ePub 版

And if he chance to speak, be ready straight,
And, with a low submissive reverence,

Say, What is it your honour will command?

Let one attend him with a silver bason,

Full of rose-water, and bestrew'd with flowers;
Another bear the ewer, the third a diaper,

And say,-Will't please your lordship cool your hands?
Some one be ready with a costly suit,

And ask him what apparel he will wear;
Another tell him of his hounds and horse,

And that his lady mourns at his disease:
Persuade him, that he hath been lunatick;
And, when he says he is-," 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.i

1 Hun. My lord, I warrant you, we'll 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.

[Some bear out SLY. A trumpet sounds. Sirrah, go see what trumpet 'tis that sounds :

[Exit Servant.

Belike, some noble gentleman: that means,
Travelling some journey, to repose him here.--

Re-enter a Servant.

How now? who is it?


An it please your honour,

Players that offer service to your lordship.

Lord. Bid them come near :

Enter Players.

Now, fellows, you are welcome.


1 Play. We thank your honour.

says he is-,] Dr. Johnson thinks we should read, and when he says he's Sly.



kindly,] i. e. Naturally.

modesty.] By modesty is meant moderation, without suffering our merriment to break into an excess.-JOHNSON.

Lord. Do you intend to stay with me to-night? 2 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 Was aptly fitted, and naturally perform❜d.

1 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: But I am doubtful of your modesties; Lest, ever-eyeing 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.

[ocr errors]

1 Play. Fear not, my lord; we can contain ourselves, Were he the veriest antick 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.-

[Exeunt Servant and Players.

[To a Servant.

Sirrah, go you to Batholomew 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,


to accept aur duty.] It was in those times the custom of players to travel in companies, and offer their service at great houses.-JOHNSON.

1 Soto-] There is a character so called in the Woman pleased by Beaumont and Fletcher, who is as described a farmer's eldest son, but he does not woo any gentlewoman.-TYRWHITT.

Wherein your lady, and your humble wife,

May show 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 esteem'd 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 despatch'd with all the haste thou canst;
Anon I'll give thee more instructions.-

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

[Exit Servant.

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.


A Bedchamber in the Lord's House.


Sly is discovered in a rich night-gown, with Attendants; some with apparel, others with bason, ewer, and other appurtenances. Enter Lord dressed like a Servant.

Sly. For God's sake a pot of small ale.

1 Serv. Will't please your lordship drink a cup of sack? 2 Serv. Will't please your honour taste of these conserves ?

3 Serv. What raiment will your honour wear to-day? Sly. I am Christophero Sly; call not me honour, nor lordship: I never 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, sometimes, 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 pedlar, 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 fourteen pence on the score for sheer ale, score me up for the lyingest knave in Christendom. What, I am not bestraught: Heres-

1 Serv. O, this it is that makes your lady mourn.

2 Serv. O, this it is that makes your servants droop. Lord. Hence comes it that your kindred shun your


As beaten hence by your strange lunacy.

O, noble lord, bethink thee of thy birth;

[ocr errors]

Call home thy ancient 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 musick? hark! Apollo plays. [Musick.

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.


of Burton-heath :—— -Marian Hacket, the fat ale-wife of Wincot.] I suspect we should read-Barton-heath. Barton and Woodmancot, or, as it is vulgarly pronounced, Woncot, are both of them in Gloucestershire, near the residence of Shakspeare's old enemy, Justice Shallow. Very probably too, this fat ale-wife might be a real character.-STEEVENS.

I am not bestraught;] Bestraught seems to have been synonymous to distraught or distracted.-MALONE.

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.

1 Serv. Say, thou wilt course; thy greyhounds are as As breathed stags, ay, fleeter than the roe.

[swift 2 Serv. Dost thou love pictures? we will fetch thee 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 show thee Io, as she was a maid ; And how she was beguiled and surpris'd,

As lively painted as the deed was done.

3 Serv. Or Daphne, roaming through a thorny wood; Scratching her legs that one shall swear she bleeds: 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.

1 Serv. And, till the tears that she hath shed for thee,
Like envious floods, o'er-ran 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 Christophero Sly.—
Well, bring our lady hither to our sight;

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

2 Serv. Will't please your mightiness to wash your


[Servants present an ewer, bason, and napkin.

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


O, that once more you knew but what you
These fifteen years you have been in a dream;
Or, when you wak'd, so wak'd as if you slept.

« 上一頁繼續 »