Abbildungen der Seite

Persuade him that he hath been lunatic;

And, when he says he's Sly, say that he dreams,

For he is nothing but a mighty Lord.

This do, and do it kindly, gentle Sirs :

It will be pastime passing excellent,

If it be husbanded with modesty.1

FIRST HUN. My Lord, I warrant you we will play our part

As he shall think by our true diligence

He is no less than what we say he is.

LORD. Take him up gently, and to bed with him;
And each one to his office when he wakes.


[Sound trumpet.

Sirrah, go see what trumpet 'tis that sounds :
Belike, some noble gentleman that means,
Travelling some journey, to repose him here.

Enter Serving-man.

How now! who is it?


An it please your Honour

Players that offer service to your Lordship.

LORD. Bid them come near.


Sc. I

Enter Players.

PLAYERS. We thank


Now, Fellows, you are welcome.

LORD. Do you intend to stay with me to-night?

SEC. PLAY. So please your Lordship to accept our duty.
LORD. With all my heart. This fellow I remember,

Since once he play'd a farmer's eldest son:

'Twas where you woo'd the gentlewoman so well:

I have forgot your name; but, sure, that part

[blocks in formation]


FIRST PLAY. I think 'twas Soto that your Honour means.

LORD. 'Tis very true: thou didst it excellent.

Well, you are come to me in happy time;
The rather for I have some sport in hand,
Wherein your cunning can assist me much.
There is a Lord will hear you play to-night:

[blocks in formation]


Sc. I

But I am doubtful of your modesties;1
Lest, over-eying of his odd behaviour
(For yet his Honour never heard a play)
You break into some merry passion,

And so offend him; for I tell you, Sirs,

If you should smile, he grows impatient.

FIRST PLAY. Fear not, my Lord: we can contain our-

Were he the veriest antic3 in the world.
LORD. Go, sirrah, take them to the buttery,


And give them friendly welcome every one:
Let them want nothing that my house affords.
[Exit one with the Players.

Sirrah, go you to Barthol'mew my page,
And see him dress'd in all suits like a lady:

That done, conduct him to the drunkard's chamber;
And call him Madam, do him obeisance.
Tell him from me, as he will win my love,
He bear himself with honourable action,
Such as he hath observ'd in noble ladies
Unto their lords by them accomplished:
Such duty to the drunkard let him do,
With soft low tongue and lowly courtesy ;
And say What is't your Honour will command,
Wherein your Lady and your humble wife
May shew her duty, and make known her love?
And then with kind embracements, tempting kisses,
And with declining head into his bosom,
Bid him shed tears, as being overjoy'd

To see her noble lord restor❜d to health,
Who for this seven years hath esteemed him
No better than a poor and loathsome beggar:
And if the boy have not a woman's gift
To rain a shower of commanded tears,
An onion will do well for such a shift;
Which, in a napkin being close convey'd,
Shall in despite enforce a watery eye.
See this dispatch'd with all the haste thou canst :
Anon I'll give thee more instructions.



[Exit a Serving-man.

1 self-control.

2 passion of merriment.

3 idiot.



Sc. I

I know the boy will well usurp the grace,
Voice, gait, and action of a gentlewoman:

I long to hear him call the drunkard Husband;
And how my men will stay themselves from laughter,
When they do homage to this simple peasant.
I'll in to counsel them; haply my presence
May well abate the over-merry spleen,'
Which otherwise would grow into extremes.


SCENE II. A Bedchamber.

Enter aloft SLY, with Attendants; some with apparel, others with basin and ewer and other appurtenances ; and Lord.

SLY. For God's sake, a pot of small ale.

FIRST SERV. Will't please your Lordship drink a cup of


SEC. SERV. Will't please your Honour taste of these conserves?

THIRD SERV. What raiment will your Honour wear

SLY. I am Christophero Sly; call not me Honour nor
: I ne'er drank sack in my life; and, if you
give me any conserves, give me conserves of beef:
ne'er ask me what raiment I'll wear; for I have no
more doublets than backs, no more stockings than
legs, nor no more shoes than feet: nay; sometime
more feet than shoes, or such shoes as my toes look
through the overleather.

