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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.
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,
Left, overeying 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, firs,
If you should smile, he grows impatient.
Play. Fear not, my lord; we can contain ourselves,
Were he the veriest antick in the world.
2 Play. [to the other. ] Go, get a dishclout to make clean your shoes,
And I'll speak for the properties. My lord, [Exit Player.
We must have a shoulder of mutton, and
Some vinegar to make our devil roar.
Lord. Go, firrah, take them to the buttery,
Let them want nothing that the house affords.
[Exit one with the Players.
Sirrah, go you to Bartholomew 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 all 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 embracements, tempting kisses,
And with declining head into his bosom,
Bid him shed tears, as being over-joy'd
To see her noble lord restor’d to health,
Who for twice seven years hath esteem'd himself
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 wat’ry 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.
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 bedchamber in the Lord's house.
Enter Sly with attendants, some with apparel, bason and ewer,
and other appurtenances. Reenter Lord. Sky. For god's
fake 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? Sły. I am Christophero Sly; call not me honour, nor lordship: I ne'er drank fack 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. Heav'n 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. Whạt, would you make me mad? am not I Christophero 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 alewife 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 lying’ft knave in christendom. What? -- I am not bestraught: here's
1 Man. O, this it is that makes your lady mourn.
2 Man. 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 musick? hark! Apollo plays,
And twenty caged nightingales do fing:
Or wilt thou sleep? we'll have thee to a couch,
Softer and sweeter than the luftful 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.
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 echces from the hollow earth.
1 Man. Say thou wilt course, thy greyhounds are as swift
As breathed stags ; ay, fleeter than the roe.
2 Man. Dost thou love pictures ? we will fetch thee straight
Adonis, painted by a running brook;
And Cytherea all in sedges hid;
Which seem to move, and wanton with her breath,
Ev’n 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 Man. Or Daphne roaming through a thorny wood,
Scratching her legs, that one shall swear she bleeds ;
And at the sight shall fad 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 waining age.
1 Man. And till the tears that she hath shed for thee,
Like envious floods, o'errun her lovely face,
She was the fairest creature in the world,
she is inferiour 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 favours, 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'th' smallest ale.
2 Man. Will’t please your mightiness to wash your hands ?
O, how we joy to see your wits restor’d!
O, that once more you knew but what you are!
These fifteen years you have been in a dream;
as if you slept.
Sly. These fifteen years! by my fay, a goodly nap:
But did I never speak' of all that time?
1 Man. O, yes, my lord, but very idle words.
For though you lay here in this goodly chamber,
Yet would you say, ye were beaten out of door;
And raild upon the hostess of the house;
And say, you would present her at the leet,
Because she bought stone-jugs, and no seald quarts :
Sometimes, you would call out for Cicely Hacket.
Sly. Ay, the woman's maid of the house,
3 Man. Why, fir, you know no house, nor no such maid; Nor no such men as you have reckon'd
As Stephen Sly, and old John Naps o'th' green,
And Peter Turf, and Henry Pimpernell,
And twenty more such names and men as these,
Which never were, nor no man ever saw.
Sly. Now, lord be thanked for my good amends!
Sly. By th’mass, I think, I am a lord indeed.
What is thy name?
Man. Simon, an't please your honour.
Sly. Sim? that's as much as to say, Simeon or Simon; put forth thy hand, and fill the pot.
[gives him drink.
Enter Lady with Attendants.
Sly. I thank thee; thou shalt not lose by it.
Lady. How fares my noble lord ?
Sly. Marry, I fare well; for here is cheer enough. Where is
Lady. Here, noble lord, what is thy will with her?
Sly: Are you my wife, and will not call me husband ? My men should call me lord, I am your goodma
Lady. My husband and my lord, my lord and husband,
I am your wife in all obedience.
Sly. I know it well: what must I call her?
Sly. Alce madam, or Joan madam ?