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2 Hunt. It would seem strange unto him when he
waked. 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 :
Belike, some noble gentleman, that means,
Re-enter a Servant.
An it please your honor,
Lord. Bid them come near.
Now, fellows, you are welcome. 1 Play. We thank
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 re
member, 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 It was in old times customary for players to travel in companies, and offer their service at great houses.
2 The old copy prefixes the name of Sincklo to this line, who was an actor in the same company with Shakspeare. Soto is a character in Beaumont and Fletcher's, Woman Pleased; he is a farmer's eldest son, but he does not woo any gentlewoman.
1 Play. Fear not; my lord; we can contain our
Lord. Go, sirrah, take them to the buttery,
[Exeunt Servants and Players. Sirrah, go you to Bartholomew my page,
[To a Servant.
1 In the old play the dialogue is thus continued :
“ San. [To the other.] Go get a dishclout to make cleyne your shooes, and Ile speak for the properties. [Exit Player.] My lord, we must have a shoulder of mutton for a property, and a little vinegre to make our divell roar."
2 Pope remarks, in his preface to Shakspeare, that “the top of the profession were then mere players, not gentlemen of the stage; they were led into the buttery, not placed at the lord's table, or the lady's toilet.”
3 The old copy reads this. The emendation is Theobald's.
« The sense wherewith he feels him deified."
Shall in despite enforce a watery eye.
[Exit Servant. I know the boy will well usurp
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 grow into extremes. [Exeunt.
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 appurtenances.
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!
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.
O, that a mighty man of such descent,
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 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.3 Here's
1 Serv. O, this it is that makes your lady mourn.
Hark! Apollo plays,
[Music. 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 ?
1 Wilnecotte, says Warton, is a village in Warwickshire, with which Szakspeare was well acquainted, near Stratford. The house kept by our genial hostess still remains, but is at present a mill. There is a village also called Barton on the heath in Warwickshire.
2 Sheer ale has puzzled the commentators; but none of the conjectures offered appear satisfactory. Sheer ale may mean nothing more than ale unmixed, mere ale, or pure ale. The word sheer is still used for mere, pure. 3 i. e. distraught, distracted. VOL. II.