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WHAT YOU WILL: A COMEDY.
BY THE SAME.
But one (that title off) was even a prince,
A sultan Solyman: thrice was he made,
In dangerous arms, Venice' Providetore.
He was merchant, but so bounteous,
Valiant, wise, learned, all so absolute,
That nought was valued praiseful excellent,
But in 't was he most praiseful excellent.
OI shall ne'er forget how he went clothed.
He would maintain it a base ill-us'd fashion,
To bind a merchant to the sullen habit
Of precise black, chiefly in Venice state,
Where merchants gilt the top.*
And therefore should you have him pass the bridge
Up the Rialto like a Soldier;
In a black beaver belt, ash-colour plain,
A Florentine cloth-o'-silver jerkin, sleeves
White satin cut on tinsel, then long stock;
French panes embroider'd, goldsmith's work: O God,
Methinks I see him now, how he would walk,
With what a jolly presence he would pace
Round the Rialto.f
"Her whose merchant Sons were Kings."—COLLINS,
To judge of the liberality of these notions of dress, we must advert to the days of Gresham, and the consternation which a Phenomenon habited like the Merchant here described would have excited among the flat round caps, and cloth stockings, upon Change, when those" original arguments or tokens of a Citizen's Vocation were in fashion not more for thrift and usefulness than for distinction and grace." The blank uniformity to which all professional distinctions in apparel have been long hastening, is one instance of the Decay of Symbols among us, which whether it hsa contributed or not to make us a more intellectual, has certainly made us a less imaginative people. Shakspeare knew the force of signs:-"a malignant and a turban'd Turk." "This meai-cap Miller" says the Author of "God's Revenge against Murder," to express his indignation at an atrocious outrage committed by the miller Pierot upon the person of the fair Marieta.
Scholar and his Dog.
I was a scholar seven useful springs
Did I deflower in quotations
Of cross'd opinions 'bout the soul of man ;
The more I learnt, the more I learn to doubt.
Delight my spaniel slept, whilst I baus'd leaves,
Toss'd o'er the dunces, pored on the old print
Of titled words: and still my spaniel slept.
Whilst I wasted lamp-oil, baited my flesh,
Shrunk up my veins and still my spaniel slept.
And still I held converse with Zabarell,
Aquinas, Scotus, and the musty saw
Of antic Donat: still my spaniel slept.
Still on went I; first, an sit anima;
Then, an it were mortal. O hold, hold; at that
They're at brain buffets, fell by the ears amain
Pell-mell together; still my spaniel slept.
Then, whether 'twere corporeal, local, fixt,
Ex traduce; but whether 't had free will
Or no, hot philosophers
Stood banding factions, all so strongly propt,
I stagger'd, knew not which was firmer part,
But thought, quoted, read, observ'd and pried,
Stufft noting-books: and still my spaniel slept.
At length he wak'd, and yawned; and by yon sky,
For aught I know he knew as much as I.
Preparations for Second Nuptials.
Now is Albano's marriage-bed new hung
With fresh rich curtains; now are my valence up,
Emboss'd with orient pearl, my grandsire's gift,
Now are the lawn sheets fum'd with violets
To fresh the pall'd lascivious appetite;
Now work the cooks, the pastry sweats with slaves,
The march-panes glitter; now, now the musicians
Hover with nimble sticks o'er squeaking crowds, †
Tickling the dried guts of a mewing cat:
The tailors, starchers, sempsters, butchers, poulterers,
Mercers, all, all-none think on me.
* Albano, the first husband speaks; supposed dead. + Fiddles.
THE INSATIATE COUNTESS: A TRAGEDY. BY THE SAME.
ISABELLA (the Countess), after a long series of crimes of infidelity to her husband and of murder, is brought to suffer on a scaffold. ROBERTO, her husband, arrives to take a last leave of her.
Roberto. Bear record all you blessed saints in heaven
I come not to torment thee in thy death;
For of himself he's terrible enough.
But call to mind a Lady like yourself,
And think how ill in such a beauteous soul,
Upon the instant morrow of her nuptials,
Apostacy and wild revolt would show.
Withal, imagine that she had a lord
Jealous the air should ravish her chaste looks;
Doting, like the Creator in his models,
Who views them every minute, and with care
Mixt in his fear of their obedience to him.
