Abbildungen der Seite



SCENE I. Before an Alehouse on a Heath.

Enter Hostess and SLY.

Sly. I'LL pheese 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; let the world slide.


Host. You will not pay for the glasses you have burst? Sly. No, not a denier. Go by, says Jeronimy;-Go to thy cold bed and warm thee.

Host. I know my remedy; I must go fetch the thirdborough.


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.

Wind Horns.

Enter a Lord from Hunting, with Huntsmen and Servants.

Lord. Huntsman, I charge thee, tender well my hounds: Brach Merriman, the poor cur is embossed,

And couple Clowder with the deep-mouthed 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 picked 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? Sce, doth he


2 Hunt. He breathes, my lord.

with ale,

Were he not warmed

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 conveyed to bed,
Wrapped 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

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

Say, What is it your honor will command?

Let one attend him with a silver basin,

Full of rose-water, and bestrewed 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, gentle sirs;

It will be pastime passing excellent,
If it be husbanded with modesty.

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:

[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 honor,

Players that offer service to your lordship.
Lord. Bid them come near.—

Enter Players.

Now, fellows, you are welcome.

1 Play. We thank your honor.

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 played a farmer's eldest son;'Twas where you wooed the gentlewoman so well. I have forgot your name; but, sure, that part Was aptly fitted, and naturally performed."

1 Play. I think 'twas Soto that your honor 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-eyeing of his odd behavior, (For yet his honor 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 antic 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. Sirrah, go you to Bartholomew my page, [To a Servant. And see him dressed 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 honorable action,
Such as he hath observed 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 honor will command,
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 overjoyed
To see her noble lord restored 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 conveyed,
Shall in despite enforce a watery eye.

See this despatched 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.


SCENE II. A Bedchamber in the Lord's House. SLY is discovered in a rich night-gown, with Attendants; some with apparel, others with basin, ewer, and other appurte


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 honor taste of these conserves? 3 Serv. What raiment will your honor wear to-day? Sly. I am Christophero Sly; call not me-honor, 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 over-leather.

Lord. Heaven cease this idle humor in your honor!
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 bearherd, 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. Here's

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 house,

As beaten hence by your strange lunacy.

O noble lord, bethink thee of thy birth;

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 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 trimmed up for Semiramis.

Say, thou wilt walk? we will bestrew the ground.
Or wilt thou ride? Thy horses shall be trapped,
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.

1 Serv. Say, thou wilt course; thy greyhounds are as swift

As breathed stags; ay, fleeter than the roe.

2 Serv. Dost thou love pictures? We will fetch thee straight

Adonis, painted by a running brook;

And Cytherea all in sedges hid;

« ZurückWeiter »