the point of his greatest sin and finally insists upon being paraded through Cheapside in his prison clothes to act as a lesson to the children. Gertrude first appears in French finery, is duped into signing the deed of sale to her property with a promise for fine clothes in exchange, must sell all her clothing when she falls on hard times, and finally resorts to living "by the needle" (sewing) with Sindefy (suggestive of her willingness to "mend her ways").

There is some suggestion that this play was played in two modes—the good guys played their parts with good English accents and the bad guys played their parts with Scots accents. To be sure, such Scot-baiting bits as are to be found at I.ii.47-48; III.iii.38 et seq.; IV.i.167-68; V.i.32-41 (and other references to forty-pound knights passim) are to be blamed for the three authors (with the possible exception of Marston) being jailed.

Golding's tale is much like the latter-day Horatio Alger stories of rags-to-riches, poor-boy-makes-good, which were popular in the Renaissance (Cf., e.g. The Shoemaker's Holiday.

Quicksilver's tale reflects the other popular play theme of the Renaissance, that of the Prodigal Son. Quicksilver's story is, however, not a pure recovery of a fallen lad. If one compares his speech of repentance in IV.i. with his next speech, wherein he determines to lead Petronel and himself by his wits, living on chiseled coin and counterfeit silver, one can assume that Quicksilver, the quintessential mercurial figure, changes as the situation demands, and that his conversion at the end is due only to his inability to save his life in prison. Perhaps he is merely "conning God" with his new-found penitence—and later, after Touchstone rescues him from jail, he will continue his penitence only because there is no other choice for him. But he may revert to his old ways at any time. The audience, therefore, is faced with an ambiguous ending of the Quicksilver tale.

III.ii. has an odd bit with a character named Hamlet and a coach, almost certainly this is Jonson, Chapman, and Marston having a bit of fun with Shakespeare-Ophelia, when mad, also calls for her coach (IV.5).

Plays to be compared: Northward Ho! and Westward Ho!

Shakespeare's Hamlet (for odd parody of it here);

Shakespeare's King Lear (for the clothing imagery);

Shakespeare's Richard III (for line echo at III.iv.4-5;

Kyd's Spanish Tragedy (for parody of it here);

Marlowe's Tamburlaine (for line parody at II.i.82, probably via Shakespeare's 2 Henry IV II.iv.178 where Pistol parodies the same line).

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