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heath, by birth a pedlar, by education a card- 20 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'sThird Serv. O, this it is that makes your lady

mourn ! Sec. Serv. O, this is it that makes your servants

Lord. Hence comes it that your kindred shuns

your house,
As beaten hence by your strange lunacy.
O noble lord, bethink thee of thy birth,
Call home thy ancient thoughts from banishment
And banish hence these abject lowly dreams.
Look how thy servants do attend on thee,
Each in his office ready at thy beck.
Wilt thou have music? hark ! Apollo plays

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 trimm'd up for Semiramis.
Say thou wilt walk; we will bestrew the ground:
Or wilt thou ride ? thy horses shall be trapp'd,
Their harness studded all with gold and pearl.
Dost thou love hawking? thou hast hawks will

Above the morning lark : or wilt thou hunt?
21. bear-herd, bearward.

25. sheer, unmixed. 23. Wincot, or Wilnecote, is a village near Tamworth.

26. bestraught, distracted. Cf. Lee, Life of W. Shake- 33. ancient, former. speare, p. 66.

43. trapp'd, arrayed.

40 50

Thy hounds shall make the welkin answer them And fetch shrill echoes from the hollow earth. First Serv. Say thou wilt course; thy grey

hounds are as swift
As breathed stags, ay, fleeter than the roe.
Sec. Serv. Dost thou love pictures ? we will fetch

thee straight
Adonis painted by a running brook,
And Cytherea all in sedges hid,
Which seem to move and wanton with her breath,
Even as the waving sedges play with wind.

Lord. We'll show thee Io as she was a maid,
And how she was beguiled and surprised,
As lively painted as the deed was done.
Third Serv. Or Daphne roaming through a

thorny wood,
Scratching her legs that one shall swear she

And at that sight shall sad Apollo weep,
So workmanly the blood and tears are drawn.
Lord. Thou art a lord and nothing but a

lord :
Thou hast a lady far more beautiful
Than any woman in this waning age.
First Serv. And till the tears that she hath shed

for thee
Like envious floods o'er-run her lovely face,
She was the fairest creature in the world ;
And yet she is inferior to none.

Sly. Am I a lord ? and have I such a lady?
Or do I dream ? or have I dream'd till now?
I do not sleep: I see, I hear, I speak;
I smell sweet savours and I feel soft things :
Upon my life, I am a lord indeed

50. breathed, in full career. age in which beauty is declining. 65. waning, decaying ;

69. yet, even now,




And not a tinker nor Christophero Sly.
Well, bring our lady hither to our sight;
And once again, a pot o' the smallest ale.

Sec. Serv. Will 't please your mightiness to wash

your hands?


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

But did I never speak of all that time ?
First 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 seald

quarts :
Sometimes you would call out for Cicely Hacket.

Sly. Ay, the woman's maid of the house.
Third Serv. Why, sir, you know no house nor

no such maid,
Nor no such men as you have reckon'd up,
As Stephen Sly and old John Naps of Greece
And Peter Turph and Henry Pimpernell
And twenty more such names and men as these

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84. of, during

95. Stephen Sly was the name

of resident at Stratford, 89. present, her at the leet,

variously described in

the accuse her before the manorial

records as a labourer and as court.

servant to W. Combe.' A quarts, quart Joan Sly was subsequently measures bearing an official (1630) fined by the Stratford stamp as a guarantee that they magistrates for breaking the were such.

Sabbath by travelling (Lee).

90. seal'd

Which never were nor no man ever saw.
Sly. Now Lord be thanked for my good

All. Amen.
Sly. I thank thee: thou shalt not lose by it.


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


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 good



Page. My husband and my lord, my lord and

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

Sly. Madam wife, they say that I have dream'd
And slept above some fifteen year or more.

Page. Ay, and the time seems thirty unto me,
Being all this time abandon'd from your bed.
Sly. 'Tis much. Servants, leave me and her

Madam, undress you and come now to bed.

Page. Thrice-noble lord, let me entreat of you To pardon me yet for a night or two,

99. amends, amendment.


Or, if not so, until the sun be set :
For your physicians have expressly charged,
In peril to incur your former malady,
That I should yet absent me from your bed :
I hope this reason stands for my excuse.

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 Messenger. Mess. Your honour's players, hearing your

Are come to play a pleasant comedy ;
For so your doctors hold it very meet,
Seeing too much sadness hath congeal'd your

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 comonty a Christmas gambold or a tumbling- 140 trick? Page. No, my good lord; it is more pleasing

stuff. Sly. What, household stuff? Page. It is a kind of history.

Sly. Well, we'll see 't. Come, madam wife, sit by my side and let the world slip: we shall ne'er be younger.


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