LORD. Heaven cease this idle humour in your Honour!
O, that a mighty man, of such descent,
Of such possessions, and so high esteem,
Should be infused with so foul a spirit!
SLY. What, would you make me mad?


Am not I

Christopher Sly, old Sly's son of Burton-heath; by birth a pedler, by education a card-maker, by transmutation a bear-herd, and now by present profession a tinker? Ask Marian Hacket, the fat ale-wife of Wincot, if she know me not: if she say I am not

[blocks in formation]

Sc. II

fourteen pence on the score for sheer1 ale, score me
up for the lyingest knave in Christendom. What! I
am not bestraught: here's-

THIRD SERV. O, this it is that makes your Lady mourn!
SEC. SERV. O, this it is that makes your servants droop!
LORD. Hence comes it that your kindred shuns your

As beaten hence by your strange lunacy.

O noble Lord, bethink thee of thy birth;

Call home thy ancient3 thoughts from banishment,
And banish hence these abject lowly dreams!
Look how thy servants do attend on thee,
Each in his office ready at thy beck.


Wilt thou have music? hark! Apollo plays,
And twenty caged nightingales do sing:


Or wilt thou sleep? we'll have thee to a couch
Softer and sweeter than the lustful bed
On purpose trimm'd up for Semiramis.
Say thou wilt walk; we will bestrew the ground:
Or wilt thou ride? thy horses shall be trapp'd,
Their harness studded all with gold and pearl.
Dost thou love hawking? thou hast hawks will soar
Above the morning lark: or wilt thou hunt?
Thy hounds shall make the Welkin answer them,
And fetch shrill echoes from the hollow Earth.


FIRST SERV. Say thou wilt course; thy greyhounds are as swift

As breathed stags; ay, fleeter than the roe.

SEC. SERV. Dost thou love pictures? we will fetch thee straight

Adonis painted by a running brook,

And Cytherea all in sedges hid,

Which seem to move and wanton with her breath,

Even as the waving sedges play with wind.

LORD. We'll shew thee Io as she was a maid,

And how she was beguiled and surpris'd,

As lively painted as the deed was done.


THIRD SERV. Or Daphne roaming through a thorny wood,

Scratching her legs that one shall swear she bleeds;

1 neat.

2 distracted.


4 stags in full course.



Sc. II

And at that sight shall sad Apollo weep,

So workmanly the blood and tears are drawn. LORD. Thou art a Lord, and nothing but a Lord:

Thou hast a Lady far more beautiful

Than any woman in this waning age.

FIRST SERV. And, till the tears, that she hath shed for thee,

Like envious floods o'er-run her lovely face,

She was the fairest creature in the world;
And yet' she is inferior to none.

SLY. Am I a Lord? and have I such a Lady?
Or do I dream? or have I dream'd till now?

I do not sleep: I see, I hear, I speak ;

I smell sweet savours, and I feel soft things:
Upon my life, I am a Lord indeed;
And not a tinker, nor Christopher Sly.
Well, bring our Lady hither to our sight;

And once again, a pot o' the smallest ale.



SEC. SERV. Will 't please your Mightiness to wash your hands?

O, how we joy to see your wit restor❜d!

O, that once more you knew but what you are!
These fifteen years you have been in a dream;
Or, when you wak'd, so wak'd as if
you slept.
SLY. These fifteen years! by my fay, a goodly nap.
But did I never speak of2 all that time?

FIRST SERV. O, yes, my Lord; but very idle words:
For though you lay here in this goodly chamber,
Yet would you say ye were beaten out of door;
And rail upon the hostess of the house;

And say you would present her at the leet,'

Because she brought stone jugs and no seal'd' quarts:
Sometimes you would call out for Cicely Hacket.

SLY. Ay; the woman's maid of the house.



THIRD SERV. Why, Sir, you know no house, nor no such


Nor no such men as you have reckon'd up,

As Stephen Sly, and old John Naps o' the Green,

And Peter Turph, and Henry Pimpernell;

And twenty more such names and men as these,

Which never were, nor no man ever saw.

1 still.
2 in.

3 prosecute.

4 manorial court. 5 officially stamped.


« ZurückWeiter »