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Pro. The sheep for fodder follow the shepherd, the shepherd for food follows not the sheep; thou for wages followest thy master, thy master for wages follows not thee: therefore thou art a sheep.
Speed. Such another proof will make me cry baa.
Pro. But dost thou hear ? gav'st thou my letter to Julia ?
Speed. Ay, sir ; I, a lost mutton, gave your letter to her, a laced mutton ;' and she, à laced mutton, gave me, a lost mutton, nothing for my labor.
Pro. Here's too small a pasture for such a store of muttons.
Speed. If the ground be overcharged, you were best stick her.
Pro. Nay, in that you are astray; 'twere best pound you.
Speed. Nay, sir, less than a pound shall serve me for carrying your letter. .
Pro. You mistake; I mean the pound, a pinfold. Speed. From a pound to a pin? fold it over and
over, 'Tis threefold too little for carrying a letter to your
lover. Pro. But what said she ? did she nod ? ?
[SPEED nods. Speed. I. Pro. Nod, I! why, that's noddy.
Speed. You mistook, sir. I say she did nod : and you ask me, if she did nod; and I say, I.
Pro. And that set together is—noddy.
Speed. Now you have taken the pains to set it together, take it for your pains.
Pro. No, no, you shall have it for bearing the letter. Speed. Well, I perceive I must be fain to bear
Pro. Why, sir, how do you bear with me?
Speed. Marry, sir, the letter very orderly; having nothing but the word, noddy, for my pains.
1 A term for a courtezan. 2 These words were supplied by Theobald to introduce what follows.
Pro. Beshrew me, but you have a quick wit.
Pro. Come, come, open the matter in brief: What said she ?
Speed. Open your purse, that the money and the matter may be both at once delivered.
Pro. Well, sir, here is for your pains: What said she ?
Speed. Truly, sir, I think you'll hardly win her.
Pro. Why? Could'st thou perceive so much from her?
Speed. Sir, I could perceive nothing at all from her; no, not so much as a ducat for delivering your letter: And being so hard to me that brought your mind, I fear she'll prove as hard to you in telling your mind. Give her no token but stones, for she's as hard as steel.
Pro. What, said she nothing ?
Speed. No, not so much as—take this for thy pains. To testify your bounty, I thank you, you have testerned me; in requital whereof, henceforth carry your letters yourself: and so, sir, I'll commend you to my master.
Pro. Go, go, begone, to save your ship from wreck; Which cannot perish, having thee aboard, Being destined to a drier death on shore :I must go send some better messenger; I fear my Julia would not deign my lines, Receiving them from such a worthless post. [Exeunt.
SCENE II. The same.
Garden of Julia's House
Enter Julia and LUCETTA.
Jul. But say, Lucetta, now we are alone, Would'st thou then counsel me to fall in love?
1 Testens, or (as we now commonly call them) testers, from a head that was upon them, were coined in 1542. Sir H. Spelman says they were a French coin of the value of 18d.; and he does not know but that they might have gone for as much in England. They were afterwards reduced to 12d., 9d., and, finally, to sixpence.
Luc. Ay, madam; so you stumble not unheedfully.
Jul. Of all the fair resort of gentlemen, That every day with parle ? encounter me, In thy opinion, which is worthiest love? Luc. Please you, repeat their names, I'll show my
mind According to my shallow, simple skill.
Jul. What think'st thou of the fair Sir Eglamour ?
Luc. As of a knight well-spoken, neat and fine;
Jul. What think'st thou of the rich Mercatio ?
Jul. Why not on Proteus, as of all the rest ?
Luc. I have no other but a woman's reason ; I think him so, because I think him so. Jul. And would'st thou have me cast my love on
him ? Luc. Ay, if you thought your love not cast away Jul. Why, he of all the rest hath never moved me Luc. Yet he of all the rest, I think, best loves ye. Jul. His little speaking shows his love but small. Luc. Fire, that's closest kept, burns most of all. Jul. They do not love that do not show their love. Luc. O, they love least, that let men know their love. Jul. I would, I knew his mind. Luc.
madam. Jul. To Julia.-Say, from whom?
2 To censure, in Shakspeare's time, generally signified to give one's judgment or opinion.
That the contents will show. Jul. Say, say; who gave it thee? Luc. Sir Valentine's page; and sent, I think, from
Proteus : He would have given it you, but I, being in the way, Did in your name receive it; pardon the fault,
Jul. Now, by my modesty, a goodly broker! Dare you presume to harbor wanton lines? To whisper and conspire against my youth? Now, trust me, 'tis an office of great worth, And you an officer fit for the place. There, take the paper, see it be returned ; Or else return no more into my sight. Luc. To plead for love deserves more fee than
hate. Jul. Will
be gone? Luc.
That you may ruminate. [Exit. Jul. And yet, I would I had o'erlooked the letter. It were a shame to call her back again, And pray her to a fault for which I chid her. What fool is she, that knows I am a maid, And would not force the letter to my view! Since maids, in modesty, say No, to that Which they would have the profferer construe, Ay. Fie, fie, how wayward is this foolish love, That, like a testy babe, will scratch the nurse, And presently, all humbled, kiss the rod ! How churlishly I chid Lucetta hence, When willingly I would have had her here! How angerly I taught my brow to frown, When inward joy enforced my heart to smile! My penance is, to call Lucetta back, And ask permission for my folly past :What ho! Lucetta !
That you might kill your stomach' on your meat,
Jul. What is't you took up
Luc. Madam, it will not lie where it concerns,
Jul. Some love of yours hath writ to you in rhyme.
Luc. That I might sing it, madam, to a tune: Give me a note: your ladyship can set.
Jul. As little by such toys as may be possible :
Luc. It is too heavy for so light a tune.
Luc. Keep tune there still, so you will sing it out:
Jul. You do not?
Luc. Nay, now you are too flat,
Jul. The mean is drowned with your unruly base.
1 Passion or obstinacy.
2 Descant signified formerly what we now call variations. The mean is the tenor in music.
3 To bid the base means, to run fast, challenging another to pursue at the rustic game called Base, or Prisonbase. The allusion is somewhat obscure,
but appears to mean here, " to challenge to an encounter."