The Honest Whore
By Thomas Dekker
Bellafront is a former prostitute who has changed her ways and married Matheo (a former client). But Mateo wants her to return to her life of crime to earn money. She asks her husband's friend, Hippolyto, to talk to Matheo for her. Hippolyto reacts instead by propositioning Bellafront - offering, basically, to become one of her clients.
To prove a woman should not be a whore,
When she was made, she had one man, and no more,
Yet she was tied to laws then, for, even then,
'Tis said, she was not made for men, but man.
Anon, t'increase earth's brood, the law was varied,
Men should take many wives, and though they married
According to that act, yet 'tis not known,
But that those wives were only tied to one.
New Parliaments were since: for now one woman
Is shar'd betweene three hundred, nay she's common
Common? As spotted leopards, whom for sport
Men hunt, to get the flesh, but care not for't.
So spread they nets of gold, and tune their calls,
To enchant silly women to take falls:
Swearing they are Angels, which that they may win,
They'll hire the Devil to come with false dice in.
Oh Siren's subtle tunes! Yourselves you flatter,
And our weak sex betray, So men love water;
It serves to warn their hands, but being once foul),
The water down is pour'd, cast out of doors,
And even of such base use do men make whores.
A Harlot (like a Hen) more sweetnes reaps,
To pick men one by one up, then in heaps:
Yet all feeds but confounding. Say you should taste me,
I serve but for the time, and when the day
Of war is done, am cashier'd out of pay.
If like lame Soldiers I could beg, that's all,
And there's lust's rendezvous, an hospital.
Who then would be a man's slave, a man's woman?
She's half starv'd the first day that feeds in Common.
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