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Title: Representative English Comedies - with introductory essays and notes
Author: Various
Language: English
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  Mark up: _italic_
           =bold=



                   Representative English Comedies
                  FROM THE BEGINNINGS TO SHAKESPEARE



[Illustration]



                        REPRESENTATIVE ENGLISH
                               COMEDIES

                  WITH INTRODUCTORY ESSAYS AND NOTES
               AN HISTORICAL VIEW OF OUR EARLIER COMEDY
                        _AND OTHER MONOGRAPHS_
                          BY VARIOUS WRITERS

                    UNDER THE GENERAL EDITORSHIP OF

                 CHARLES MILLS GAYLEY, LITT.D., LL.D.
  _Professor of the English Language and Literature in the University of
                               California_

                          FROM THE BEGINNINGS
                                  TO
                              SHAKESPEARE


                               New York:
                        THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.
                     LONDON: MACMILLAN & CO., LTD.
                                 1926

                        _All rights reserved._



                           COPYRIGHT, 1903,
                       BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.

           Set up, electrotyped, and published March, 1903.


                             Norwood Press
               _J. S. Cushing & Co.--Berwick & Smith Co.
                        Norwood, Mass., U.S.A._



PREFACE


"'Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more
cakes and ale ... nor ginger hot i' the mouth?' Or knowest not that
while man, casting the dice with Fate and Mistress Grundy, imagineth a
new luck, there shall be new comedy? Why, then, reprint these old?"

In part, because the comedies of a nation are for literature as well
as for the footlights, and literature, in most cases, begins after
the footlights are out. In part, because old comedies make good
reading, not only for lovers of fiction and the stage, but for the
student of society and the historian. Until rival forms of literary
art began to usurp their function, comedies were--in England, not to
speak of other and older lands--the recognized and cherished exponent
of the successive phases of contemporary life. For us they still are
living sketches of the social manners, morals, vanities, and ideals
of generations of our ancestors; history "unbeknownst" as written
by contemporaries. Unfortunately, many of these old comedies are
inaccessible to the public; and, therefore, we venture to hope that the
general reader may find such a collection as the present acceptable,
whether he care to enter upon a historical and technical study of the
subject or not.

To the student of literary history, however, this series will, we
trust, justify its existence for quite another reason. For the
aim of this volume and those which will follow is to indicate the
development of a literary type by a selection of its representative
specimens, arranged in the order of their production and accompanied
by critical and historical studies. So little has been scientifically
determined concerning evolution or permutation in literature that
the more specific the field of inquiry, the more trustworthy are the
results attained,--hence the limitation of this research not merely
to a genus like the drama, but to one of its species. What is here
presented to the public differs from histories of the drama in that it
is more restricted in scope and that it substantiates the narrative of
a literary growth by reproducing the data necessary to an induction;
it differs from editions of individual plays and dramatists, on the
other hand, because it attempts to concatenate its texts by a running
commentary upon the characteristics of the species under consideration
as they successively appear. It is an illustrated, if not certified,
history of English comedy.

The plays, in this series called representative, have been chosen
primarily for their importance in the history of comedy, generally also
for their literary quality, and, when possible, for their practical,
dramatic, or histrionic value. Of the studies accompanying them, some
are special, such as those dealing with the several authors and plays;
some general, the monographs upon groups or movements, and the sketch
introductory to the volume. The essay prefatory to a play includes,
when possible, an outline of the dramatist's life, a concise history
of his contribution to comedy, with reference, when appropriate, to
his productions in other fields, an estimate of his output in its
relation to the national, social, literary, and technical development
of the type in question, and to such foreign movements and influences
as may be cognate, and, finally, an exposition and criticism of the
play presented. By the insertion in proper chronological position of
occasional monographs, it is intended to represent minor dramatists
or groups of the same school, period, or movement,--sometimes,
indeed, an author of exceptional importance,--in such a way that the
historical continuity of the species may be as evident in its minor
manifestations as in the better known. The general introductions to
these volumes will usually attempt to discuss matters of historical
interest not covered by the editors of special portions of the work.
It has been necessary, therefore, to open the series, in this book,
with an historical view of the beginnings of comedy in England. While
the various contributors to the enterprise have exercised their
individual preferences in matters of literary treatment, judgment, and
style, the general editor has attempted to secure the requisite degree
of uniformity by requesting each to conform so far as his taste and
historical conscience might permit to a common but elastic outline
of method previously prepared. If the attempt has succeeded, there
has been gained something of continuity and scientific value for the
series. The presence, at the same time, of an occasional personal
element in the several articles of the history will enhance its value
for our dear friend, the good old-fashioned reader, who sets no store
by literary science, but judges books by his liking, and likes to read
such judgments of them.

The texts of the comedies presented are, to the best ability of their
respective editors, faithful reprints of the best originals; where
possible, those published during the authors' lives. Spelling and
language have been preserved as they were; but for the convenience of
readers, the punctuation and the style of capitals and letters, such
as _i_, _j_, _u_, _v_, _s_, have been, unless otherwise specified,
conformed to the modern custom.

The general editor regrets that it has not been feasible to preface
the series with some of the still earlier experiments in comedy, but
he indulges the hope that such a volume may later be added, and, also,
that it may soon be possible to publish in its proper proportions the
materials which have been condensed into the _Historical View_ here
submitted. He takes this opportunity to express his appreciation
of the courtesy of the scholars who have engaged with him in this
undertaking, and especially to thank Mr. Pollard of the British
Museum, and Mr. E. W. B. Nicholson of the Bodleian Library, Professor
Gummere, Professor Dowden, and the Master of Peterhouse for assistance,
encouragement, and counsel which have contributed to make this labour
a delight. Other volumes of this series are well under way, and will
follow with all reasonable celerity.

                                                  CHARLES MILLS GAYLEY.

  UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA,
  February 3, 1903.



CONTENTS


                                                                    Page

     I. AN HISTORICAL VIEW OF THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH COMEDY
                                    By Charles Mills Gayley
                          _Of the University of California_           xi

    II. JOHN HEYWOOD: Critical Essay. Alfred W. Pollard
        _Of St. John's College, Oxford, and the British Museum_        1
        Edition of the _Play of the Wether_. The Same                 19
        Edition of a _Mery Play betweene Johan Johan, Tyb_, etc.
                                             The Same                 61

   III. NICHOLAS UDALL: Critical Essay. Ewald Flügel
                                   _Of Stanford University_           87
        Edition of _Roister Doister_. The Same                       105
        Appendix on Various Matters.  The Same                       189

    IV. WILLIAM STEVENSON: Critical Essay. Henry Bradley
                              _Of the University of Oxford_          195
        Edition of _Gammer Gurtons Nedle_. The Same                  205
        Appendix.                          The Same                  259

     V. JOHN LYLY: Critical Essay. George P. Baker
                                    _Of Harvard University_          263
        Edition of _Alexander and Campaspe_. The Same                277

    VI. GEORGE PEELE: Critical Essay. F. B. Gummere
                                     _Of Haverford College_          333
        Edition of _The Old Wives' Tale_. The Same                   349
        Appendix.                         The Same                   383

   VII. GREENE'S PLACE IN COMEDY: A Monograph. G. E. Woodberry
                                   _Of Columbia University_   385

  VIII. ROBERT GREENE: His Life, and the Order of his Plays.
                                       Charles Mills Gayley          395
        Edition of the _Honourable Historie of Frier Bacon_.
                                                   The Same          433
        Appendix on Greene's Versification.        The Same          503

    IX. HENRY PORTER: Critical Essay. Charles Mills Gayley           513
        Edition of _The Two Angry Women of Abington_. The Same       537

     X. SHAKESPEARE AS A COMIC DRAMATIST. Edward Dowden
                               _Of Trinity College, Dublin_          635

        INDEX.                                                       663



                         _An Historical View_

                                OF THE

                                           BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH COMEDY

                                              _By Charles Mills Gayley_



AN HISTORICAL VIEW OF THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH COMEDY


=I. Liturgical Fragments, Early Saints' Plays and Parodies=

The earliest evidence of dramatic effort in England is to be found in
Latin tropes of the Easter service, composed for use in churches at
different periods between 967 and the middle of the eleventh century.
While these are, of course, serious in nature and function, they
interest the historian of comedy because they show that the dramatic
spirit was at work among our ancestors before the Anglo-Saxons had
passed under the yoke of the Normans. Likewise naturally devoid
of comic interest, but of vital importance in the development of
a dramatic technique, are certain fragments of liturgical plays,
belonging to the library of Shrewsbury School, which were published in
1890 by Professor Skeat.[1] Each of these deals, as an integer, with a
crisis in the career of our Lord; and, except for occasional choruses
and passages from the liturgy in Latin, the plays are English--the
English, in fact, translating and enlarging upon the Latin of the
service. Though the manuscript is probably not older than 1400, it
is a fragment, as Professor Manly has said, of a series of plays of
much earlier date, which were "performed in a church on the days and
in the service celebrating events of which the plays treat."[2] These
fragments are of great importance as constituting a link between the
dramatic tropes of the tenth and eleventh centuries and the scriptural
pageants presented at a later period outside the church: first by the
clergy, with the assistance, perhaps, of townspeople (as may have been
the case when a Resurrection play was given in the churchyard of St.
John's, Beverley, about 1220); afterward by the civic authorities and
the several gilds when church plays had come to be acted commonly in
the streets, that is, after the reinstitution of the feast of Corpus
Christi in 1311.

The existence of tropes at a period earlier than that in which mention
is made of plays based upon the miracles of the saints appears to me
to negative Professor Ten Brink's conjecture that in the development
of our sacred drama legendary subjects preceded the biblical. Indeed,
the fact that dramas on subjects both biblical and legendary, and of a
technique even more highly developed than that of the Shrewsbury, were,
as early as 1160, produced for liturgical functions in France, not only
by Frenchmen, but by one Hilarius, who was presumably an Englishman,
favours the opinion that the earliest saints' plays in England, also,
were as frequently derived from scriptural as from legendary sources.
It is, moreover, likely that the first saints' plays on legendary
subjects in England of which we have record were neither the first
of their kind in the period attributed to their presentation, nor a
notable advance in dramatic art when they were presented. There is
nothing in the earliest record of a legendary saint's play, the miracle
of St. Katharine, presented by Geoffrey, afterwards Abbot of St.
Albans, at Dunstable about 1100, to warrant the inference that it was
a novelty, even at that date. Since Geoffrey was at the time awaiting
a position as schoolmaster, he was probably within his function, _de
consuetudine magistrorum et scholarum_,[3] when he produced the play;
and it is to be noticed that when Matthew of Paris writes concerning
the matter, about 1240, he appears to be much more interested in an
accident which attended the performance than in the mere composition
and presentation of what he calls "some play or other of St. Katharine,
of the kind that we _commonly_ call Miracles."[4] Indeed, William
Fitzstephen, writing some seventy years before Matthew, speaks of such
plays of the saints as in his time quite customary. The probabilities
are, then, that this first legendary saint's play recorded as acted in
England had been preceded by others of its kind, and they in turn by
miracles of biblical heroes and by liturgical plays and dramatic tropes
of the services of the church.

It is not unreasonable to surmise that this legendary kind of miracle,
although sometimes used as part of the church service on the saint's
day, and originally possessed of serious features, speedily developed
characteristics helpful in the progress of the comic drama. All we
know of the St. Katharine play is that it was written for secular
presentation at a date when no mention is yet made of the public acting
of scriptural plays. The dramatist would, however, be more likely to
adorn the useful with the amusing in the preparation of a play not
necessarily to be performed within the sacred precincts; and while the
technique of the legendary miracle was presumably akin from the first
to that of the biblical, it is natural to suppose that the plot was
handled with larger imaginative freedom.

But our knowledge of these early saints' plays need not be entirely
a matter of surmise. We may form a fair idea of their character
from contemporary testimony, from the style of the Latin or French
saints' plays of the time that have survived, from the nature of the
legends dramatized, and from the analogy of contemporary biblical
plays. To the _locus classicus_ of contemporary testimony in William
Fitzstephen's _Life of Thomas à Becket_ (1170-82) I have already made
reference. Speaking of the theatrical shows and spectacular plays of
Rome, the biographer says that "London has plays of a more sacred
character--representations of the miracles which saintly confessors
have wrought, or of the sufferings whereby the fortitude of martyrs has
been displayed." According to this, the _ludi sanctiores_, or marvels,
as they seem later to be called,[5] are of two classes: the marvel of
the faith that removes mountains, the marvel of the fortitude that
endures martyrdom. In either case the saint's play is of the stuff
that produces comedy; for, whether the miracles are active or passive,
the Christian saint and soldier always proceeds victorious, and with
increasing merit abides as ensample and intercessor in the church
invisible.

This relation of the saint's play to comedy appears the more evident
when we read in the _Golden Legend_ and elsewhere the histories of
the saints who became favourites in English or foreign drama or
pageant,--St. Katharine, St. George, St. Susanna, St. Botulf, and the
like. In most cases the triumph of the marvel naturally outweighed
the terror; and in the one of the few English plays of the purely
legendary kind that survives, the _St. George_--degenerate in form
and now merely a folk drama--the self-glorification of the saint and
the amusing discomfiture and recovery of himself and his foes are
the only elements that have outlived the stress of centuries. _The
Miracle of St. Nicholas_, written in the middle of the twelfth century,
affords still better opportunity of studying the dramatic quality of
the kind in question. For the author, Hilarius, wrote also in a like
mixture--Latin with French refrains--a scriptural play of Lazarus; and
in collaboration with others, but entirely in Latin, a magnificent
dramatic history called _Daniel_. These, like the _St. Nicholas_, were
adapted to performance in church at the appropriate season in the
holy year, and no better illustration can be found of the essential
difference between the scriptural or so-called 'mystery' play, on the
one hand, and the saint's play, on the other, than is offered by them.
The two scriptural plays, stately, reverent, adapted to the solemn and
regular ritual of which they are an illustration in the concrete betray
not a gleam of humour; the play of the other kind, written as it is for
the festival of a jovial saint, leaps _in medias res_ with bustle and
surprise; and from the speech with which Barbarus entrusts his treasure
to the saint even to the last French refrain, after Nicholas has forced
the robbers to restitution, we are well over the brink of the comic.
By the concluding scene, serious and in Latin of the church, setting
forth the conversion of the pagan, the feelings of the congregation are
restored to the level of the divine service, momentarily interrupted by
the comedy but now resumed.

These, and all saints' plays not, like the St. Anne's play, of a cyclic
character, were, from the first, dramatic units; they represented
a single general plot, generally of a single hero; the action was
focussed on the critical period of his life; and a considerable
incitement was consequently offered to invention of incident and
development of character. A comparative study of the plays concerning
St. Nicholas will justify the statement that the dramatist was by way
of taking liberties with, or varying, his selection from legend. The
Einsiedeln Nicholas play of the twelfth century deals with a different
miracle from that dramatized by Hilarius; and of the four Fleury plays
of St. Nicholas, probably composed in the same century, the two that
deal with these miracles vary the treatment; the other two are on
different themes, but all would appear, from the editions which we have
of them, to be promising little comedies. The possibilities of this
kind of drama are best displayed in still another play of St. Nicholas,
written in the vernacular by a Frenchman of Arras, Jean Bodel, about
the year 1205. Throwing the traditional legends entirely overboard,
he gives his imagination free course with favouring winds of knightly
adventure, but over the waters of everyday life. He produces a play
at once comic, fanciful, and realistic, the first of its kind--of so
excellent a quality that Creizenach says that it would appear as if
dramatic poetry were even then well on the way of development from the
ecclesiastical model to a romantic kind of art in the style of the
later English and Spanish drama: chivalric, fantastic, and realistic.[6]

Unfortunately, other plays of this kind, like the _Theophilus_ of
Rutebeuf, do not always avail themselves of their chances; but we may
in general surmise that such plays in English--and we have evidence of
many--contributed as much as the biblical miracle to the cultivation of
a popular taste for comedy and the encouragement of inventive power in
the handling of dramatic fable. I believe that they contributed more
than the pre-Reformation morals, and from an earlier period.

I have said that in all probability there was nothing unusual in the
presentation of saints' plays by Hilarius and Geoffrey. Latin plays
were not a novelty in the twelfth century, at any rate to men of
culture and the church. When we consider the history of the Terentian
and Plautine manuscripts, how carefully the former were cherished, and
with what appreciation a portion at least of the latter, during the
Middle Ages, we cannot but apprehend the extent of their influence,
even when unapparent, upon taste, style, and thought. Plautus (in
whose comedies, with those of Terence, St. Jerome was wont to seek
consolation after seasons of strenuous fasting and prayer) was imitated
in a _Querolus_ and probably a _Geta_, as early as the fourth century;
and Terence was adapted by Hrosvitha in the tenth. We are, therefore,
not at all surprised when we find Latin comedy during the twelfth and
thirteenth centuries clothing itself through France and Italy in the
verdure of another spring. To be sure the new style of production--a
declamation by way of dialogue or conversational narrative, in elegiac
verse--was not intended for histrionic presentation; but it was
nevertheless of the dramatic _genus_; little by little the narrative
outline dwindled and the mimetic opportunities of the speaker were
emphasized. His success was measured by his skill in representing
diverse characters merely by changes of voice, countenance, and
gesture. He is the impersonator in transition to the actor. These
elegiac comedies indicate the continuing influence of Latin comedy upon
the literary creativity of the day; they furnish, besides, both the
material for the regular drama that was coming, and the taste by which
it should be controlled. I am, indeed, of the opinion that from this
source the farce interludes of England, France, and Italy drew much of
their content during the next three centuries, and that the saint's
plays of that period, at least those in Latin, derived therefrom their
dramatic technique. The revival of Latin comedy during the twelfth
century was partly by way of adaptations, as in the dramatic poems of
Vitalis of Blois; partly of independent productions, fashioned upon
classical models but dealing with _contes_, _fabliaux_ or _novelle_ of
contemporary quality. Of the latter kind the more interesting examples
upon the continent were the _Alda_ of William of Blois, and two
elegiac poems, perhaps Italian, of lovers and go-betweens,--a graceful
and passionate comedy of _Pamphilus_ and a dramatic version by one
Jacobus of the intrigue, so dear to mediæval satirists, between priest
and labourer's wife. The subject and treatment of the last of these
suggest, at once, a kinship with an _Interludium de Clerico et Puella_
in English of the end of the thirteenth century, and with an earlier
English story from which that is derived; also with Heywood's much
later play of _Johan_. That there was a Latin elegiac comedy in England
during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries,--comedy of domestic
romance with all or some of the characters common to the kind--youth
and maid, wife and paramour, enamoured cleric, faithless husband,
cuckold, enraged father, parasite, slave, go-between, and double,--is
rendered probable by the survival of two such poems, one of which bears
internal evidence of its origin in England, while the only manuscripts
extant of the other were found in that country. The first lacks a
title, but has been called the _Baucis_ after the manipulator of the
intrigue, a procuress; the second is named _Babio_ for the unhappy hero
who is at one and the same time fooled by his wife whom he doesn't
love, and his step-daughter whom he does. Both comedies display the
influence of classical Latin, but the latter sparkles with the humour
and spontaneity of the comedy of contemporary life.[7]

I agree, therefore, with Dr. Ward that the burden of proof is with
those who assert that the Latin comedy of the Middle Ages made no
impression upon the earlier drama of England. That the former was one
of the tributaries of the farce interlude and the principal source
of the romantic play of domestic intrigue I have no doubt whatever.
And, considering the influx of French clerics and culture during
the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries, and the French
affiliations of Geoffrey of St. Albans and Hilarius, our earliest
recorded writers of saints' plays, not to speak of the latinity of our
Maps, Wirekers, and other scholars of Henry II.'s reign, and their
familiarity with the literature of the Continent, which was Latin,--it
would be unreasonable to assume that the authors of our saints' plays,
whether in Latin or not, did not derive something of their technique
from the elegiac comedies of their contemporary latinists in France
and England, or indeed from the adaptations of Plautus and Terence in
previous centuries, or from the originals themselves.

When the religious drama passed into the hands of the crafts, it
carried with it such individual plays, of both scriptural and legendary
kinds, as were suitable to the collective character which it was
assuming. The Corpus Christi, Whitsuntide, Easter, or Christmas cycle,
though it aimed to illustrate sacred history and so justify God's
ways to man, drew its materials, not only from the scriptures of
the canon, but from the Apocrypha, the pseudo-Gospels, and mediæval
legends of scriptural and sometimes non-scriptural saints. There was
no real ground for distinction, and there is none now, dramatic or
didactic, between the non-scriptural stories of scriptural characters,
St. Joseph, and St. Thomas, stories of the Death, Assumption, and
Coronation of the Virgin, stories of St. Paul and St. Mary Magdalene,
which happened to be absorbed into this or the other miracle cycle,
and the non-scriptural stories of extra-biblical saints in plays which
have retained their independence: that of Nicholas, for instance, or
of Katharine or Laurence or Christina, except that these and their
heroes are concerned with events later than those which conclude the
earthly career of our Lord and of the Virgin Mary. All religious
historical plays, biblical or legendary, cyclic or independent, of
events contemporaneous with, or subsequent to, the scriptural, were
miracles, properly so called by our forefathers; and as the didactic
intent of the species waned, one was as likely as another to develop
material for amusement. Indeed, the authors of the _Manuel des Pechiez_
and _The Handlynge Synne_,--the preacher of that fourteenth-century
attack upon miracle plays which has been preserved in the _Reliquiæ
Antiquæ_,--these, and Chaucer, Langland, and Wyclif make no distinction
between miracles of the central mystery from the Old and New Testaments
and miracles worked and suffered by saints, whether legendary or
biblical. The distinction, if any, made by them, is between miracles
acted to further belief by priests and clerks in orders in the church,
and those acted for amusement by these or by laymen in the streets and
on the greens. And it is safe to say that as soon as a play became more
amusing than edifying, it fell under the censure of the church. This
happened as early as 1210, when a decretal of Innocent III. forbade
the acting of _ludi theatrales_ in churches. Indeed much earlier,
for Tertullian and St. Augustine and the Councils had consistently
condemned the performances of _histriones_, _mimi_, _lusores_, and
others who perpetuated the traditions of the pagan Roman stage. In 1227
the Council of Treves took such action. Gregory IX. attempted to put
a stop to the growing participation of the clergy, "lest the honour
of the church should be defiled by these shameful practices."[8] And
during the succeeding decades more than one Synod issued orders of
the same tenor. Now, even though it is practically certain that these
fulminations were directed against perversions of divine worship,
mock festivals and profane plays with the monstrous disguisings or
mummings involved,[9] there is also no doubt that the prohibition came
speedily to apply to the use of masks and other disguises in sacred
plays, and then to the presentation of plays in church for any other
than devotional purposes. Such for instance was the _animus_ with
which William of Wadington, in the _Manuel des Pechiez_, about 1235,
called attention to the scandal of the foolish clergy who, in disguise,
acted miracles '_ky est defendu en decré_.' To play the Resurrection
in church, _pur plus aver devociun_, was permissible; but to gather
assemblies in the streets of the cities after dinner, when fools more
readily congregate, that was a sacrilege. At this early date, we may
be sure that the kind of drama which was extruded from the church had
already invested such of its subjects as were biblical or legendary
with the realistic and comic qualities which made for popularity, and
so was fitting itself for adoption by the crafts. Indeed, we are told
by a thirteenth-century historian of the Church of York,[10] that, at a
date which must be set near 1220, there was a representation _as usual_
of the Lord's Ascension by masked performers, in words and acting; and
that a large crowd of both sexes was assembled, led there by different
impulses, _some by mere pleasure and wonder_, others for a religious
purpose. This was the play in the churchyard of St. John's, Beverley,
to which I have referred before. The _miracula_ of the story cited by
Wright[11] and conjecturally assigned to the thirteenth century, had
also passed beyond the sheer didactic stage, for the auditors, who
resorted to the spectacle in the "meadow above the stream," expressed
their appreciation _nunc silentes nunc cachinnantes_. When, after
the reinstitution of the festival of Corpus Christi, in 1311, these
plays began to be a function of the gilds, their secularization, even
though the clerks still participated in the acting, was but a question
of time; and the occasional injection of crude comedy was a natural
response to the civic demand. It would be erroneous, however, to
imagine that the church abandoned the drama when the town took it up:
the church maintained a liturgical drama, in some places, until well
into the sixteenth century; and as late as 1572 individual clergymen
are condemned for playing interludes in churches.[12]

If the writers of saints' plays, with their attempt to satisfy the
yearning for ideal freedom which is natural in all times and places,
took, in their fictions of the religious-marvellous, a step towards
what may be called romantic comedy,--a step no less important, though
nowadays often unnoticed, was taken toward the comedy of ridicule,
satire, and burlesque, at a date quite as remote, by the contrivers of
religious parodies. It is curious, though not at all unnatural, that
some of the earliest efforts at comic entertainment should proceed
from the revolt against ecclesiastical formality and constraint. I
cannot in this place do more than remind the reader of the antiquity
of three of the most notable of these dramatic travesties: the Feast
of Fools, the election of the Boy Bishop, and the Feast of the Ass.
The first of these was celebrated on the Continent as early as 1182,
one may say with reasonable certainty, 990. It is indeed more than
a conjecture that the Feasts of Fools and the Ass inherited the
license of the Roman Saturnalia, the season and spirit of which were
assimilated by the Christian Feast of the Nativity. Whether adopted
by the church in its effort to conciliate paganism, or tolerated for
reasons of secular policy, these mock-religious festivals were soon the
Frankenstein of Christianity; and it was doubtless against them rather
than the seductions of the sacred drama that most of the ecclesiastical
prohibitions of the Middle Ages were aimed. With its necessary comic
accessories, the Feast of Fools was well established in England before
1226, and it was still flourishing in 1390 when Courtney forbade its
performance in London. "The vicars," he said, "and clerks dressed
like laymen, laughed, shouted, and acted plays which they commonly
and fitly called the Feast of Fools." They travestied the dignitaries
of the church, they turned the service inside out, put obscenity for
sanctity and blasphemy for prayer. While it does not appear that in
England, as on the Continent,[13] the procession of the Boy Bishop
was attended with frivolity or profanity, it was certainly celebrated
with mummings and plays of suitable kind, not altogether serious.
This ceremony dates as far back as St. Nicholas day, 1229, and was
still to the fore in 1556. The Feast of the Ass appears to have been
recognized by the church as early as the Feast of Fools. I do not
know when it was introduced into England, but it was played upon Palm
Sunday as late as the middle of the sixteenth century. In France it had
been notoriously wanton since the beginning of the thirteenth; and it
could not exist anywhere without promoting the spirit of burlesque and
farce. Although the initial purpose of these festivals was to satirize
the hierarchy and ecclesiastical convention, they applied themselves
after they had been repudiated by the church to the ridicule of social
folly in general; and, according to the descriptions of Warton, Douce,
Hone, Klein, Petit de Julleville, and others, they came to be a vivid
interpreter of the popular consciousness, a most potent educator of
critical insight and dramatic instinct, an incitement to artistic even
though naïve productivity. In France, indeed, the Fraternities of Fools
produced national satirists and dramatic professionals in one. In
England, if they did nothing else, they helped to stimulate a taste for
realistic and satiric drama.


=2. The Miracle Cycles in their Relation to Comedy=

Miracle plays and 'marvels,' morals too as we soon shall see, were
a propædeutic to comedy rather than tragedy. For the theme of these
dramas is, in a word, Christian: the career of the individual as an
integral part of the social organism, of the religious whole. So also,
their aim: the welfare of the social individual. They do not exist for
the purpose of portraying immoderate self-assertion and the vengeance
that rides after, but rather the beauty of holiness or the comfort of
contrition. Herod, Judas, and Antichrist are foils, not heroes. The
hero of the miracle seals his salvation by accepting the spiritual
ideal of the community. These plays contribute in a positive manner
to the maintenance of the social organism. The tragedies of life
and literature, on the other hand, proceed from secular histories,
histories of personages liable to disaster because of excessive
peculiarity,--of person or position. Whether the rank of the tragic
hero be elevated or mean, he is unique: his desire is overweening,
his frailty irremediable, or his passion unrestrained,--his peril
unavoidable; and in his ruin not the principal only, but seconds and
bystanders, are involved. Tragedy, then, is the drama of Cain, of the
individual in opposition to the social, political, divine; its occasion
is an upheaval of the social organism.

While the dramatic tone of the miracle cycle is determined by the
conservative character of Christianity in general, the nature of the
several plays is modified by the relation of each to one or other of
the supreme crises in the career of our Lord. The plays leading up
to, and revolving about, the Nativity, are of happy ending, and were
doubtless regarded, by authors and spectators, as we regard comedy.
The murder of Abel, at first sombre, gradually passes into the comedy
of the grotesque. The massacre of the innocents emphasizes, not the
weeping of a Rachel, but the joyous escape of the Virgin and the Child.
In all such stories the horrible is kept in the background or used by
way of suspense before the happy outcome, or frequently as material
for mirth. Upon the sweet and joyous character of the pageants of
Joseph and Mary and the Child it is unnecessary to dwell. They are of
the very essence of comedy. The plays surrounding the Crucifixion and
Resurrection are, on the other hand, specimens of the serious drama,
the tragedy averted. It would hardly be correct to say tragedy; for
the drama of the cross is a triumph. In no cycle does the _consummatum
est_ close the pageant of the Crucifixion; the actors announce, and
the spectators believe, that this is "goddis Sone," whom within three
days they shall again behold, though he has been "nayled on a tree
unworthilye to die." By this consideration, without doubt, the horror
of the buffeting and the scourging, the solemnity of the passion, the
inhuman cruelty--but not the awe--of the Crucifixion, were mitigated
for the spectators. Otherwise, mediæval as they were, they could have
taken but little pleasure in the realism with which their fellows
presented the history of the Sacrifice.

To indulge in a comprehensive discussion of the beginnings of comedy
in England would be pleasant, but I find that I cannot compel the
materials into the limits at my command. Accordingly, since the miracle
cycles (to which Dodsley, following the French, gave the convenient,
but un-English and somewhat misleading, name of 'mysteries') have been
more frequently and generously treated by historians than those other
miracles, non-scriptural, which I would call 'marvels,' and the no less
important popular festival plays and early farces, and 'morals' or
moral and 'mery' interludes, it seems that, in favour of the latter,
I should defer much that might be said about the cycles until a more
spacious occasion.

The manuscript of the York plays appears to have been made about
1430-40; that of the Wakefield, or so-called Towneley, toward the
end of the same century; the larger part of the N-town, or so-called
Coventry, in 1468; and the manuscripts of the Chester between 1591
and 1607. The last are, however, based upon a text of the beginning
of the fifteenth or the end of the fourteenth century; and there is
good reason to believe that some of the plays were in existence during
the first half of the fourteenth. A tradition, suspicious but not yet
wholly discredited, assigns their composition to the period 1267-76.
The York cycle, according to Miss Lucy Toulmin Smith, was composed
between 1340 and 1350. As to the Towneley plays, Mr. Pollard decides
that they were built in at least three distinct stages, covering a
period of which the limits were perhaps 1360 and 1410. While the
composition of the so-called Coventry (apparently acted by strolling
players) may in general be assigned to the first half of the fifteenth
century, some parts give evidence of earlier date. The authenticated
dates of the representation of miracles in Coventry, 1392-1591, I
prefer to attribute not to this N-town cycle, but to the Coventry Gild
plays, two of which still exist.[14] They possess no special importance
for our present purpose. The Newcastle Shipwrights' Play is the much
battered survivor of a cycle that was in existence in 1426. The Ms. of
the three Digby plays of interest to us is assigned by Dr. Furnivall to
the latter half of the fifteenth century. The subject of the first of
them, the _Killing of the Children_, is of early dramatic use, and the
treatment of the poltroon knight corresponds suggestively with Warton's
account of the Christmas play given by the English bishops at the
Council of Constance in 1417. The two Norwich pageants which survive
are by no means naïve: they were touched up, if not written, during the
second third of the sixteenth century.

Other cycle plays which might be enumerated must be omitted, with the
exception of the Cornish. These were written in Cymric, apparently
somewhat before 1300. They are suggestive to the historian of comedy
particularly because they yield no faintest glimmer of a smile, save at
their exquisite credulity and unconsciousness of art. They are a noble
instance of the sustained seriousness of the scriptural cycle in its
early, if not its original, popular stage, and, also, of that familiar
handling of the sacred that prepares the way for the liberty of the
comic.

In approaching the English miracle plays we notice that, as in the
Cornish, the earliest secular form of the older cycles was principally,
if not entirely, serious. Reasons which I cannot stay to enumerate
prove that comic plays in the older cycles are not of the original
series, and that humorous passages in plays of the older series are of
later interpolation. Now, so far as the direct effect upon the comedy
of Heywood, Greene, and Shakespeare is concerned, it may appear to
some of no particular importance in what order the cycles in general
were composed or the plays within the cycles. But the Tudor dramatists
did not make their art, they worked with what they found, and they
found a dramatic medium of expression to which centuries and countless
influences had contributed. An extended study of the beginnings of
English comedy should determine, so far as possible, the relative
priority, not only of cycles, but of the comic passages within the
cycles: what each composition has contributed to the enfranchisement
of the comic spirit and the development of the technical factors of
the art; to what extent each has expressed or modified the realistic,
satirical, romantic, or humorous view of life, and in what ways each
has reflected the temper of its time, the manners and the mind of
the people that wrote, acted, and witnessed. If I arrange the plays
that bear upon the development of comedy according to my conclusions
regarding priority of composition, the order, broadly stated for our
present rapid survey, is as follows: first, the Cornish and the Old
Testament portions of the Chester and Coventry; then the productions of
the second and third periods of the York, and, closely following these,
the crowning efforts of the Towneley; then the New Testament plays of
the Chester and Coventry; and, finally, the surviving portions of the
cycles of Digby and Newcastle. This order, which is roughly historical,
has the advantage, as I perceive after testing it, of presenting a
not unnatural sequence of the æsthetic values or interests essential
to comedy: first, as a full discussion would reveal, the humour of
the incidental; then of the essential or real, and, gradually, of
the satirical in something like their order of appearance within the
cycles; afterwards, the accession of the romantic, the wonderful,
the allegorical, the mock-ideal; and, finally, of the scenic and
sensational.

Of the significant lack of humour in the Cornish plays I have already
spoken. I find, though I may not stay to illustrate, a livelier
observation and a superior faculty of characterization and construction
in the early comic art of Chester than in that of Coventry, but in
both a cruder sense of the humour of incident than in the other
English cycles. In the York cycle there are fewer situations that may
be called purely comic than in the Chester, and none of these occurs
in the oldest plays of the series; but for its other contributions to
dramatic art and its relation to the remarkable productions of the
Wakefield or Towneley school of comedy it deserves special attention.
A comparative study of its versification, phraseology and dramatic
technique, leads me to the conclusion that the original didactic kernel
of the York cycle was enlarged and enriched during two well-defined
periods, which may be termed the middle and the later, and that there
was at least one playwright in each of these periods or schools who
distinctly made for the development of English comedy. Of the middle
period, to which belong _Cain_, _Noah_, and the _Shepherds' Plays_,
the playwright or playwrights are characterized by an unsophisticated
humour; the distinctive playwright of the later or realistic period is
marked by his observation of life, his reproduction of manners, his
dialogue, and the plasticity of his technique. That the later school or
period, to which belongs a group of half a dozen plays[15] gathering
about _The Dream of Pilate's Wife_, and _The Trial before Herod_, was,
moreover, influenced by the manner of its predecessor is indicated by
the fact that of its two most efficient stanzaic forms one, namely that
used in _The Conspiracy_, is anticipated (though in simpler iambic
beat) by that of _Noah_, the typical play of the middle, that is the
first comic, school,[16] while the other, of which the variants are
found in _The Mortificacio_ and _The Second Trial_, has its germ more
probably in _The Cayme_ of that same school than in any other of the
middle or of the earlier plays.[17] With these two stanzaic forms the
later group, so far as we may conclude from the mutilated condition of
the surviving plays, seems to experiment; and the second of them, that
of the _Mortificacio_, may be regarded as the final and distinctive
outcome of York versification. To the leading playwrights of each of
these schools,--the former the best humorist, the latter the best
realist, of the York drama,--to these anonymous composers of the most
facile and vivid portions of the York cycle our comedy owes a still
further debt; for from them it would appear that a poet of undoubted
genius derived something of his inspiration and much of his method and
technique--our first great comic dramatist, the Playwright of Wakefield.

