« PreviousContinue »
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. Here's
1 Serv. O, this it is that makes your lady mourn.
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 Shakspeare 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.
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
Lord. We'll show thee Io, as she was a maid ;
3 Serv. Or, Daphne roaming 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? Or do I dream? Or have I dreamed till now? I do not sleep; I see, I hear, I speak; I smell sweet savors, 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’the smallest ale. 2 Serv. Will't please your mightiness to wash your
[Servants present a ewer, basin, and napkin. O, how we joy to see your wit restored ! O, that once more you knew but what you are ! These fifteen years you have been in a dream; Or, when you waked, so waked as if you slept.
Sly. These fifteen years ! By my fay,' a goodly nap. But 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 leet,? Because she brought stone jugs and no sealed quarts. Sometimes you would call out for Cicely Hacket.
Sly. Ay, the woman's maid of the house.
Sly. Now, Lord be thanked for my good amends!
Enter the Page, as a Lady, with Attendants. Page. How fares my noble lord ? Sly. Marry, I fare well; for here is cheer enough. Where is my wife ?
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
Sly. I know it well.—What must I call her?
1 A contraction of by my faith.
2 That is, at the court leet, where it was usual to present such matters, as appears from Kitchen on Courts :-“ Also if tiplers sell by cups and dishes, or measures sealed or not sealed, is inquirable."
3 Blackstone proposes to read, “old John Naps o'the Green.” The addition seems to have been a common one.
Sly. Al'ce madam, or Joan madam ?
Page. Ay, and the time seems thirty unto me; Being all this time abandoned from your 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. Serv. Your honor's players, hearing your amendment, Are come to play a pleasant comedy, For so your doctors hold it very meet; Seeing too much sadness hath congealed your blood, And melancholy is the nurse of frenzy, Therefore they thought it good you hear a play, And frame your mind to mirth and merriment, Which bars a thousand harms, and lengthens life.
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. 1 For comedy.
SCENE I. Padua. A public Place.
Enter LUCENTIO and TRANIO. Luc. Tranio, since-for the great desire I had To see fair Padua, nursery of arts I am arrived for fruitful Lombardy, The pleasant garden of great Italy; And, by my father's love and leave, am armed With his good will, and thy good company, Most trusty servant, well approved in all; Here let us breathe, and happily institute A course of learning, and ingenious studies. Pisa, renowned for grave citizens, Gave me my being, and my father first, A merchant of great traffic through the world, Vincentio, come of the Bentivolii. Vincentio's son, brought up in Florence, It shall become, to serve all hopes conceived," To deck his fortune with his virtuous deeds : And therefore, Tranio, for the time I study, Virtue, and that part of philosophy Will I apply, that treats of happiness By virtue 'specially to be achieved. Tell me thy mind; for I have Pisa left, And am to Padua come; as he that leaves A shallow plash,* to plunge him in the deep, And with satiety seeks to quench his thirst.
Tra. Mi perdonate, gentle master mine, I am in all affected as yourself;
1 Ingenious and ingenuous were very commonly confounded by old writers.
2 i. e. to fulfil the expectations of his friends. 3 Apply for ply is frequently used by old writers. Thus Baret:—" with diligent endeavour to applie their studies.” And in Turberville's Tragic Tales:—“ How she her wheele applyde.”
4 Small piece of water. 5 Pardon me.