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SCENE I

Before an alehouse on a heath.
Enter HOSTESS and SLY.

Sly.
I'll pheeze you, in faith.

Host.
A pair of stocks, you rogue!

Sly.
Ye are a baggage: the Slys are no
rogues; look in the chronicles; we came in
with Richard Conqueror. Therefore paucas
pallabris; let the world slide: sessa!

Host.
You will not pay for the glasses you
have burst? (9)

Sly.
No, not a denier. Go by, Jeronimy:
go to thy cold bed, and warm thee.

Host.
I know my remedy; I must go fetch
the third-borough. Exit.

Sly.
Third, fourth, or fifth borough, I'll
answer him by law: I'll not budge an inch,
boy: let him come, and kindly. Falls asleep. Horns winded. Enter a LORD from hunting, with his train.

Lord.
Huntsman, I charge thee, tender well my hounds:

Brach Merriman, the poor cur is emboss'd;

And couple Clowder with the deep-mouth'd brach.

Saw'st thou not, boy, how Silver made it good (20)

At the hedge-corner, in the coldest fault?

I would not lose the dog for twenty pound.

First Hun.
Why, Belman is as good as he, my lord;

He cried upon it at the merest loss

And twice to-day pick'd out the dullest scent:

Trust me, I take him for the better dog.

Lord.
Thou art a fool: if Echo were as fleet,

I would esteem him worth a dozen such.

But sup them well and look unto them all:

To-morrow I intend to hunt again. (30)

First Hun.
I will, my lord.

Lord.
What's here? one dead, or drunk? See, doth he breathe?

Sec. Hun.
He breathes, my lord. Were he not warm'd with ale,

This were a bed but cold to sleep so soundly.

Lord.
O monstrous beast! how like a swine he lies!

Grim death, how foul and loathsome is thine image!

Sirs, I will practise on this drunken man.

What think you, if he were convey'd to bed,

Wrapp'd in sweet clothes, rings out upon his fingers, (39)

A most delicious banquet by his bed.

And brave attendants near him when he wakes,

Would not the beggar then forget himself?

First Hun.
Believe me, lord, I think he cannot choose.

Sec. Hun.
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 in warm distilled waters

And burn sweet wood to make the lodging sweet: (50)

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 honour will command?'

Let one attend him with a silver basin

Full of rose-water and bestrew'd with flowers;

Another bear the ewer, the third a diaper,

And say 'Will't please you lordship cool your hands?'

Some one be ready with a costly suit (60)

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.

First Hun.
My lord, I warrant you we will play our part, (70)

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: Exit Servingman.


Belike, some noble gentleman that means,

Travelling some journey, to repose him here. Re-enter Servingman.


How now! who is it?

Serv.
An't please your honour, players

That offer service to your lordship.

Lord.
Bid them come near. Enter Players.


Now, fellows, you are welcome. (80)

Players.
We thank your honour.

Lord.
Do you intend to stay with me tonight?

A Player.
So please your lordship to accept our duty.

Lord.
With all my heart. This fellow I remember,

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.

A Player.
I think 'twas Soto that your honour means.

Lord.
'Tis very true: thou didst it excellent. (90)

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 behaviour,--

For yet his honour 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. (100)

A Player.
Fear not, my lord: we can contain ourselves,

Were he the veriest antic in the world.

Lord.
Go, sirrah, take them to the buttery,

And give them friendly welcome every one:

Let them want nothing that my house affords. Exit one with the Players.


Sirrah, go you to Barthol'mew 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 obeisance.

Tell him from me, as he will win my love, (110)

He bear himself with honorable action,

Such as he hath observed 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, (120)

Bid him shed tears, as being overjoy'd

To see her noble lord restored to health,

Who for this seven years hath esteemed 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 dispatch'd with all the haste thou canst: (130)

Anon I'll give thee more instructions. Exit a Servingman.


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.

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