We know that Wakefield actors sometimes played in the Corpus Christi
plays of York, and it was only natural that the smaller town should
borrow from the dramatic riches of its metropolitan neighbour. We
are, therefore, not surprised to find in the Wakefield cycle a number
of plays which have been taken bodily from the York cycle.[18] None
of these is in the distinctive stanzaic form of which we have just
spoken; but imbedded in certain other Wakefield plays[19] that in
other respects show marks of derivation from earlier and discarded
portions of the York cycle, we find occasional affiliated forms of the
distinctive later York strophe evidently in a transitional period of
its development. We find, furthermore, passages in this transitional
York strophe side by side with Wakefield stanzas which display the
strophe in a more highly artistic technique than anything found in
the York.[20] The writer of the perfected York-Wakefield stanza,
such as appears in the Towneley plays, must have, consciously or
unconsciously, been influenced by the middle and later York schools of
dramatic composition. This fully developed outcome of the distinctive
York stanza of the later school is found in the guise of a nine-line
stanza in certain Towneley plays which we see reason for attributing
to a Wakefield genius, and which we shall presently consider. Suffice
it in this place to say that of the Wakefield stanza the first four
lines, when resolved, according to their internal rhymes, into separate
verses, run thus: abababab². If to this we add the _cauda_, our stanza
runs abababab²c¹ddd²c². Sometimes, indeed, a three-accented line occurs
among the first eight, showing the more plainly that this thirteen-line
stanza of Wakefield (though set down in nine lines) is a variant or
derivative of the thirteen-line York XXXVI.,--ababbcbc³d¹eee²d³. And
that in itself is, as I have already said, a refinement upon the
fourteen-line stanza of the earlier comic school of York, as used in
the _Noah_. Whether the rapid beat and frequently recurring rhyme
of the Wakefield are a conscious elaboration of the York or a happy
find or accident, the stanzaic result is an accurate index to the
superiority in spirit and style achieved over their congeners of York
by these comedies of Wakefield.

Now, the contiguity of what is undoubtedly borrowed from the York with
what is imitated from it and what is elaborated upon it, is strong
proof of a conscious relation between these Wakefield productions
and those of York; and since the work of the poet, especially the
provincial poet, was in those days (though verse forms, like air,
are free to all) likely to be cast in a fixed mould--his favourite
metrical and strophaic medium, there is at any rate a possibility that
the plays and portions of plays in the Wakefield cycle, written in
this fully developed and distinctive stanza, were the work of one man.
When we examine the contents of the plays and their style, we find
that the possibility becomes more than a probability, practically a
certainty; and that being so, I can hardly deem it an accident that
the most dramatic portions of the Wakefield cycle show so close an
external resemblance to the best comic and realistic portions of the
York. It is, then, with something of the interest in an individual, not
a theory, that one may segregate the plays and bits of plays bearing
this metrical stamp, look for the personality behind them, and attempt
to discover the relation of the Wakefield group of comedies to its
forerunners of York.

The Wakefield cycle is still in flux when its distinctive poet-humorist
takes it in hand. Insertions in his nine-line stanza are found in
one[21] of the five plays derived from the York cycle. Of the two plays
which show a general resemblance to a corresponding York, one[22] is in
this stanza, and to the other[23] a dozen of the stanzas are prefixed.
The _Fflagellacio_ (XXII.), the second half of which is an imitation,
sometimes loose, sometimes literal, of York XXXIV. (_Christ Led up to
Calvary_), opens with twenty-three of these stanzas,--nearly the whole
of the original part. One of them, No. 25, is, by the way, based upon
stanza 2 of that part of York XXXIV. which is _not_ taken over by the
Wakefield play. In the Wakefield _Ascension_ (XXIX.), which adapts, but
in no slavish manner, a few passages from the York (XLIII.), we find
two of this playwright's nine-line stanzas;[24] and in the Wakefield
_Crucifixion_ (XXIII.), which has some slight reminiscence of York
XXXV. and XXXVI., we find one. In that part of the Wakefield less
directly, or not at all, connected with the York cycle, four whole
plays,[25] the _Processus Noe_, the two _Shepherds' Plays_, and the
_Buffeting_, and occasional portions of other plays[26] are written
in this stanza. This contribution in the nine-line stanza amounts to
approximately one-fourth of the cycle; and, allowing for modifications
due to oral and scribal transmission, is of one language and
phraseology. Not merely the identity of stanza and diction, however,
leads one to suspect an identity of authorship; but the prevalence in
all these passages, and not in others, of spiritual characteristics in
approximately the same combination,--realistic and humorous qualities
singularly suitable to the development of a vigorous national comedy.
"If any one," says Mr. Pollard, "will read these plays together, I
think he cannot fail to feel that they are all the work of the same
writer, and that this writer deserves to be ranked--if only we knew his
name!--at least as high as Langland, and as an exponent of a rather
boisterous kind of humour had no equal in his own day." And, speaking
of the _Mactacio Abel_, where we lack the evidence of identity of
metre, this authority continues, "The extraordinary youthfulness of the
play and the character of its humour make it difficult to dissociate
it from the work of the author of the _Shepherds' Plays_, and I
cannot doubt that this, also, at least in part, must be added to his
credit."[27]

To this conclusion I had come before reading Mr. Pollard's significant
introduction to the _Towneley Plays_; and I may say that I had
suspected the Wakefield master in the _Processus Talentorum_ as well;
for though, with the exception of some insertions, the stanzaic form
of that pageant is not his favourite, the humour, dramatic method,
and phraseology of the whole are distinctly reminiscent of him. In
the revising and editing of the Wakefield cycle as he found it this
playwright was brought into touch with the York schools of comic and
realistic composition. What he derived from them and what he added may
be gathered from a comparative view of the related portions of these
cycles. That, however, I must defer until another time. The best of his
plays are of course the _Noe_ and the _Secunda Pastorum_; the latter
a product of dramatic genius. It stands out English and alone, with
its homespun philosophy and indigenous figures,--Mak and Gyll and the
Shepherds,--its comic business, its glow, its sometimes subtle irony,
its ludicrous colloquies, its rural life and manners, its naïve and
wholesome reverence: with these qualities it stands apart from other
plays of cycles foreign or native, and in its dramatic anticipations,
postponements, and surprises is our earliest masterpiece of comic
drama. A similar dramatic excellence characterizes all this poet's
plays, as well as the insertions made by him in other plays. But he
is no more remarkable for his dramatic power than for his sensitive
observation and his satire.

Of the realism of his art much might be said. To be sure, we cannot
accredit to him the grim photography of certain plays--the preparations
for the crucifixion, for instance, which are the counterpart of scenes
in the York. But the _Buffeting_ proves his power in this direction,
and parts of the _Scourging_--each a _genre_ picture on a background
of horrors. Of conversations caught from the lip those in the second
and fourth scenes of the _Processus Noe_ are his, and those between the
shepherds in _Prima_ and _Secunda Pastorum_,--all of them unique. So
also the description of the dinners in these _Shepherds' Plays_: the
boar's brawn, cow's foot, sow's shank, blood puddings, ox-tail, swine's
jaw, the good pie, "all a hare but the loins," goose's leg, pork,
partridge, tart for a lord, calf's liver "scored with the verjuice,"
and good ale of Ely to wash things down. What more seasonable than
the afterthought of collecting the broken meats for the poor? what
more naïve than the night-spell in the name of the Crucified just
preceding the angelic announcement of his birth? what more typical of
unquestioning faith than the reverence of these "Sely Shepherds" before
the Saviour Child, the simplicity and acceptability of their rustic
gifts? This is the fresh and sympathetic handling of a well-worn theme.
But the Wakefield poet is no sentimentalist: his anger burns as sudden
as his pity. Otherwhere genially ironical, it is in his revision of
the _Judicium_ that he displays his full power as a satirist. Here his
hatred of oppression, his scorn of vice and self-love, his contempt of
sharp and shady practice in kirk or court, upon the bench, behind the
counter, or by the hearth are welded into one and brought to edge and
point. He strikes hard when he will, but he has the comic sense and
spares to slay. We may hear him chuckling, this Chaucerian "professor
of holy pageantry," as he pricks the bubble of fashion, lampoons
Lollard and "kyrkchaterar" alike, and parodies the latinity of his age.
When his demons speak the syllables leap in rhythmic haste, the rhymes
beat a tattoo, and the stanzas hurtle by. Manners, morals, folly, and
loose living are writ large and pinned to the caitiff. But the poet
behind the satire is ever the same, sound in his domestic, social,
political philosophy, constant in his sympathy with the poor and in
godly fear.

Though there are comic scenes of some excellence in the later
Chester and so-called Coventry plays, they add little to the variety
of the Wakefield. I would, however, call attention to a few other
comparatively modern, but, generally speaking, contemporaneous,
characteristics of these and the remaining cycles: the foreshadowing
of the chivalrous-romantic in the Joseph and Mary plays of York,
Wakefield, and especially Coventry; of the melodramatic in the
wonder and mediæval magic of the York and Chester cycles, and again
especially in the Coventry; of the allegorical in the Coventry, and of
the burlesque in all cycles when Pride rides for a fall or Cunning is
caught in his own snare.

In respect of the sensational, the older cycles are surpassed by the
surviving plays of Newcastle and Digby; so also in the increasing
complexity of motive and interest. These Digby plays were acted,
probably one by one in some midland village from year to year during
the latter half of the fifteenth century, and maybe somewhat earlier.
They are of interest, not only because they emphasize the sensational
element, but because they stand half-way, if not in time, at any
rate in spirit and method, between the miracles that we have so far
discussed and the moral plays of which we shall presently treat. The
Digby _Killing of the Children of Israel_ lends a decided impetus to
the progress of the comic and secular tendencies of the drama. The
Herod brags as usual, but he is artistically surpassed in his _metier_
by a certain _miles gloriosus_, the descendant of Bumbommachides
and Sir Launscler Depe, and himself the forerunner of Thersites and
Roister Doister, and countless aspirants for knighthood, whose valour
"begynnes to fayle and waxeth feynt" under the distaff of an angry
wife. Such is the Watkyn of this Digby play. Both here and in the
_Conversion of St. Paul_, the joyous element has been enhanced, as Dr.
Furnivall points out, by the introduction of dancing and music. In the
_Conversion_ the charm supplied by the ammoniac Billingsgate of Saul's
servant and the ostler adds thrills galore. Saul, "goodly besene in
the best wyse, like an aunterous knyth," the thunder and lightning,
the persecutor felled to earth, "godhed speking from hevyn," the Holy
Ghost, the "dyvel with thunder and fyre" sitting cool upon a "chayre in
hell, another devyll with a fyeryng, cryeng and roryng,"--the warning
angel, Saul's escape,--there is sign enough of invention here. To be
sure, these seductions are counterbalanced by a didactic on the Seven
Deadly Sins, worthy of a preceding or contemporary moral drama; but
that was part of the bargain. The spectacular plays of this group,
especially the _Mary Magdalene_, comic and didactic by turns, denote a
further advance in a still different direction. They portray character
in process of formation: the rejection of former habits and motives,
and the adoption of new, the resulting change of conduct, and the
growth of personality. From this point of view Mary Magdalene is a
figure of as rare distinction in the history of romantic comedy as
the Virgin Mary,--perhaps even of greater importance. Interesting as
the sensational elements of the play may have been, and novel--the
vital novelty here is that of character growing from within. Wonderful
as the career of the virgin mother was,--an essential propædeutic to
that woman worship which characterizes a broad realm of Christian
romance,--her career could never have awakened the peculiar interest,
dramatic and humane, that was stirred by the legend so often dramatized
of the wayward, tempted, falling, but finally redeemed and sainted Mary
of Magdala.

With regard to the transitional character of the Digby plays, it has
been maintained that this particular play, combining materials of the
biblical miracle and the saint's play or marvel, approaches more nearly
than any other of the group to the morals and moral interludes, because
of the prominence of the Sensual Sins in the dramatic career of the
Magdalene. Professor Cushman, in his excellent thesis on _The Devil and
the Vice_, even asserts that the downfall of the heroine, as the result
of sensual temptation which is the office of seven personified deadly
sins "arayyd lyke vij dylf," is a special 'development' of this play. I
can hardly go so far: the church of the Middle Ages, Caxton's _Golden
Legend_ of 1483, and Voragine's of 1270-90 had already amalgamated the
biblical narratives of the Mary of seven devils, Mary of Bethany, and
the woman who was a sinner. In fact, the suggestion of the 'device,' if
such was necessary, is contained in seven consecutive lines of Caxton's
_Life of the Magdalene_. This biblical and legendary play is, however,
undoubtedly well on the way toward the drama of the conflict of good
and evil for possession of the human soul. And this appears, as the
author just cited has pointed out, when we consider a later work on
the same subject, called a Moral Interlude, by Lewis Wager. Although
the Seven Deadly Sins no longer figure as such, their place is here
supplied by four characters,--Infidelitie the Vice, and his associates,
Pride of Life, Cupiditie, and Carnal Concupiscence,--who, arrayed like
gallants, instruct the Magdalene in their several follies, and are
themselves all "children of Sathan." These later Vices are nothing
other than selected Deadly Sins,--the Pride, the Covetyse, and the
Lechery of the earlier miracle play.


=3. The Dramatic Value of the English Miracle Plays=

Taken as a whole, the craft cycle possesses the significance,
continuity, and finality requisite to dramatic art; taken in its parts
or pageants, however, it presents to the modern reader the appearance
of a mosaic, an historical panel picture, or stereopticon show. I set
down these words, "the modern reader," because I do not believe that
the audience of contemporaries was aware of any break in the sequence
of the collective spectacle. This histrionic presentment of the
biblical narrative lacked neither motive nor method to the generations
of the ages of belief. For them the history of the world was thus
unrolled in episodes the opposite of disconnected,--each a hint or sign
or sample, a type or antitype of the scheme of salvation, which was
itself import and impulse of all history. No serious scene, but was
confirmation or prophecy. Characters, institutions, and events of the
Old-Testament drama had their _raison d'être_ not only in themselves
but in the New Testament antitype which each in turn prefigured. No
profound theological training was needed to comprehend each symbol and
its significance, to esteem all as centring in the Person of history,
in the sacrifice and atonement. And still it is largely because
historians have failed to appreciate the scriptural training of our
ancestors that they have unfairly emphasized the episodic nature of the
miracle cycles, at any rate of the English.

The integral quality of the English cycle is infinitely superior to
that of the French; and the separate plays are more frequently artistic
units. This is due, among other things, to facts long ago pointed out
by Ebert.[28] The smaller stage in England, which in turn restricted
the scope of the play, made it impossible to split up the action into
two or more parallel movements, such as frequently occupied the stage
in France. The scene, moreover, was in England limited to earth, save
when the plot expressly required the presentation of heaven or hell. It
very rarely required all three at once. The conduct of the English play
is therefore less dependent upon the supernatural, and the persons bear
a closer resemblance to actual human beings. Neither plot nor character
is distracted by the irresponsible intrusion of devils, whereas these,
idling about the French stage, frequently turned the action into
horse-play,--if the fool (likewise absent from the English miracle) had
not already turned it into a farce out of all relation to the fable.
The comic element in the English play had to exist by virtue of its
relation to the main action or not at all. It was therefore compelled
to conquer its position within the artistic bounds of the drama. The
comic scenes of the English miracle should accordingly be regarded,
not as interruptions, nor independent episodes, but as harmonious
counterpoint or dramatic relief. Those who have witnessed in recent
times the reproduction of the _Secunda Pastorum_ at one of the American
universities bear testimony to the propriety and charm, as well as the
dramatic effect, with which the foreground of the sheep-stealing fades
into the radiant picture of the nativity. The pastoral atmosphere is
already shot with a prophetic gleam, the fulfilment is, therefore,
no shock or contrast, but a transfiguration--an epiphany. I do not
forget that a less humorous analogue of the _Shepherds' Play_ exists
in such French mysteries as that of the _Conception_, but I call
attention to the fact that by devices, technical sometimes, sometimes
naïve, elaborated through the centuries in response to the demands
of a popular æsthetic consciousness, the cycles, preëminently in
England, acquired a delicacy and variety of colour, an horizon, and an
atmosphere, not only as wholes, but in the parts contributing to the
whole.

It is, therefore, only with reservation that I can concur with what one
of our most scientific and suggestive historians has said concerning
the dramatic qualities of the English miracle play:[29] "In the
mystery, not only were the subject and the idea unalterable, but the
way in which the subject and idea affected each other was equally
unchangeable. The power of expression was exceedingly defective. The
idea in the finished work still seemed to be something strange and
external--conception and execution did not correspond. It is only by
a whole cycle that the subject could be exhausted, and this cycle was
composed of the most heterogeneous elements, and is, in fact, a work
of accident. The cycle play very seldom formed a unit or whole; it
seldom contained anything that could be called a dramatic action. The
spectators were therefore interested only in the matter. Only a few
details made any æsthetic effect--such as character, situation, scenes;
the whole was rarely or never dramatic." I will grant that, since the
subject of the individual pageant was prescribed by tradition, and the
solution of the dramatic problem already fixed, the author did not
always penetrate the shell of his story and assimilate the conception.
Consequently the execution has frequently the faults of the ready-made
suit of clothes: it creases where it should fall free and breaks
where it should embrace. As the writer is not expected to exercise
his invention, the onlooker estimates the conduct of the fable as a
spectacle, not as a revelation. Many of the miracles, therefore, lack
the element of dramatic surprise, and almost none attempts anything in
the way of character development. This is, in part, because, severally,
the plays are squares of an historical chessboard, upon which the
individual--king or pawn--is merely a piece; and even if the board be
not historic, the squares are over strait for the gradual deploy of
motive; many of these plays are scenes, consequently, and limited to
single crises of an individual life. In other words, the character,
if familiar, is regarded as an instrument toward a well-known end; if
unfamiliar, as an apparition momentarily vivid. Slight opportunity
exists for interplay of incident and character, for the production of
conduct, in short, which is the resultant of character and a crisis.
It must also be conceded that, since each play was the dear delight of
its proprietary gild--and each rare performance thereof the chance that
should grace these craftsmen ever or disgrace them quite--the effort of
actor, if not always of playwright, was towards a speedy and startling
effect, such as might be procured by the extraneous quality of the
show, rather than by the story in itself or in its relation to the
cycle.

But still we must be careful not to generalize from a play here and
there to the quality of a cycle as a whole or to the common qualities
of various cycles. When we say that the mysteries, that is, the
scriptural miracles, possessed this, that, or the other merit or
defect, to what area and what object does the remark apply? Do we refer
to all the extant plays, or only to the one hundred and fifty plays in
the five cycles that may be called complete? Do we draw the inference
from a majority of all plays that might fall within the purview,
or from the plays of one cycle, or from a majority of the plays in
that cycle, or from a single striking example here or there in one
or another cycle or fragmentary collection? Do we draw the inference
from, or apply the conclusion indiscriminately to, later as well as
earlier cycles and plays? A generalization from the Chester does not
_prima facie_ fit the Towneley, nor does a dramatic estimate of the
Coventry characterize the isolated miracle morals of the Digby. Between
the composition of the earliest and the latest of the Chester plays
alone, centuries elapsed; centuries between the earliest Coventry and
the earliest Digby; generations between Chester and Coventry plays
upon the same subject, and generations more between the York and
Newcastle. York includes some of the youngest pageants of the species
and many of the oldest. Towneley is generally later than York; but it
sometimes retains an original which York had long ago discarded for
something more modern. Returning, therefore, to Professor ten Brink's
generalization, we must submit that most of the defects which he lays
at the door of the cyclic miracle were not inherent in the species,
but incidental to the period. Some attach to the crudeness of the
playwright, some to the simplicity of the audience; they no doubt
attached to the collective "morals" of the fourteenth century, such as
the _Paternoster Play_, and they would have characterized plays of any
other species attempted under like conditions. The best miracle plays
are as mature products of dramatic art as the best of the allegorical
kind, except in one point only--the development of character. That "the
subject and its idea should be unalterable" and their interrelation
fixed, is by no means a peculiarity of the scriptural play, but a
characteristic of period or place. If the reader will cast even a rapid
glance by way of comparison over the French _Corpus_ of mysteries
and the English, he will observe that the scope of subjects possible
to a religious cycle was amenable to widely different conditions of
restriction, selection, and enlargement, and that the treatment of
the same and similar subjects was infinitely varied. To illustrate at
length would be a work of supererogation. Everybody knows that the
French cycles have plays upon subjects, the Job, for instance, and
Tobias and Esther,[30] not touched by the English,--at any rate when in
their prime; and that the same subject or episode is frequently treated
in a way dissimilar to the English. When we turn to details we note
likewise the independence of the playwright: none of the English plays
avails itself, for instance, of Adam's difficulty in swallowing the
apple, though the incident figures both in _Le Mistere de la Nativite_
and that of the _Viel Testament_; nor of the attractive possibilities
of Reuben and Rachel's maid, Joseph and Potiphar's wife, Solomon and
the Queen of Sheba, and many another conjunction known to all readers
of the French religious play. And these discrepancies between national
cycles hold true even where, as in the case of the Chester plays, the
influence of the French mysteries of the thirteenth century and of the
later collections is in other respects evident. Of the four English
cycles, moreover, each does not select exactly the same subjects for
its pageants as the others,--Balaam and his Ass, for instance, appear
only in the Chester,--nor do all introduce the same incidents in the
handling of a common subject.

Professor ten Brink is by no means alone in his estimate of the
technical quality of the English scriptural miracle, but I must say
that the estimate seems to me to be hardly up to the deserts of the
species. The frequent absence of such refinements as the unities of
time and place was of the essence both of play and period; but it was
not of the essence of the miracle cycle that the expression should be
defective, or that conception and execution should fail to correspond,
or of the miracle play that it should be unable economically and
adequately to develop a dramatic action and produce an artistic
whole. It may be an insufficient argument to say that the plays of
the Wakefield dramatist are anything but defective in expression.
Let us, therefore, be somewhat more comprehensive in the scope of
inquiry. I have gone carefully through the four English cycles with
Professor ten Brink's censures in mind, and I conclude that at least
twenty of the individual plays have central motive, consistent action,
and well-rounded dramatic plot. Indeed I think a good case might be
made for thirty. That would be to say that one-fifth of the miracles
of the great cycles were artistic units in themselves, and must have
interested their spectators, not alone by the materials displayed, but
by a subject that meant something, and situations, scenes, and acting
characters by which it was sometimes not at all unworthily presented.
The inheritors of English literature will indeed carry away a false
impression of the artistic achievements of their ancestors, if they
believe that in spite of a development of five hundred years the
miracle play was "rarely or never dramatic."

Even though the sacred and traditional character of the biblical
narrative must have exercised a restraint upon the comic tendencies of
the cyclic poet not likely to have existed in the case of the writers
of saints' plays and single morals, still it is when he attempts
the comic that the cyclic poet is most independent. For as soon as
plays have passed into the hands of the gilds, the playwright puts
himself most readily into sympathy with the literary consciousness as
well as the untutored æsthetic taste of his public when he colours
the spectacle, old or new, with what is preëminently popular and
distinctively national. In the minster and out of it, all through
the Christian year, the townsfolk of York and Chester had as much of
ritual, of scriptural narrative, and tragic mystery as they wanted,
and probably more; when the pageants were acted, they listened with
simple credulity, no doubt, to the sacred history, and with a reverence
that our age of illumination can neither emulate nor understand;--but
with keenest expectation they awaited the invented episodes where
tradition conformed itself to familiar life,--the impromptu sallies,
the cloth-yard shafts of civic and domestic satire sped by well-known
wags of town or gild. Of the appropriateness of these insertions,
spectators made no question, and the dramatists themselves do not
seem to have thought it necessary to apologize for æsthetic creed or
practice. The objections thereto proceeded from the authorities of
the church, but the very tenor and tone of them are a testimony to
the importance attained by the comic element in the religious plays.
It is principally the "bourdynge and japynge" which attended the
"pleyinge of Goddis myraclys and werkes," that called forth the wrath
of the sermon that I have already cited from the end of the fourteenth
century.[31] And it was for similar reasons that Bishop Wedego ordered,
in 1471, the suppression of both passion play and saints' plays within
his continental diocese. In France, indeed, not only horse-play
characterized the performance of the mysteries, but absolutely
irrelevant farces invaded them, merely _afin que le jeu soit moins fade
et plus plaisans_.

I have alluded to the distinctively national note that characterizes
the comic contributions to the sacred plays, and I find that my opinion
is confirmed by the examples cited by Klein and Creizenach. The French
mystery poets, while they develop, like the English, the comic quality
of the shepherd scenes, introduce the drinking and dicing element _ad
lib._,--and sometimes the drabbing; they make, moreover, a specialty of
the humour of deformity, a characteristic which appears nowhere in the
English plays. The Germans, in their turn, elaborate a humour peculiar
to themselves,--elephantine, primitive, and personal. They seem to
get most run out of reviling the idiosyncrasies of Jews, whose dress,
appearance, manners, and speech they caricature,--even introducing
Jewish _dramatis personæ_ to sing gibberish, exploit cunning, and
perform obscenities under the names of contemporary citizens of the
hated race. In general a freer rein seems to have been given to the
sacrilegious, grotesque, and obscene on the Continent than in England.
In the _Passion_ of A. Greban (before 1452), Herod orders Jesus into
the garb of a fool; and in some of the German plays the judges dance
about the cross upon which the Saviour hangs. Much of the ribaldry
was of course impromptu, and on that account the more grotesque; as
in the story related by Bebel of how a baker playing the part of
Christ in the _Processus Crucis_ bore the gibes of his tormentors with
admirable composure, until one actor Jew insisted upon calling him a
corn thief,--"Shut up," retorted the Christ, "or I'll come down and
break your head with the cross." There is, of course, an occasional
license in the English plays, such as the dance about the cross in the
Coventry; but the excess of ribaldry, _grotesquerie_, and _diablerie_
does not assault the imagination as in the continental mysteries.


=4. The Contribution of Later "Marvels" and Early Secular Plays=

The advance which remained to be made upon the quality of play
presented in the miracle cycle before England could have an artistic
comedy were threefold: _first_, from the collective to the single play;
_second_, from the reproduction of traditional or accidental events to
the selection of such as possessed significance and continuity; and
_third_, from the employment of the remote in material and interest to
the employment of the immediate and familiar.

To attribute to the allegorical play all improvements that were made in
this transition is a mistake. Some steps in the right direction were
already necessitated by the popular demand, and had been taken by the
later miracle plays before the allegorical drama had itself passed out
of the experimental stages,--by the Digby _Magdalene_, for instance.
In that play, the dramatic management of a plot, invented and romantic
rather than scriptural in its nature and interest, and the portrayal
of commonplace events and characters side by side with the occasional
allegory, are evidence not only of contemporary taste, but, as Mr.
Courthope has said, of an artistic approach to the representation of
fables of simple secular interest. The play, in fact, bears a close
resemblance to and was apparently influenced by the popular life of
St. Mary Magdalene which appeared in Caxton's translation of 1483 of
the _Golden Legend_,--or perhaps by the French edition which Caxton
follows, or the original of Voragine. In the _St. Paul_ of the Digby
collection we note a similar fusion of secular and legendary material,
and an imaginative handling of the plot. Although the dramatist has
buried his opportunities of psychological invention in the apostle's
homily upon the deadly sins, he has at the same time crossed the border
of the "moral play" rich with psychological opportunity. In the same
direction of advance various steps had also been taken by other saints'
plays, purely legendary, like the _Sancta Katharina_ already mentioned,
and by such a 'marvel' as the Sacrament Play, or Miracle of the Host,
which we shall presently describe. A movement in advance had, moreover,
been made by our early secular drama, which comprised, besides the
farce interlude prepared by scholars for profane consumption, like the
_Interludium de Clerico et Puella_, certain popular festival plays,
for instance, the _Hox Tuesday_ and _Robin Hood_, and plays of saints
turned national heroes like St. George and St. Edward.

Concerning the plays of the miracles of saints I have already expressed
the belief that, whether these workers of marvels got off with their
lives or not, the representations in which they figured were, generally
speaking, of the essence of comedy: the persistent optimism which in
the end routs the spectres of temptation, persecution, and unbelief.
This would hold, with even greater probability, of the purely legendary
miracles, the nature of which is, of course, that of popular religious
thought and faith in the Middle Ages, and is embalmed for us in the
_Golden Legend_, in Eusebius and St. Jerome, and other writers from
whom the legend was derived. In spite of their exceeding interest,
these legendary saints' plays and pageants can be considered in this
place only with brevity; but in order that the reader may better
appreciate the variety of their subjects and the extent of the period
over which they were acted, I subjoin a list of some that we know to
have been presented.[32]

I have little doubt that the romantic combination of tragic,
marvellous, and comic later noticeable upon the Elizabethan stage was
in some degree due to the ancient and continuous dramatization of the
irrational adventures, blood-curdling tortures, and dissonant emotions
afforded by the legends of the saints. These 'marvels,' moreover, must,
because of their early emancipation from ecclesiastical restraints and
their adoption by the folk, have contributed to the development of the
freely invented, surprising, and amusing fable which is congenial to
comedy. That we have not more notices of them is owing, not to their
insignificance nor to any disappearance before the advancing popularity
of the craft cycles, for even the pageants of the saints still flourish
in Aberdeen as late as 1531, and the plays elsewhere much later,
but, as Ebert has already noted, to the fact that they were seldom
presented with the magnificence and publicity of the cyclic miracles;
but whenever a saint's play is taken up by a city or gild, it enjoys
frequent official notice and maintains its dignity for years.

Passing to the marvel or miracle of the Host, we notice that only one
in our language has survived. This _Play of the Blyssyd Sacrament_
bears the name of one of the East Midland Croxtons, and it was composed
between 1461 and 1500. Although some critics have a low opinion of
the play, I venture to say that it is one of the most important in
the early history of English comedy. The subject, the desecration
by Jews of a wonder-working Wafer and the discomfiture and ultimate
conversion of the offenders, is popular in the legend of the later
Middle Ages.[33] With ours a Dutch Sacrament Play, written about the
year 1500 by Smeken and acted in Breda, naturally calls for comparison;
but, though the latter exhibits the miraculous power of the Host and
has a certain diabolic humour, it lacks altogether the realism, the
popular reproduction of Jewish malignity, and the effective close of
the Croxton. The Croxton avails itself of the possibilities of the
subject. The idea has a significance; the plot possesses legitimate
motive, due proportions, unity ethical and æsthetic; and the conclusion
is happy. The mood, by turns serious and comic, and the _dramatis
personæ_, various and well-characterized, combine to furnish a most
diverting drama of the wonderful, horrible, elevated, and commonplace.
Colle's announcement of his master the leech, "a man off alle syence,"
who "syttyth with sum tapstere in the spence," is excellently ironical;
and Master Brundych himself, like the doctor in the St. George plays,
must have furnished a figure exactly suited to the popular taste. Nor
is the realism confined to the intentionally comic scenes; but it is
as vividly successful in the corruption of Aristorius by Jonathas
and in the futile and richly avenged efforts of the Jews to torture
the Host. Here certainly was a play adapted to meet the demands of
its time,--exhibiting closer affiliation with the folk than with
church or patron or school, acted perhaps by strolling players, an
unforced product of the artistic consciousness; a play which, though
it dealt with a sacred subject, still focussed itself in a single
plot, discarded all material, sacred or historical, not available for
its purpose, completed an alliance with the natural and the familiar,
and emphasized the comic realities of life. No miracle, cyclic or
individual, no allegorical drama, and no secular play of the same or
previous date excels the Croxton in dramatic concept and constructive
skill. Without the mediation offered by such Croxton plays, the English
drama would have had "old" bridging the space between miracles,
marvels, and morals of the earlier time and the comedy of Shakespeare.

The consideration of our early farce interludes may be conveniently
postponed for the present in favour of the more popular plays, or
shows, with which our forefathers celebrated festival occasions. Of the
pageants in honour of royal entries, to which reference has already
been made, it is impossible to say more here than that, developing
gradually into dramatic spectacles, and at the same time retaining
their symbolic character, they must have contributed to the taste for
allegorical plays, the moral, and the moral interlude. If we turn to
the secular shows presented on regular festivals, such as May-day, Hox
Tuesday, and the Eve of St. John and St. Peter, while we may at once
conclude that they were less efficient as dramas than some of which we
have spoken, such as the Sacrament play, they have the advantage, from
our present point of view, of indicating more directly the nature of
popular demand and the primitive conditions of popular art. Indeed,
Dodsley regards the mummers who commonly acted them as the earliest
genuine comedians of England. Of such disguisings, masks, and mummeries
there is evidence in the Wardrobe Accounts of 1389, according to
which a company of twenty-one men was disguised as the Ancient Order
of the Coif for a play before the king at Christmas; and of other
mummings--not satiric nor in mockery of church ritual, but genial--we
have mention in Stow and citations in Warton and Collier that take us
to the first half of the fourteenth century. They doubtless existed
much earlier, though I do not think that they anticipated the parodies
of sacred rites or the ecclesiastical saints' plays.

Naturally a much-loved figure in festival games was Robin Hood, and
that some kind of drama was made out of the ballads surrounding him
is proved by a Ms. fragment of 1475 or earlier of _Robin Hood and
the Knight_, and a play of _Robin Hood and the Curtal Friar_ with a
portion of _Robin Hood and the Potter_, printed by Copland, in 1550, as
"very proper to be played in May-games."[34] These May-games occurred
not only in May, but June, and gave employment to St. George and the
Dragon, the Nine Worthies (at whom Shakespeare poked run in _Love's
Labour's Lost_), the morris-dance, with its Lords and Ladies of the
May, giant, hobby-horse, and sometimes devils, as well as to Robin
and Little John, Maid Marian, and Friar Tuck; and they were popular
through the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, perhaps even earlier.
If we may trust old Fenn's editing, Sir John Paston wrote in 1473 of
a man whom he had kept for three years to play "Seynt Jorge and Robyn
Hod and the Shryff off Nottingham." There may be even earlier mention
of such plays. For, with all deference to the best of authorities,
Professor Child, I cannot but think that when Bower wrote, between 1441
and 1447, of the popular "comedies and tragedies" of _Robertus Hode et
Litill Johanne_, he had reference to acted plays, since he took pains
to specify in his account of them the _mimi_, as well as the _bardani_
who chanted them. These entertainments, he says, were then more popular
than any other, and it is only natural to suppose that they had existed
long before his time. The earliest mention of Robin in England is in
_Piers Plowman_, 1377, and then as the subject of a ballad; but, as
Warton long ago pointed out, pastoral plays of _Robin et Marion_ had
been given in France upon festival occasions before the end of the
thirteenth century. Although there appears to be no similarity between
the incidents of Adam de la Halle's comic opera of 1283 upon Robin and
his Marion and the English stories, and although we are ignorant of
the nature of the spring game, or play, of the same title, which was
already an annual function in Anjou, in 1392, the principal characters
and conditions of life in the two series are sufficiently similar to
suggest a connection by derivation or common source. If such connection
exist, it is not impossible that some kind of Robin pageant or play was
known in England earlier than we ordinarily think. The ballad plays,
at any rate, had attained popularity long before an artistic level
was reached by the allegorical drama, and while yet the craft cycles
were in their prime. Stow, in respect of Mayings, which he leads us to
believe were common in the reign of Henry VI., says that the citizens
of London "did fetch in May-poles with divers warlike shows, with good
archers, morris-dancers, and other devices for pastime all the day
long; and towards the evening they had stage-plays and bonfires in the
streets." Robin Hood and his archers are the heart of a Maying devised
under Henry VII. in 1505 and for Henry VIII. in 1516; and the archers
of the Maying in the time of Henry VI. are suggestive of the Robin Hood
as an accepted figure for some kind of pageant in the middle of the
fifteenth century, when Bower was writing of "comedies and tragedies,"
mentioned above. The pageants and probably the plays of Robin Hood
are still alive in the seventeenth century and later. Their dramatic
quality was of a very primitive sort, but the plot, wherever existent,
displayed sequence of motive and effect. The popular dramatist had, as
in the Sacrament play and saints' plays, learned how to magnify a hero
by making him the pivot of the action, how to interest the spectators
in the affairs and manners of their own class, how to produce a comic
effect by means of dialogue, as well as by the humour of the situation.
But he knew nothing of the development of character, and in that
respect, without doubt, was inferior to the contemporary author of the
moral play.

