From Thomas Middleton’s A Mad World, My Masters. The comedy is mostly in the action so the whole is stronger in performance than in reading but the character portraits have some gold in them. This one did get a recent reworked adaptation by the RSC but it looks like critics found it generally too strong a departure from the original.
Dick Follywit’s self-assessment in 1.1, clearly echoing some of Falstaff’s in Henry IV part 1, 3.3:
Hang you, you have bewitch’d me among you. I was as well given till I fell to be wicked, my Grandsire had hope of me, I went all in black, swore but o’ Sundays, never came home drunk, but upon fasting nights to cleanse my stomach; ‘slid now I’m quite altered, blown into light colours, let out oaths by th’ minute, sit up late till it be early, drink drunk till I am sober, sink down dead in a Tavern, and rise in a Tobacco shop. Here’s a transformation: I was wont yet to pity the simple, and leave ’em some money; ‘slid, now I gull ’em without conscience; I go without order, swear without number, gull without mercy, and drink without measure.
Falstaff’s for comparison:
O, thou hast damnable iteration and art indeed able
to corrupt a saint. Thou hast done much harm upon
me, Hal; God forgive thee for it! Before I knew
thee, Hal, I knew nothing; and now am I, if a man
should speak truly, little better than one of the
wicked. I must give over this life, and I will give
it over: by the Lord, and I do not, I am a villain:
I’ll be damned for never a king’s son in
And later in the same scene an expansion by another character, Master Penitent Brothel
Here’s a mad-brain o’the’ first, whose pranks scorn to have precedents, to be second to any, or walk beneath any mad-cap’s inventions; h’as play’d more tricks than the cards can allow a man, and of the last stamp, too; hating imitation, a fellow whose only glory is to be prime of the company, to be sure of which he maintains all the rest. He’s the carrion, and they the kites that gorge upon him. But why in others do I check wild passions, and retain deadly follies in myself? I tax his youth of common receiv’d riot, Time’s comic flashes, and the fruits of blood; And in myself soothe up adulterous motions, and such an appetite that I know damns me, yet willingly embrace it.