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poniard; or tickles them forth with his riding rod : ħe draws teeth a horse-back in full speed, yet he will dance a foot, he hath given his word : he is yeoman of the mouth to the whole brotherhood, and is charged to see their gums be clean, and their breath sweet, at a minute's warning. Then comes my learned Theban, the tinker, I told you of, with his kettle drum, before and after, a master of music, and a man of metal, he beats the march to the tune of Ticklefoot, Pam, Pam, Pam, brave Epam with a Nondas. That's the strain.
Shep. A high one!
Fen. Which is followed by the trace, and tract of an excellent juggler, that can juggle with every joint about him, from head to heel. He can do tricks with his toes, wind silk, and thread pearl with them, as nimble a fine fellow of his feet, as his hands : for there is a noble corn-cutter, his companion, hath so pared and finified them, Indeed, he hath taken it into his care, to reform the feet of all, and fit all their footing to a form! only one splay foot in the company, and he is a bellows-mender, allowed, who hath the looking to all of their lungs by patent, and by his place is to set that leg afore still, and with his puffs, keeps them in breath, during pleasure: a tinder
3 Then comes my learned Theban, the tinker, I told you of.] In Lear, the poor old king says,
“ I'll talk a word with this same learned Theban." On which Steevens observes, “Ben Jonson, in his Masque of Pan's Anniversary, has introduced a tinker, whom he calls a learned Theban, perhaps in ridicule of this passage.” The ridicule (if ridicule there be) must be in the word learned, for (though Steevens was ignorant of it) the tinker actually was a Theban : as he was also a master of music, the epithet does not seem to be very much out of its place. But, “perhaps,” Jonson laid the scene of this grave Antimasque in Greece, that he might have an opportunity of "ridiculing Shakspeare;" and this I take to be the case, as Thebes is not particularly celebrated for the musical talents of its tinkers. The commentators should consider this well.
box-man, to strike new fire into them at every turn, and where he spies any brave spark that is in danger to go out, ply him with a match presently.
Shep. A most politic provision !
Fen. Nay, we have made our provisions beyond example, I hope. For to these, there is annexed a clock-keeper, a grave person, as Time himself, who is to see that they all keep time to a nick, and move every elbow in order, every knee in compass. He is to wind them up, and draw them down, as he sees cause : then is there a subtle shrewd bearded sir, that hath been a politician, but is now a maker of mouse-traps, a great inginer yet : and he is to catch the ladies' favours in the dance, with certain cringes he is to make; and to bait their benevolence. Nor can we doubt of the success, for we have a prophet amongst us of that peremptory pate, a tailor or master-fashioner, that hath found it out in a painted cloth, or some old hanging, (for those are his library,) that we must conquer in such a time, and such a half time; therefore bids us go on cross-legg’d, or however thread the needles of our own happiness, go through stitch with all, unwind the clew of our cares; he hath taken measure of our minds, and will fit our fortune to our footing. And to better assure us, at his own charge, brings his philosopher with him, a great clerk, who, they say, can write, and it is shrewdly suspected but he can read too. And he is to take the whole dances from the foot by brachygraphy, and so make a memorial, if not a map of the business. Come forth, lads, and do your own turns. The Baotians enter for the ANTIMASQUE,
which is Danced,
After which, * To a nick,] i. e. what Shakspeare calls “a jar o' the clock.”
Fen. How like you this, shepherd ? was not this gear gotten on a holyday ?
Shep. Faith, your folly may deserve pardon, because it hath delighted: but beware of presuming, or how you offer comparison with persons so near deities : Behold where they are that have now forgiven you, whom should you provoke again with the like, they will justly punish that with anger, which they now dismiss with contempt. Away!
[They retire. To the Masquers. And come, you prime Arcadians forth, that taught
By Pan the rites of true society,
And made your commonwealth a harmony,
Your innocence from that fair fount of light,
Of any rudeness, folly can, or spite:
Down to this valley, and with nearer eye
You did far off, but yet with wonder, spy.
That taught us swains how first to tune
And on the pipe more airs than Phoebus can. Cho. Hear, O you groves, and hills resound his
praise. 2 Nym. Of Pan we sing, the best of leaders, Pan,
That leads the Naiads and the Dryads
forth; And to their dances more than Hermes can.
Hear, O you groves, and hills resound his
3 Nym. Of Pan we sing, the best of hunters, Pan,
That drives the hart to seek unused ways,
And in the chase more than Sylvanus can. Cho. Hear, O you groves, and hills resound his
praise. 2 Nym. Of Pan we sing, the best of shepherds, Pan,
That keeps our flocks and us, and both
To better pastures than great Pales can. Cho. Hear, O you groves, and hills resound his
worth. And while his powers and praises thus we sing,
The valleys let rebound, and all the rivers ring. The Masquers descend, and dance their Entry.
We move, we are ; 'tis he our lambs doth rear,
flocks doth bless, and from the store doth give
He keeps away all heats and colds,
Cho. Strive, strive to please him then, by still in
creasing thus The rites are due to him, who doth all right for us.
THE MAIN DANCE.
If yet, if yet,
The nymphs of wood and water;
Each tree's and fountain's daughter !
Wakes Echo from her seat,
The closes to repeat.
The closes to repeat.
Though nothing but a sound.
Beloved of Pan the valleys queen.
The valleys queen.
Though never seen.
Here the REVELS. After which re-enter the Fencer. Fen. Room, room, there; where are you, shepherd ? I am come again, with my second part of my bold bloods, the brave gamesters; who assure you by me, that they perceive no such wonder in all is done here, but that they dare adventure another trial. They look for some sheepish devices here in Arcadia, not these, and therefore a hall ! a hall! they demand.
Shep. Nay, then they are past pity, let them come, and not expect the anger of a deity to pursue them, but meet them. They have their punishment with their fact : they shall be sheep.