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Before an Alehouse on a Heath. Enter Hostess and SLY.


I'LL pheese1 you, in faith.

Host. A pair of stocks, you rogue !

Sly. Y'are a baggage; the Slies are no rogues: Look in the chronicles, we came in with Richard Conqueror. Therefore, paucas pallabris ;2 let the world slide; Sessa! Host. You will not pay for the glasses you have burst?s Sly. No, not a denier: Go by, says Jeronimy ;-Go to thy cold bed,and warm thee.4

Host. I know my remedy: I must go fetch the thirdborough. [Exit. Sly. Third, or fourth, or fifth borough, I'll answer him by law I'll not budge an inch, boy; let him come, and kindly. Lies down on the ground, and falls asleep.

[1] To pheese or fease, is to separate a twist into single threads. In the figurative sense it may well enough be taken, like teaze or toze, for to harrass, to plague. Perhaps, I'll pheeze you, may be equivalent to I'll comb your head, a phrase vulgarly used by persons of Sly's character, on like occasions JOHNS

To pheeze a man, is to beat him; to give him a pheeze, is, to give him a knock M. MASON.

[2] Siy, as an ignorant fellow is purposely made to aim at languages out of his knowledge, and knock the words out of joint. The Spaniards say, pocas pallabras, i. e. few words; as they do likewise, Cessa, i. e. be quier. THEO.

[3] To burst and to break were anciently synonymous. Falstaff says, that "John of Gaunt burst Shallow's head for crowding in among the marshal's men." STEEV.

[4] All the editions have coined a saint here, for Sly to swear by But the poet had no such intentions, The passage has particular humour in it, and must have been very pleasing at that time of y. But I must clear up a piece of stage history to make it understood. There is a fustian old play called Hieronymo ; or The Spanish Tragedy: which I find was the common butt of rail-ry to all the poets in Shakspeare's time: and a passage, that appeared very ridiculous in that play, is here humorously alluded to. THEO.

Wind horns. Enter a Lord from hunting, with Huntsmen and


Lord. Huntsman, I charge thee,tender well my hounds: Brach Merriman,-the poor cur is emboss'd, 4 And couple Clowder with the deep-mouth'd brach. Saw'st thou not, boy, how Silver made it good, At the hedge corner, in the coldest fault? I would not lose the dog for twenty pound.

1 Hunt. Why, Belman is as good as he, my lord; He cried upon it at the merest loss,

And twice to-day pick'd out the dullest scent:
Trust me, I take him for the better dog.

Lord. Thou art a fool; if Echo were as fleet,

I would esteem him worth a dozen such.

But sup them well, and look unto them all;
To-morrow I intend to hunt again.

1 Hunt. I will, my lord.

Lord. What's here? one dead, or drunk? See, doth he breathe ?

2 Hunt. He breathes, my lord: Were he not warm'd with ale,

This were a bed but cold to sleep so soundly.

Lord. O monstrous beast! how like a swine he lies! Grim death, how foul and loathsome is thine image! Sirs, I will practise on this drunken man.

What think you, if he were convey'd to bed,
Wrapp'd in sweet clothes, rings put upon his fingers,
A most delicious banquet by his bed,

And brave attendants near him when he wakes,
Would not the beggar then forget himself?

1 Hunt. Believe me, lord, I think he cannot choose. 2 Hunt.It would seem strange unto him, when he wak'd. Lord. Even as a flattering dream, or worthless fancy. Then take him up, and manage well the jest :Carry him gently to my fairest chamber,

And hang it round with all my wanton pictures:
Balm his foul head with warm distilled waters,
And burn sweet wood to make the lodging sweet:
Procure me music ready when he wakes,

To make a dulcet and a heavenly sound;

[4] Emboss'd is a hunting term. When a deer is hard run, and foams at the mouth, he is said to be emboss'd. A dog also when he is strained with hard running (especially upon hard ground,) will have his knees swelled, and then he is said to be embuss'd: from the French word besse, which sig nifies a tumour. T. WARTON,

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 lunatic;

And, when he says he is —, say, that he dreams,
For he is nothing but a mighty lord.

This do, and do it kindly,5 gentle sirs ;

It will be pastime passing excellent,

If it be husbanded with modesty.6

1 Hunt. 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 :— Belike, some noble gentleman; that means, [Ex. Serv. Travelling some journey, to repose him here.—

Re-enter a Servant.

How now? who is it?

Serv. 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.

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

2 Play. So please your lordship to accept our duty. 7 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:

[5] Kindly, means naturally.


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

[7] It was in those times the custom of players to travel in companies, and offer their service at great houses.


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, 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.

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.—

[Exe. Servant and Players. Sirrah, go you to Bartholomew my page, [To a Servant. 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 show her duty, and make known her love?
And then-with kind embraces, 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 twice 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,

[8] Him is used for himself, as you is used for yourself in Macbeth. STE.

Shall in despite enforce a watery eye.

See this despatch'd with all the haste thou canst; Anon I'll give thee more instructions.-[Exit Servant. 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 go into extremes.



A Bed-chamber 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

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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 pedler, by education a card-maker, by transmutation a bear-herd, and now by present profession a tinker? Ask

[9] From the original stage direction in the first folio it appears that Sly and the other persons mentioned in the Induction, were intended to be exhibited here, and during the representation of the comedy, in a balcony above the stage. The direction here is-Enter aloft the drunkard with attendants, &c. MALONE.


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