Passing the Hox Tuesday play, of which we cannot be sure that it was
anything more than a crude and entirely serious representation of the
historic massacre which it commemorated, and of which no adequate
account survives, we may turn with profit to the most popular and
long-lived of English festival dramas, the St. George play. Of this
Mr. Halliwell-Phillipps says that numerous versions are used in the
north of England, and that they are doubtless a degraded form of an old
"mystery."[35] Of course, he means legendary miracle or saint's play.
Ward more accurately describes this rural drama as a combination of
miracle and processional pageant. As the latter, it appears frequently
to have formed part of a mumming or disguising, and was early
associated with the morris-dance of May-day or Christmas. [Collier,
_Hist._, vol. I., p. 29.] The first indubitable mention of a St. George
pageant is in 1416, and would appear to refer to a "splendid dumb show"
rather than a play, which, as Caxton tells us, was presented for the
entertainment of Emperor Sigismund of Almayne when he "brought and
gave the heart of St. George for a great and precious relique to King
Harry the fifth." It is, however, more than probable that the soldier
saint had figured in saints' plays, and in popular play and pageant,
long before this time. He had been honoured in the eastern church
even in the fourth century, and in England there had been churches
and monasteries devoted to him before the Norman invasion. On account
of his fabled services in the crusade he was already the patron of
individual knights, and orders of chivalry and even of kingdoms, when
Edward III., in the years 1348-50, built the chapel in his honour
at Windsor, confirmed him as the saint and champion of England and
instituted the order that still bears his name. It is likely, indeed,
that the _ludi_ exhibited before the same monarch at Christmas, 1348,
were to some extent of St. George, for we read that the dragon figured
extensively in them.[36] And it would appear that when, in 1415, the
23d April, St. George's Day, was "made a major double feast and ordered
to be observed the same as Christmas day, all labour ceasing," his
play was no new thing. From that time on, at any rate, the procession
of St. George was one of the "pastimes yearly used," of which Stow
tells us that they were celebrated "with disguisings, masks, and
mummeries." Gilds were organized in his name, and the ceremony of
'Riding the George' spread over England. When Henry V. visited Paris,
in 1420, he was appropriately welcomed with a St. George show, and
the saint appears again in a pageant of 1474 performed at Coventry
in honour of young Prince Edward. We have already mentioned Sir John
Paston's reference to the play in 1473. A long-winded and serious
German dramatization of the legend exists in an Augsburg manuscript of
the end of the same century. In all probability the expensive miracle
play of the saint that was acted in the croft or field at Bassingbourne
in Cambridgeshire, in 1511, was of the same didactic kind, but
enlivened by _impromptus_ of the villagers who took part. St. George
and the dragon were features of the May-games at London, evidently in
procession, as late as 1559. There appears in Warburton's list a play
of _St. George for England_, by Wentworth Smith, of the first quarter
of the seventeenth century, and in the latter part of that century,
a droll called _St. George and the Dragon_ was by way of being acted
at Bartholomew Fair. The play seems from an early date to have been
performed on the occasion of other festivals besides that of the Saint
himself.

The versions of the play best known of recent years are the
Oxfordshire, acted during the eighteenth century and taken down from an
old performer in 1853, and the Lutterworth (Leicestershire) Christmas
play, acted as late as 1863.[37] Professor Child, in his _Ballads_,
mentions another, which was regularly acted on All Souls' Day at a
village a few miles from Chester. I would call attention, in addition,
to four others of interest; the Derbyshire Christmas play,[38] acted by
mummers as late as 1849, which is fuller than any other and appears to
me to retain traces of a fifteenth-century original; the two Bassingham
(Lincoln) Christmas plays,[39] 1823, and the Shetland play from a 1788
Ms., recounted in Scott's novel of _The Pirate_. The last three make
the connection between the St. George play proper and the sword play,
which was undoubtedly common in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries,
and of which the Revesby version of 1779 is still extant.[40]

The following is the outline of the Derbyshire play: Enter Prologue,
who is apparently the same as "noble soldier," "Slasher," or "Jack,"
to clear a way for St. Gay.--Enter St. Gay, announcing himself with
proper bombast, pretending that "from England's ground he sprung and
came," and stating his purpose, which is to find King George.--Enter
King George, "in search of his enemy," St. Gay, who as "a stranger,
exposed and in danger," calls upon Slasher for help.--With loud words
Slasher threatens King George, who in his turn boasts of "close
escapes," giants and dragons subdued, and the King of Egypt's daughter
won.--They fight, and Slasher "tumbles down and dies."--Enter Doctor,
who has "travelled" imaginatively and can "fetch any dead man to
life again." He begins with Slasher, who signalizes his recovery by
summoning the "Black Prince of Paradise, black Morocco king," to renew
the fray.--"Here am I," cries that hero; it was I who "slew those seven
Turks," and it is I who now will "jam King George's giblets full of
holes, And in those holes put pebble stones!" George doubts the Black
Prince's ability, even though he be a "champion's squire,"--they are
about to fight, when Prologue intervenes with "Peace and Quietness is
the best," and "Enter in, owld Beelzebub!" That personage on entering
turns out to be, in dress, a kind of Devil and Vice combined, in
spirit a kind of Father Christmas summoning all to drink.--This queer
jumble is worth more space than I can afford it. Just a word or two in
passing. St. Gay is given up by Halliwell-Phillipps as an "addition to
the calendar not noticed elsewhere." But one observes that his squire
is a foreigner, as his name and garb both proclaim,[41] and that he is
the squire of a champion. This limits us to the three foreign champions
of Christendom, and from St. Gay's second speech we discover, not only
that he is San Diego of Spain, but (unless I am gravely mistaken) that
some author of the various generations of authors of this play had
acquaintance with Caxton's _Golden Legend_ of 1483, where, in the _Life
of St. James the More_, we find the original, in oddly similar terms,
of one altogether unintelligible phrase used by this English makeshift
for a Spanish champion.[42] Further not very definite but suggestive
similarities with the _Life of St. George_ add to the presumption that
the Caxton translation of the _Legenda Aurea_ underlies portions of
this folk play. Of course a play of the martyrdom of St. George may
have existed earlier still, but if, as would seem to be the case,
Voragine invented the dragon, that monster cannot have played a part
before 1270-90; it does not play a part even in the _South English
Legendary_ of 1285, but is prominent in Caxton's narrative.

With the play just described the Lutterworth is identical in some
seven or eight passages, and save that there is no Black Prince, and
that a Turkish Champion takes the place of St. Gay, the principal
characters are the same. The introduction of Beelzebub and a clown,
with remarks appropriate to each, would, however, indicate that this
part of the play is earlier than the amalgamated Beelzebub-clown of
the Derbyshire. Both plays preserve reminiscences of the crusades.
As to the Oxfordshire, I can say only that it is a rigmarole from
history, legend, and nursery tale, culminating in the destruction
of the dragon (or Old Nick) and the appearance of Father Christmas.
The Bassingham plays present the stock characters, but little of the
original story. They add elements of scandal and love, however,--the
former in connection with Dame Jane, who tries to fasten the paternity
of her child on a "Father's Eldest Son, And heir of all his land";
and the latter in connection with a Fair Lady, who is wooed by
Eldest Son, Farming Man, Lawyer, Old Man, and refuses them all, in
the end apparently to accept the Fool. This part of the story is a
link between the St. George plays and the sword-dance plays, as is
also the Shetland, where St. George himself sustains the part of
principal dancer. In the Revesby sword-dance play, acted in 1779 by
morris-dancers, the Fair Lady of the Bassingham reappears as Cicely to
refuse Pepper-breeches, "My father's eldest son, And heir of all his
land," Ginger-breeches, Blue-breeches, the Knight of Lee, and Pickle
Herring, the Lord of Pool, in favour of Rafe the Fool. Though the
phraseology of the Bassingham and Revesby is occasionally the same,
the latter is utterly removed from the St. George original save in the
mention of dragon and worm which accompany the morris-dancers. How far
back the Revesby sword-dance play may date I do not know. The dance was
common on the continent in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and
a similar performance with a fool in the middle is recorded as taking
place in Ulm in 1551. The name of the merry-andrew, Pickle Herring, may
possibly take us back to the first quarter of the sixteenth century.
For, as is well known, it is the usual designation for the clown in
the 1620 collection of plays acted by the so-called English comedians
in Germany. According to Creizenach,[43] the character was introduced
by Robert Reynolds, who was perhaps himself the Robert Pickelhäring
mentioned in connection with an entertainment given at Torgau in
1627. Floegel and Ebeling speak of "der alte Pickelhering aus der
Moralititäten des fünfzehnten Jahrhunderts," as if he were the "old
Vice"; but surely without justification. I know of no mention of Pickle
Herring before 1620, and since he still held the stage in Löwen's
_Prinz Pickelhering_, about the middle of the eighteenth century, it
is not impossible that the character was borrowed by the English sword
play at a comparatively recent date. The continuance of the Devil and
his relation to the clown in these plays are a subject of historical
interest, but it would be a mistake to say, as Halliwell-Phillipps has
said of the Beelzebub, that either of them is "a genuine descendant of
the Vice."

Perhaps I should not have stayed to make these remarks, but they will,
I hope, direct attention to a phenomenon unique in the history of
English drama. The St. George play is an example of how a legendary
miracle, sacred in its origin, may pass into a folk drama of a national
hero, and that again degenerate into a mumming or dance; and how this,
oblivious of the original plot and finally of all fable, may first
transform the saintly hero into a performer in a sword dance, as in
the Shetland play, and then, as in the Revesby, eliminate even him and
substitute a fool. Both literary career and literary indignity of this
kind have been escaped by the other national saint of England, Edward
the Confessor. In earlier days he figured in frequent pageants, records
of which are preserved, for instance, in the Old Leet Book of Coventry,
of the years 1456 and 1471, but he readily gave way to St. George and
disappeared from the dramatic horizon.


=5. The Devil and the Vice=

The nexus between the comic qualities of the miracle plays and those
of the morals cannot well be made without some discussion of the rôles
of the Devil and the Vice. The treatise which I have before cited,[44]
and which appears to me fairly conclusive, shows that the Devil of the
English stage is originally a creation, not of folk mythology, but of
theology. He is concrete, to be sure, in accordance with scriptural
and legendary tradition, but in the 'mysteries' his character is
almost entirely serious, not ludicrous, as appears to be vulgarly
reported. The association of the genuinely comic or satirical with the
conception of the Devil is first evident in later representations of
that character, and then only in the case of lesser denizens of the
lower world. The humorous scene in the Chester _Harrowing_ between
the demons and the alewife abandoned in hell is, for instance, as Dr.
Deimling has said, a late interpolation. The Wakefield dramatist's
contribution to the _Judicium_, of _Tutivillus_ and his ilk, is about
the only diabolic humour in the miracles; and that the satirical speech
of the Coventry demon in the _Conspiracy_ was a still later borrowing
from _Tutivillus_, I have but little doubt. To credit the Devils of
the earliest miracles with a tendency and an ability to criticise
manners and morals would be just as wrong as to attribute to them a
buffoonery which accrues only at a later date. Of the Mephistophelian
style, more serious than Chaucer's and more satirical than Langland's,
we have no historical trace before the witty Devil of Wakefield--or
his maker. The humour of the miracle Devils shows itself in bombastic,
grotesque, or abusive language, rather than in anything of comic
utterance or incident. The uproarious laughter caused, according to
tradition, by this character cannot, therefore, have depended upon
the lines of the dramatist, except in so far as those consist of
threats, objurgation, profanity, and the like. There is little in the
asides of the printed page, or in the rare addresses of the Devil to
his audience, or the deportation of souls to hell[45] to account for
amusement. Rewfyn,[46] Rybald, and Tutivillus are the only humorous
devil-names in the five cycles of which we have been speaking; and of
the shouting and fireworks in which we are told the infernal spirits
were wont to indulge, we find scarcely any mention except in the plays
concerning the fall of the angels and the harrowing of hell. That the
merriment of the crowd was provoked by the appearance and antics of
the Devil--that is to say, by the improvisation of the actor--and
his raids upon the spectators is natural to infer. The dramatists
themselves did not provide for close association between the spirits
of hell and living men. The Devil addresses the audience but seldom,
and then, perhaps, to threaten with his club. In fact, the Devil of the
old miracles, as we usually conceive him, is an anachronism created
by certain historians of the drama; the buffoon roaring, pyrotechnic,
and familiar, springs into prominence only with the Digby plays, and
is but slowly developed in the moral plays and interludes. Though the
aspiring angels of the York and Chester plays "go down" in actual fact,
and the Lucifer of the former cycle complains of heat and smoke, there
is no mention of hell-mouth in the account-books before 1557, nor in
the stage directions of the Digby[47] before we reach the Digby _Paul_
and _Magdalene_ Mss. of about 1480-90; and even then the entries appear
to be the insertions of some later hand. In these plays the flames of
hell-mouth, the fireworks, and thunder are distinctive accessories of
the Devil's presence. Still, it is not in a miracle play after all,
but in a moral--the _Castell of Perseverance_ (about 1400)--that the
first stage direction of this nature is found. In the transitional
miracle morals, _Paul_, _Wisdom_, _Magdalene_, the Devil by his own
account as well as by stage direction "rores and cries." He was abusive
in the _Castell of Perseverance_; but in the later morals or moral
interludes he "rores and cries" for mere fun--in the _Lusty Juventus_,
for instance, the _Disobedient Child_, and _All for Money_.

Concerning the Devil even of this later birth, many false conceptions,
due to insufficient research, have obtained currency. It is commonly
imagined that he was the mainspring of the play, that he came into
close contact with human beings, that he represented phases of human
character, that he was a comical figure,--jester, or "roister," or
butt,--and that he held some fixed relation to the Vice, who was "his
constant attendant," says Malone. But the Devil was the principal
personage only in the earliest of the morals that survive, he rarely
associated with mankind, and he assumed the human rôle, such as that of
judge or sailor, only once or twice.[48] In the moral plays not more
than four or five comic Devils are extant--the Titivillus of _Mankynd_,
the Beelzebub of the _Nigromansir_, the Lucifer of _Like wil to Like_,
and the Devil of _All for Money_; and the last of these is the only
roysterer of the lot, one of the very few to serve as butt for the
Vice. Such jokes as that of the Devil taking "a shrewd boy with him"
from the audience in _Wisdom_ are interpolations, and it is only after
the moral has passed its zenith that, as in _Like wil to Like_ and the
early comedy _Friar Bacon_, the Devil carries off the Vice-clown. As
early as 1486-1500 the moral play, _Nature_,--called, when printed in
1538, a goodly interlude,--dispenses with the Devil altogether, and
from that time on the character appears only in some half-dozen extant
plays of the kind and its derivatives, and is subordinate. Towards
the end of the sixteenth century, however, the Devil is revived, and
in comedies of concrete life and character he frequently swaggers as
a blusterer or comic personage: in _Grim the Collier_, for instance,
in the _Knack to know a Knave_, and _Histrio-Mastix_, as well as
seventeenth-century plays like _The Devil is in It_ and _The Devil
is an Ass_. I have said that his office in the genuine moral was not
comic, neither was it satirical. It consisted largely in directing or
commissioning his agents, the Vices. Professor Cushman, who makes this
statement, further points out that this conception of the Devil did
not develop in any popular sense, nor gain in variety in the English
moral plays; but that the case is altogether dissimilar in the German
and French drama of the same period, where the devils are not only
numerous, but carefully differenced as representatives of the various
foibles of mankind,--a rôle which was assumed in England, as we shall
presently see, by the Vice.

Between the detached, and sometimes serious, Devil of the cycles and
the Vice of the moral plays, ever present, dominant and comical,
concrete in manifold person and guise, a middle or transitional
position is occupied by the fiend of the later miracle and the demon
of the earlier moral. Examples of the former are Tutivillus and his
humorous associates in the Wakefield _Judicium_, Lord Lucifer of the
Coventry _Council_ (who, like the Vice, euphemizes his attendant
Deadly Sins), the Prynse of Dylles of the _Magdalene_, and the sailor
devil of the Newcastle play; examples of the latter are the gunpowder
Belial of _Perseverance_, the intriguing Lucifer of _Wisdom_, now in
"devely aray," anon as a "prowde galaunt," the farcical and efficient
Titivillus of _Mankynd_, and Beelzebub, the judge and buffoon of the
_Nigromansir_. But though the demon of the morals bears some relation
to his predecessor of the miracles, he is not borrowed from the
miracles. He grows out of a common tradition.

Just as the Devil persists in spite of lapse and change through miracle
play, moral, and interlude into Elizabethan comedy, so the Vice,
though he did not obtain so early a footing upon the stage. There
are previsions of him in the later miracles and earlier morals; he
flourished in the morals of the middle period and the moral interludes,
and there are traces of him in the regular comedy. He disappeared only
in deference to the differentiated humours, follies, or vices of social
life, of which no controlling Folly or Vice may be regarded as the
sole incarnation,--for in the culture of them each of us indulges a
genius of his own.

The term Vice is not used as the designation of a stock dramatic
character till the appearance of Heywood's _Play of the Wether_
and _Play of Love_, before or about 1532. It is next employed in
_Respublica_, 1553, and _Jacke Jugeler_, 1553-61. These and similar
notices of that period, however, occur only on title-pages of plays or
in lists or stage directions. The earliest mention of the Vice in the
text of a play is found in _King Darius_, 1565. It is not until 1567,
with the _Horestes_, that we find the designation "used consistently
throughout, in the title, the list of players and the rubric."[49]
But whether the generic name of Vice was introduced by the authors of
these plays, or, as is more likely, by the actors, it was a well-known
designation of a stock figure, especially in the moral drama from
1530 onward; and from that time was used by publishers to advance
the interest of certain plays. Since, however, the idea of the Vice
seems to be inseparable from that of the moral play, the character
had achieved a prominence long before it was listed as a generic
designation. Collier defines the moral, or moral interlude, as "A drama
the characters of which are allegorical, abstract, or symbolical,
and the style of which is intended to convey a lesson for the better
conduct of human life." And the differencing quality of the moral is,
as Mr. Pollard has said, "the contest between the personified powers of
good and evil for the possession of a human soul. As the allegorical
representatives of the good were the Seven Cardinal Virtues, so the
representatives of the evil were the Seven Deadly Sins and their master
the Devil." From these Seven Deadly Sins or Vices, the Vice _par
excellence_ of the morals and interludes is without doubt descended.
With the opinion of Ward and Douce, however, that he is proved to be
of native English origin, I cannot unreservedly concur; nor with a
statement in the thesis to which I have already referred, that the
Germans and French had no Vice, but used instead the "differentiated"
devil. Idleness, a Vice, though not so called, appears in the French
_Bien-Avisé et Mal-Avisé_ (_c._ 1439), about as early as any Vice
appears in English drama; and the four confederates of the Devil in
_L'Homme Pêcheur_, Desperation, etc., perform the office, though they
have not the designation, of Vice. The Hypocrisie and Simonie of
Gringoire's attack upon _L'Homme Obstiné_ (Julius II.), about 1512, are
as true representatives of the Vice as are the corresponding figures
in _The Nigromansir_, _Thrie Estatis_, _Kyng Johan_, _Respublica_ and
_Conflict of Conscience_.

To understand the relations between the Vice and the moral play one
should turn, if there were opportunity, to the manifold representations
of the World, the Flesh, the Devil, the Seven Deadly Sins and similar
allegorical figures in mediæval literature of other kinds than the
dramatic. It must suffice here, however, to consider the relation of
these characters to each other in the later miracles and the earlier
moral plays. In the pageants of the _Play of Paternoster_ the Seven
Deadly Sins are represented. About the same time, in the Wakefield
cycle, they are already written on the rolls of the Doomsday Demon, and
discussed "in especiall" by Tutivillus. In the Coventry _Council of
the Jews_ they are new-named by their Lord Lucifer (after the manner
of the later Vice), Pride as Honesty, Wrath as Manhood, Covetousness
as Wisdom, and so on. It is through the Seven Deadly Sins that the
Belial of St. Paul (Digby) "raynes"; and the Saint himself[50]
preaches against them in general and in several, calling them not only
mortal sins, but, as if the terms were synonymous, Vices and Folly.
In the _Mary Magdalene_ they are not only personified, but, further,
classified as attendants upon their respective kings--Pride and
Covetyse, ministers of the World; Lechery, Gluttony, and Sloth, of the
Flesh; Wrath and Envy, of the Devil,--and as such they are sent into
action. This distinction by classes is interesting because it shows
that from a very early date the Vice was regarded as the servant, not
of the Devil alone, but of the World and the Flesh as well. And it will
be noticed later that, while the minor Vices of the moral interludes
frequently bear the names of specific sins, the leading Vice is still
likely to be called by a name which sums up all the specific sins
of just one of these three satrapies of the Flesh, the World, the
Devil,--Sensuality for the first, Hypocrisy or Avarice for the second,
and Sedition or Riot for the third,--when he is not indicated by some
synonym of Evil in general, such as Folly, Sin, Iniquity, Inclination,
or Infidelity. Gradually the minor Vices pass into dramatic
insignificance as compared with their principal representative, who
becomes the Vice in chief. The morals before 1500 or thereabouts had
one or more of the following figures: Devil, the World, the Flesh; and
their representatives, the Vice and minor Vices or Deadly Sins. Of
these plays--_Perseverance_, _Mankynd_, _Mary Magdalene_, _Wisdom_,
_Nature_, and _Everyman_,--all but the last three display the complete
aggregation: _Wisdom_ stars with only a Devil, _Nature_ lacks a Devil,
and _Everyman_ lacks both Devil and principal Vice. The morals of
the middle period, 1500 to 1560, generally eliminate the Devil and
concentrate the sins, temptations, and mischiefs in the Vice, sometimes
with, sometimes without, his foils, the minor Vices. In the _Castell of
Perseverance_, about 1400, the Deadly Sins are "children of the Devil";
in _The World and Child_, about 1506, they are expressly summed up in
one Vice,--Folly; in _Lusty Juventus_, _Like wil to Like_, and several
other moral interludes after 1550, the Vice parades as son or grandson
to the Devil; and finally, about 1578, while each of the minor Vices
represents "one sin particularly," the Vice himself embodies "all sins
generally."

It must be sufficiently evident by this time that the derivation of
this name, in spite of a half-dozen misleading conjectures, is no
other than that which is obvious. I notice, however, that Mr. Pollard
regards the etymology from _vitium_ as still doubtful, "because in one
of the earliest instances in which the Vice is specifically mentioned
by name, he plays the part of Mery Report, who is a jester pure and
simple, without any connection with any of the Deadly Sins." But the
Vice or Folly had been known for two or three centuries in allegorical
and satirical literature, and for a century and a half in the religious
drama before 1530, and the designation had acquired a supplementary
and degraded connotation when used in the _Wether_, _Jacke Jugeler_,
etc., as a player's term or means of advertisement. About his function
and habits, also, various misconceptions have gathered. I have, for
instance, referred to Malone's statement that he was a constant
attendant upon the Devil. Nothing could be more misleading. The Devil
appears in at least two morals unattended by a Vice of any kind,[51]
and the Vice appears in twenty-five or thirty without a Devil. They
appear together in but eight[52] that I know of; and in only four[53]
can the Vice be said to "attend." That he eggs the demons on to twit
or torment the Devil, I cannot discover in more than two plays,--_Like
wil to Like_, and _All for Money_. Since the days of Harsnet and
Ben Jonson it has been reported that the Vice of the fifteenth and
sixteenth centuries made a practice of riding to hell on the Devil's
back. But I have already pointed out that he does this in only one play
before 1580. The same _Like wil to Like_ is the only play in which he
specifically "belabours the fiend." I know of no other in which that
merriment was even likely to occur. In fact most of these attributions
belong, not to the Vice of the morals and interludes, but to one of
the later substitutes for him, the Vice-clown, such as Miles in _Friar
Bacon_, or Iniquity in _The Devil is an Ass_.

A general view of his history shows, then, that the Vice is neither
an ethical nor dramatic derivative of the Devil; nor is he a pendant
to that personage, as foil or ironical decoy, or even antagonist. The
Devil of the early drama is a mythical character, a fallen archangel,
the anthropomorphic Adversary. The Vice, on the other hand, is
allegorical,--typical of the moral frailty of mankind. Proceeding
from the concept of the Deadly Sins, ultimately focussing them, he
dramatizes the evil that springs from within. Though at first directed
by God's Adversary, who assails man with temptations from without, the
Vice is the younger contemporary of the Devil rather than his agent.
As he acquires personality, he assumes characteristics and functions
unknown to the Adversary, scriptural or dramatic. The functions were
gradually assimilated with those of mischief-maker, jester, and
counterfeit-crank; the characteristics, more and more affected by the
Fool-literature of Wireker, Lydgate, Brandt and Barclay, Skelton,
and the rest (which included vice in Folly, and by the Fool connoted
vicious characters in all variety), were insensibly identified with
social rather than abstract ethical qualities, and so came to be
distributed as tendencies or "humours" among the persons of the
drama,--who themselves are no longer allegorical, but representative
of the concrete individuals of everyday life. Though the conduct
of the interlude Vice may be anything but dignified, his function
was, accordingly, at first serious. It was only gradually, and as
the conflict between good and evil was supplanted by less didactic
materials,--in other words, as the moral became more of a play,--that
the Vice grew to be farcical, a mischief-maker, and ultimately
jester. So long as he acts the seducer in disguise, and the marplot,
he remains dramatically supreme. When he, however, assumes the rôle
of parasite, counterfeit-crank, or simple, he enhances the variety
of his fascination at the expense of his distinctive quality; and
when he once has identified himself with the Will Summer, the actor,
wag, or buffoon by profession, he plays below the function and level
of his pristine quality. The Vice proper should, therefore, not be
confounded with the Shakespearean fool, nor with the country clown.
The country clown or booby he in reality never is; indeed, in some
earlier manifestations[54] the clown exists contemporaneously with the
Vice, and is his natural though not always complaisant quarry. Though
the Vice, however, did not turn clown, the clown imperceptibly usurped
qualities of the vanishing Vice.

In connection with the misconception concerning the derivation of the
Vice from the domestic fool, of course incompatible with his descent
from the Deadly Sins, there lingers a report that he was ordinarily
dressed in a fool's habit. Such is the opinion of Klein[55] and Douce;
and Morley[56] writes, "The Vice, when not in disguise, wore--as
Brandt or Barclay would have thought most fitting--the dress of a
fool." The dress of some typical fool of everyday life, some social
"crank,"--yes; but not until the latter third of the sixteenth century,
when the Vice was in his dotage, did he lose himself in the habit of
the domestic fool. The Vice "shaking his wooden dagger," of whom Ben
Jonson gives us a glimpse in _The Devil is an Ass_ and _The Staple
of News_, is without doubt the domestic fool in the characteristic
long coat, or in the juggler's jerkin with false skirts. But we must
remember that Ben Jonson was writing some sixty or seventy years after
the Vice properly so called was in his prime. From 1450 to 1570 and
later, the distinctive Vice of the moralities was accoutred in the
costume of his rôle, first of a Deadly Sin or little "dylfe"; then
of some social class, trade, or type: messenger, herald, beggar,
rat-catcher, priest, pharisee, gallant, dandy, or 'cit.' Occasionally
he assumed a succession of costumes according to this dramatic
necessity. He was indeed frequently equipped, in addition, with horn
spectacles and wooden dagger, and sometimes with a burlesque of
ceremonious attire,[57] or he was furnished with squibs and other
fireworks,[58] or with hangman's rope or bridle. Professor Cushman
surmises that he was, even, sometimes made up like Punch, for instance,
in _Horestes_ and _Cambyses_. I don't know about that, but of this we
may be sure, that as a Vice he was not distinguished by the traditional
costume of the domestic fool. That character, soon to play an important
part in comedy, appropriated certain tricks and aspects of the Vice,
but the distinctive figure of the moral drama did not proceed from or
ape the domestic fool of contemporary life.

Oddly enough it has lately been asserted that this character had no
part in the 'morality' proper. An implication to the same effect is
to be found in Halliwell-Phillipps's notes to _Witt and Wisdome_ as
early as 1846, where he says that "the Vice is the buffoon of the old
moral plays which _succeeded_ the Reformation." The fact is that the
Vice takes part in all the plays under consideration, whether called
morals proper or moral interludes, from 1400 to 1578, except only
_Wisdom_ of the pre-Reformation series and the _Disobedient Child_ of
the post-Reformation. Two other of the thirty-odd morals and moral
interludes, namely, the _Pride of Life_ and _Everyman_, resort to a
substitute. They distribute the rôle among minor representatives of
the World, Flesh, and Devil, but they do not dispense with the idea of
the Vice.[59] From him proceeds most of the human interest of these
earlier comedies. Like the inclinations that he personifies, he is
first sinful, then venial, then amusing; and to his tradition the
comedy of a later age owes more than we are wont to suspect. It owes
to him the development of certain spiritual characteristics, a cynical
but rollicking superiority to sham, a freedom from the thrall of social
and religious externality, a reckless joy of living, but an aloofness,
withal, and a humour requisite to the exercise of satire. It is,
indeed, as satirist sometimes virulent, but usually jocose, that the
Vice is most to be esteemed. In so far as the genial character of the
domestic fool of Green, Lodge, or Shakespeare reflected his irony and
shrewd wit, some memory of him survived; and the clown-Vice of _Friar
Bacon_ renews a passage or two of his later career, but not every
usurper of his comic appanage, his mimicry, puns, irrelevance, and
horse-play can lay claim to be descended from the Vice.

The dramatic importance of this figure can therefore not be overrated.
He forms the _callida junctura_ between religious and secular, didactic
and artistic, ideal and tangible, in our early comedy. He found a house
of correction and he left a stage. Garcios, Pilates, Doomsday demons,
and Maks precede, or flit beside him; but he, with his ancestral Sins,
dependent Follies, and succeeding Ironies and Humours, occupies the
central and the foremost place. Even while representing the superfluity
of naughtiness with an eye to its reprobation, he is the life of the
'moral,'--its apology for artistic existence, its appeal to human
interest. But when he steals a further march and rounds up for ridicule
the very components of the allegorical drama that are most removed from
laughter, and most liable thereto,--the long-faced abstractions that
regard the comic spirit as sinful and are impervious to a joke,--he
fulfils his destiny. He is the dramatic salt and solvent of the moral
play. At first it couldn't thrive without him; at last it couldn't
thrive with him. For, what _raison d'être_ could a moral have that no
longer regarded the comic as immoral, knew a joke at sight, perhaps
adventured one on its own account? Step by step with the development of
a popular æsthetic interest in the affairs of common men the playwright
asserted his superiority to social and allegorical make-believes, and
the Vice proved his utility as a dramatic reagent. Once the Vice had
gathered all sins in himself, his career was from 'inclination' to
'humour,' from abstract to concrete, from the moral to the typical,
the one to the many, and so from the service of allegory to that of
interlude, moral and pithy, but merry, all in preparation for farce,
and social and romantic comedy.


=6. The Relation between Miracle, Moral, and Interlude=

An unfortunate misapprehension has obtained currency to the effect that
there was a deliberate transition, chronological and logical, from the
miracle cycle to the "morality," and thence to a something entirely
different, called the interlude; and it is supposed that definite
advances in the development of comedy were made _pari passu_ with this
transition. It is even said, by one of the most genial and learned of
English scholars, who of course was not intending anything by way of
scientific accuracy, at the time, that "in the progress of the drama,
Moralities followed Mysteries, and were succeeded by Interludes. When
folk tired of Religion on the Stage they took to the inculcation of
morality and prudence; and when this bored them they set up Fun."[60]
But the moral play[61] was rather a younger contemporary and complement
of the miracle than a follower, or a substitute for it. Moreover,
allegory in the acted drama commanded the attention of the public
contemporaneously with the scriptural plays of the later fourteenth
century; in literature it had occupied attention long before. People,
therefore, did not wait until they were tired of religion upon the
stage, before taking to the inculcation of morality; nor could they
have hoped to escape religion by any such substitute. Moral plays, like
plays which were originally liturgical, aimed at religious instruction.
But as the scriptural-liturgical illustrated the forms of the church
service and its narrative content, the moral illustrated the sermon and
the creed. The former dealt with history and ritual, the latter with
doctrine; the former made the religious truth concrete in scriptural
figures and events, the latter brought it home to the individual by
allegorical means. The historical course of the drama was not from the
scriptural play to the allegorical, but from the collective miracle and
collective moral, practically contemporary, to the individual miracle
and individual moral. The dramatic quality of the moral was, as we
shall presently remark, not the same as that of the miracle, but it
neither supplanted nor fully supplemented that of the miracle.

The distinction between 'morality' and 'interlude' has likewise been
unduly and illogically emphasized. The former term may properly be said
to indicate the content and aim of a drama; the latter, its garb and
occasion; but the essential characters of the moral play, the human
hero and the representatives of good and evil contending for his soul,
may be common to interlude and 'morality' alike, and both terms may
with justice refer to the same drama. After 1500 the rôle of hero is,
to be sure, sometimes filled by an historical character, or by one or
mere concrete personages representative of a type; but it must not
be supposed that the play possessing such a hero is therefore to be
called an interlude, for similar heroes are to be found in the morals
before 1500. Nor should the statement be accepted that morals are
distinguished from interludes by the presence in the former of both
Devil and Vice; for several interludes of a later date have both Devil
and Vice, while some of the earlier morals, written before 1500, have
but one or the other of these characters, or neither.[62] The attempt
to characterize the moral by its professed didactic intent, and the
interlude by the lack thereof or the profession of mirth, is equally
unavailing; for that manifest moral, the _Pride of Life_, one of the
earliest extant, makes explicit promise in its prologue "of mirth
and eke of kare" from "this our game"; while _Mankynd_, a moral of
1461 to 1485, which advertises no amusement, is as full of it as any
late interlude. On the other hand, several plays written after 1568,
calling themselves "comedies or enterludes," and promising brevity
and mirth, are tedious. But, for the advertisement, sub-title, or
specification of the play we must of course hold the publisher, and not
the author, generally responsible. The common belief that 'moralities'
were succeeded by 'interludes' is probably due in large part to the
fact that 'interlude' has been used in England at different periods
for entirely different kinds of entertainment, some of which, notably
that to which Collier in 1831 restricted the term,--the play after
the style of Heywood,--were of later production than the moral. But
other kinds of 'interlude' date back to 1300, and precede the first
mention of the moral play; while later kinds include the moral, and
finally are synonymous with any humorous and popular performance.
Collier's restriction of the term was, therefore, unfortunate. It
interpreted a _genus_ as a species; for, although the interlude was
originally any short entertainment, occupying the pauses between graver
negotiations of the palate or intellect, it had, in the course of its
history, acquired a significance almost as broad as 'drama' itself. The
interlude was of various form and content and covered many species. As
farce, the interlude anticipated moral plays; as allegorical drama,
it absorbed them; and as comedy, it is their younger contemporary.
It is not merely the play after the style of John Heywood. It is
long or short; religious, moral, pedagogic, political, or doctrinal;
scriptural, allegorical, or profane; classical or native; imaginative
or reproductive of the commonplace; stupid or humorous; satirical
or purely comic. It seems to me, therefore, unwise to perpetuate a
distinction between moral plays and interludes which was not recognized
by those who wrote and heard the plays in question.

