« PreviousContinue »
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 dress’d in all suits like a lady: That done, conduct him to the drunkard's chamber, And call bim-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 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 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, 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 grow into extremes. [Exeunt.
SCENE II. A Bedchamber in the Lord's House. Sly is discovered in a rich Night Gown, with Atten
dants; some with Apparel, others with Bason, 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 lordslıip drink a cup of sack? 2 Serv. Will’t please your honour taste of these
conserves? 3 Serv. What raiinent 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! 0, 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 ine mad? Am not I Christopher Sly, old Sly's son of Burton-heath ; by birth a pedler, by education a card-maker, by transmutation à 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 : 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. 0, noble lord, bethink thee of thy birth;. Call homne thy ancient thoughts from banishment, Aud banish hence these abject lowly dreams :
Look how thy servants do attend on thee,
Lord. We'll show thee Io, as she was a maid;
3 Serv. Or Daphne, roamiug through a thorny wood;
Lord. Thou art a lord, and nothing but a lord:
1 Serv. And, till the tears that she hath shed for thee,
Sly. Am I a lord? and have I such a lady?
I smell sweet savours, and I feel soft things :
[Servants present an Ewer, Bason, and Napkin. 0, bow we joy to see your wit restord! 0, that once more you knew but what you are! These fifteen years you have been in a dream; Or, when you wak’d, so wak'd as if you slept.
Sly. These fifteen years! by my fay, a goodly nap; Bat did I never speak of all that time?
1 Serv. 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 rail upon the hostess of the house; And say, you would present her at the feet, Because she brought stone jugs and no seal’d quarts : Sometimes you would call out for Cicely Hacket.
Sly. Ay, the woman's maid of the house.
3 Serv. Why, sir, you know no house, nor no such
Sly. Now, Lord be thanked for my good amends!
Enter the Page, as a Lady, with Attendants.
Page. 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 goodman.
Page. 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? Lord. Madam. Sly. Alce madam, or Joan madam? Lord. Madam, and nothing else; so lords call ladies. Sly. Madam wife, they say, that I have dream'd and Above some fifteen year and more.
[slept Page. Ay, and the time seems thirty unto me: Being all this time abandon'd from
bed. Sly. 'Tis much; -Servants, leave me and her
Page. Thrice noble lord, let me entreat of you,
Sly. Ay, it stands so, that I may hardly tarry so long, But I would be loath to fall into my dreams again; I will therefore tarry, in despite of the flesh and the blood.
Enter a Servant.
Sly. Marry, I will; let them play it: Is not a commonty a Christmas gambol, or a tumbling-trick ?
Page. No, my good lord; it is more pleasing stuff.
Sly. Well, we'll see't: Come, madam wife, sit by my side, and let the world slip; we shall ne'er be younger.
[They sit down.