gentlemen, look well to yourselves, for in all probability you may live some months longer.
MATT. We are heartily sorry, captain, for 10 your misfortune. But 'tis what we must all come to.
MACH. 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 vil 15 lains 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.
MACH. Gentlemen, adieu. 20
LUCY, MACHEATH, POLLY.
MACH. My dear Lucy -- my dear Polly -- whatsoever hath passed 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 hus 5 band apiece; 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. 10
LUCY. Would I might be hanged!
POLLY. -- And I would so too!
LUCY. To be hanged with you --
POLLY. -- My dear, with you.
MACH. Oh, 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?
MACH. -- See, my courage is out. 15
(Turns up the empty pot.)
LUCY. No token of love?
POLLY. -- Adieu!
LUCY. -- Farewell!
MACH. But hark! I hear the toll of the bell!
CHORUS. Tol de rol lol, etc.
JAILOR. Four women more, captain, with a child apiece! See, here they come. 20
Enter Women and Children.
MACH. What -- four wives more! -- This is too much -- Here -- tell the sheriff's officers I am ready. Exit MACHEATHguarded.
To them enter PLAYER and BEGGAR.
PLAY. But, honest friend, I hope you don't intend that Macheath shall be really executed.
BEG. Most certainly, sir. To make the piece perfect, I was for doing strict poetical justice. Macheath is to be hanged; and for the other 5 personages of the drama, the audience must have supposed they were all either hanged or transported.
PLAY. Why then, friend, this is a downright deep tragedy. The catastrophe is manifestly wrong, for an opera must end happily. 10
BEG. Your objection, sir, is very just and is easily removed. 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 15 his wives in triumph.
PLAY. All this we must do, to comply with the taste of the town.
BEG. Through the whole piece you may observe such a similitude of manners in high and low life, 20 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 25 moral. 'Twould have shown that the lower sort of people have their vices in a degree as well as the rich; and that they are punished for them.
To them MACHEATH, with rabble, etc.
MACH. 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. 5