The reduction of the number of actors, the abbreviation of the play,
the concentration of the plot, wherever these exist in the later
morals or moral interludes, are not evidence of a change of kind, but
merely of a natural evolution through a period of some two hundred
years. When ten Brink says that the interlude was the species best
adapted to further the development of dramatic art, we must understand
by interlude the individual, as opposed to the collective drama,--or
the occasional performance by professionals for the delectation, and
sometimes at the order, of private persons or parties, as opposed
to expository or perfunctory plays, plays manipulated by crafts,
or associated with times, places, and ends external to art. The
improvement in scope and elasticity which marks the individual play
is due to various causes: to patronage, which prefers amusement to
instruction, and the work of artists to that of journeymen; to the
development accordingly of a bread-and-butter profession of acting,
with its accompanying _stimuli_ of necessity and opportunity. Poetic
invention, dramatic constructiveness and style, are sometimes spurred
by hunger; they are always responsive to the appreciation of the
cultivated, and maybe to the reward.


=7. The Older Morals in their Relation to Comedy=

The remaining dramas within the compass of this survey may be
considered in the following order: first, the older morals and
moral interludes, between the years 1400 and 1520; second, various
experiments of native and foreign, classical and romantic, origin which
distinguish a period of transition extending approximately from 1520
to 1553; and, third, some nine or ten plays of prime importance which
succeed these and unite, in one way or another, qualities of structure
and aim hitherto distinctive of separate dramatic kinds. The period
during which these plays, which I shall venture to call polytypic,
were produced, roughly coincides with the years 1545 to 1566, and
among these plays are the first English comedies really worthy of the
name. We must then notice a group of rudimentary survivals, some of
which, falling between 1550 and 1570, illustrate simply an artificial
adaptation of the 'moral' species, while other few, appearing between
1553 and 1580, are a persistent flowering of the decadent stock,
fruitless in kind but genuine in comic quality. We shall finally pass
in brief review the crude romantic plays of morals or intrigue or
popular tradition written between 1570 and 1590. And if it were not for
lack of space, we should also glance at the satirical comedies which
appeared when Shakespeare was beginning and Greene was ceasing; but, so
far as possible, I must omit all subjects to which any consideration
has elsewhere been accorded in this volume.

A sympathetic examination of the older morals--those that were produced
before 1520--will reveal, even though the period is comparatively
early, a twofold character of composition. We find, on the one hand,
plays interpretative of ideals of life, constructive in character,
relying upon the fundamentally allegorical, and making principally for
a didactic end. We find, on the other hand, plays that deal with the
actual have a critical aim, reproduce appearances and manners, and tend
toward the amusing and satirical.

Of the half-dozen morals that made for the development of constructive
or interpretative comedy, one of the earliest (about 1400) and
most important was the _Castell of Perseverance_. In the quality
of its dramatic devices it sustains a close relation to the Digby
_Magdalene_,--the siege of the Castell by the Seven Deadly Sins, and
their repulse under the roses which the Virtues have discharged. It
also makes use of characters already prominent in the eleventh Coventry
play, the _Pax_ and _Misericordia_, who there, as here, intercede
for mankind. Collier calls this a well-constructed and much varied
allegory, and says with good reason that its completeness indicates
predecessors in the same kind. It is itself an early treatment of
a fruitful theme, variously handled in later plays like Marlowe's
_Doctor Faustus_, and in narratives like _The Holy War_. Though the
abstractions are not of a highly dramatic character, still one or two
of them,--for instance _Detractio_, the Vice, who is a cousin of the
Coventry Backbiter, and of _Invidia_, "who dwellyth in Abbeys ofte,"
foreshadow the comedy of manners and satire, that is to say, the comedy
of criticism. Other morals or moral interludes of the constructive
kind, which I must forbear to describe, even though they contributed
in one way or another to the improvement of dramatic consciousness
or skill, are the _Pride of Life_, of antiquity perhaps as high as
the preceding; the _Wisdom that is Christ_, 1480-1490, a comedy in
the mediæval sense, insomuch as it portrays the ultimate triumph of
a hero in his contest with temptation; _Mundus et Infans_, printed
1522, but written perhaps by the beginning of the century, which,
beside giving us a vivid satirical picture of low life, makes a twofold
contribution to the technique of comedy,--an iteration of crises in
plot, and a sequence of changes in the character of the hero; Skelton's
_Magnyfycence_, 1515-1523, significant for "vigour and vivacity of
diction," and his _Nigromansir_, written somewhat earlier, which,
though now lost, appears by Warton's account to have contributed, by
its attack upon ecclesiastical abuses, to the beginnings of satirical
comedy; the _Moralle Play of the Somonynge of Everyman_, printed before
1531, but of uncertain date of composition,--a tragedy to be sure,
but "one of the most perfect allegories ever formed." All these, even
when not purposively comic or even entertaining, assist the dramatic
presentation of an imaginative ideal; occasionally also, though less
directly, they contribute to dramatic satire and the portrayal of
manners.

Of moral plays written before 1520 that contributed to the comedy
of real life and critical intent we still have three or four.
_Mankynd_--somewhere between 1461 and 1485--is of prime importance
to the comedy of the actual, for practically its only claim to
consideration as an allegorical or didactic production is that it
maintains the plan and purpose of the moral play. Its dramatic
tendency is altogether away from the abstract. In spite of its
stereotyped Mercie and Myscheff, its minor Vices, and its Devil, it is
a somewhat coarse but amusing portrayal of the manners of contemporary
ne'er-do-weels. Attach no more meaning to the names Newgyse, Nowadays,
and Nowte than the chuckling audience did, or change them to Huntyngton
of Sanston, Thuolay of Hanston, and Pycharde of Trumpyngton, and you
perceive at once that the individuality, conversation, and behaviour
of these characters, and even of the hero, when he is not "holyer
than ever was ony of his kyn," are hardly less natural and concrete
than those of Englishmen immortalized by Heywood, Udall, and William
Stevenson. The plot, to be sure, is dramatically futile, the incidents
farcical, the merriment anything but refined; but there are few merrier
successors of the Wakefield Tutivillus than his namesake here, who,
coming "invysybull," cometh for all that "with his legges under him"
and "no lede on his helys" to inform the sanctimonious hero that "a
schorte preyere thyrlyth hewyn" and the audience that "the Devil is
dead." Like the devil-judge of the _Nigromansir_ and the devil-sailor
of the _Shipwrights' Play_, he has shaken off his biblical conventions
(if he ever had any), he associates familiarly with characters of all
kinds, and is marked by his grotesque devices as a wilful worker of
confusion, the marplot of the play. The dog-Latin of the Vice Myscheff
stands half-way between that of the Wakefield plays and that of
_Roister Doister_ and _Thersytes_; and the Sam Wellerisms of Newgyse
are a fine advance in the reproduction of the vulgar. His "Beware! quod
the goode-wyff, when sche smot of here husbondes hede," and his "Quod
the Devill to the frerys," and other gayeties perilous to quote--there
is something Rabelaisian in all this. So Nowte and Nowadays, with their
racy idioms, their variegated oaths, and "allectuose ways," are to the
manner born, neither new nor old; they are of the picaresque drama that
finds a welcome in every age and land. It is worth while to notice also
the parallelism of crudity and progress in the technical devices of the
action: on the one hand, the exchange of garments by which a change
of motive is symbolized, a ruse that only gradually yields to the
manifestation of character by means of action; and on the other hand,
the legitimate and dramatic parody of a scene in court.

The concrete element so noteworthy in Mankynd is further developed in
the "_Goodly Interlude of Nature_, compylyde by" Archbishop Morton's
chaplain, Henry Medwall, between 1486 and 1500. This author must
have possessed a remarkably vivid imagination, or have enjoyed a
closer acquaintance than might be expected of one of his cloth with
the seamy side of London; for there are few racier or more realistic
bits of description in our early literature than the account given by
Sensuality of Fleyng Kat and Margery, of the perversion of the hero
by the latter, and of her retirement when deserted to that house of
"Strayt Religyon at the Grene Freres hereby," where "all is open as
a gose eye." Though the plot is not remarkable, nor the mechanism of
it, for almost the only device availed of is that of feigned names,
still the author's insight into the conditions of low life, his common
sense, his proverbial philosophy, his humorous exhibition of the morals
of the day, and his stray and sudden shafts at the foibles of his own
religious class, would alone suffice to attract attention to this
work. And even more remarkable than this in the history of comedy is
Medwall's literary style: his versification excellent and varied, his
conversations witty, idiomatic, and facile. Indeed, he is so far beyond
the ordinary convention that he writes the first bit of prose to be
found in our drama.

Several of the characteristics of _Mankynd_ are carried forward also
in the moral "interlude," named, not for its hero Free Will, but for
its Vice, _Hyckescorner_. It appears to have been written between 1497
and 1512. The upper limit of production is fixed by the reference to
Newfoundland, and perhaps by the fact that in the same year Locher's
translation of the _Narrenschiff_ appeared; the lower limit by the
mention of the ship _Regent_, which would not probably have been
referred to as existing after 1512.[63] Indeed, the mention of the ship
_James_ may associate the lower limit with 1503, the date of the Scotch
marriage. The tendency of this moral is distinctively didactic,--to
denounce the folly that scoffs at religion,--but in quality it smacks
more of comedy than any preceding play. Its value was long ago
acknowledged by Dr. Percy. "Abating the moral and religious reflections
and the like," says he, "the piece is of a comic cast, and contains a
humorous display of some of the vices of the age. Indeed, the author
has generally shown so little attention to the allegorical that we need
only to substitute other names to his personages, and we have real
characters and living manners." The plot is insignificant, but the
situations are refreshingly humorous, and one of them, the setting of
Pity in the stocks, is new. The local references are frequent, and the
dialogue is more sprightly than even that of _Nature_. _Hyckescorner_
is in many ways the model of another important play of which we shall
soon have reason to speak, the _Interlude of Youth_.

While the plot of the _New Interlude and Mery of the Nature of the
Four Elements_, calls for no special notice, it interests us because
in purpose it is not moral, but scientific, and in conduct makes use
of comic and commonplace means not previously availed of. The humour
proceeds not simply from the jumble of oaths, nicknames, proverbs,
gibes, bad puns, transparent jokes, mimicry, Sam Wellerisms, and
_nugae canorae_ of which the talk of most Vices consists, but from
the cleverly managed verbal misunderstanding between the Vice and the
Taverner, the irrelevant question, and the humorous employment of
snatches and tags from popular songs. The introduction of a character
representing a trade, such as that of the Taverner, who enumerates
sixteen kinds of wine, and "by his face seems to love best drinking,"
is, of course, novel, but is not without precedent in the miracle
plays. This interlude was printed in 1519 by its author, John Rastell,
evidently soon after it was written.

When we consider that the _Four Elements_ was written by a friend of
Sir Thomas More, and that, like the plays of John Heywood, another of
More's friends, it depends for much of its effect upon its gibes at
womankind, we are, perhaps, assisted in realizing the extent to which
the literary taste of the day still indulged in this primitive form of
amusement, and the distance which was yet to be covered before comedy
could safely avail itself of the feminine element as it is,--witty and
practical, as well as tender,--and so prepare to fulfil its peculiar
function as the conserver of society. For, until it recognizes that
women constitute the social other-half, the comic spirit has not come
into full possession of its possibilities; it has not produced comedy,
for it has not given us a full and undistorted reflex of life. This
is a fact so rarely considered that I cannot refrain from quoting Mr.
George Meredith. "Comedy," he says, in his excellent essay on its
_Idea_--"comedy lifts women to a station offering them free play for
their wit, as they usually show it, when they have it, on the side of
sound sense. The higher the comedy, the more prominent the part they
enjoy in it.... The heroines of comedy are like women of the world,
not necessarily heartless for being clear-witted: they seem so to the
sentimentally reared only for the reason that they use their wits,
and are not wandering vessels crying for a captain or a pilot. Comedy
is an exhibition of their battle with men, and of men with them: and
as the two, however divergent, both look on one object, namely, life,
the gradual similarity of their impressions must bring them to some
resemblance. The comic poet dares to show us men and women coming to
this mutual likeness; he is for saying that, when they draw together in
social life, their minds grow liker; just as the philosopher discerns
the similarity of boy and girl, until the girl is marched away to the
nursery." Of course, if the ways of man and maid in society ever grew
to be exactly alike, comedy would die of inanition. Consequently,
though I say that comedy requires for the sexes equality of social
privilege, I do not mean identity. The _synalœpha_ of the sexes--such
as some extremists, political and pedagogical, project--would just as
surely destroy comedy as in former days the inequality of the sexes
dwarfed it. The sentimental and romantic give-and-take is as essential
to society as the intellectual, and as essential to comedy as to
society.


=8. The Dramatic Contribution of the Older Morals=

Before discussing the period of transition upon which comedy now
enters, it will be advantageous to determine, if possible, what
contributions to the methods of comedy should be credited distinctively
to this moral or moral interlude during the years that preceded the
change, that is, from 1380 to 1520. Certainly not the introduction of
the separate play, as is frequently supposed, nor the substitution of
immediate and familiar interests for those that were remote, nor of
the invented plot for the traditional, and the significant for the
spectacular. Though some of these features distinguish the evolution of
the allegorical play, one and another of them is also to be recognized
at as early a period, or earlier, in those forms of the drama, kindred
and unrelated, that I have already described,--the miracle, the saint's
play, the farce, and the secular festival play. I should say that, so
far as the materials of drama are concerned, the advances peculiar to
the allegorical play were, from the use of the scriptural _dramatis
persona_, frequently instrumental and therefore wooden, to the use
of the dynamic; and from the historical or traditional individual to
the representative of a type. These are substitutions important to
our subject, for, that the individual should come to the front is,
as ten Brink has well said, a characteristic of tragedy, whereas in
comedy it is the typical that is emphasized, to the end that in an
example which is typical the follies of the age may be liberally,
and at the same time impersonally, embodied and chastised. By virtue
of its didactic purpose and its allegorical form, moreover, the
moral play must ascribe to its _dramatis personæ_ adequate motives
of action. It therefore must and does make an attempt, even though
rude, at the preservation of psychological probability in the analysis
and development of these motives. Once the dramatic person has been
labelled with the name of a quality, not as appraised from without
and denoted by a patronymic common to dozens beside himself, but from
within and specified by his ethonymic (if I may coin the word), he is
no longer a chance acquaintance of the dramatist or the public, but the
representative of an ethical family. In the moral play the characters
stand for or against some convention,--educational, ethical, political,
religious,--that is to say, social in the broadest sense. With the
advent of such characters, therefore, the social drama receives an
impulse. Its hero serves to justify or to satirize an institution; for
that end he exists. And therefore in the handling of motives the moral
makes a genuine advance in the direction of comedy, both critical and
ideal.

We notice next that the author of this kind of drama finds it necessary
to devise situations for exploiting the idiosyncrasies of his principal
characters; and that, even though the characters be disguised as
abstractions, the friction of what is dynamic with what is real
results in something vivid and concrete. I do not mean to say that the
dramatist has learned how to develop character, but how to display or
manifest it. Skill in the portrayal of character in process of growth
came but slowly, and with the passage of the allegorical play into
the drama of real life. As to the portrayal of motives and emotions
in their complexity, that is an art much more refined, to which the
writers of the moral never attained, even though they enriched their
abstractions with borrowings from theologians, philosophers, and
poets, for in dealing with abstractions at all they were dealing with
life at second hand. Indeed, complex characters can hardly be found
in English drama before the various tentative dramatic species had
merged themselves in the polytypic plays with which comedy, properly
so called, made its appearance. The allegorical dramatists found
also, like the writers of the later miracle and farce, that critical
situations demanded plain language and unsophisticated manners; and if,
in these respects, the realism of the moral excels that of the earlier
miracle, it is perhaps because of the superior dynamic quality of the
moral _dramatis persona_.

Mr. Courthope and other writers on the drama have conjectured that
the improvement characteristic of the allegorical playwright was
one to which he was driven of necessity, namely, the introduction,
and consequently the invention, of a continuous plot. But there was
nothing new in the invention of plot. The novelty, if any, was in
the distinctively comic nature of the plot-movement most suitable to
the purpose of this kind of drama. In tragedy, the movement must be
economic of its ups and downs: once headed downward, it must plunge,
with but one or two vain recovers, to the abyss. In comedy, on the
other hand, though the movement is ultimately upward, the crises are
more numerous; the oftener the individual stumbles without breaking
his neck, and the more varied his discomfitures, so long as they are
temporary, the better does he enjoy his ease in the cool of the day.
Tragic effects may be intense and longer drawn out, but they must be
few; in comedy, the effects are many, sudden, fleeting, kaleidoscopic.
You can enjoy a long, delicious shudder, but not a long-spun joke, or
a joke frequently repeated, or many jokes of the same kind. Hence
the peculiar movement of the plot in comedy. Now, the novelty of
the plot in the moral play, lay in the fact that the movement was
of this oscillating, upward kind,--a kind unknown as a rule to the
miracle, whose conditions were less fluid, and to the farce, which
was too shallow and superficial. The heart of the 'moral' hero was a
battleground; as in comedy, the interest was in the vicissitudes of
the conflict and the certainty of peace. Though the purpose of the
moral play was didactic and reformatory, its doctrine was optimistic
and its end to encourage; and one of the distinctive contributions
of the moral play to the English comedy was the movement suitable to
these conditions, not the introduction of a continuous or connected
plot. When Mr. Courthope further speaks of the moral plays as if they
were the sole link of connection between the later miracle plays and
the regular drama, and implies that the "morality" was unique in its
introduction of a leading personage, who may be called the hero of the
play, he is attributing to it qualities that existed in contemporary
species of the dramatic kind. As to the statement that the moral play
arose, as if a new kind of play, from some modification of the miracle
play, on the one hand by secular and comic interests, and on the other
by allegorical motives and materials, I think that sufficient has been
elsewhere said in this article to show that secular and comic interests
existed in the miracle play without altering its essence, both before
and after the moral had come into prominence, and that allegorical
motives and materials had developed themselves into the moral pageant
and play before the miracle was visibly affected by them.


=9. The Period of Transition: Farce and Romantic Interlude=

The period of experimentation or transition, which may be said to
extend from 1520 to 1553, is characterized especially by the gradual
abandonment of allegorical machinery and abstract material. The
forward movement is, of course, primarily due to the change from the
mediæval attitude of mind to that of the renaissance, from artificial
thought whose medium, the symbol, succeeded in concealing more than
it expressed, to experience. Of the social and political conditions
which prepared the way for the transition so far as English comedy is
concerned or that shaped comedy once on its way, I cannot here speak,
but the following would appear among purely literary antecedents:
First, the French _sotties_ and _farces_, the technical and satirical
qualities of which were a stimulus to invention, not only in England,
but in Italy and Germany; second, the _disputations_ and _debats_,
veritable whetstones of wit and a polish of words _ad unguem;_ third,
the collateral development of a farce interlude in England, composed
in Latin and English, probably also in Norman French, but generally
spontaneous, and wholly unforced; fourth, the adaptation to dramatic
and satirical purposes of _contes_, _fabliaux_, _novelle_, and their
English translations and congeners,--more especially the Chaucerian
episode with its concrete characters and contemporary manners; fifth,
the movement of native romance urged during the fifteenth and earlier
sixteenth centuries by contact with Spanish and Italian ideals and
their fictions of character, adventure, and intrigue; sixth, the
discipline of Plautine and Terentian models, and of the Latin and
vernacular comedies which imitated them, as well as of the Latin school
plays which flourished in Holland and Germany during the latter half
of the fifteenth century; and seventh, the examples set by Kirchmayer
and other German controversialists in the attempted adaptation of the
moral play to historical or quasi-historical conditions with a view to
satirical ends.

The plays that call for consideration in this section and the next
may be classified roughly as farces, romantic interludes, school
interludes, and controversial morals. Each of these kinds reaches a
culmination conformable to its nature, within the limits that I have
chosen for the period; and each has its own place in the history
of comedy. For it must not be supposed that, because a pastoral
farce like the _Mak_ did not develop into independent existence, or
because moral interludes gradually exhausted their career towards
the end of the sixteenth century, such species had no influence
in maturing English comedy. The peculiar quality and charm of our
comedy is that, deriving from sources not only distinct, but remote
in literary habitat,--scriptural, allegorical, farcical, pastoral,
romantic, classical, historical, or purely native and social,--it has
not dissipated itself in a thousand streamlets, but has carried down
deposits from each tributary at its best. In _Love's Labor's Lost_,
_Two Angry Women_, _As You Like It_, _Old Wives' Tale_, _Every Man
in His Humour_, we find, as in a miner's pan, 'colours' from vastly
different soils.

Of the indebtedness of comedy to the parody of religious festivals I
have already spoken, and I have little doubt that at later periods
English comedy continued to draw devices, if not inspiration, from
performances whose occasion was a revolt against the straitness of
religion. One, at least, of the interludes of John Heywood is closely
similar to the French _Farce de Pernet_, and that such farces were, in
motive, first a gloss upon the lessons of the divine service, then a
diversion, and finally a factor in the extra-ecclesiastical Feast of
Fools, any reader of Petit de Julleville will readily concede. It is
impossible that the comic features and comic characters of the farces
acted by the _clercs de la Basoche_, such as that of the immortal
_Maître Pathelin_, should not have affected the dramatic invention
of contemporary and succeeding Englishmen, conversant as many of them
were with the literature and society of France. And a like effect
might naturally be expected to have been exercised by the _sotties_
of the contemporary _enfants sans souci_; for, through the fourteenth
and fifteenth centuries, drama of that kind convulsed the sides of
merrymakers south of the Channel. Such were the occasion and motive
of farces and _sotties_. So far as they employed the plot of domestic
intrigue for their purposes of satire, I have little doubt that they
drew freely upon the Latin elegiac comedies of which I have already
spoken as the favourite dramatic species of the twelfth and thirteenth
centuries. The _Farce de Pernet_ has connection with more than one of
those imitations of Terentian intrigue. It has, also, like many of its
kind and of elegiac comedies as well, a kinship with one and another
popular tale. The church, then, seems to have furnished the opportunity
for these farces, and for some as an object of satire the motive; the
_contes_ and _fabliaux_ of the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth
centuries furnished much of the material; Latin comedy, its mediæval
and renaissance successors, cannot have failed to influence the form.

It will be, of course, recalled that as early as the _Mak_ of the
Towneley plays, a farce which is not unworthy of comparison with
_Maître Pathelin_, the English _Interludium de Clerico et Puella_,
probably of the thirteenth century, also indicated an acquaintance with
the technique of the farce species. Undoubtedly such interludes were
a common feature at entertainments of various kinds, and had matured
in the ordinary course into fixed form. But they were frequently
extemporaneous, were written for fleeting occasions, and might readily
be lost. I am inclined therefore, to look upon the dramatized anecdotes
assigned to Heywood as lucky survivals of a form which, since it had
been long cultivated both in England and France, may have attained to
a degree of excellence before he took it up. The resemblance of these
farces to the French is often such that, as M. Jusserand says, one
cannot but question whether Heywood had not some of the old French
dramas of the type in his hands. Since Mr. Pollard has discussed
the question in this volume, it is unnecessary for me to pursue it
farther. In any case, it is to the honour of Heywood that he brought
to focus the characteristic qualities of the Chaucerian episode, the
farce and the dramatic debate. "This I write," says he, "not to teach,
but to touch." In his work, accordingly, we find narratives of single
and independent interest, if not exactly plot, and an adaptation of
that which is abstract to purposes of amusement. We find characters
with motive, and sometimes personality, contemporary manners, witty
dialogue, satire; and in at least the _Play of Love_, an adumbration
of the sentimental, dare we say romantic, possibilities of comedy, to
be realized when it should have thrown allegory and scholasticism
to the winds. The Laundress in the _Wether_ envisages fleetingly the
straits of life and the recompense; and in the _Play of Love_, the
personification of various phases of that passion is a kind of glass
through which we darkly divine the motives of many later comedies.
There is, however, with the single exception of the Vice's trick in
_Love_, no action which can be called dramatic in Heywood's undoubted
plays; for, as Mr. Pollard reminds us, the _Pardoner_ and _Johan_,
although they avail themselves of "business" in order to develop a
plot, have not the significance of comedy proper.

To understand the nature of the movements that follow we must recur,
though with the utmost brevity, to the history of later Latin comedy.
The comic recitals of the twelfth century and thereabout were succeeded
by the comedy of the Italian humanists, still in Latin, but dramatic
in form and apparently in intent, which, though it availed itself,
like the elegiac school, of the outworn situations and devices of
scabrous amours, contributed considerably to the enrichment of the
romantic strain by the passion with which it invested its material,
sometimes, also, to the cause of realism by its unconscious, though
often repulsive, accuracy of detail. Although Plautus is to some extent
cultivated, the Terentian model was still the favourite with youthful
imitators until study of the older poet was revived by the recovery
of the twelve lost plays and their introduction to Roman circles in
1427. The _Philologia_ of Petrarch's earlier years is accordingly
fashioned in the style of Terence, and is even reported, for it is
unfortunately lost, to have surpassed its classical forbears. Written
about 1331, it was the first product of the new dramatic school, and
was succeeded by a numerous train of ambitious effusions,--university
plays we might call most of them,--a few witty, some sentimental, many
libidinous, all very young, and still all, or nearly all, cleverly and
regularly constructed. It concerns us here but to mention the _Paulus_
of Vergerio, which Creizenach dates 1370, Aretino's _Poliscene_, about
1390, Alberti's _Philodoxeos_, 1418, Ugolino's _Philogena_, some time
before 1437, and Piccolomini's _Crisis_, 1444.[64] Of these erotic
comedies,--pornographic were perhaps a more fitting term,--the most
popular seems to have been the _Philogena_; the most eminent, according
to Creizenach (but I don't see why), the _Crisis_. The _Paulus_
pretends to aim at the improvement of youth; one might for a moment
imagine that it was intended to be a prodigal son play. But in none
of these plays is there either punishment or repentance. In fact the
unaffected verve with which they display the wantonness of life is not
the least of their contributions to comedy. The _Poliscene_ is notable
for its modernity of manners and of morals. The sole instance among
these plays, so far as I can ascertain, of noble sentiment and harmless
plot is the _Philodoxeos_. The use of abstract names for the characters
lends it, indeed, somewhat the appearance of a moral interlude.

Of much greater value, however, in the history of the acted drama, and
of closer bearing upon the English comedy, were the representations
of Plautus and Terence, first in the Latin and ultimately in the
vernacular, which marked the last quarter of the fifteenth century in
the courts of northern Italy. These in turn were but stepping-stones
towards such dramatic dialogues as the _Timone_ of Bojardo, 1494, and
the still more significant experiments of Ariosto and Bibbiena--the
first romantic comedies in prose and in the native tongue. The authors
of the _Suppositi_ (acted in 1509) and the _Calandria_ (written in
1508, but not presented till six years later) derive much from Roman
sources, but in general these comedies and their like were original.
Their influence upon our own plays of romantic intrigue will presently
appear. So, likewise, will that of a Spanish work, of even earlier
date, the dramatic novel of _Calisto and Melibœa_; for this tragic
production of Cota and De Rojas is the source of our first English
romantic drama. The connection between other forms of Italian drama,
the _Commedia dell'arte_, the pastoral drama, etc., and the later stage
in western Europe has been ably discussed by Klein, Moland, Symonds,
and Ward; and to them I must refer the reader of this more summary
account.

The decade that saw the first of Heywood's virile plays was probably
that which welcomed to England the ebullient, un-English passions
of a dramatic species destined to develop the native stock in a
far different manner. "A new commodye in englyshe, in maner of an
enterlude," ordinarily called _Calisto and Melibœa_, is the earliest
romantic play of intrigue in our language. It was "caused to be
printed" by that excellent promoter of the dramatic art, John Rastell,
about 1530, and was written--perhaps by him--not long before. The
appellation "commodye" had been used during the same decade with
reference to the English translation of the _Andria_ (about 1520-29);
it is here used for the first time on the title-page of an English
play. And this interesting interlude may, indeed, well be called both
English and comedy; for though it derives from romance sources (the
Spanish dramatic composition by Fernando de Rojas, before 1500),
and is affected by the Italian, it does not follow exactly the plot
of its original; and though it is "reduced to the proportions of an
interlude," it treats of an idea not farcical, but significant, and it
develops the motives of real characters, by way of action, passion,
and intrigue, to a happy conclusion within the realm of convention and
common sense. It is, indeed, a comedy, perhaps our first well-rounded
comedy, though in miniature. The _Secunda Pastorum_ it excels in
singleness of aim; the _Pardoner and Frere_ and the _Johan_, in meaning
for life. It excels all preceding interludes in the fulfilment of
the purpose, now for the first time announced in English drama, "to
shew and to describe as well the bewte and good propertes of women
as theyr vyces and evyll condicions." For the first time since plays
became secular, women are introduced, not as the objects of scurrility
and ridicule, but as dramatic material of an æsthetic, moral, and
intellectual value equal to that of men. What the author of _Johan_
did for the amusing and real action desirable in a comedy, the author
of this play did for vital characterization and passion. Melibœa is
the first heroine of our romantic comedy; she is so fair that for
her lover there is "no such sovereign in heaven, though she be in
earth." She is, if the play was written before the _Play of Love_, our
earliest heroine "loved, not loving." She is a woman and pitiful and
to be wooed; frail and repentant; but then indignant and not to be
won. Calisto is, likewise, our first lover in despair. This element
of woman worship--not worship of the Blessed Virgin or traditional
interest in the Magdalene or any other saint--is no slight contribution
to the material of comedy. The intrigue of the play,--the foils of
character and action, the go-betweens, the plot within plot introduced
by Celestina, her realistic account of Sempronio's character, her
device of the "girdle," the mysterious agency of the dream,--no
better indication of romantic tendency can be detected until we reach
Redford's play of _Wit and Science_, of which presently. But first, and
that we may keep in mind the parallelism of dramatic tendencies in this
momentous first half of the sixteenth century, let us turn to another
stream, that of the school interludes and the classical influence.


=10. The Period of Transition: School Interlude and Controversial Moral=

During the fifteenth century, and the early sixteenth, influences of
importance to English comedy proceed not from the literature of Italy
and Spain alone. In northern Europe additions most significant to the
history of the type were making. To the crop of French _sotties_,
_moralités_, and _farces_ I have already referred. The German Reuchlin
in 1498 put forth a roaring Latin comedy called the _Henno_, which, in
modern Terentian style, embodied the chicaneries of Pathelin. About
the same time the Germans began to make the acquaintance, through
translations in their own tongue, of highly flavoured Italian Latin
plays like the _Poliscene_ and the _Philogenia;_ while those of them
who cared not for such things were favoured with a recrudescence of the
Christian Terence school. In 1507 the young humanist, Kilian Reuter,
in imitation of the nun of Gandersheim, produced in Latin his pious
comedy depicting the passion of St. Dorothea. In Holland, meanwhile,
were springing into existence the Latin prototypes of more than one of
our own didactic interludes; for in the _comedia sacra_ the attempt was
made to combine the intrigue of the Italian university play with the
moral of the prodigal son and the technique of the Terentian drama.
The more important of these plays of the prodigal son, in respect of
influence upon English comedy, are the _Asotus_ of Macropedius, written
before 1529, and his _Rebelles_, 1535, the _Acolastus_ of Gnapheus,
1529, and the _Studentes_ of Stymmelius, 1549. The most dramatic of
them are the second and third as mentioned. The _Acolastus_, indeed,
translated into English by Palsgrave in 1540, exerted a long-enduring
influence upon our drama. To the same period belong also a species of
biblical comedies dealing with heroes, like the _Joseph_ of the Dutch
Jesuit, Crocus, 1535, and the _Susanna_, _Judith_, _Eli_, _Ruth_,
_Job_, _Solomon_, _Goliath_, etc., of Macropedius, the Swiss Sixt
Birck, and others; and another kind of play that occupied itself with
prototypes of the Roman Antichrist,--Haman, Judas, and the like. The
former may be called the idyllic or heroic miracle, the latter the
polemic. And of the latter the most influential development was the
controversial interlude, _Pammachius_, written by the German Protestant
Naogeorgos (Kirchmayer) and dedicated to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
By 1545 this play, in which the Pope figures as the Antichrist, had
not only been acted at Cambridge in the original, but translated into
English by our own John Bale; and, as we shall presently see, it was,
somewhere between 1540 and 1548, imitated by him in one of the most
vigorous of our controversial dramas.[65]

Of the cultivation of the drama in Latin in England I have already
made mention in treating of the saints' plays and the Terentian
drama of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Other indications of
a Latin drama occur, although infrequently. William Fitzstephen,
who speaks of the _ludus_ given by Geoffrey's boys at Dunstable,
tells us, also, that it was customary on feast days for masters of
schools to hold festival meetings in the churches, when the pupils
contested, not only in disputations, but also with Fescennine license
in satirical verses touching "the faults of school-fellows or perhaps
of greater people"; a practice which could only with difficulty escape
development into a rude Aristophanic comedy. We have mention also
of perquisites for a _comœdia_ in one of the Cambridge colleges as
early as 1386, evidently of the Latin type, and of the presentation
of a goodly comedy of Plautus at court in 1520. Between 1522 and 1532
the Master of St. Paul's produced a Latin school drama of _Dido_
before Wolsey, and according to Collier's supposition,[66] the same
John Ritwyse was the author of the satiric interlude, in Latin and
French, of Luther and his wife, which was acted for the delectation
of the not yet reformed Henry and his foreign guests in 1527. Of
the nature of this play, unfortunately lost, some conception may be
gathered from the still surviving list of its characters (allegorical,
religious, and contemporary), from the analogous _Ludus ludentem
Luderum ludens_, 1530, and the somewhat more recent and most scurrilous
_Monachopornomachia_, both by Germans. Before 1530 and apparently with
a view to acting, the _Andria_ had been turned into English,[67] and
by 1535 at least two Latin comedies of moral-mythological character
had been written by Artour of Cambridge, and one, the _Piscator_, by
Hoker of Oxford.[68] We have word of a dramatic pageant in English and
Latin to which Udall contributed in 1532; in 1534 he issued a book
of selections entitled _Flowers of Terence_. In 1540 Palsgrave had
introduced the prodigal son drama from Germany; and by 1545 Bale had
followed suit with a Latin play of Antichrist. During the same period
Udall was producing his _plures comœdiæ_, now lost, and that other
schoolmaster-dramatist, Radcliffe of Hitchin, was writing _spectacula
simul jucunda et honesta_ for his boys to present,--heroic miracles of
the type affected by Macropedius, and a romantic comedy of _Griselda_,
probably all in Latin, but unfortunately all vanished.