Suppose her sung through famous Italy,
More common than the looser songs of Petrarch,
To every several Zany's instrument:
And he poor wretch, hoping some better fate
Might call her back from her adulterate purpose,
Lives an obscure and almost unknown life;
Till hearing that she is condemn'd to die,
For he once lov'd her, lends his pined corpse
Motion to bring him to her stage of honour,
Where drown'd in woe at her so dismal chance,
He clasps her thus he falls into a trance.
Isabella. O my offended lord, lift up your eyes;
But yet avert them from my loathed sight.
Had I with you enjoyed the lawful pleasure.
To which belongs nor fear nor public shame,
I might have liv'd in honour, died in fame.
Your pardon on my faltering knees I beg ;
Which shall confirm more peace unto my death 30
Than all the grave instructions of the Church.
Roberto. Freely thou hast it. Farewell, my Isabella; Let thy death ransom thy soul, O die a rare example.
The kiss thou gav'st me in the church, here take:
As I leave thee, so thou the world forsake. [Exit.
Executioner. Madam, tie up your hair.
Isabella. O these golden nets,
That have ensnared so many wanton youths!
Not one but has been held a thread of life,
And superstitiously depended on.
Executioner. Madam, I must intreat you blind your Isabella. Ihave lived too long in darkness, my friend; And yet mine eyes with their majestic light, 11 Have got new Muses in a Poet's sprite. They've been more gaz'd at than the God of day; Their brightness never could be flattered: Yet thou command'st a fixed cloud of lawn To eclipse eternally these minutes of light. I am prepared.-—
Who would have thought it? She that could no more
Forsake my company, than can the day
Forsake the glorious presence of the sun
When I was absent, then her galled eyes
Would have shed April showers, and outwept
The clouds in that same o'er-passionate mood
When they drown'd all the world: yet now forsakes
Women, your eyes shed glances like the sun;
Now shines your brightness, now your light is done.
On the sweet'st flowers you shine, 'tis but by chance,
And on the basest weed you'll waste a glance.
THE COMEDY OF OLD FORTUNATUS.
BY THOMAS DECKER.
The GODDESS FORTUNE appears to FORTUNATUS, and offers him the choice of six things. He chooses Riches.
Fortune. Before thy soul at this deep lottery Draw forth her prize, ordain'd by destiny,
Know that here's no recanting a first choice.
Choose then discreetly: (for the laws of fate,
Being grav'n in steel, must stand inviolate.)
Fortunat. Daughters of Jove and the unblemish'd
Most righteous Parcæ, guide my genius right:
Wisdom, Strength, Health, Beauty, Long Life, and
Stay, Fortunatus; once more hear me
If thou kiss Wisdom's cheek and make her thine,
She'll breathe into thy lips divinity,
And thou (like Phoebus) shalt speak oracle;
Thy heav'n-inspired soul on Wisdom's wings
Shall fly up to the Parliament of Jove,
And read the Statutes of Eternity,
And see what's past, and learn what is to come.
If thou lay claim to Strength, armies shall quake
To see thee frown: as kings at mine do lie,
So shall thy feet trample on empery.
Make Health thine object, thou shalt be strong proof 'Gainst the deep searching darts of surfeiting, Be ever merry, ever revelling.
Wish but for Beauty, and within thine eyes
Two naked Cupids amorously shall swim,
And on thy cheeks I'll mix such white and red,
That Jove shall turn away young Ganimede,
And with immortal arms shall circle thee.
Are thy desires Long Life? thy vital thread
Shall be stretch'd out, thou shalt behold the change
Of monarchies, and see those children die
Whose great great grandsires now in cradles lie.
If through Gold's sacred hunger thou dost pine,
Those gilded wantons which in swarms do run
To warm their slender bodies in the sun,
Shall stand for number of those golden piles
Which in rich pride shall swell before thy feet:
As those are, so shall these be infinite.
Fortunat. O whither am I wrapt beyond myself? More violent conflicts fight in every thought
Than his whose fatal choice Troy's downfall wrought.
Shall I contract myself to Wisdom's love?
Then I lose Riches; and a wise man poor