The importance of the English school drama has been well presented by
Professor Herford and Dr. Ward, but there is something in the name
that leads the ordinary reader to underrate the _genus_. A word or so
by way of classification may be of assistance. These interludes fall
naturally into four kinds. Those that ridicule folly, vain pretension,
and conceit, or Mirth plays,--plays after the model of Plautus,
mock-heroic, or purely diverting, like the _Thersytes_. Those that
are pedagogical in tendency, directed against idleness and ignorance,
or Wit plays. They began with Rastell's _Four Elements_, and reached
their highest mark in the _Contract between Witt and Wisdome_. Those
that portray the conflict with the excesses and lusts of the flesh, or
Youth plays. They consist of such productions as _Mankynd_, _Nature_,
_Hyckescorner_, and reach their climax, about 1554, in the _Interlude
of Youth_. The school drama includes, in the last place, a series
corrective of parental indulgence and filial disobedience, aptly called
Prodigal Son plays. These are patterned upon Terence, but follow the
manner of Dutch school plays like the _Acolastus_ or of the still
earlier French _moralités_, _Bien-Avisé et Mal-Avisé_, _L'Homme
pêcheur_, and _Les Enfants de Maintenant_. They make more or less use
of the scriptural motif and are sometimes tragical. In the period under
consideration their best representatives are the _Nice Wanton_ and the
_Disobedient Child_. From the point of view of comedy the first of
these kinds, the Mirth play, occupies a place by itself; for, though
it may sometimes intend to teach, it always aims at, and achieves,
laughter. To the three remaining kinds, we must for convenience, join,
however, another which, though not of the school species, is primarily
didactic,--I mean the controversial interlude. This includes Bale's
_King Johan_, Wever's _Lusty Juventus_, and the _Respublica_.

In the Mirth play, _Thersytes_, the influence of Plautus is evident,--a
school play, to be sure, but written with a view to amusement or
rollicking satire rather than instruction. Acted in 1537, this
"enterlude" has for its hero a "ruffler forth of the Greke lande" whose
"crakying" stands half-way between the classical Pyrgopolinices and
Thraso and the modern Roister Doister. For all its academic flavour,
the burlesque is coarse and crude, but still genuinely humorous.
It deserves notice, in especial, for the variety of its contents,
chivalric, romantic, popular, scriptural as well as Greek and Latin;
also for its artistic exhibition of the braggart,--the leisurely
proceeding of his discomfiture, the subordination of other characters
to that end; and for its mastery of technical devices,--concealment,
magic, the play upon the word, and that hunting of the word and
letter which was so soon to drive conversation out of its wits. As
an interlude of foreign origin, the _Thersytes_ has a place in the
development of the comic element somewhat analogous to that of the
_Calisto_ in the development of the romantic. As far as the quality
of mirth is concerned it might be classed with _Roister Doister_ and
_Jacke Jugeler_; but those plays are much more highly developed in form
and spirit, and must be reserved for consideration with the polytypic,
and early regular, comedy.

The remaining classes of interlude are manifestly didactic; those of
Wit and Youth derive, however, more directly from native sources, while
those of the Prodigal Son have close affiliation with the Christian
Terence of the continental humanists.

Redford's _Wyt and Science_, composed probably between 1541 and 1547,
is, in form and intent, like _Lusty Juventus_ and other survivals of
the moral interlude. It differs, however, in company with the _Four
Elements_ and other Wit plays, in substituting a scientific for a
religious purpose; and it adds a feature not to be found in earlier
kinds of moral, a chivalrous ideal of love and adventure, academic, to
be sure, but unmistakable. This appears in the wooing of Lady Science
by Wyt, and his encounter with the tyrant or fiend Tediousness "for
my dere hartes sake to wynne my spurres;" in the hero's inconstancy,
defeat, and subsequent success, and in the dramatic employment of
romantic instruments and tokens, such as the magic glass and the
sword of comfort; also in the love songs. All of these and similar
features of which the sources are not entirely continental make for
the development of a romantic and humanistic drama. It may be worth
noticing, moreover, that the fiend of the play is neither Vice nor
Devil. He seems to be a cross between the Devil of the miracles and
a monster of native as well as scriptural ancestry (an early draft
of Giant Despair), who figures in a modernization of this play, _The
Marriage of Witte and Science_. In chronological sequence the next of
the Wit plays is the _Contract of a Marrige betweene Wit and Wisdome_
(not _Wit and Science_, as Professor Brandl has it). This was probably
written about the same time as the _Lusty Juventus_. The mention of the
King's most "royal majestie" and the appearance of the Vice Idleness as
a priest would point to a date earlier than 1553, while the resemblance
to Redford's play, though by no means close, indicates posteriority to
that much cruder production. The division into acts and scenes is, on
the other hand, less elaborate than that obtaining in the latest play
of this series, _The Marriage of Witte and Science_. The _Contract_ is
altogether the most meritorious of those academic predecessors of the
drama of the Prodigal Son which introduce the indulgent mother as a
motive force. While the conception is formal and didactic, the action
avails itself, like Redford's play, of the romantic element involved
in the perilous adventure for love. The _Contract_, moreover, startles
the sober atmosphere of the moral interlude by a rapidity of movement,
a combination of plots major and minor, a diversity of subordinate
characters and incidents altogether unprecedented. The racy and natural
wit, the equivoque, the actual, even if vulgar, humanity of the scenes
from low life, and the skill with which the Mother Bees, the Dols and
Lobs, Snatches and Catches, the Constable, and the thoroughly rustic
Vice with his actual resemblance to Diccon the Bedlem, are dovetailed
into the action,--these properties make this a very commendable
predecessor, not only of _Gammer Gurton_, but of certain plays of
Dekker and Jonson where similar features obtain. With the _Contract_,
the interlude of this kind attains its climax. _The Marriage of Witte
and Science_, which is a revision of Redford's play of similar name,
must also be mentioned here, although it is a postliminious specimen of
the type. Not licensed until 1569-70, and, according to Fleay, acted
as _Wit and Will_, 1567-78,[69] it adds nothing vital to the plot or
characters of its model. Still, in literary and dramatic handling, it
is an example of the perfection to which the moral play could come.
Collier, indeed, has said that it was the first play of its kind
regularly divided into acts and scenes with indication of the same:
but that is not true, for the _Respublica_ of 1553 has five acts and
the proper arrangement in scenes; and so have other plays of 1553 or
earlier, though of different kind, like the _Jacob and Esau_.

If now we pass to the Youth plays, we shall find in the _Interlude of
Youth_ (about 1554) the culmination of dramatic efforts to portray the
sowing of wild oats,--efforts avowedly moral in purpose, but with a
reminiscent smack of the lips and a fellow-feeling for the scapegrace.
The _Interlude of Youth_ is characterized neither by the unbridled
merriment of the _Miles Gloriosus_ type nor by the depth or pathos of
dramas portraying solicitous parents and prodigal sons; but it paves
the way for 'tragical' comedies of this latter class, and is infinitely
more dramatic, because more human, than the pedagogical onslaughts
upon idleness, irksomeness, ignorance, and the like of which we have
just treated. It has, perhaps, not been noticed that the _Interlude of
Youth_ holds about the same relation to _Hyckescorner_ in matter of
motive and treatment that _Hyckescorner_ holds to the _Four Elements_
and _Mankynd_,--indeed, a closer relation, for in many details of
character, device, situation, as well as by literal transference of
language, it borrows from _Hyckescorner_. This as indicating the
descent of the species is in itself interesting. But the present play
generally improves upon all that it derives. In addition, the vivid
conversation, shrewd and waggish wit, local colouring, atmosphere of
taverns, dicing, cards, and worse iniquities, justify, I think, the
statement that it is at once the most realistic, amusing, and graceful
specimen of its kind. It is, at any rate, as artistic as a didactic
interlude could permit itself to be.

One cannot consider the so-called Prodigal Son interludes, without
observing that the theme itself supplies an opportunity for the
enlargement of dramatic endeavour. For these productions are directed
as much against parental indulgence as against filial disobedience.
The "Preaty Interlude called _Nice Wanton_," printed in 1560, was
written before the death of Edward VI. Though it may have derived
suggestions from the _Rebelles_[70] of Macropedius, 1535, it is of its
own originality and dramatic merit, in my opinion, the best of its
class in English at the time of writing. While it presents a mixture of
scriptural, classical, and moral elements, it is essentially a modern
production. The allegorical lingers only in the character of Worldly
Shame. If this be eliminated, there remains a play with realistic,
romantic, and ideal qualities, an air of probability, and a plot well
conceived and excellently completed. Iniquity, or Baily errand, is a
concrete Vice, working by actual and possible methods. The unfortunate
heroine and the well-contrasted pairs of mothers and sons are manifest
not only by their deeds but by the opinions of those who know them.
The plot, in other words, grows out of the characters; it is full of
incident, and it falls naturally into acts, which have been elaborated
in various and dramatically interesting scenes. The movements, on the
one hand toward a catastrophe, on the other toward the triumph of right
living, are conducted with skilful suspense, surprise, discovery, and
revolution, and are well interwoven. The conversations and songs are
racy or sober according to the conditions; the combination of æsthetic
qualities, comic, tragic, and pathetic, is an agreeable advance upon
the inartistic extremes afforded by most of the contemporary interludes
of moral intent. The next of these plays, the "pretie and mery new
interlude called _The Disobedient Child_, by Thomas Ingeland, late
Student at Cambridge," was acted, Mr. Fleay thinks, before Elizabeth
in March, 1560-61. Though it was not published till 1564, it was
certainly, like the _Nice Wanton_, written before 1553. The purpose
is serious and the conclusion almost tragic, but the play contributes
to the comedy of domestic satire. If the main characters were but
indicated by name, like those below stairs, Blanche and Long-Tongue,
this picturesque and wholly dramatic interlude would have attracted
more notice than has been vouchsafed it. Its literary merits, verse,
poetic feeling and expression, and its natural dialogue entitle it to
high consideration; its decidedly novel dramatic qualities, even though
they bear a general resemblance to the _Studentes_[71] of Stymmelius,
rank it with the _Nice Wanton_ as one of the most vigorous of our early
representatives of the dramatic actualities of family life.

For reasons which I have already indicated, the controversial plays
of the period between 1520 and 1553 may be considered here. The
first of these in chronological order is Bale's _King Johan_, about
1540-47, with later insertions in the author's hand. Its relation to
Lyndsay's satire of the _Thrie Estatis_ is well known; and Professor
Herford[72] has indicated its indebtedness also to the _Pammachius_
and the Protestant version of the antichrist legend. It is a dramatic
satire on the abuses of the church, its riches, orders, brotherhoods,
confessionals, simony, free thought, mummery (judaistic and pagan),
Latin ritual, hagiolatry, and papal supremacy. Few more excellent
embodiments of the Vice have been preserved than the Sedycyon of this
play, who in every estate of the clergy plays a part, sometimes monk,
sometimes nun, or canon, or chapter-house monk, or Sir John, or the
parson, or the bishop, or the friar, or the purgatory priest and every
man's wife's desire:--

    "Yea, to go farder, sumtyme I am a cardynall;
    Yea, sumtyme a pope and than am I lord over all,
    Both in hevyn and erthe and also in purgatory,
    And do weare iij crownes whan I am in my glorye."

In spite of Professor Schelling's[73] recent rejection of _King
Johan_ from the list of chronicle plays, I cannot but agree with Dr.
Ward that this moral is of considerable importance in the history
of that species. That it uses history merely as the cloak for a
religio-policical allegory, and that it does not quite succeed in
drawing together the points of fact and fiction in the development of
action and character,--these defects do not alter its significance as
the first English play to incarnate the political spirit of its age in
a form imaginatively attributed to an earlier period of native history.
Although it is not a comedy, it concerns us here as a drama of critical
and satirical intent. It is succeeded by plays like _Lusty Juventus_
and _Respublica_, which deal more or less with political affairs, and
interest us because they enliven the controversial by the introduction
of the realistic and comic, and, accordingly, in an age when polemics
was politics, contribute to the improvement of comedy by shaping it
more or less to a medium for the dissemination of practical ideas.
Moreover, though Bale had no disciples in the attempt to construct an
historical protestant drama, he may be said to have prepared the way
for a protestant series of another kind. This is what Professor Herford
has well called the biblical _genre_ drama; it is pedagogical and
controversial, and, like the _King Johan_, its representatives, also,
such as the _Darius_ and _Queen Hester_, had their precursors, and
probably their models, more or less distant, in the idyllic or heroic
miracle of the Dutch and German humanists.

R. Wever's _Lusty Juventus_, written about 1550,[74] is of the dramatic
kindred of _Mankynd_ and _Nature_. Its characters are allegorical in
name but concrete in person; and one of them, Abhominable Living,
passes, also, under the appellation of "litle Besse." The conversations
are sprightly, and the songs show considerable lyric power. But the
play is a protestant polemic, and its success must have depended to a
large extent upon the bitterness of the satire against

    "Holy cardinals, holy popes,
    Holy vestments, holy copes,"

and various alleged hypocrisies and excesses of the Church of Rome.
That this play had a long life is shown by its insertion, though
under the designation of an interlude with which it had nothing in
common,[75] as a play within a play in the tragedy of _Sir Thomas
More_ (about 1590). The "merye Enterlude" _Respublica_, 1553, a
children's Christmas play, sustains somewhat the same relation to
political Catholicism as _King Johan_ to Protestantism--without the
polemics of dogma. Here, as in the preceding political moral of _King
Johan_, the Vice is used for a satirical purpose, and is not only the
chief mischief-maker, but, also, the principal representative of the
comic rôle. In this play, the Vice is so highly considered that the
author, probably a priest, multiplies him by four, and, by way of
foil, offsets the group with that of the four Virtues, daughters of
God, whose presence in the eleventh Coventry play and in _Mankynd_ has
already been noticed. I don't see how Collier can call the construction
of _Respublica_ ingenious; it is childish, clumsy, and trite. The
humour consists in old-fashioned disguises and _aliases_, equivoque,
misunderstanding, and abuse. But the character of Avarice, who, with
his money bags, anticipates the Suckdrys and Lucres of later comedy,
is well conceived, the conduct natural, the language simple and
colloquial. Of historical interest is the introduction of Queen Mary
as Nemesis; of linguistic, the attempt to reproduce the dialect of the
common people; of dramatic, the division into acts and scenes, which is
to be found in but few other plays of the mid-century, such as _Roister
Doister_, _King Johan_, _Jacob and Esau_, and the _Marriage of Witte
and Science_.


=11. Polytypic, or Fusion, Plays=

With the plays just mentioned each of the dramatic kinds so far
considered reaches its artistic limit. These kinds, however, during
the decades roughly coincident with the years between 1545 and 1566,
enter into combinations, by virtue of which English comedy is assisted
to a still further advance. The plays that represent this stage of
literary history may be called polytypic. _Roister Doister_ and _Jacke
Jugeler_ subordinate the materials of academic interlude and classical
farce to classical regulations. Into the _Historie of Jacob and Esau_
enter characteristics of miracle play, moral, realistic interlude, and
classical comedy. _Gammer Gurton_ and _Tom Tyler_ (of about the same
date) subsume, under the domestic play of low life, native elements
of both farce and moral. _Misogonus_ combines elements of moral
interlude and farce with qualities native and foreign, classical and
romantic. These are followed by the biblical _genre_ drama of _Godly
Queen Hester_, partly political and partly pedagogical in intent. In
the first five of these plays the tendency to teach is reduced almost
to a minimum. In the _Misogonus_ and _Hester_ it is present, but is
counterbalanced by romantic or satirical considerations. When, however,
we reach the _Damon and Pythias_ and _The Supposes_, the didactic has
disappeared altogether in favour of the truly artistic motive. These
plays at last combine the comic and serious, the real, the romantic,
and the ideal. They are constructive, not primarily critical; in fact,
they must be regarded as our first real comedies.

No play of this division better illustrates the impress of the
classical model upon native material than _Roister Doister_. This
"comedie" or "interlude" was certainly in existence by 1552; indeed,
it has not yet been conclusively shown that it was not acted as early
as 1534 to 1541. In the last contingency it may have anticipated the
_Thersytes;_ but, according to Professor Flügel's argument,[76] it was
probably not composed till after 1545. With the _Thersytes_ it has in
common several points of detail, but the essential resemblance is,
of course, in the Plautine personage of the braggart. Like Heywood
before him, Udall aims to produce that which "is comendable for a
man's recreation," but the masterpiece of Udall has the advantage
of Heywood's "mery plays," in that its mirth "refuses scurilitie."
In _Roister Doister_, also, more decidedly than in previous plays,
the amusement proceeds not from the situation alone, but from the
organism,--a plot essentially and substantially dramatic, because its
characters are concrete, purposive, and interacting. But decided as
was Udall's contribution to the art of comic drama, we must not credit
him with producing comedy proper. The merit of _Roister Doister_ is in
its comic intent, its skilful characterization and contrivance. It is
a presentation of humours,--corrective indeed, but farcical. It is not
significant, constructive, poetic, grounded in the heart as well as in
the head. A contribution to the classical type contemporary with the
preceding, but of a much more farcical and juvenile appearance, is the
"new interlued" named _Jacke Jugeler_, written not later than 1562 and
perhaps as early as 1553-54 (after the reëstablishment of the Mass and
before the terrifying revival of the sanguinary laws against heretics).
It announces itself as a school drama, and in the prologue purports
to have been derived from the _Amphitruo_ of Plautus. I am inclined
to think that the professed modesty of the author has led critics to
undervalue the skill and fidelity of that which was not only the best
"droll," but also the best dramatic satire produced in England up to
date. Within a narrow compass he has developed a humorous action quite
novel in English comedy, and has introduced us, not only to the first
English double and one of the first English practical jokers, but,
I believe, to our first victim of confused identity. The author is,
of course, following his Plautus, but what could be more ludicrous
than the scene in which Jenkin, uncertain and undesirous of his own
acquaintance, covers himself with ignominy in the effort to discard
it. We are led from interest to interest by means of anticipation,
surprise, and the clever repetition of comic crises. Characters well
drawn like Dame Coy and Alison, distinct like Jacke and Jenkin,
suggestive of complexity like Bongrace, were not of everyday occurrence
in the drama of 1553. The language, too, is idiomatic, and the wit,
though vulgar, unforced. But perhaps more significant for our purpose
than any other feature of the play is this, that in spite of its avowed
æsthetic intent (even more outspoken than that of _Roister Doister_),
it is a subtle attack upon the Roman Catholic Church. This interlude,
says the maker, citing the authority of the classics, is written for
the express purpose of provoking mirth, and for no other purpose: it is
"not worth an oyster shell Except percase it shall fortune to make men
laugh well"; but under the artifice we find a parable of the doctrinal
Jacke Jugeler of the day, whose mission it was to prove that "One man
may have two bodies and two faces, And that one man at one time may be
in two places." I do not think that the satirical character of the play
has heretofore been remarked, though the controversial allusions of the
epilogue are, of course, well known. The innocence of the prologue and
the profession of trifles fit for "little boys" are as shrewd an irony
as the dramatic attack upon transubstantiation is a huge burlesque.

The third of these fusion dramas is _The Historie of Jacob and Esau_.
Although its title may suggest the dignity of a miracle or the
didacticism of a moral play, it is the reduction of the miracle to
modern conditions and of the moral to concrete and actual characters.
This "newe, mery, and wittie comedie, or enterlude" was licensed in
1557, but its decidedly protestant character may indicate composition
before Mary's accession to the throne. Collier is quite right in
calling it one of the freshest and most effective productions of the
kind to which it belongs. But in classifying it with early religious
plays, because the subject happens to be scriptural, he is as far
astray as Professor Brandl who classes it with plays of the Prodigal
Son, because the nature of the subject suggests a faint resemblance
to that species. It is an attempt at comedy by way of fusion. The
plot is in general scriptural, but it introduces some half-dozen
invented characters. The production aims, like a moral interlude,
at inculcating the doctrine of predestination; but, like a classical
comedy, it is regularly divided, dramatically constructed, and equipped
with tried and telling comic devices. Proceeding with extreme care
for probability, with elaboration of motive, with due preparation of
interest, enhancement, and suspense, it attains a climax of unusual
excellence, considering the date of its composition. The discovery
and _denouement_ are naturally contrived; and where the author avails
himself of the staples of his trade, the asides, disguises, intrigues,
eavesdropping, and the rest, he does so with the ease of the accustomed
dramatist. The play, in fact, deserves as high esteem as _Roister
Doister_ and _Gammer Gurton_; in originality and regularity it is
their equal, in development of a vital conception their superior. The
language is idiomatic--of the age and soil; or dignified, when the mood
demands. It is also free from obscenity; but it lacks nothing in wit on
that account, nor the situations in humour. Viewed as a whole, it is a
simple and unaffected picture of English rural life--the scene with its
setting as well as its figures. And these are coloured from experience,
forerunners, indeed, of many in our better-known comedy: the young
squire given over to the chase, horses and dogs and the horn at break
of day (much to the discomfort of the slumbering environment),--the
careless elder born,--victim and butt of his unnatural mother and her
wily younger son; the doting father, duped; the clown; the pert and
pretty maid; the aged nurse. Consider, in addition, the more subtle
characteristics of the _Jacob and Esau_,--the family resemblances,
the racial policy with its ripe and ruddy upper layer of morals, the
romantic touch, the sometimes genuine pathos, the naïve domestic
revelations, the loves in low life, the unaffected charms of dialogue
and verse,--and one must acknowledge that this play, no matter what its
origin and name, is at least as indicative of the maturing of English
drama as either of the plays with which I have placed it in comparison.

Of these _Gammer Gurtons Nedle_ was the first to gather the threads of
farce, moral interlude, and classical school play into a well-sustained
comedy of rustic life. Mr. Henry Bradley has ingeniously shown that
in all probability it was a Christ's College play, written by William
Stevenson during his fellowship of 1559 to 1560. There may, indeed,
be reason for believing that it was composed as early as the author's
first fellowship, 1551-54.[77] In this play the unregulated seductions
of earlier days are brought under the curb of the classical manner
and form: the native element already evident in _Noah's Flood_ and
the _Shepherds' Plays_, the _Judicium_, the _Conversion of St. Paul_,
the _Johan_, and the _Pardoner_, and about this same time in the
_Contract betweene Wit and Wisdome_ (parts of which suggest forcibly
the manner of this same Stevenson); the rollicking humour of the Vice
turned Bedlem, the pithy and saline interchange of feminine amenities;
the Atellan, sometimes even Chaucerian, laughter,--not sensual but
animal; the delight in physical incongruity; the mediæval fondness
for the grotesque. If the situations are farcical, they at any rate
hold together; each scene tends towards the climax of the act, and
each act towards the _denouement_. The characters are both typical and
individual; and though the conception is of less significance than that
of _Roister Doister_, the execution is an advance because it smacks
less of the academic. _Gammer Gurton_ carries forward the comedy of
mirth, but hardly yet into the rounded comedy of life.

Another "excellent old play," called _Tom Tyler and His Wife_,[78]
deserves to be mentioned in this sequence because it combines
characteristics of the farce in a peculiar fashion with reminiscences
of the moral interlude. _Tom Tyler_ was written probably between 1550
and 1560, and is an admirable portrayal of matrimonial infelicities
in low life, the forerunner of a series of "shrew" plays, not of
the nature of the _Taming_, but of the _Tamer Tamed_. The temporary
revolt of the husband, "whose cake was dough," his fleeting triumph by
the ruse of the doughty Tom Taylor, and his lapse into irremediable
servitude, "for wedding and hanging is destinie," these alone would
make the farce worthy of honourable mention. But the dialogue and
songs are themselves of snap, verve, and wit not inferior to the best
of that day; and the coöperation of solemn allegorical figures, such
as Destinie and Patience, in the humorous programme of Desire the
Vice, side by side with the three lusty "shrowes," Typple, Sturdy, and
Strife, lends to the farce a mock-moral appearance which entitles it to
a place among these polytypic dramas historically unique. For it should
not be regarded as an example of the moral in transition from abstract
to concrete, but as a conscious and cleverly ironical presentation of
a comic episode from utterly unideal life, under the form, and by the
modes and machinery, of the pious allegorical drama.

For the printing of the next play in this series, the _Misogonus_,
heretofore accessible only in manuscript at Chatsworth, we are indebted
to Professor Brandl.[79] This interesting moral comedy was written
in 1560, probably by Thomas Richardes,[80] whose name followes the
prologue. Brandl points out certain resemblances to the _Acolastus_
of Gnapheus, printed 1534. The contrast of the good and wayward sons
might likewise be traced to the _Studentes_ of Stymmelius[81] (1549),
but the more evident sources are Terence, the biblical parable,
common experience, and dramatic imagination, Professor Brandl thinks
that the play is connected with _The Supposes_ or its source, but I
must confess that I cannot see the remotest relation. In Mr. Fleay's
opinion this is the earliest English comedy. I suppose because it not
only applies a classical treatment to certain elements of romantic
form,--the Italian scene and baronial life,--and of romantic content
and method such as the ideal friendship, the discovery and recognition,
but combines therewith a realistic portrayal of native character, and
various technical qualities vital to both the serious and comic kinds
of composition. If, however, the names of the principal characters
had been English, the relation to the moral interlude would at once
be evident. This is a Prodigal Son play of the humanist school, save
that it has supplemented the general characteristics of the Christian
Terence and of Plautus by episodes and minor characters from the native
farce. Although it is not superior in technique to _Roister_ or _Gammer
Gurton_, it is more distinctively polytypic than either. It is, also,
of broader ethical significance. But this dominant didactic intent
renders it less of a comedy than they, and much less than the _Jacob
and Esau_--which is as good a representative of the fusion of dramatic
kinds and qualities as the _Misogonus_, and a better specimen of
workmanship. The simpler characters of the _Misogonus_, Codrus, poore,
but "trwe and trusty"; the stammering Madge Mumbelcrust, who "coude
once a said our lordyes saw--saw--sawter by rote"; and her gossip "Tib,
who has tongue inough for both"; Alison, who knows "what a great thinge
an oth is"; and Sir John, the priest, who knows how to use one,--these,
their ways and colloquies, are of a piece with Stevenson's work and
Heywood's and the world that their work represents. The conditions and
conduct of the leading _dramatis personæ_ are, on the other hand, more
closely akin to the Plautine and Terentian, to the school of Udall
and the humanists. Cacurgus, the domestic parasite and fool, remotely
connected with the Vice, but actually a counterfeit-simple and wag,
is as good a Will Summer as the early comedy can boast. When Greene
made his Nano, Adam, and Slipper, he had in mind a generation of such
creatures. If one could eliminate the sermonizing, there would remain
a plot as satisfactory in unity, in situations, recognitions, crises,
and _denouement_ as any produced during the next twenty years. But, as
I have said above, the moral urgency of the play injures the art. Since
the Prodigal Son is reclaimed, we are, however, justified in ranking
the production among early attempts at English comedy.

_Godly Queen Hester_, published 1561,[82] is exactly described as a
"newe enterlude drawen out of the Holy Scripture." According to
Fleay, it is the latest "scriptural morality" extant to be acted on the
English stage.[83] But it is much more than a scriptural morality. Not
only by its fusion of biblical characters, like Assuerus and Hester,
with allegorical types, like Pride and the half-moral, half-native
Vice, does the play give evidence of its polytypic nature, but by its
atmosphere, which is charged with local and personal allusions and
ironical references to the economic abuses of the day. In nervous
energy of style and in forthright dramatic movement, the play is
an improvement upon its predecessors; and as a satirical drama of
political purpose, it should have had a numerous progeny. Strange to
say, however, this kind of scriptural satire has had no great success
in the field of English drama. Its bloom, as in Dryden's _Absalom
and Achitophel_, has been in the by-paths of poetry. Of a peculiar
historical importance is the character of Hardy-dardy. Mr. Fleay
regards him as a domestic fool, and remarks that this interlude and the
_Misogonus_ are the only two early plays in which the Vice is replaced
by such a personage. But neither of these statements is correct, for
Hardy-dardy and Cacurgus do not totally abandon the quality of Vice,
and various other plays yet to be mentioned have characters closely
resembling them. Hardy-dardy is, indeed, a professed jester dressed
in a fool's coat; in his assumption of stupidity and his proffer of
service to Aman, he resembles Slipper in Greene's _James the Fourth_;
and in his shrewd simplicity, repartee, and indirection he anticipates
some of Shakespeare's fools. But he still retains characteristics of
his ancestry. He stands, in conception, half-way between the minor
Vices of the play, Ambition, Adulation, and Pride, to whose jocosities
and deviltries he succeeds,--for he appears only when they have
departed,--and the waggish weathercocks of later interludes, Haphazard
and Conditions.

I wish I could have included among the reprints of the present volume
both of the plays next to be mentioned, but limitations of space and
other reasons have forbidden. When Puttenham said that for comedy and
interlude such doings as he had "sene of Maister Edwardes deserved
the hyest price," and Turberville, that "for poet's pen and passing
witte," that poet "could have no English Peere," I think that they
were not greatly exaggerating. Richard Edwardes' _Damon and Pithias_,
written before 1566, maybe as early as 1563-65, takes steps significant
in literary history. It is not only entirely free from allegorical
elements, and almost from didactic, but it is rich in qualities of
the fusion drama. The subject of a classical story is handled in a
genuinely romantic fashion, although no previous drama of romantic
friendship had existed in England. Comic and serious strains flow side
by side, occasionally mingling. A quick satire, dramatic and personal,
pervades the play. The names and scenes may be Syracusan, and types
from Latin comedy may walk the streets, but the life is of the higher
and lower classes of England; and the creatures of literary tradition
are elbowed and jostled by children of the soil. The farcical episodes
may be indelicate, but they have the virility of fact. The plot as a
whole is skilfully conducted; while it proceeds directly to the goal,
it encompasses a wider variety of ethical interests, dramatic motives,
and attractions, than that of any previous play. The relation to an
interlude of which we shall presently speak, _Like wil to Like_, is
beyond doubt. In both a crude psychological pairing and contrasting of
characters may be observed; but in the development of the characters,
_Damon and Pithias_ is decidedly superior. The author calls this "a
matter mixt with myrth and care ... a tragical comedie"; but while he
thus aims at a fusion of the ideal with the commonplace, he makes a
close approximation, always, to probability of incident and character,
and so observes the criterion which he himself enunciates:--

    "In commedies the greatest skyll is this, lightly to touch
    All thynges to the quicke; and eke to frame each person so
    That by his common talke, you may his nature rightly know."

In its defects, such as the disregard of time and place, as in its
merits, the _Damon and Pithias_ is a commendable experiment in romantic
comedy--a contribution worthy of more attention than historians have
ordinarily accorded it. Undoubtedly Edwardes' "much admired play" of
_Palamon and Arcite_, which the queen witnessed in hall at Christ
Church, Oxford, 1566 (and laughed heartily thereat, and thanked "the
author for his pains"), was of the fashion and vogue of the drama which
we have discussed, though it had not the abiding influence.

If it were not for the fact that _The Supposes_ (acted 1566) is a
translation of Ariosto's play of the same title, I should be inclined
to say that it was the first English comedy in every way worthy of the
name. It certainly is, for many reasons, entitled to be called the
first comedy in the English tongue. It is written, not for children,
nor to educate, but for grown-ups and solely to delight. It is done
into English, not for the vulgar, but for the more advanced taste of
the translator's own Inn of Court; it has, therefore, qualities to
captivate those who are capable of appreciating high comedy. It is
composed, like its original, in straightforward, sparkling prose.
It has, also, the rarest features of the fusion drama: it combines
character and situation, each depending upon the other; it combines
wit of intellect with humour of heart and fact, intricate and
varied plot with motive and steady movement, comic but not farcical
incident and language with complications surprising, serious, and
only not hopelessly embarrassing. It conducts a romantic intrigue in
a realistic fashion through a world of actualities. With the blood
of the New Comedy, the Latin Comedy, the Renaissance in its veins,
it is far ahead of its English contemporaries, if not of its time.
Without historical apology or artistic concessions it would act well
to-day. Both whimsical and grave, its ironies are _pro bono publico_;
it is constructive as well as critical, imaginative as well as
actual. Indeed, when one compares Gascoigne's work with the original
and observes the just liberties that he has taken, the Englishing
of sentiment as well as of phrase, one is tempted to say, with Tom
Nashe, that in comedy, as in other fields, this writer first "beat a
path to that perfection which our best poets have aspired to since
his departure." He did not contrive the plot; but no dramatist before
him had selected for his audience, translated, and adapted a play so
amusing and varied in interest, so graceful, simple, and idiomatic
in its style. It was said by R. T., in 1615, that Gascoigne was one
of those who first "brake the ice for our quainter poets who now
write, that they may more safely swim through the main ocean of sweet
poesy"--a remark which would lose much of its force if restricted to
the poet's achievements in satire alone; in the drama of the humanists
he excelled his contemporaries, and in the romantic comedy of intrigue
he anticipated those who, like Greene and Shakespeare,[84] adapted the
Italian plot to English manners and the English taste. Nor are these
the only claims of Gascoigne to consideration: _The Supposes_, as
Professor Herford has justly remarked, is the most Jonsonian of English
comedies before Jonson.


=12. Survivals of the Moral Interlude=

Though we must refrain from description, we cannot forbear mention
of a few survivals of the moral interlude, which, though themselves
rudimentary, were not without esteem even in an age when the drama, by
combination and adaptation of its possibilities, was producing other
results infinitely superior to the older strain. These functionless
survivals of the moral were the following, all controversial: _Newe
Custome_, an anti-papist play, perhaps written as early as 1550-53;
_Albyon Knight_, a political fragment acted between 1560 and 1565;
_Kyng Daryus_, a peculiarly insipid disputation, evidently anti-papist,
printed in 1565; and _The Conflict of Conscience_, a doctrinal drama
by Nathaniel Woodes, Minister in Norwich, which presents a mixture of
individual and even historical characters with abstractions, stands
midway between the allegorical interlude and the drama of concrete
experience, displays a commendable realism in spots, and is a more
virile production than the others of this group. It was not published
till 1581, but was probably written soon after 1563.

Of the decadent stock of morals and interludes, there were, however,
some specimens between the years 1553 and 1578 that exhibited an
advance in quality, if not in kind. Three of these, _The Longer thou
Livest_, _All for Money_, and _Tide Taryeth no Man_, Mr. Fleay[85]
lumps together as simple instances of the survival of the older
'morality' after the introduction of tragedy and comedy on the models
of Seneca and Plautus, and makes the further statement that none of
them teaches us anything as to the historical development of the drama
in England. With the utmost respect for the knowledge of this most
helpful historian, I must say that, as a matter of judgment, none of
these dramas, least of all, _Longer thou Livest_, should be classed
with the moral plays of mere survival. While the authors of these and
similar specimens did not produce a new kind, they did more than repeat
the old. They revived and enriched the moral interlude by infusion of
new strains, and so produced, by culture, a most interesting group of
what may be called variations of the moral. To this class of morals
belong also the _Triall of Treasure_, _Like wil to Like_, and the
_Life and Repentaunce of Marie Magdalene_. It must be said also that a
few moral tragedies of the period, like R. B.'s _Apius and Virginia_
(about 1563, pr. 1575), and Preston's _King Cambises_ (S. R. 1569-70),
have some claim to belong to this group, and that if there were space
they should receive attention for their vital dramatic quality and
their development of the character of the Vice. The Hap-hazard of
the former, far from being, as Dr. Ward has said, "redundant to the
action," suggests the "conspiracies" which Apius adopts, and is the
heart of rascality and fun; he is consequently a Vice of the old type;
but he is also the representative (in accordance with his name and
express profession) of the caprice of the individual and the irony
of fortune. He is the Vice, efficient for evil, but in process of
evolution into the inclination or humour of a somewhat later period of
dramatic history: the inclination not immoral but unmoral, the artistic
impersonation of comic extravagance, in accordance with which Every
Man is in his Vice, and every Vice is but a Humour. The Ambidexter
of the latter tragedy plays "with both hands finely" in the main
action, and at the same time serves to provoke the jocosity of those
admirably concrete ruffians, Huf, Ruf, and Snuf, and of the clown of
the play. The _Horestes_, written by John Pikerynge in 1567, must,
although a tragedy, also be mentioned here.[86] The Vice under his
dual designation of Corage and Revenge is of the weathervane variety;
and in realistic and humorous qualities the play closely resembles the
preceding two. They were a noble but futile effort to bottle the juices
of tragedy, classical-historical at that, in the leathers of moral
interlude.


=13. The Movement towards Romantic Comedy=

We may now proceed with the main current of comedy. Between 1570 and
1590 the best plays are coloured by a distinctively romantic element;
and this is noticeable, not only in the productions of the greater
authors, Lyly, Peele, Greene, and the like, elsewhere discussed in
this volume, but in those of minor writers too frequently ignored.
As I have already said, the romantic in life appears to spring from
a desire to assert one's independence and realize the possibilities
of the resulting freedom. "Our pent wills fret And would the world
subdue." But since the conditions of life are largely opposed to the
complete fulfilment of our desires, it is the privilege and function of
romance, and of romantic comedy according to its kind, to idealize the
stubborn facts--the "limits we did not set" in favour of our ecstatic
but still human urgency. This privilege the comedy of romance exercises
sometimes with an eye to nature and probability, and sometimes with
some respect for imaginative possibility, but quite frequently with
no other guide than mere caprice. The subjects of such comedy may
be briefly summarized as passion, heroism, and wonder. Of these the
first is manifest in examples of ideal friendship, its devotion and
self-sacrifice; and a play of such nature we have already considered in
the _Damon and Pithias_. It also yields the furnishings of love, the
resulting obstacles, and the issue; and a play of this kind we have
considered in _The Supposes_, which is a domestic comedy of intrigue.
Of heroism the possibilities are suggested by the words travel,
adventure, chivalry, war, conquest; those of wonder are as various
as the chances of birth, wealth and fortune, pomp and power, myth
and fable: they are fostered by that which is remote, preternatural,
supernatural.

To the romance of wonder, saints' plays, legends, and biblical stories
had purveyed from early times. From 1570 on the narrative of chivalry
and adventure, of which shadowy lineaments had already appeared in one
or two miracle plays and in the interludes of Wit and Science, began to
gather to itself kindred elements of romantic interest, and to occupy
the stage with such plays as _Common Conditions_, written perhaps
between 1572 and 1576, and _Sir Clyomon and Sir Clamydes_, written
perhaps as early,--dramas of love, fable, and adventure, absolutely
free from didactic purpose. At the same time still another variety of
romantic comedy, unhampered by the trammels of instructive intent, but
dealing essentially in domestic intrigue, kept alive the method of _The
Supposes_. This variety was represented by _The Bugbears_, between 1561
and 1584, and _The Two Italian Gentlemen_ (S. R. 1584), which, based
upon Italian models, availed themselves on the one hand of a burlesque
parody of the magical, and on the other of genuine English mirth. The
latter indeed added something of the 'humours' element soon to be
exploited by Porter, Chapman, and Jonson. Beside these dramas, there
sprang into notice a certain half-moral, half-romantic kind of play
which, availing itself of the mould of the interlude, fused therein
the materials of the chivalrous, the magical, and the passionate, and
produced certain anomalous comedies of great popularity between the
year 1580 and the end of the century. The best of these "pleasant and
stately morals" are: _The Rare Triumphs of Love and Fortune_, _The
Three Ladies of London_, _The Three Lordes and Three Ladies of London_.

While Collier thinks that, in point of positive dramatic interest, the
_Rare Triumphs of Love and Fortune_ requires but brief notice, Dr.
Ward holds that the beginnings of romantic comedy were foreshadowed
by the play.[87] It is, in fact, both dramatically and historically,
one of the most important productions of its date. It was printed in
1589, but played, perhaps, as early as 1582. Mr. Fleay has assigned it
to Kyd, but I do not see sufficient reason for the attribution; if we
must find an author for it, Robert Wilson's claims might be urged. The
_Rare Triumphs_ affords an excellent instance of the fusion of moral
and romance. In the Induction, Love and Fortune dispute concerning
their respective influence in the affairs of mankind. By mutual
agreement the _debat_ seeks its solution in a practical demonstration
of the issues involved. And so we find our intellectual as well as
emotional interest enlisted in the chances of an Italian story of
love, adventure, and magic. Within a moral interlude of classical
and mythological origin we discover a romantic comedy. The influence
of the supernatural not merely envelops, but permeates the whole;
the Acts present the destinies of the mortals of the inner play, the
inter-acts the continued intervention of the immortals of the outer.
The spectacular effect is, moreover, heightened by the introduction
of dumb shows, after the fashion of the masque. In dramatic interest
proper few romantic fables of 1582 can compare with the inner story:
the love of Hermione for Fidelia, the duel between Hermione and
Fidelia's brother, the exile of the lover and his retirement to the
cave of his unknown father, the hermit Bomelio; Bomelio's attempt to
right matters by magic, the destruction of his necromantic books, his
madness, his recovery, and the resolution of difficulties through the
instrumentality of the heroine. Such a fable is anything but silly
and meagre, as Collier would have it, especially when we consider its
conjunction with the humorous and vivid. In the outer play the clown
is Vulcan, at whose call Jupiter mediates, "like an honest man in the
parish," between the disputatious goddesses. In the inner play Penulo
the parasite and Lentulo the clown, though neither of them a Vice,
supply the comic delectations of the rôle. The disguise of Bomelio as
physician, his dialect, his misfortune and raving, are excellently
contrived and conducted. In at least half a dozen particulars one may
detect æsthetic possibilities later to be matured in more than one
Shakespearian play: foreshadowings of plot and principal actors, as in
_The Tempest_; foreshadowings of minor characters like Dr. Caius, or
like the Francis of _1 Henry IV_. The play is, in brief, refreshing;
the humour, substantial and English; the language, conversational,
dramatic, sometimes in prose and then excellent. The versification,
however, is of that stiffer quality which warrants Mr. Fleay's
conjecture of 1582, or thereabout, as the date of composition.

The attempt to enliven the "old moral" by an infusion of passion
and intrigue, and to parade it in the trappings of romance, across
the background of contemporary English life and manners, is what
distinguishes Robert Wilson's "right excellent and famous Comœdy called
the _Three Ladies of London_," printed 1584, and its sequel, _The
Pleasant and Stately Morall of the Three Lordes and Three Ladies of
London_, registered in 1588. Of these plays, the latter trades in pomp
and chivalry; the earlier in something like the motives of romantic
interest. "The acuteness and political subtlety evinced in several
of the scenes of the _Three Ladies_" have been justly commended by
Collier, who points with careful attention also to "the severity of
the author's satirical touch, his amusing illustrations of manners,
his exposure of the tricks of foreign merchants, and the humour and
drollery which he has thrown into his principal comic personage." This
is Simplicity, the fool or clown, droll, indifferent, honest, and by
no means so simple as he appears: a descendant of the historical Will
Summer, a forerunner of the Dogberrys and Malaprops, and the elder
brother of an Honesty of another play, _A Knack to Know a Knave_,
in which the same author probably had a hand. Standing over against
three belated specimens of the Vice, Simplicity unites the shrewdness,
manners, and humour of that personage--but in superior quality--with
the prudence, the penetration, and the conception of honour peculiar to
the professional jester. He also plays a vital part in the main action,
and is worthy to be regarded as one of the best clowns, if not the
best, in the history of the moral interlude. His forthright utterances
in the _Three Ladies_ and his easy and witty prose in the sequel mark
him for a model likely to have influenced the younger dramatists of
the day. The minor plot-interest of the honest Jew, Gerontus, the
rascally Christian, Mercatore, and the Judge, is significant, not only
as the reverse of the conception dramatized in the _Jew of Malta_ and
the _Merchant of Venice_, but as, with one exception, the earliest
elaboration of the motif that was to become prominent in the drama
of the next few years. Qualities romantic and real invest the career
of the three Ladies; and the characterization of the numerous minor
personages is both subtle and suitable to their different classes and
interests.

Although the _Three Lordes and Ladies_, one of the earliest sequels in
the history of English drama, is "more of a moral" than its predecessor
and makes no improvement in plot-structure, it is of importance
fully equal. For what it lacks in passion and romance is more than
counterbalanced by technical qualities--the blank verse, the fluent
prose, the wit of Simplicity and the pages, the scenic display, the
variety of incidents, and the portrayal of manners. If we consider
the definite transition from abstractions to social and individual
traits of character in this play and the preceding,--the multi-fold
impersonation of worldly wisdom, fraud, and shoddy, one might say the
resolution of the rôle of Vice into its component specialties; the
corresponding offset of all these by ensamples of virtuous living, but
still human; and the attendant _troupe_ of more obvious 'humours,'
Simplicity and the pages, Painful Penury, Diligence, and the rest,--it
will be evident that these plays of Robert Wilson are the merging
of moral interlude in romantic and social comedy. On this account I
cannot agree with Dr. Ward,[88] who says that in construction and
conception they mark no advance whatever upon the older moralities. I
think they mark a significant advance. In them the moral has arrived at
a consciousness of the demands of art; and, attempting to fulfil its
possibilities, it acquires body, spirit, and _bouquet_, even though,
in the moment of fermentation, it bursts the bottle. Still we must
remember that we have now reached a date, 1588-90, by which much of
the best work of Lyly, Marlowe, Peele, and Greene had already been
produced, and we must, therefore, not attribute to Wilson an importance
greater than that of an industrious and inventive contemporary,
hospitable to ideas, but essentially conservative in practice. He is at
once "father of interludes," as interludes then were regarded, and an
intermediary between the interlude of moral abstractions and the comedy
of humours. He appears, also, to have played so lively a part in the
dramatic history of his day that Mr. Fleay is justified in calling this
period by his name; and, therefore, a few further words concerning him
and other plays which he seems to have written might well be said here,
but we must reserve them for another occasion.


=14. Conclusion=

With but one or two exceptions the plays which we have so far passed
in review fail in some respect or other of the plot that makes a
comedy. A plot that is argumentative, that is a ratiocination or
_exemplum_ conducted by abstractions, is not sufficient to constitute
comedy, though it may contribute to its development a unity of
interest, a spiritual sequence; nor are sporadic situations and
incidents sufficient, though humorously conceived and executed; nor
glimpses of types, characters or manners, nor hints of passion, nor
satiric speeches and dialogues, though artistically dramatized, true,
appropriate, and witty. None of these constitutes comedy. Comedy
demands action vitalized by a plot that is capable of revealing the
social significance of the individual: an action of sufficient scope
and reality to display the spirit of society in individual types and
manners, or in character and sentiment; a plot sufficiently urgent to
interest us, not only in the phenomena, in the concomitants, of every
deed, but in its motive and inherent passion. The comedy of external
life may present, by means of typical individuals and conventional
manners, a reflex of that which is actual, or a criticism of it;
and such a play will be realistic or satirical. The comedy of the
inner life, on the other hand, since it reveals the characteristics
of humanity in the heat and moment of passion, may present a vision
of the ideal made concrete; it is therefore at once interpretative,
constructive, and romantic. These two kinds of comedy are alike in that
they display the triumph of freedom when regulated by common sense, the
adjustment of the individual to society. But as they vary in function
and result, so these kinds of comedy differ in the quality of action
which each may present. The play of convention and manners can use
only the externals of action, actions that neither strike deep nor
spring from the depths, for such a play aims to reproduce appearances
or merely to re-create them--to criticise and correct rather than
construct. The play of character and passion, not the so-called
realistic, but idealistic, selects for presentation actions whose
springs are in the inner life; and that is because it would present men
and women as they should be,--individuals widening the social, pressing
toward the ideal, not by overstepping that which is conventional, but
by informing it with new meaning and pushing back its limits. Comedy,
therefore, is in the plot, and the plot must proceed from the wisdom
essential to a comic view of life: acceptance of the social environment
as it appears to be, because one believes in society as it should be.
The dramatist, his plot and his characters, are the exponents of common
sense and freedom, of the light of life as it is with the sweetness
of life as it may be. Common sense, however, may become prosaic, or
liberty licentious; and it is in preventing such extremes that wit
and humour perform their function. Neither of these can alone make a
comedy, but one of them may sometimes save it. Both should certainly
characterize it. But for the former, the drama of appearances might be
caricature, abuse, horse-play, or homily; but for the latter, romantic
comedy would be bathos. No amount of wit, however, could save a play
that did not possess a significant sequence of material and event.
Though the booths of Bartholomew Fair agitate the diaphragm, they do
not constitute comedy. Without plot the lunges of wit lack point; and
as for the plotless play of passion, it ends in Bedlam, whence all the
humour in the world cannot redeem it.

It was a step forward when allegory made way for concrete characters
and manners, and the motives born of social intercourse; a further step
when the dramatist ceased instructing and sought to amuse. But the
final step implied the still rarer ability to create something integral
and critical in one, something that should act what life means, and
so unconsciously demonstrate that it is purposive, and more hopeful
and amusing than we thought. Naturally enough, our earlier comic
plots, when they were escaping from the symbolic, lacked sometimes
in significance, and sometimes in sequence. The fables of _Roister
Doister_ and _Gammer Gurton_ mark an advance in technical construction;
but they do not escape the farcical, for their subjects are trivial.
There were likewise many experiments to be made in the materials of
intrigue and passion before _Damon and Pithias_ and _The Supposes_
could fulfil, even in part, the requirements of significant romance.
And when, at last, the play with a plot had come to its own, it was
long before it attained wisdom to suffuse the appearances of life with
their illuminating characteristic, and imagination to colour the course
of characteristic events.


FOOTNOTES:

[1] In _The Academy_, January 11, 1890.

[2] Manly, _Specimens of the Pre-Shakespearean Drama_, vol. I., p.
xxvii; for examples of dramatic tropes from the _Regularis Concordia
Monachorum_ and the Winchester troper, see pp. xix-xxvi.

[3] _Non novo quidem instituto, sed de consuetudine_, etc., says
_Bulæus, Hist. Univ., Par._ II., 226 (edit. 1665); Collier, _English
Dramatic Poetry, and Annals of the Stage_, I. 14.

[4] In his _Lives of the Abbots of St. Albans_.

[5] In the _Household Book_, Henry VII.; Collier, _Hist._, vol. I, p.
53 n.

[6] _Gesch. des neueren Dramas_, I. 141.

[7] See Wright's _Early Mysteries_, etc., Klein's _Geschichte des
Dramas_, III. 638 _et seq._, Creizenach, _Gesch. d. n. Dramas_, I. 37
_et seq._ Quadrio speaks in his _Storia_, III. ii. 52, of a Pietro
Babyone, an Englishman, who, according to Bale, wrote a Latin comedy in
verse, _c._ 1366.

[8] Ward, I. 52.

[9] Creizenach, I. 101.

[10] Historians of the Church of York, Rolls Series, No. 71, i. 328.
Quoted by A. F. Leach in _Some English Plays and Players_, Furnivall
Miscellany, p. 206.

[11] In Supp. Dods. _Old Plays_, Introd. to _Chester Plays_, ix.;
_Latin Stories_, p. 100.

[12] _An Answer to a Certain Libel, &c._, in Collier, II. 73.

[13] As early as 1304 in Hamburg: Meyer, _Gesch. d. hamburg. Schul- und
Unterrichtswesens im Mittelalter_, S. 197: cited in Creizenach, I. 391.

[14] The Shearmen and Taylors' Pageant, from the _Annunciation_ to
the _Flight into Egypt_ (Ms., 1533), and the Weavers' Pageant of the
_Presentation in the Temple_.

[15] V. XXVI., XXVIII., XXIX., XXX., XXXI., XXXIII.; probably XXXII.
Perhaps this playwright (if we may use the singular) rewrote XXXIV. I
think he remodelled XXXV. and XXXVI., in the old metres.

[16] XXVI., _The Conspiracy_, and IX., _Noah_,--abababab⁴cdcccd³.

[17] XXXVI., _The Mortificacio_,--ababbcbc³d¹eee²d³. VII., _The
Cayme_,--ababbc⁴d¹bcc⁴d².

[18] Y. XI., W. VIII.; Y. XXII., W. XVIII.; Y. XXXVII., W. XXV.;
Y. XXXVIII., W. XXVI.; Y. XLVIII., W. XXX. For particulars see
Miss Lucy Toulmin Smith, Pollard, Hohlfeld's _Die Altenglischen
Kollektivmisterien_, Anglia XI.

[19] Such as stanza 57 in Wakefield XXIX. _Ascension_, and 97-100 in
Wakefield XX. _Conspiracy_.

[20] Cf. stanzas 1 to 4 with those that follow in Wakefield XXII.,
_Fflagellacio_; and stanza 6 of Wakefield XXIV. with those that precede
it; and stanza 58 of Wakefield XXIX. with stanza 57.

[21] XXX. _Judicium_, stanzas 16 to 48, 68 to 76.

[22] XVI. _Herod_.

[23] XX. _a, Conspiracy_.

[24] Stanza 57 might just as well be arranged like stanza 58.

[25] III., XII., XIII., XXI.

[26] Minor passages in the nine-line stanza are II., 35, 36; XXIV.,
1-5, 56-59; XXVII., 4 Passages in a closely similar stanza are XXII.,
1-4; XXIII., 2; XXVII., 30.

[27] _The Towneley Plays_, Introd., p. xxii.

[28] _Die englischen Mysterien, Jahrb. rom. u. eng. Lit._, I. 153.

[29] Ten Brink, _Eng. Lit._ II: i. 306.

[30] I do not forget that belated _Tobias_ at Lincoln, 1564-66, nor the
_Godly Queen Hester_ of 1561; but they have nothing to do with the case.

[31] Rel. _Antiq._ II. 43.

[32] _St. Katharine_ (Dunstable _c._ 1100, Coventry, 1490); _St.
George_ (1415 and later); _St. Laurence_ (Lincoln, 1441); _St. Susanna_
(Lincoln, 1447); _St. Clara_ (Lincoln, 1455); _St. Edward_ (Coventry,
1456 and later); _St. Christian_ (Coventry, 1504); _St. Christina_
(Bethersden in Kent, 1522); _Sts. Crispin and Crispinian_ (Dublin,
1528); _St. Olave_ (London, 1557). Some of these were church plays,
like the _St. Olave_; some, like the _St. Katharine_, were school
plays; some, craft plays, like the _St. Crispin_. It is hard sometimes
to distinguish between the play and the mumming or the mute pageant;
to the dumb show may be assigned some of the _St. Georges_ and the
pageants of Fabyan, Sebastian, and Botulf, displayed, in 1564, by the
religious gild of Holy Trinity (St. Botolph without Aldersgate). For
some conception of the frequency and vitality of such shows one need
only turn to Hone, Stow's _Survey_, the _Records of Aberdeen_, Toulmin
Smith's _English Gilds_, the _History of Dublin_, Davidson's _English
Mystery Plays_, and other books of this kind.

[33] German ballads on the subject in 1337 and 1478. A case similar to
the material of this drama is assigned to 1478 in Train's _Gesch. d.
Juden in Regensburg_, pp. 116-117.

[34] Child, _English and Scotch Popular Ballads_, vol. III., pp. 44,
90, 127, 114.

[35] In his introduction, _Contributions to Early English Popular
Literature_, London, 1849, privately printed.

[36] Warton, _H. E. P._, vol. II., p. 72.

[37] Repr. in Manly's _Specimens_; the former from _Notes and Queries_,
Fifth Series, II. 503-505; the latter from Kelly's _Notices of
Leicester_.

[38] Halliwell's _Contribution to E. Engl. Lit._

[39] British Museum, Add. Mss. 33,418.

[40] Repr. Manly, _Specimens_ from _Folk Lore Journal_, VII. 338-353.

[41] Stow speaks of mummers, "with black visors, not amiable, as if
legates from some foreign prince."

[42] Cf. "Two balls (i.e. _bulls_) from _yonder mountain_ have _laid
me_ quite _low_," with _Golden Legend_, vol. IV., p. 103, Temple
Classics ed. There is no such close similarity in the language of the
Early South English Legendary, Laud Ms., Seint Ieme, and Seint George
(Horstmann, Ed. E.E.T.S., 1887).

[43] _Schauspiele d. engl. Komödianten_, Einl. XCIV.

[44] L. W. Cushman, _The Devil and the Vice_, Halle a. S., 1900.

[45] I remember only Herod and Antichrist outside of the Digby plays
and of the Cornwall cycle (where the devils act as chorus and carry off
everything in sight), and the souls of those already damned who are
claimed by the devils of the Towneley.

[46] Whether the Rewfyn and Leyon of the Co. were Devils, I have my
doubts.

[47] Furnivall, _Digby Plays_, p. 43; ten Brink, _Gesch. engl. Lit._,
II. 320, and Sharp's _Dissertation on the Co. Mysteries_, 1825.

[48] In the _Nigromansir_, and the _Shipwrights' Play_ of Newcastle.

[49] Cushman, p. 66.

[50] Furnivall's ed., Pt. II. 510, 517, 531, 536, 541.

[51] _Wisdom_, _Disobedient Child_.

[52] _Perseverance_, _Mankynd_, _Mary Magdalene_, _Nigromansir_,
_Juventus_, _Like_, _Conflict of Conscience_, _Money_.

[53] _Mankynd_, _Mary Magdalene_, _Juventus_, and _Like_.

[54] _The Witt and Wisdome_, _King Cambyses_, _Like_, and _Horestes_.

[55] _Gesch. d. engl. Dramas_, II., p. 4.

[56] _English Writers_, VII., p. 182.

[57] _Cambyses_; cf. Roister Doister's array.

[58] _Play of Love_; cf. the braggart Crackstone in _Two Ital. Gent._,
much later.

[59] In _Wisdom_ he may be regarded as Vice and Devil (Lucifer) rolled
into one; in _Everyman_ he is probably represented by the friends who
desert the hero in time of need; in the _Disobedient Child_ he is
concrete as the prodigal son.

[60] Furnivall, _Digby Plays_, Forewords, xiii.

[61] Never 'Morality' to our ancestors; that is a futile borrowing from
the French.

[62] _Wisdom_ has only Lucifer; _Nature_ has only Sensuality and minor
Vices; _Pride of Life_ had Devils in all probability, but no Vice, for
Mirth is not one; _Everyman_ has neither.

[63] I see no reason for assuming with Professor Brandl (_Quellen u.
Forschungen_, XXVIII.) that the loss of the navy bound for Ireland,
II. 336-363, has reference to the destruction of the _Regent_ by the
French, 1512.

[64] For some of these see Quadrio, _Della Storia e della Ragione
d'ogni Poesia_, Vol. III., Lib. II., 53 _et seq._

[65] For the substance of this paragraph see the histories of Klein,
Herford, and Creizenach.

[66] _E. Dr. Po._, I. 107, from Gibson's Accounts.

[67] Warton, _H. Eng. Po._ (1871), IV. 323.

[68] Herford, _Lit. Rel._, pp. 107-108.

[69] _History of the Stage_, p. 64.

[70] Brandl, _Quellen_, LXII.; cf. Herford, _Lit. Rel._, p. 156. To
trace the suggestion of the model of Barnabas to the _Studentes_ of
Stymmelius, 1549, is, I think, absurd. It is strange that Creizenach,
_Gesch. d. neu. Dr._, I. 470, should assert, in face of the _Nice
Wanton_ and _The Glasse of Government_, that no English 'moral' avails
itself of _two_ representatives of the human race--a good and an evil.

[71] Brandl, _Quellen_, LXXIII.; and Herford, _Lit. Rel._

[72] _Lit. Rel._, p. 135.

[73] _The English Chronicle Play._

[74] Hawkins, _Engl. Drama_, I. 145, quotes a passage from one of
Latimer's sermons in the presence of Edward VI., which uses the story
of "drave me aboute the toune with a puddynge," referred to in _Lusty
Juventus_.

[75] _The Marriage of Wit and Wisdome._

[76] See below, p. 96.

[77] See below, p. 198. 'Trueman' in the _Historia Histrionica_ (pr.
1699) thinks it was "writ in the reign of K. Edw. VI."

[78] Bodl. Libr., _Malone_ 172, "second impression," London, 1661;
reprinted by F. E. Schelling, Publ. Mod. Lang. Asso., 1900.

[79] _Quellen u. Forschungen._

[80] Not J. Rychardes, as Mr. Fleay has it, _Hist. Stage_, p. 58.

[81] Herford, _Lit. Rel._, p. 156.

[82] Unique original, pub. by Pickerynge and Hacket, 1561, in Duke of
Devonshire's Libr., Chatsworth; repr. by Grosart, _Fuller Worthies
Libr._, vol. IV., _Miscellanies_, 1873.

[83] As _Hester and Abasuerus_, 1594. I see no reason for attributing
the authorship, with Mr. Fleay, to R. Edwardes.

[84] The relation of _The Taming of the Shrew_ to this play is well
known.

[85] _Hist. St._, p. 66.

[86] Brit. Mus. c. 34, g; Collier's _Illustr. O. Engl. Lit._, II. 2;
Brandl's _Quellen_.

[87] Collier, _E. Dram Po._, II. 432; and Ward, _Hist. E. Dr. Lit._, I.
264.

[88] _Hist. E. Dr. Lit._, I. 141.



  _John Heywood_

                        THE PLAY OF THE WETHER

                                 _and_

                          A MERY PLAY BETWENE
                       JOHAN JOHAN, THE HUSBANDE
                          TYB, HIS WIFE, &c.

                                  _Edited with Critical Essay and Notes
                                            by Alfred W. Pollard, M.A.,
                                            St. John's College, Oxford_



CRITICAL ESSAY


=Life.=--The first authentic record of John Heywood is one of 6
January, 1515, in Henry VIII.'s Book of Payments, which shows him to
have then been one of the King's singing men, in receipt of a daily
wage of eightpence. According to Bale, who must have known him, he
was "civis Londinensis," the story that he was born at North Mimms,
Hertfordshire, having apparently arisen from his possession of land
in that neighbourhood. Tradition has sent him to Broadgates Hall, now
Pembroke College, Oxford, and there is nothing improbable in this.
In February, 1521, Heywood was granted by the King an annuity of ten
marks, and in 1526, a quarterly payment of the same sum was made him as
a "player of the virginals." He appears to have been specially attached
to the retinue of the Princess Mary, a payment being made in January,
1537, to his servant for bringing her "regalles" (or hand-organ) from
London to Greenwich, and Heywood himself in March, 1538, receiving
forty shillings for "pleying an interlude with his children" before
her. At Mary's coronation Heywood made her a Latin speech in St.
Paul's Churchyard, and in November, 1558, the Queen granted him some
leases in Yorkshire. On the accession of Elizabeth, Heywood, though
he had steered through the reign of Edward VI. with safety, fled to
Malines, and Professor Ward (in the _Dictionary of National Biography_)
identifies him with the John Heywood who in 1575 wrote from Malines,
"where I have been despoiled by Spanish and German soldier," thanking
Burghley for ordering the payment to him of some arrears on lands
at Romney, and speaking of himself as an old man of seventy-eight,
which would give 1497 as his birth-year. He is mentioned in a list
of refugees in 1577, but by 1587 is spoken of as "dead and gone."
Earlier biographers, it should be noted, following Anthony à Wood, have
placed his death in 1565. Besides his plays Heywood wrote a _Dialogue
Conteyning the Number of the Effectuall Prouerbes in the Englishe
Tonge_, _Six Hundred Epigrams_, and a tedious allegory _The Spider and
the Flie_, printed, with a woodcut of the author, in 1556.

=Heywood's Place in English Comedy.=--The early history of English
comedy is a record of successive efforts and experiments apparently
leading to no result. The comic scenes in the miracle plays culminate
in the really masterly sheep-stealing plot of the _Secunda Pastorum_
in the Towneley Cycle; but the step which seems to us so obvious, the
separation of the Pastoral Comedy from its religious surroundings, was
never taken, and the _Secunda Pastorum_ stands by itself, a solitary
masterpiece. In the earlier moralities there are flashes of humour
as in the miracle plays; in the later moralities we find scenes in
which the effort to paint the riotous course of Youth, though not very
amusing to modern readers, is sufficiently faithful to bring us within
sight of a possible comedy of manners. But the morality-writer was
far from entertaining any conception of comedy as an end in itself.
His aim remained to the last purely didactic. It did not, indeed,
occur to him, as it occurred to didactic writers of a later period,
to represent dissipation as so unattractive as to make it miraculous
that it should attract. He would show it as bitter of digestion, but
neither playwright nor audience were concerned to deny that it was
pleasant in the mouth, and it is improbable that readiness to acquiesce
in the sober moral of a play diminished in the least the applause with
which, we may be sure, any approach to gayety in the tavern scenes
would be attended. After all, though we may sometimes be inclined to
doubt it, audiences both at miracle plays and moralities were human.
To the very real strain imposed on their emotions in the miracle plays
they needed what seem to us these incongruous interludes of humour
by way of dramatic relief, and in the moralities it is difficult not
to believe that the humour supplied the gilding without which the
didactic pill, at a much earlier date, must have been found nauseating.
It remains, however, certain that alike in the miracle plays, the
moralities, and the moral interludes such humour as can be found is
merely incidental, and this is the justification for assigning to John
Heywood the honourable position which he occupies in this collection of
English comedies. As far as we know, he was the first English dramatist
to understand that a play might be constructed with no other objects
than satire and amusement, and if such epithets were not fortunately
a little discredited, we might dub him on this score the "Father" of
English comedy. Paternity, however, cannot be predicated without some
evidence of offspring, and it would be extremely difficult, I think,
to show that Heywood exercised sufficient influence on any subsequent
dramatist to be reckoned as his literary father. The anonymous author
of that amusing children's play, _Thersites_, was indeed a kindred
spirit, but there is at least a possibility that this play should be
credited to Heywood himself, and on the subsequent development of
comedy his influence was certainly of the smallest. But to have shown
that comedy was entitled to a separate existence, apart from didactics,
was no small achievement, and to the credit of this demonstration
Heywood is entitled.

In guessing how Heywood came to make this discovery it seems not
unreasonable to lay some stress on the fact that, according to a
tradition which there is no reason to doubt, he was a friend of Sir
Thomas More, while we know that four of his plays were printed by
William Rastell, the son of More's brother-in-law, John Rastell. More's
interest in the drama is attested by the story of his stepping, on more
than one occasion, among the players, when they were performing before
Cardinal Morton, and taking an improvised share in the dialogue. In the
play of _Sir Thomas More_, written towards the close of the century,
this improvisation is transferred to an interlude performed during
an entertainment at More's own house, and the introduction of this
interlude into the piece, and the ready welcome which the Chancellor
is represented as giving the players, certainly argue a tradition of a
keen interest in the drama on his part. John Rastell, again, has been
credited with the authorship of at least one of the interludes which
he printed, and quite recently some interesting documents have been
discovered, which show him organizing a performance for which a wooden
stage was erected in his own garden at Finsbury, setting Mrs. Rastell
to help a tailor to make some very gorgeous dresses, and apparently
engaging as players the craftsmen (a certain George Birch, currier, and
his friends), who up to this date were still the customary performers,
as distinct from a separate class of trained actors. Rastell, at
this time, and More, throughout his life, held those views as to
church-policy to which we know that Heywood himself consistently clung.
The attitude of firm belief, with an absolute readiness to satirize
abuses, which we find in Heywood's plays, was exactly characteristic
of More, and it does not seem fanciful to believe that it was partly
to the author of the _Utopia_, and to the circle of which he was the
centre, that Heywood owed his dramatic development.

=Plays assigned to him: Authorship, Dramatic Development, Literary
Estimate.=--There is the more reason for insisting on Heywood's place
as one of a little circle, interested in playwriting and play-acting,
in that the evidence for his authorship of two of the best of the
six interludes commonly assigned to him is extremely vague. It is,
indeed, very unfortunate that the six plays divide themselves into a
group of four and a group of two, and that whereas the four plays of
the first group are all positively assigned to him in one case in a
contemporary manuscript, said to be in his own writing, in the others
in contemporary printed editions, the two plays of the second group
were both published anonymously, although, like _The Play of Love_
and _The Play of the Wether_, they were issued by William Rastell,
and appeared within a few months of these plays to which Heywood's
name is duly attached. In the case of publications of our own day we
should certainly be justified in thinking that the assertion of his
authorship in two cases and the failure to assert it in two others were
intentional and significant. But in the first half of the sixteenth
century there was still much carelessness in these matters, while
the difference is fairly well accounted for by the fact that in _The
Play of Love_ and _Play of the Wether_ Rastell printed the title and
_dramatis personæ_ on a separate leaf, whereas in _The Pardoner and the
Frere_ and _Johan Johan_ there is only a head title. However this may
be, we are bound in the first instance to consider by themselves the
four plays of which Heywood's authorship is beyond dispute.

In approaching these four plays we must prepare ourselves to judge
them relatively to the other work of the very dull period of English
literature at which they were written. To make this claim for them is
to admit that they are imperfect, important historically rather than
absolutely for their own worth; but the admission is one which no sane
critic can avoid, and it is here made with alacrity. What it gains for
Heywood is the recognition that two strongly marked features of these
plays, one of which is now likely to repel, and the other to weary,
most modern readers, in his own day helped to make them amusing. The
repellent feature is, of course, that humour of filth which, quite
as much as his sexual indecencies, makes some passages both in the
_Four PP._ and _The Play of the Wether_ disgusting even to readers not
consciously squeamish. The epithet 'beastly' which Pope applied to
Skelton is certainly on this score no less appropriate to Heywood, but
it needs no wide acquaintance with the popular literature of his day to
learn that this wretched stuff was found amusing for its own sake. To
suppress this fact, either by expurgating or by deliberately choosing
a less typical play for the sake of its accidental decency, would
be to falsify evidence, and any such falsification would be grossly
unjust to Heywood's successors. It is only by realizing how low was the
conception of humour in the sixteenth century that we can explain the
existence in the plays of Shakespeare himself of passages which would
otherwise be wholly amazing.

For the other feature in Heywood's plays which now excites more
weariness than interest there is no need to apologize; we may even
confess that our failure to relish it is due to our own weakness.
In Heywood's days one of the chief aims of education was skill in
argument. Men disputed their way to academical degrees, and the
quickest path to reputation was the successful maintenance against
all comers of some hazardous proposition. Instead of introducing
this siege-train of argument into their plays, modern dramatists
have preferred the lighter weapons of verbal pleasantry and repartee
which make what is called "pointed dialogue." A request from one
of the _dramatis personæ_ to another "in this cause to shewe cause
reasonable.... Hearyng and aunswerynge me pacyently" would assuredly
empty any theatre of our own day. But the audience who listened to it
in Heywood's _Play of Love_ no doubt settled themselves in their places
with an anticipation of enjoyment. And we may fairly grant that our
author is not wholly unsuccessful in vivacious argument. For a lady to
compare the suit of an unwelcome lover to an invitation "to graunte
hym my good wyll to stryke of[f] my hed," pleasingly illustrates the
unreasonableness of too great pertinacity on the part of the rejected.
The objection "Howe many have ye known hang willingly" shatters at a
blow the seemingly sound plea that as the convict suffers more than
his hangman, so the rejected lover is more to be pitied than the most
tender-hearted lady who finds herself obliged to refuse him. The ups
and downs of the argument are often conducted with ingenuity, and
an audience to whom argument was amusing for its own sake no doubt
applauded every point. Two of Heywood's plays depend almost entirely
on their logical attractions,--the interlude, left unprinted till its
issue by the Percy Society in 1846, to which has been given as title
_The Dialogue of Wit and Folly_, and _The Play of Love_ twice printed
by Rastell (1533 and 1534) and once by Waley. The former is purely
argumentative, discussing the question as to whether the fool or the
sage has the pleasanter life. The _Play of Love_, on the other hand,
may be said to have two episodes, the first a monologue of some three
hundred lines in which the Vice, "Neither Loving nor Loved," narrates
his ill-success in an endeavour to conquer the heart of a lady without
losing his own, the second his appearance with a bucketful of squibs
and a false story of a fire at the house of the happy lover's mistress.
The argument in this play is double, "Loving not Loved" and "Loved not
Loving" contending as to which is the more miserable, and "Both Loved
and Loving" and "Neither Loving nor Loved" as to which is the happier.
As each pair appoints the other as joint arbitrators, it is perhaps
more surprising that any conclusion was reached, than that it should be
the rather tame one that the pains of the first pair and the happiness
of the second were in each case exactly equal.

In connection with these two plays we ought perhaps to allude to
another, very similar in its form, the dialogue of _Gentylnes and
Nobylyte_,[89] of which the authorship has often been attributed to
Heywood. This play is certainly printed in John Rastell's types, but in
place of a colophon it has the words "Johannes Rastell fieri fecit,"
and as Rastell would probably have written "imprimi fecit" if he had
been alluding merely to its printing, we can hardly doubt that the word
"fieri" refers to performance, if not to composition. With the evidence
we now have that John Rastell had plays acted in his own garden,
"fieri fecit" seems exactly translatable by "caused to be produced,"
and as Mrs. Rastell helped the tailor to make the dresses, so probably
the lawyer-printer helped to write the play. Its two parts are each
diversified by the Plowman beating Knight and Merchant (_verberat
eos_ is the stage-direction), but otherwise it is all sheer argument,
which in the end a philosopher is introduced to sum up. The tone of
the interlude is singularly democratic, the Plowman throughout having
the best of it, and, despite a natural similarity between some of the
speeches with those of the "Gentylman" and the "Marchaunt" in the _Play
of the Wether_, there seems no reason for connecting with it the name
of Heywood, who, for the better part of his life, was in the service of
the Court.

In "_The playe called the foure PP._: a newe and a very mery enterlude
of a palmer, a pardoner, a potycary, a pedler," the advance in dramatic
form as compared with _The Play of Love_ is very slight, though the
play is much more vivid and amusing. The Palmer begins it with an
account of his wanderings, and then the other three characters come
on the stage, each catching up the words of the last speaker, and
vaunting his own profession. The argument between Palmer, Pardoner,
and Pothecary waxes hot, and at last the Pedler suggests that as lying
is the one matter in which they are all skilled, their order of merit
can best be determined by a contest in this art, and offers himself as
the judge. At first the competitors lie vaguely. Then it is resolved
that the lie must take the form of a tale, and the Pothecary tells a
long story of the effect of one of his medicines; then the Pardoner a
much longer one of a visit to Hell and the rescue thence of a shrew
of whom Lucifer was very glad to be rid; finally the Palmer in a few
words expresses his surprise that there should be such shrews in Hell,
as in all his travels he never yet knew one woman out of patience--a
remark which straightway wins him the preëminence, though there is
more tedious wrangling, before a serious little speech from the Pedler
brings the play to a close. The _Four PP._ is, to our thinking,
insufferably spun out; but, except in the epilogue, as we may call it,
it is plain that its intention was solely to amuse--

    To passe the tyme in thys without offence
    Was the cause why the maker dyd make it,
    And so we humbly beseche you take it,

says the Pedler:--and in substituting stories and a lighter form of
argument for the more formal disputation of the _Dyaloge of Wit and
Folly_ and the _Play of Love_ it comes a little nearer to the modern
conception of comedy, and may be thought to have deserved the success
which it is said to have achieved.

The possession by the _Play of the Wether_ of an obvious moral--the
mess which men would make of rain, wind, and sunshine if they had the
ruling of them--is undoubtedly a link with the interludes of a didactic
character, and so may seem at first sight to place it in a lower grade
of dramatic development. There can be little doubt that it was acted
by Heywood's company of "children," whom we hear of as performing
under his direction before the Princess Mary, and a children's play
would perhaps naturally be cast in this form. But the form is here
less important than the intention, and it does not need Mery-report's
comment ("now shall ye have the wether--even as yt was") to tell us
that Heywood's didactics were purely humorous. The point to be noted
is that this is really a play--a play, moreover, which if it could
be shortened and the unforgivable passages omitted, might be acted
by children of the present day with some enjoyment. The part of "the
Boy, the least that can play" is charming. There is stage furniture in
Jupiter's "trone," and in the coming and going of the characters at
least a semblance of action. We must note, however, the set disputation
between the two millers, as still linking it with Heywood's other
argumentative plays, though with all its faults it is the brightest and
most pleasing of its class.

We come now to the two plays, _The Pardoner and the Frere_ and _Johan
Johan_, which modern writers have uniformly assigned to Heywood,
although William Rastell printed them[90] without any author's name,
and no one has yet adduced contemporary evidence for assigning them
to Heywood. In neither of these plays is there any trace of the
disputation which in those we have been looking at is so conspicuous.
They are both true comedies, comedies in miniature if you like, but
true comedies, with a definite scene and dramatic action. _The Pardoner
and the Frere_ is little more than an expansion of hints given by
Chaucer, from whom the author does not hesitate to borrow two whole
passages, but the development of the little plot is well managed and
the climax when the Parson and Neighbour Prat are badly worsted and
the two rogues go off in triumph is thoroughly artistic. It has been
said that this play must have been written during the life of Leo X.,
who died in 1521, because the Pardoner's speech contains the passage
(omitting the Friar's interruptions):--

    Worshypfull maysters ye shall understand
    That Pope Leo the X hath graunted with his hand,
    And by his bulls confyrmed under lede,
    To all maner people, bothe quycke and dede,
    Ten thousand yeres & as many lentes of pardon, etc.

But as Heywood was probably born in 1497, it is extremely unlikely that
his undoubted plays were written before 1520, and if the evidence of
this passage is to be pressed, I should regard it as absolutely fatal
to his authorship, it being inconceivable that any one who had written
the _Pardoner and the Frere_ could subsequently write the _Dyaloge of
Wyt and Folly_ or the _Play of Love_. But there would be an obvious
convenience in making a dead pope rather than a living one answerable
for the Pardoner's ribaldries, and the weight of this argument is not
lessened when we remember that the Pardoner proceeds to quote also the
authority of the King.[91] Although no alteration of date would bring
the play out of the reign of Henry VIII., we may well believe that that
peremptory monarch might forgive such reflections on his management of
church affairs at an earlier date much more readily than satire of a
system he was then supporting.

We shall have to speak again of the _Pardoner and the Frere_ and its
probable date, but we must pass on now to Heywood's masterpiece, if
we may call it his, the _mery play betwene Johan Johan, the husbande,
Tyb his wyfe and Syr Jhan, the preest_. In approaching this play, as
in approaching Chaucer's tales of the Miller and Reeve and some of
their fellows, we must, of course, leave our morality behind and
accept the playwright's and tale-teller's convention that cuckoldry and
cuckoldmaking are natural subjects for humour. This granted, it will be
difficult to find a flaw in the play. Like the _Pardoner and the Frere_
it is short, only about one half the length of the plays of _Love_,
the _Wether_, and the _Four PP._, and it gains greatly from being less
weighted with superfluities. Johan Johan himself, with his boasting
and cowardice, his eagerness to be deceived, and futile attempts to
put a good face on the matter, his burning desire to partake of the
pie, his one moment of self-assertion, to which disappointed hunger
spurs him, and then his fresh collapse to ludicrous uneasiness,--who
can deny that he is a triumph of dramatic art, just human enough and
natural enough to seem very human and natural on the stage, but with
the ludicrous side of him so sedulously presented to the spectator that
there is never any risk of compassion for him becoming uncomfortably
acute? The handling of Tyb and Syr Jhan is equally clever. Each in turn
is prepared to act on the defensive, to be evasive and explanatory, but
before Johan Johan's acquiesciveness such devices seem superfluous,
and little by little the pair reach a height of effrontery not easily
surpassed. One of the incidents of the play, the melting of the wax
by the fire, occurs also in a contemporary French _Farce nouuelle
tresbonne et fort ioyeuse de Pernet qui va au vin_, and it is certainly
in the French farces that we find the nearest approach in tone and
treatment, as well as in form, to this anonymous Johan Johan.

=Dates. The Authorship of "Thersites."=--It may have been noticed
that in passing these six plays in review the order followed has been
purely that of their dramatic development. We know that four of them
were printed in 1533, when Heywood was thirty-six or thereabouts,
but with the exception of the reference to Leo X. in the _Pardoner
and the Frere_, the significance of which I have given reasons for
considering doubtful, no one has yet detected any time-reference which
enables us to fix their approximate dates.[92] In his little treatise
_John Heywood als Dramatiker_ (1888) Dr. Swoboda maintains that the
_Pardoner_ must be placed earlier than the _Four PP._, and that the
_Four PP._ can be shown to be earlier than the anonymous play of
_Thersites_, which we know from its epilogue was acted at Court between
October 12 and 24, 1537, the dates respectively of the birth of Edward
VI. and the death of his mother, Jane Seymour.[93] In support of his
first point he cites the fact that some of the relics ("the grete toe
of the Trinite" and "of all Hallows the blessed jawbone") vaunted by
the Pardoner in his sermon in the church appear again in the longer
list of relics in the _Four PP._ In support of the second he quotes
from _Thersites_ the lines[94] in which that hero proposes to visit
Purgatory and Hell, and traces in them an allusion to the Pardoner's
story in the _Four PP._ I cannot accept either of these arguments as
decisive chronologically, it being quite as reasonable for a dramatist
to abridge a list of relics as to expand it, while the boast of
Thersites might be represented as the hint out of which the rescue of
Mistress Margery Coorson was developed no less plausibly than as a
reference to that notorious lie. The _Pardoner and the Frere_ seems to
me dramatically more advanced than the _Four PP._, and I am therefore
slow to accept any argument which would place it earlier; but even
when we allow for the fact that Chaucer had fixed for all time the
humorous treatment of Pardoners, the fact that the Pardoners in these
two plays are so closely alike is an argument of some weight for their
common authorship.[95] But if this be so, the reference to sweeping
Hell clean in _Thersites_ may set us wondering whether it was not the
author of the _Four PP._ who was most likely to have written it; and we
may note also the repetition in _Thersites_ of the absurd boasting with
which Johan Johan preludes his disclosure of his cowardice, while the
incident of Telemachus belongs to that "humour of filth" which I have
already noted as characteristic of Heywood. For the probability of the
latter's authorship of _Thersites_ we may claim also a little external
support. We have already noticed that in March, 1538, Heywood received
forty shillings for the performance by his "children" of an interlude
before the Princess Mary. Now _Thersites_ is obviously intended for
performance by children; it was acted a few months previously to the
payment of March, 1538,[96] in honour of Jane Seymour, to whom Mary,
in return for her abundant kindness, was greatly attached; and again
Mary's fondness for the classics would explain the selection of a
classical burlesque if, as is probable, she was present when it was
acted. Given the facts that Heywood had already in the _Play of the
Wether_ brought Jupiter on the stage, that _Thersites_ bears at least
some slight resemblances to other plays attributed to him, that he
was in the service of the Princess Mary, and was manager, whether
permanently or temporarily, about this time, of a company of children,
and I think we have a fairly strong case for attributing _Thersites_ to
his pen. If this theory be accepted, the probability of his authorship
of both the _Pardoner and the Frere_ and _Johan Johan_ is considerably
increased; for if _Thersites_ is by Heywood, it is good enough to form
an important link between these plays and his argumentative interludes,
while if _Thersites_ be not by Heywood, there was then some other
playwright of the day for whom a strong claim might be put forward to
the authorship of these other anonymous plays.

=Sources.=--The fact that an opportunity for writing about Heywood
is not likely to recur very often must be offered as an excuse for
interpolating questions of detail into this preface. For the broader
view of the subject which we ought here to take it is obvious that
the authorship of this or that play is not very important. What
concerns us here is that we can see even in the less developed group
of plays English comedy emancipating itself from the miracle-play
and morality, and in the _Pardoner and the Frere_ and _Johan Johan_
becoming identical in form with the French fifteenth-century farce.
Whether we ought to go beyond this and assert absolute borrowing from
French originals is rather a difficult question. The _Farce nouuelle
d'un Pardonneur, d'un triacleur et d'une tauerniere_ may certainly
have supplied the idea both of the preaching-match between Pardoner
and Friar and also of the comparison of the wares of Pardoner and
Pothecary. The _Farce nouuelle tresbonne et fort ioyeuse de Pernet
qui va au vin_ contains two passages[97] which must have some direct
connection with _Johan Johan_. The only extant edition of Pernet qui
va au vin was "nouvellement imprimé" in 1548, and the date of its
prototype is unknown. The _Farce d'un Pardonneur_, in the edition
which has come down to us, is certainly later than 1540, but this also
was probably a reprint. Thus despite the fact that the handling of
the incidents in the English plays is far more skilful than in the
French, it would seem too daring to suggest that the French farces
can be borrowed from the English, and in any case we may imagine that
the English dramatist did not make his new departure unaided, but was
consciously working on the lines which had long been popular in France.
By doing so he did not lay the foundation of English comedy, for it was
not on these lines that our comedy subsequently developed. But it was
at least a hopeful omen for the future that an English playwright so
easily attained a real mastery in the only school of comedy with which
he could have been acquainted. It was something also that the right of
comedy to exist as a source of amusement apart from instruction had
been successfully vindicated. These were two real achievements, and
they must always be connected with the name of John Heywood.

="Play of the Wether": Early Editions and the Present Text.=--At the
time I write, the _Play of the Wether_ has not been reprinted since
the sixteenth century. Its bibliography has been rather confused by
the existence of two texts of it, one at St. John's College, Oxford,
the other at the University Library, Cambridge, each wanting the last
leaf, containing in the one case twenty, and in the other sixteen,
lines of the text and the colophon with the printer's name. The
only perfect copy hitherto generally known is that preserved at the
Bodleian Library, which belongs to an edition "Imprinted at London in
Paules Churchyearde, at the Sygne of the Sunne, by Anthonie Kytson"
whose career as a publisher seems to have been comprised within the
years 1549 and 1579. Of this as the only complete edition I then knew
I made my first transcript, though subsequent collation showed that
the imperfect edition at St. John's College contained many better
readings and an earlier spelling, while the copy at the University
Library, Cambridge (sometimes, though I think erroneously, attributed
to the press of Robert Wyer), belonged to an intermediate edition.
The registration by the Bibliographical Society in its _Hand-lists
of English Printers_, 1501-1556, of the copy of an edition of 1533,
printed by William Rastell, in the Pepys Collection at Magdalene
College, Cambridge, sent me to Cambridge for a new transcript. On
examination, the Magdalene edition proved to be identical with that
at St. John's College, Oxford, which had previously been conjecturally
assigned to Rastell, perhaps by some one who had seen it before the
last leaf disappeared. In reproducing Rastell's text I have not
thought it necessary to print my collation of the later editions, as
it is clear that the unidentified edition at the University Library,
Cambridge (U. L. C.), was printed from Rastell's, and Kitson's from
this. The printer of the U. L. C. edition introduced some errors into
his text, most of which Kitson copied: e.g. _hote_ for _hore_ in l.
38, omission of second _so_ in l. 68, and of second _as_ in l. 72,
_name_ for _maner_ in l. 115, _or_ for _of_ in l. 357, _we_ for _I_
in l. 427, _plumyng_ for _plumpyng_ in l. 657, _thynges_ for _thynge_
in l. 660, _showryng_ for _skowryng_ in l. 661, _ye_ for _yt_ in l.
699, _and_ for _all_ in l. 705, _belyke_ for _be leak[e]y_ in l. 800;
though he corrected a few: e.g. _pale_ for _dale_ in l. 277. On the
other hand, Kitson introduced some sixty or seventy errors of his
own, such as _creatour_ for _creature_ in l. 5, _well_ for _we_ in l.
21, _myngled_ for _mynglynge_ in l. 144, _mery_ for _mary_ in l. 366,
_beseched_ for _besecheth_ in l. 347, _pycked_ for _prycked_ in l. 467,
_bodily_ for _boldely_ in l. 470, _solyter_ for _solycyter_ in l. 496,
etc. As these variations are obviously misprints and nothing more, it
would have been pedantic to record them in full, and these samples
will doubtless suffice. The following title-page is a representation,
not a reproduction, of the original. There is no running head-line in
Rastell's text.

                                                     ALFRED W. POLLARD.


FOOTNOTES:

[89] The full title of this play is rather instructive:--"Of Gentylnes
& Nobylyte: a dyaloge betwen the marchaunt, the knyght & the plowman
dysputyng who is a verey gentylman & who is a noble man and how men
shuld come to auctoryte, compiled in maner of an enterlude with divers
toys & gestis addyd therto to make mery pastyme and disport."

[90] _The Pardoner and the Frere_ is dated 5 April, 1533; _Johan
Johan_, 12 February, 153¾.

[91]

    And eke, yf thou dysturbe me anythynge,
    Thou art also a traytour to the Kynge,
    For here hath he graunted me vnder his brode seale
    That no man, yf he love hys hele,
    Sholde me dysturbe or let in any wyse

[92] If the reference in l. 636 of the _Play of the Wether_ (see note)
is to be pressed, this would be an exception, giving us between 1523
and 1533 as the date of composition.

[93] Dr. Swoboda erroneously places Edward VI.'s birth in August, a
slip of some importance as to some extent spoiling his argument that
_Thersites_ must have been written for a performance at an earlier
date. But perhaps even in October it would not be quite correct to say
"All herbs are dead," while the reference to a New Year's gift, though
not quite decisive, makes it probable that the play was written for a
Christmas entertainment. In any case it is intrinsically probable that
a play acted at an improvised festivity on the birth of an heir to
the throne would be an old one, rather than specially written for the
occasion.

[94]

    If no man will with me battle take,
    A voyage to hell quickly I will make,
    And there I will beat the devil and his dame,
    And bring the souls away: I fully intend the same.
    After that in Hell I have ruffled so,
    Straight to old Purgatory will I go,
    I will clean that so purge round about
    That we shall need no pardons to help them out.

[95] Dr. Swoboda, who speaks of the plays from the press of William
Rastell as printed by his father (John), was apparently unaware that
neither _The Pardoner and the Frere_ nor _Johan Johan_ bears Heywood's
name, and takes his authorship of them for granted.

[96] It is not contended that the payment was for the performance of
_Thersites_, only that it shows that Heywood was a likely man to be
called on to produce a play about this period.

[97] See notes to ll. 263 and 482. I quote here the end of the French
farce in order to give the "wax" episode in full.

  _Le Cousin._ Or ca cousin iay pense
          Dung subtil affaire,
          Dont vous serez riche a iamas.

  _Pernet._ Riche, cousin?

  _Le Cousin._ Certes, sire, vous fault chauffer
          Et faire ung subtil ouuraige,
          Qui vous gardera de dommaige,
          Cousin, beau sire.

  _Pernet._ Me fault il donc chauffer la cire,
          Tandis que vous banqueterez?
          Corbieu, ien suis marry,
          Je croy que ce paste est bon.

  _Le Cousin._ Chauffez & mettez du charbon
          Lymaige sera proffittable.

  _Pernet._ Vous irayge signer la table?
          Je scay bien le benedicite.

  _Le Cousin._  Faictes ce que iay recite.
          Dea! cousin! ne perdez point de temps.

  _Pernet._ Cest vng trespouure passetemps
          De chauffer la cire quant on digne!
          Regardez elle est plus molle que laine,
          En la chauffant rien naqueste.

  _Le Cousin._ Conclus & conqueste!
          Auec la femme ie banqueste,
          Combien que ie ne soye le sire
          Et son mary chauffe la cire.



                        The play of the wether

[Decoration]


                           A new and a very
                           mery enterlude of
                           all maner wethers
                                 made
                           by John Heywood,

[Decoration]

  The players names.

  Jupiter a god.
  Mery reporte the vyce.
  The gentylman.
  The marchaunt.
  The ranger.
  The water myller.
  The wynde myller.
  The gentylwoman.
  The launder.
  A boy the lest that can play.

[Decoration]



The Play of the Wether


  _Jupyter_                                                        A ii

  RYght farre to longe, as now, were to recyte
  The auncyent estate wherein our selfe hath reyned,
  What honour, what laude, gyven us of very ryght,
  What glory we have had, dewly unfayned,
  Of eche creature, which dewty hath constrayned;                      5
  For above all goddes, syns our father's fale,
  We, Jupiter, were ever pryncypale.

  If we so have beene, as treuth yt is in dede,
  Beyond the compas of all comparyson,
  Who coulde presume to shew, for any mede,                           10
  So that yt myght appere to humayne reason,
  The hye renowne we stande in at this season?
  For, syns that heven and earth were fyrste create,
  Stode we never in suche tryumphaunt estate

  As we now do, whereof we woll reporte                               15
  Suche parte as we se mete for tyme present,
  Chyefely concernynge your[98] perpetuall comforte,
  As the thynge selfe shall prove in experyment,
  Whyche hyely shall bynde you, on knees lowly bent,
  Sooly to honour oure hyenes, day by day.                            20
  And now to the mater gyve eare, and we shall say.

  Before our presens, in our hye parlyament,
  Both goddes and goddeses of all degrees
  Hath[99] late assembled, by comen assent,
  For the redres of certayne enormytees,                              25
  Bred amonge them, thorow extremytees
  Abusyd in eche to other of them all,
  Namely, to purpose, in these moste specyall:

  Our forsayde father Saturne, and Phebus,
  Eolus and Phebe, these foure[100] by name,                          30
  Whose natures, not onely, so farre contraryous,
  But also of malyce eche other to defame,
  Have longe tyme abused, ryght farre out of frame,
  The dew course of all theyr constellacyons,
  To the great damage of all yerthly nacyons:                         35

  Whyche was debated in place sayde before;                     A ii _b_
  And fyrste, as became, our father moste auncyent,
  With berde whyte as snow, his lockes both colde & hore,
  Hath entred[101] such mater as served his entent,
  Laudynge his frosty mansyon in the fyrmament,                       40
  To ayre & yerth as thynge moste precyous,
  Pourgynge all humours that are contagyous.

  How be yt, he alledgeth that, of longe tyme past,
  Lyttell hath prevayled his great dylygens,
  Full oft uppon yerth his fayre frost he hath cast,                  45
  All thynges hurtfull to banysh out of presens.
  But Phebus, entendynge to kepe him in sylens,
  When he hath labored all nyght in his powres,[102]
  His glarynge beamys maryth all in two howres.

  Phebus to this made no maner answerynge,                            50
  Whereuppon they both then Phebe defyed,
  Eche for his parte leyd in her reprovynge
  That by her showres superfluous they have tryed[103];
  In all that she may theyr powres be denyed;
  Wherunto Phebe made answere no more                                 55
  Then Phebus to Saturne hadde made before.

  Anone uppon Eolus all these dyd fle,
  Complaynynge theyr causes, eche one arow,
  And sayd, to compare, none was so evyll as he;
  For, when he is dysposed his blastes to blow,                       60
  He suffereth neyther sone-shyne, rayne nor snowe.
  They eche agaynste other, and he agaynste al three,--
  Thus can these iiii in no maner agree!

  Whyche sene in themselfe, and further consyderynge,
  The same to redres was cause of theyr assemble;                     65
  And, also, that we, evermore beynge,
  Besyde our puysaunt power of deite,
  Of wysedome and nature so noble and so fre,
  From all extremytees the meane devydynge,
  To pease and plente eche thynge attemperynge,                       70

  They have, in conclusyon, holly surrendryd                       A iii
  Into our handes, at mych as concernynge
  All maner wethers by them engendryd,
  The full of theyr powrs, for terme everlastynge,
  To set suche order as standyth wyth our pleasynge,                  75
  Whyche thynge, as of our parte, no parte requyred,
  But of all theyr partys ryght humbly desyred,

  To take uppon us. Wherto we dyd assente.
  And so in all thynges, with one voyce agreable,
  We have clerely fynyshed our foresayd parleament,                   80
  To your great welth, whyche shall be fyrme and stable,
  And to our honour farre inestymable;
  For syns theyr powers, as ours, addyd to our owne,
  Who can, we say, know us as we shulde be knowne?

  But now, for fyne,[104] the rest of our entent,                     85
  Wherfore, as now, we hyther are dyscendyd,
  Is onely to satysfye and content
  All maner people whyche have been offendyd
  By any wether mete to be amendyd,
  Uppon whose complayntes, declarynge theyr grefe,                    90
  We shall shape remedye for theyr relefe.

    And to gyve knowledge for theyr hyther resorte
  We wolde thys afore proclaymed to be,
  To all our people, by some one of thys sorte,[105]
  Whome we lyste to choyse here amongest all ye.                      95
  Wherfore eche man avaunce, and we shal se
  Whyche of you is moste mete to be our cryer.

                     _Here entreth_ MERY-REPORTE.

  _Mery-reporte._ Brother,[106] holde up your torche a lytell hyer!
      Now, I beseche you, my lorde, loke on me furste.
      I truste your lordshyp shall not fynde me the wurste.          100

  _Jupyter._ Why! what arte thou that approchyst so ny?

  _Mery-reporte._ Forsothe, and please your lordshyppe, it is I.

  _Jupyter._ All that we knowe very well, But what I?

  _Mery-reporte._ What I? Some saye I am I perse I.[107]
      But, what maner I so ever be I,                                105
      I assure your good lordshyp, I am I.

  _Jupyter._ What maner man arte thou, shewe quickely.         A iii _b_

  _Mery-reporte._ By god, a poore gentylman, dwellyth hereby.

  _Jupyter._ A gentylman! Thyselfe bryngeth wytnes naye,
     Both in thy lyght behavour and araye.                           110
     But what arte thou called where thou dost resorte?

  _Mery-reporte._ Forsoth, my lorde, mayster Mery-reporte.

  _Jupyter._ Thou arte no mete man in our bysynes,
      For thyne apparence is of to mych lyghtnes.

  _Mery-reporte._ Why, can not your lordshyp lyke my maner           115
      Myne apparell, nor my name nother?

  _Jupyter._ To nother of all we have devocyon.

  _Mery-reporte._ A proper lycklyhod of promocyon!
      Well, than, as wyse as ye seme to be,
      Yet can ye se no wysdome in me.                                120
      But syns ye dysprayse me for so lyghte an elfe,
      I praye you gyve me leve to prayse my-selfe:
      And, for the fyrste parte, I wyll begyn
      In my behavour at my commynge in,
      Wherin I thynke I have lytell offendyd,                        125
      For, sewer, my curtesy coulde not be amendyd;
      And, as for my sewt your servaunt to be,
      Myghte yll have bene myst for your honeste;
      For, as I be saved, yf I shall not lye,
      I saw no man sew for the offyce but I!                         130
      Wherfore yf ye take me not or I go,
      Ye must anone, whether ye wyll or no.
      And syns your entent is but for the wethers,
      What skyls[108] our apparell to be fryse[109] or fethers?
      I thynke it wisdome, syns no man forbad it,                    135
      With thys to spare a better--yf I had it!
      And, for my name, reportyng alwaye trewly,
      What hurte to reporte a sad mater merely?
      As, by occasyon, for the same entent,
      To a serteyne wedow thys daye was I sent,                      140
      Whose husbande departyd wythout her wyttynge,
      A specyall good lover and she hys owne swettynge![110]
      To whome, at my commyng, I caste suche a fygure,
      Mynglynge the mater accordynge to my nature,
      That when we departyd,[111] above al other thynges,            145
      She thanked me hartely for my mery tydynges!
      And yf I had not handled yt merely,                           A iv
      Perchaunce she myght have taken yt hevely;
      But in suche facyon I conjured and bounde her,
      That I left her meryer then I founde her!                      150
      What man may compare to showe the lyke comforte
      That dayly is shewed by me, Mery-reporte?
      And, for your purpose, at this tyme ment,
      For all wethers I am so indyfferent,[112]
      Without affeccyon, standynge so up-ryght,                      155
      Son-lyght, mone-lyght, ster-lyght, twy-light, torch-light,
      Cold, hete, moyst, drye, hayle, rayne, frost, snow, lightnyng,
        thunder,
      Cloudy, mysty, wyndy, fayre, fowle, above hed or under,
      Temperate or dystemperate, whatever yt be,
      I promyse your lordshyp, all is one to me.                     160

  _Jupyter._ Well, sonne, consydrynge thyne indyfferency,
      And partely the rest of thy declaracyon,
      We make the our servaunte and immediately
      Well woll thou departe and cause proclamacyon,
      Publyshynge our pleasure to every nacyon,                      165
      Whyche thynge ons done, wyth all dylygens,
      Make thy returne agayne to this presens,

      Here to receyve all sewters of eche degre;
      And suche as to the may seme moste metely,
      We wyll thou brynge them before our majeste,                   170
      And for the rest, that be not so worthy,
      Make thou reporte to us effectually,
      So that we may heare eche maner sewte at large.
      Thus se thow departe and loke uppon thy charge!

  _Mery-reporte._ Now, good my lorde god, our lady be wyth ye!       175
      Frendes, a fellyshyppe,[113] let me go by ye!
      Thynke ye I may stande thrustyng amonge you there?
      Nay, by god, I muste thruste aboute other gere!

                       MERY-REPORTE _goeth out_.

  _At thende[114] of this staf[115] the god hath a song played in his
                   trone or_ MERY-REPORTE _come in_.

  _Jupiter._ Now, syns we have thus farre set forth our purpose,
      A whyle we woll wythdraw our godly presens,                    180
      To embold all such more playnely to dysclose,
      As here wyll attende, in our foresayd pretens.
      And now, accordynge to your obedyens,                     A iv _b_
      Rejoyce ye in us with joy most joyfully,
      And we our-selfe shall joy in our owne glory!                  185
                    [JUPITER _here closes the curtains of his throne_.]

                       MERY-REPORTE _cometh in_.

  _Mery-reporte._ Now, syrs, take hede! for here cometh goddes servaunt!
      Avaunt! carte[r]ly keytyfs,[116] avaunt!
      Why, ye dronken horesons, wyll yt not be?
      By your fayth, have ye nother cap nor kne?
      Not one of you that wyll make curtsy                           190
      To me, that am squyre for goddes precyous body?
      Regarde ye nothynge myne authoryte?
      No welcome home! nor where have ye be?
      How be yt, yf ye axyd, I coulde not well tell,
      But suer I thynke a thousande myle from hell,                  195
      And on my fayth, I thinke, in my consciens,
      I have been from hevyn as farre as heven is hens,
      At Lovyn,[117] at London and in Lombardy,
      At Baldock,[118] at Barfolde,[119] and in Barbary,
      At Canturbery, at Coventre, at Colchester,                     200
      At Wansworth and Welbecke,[120] at Westchester,
      At Fullam, at Faleborne, and at Fenlow,
      At Wallyngford, at Wakefeld, and at Waltamstow,
      At Tawnton, at Typtre[121] and at Totnam,[122]
      At Glouceter, at Gylford and at Gotham,                        205
      At Hartforde, at Harwyche, at Harowe on the hyll,
      At Sudbery,[123] Suth hampton, at Shoters Hyll,[124]
      At Walsingham, at Wyttam[125] and at Werwycke,
      At Boston, at Brystow[126] and at Berwycke,
      At Gravelyn,[127] at Gravesend, and at Glastynbery,            210
      Ynge Gyngiang Jayberd the paryshe of Butsbery.[128]
      The devyll hym-selfe, wythout more leasure,
      Could not have gone halfe thus myche, I am sure!
      But, now I have warned[129] them, let them even chose;
      For, in fayth, I care not who wynne or lose.                   215

      _Here the gentylman before he cometh in bloweth his horne._

  _Mery-reporte._ Now, by my trouth, this was a goodly hearyng.
      I went yt had ben the gentylwomans blowynge!
      But yt is not so, as I now suppose,
      For womens hornes sounde more in a mannys nose.                220

  _Gentylman._ Stande ye mery, my frendes, everychone.               B i

  _Mery-reporte._ Say that to me and let the rest alone!
      Syr, ye be welcome, and all your meyny.

  _Gentylman._ Now, in good sooth, my frende, god a mercy!
      And syns that I mete the here thus by chaunce,                 225
      I shall requyre the of further acqueyntaunce,
      And brevely to shew the, this is the mater.
      I come to sew to the great god Jupyter
      For helpe of thynges concernynge my recreacyon,
      Accordynge to his late proclamacyon.                           230

  _Mery-reporte._ Mary, and I am he that this must spede.
      But fyrste tell me what be ye in dede.

  _Gentylman._ Forsoth, good frende, I am a gentylman.

  _Mery-reporte._ A goodly occupacyon, by seynt Anne!
      On my fayth, your maship[130] hath a mery life.                235
      But who maketh all these hornes, your self or your wife?
      Nay, even in earnest, I aske you this questyon.

  _Gentylman._ Now, by my trouth, thou art a mery one.

  _Mery-reporte._ In fayth, of us both I thynke never one sad,
      For I am not so mery but ye seme as mad!                       240
      But stande ye styll and take a lyttell payne,
      I wyll come to you, by and by, agayne.
      Now, gracyous god, yf your wyll so be,
      I pray ye, let me speke a worde wyth ye.

  _Jupyter._ My sonne, say on! Let us here thy mynde.                245

  _Mery-reporte._ My lord, there standeth a sewter even here behynde,
      A Gentylman, in yonder corner,
      And, as I thynke, his name is Mayster Horner
      A hunter he is, and cometh to make you sporte.
      He woide hunte a sow or twayne out of thys sorte.[131]         250

                   _Here he poynteth to the women._

  _Jupyter._ What so ever his mynde be, let hym appere.

  _Mery-reporte._ Now, good mayster Horner, I pray you come nere.

  _Gentylman._ I am no horner, knave! I wyll thou know yt.

  _Mery-reporte._ I thought ye had [been], for when ye dyd blow yt,
      Harde I never horeson make horne so goo.                       255
      As lefe ye kyste myne ars as blow my hole soo!
      Come on your way, before the God Jupyter,
      And there for your selfe ye shall be sewter.

  _Gentylman._ Most myghty prynce and god of every nacyon,
      Pleaseth your hyghnes to vouchsave the herynge                 260
      Of me, whyche, accordynge to [y]our proclamacyon,          B i _b_
      Doth make apparaunce, in way of besechynge,
      Not sole for myself, but generally
      For all come of noble and auncyent stock,
      Whych sorte above all doth most thankfully                     265
      Dayly take payne for welth of the comen flocke,
      With dylygent study alway devysynge
      To kepe them in order and unyte,
      In peace to labour the encrees of theyr lyvynge,
      Wherby eche man may prosper in plente.                         270
      Wherfore, good god, this is our hole desyrynge,
      That for ease of our paynes, at tymes vacaunt,
      In our recreacyon, whyche chyefely is huntynge,
      It may please you to sende us wether pleasaunt,
      Drye and not mysty, the wynde calme and styll.                 275
      That after our houndes yournynge[132] so meryly,
      Chasynge the dere over dale and hyll,
      In herynge we may folow and to-comfort the cry.

  _Jupyter._ Ryght well we do perceyve your hole request,
      Whyche shall not fayle to reste in memory,                     280
      Wherfore we wyll ye set your-selfe at rest,
      Tyll we have herde eche man indyfferently,
      And we shall take suche order, unyversally,
      As best may stande to our honour infynyte,
      For welth in commune and ech mannys synguler profyte.          285

  _Gentylman._ In heven and yerth honoured be the name
      Of Jupyter, who of his godly goodnes
      Hath set this mater in so goodly frame,
      That every wyght shall have his desyre, doutles.
      And fyrst for us nobles and gentylmen,                         290
      I doute not, in his wysedome, to provyde
      Suche wether as in our huntynge, now and then,
      We may both teyse[133] and receyve[134] on every syde.
      Whyche thynge, ones had, for our seyd recreacyon,
      Shall greatly prevayle[135] you in preferrynge our helth       295
      For what thynge more nedefull then our preservacyon,
      Beynge the weale and heddes of all comen welth?

  _Mery-reporte._ Now I besech your mashyp, whose hed be you?

  _Gentylman._ Whose hed am I? Thy hed. What seyst thou now?

  _Mery-reporte._ Nay, I thynke yt very trew, so god me helpe!       300
      For I have ever bene, of a lyttell whelpe,                    B ii
      So full of fansyes, and in so many fyttes,
      So many smale reasons, and in so many wyttes,
      That, even as I stande, I pray God I be dede,
      If ever I thought them all mete for one hede.                  305
      But syns I have one hed more then I knew,
      Blame not my rejoycynge,--I love all thinges new.
      And suer it is a treasour of heddes to have store:
      One feate can I now that I never coude before.

  _Gentylman._ What is that?

  _Mery-reporte._         By god, syns ye came hyther,               310
      I can set my hedde and my tayle togyther.
      This hed shall save mony, by Saynt Mary,
      From hensforth I wyll no potycary;
      For at al tymys, when suche thynges shall myster
      My new hed shall geve myne olde tayle a glyster.[136]          315
      And, after all this, then shall my hedde wayte
      Uppon my tayle, and there stande at receyte.
      Syr, for the reste I wyll not now move you,
      But, yf we lyve, ye shall smell how I love yow.
      And, sir, touchyng your sewt here, depart, when it please you
      For be ye suer, as I can I wyll ease you.                      321

  _Gentylman._ Then gyve me thy hande. That promyse I take.
      And yf for my sake any sewt thou do make,
      I promyse thy payne to be requyted
      More largely than now shall be recyted.                        325

  _Mery-reporte._ Alas, my necke! Goddes pyty, where is my hed?
      By Saynt Yve, I feare me I shall be deade.
      And yf I were, me-thynke yt were no wonder,
      Syns my hed and my body is so farre asonder,

                       _Entreth the_ MARCHAUNT.

      Mayster person,[137] now welcome by my life!                   330
      I pray you, how doth my maistres, your wyfe?[138]

  _Marchaunt._ Syr, for the presthod and wyfe that ye alledge
      I se ye speke more of dotage then knowledge.
      But let pas, syr, I wolde to you be sewter
      To brynge me, yf ye can, before Jupiter.                       335

  [_Mery-reporte._] Yes, Mary, can I, and wyll do yt in dede.
      Tary, and I shall make wey for your spede. [_Goes to_ JUPYTER.]
      In fayth, good lorde, yf it please your gracyous godshyp,
      I muste have a worde or twayne wyth your lordship.        B ii _b_
      Syr, yonder is a nother man in place,                          340
      Who maketh great sewt to speke wyth your grace.
      Your pleasure ones knowen, he commeth by and by.[139]

  _Jupyter._ Bryng hym before our presens, sone, hardely.

  _Mery-reporte._ Why! where be you? shall I not fynde ye?
      Come a-way, I pray god, the devyll blynde ye!                  345

  _Marchaunt._ Moste myghty prynce and lorde of lordes all,
      Right humbly besecheth your majeste
      Your marchaunt-men thorow the worlde all,
      That yt may please you, of your benygnyte,
      In the dayly daunger of our goodes and lyfe,                   350
      Fyrste to consyder the desert of our request,
      What welth we bryng the rest, to our great care & stryfe,
      And then to rewarde us as ye shall thynke best.
      What were the surplysage of eche commodyte,
      Whyche groweth and encreaseth in every lande,                  355
      Excepte exchaunge by suche men as we be?
      By wey of entercours, that lyeth on our hande[140]
      We fraught from home, thynges wherof there is plente;
      And home we brynge such thynges as there be scant.
      Who sholde afore us marchauntes accompted be?                  360
      For were not we, the worlde shuld wyshe and want
      In many thynges, whych now shall lack rehersall.
      And, brevely to conclude, we beseche your hyghnes
      That of the benefyte proclaymed in generall
      We may be parte-takers, for comen encres,                      365
      Stablyshynge wether thus, pleasynge your grace,
      Stormy, nor mysty, the wynde mesurable.
      That savely we may passe from place to place,
      Berynge our seylys for spede moste vayleable;[141]
      And also the wynde to chaunge and to turne,                    370
      Eest, West, North and South, as best may be set,
      In any one place not to longe to sojourne,
      For the length of our vyage may lese our market.

  _Jupyter._ Right well have ye sayde, and we accept yt so,
      And so shall we rewarde you ere we go hens.                    375
      But ye muste take pacyens tyll we have harde mo,[142]
      That we may indyfferently gyve sentens.
      There may passe by us no spot of neglygence,
      But justely to judge eche thynge, so upryghte                B iii
      That ech mans parte maye shyne in the selfe ryghte.[143]       380

  _Mery-reporte._ Now, syr, by your fayth, yf ye shulde be sworne,
      Harde ye ever god speke so, syns ye were borne?
      So wysely, so gentylly hys wordes be showd!

  _Marchaunt._ I thanke hys grace. My sewte is well bestowd.

  _Mery-reporte._ Syr, what vyage entende ye nexte to go?            385

  _Marchaunt._ I truste or myd-lente to be to Syo.[144]

  _Mery-reporte._ Ha, ha! Is it your mynde to sayle at Syo?
      Nay, then, when ye wyll, byr lady, ye maye go,
      And let me alone with thys. Be of good chere!
      Ye maye truste me at Syo as well as here.                      390
      For though ye were fro me a thousande myle space,
      I wolde do as myche as ye were here in place,
      For, syns that from hens it is so farre thyther,
      I care not though ye never come agayne hyther.

  _Marchaunt._ Syr, yf ye remember me, when tyme shall come,         395
      Though I requyte not all, I shall deserve some.
                                                     _Exeat_ MARCHAUNT.

  _Mery-reporte._ Now, farre ye well, & god thanke you, by saynt Anne,
      I pray you, marke the fasshyon of thys honeste manne;
      He putteth me in more truste, at thys metynge here,
      Then he shall fynde cause why, thys twenty yere.               400

                      _Here entreth the_ RANGER.

  _Ranger._ God be here, now Cryst kepe thys company!

  _Mery-reporte._ In fayth, ye be welcome, evyn very skantely!
      Syr, for your comynge what is the mater?

  _Ranger._ I wolde fayne speke with the god Jupyter.

  _Mery-reporte._ That wyll not be, but ye may do thys--             405
      Tell me your mynde. I am an offycer of hys.

  _Ranger._ Be ye so? Mary, I crye you marcy.
        Your maystership may say I am homely.
        But syns your mynde is to have reportyd
        The cause wherfore I am now resortyd,                        410
        Pleasyth your maystership it is so.
        I come for my-selfe and suche other mo,
        Rangers and kepers of certayne places,
        As forestes, parkes, purlews and chasys[145]
        Where we be chargyd with all maner game.                     415
        Smale in our profyte and great is our blame.
        Alas! For our wages, what be we the nere?
        What is forty shyllynges, or fyve marke, a yere?       B iii _b_
        Many tymes and oft, where we be flyttynge,
        We spende forty pens a pece at a syttinge.                   420
        Now for our vauntage, whyche chefely is wyndefale.
        That is ryght nought, there bloweth no wynde at all,
        Whyche is the thynge wherin we fynde most grefe,
        And cause for my commynge to sew for relefe,
        That the god, of pyty, al thys thynge knowynge,              425
        May sende us good rage of blustryng and blowynge,
        And, yf I can not get god to do some good,
        I wolde hyer the devyll to runne thorow the wood,
        The rootes to turne up, the toppys to brynge under.
        A mischyefe upon them, and a wylde thunder!                  430

  _Mery-reporte._ Very well sayd, I set by your charyte
        As mych, in a maner, as by your honeste.
        I shall set you somwhat in ease anone.
        Ye shall putte on your cappe, when I am gone.
        For, I se, ye care not who wyn or lese,                      435
        So ye maye fynde meanys to wyn your fees.

  _Ranger._ Syr, as in that, ye speke as it please ye.
        But let me speke with the god, yf it maye be.
        I pray you, lette me passe ye.

  _Mery-reporte._ Why, nay, syr! By the masse, ye--                  440

  _Ranger._ Then wyll I leve you evyn as I founde ye.

  _Mery-reporte._ Go when ye wyll.  No man here hath bounde ye.

     _Here entreth the_ WATER MYLLER _and the_ RANGER _goth out_.

  _Water Myller._ What the devyll shold skyl,[146] though all the world
        were dum,
      Syns in all our spekynge we never be harde?
      We crye out for rayne, the devyll sped drop wyll cum.          445
      We water myllers be nothynge in regarde.
      No water have we to grynde at any stynt,
      The wynde is so stronge the rayne cannot fall,
      Whyche kepeth our myldams as drye as a flynt.
      We are undone, we grynde nothynge at all,                      450
      The greter is the pyte, as thynketh me.
      For what avayleth to eche man his corne,
      Tyll it be grounde by such men as we be?
      There is the loss, yf we be forborne.[147]
      For, touchynge our-selfes, we are but drudgys,                 455
      And very beggers save onely our tole,                         B iv
      Whiche is ryght smale and yet many grudges
      For gryste of a busshell to gyve a quarte bole.[148]
      Yet, were not reparacyons, we myght do wele.
      Our mylstons, our whele with her kogges, & our trindill[149]   460
      Our floodgate, our mylpooll, our water whele,
      Our hopper,[150] our extre,[151] our yren spyndyll,
      In this and mych more so great is our charge,
      That we wolde not recke though no water ware,
      Save onely it toucheth eche man so large,                      465
      And ech for our neyghbour Cryste byddeth us care.
      Wherfore my conscience hath prycked me hyther,
      In thys to sewe, accordynge to the cry,[152]
      For plente of raine to the god Jupiter
      To whose presence I wyll go evyn boldely.                      470

  _Mery-reporte._ Sir, I dowt nothynge your audacyte,
      But I feare me ye lacke capacyte,
      For, yf ye were wyse, ye myghte well espye,
      How rudely ye erre from rewls of courtesye.
      What! ye come in revelynge and reheytynge,[153]                475
      Evyn as a knave might go to a beare-beytynge!

  _Water Myller._ All you bere recorde what favour I have!
      Herke, howe famylyerly he calleth me knave!
      Dowtles the gentylman is universall!
      But marke thys lesson, syr. You shulde never call              480
      Your felow knave, nor your brother horeson;
      For nought can ye get by it, when ye have done.

  _Mery-reporte._ Thou arte nother brother nor felowe to me,
      For I am goddes servaunt, mayst thou not se?
      Wolde ye presume to speke with the great god?                  485
      Nay, dyscrecyon and you be to farre od![154]
      Byr lady, these knaves must be tyed shorter.[155]
      Syr, who let you in? Spake ye with the porter?

  _Water Myller._ Nay, by my trouth, nor wyth no nother man.
      Yet I saw you well, when I fyrst began.                        490
      How be it, so helpe me god and holydam,[156]
      I toke you but for a knave, as I am.
      But, mary, now, syns I knowe what ye be,
      I muste and wyll obey your authoryte.
      And yf I maye not speke wyth Jupiter                           495
      I beseche you be my solycyter.                            B iv _b_

  _Mery-reporte._ As in that, I wyl be your well-wyller.
      I perceyve you be a water myller.
      And your hole desyre, as I take the mater,
      Is plente of rayne for encres of water.                        500
      The let wherof, ye affyrme determynately,
      Is onely the wynde, your mortall enemy.

  _Water Myller._ Trouth it is, for it blowyth so alofte,
      We never have rayne, or, at the most, not ofte.
      Wherfore, I praye you, put the god in mynde                    505
      Clerely for ever to banysh the wynde.

                   _Here entreth the_ WYNDE MYLLER.

  _Wynde Myller._ How! Is all the wether gone or I come?
      For the passyon of god, helpe me to some.
      I am a wynd-miller, as many mo be.
      No wretch in wretchydnes so wrechyd as we!                     510
      The hole sorte[157] of my crafte be all mard at onys,
      The wynde is so weyke it sturryth not our stonys,
      Nor skantely can shatter[158] the shyttyn sayle
      That hangeth shatterynge[159] at a womans tayle.
      The rayne never resteth, so longe be the showres,              515
      From tyme of begynnyng tyl foure & twenty howres;
      And, ende whan it shall, at nyght or at none,
      An-other begynneth as soone as that is done.
      Such revell of rayne ye knowe well inough,
      Destroyeth the wynde, be it never so rough,                    520
      Wherby, syns our myllys be come to styll standynge,
      Now maye we wynd-myllers go evyn to hangynge.
      A myller! with a moryn[160] and a myschyefe!
      Who wolde be a myller? As good be a thefe!
      Yet in tyme past, when gryndynge was plente,                   525
      Who were so lyke goddys felows as we?
      As faste as god made corne, we myllers made meale.
      Whyche myght be best forborne[161] for comyn weale?
      But let that gere passe, for I feare our pryde
      Is cause of the care whyche god doth us provyde.               530
      Wherfore I submyt me, entendynge to se
      What comforte may come by humylyte.
      And, now, at thys tyme, they sayd in the crye,
      The god is come downe to shape remedye.

  _Mery-reporte._ No doute, he is here, even in yonder trone.      C 535
      But in your mater he trusteth me alone,
      Wherein, I do perceyve by your complaynte,
      Oppressyon of rayne doth make the wynde so faynte,
      That ye wynde-myllers be clene caste away.

  _Wynde Myller._ If Jupyter helpe not, yt is as ye say.             540
      But, in few wordes to tell you my mynde rounde,[162]
      Uppon this condycyon I wolde be bounde,
      Day by day to say our ladyes' sauter,[163]
      That in this world were no drope of water,
      Nor never rayne, but wynde contynuall,                         545
      Then shold we wynde myllers be lordes over all.

  _Mery-reporte._ Come on and assay how you twayne can agre--
      A brother of yours, a myller as ye be!

  _Water Myller._ By meane of our craft we may be brothers,
      But whyles we lyve shal we never be lovers.                    550
      We be of one crafte, but not of one kynde,
      I lyve by water and he by the wynde.

                    _Here_ MERY-REPORT _goth out_.

      And, syr, as ye desyre wynde continuall,
      So wolde I have rayne ever-more to fall,
      Whyche two in experyence, ryght well ye se,                    555
      Ryght selde, or never, to-gether can be.
      For as longe as the wynde rewleth, yt is playne,
      Twenty to one ye get no drop of rayne;
      And when the element is to farre opprest,
      Downe commeth the rayne and setteth the wynde at reste.        560
      By this, ye se, we can-not both obtayne.
      For ye must lacke wynde, or I must lacke rayne.
      Whertore I thynke good, before this audiens,
      Eche for our selfe to say, or we go hens;
      And whom is thought weykest, when we have fynysht,             565
      Leve of his sewt and content to be banysht.

  _Wynde Myller._ In fayth, agreed! but then, by your lycens,
      Our mylles for a tyrne shall hange in suspens.
      Syns water and wynde is chyefely our sewt,
      Whyche best may be spared we woll fyrst dyspute.               570
      Wherfore to the see my reason shall resorte,
      Where shyppes by meane of wynd try from port to porte,
      From lande to lande, in dystaunce many a myle,--
      Great is the passage and smale is the whyle.
      So great is the profile, as to me doth seme,           C i _b_ 575
      That no man's wysdome the welth can exteme.[164]
      And syns the wynde is conveyer of all
      Who but the wynde shulde have thanke above all?

  _Water Myller._ Amytte[165] in this place a tree here to growe,
      And therat the wynde in great rage to blowe;                   580
      When it hath all blowen, thys is a clere case,
      The tre removeth no here-bred[166] from hys place.
      No more wolde the shyppys, blow the best it cowde.
      All though it wolde blow downe both mast & shrowde,
      Except the shyppe flete[167] uppon the water                   585
      The wynde can ryght nought do,--a playne matter.
      Yet maye ye on water, wythout any wynde,
      Row forth your vessell where men wyll have her synde.[168]
      Nothynge more rejoyceth the maryner,
      Then meane cooles[169] of wynde and plente of water.           590
      For, commenly, the cause of every wracke
      Is excesse of wynde, where water doth lacke.
      In rage of these stormys the perell is suche
      That better were no wynde then so farre to muche.

  _Wynde Myller._ Well, yf my reason in thys may not stande,         595
      I wyll forsake the see and lepe to lande.
      In every chyrche where goddys servyce is,
      The organs beare brunt of halfe the quere,[170] i-wys.
      Whyche causeth the sounde, of water or wynde?
      More-over for wynde thys thynge I fynde                        600
      For the most parte all maner mynstrelsy,
      By wynde they delyver theyr sound chefly,
      Fyll me a bagpype of your water full,
      As swetely shall it sounde as it were stuffyd with wull.

  _Water Myller._ On my fayth I thynke the moone be at the full,     605
      For frantyke fansyes be then most plentefull.
      Which are at the pryde of theyr sprynge in your[171] hed,
      So farre from our matter he[171] is now fled.
      As for the wynde in any instrument,
      It is no percell of our argument,                              610
      We spake of wynde that comyth naturally
      And that is wynde forcyd artyfycyally,
      Whyche is not to purpose.  But, yf it were,
      And water, in dede, ryght nought coulde do there,
      Yet I thynke organs no suche commodyte,[172]              C ii 615
      Wherby the water shulde banyshed be.
      And for your bagpypes, I take them as nyfuls,[173]
      Your mater is all in fansyes and tryfuls.

  _Wynde Myller._ By god, but ye shall not tryfull me of[174] so!
      Yf these thynges serve not, I wyll reherse mo.                 620
      And now to mynde there is one olde proverbe come,
      One bushell of marche dust is worth a kynges raunsome,
      What is a hundreth thousande bushels worth than?

  _Water Myller._ Not one myte, for the thynge selfe, to no man.

  _Wynde Myller._ Why shall wynde every-where thus be objecte?       625
      Nay, in the hye wayes he shall take effecte,
      Where as the rayne doth never good but hurt,
      For wynde maketh but dust and water maketh durt.
      Powder or syrop, syrs, whyche lycke ye best?
      Who lycketh not the tone maye lycke up the rest.               630
      But, sure, who-so-ever hath assayed such syppes,
      Had lever have dusty eyes then durty lyppes.
      And it is sayd, syns afore we were borne,
      That drought doth never make derth of corne.
      And well it is knowen, to the most foole here,                 635
      How rayne hath pryced corne within this vii. yeare.[175]

  _Water Myller._ Syr, I pray the, spare me a lytyll season.
      And I shall brevely conclude the wyth reason.
      Put case on[176] somers daye wythout wynde to be,
      And ragyous wynde in wynter dayes two or thre,                 640
      Mych more shall dry that one calme daye in somer,
      Then shall those thre wyndy dayes in wynter.
      Whom shall we thanke for thys, when all is done?
      The thanke to wynde? Nay! Thanke chyefely the sone.
      And so for drought, yf corne therby encres,                    645
      The sone doth comfort and rype all dowtles,
      And oft the wynde so leyth the corne, god wot,
      That never after can it rype, but rot.
      Yf drought toke place, as ye say, yet maye ye se,
      Lytell helpeth the wynde in thys commodyte.                    650
      But, now, syr, I deny your pryncypyll.
      Yf drought ever were, it were impossybyll
      To have ony grayne, for, or it can grow,
      Ye must plow your lande, harrow and sow,
      Whyche wyll not be, except ye maye have rayne         C ii _b_ 655
      To temper the grounde, and after agayne
      For spryngynge and plumpyng all maner corne
      Yet muste ye have water, or all is forlorne.
      Yf ye take water for no commodyte
      Yet must ye take it for thynge of necessyte,                   660
      For washynge, for skowrynge, all fylth clensynge,
      Where water lacketh what bestely beynge!
      In brewyng, in bakynge, in dressynge of meate,
      Yf ye lacke water, what coulde ye drynke or eate?
      Wythout water coulde lyve neyther man nor best,                665
      For water preservyth both moste and lest.
      For water coulde I say a thousande thynges mo,
      Savynge as now the tyme wyll not serve so;
      And as for that wynde that you do sew fore,
      Is good for your wynde-myll and for no more.                   670
      Syr, syth all thys in experyence is tryde,
      I say thys mater standeth clere on my syde.

  _Wynde Myller._ Well, syns thys wyll not serve, I wyll alledge the
        reste.
      Syr, for our myllys I saye myne is the beste.
      My wynd-myll shall grynd more corne in one our                 675
      Then thy water-myll shall in thre or foure,
      Ye more then thyne shulde in a hole yere,
      Yf thou myghtest have as thou hast wyshyd here.
      For thou desyrest to have excesse of rayne,
      Whych thyng to the were the worst thou couldyst obtayne.       680
      For, yf thou dydyst, it were a playne induccyon[177]
      To make thyne owne desyer thyne owne destruccyon.
      For in excesse of rayne at any flood
      Your myllys must stande styll; they can do no good.
      And whan the wynde doth blow the uttermost                     685
      Our wyndmylles walke a-mayne in every cost.
      For, as we se the wynde in hys estate,
      We moder[178] our-saylys after the same rate.
      Syns our myllys grynde so farre faster then yours,
      And also they may grynde all tymes and howrs,                  690
      I say we nede no water-mylles at all,
      For wyndmylles be suffycyent to serve all.

  _Water Myller._ Thou spekest of all and consyderest not halfe!
      In boste of thy gryste thou art wyse as a calfe!
      For, though above us your mylles grynde farre faster,    C iii 695
      What helpe to those from whome ye be myche farther?
      And, of two sortes, yf the tone shold be conserved,
      I thynke yt mete the moste nomber be served.
      In vales and weldes, where moste commodyte is,
      There is most people: ye must graunte me this.                 700
      On hylles & downes, whyche partes are moste barayne,
      There muste be few; yt can no mo sustayne.
      I darre well say, yf yt were tryed even now,
      That there is ten of us to one of you.
      And where shuld chyefely all necessaryes be,                   705
      But there as people are moste in plente?
      More reason that you come vii. myle to myll
      Then all we of the vale sholde clyme the hyll.
      If rayne came reasonable, as I requyre yt,
      We sholde of your wynde mylles have nede no whyt.              710

                        _Entreth_ MERY-REPORTE.

  _Mery-reporte._ Stop, folysh knaves, for your reasonynge is suche,
      That ye have resoned even ynough and to much.
      I hard all the wordes that ye both have hadde,
      So helpe me god, the knaves be more then madde!
      Nother of them both that hath wyt nor grace,                   715
      To perceyve that both myllys may serve in place.
      Betwene water and wynde there is no suche let,
      But eche myll may have tyme to use his fet.
      Whyche thynge I can tell by experyens;
      For I have, of myne owne, not farre from hens,                 720
      In a corner to-gether a couple of myllys,
      Standynge in a marres[179] betweene two hyllys,
      Not of inherytaunce, but by my wyfe;
      She is feofed in the tayle for terme of her lyfe,
      The one for wynde, the other for water.                        725
      And of them both, I thanke god, there standeth[180] nother;
      For, in a good hour be yt spoken,
      The water gate is no soner open,
      But clap, sayth the wyndmyll, even strayght behynde!
      There is good spedde, the devyll and all they grynde!          730
      But whether that the hopper be dusty,
      Or that the mylstonys be sumwhat rusty,
      By the mas, the meale is myschevous musty!
      And yf ye thynke my tale be not trusty,                  C iii _b_
      I make ye trew promyse: come, when ye lyste,                   735
      We shall fynde meane ye shall taste of the gryst.

  _Water Myller._ The corne at receyte happely is not good.

  _Mery-reporte._ There can be no sweeter, by the sweet roode!
      Another thynge yet, whyche shall not be cloked,
      My watermyll many tymes is choked.                             740

  _Water Myller._ So wyll she be, though ye shuld burste your bones,
      Except ye be perfyt in settynge your stones.
      Fere not the lydger,[181] beware your ronner.
      Yet this for the lydger, or ye have wonne her,
      Parchaunce your lydger doth lacke good peckyng.                745

  _Mery-reporte._ So sayth my wyfe, & that maketh all our checkyng.[182]
      She wolde have the myll peckt, peckt, peckt, every day!
      But, by god, myllers muste pecke when they may!
      So oft have we peckt that our stones wax right thynne,
      And all our other gere not worth a pyn,                        750
      For with peckynge and peckyng I have so wrought,
      That I have peckt a good peckynge-yron to nought.
      How be yt, yf I stycke no better tyll her,
      My wyfe sayth she wyll have a new myller.
      But let yt passe! and now to our mater!                        755
      I say my myllys lacke nother wynde nor water;
      No more do yours, as farre as nede doth requyre.
      But, syns ye can not agree, I wyll desyre
      Jupyter to set you both in suche rest
      As to your welth and his honour may stande best.               760

  _Water Myller._ I praye you hertely remember me.

  _Wynde Myller._ Let not me be forgoten, I beseche ye.

                     _Both_ MYLLERS _goth forth_.

  _Mery-reporte._ If I remember you not both alyke
      I wolde ye were over the eares in the dyke.
      Now be we ryd of two knaves at one chaunce.                    765
      By saynte Thomas, yt is a knavyshe ryddaunce.

                     _The_ GENTYLWOMAN _entreth_.

  _Gentylwoman._ Now, good god, what a foly is this?
      What sholde I do where so mych people is?
      I know not how to passe in to the god now.

  _Mery-reporte._ No, but ye know how he may passe into you.         770

  _Gentylwoman._ I pray you let me in at the backe syde.

  _Mery-reporte._ Ye, shall I so, and your fore syde so wyde?       C iv
      Nay not yet; but syns ye love to be alone,
      We twayne will into a corner anone.
      But fyrste, I pray you, come your way hyther,                  775
      And let us twayne chat a whyle to-gyther.

  _Gentylwoman._ Syr, as to you I have lyttell mater.
      My commynge is to speke wyth Jupiter.

  _Mery-reporte._ Stande ye styll a whyle, and I wyll go prove
      Whether that the god wyll be brought in love.                  780
      My lorde, how nowe! loke uppe lustely!
      Here is a derlynge come, by saynt Antony.
      And yf yt be your pleasure to mary,
      Speke quyckly; for she may not tary.
      In fayth, I thynke ye may wynne her anone;                     785
      For she wolde speke with your lordshyp alone.

  _Jupyter._ Sonne, that is not the thynge at this tyme ment.
      If her sewt concerne no cause of our hyther resorte,
      Sende her out of place; but yf she be bent
      To that purpose, heare her and make us reporte.                790

  _Mery-reporte._ I count women lost, yf we love them not well,
      For ye se god loveth them never a dele.
      Maystres ye can not speake wyth the god.

  _Gentylwoman._ No! why?

  _Mery-reporte._ By my fayth, for his lordship is ryght besy.
      Wyth a pece of worke that nedes must be doone;                 795
      Even now is he makyng of a new moone.
      He sayth your olde moones be so farre tasted,[183]
      That all the goodnes of them is wasted,
      Whyche of the great wete hath ben moste mater
      For olde moones be leake;[184] they can holde no water.        800
      But for this new mone, I durst lay my gowne,
      Except a few droppes at her goyng downe,
      Ye get no rayne tyll her arysynge,
      Wythout yt nede, and then no mans devysynge
      Coulde wyshe the fashyon of rayne to be so good;               805
      Not gushynge out lyke gutters of Noyes flood,
      But small droppes sprynklyng softly on the grounde;
      Though they fell on a sponge they wold gyve no sounde.
      This new moone shall make a thing spryng more in this while
      Then a olde moone shal while a man may go a mile.              810
      By that tyme the god hath all made an ende,               C iv _b_
      Ye shall se how the wether wyll amende.
      By saynt Anne, he goeth to worke even boldely.
      I thynke hym wyse ynough; for he loketh oldely!
      Wherfore, maystres, be ye now of good chere;                   815
      For though in his presens ye can not appere,
      Tell me your mater and let me alone.
      Mayhappe I will thynke on you when you be gone.

  _Gentylwoman._ Forsoth, the cause of my commynge is this:
      I am a woman right fayre, as ye se;                            820
      In no creature more beauty then in me is;
      And, syns I am fayre, fayre wolde I kepe me,
      But the sonne in somer so sore doth burne me,
      In wynter the wynde on every side me.
      No parte of the yere wote I where to turne me,                 825
      But even in my house am I fayne to hyde me.
      And so do all other that beuty have;
      In whose name at this tyme, this sewt I make,
      Besechynge Jupyter to graunt that I crave;
      Whyche is this, that yt may please hym, for our sake,          830
      To sende us wether close and temperate,
      No sonne-shyne, no frost, nor no wynde to blow.
      Then wolde we get[185] the stretes trym as a parate.[186]
      Ye shold se how we wolde set our-selfe to show.

  _Mery-reporte._ Jet where ye wyll, I swere by saynt Quintyne,      835
      Ye passe them all, both in your owne conceyt and myne.

  _Gentylwoman._ If we had wether to walke at our pleasure,
      Our lyves wolde be mery out of measure.
      One part of the day for our apparellynge
      Another parte for eatynge and drynkynge,                       840
      And all the reste in stretes to be walkynge,
      Or in the house to passe tyme with talkynge.

  _Mery-reporte._ When serve ye God?

  _Gentylwoman._ Who bosteth in vertue are but dawes[187]

  _Mery-reporte._ Ye do the better, namely syns there is no cause.
      How spende ye the nyght?

  _Gentylwoman._           In daunsynge and syngynge                 845
      Tyll mydnyght, and then fall to slepynge.

  _Mery-reporte._ Why, swete herte, by your false fayth, can ye syng?

  _Gentylwoman._ Nay, nay, but I love yt above all thynge.

  _Mery-reporte._ Now, by my trouth, for the love that I owe you,    D i
      You shall here what pleasure I can shew you.                   850
      One songe have I for you, suche as yt is,
      And yf yt were better ye should have yt, by gys.[188]

  _Gentylwoman._ Mary, syr, I thanke you even hartely.

  _Mery-reporte._ Come on, syrs; but now let us synge lust[e]ly.

                          _Here they singe._

  _Gentylwoman._ Syr, this is well done; I hertely thanke you.       855
      Ye have done me pleasure, I make God avowe.
      Ones in a nyght I long for suche a fyt;
      For longe tyme have I bene brought up in yt.

  _Mery-reporte._ Oft tyme yt is sene, both in court and towne,
      Longe be women a bryngyng up & sone brought downe.             860
      So fet[189] yt is, so nete yt is, so nyse yt is,
      So trycke[190] yt is, so quycke yt is, so wyse yt is.
      I fere my self, excepte I may entreat her,
      I am so farre in love I shall forget her.
      Now, good maystres, I pray you, let me kys ye--                865

  _Gentylwoman._ Kys me, quoth a! Why, nay, syr, I wys ye.

  _Mery-reporte._ What! yes, hardely!  Kys me ons and no more.
      I never desyred to kys you before.

                    _Here the_ LAUNDER _cometh in_.

  _Launder._ Why! have ye alway kyst her behynde?
      In fayth, good inough, yf yt be your mynde.                    870
      And yf your appetyte serve you so to do,
      Byr lady, I wolde ye had kyst myne ars to!

  _Mery-reporte._ To whom dost thou speake, foule hore? canst thou tell?

  _Launder._ Nay, by my trouth! I, syr, not very well!
      But by conjecture this ges[191] I have,                        875
      That I do speke to an olde baudy knave.
      I saw you dally with your symper de cokket[192]
      I rede you beware she pyck not your pokket.
      Such ydyll huswyfes do now and than
      Thynke all well wonne that they pyck from a man.               880
      Yet such of some men shall have more favour,
      Then we, that for them dayly toyle and labour.
      But I trust the god wyll be so indyfferent
      That she shall fayle some parte of her entent.

  _Mery-reporte._ No dout he wyll deale so gracyously                885
      That all folke shall be served indyfferently.
      How be yt, I tell the trewth, my offyce is suche           D i _b_
      That I muste reporte eche sewt, lyttell or muche.
      Wherfore, wyth the god syns thou canst not speke,
      Trust me wyth thy sewt, I wyll not fayle yt to breke.[193]     890

  _Launder._ Then leave not to muche to yonder gyglet.[194]
      For her desyre contrary to myne is set.
      I herde by her tale she wolde banyshe the sonne,
      And then were we pore launders all undonne.
      Excepte the sonne shyne that our clothes may dry,              895
      We can do ryght nought in our laundrye.
      An other maner losse, yf we sholde mys,
      Then of suche nycebyceters[195] as she is.

  _Gentylwoman._ I thynke yt better that thou envy me,
      Then I sholde stande at rewarde[196] of thy pytte.             900
      It is the guyse of such grose quenes as thou art
      With such as I am evermore to thwart.
      By cause that no beauty ye can obtayne
      Therfore ye have us that be fayre in dysdayne.

  _Launder._ When I was as yonge as thou art now,                    905
      I was wythin lyttel as fayre as thou,
      And so myght have kept me, yf I hadde wolde,
      And as derely my youth I myght have solde
      As the tryckest and fayrest of you all.
      But I feared parels[197] that after myght fall,                910
      Wherfore some busynes I dyd me provyde,
      Lest vyce myght enter on every syde,
      Whyche hath fre entre where ydelnesse doth reyne.
      It is not thy beauty that I dysdeyne,
      But thyne ydyll lyfe that thou hast rehersed,                  915
      Whych any good womans hert wolde have perced.
      For I perceyve in daunsynge and syngynge,
      In eatyng and drynkynge and thyne apparellynge,
      Is all the joye, wherin thy herte is set.
      But nought of all this doth thyne owne labour get;             920
      For, haddest thou nothyng but of thyne owne travayle,
      Thou myghtest go as naked as my nayle.
      Me thynke thou shuldest abhorre suche ydylnes
      And passe thy tyme in some honest besynes;
      Better to lese some parte of thy beaute,                       925
      Then so ofte to jeoberd all thyne honeste.
      But I thynke, rather then thou woldest so do,                 D ii
      Thou haddest lever have us lyve ydylly to.
      And so, no doute, we shulde, yf thou myghtest have
      The clere sone banysht, as thou dost crave:                    930
      Then were we launders marde and unto the
      Thyne owne request were smale commodyte.
      For of these twayne I thynke yt farre better
      Thy face were sone-burned, and thy clothis the swetter,[198]
      Then that the sonne from shynynge sholde be smytten,           935
      To kepe thy face fayre and thy smocke beshytten.
      Syr, howe lycke ye my reason in her case?

  _Mery-reporte._ Such a raylynge hore, by the holy mas,
      I never herde, in all my lyfe, tyll now.
      In dede I love ryght well the ton of you,                      940
      But, or I wolde kepe you both, by goddes mother,
      The devyll shall have the tone to fet[199] the tother.

  _Launder._ Promyse me to speke that the sone may shyne bryght,
      And I wyll be gone quyckly for all nyght.

  _Mery-reporte._ Get you both hens, I pray you hartely;             945
      Your sewtes I perceyve and wyll reporte them trewly
      Unto Jupyter, at the next leysure,
      And in the same desyre, to know his pleasure;
      Whyche knowledge hadde, even as he doth show yt,
      Feare ye not, tyme enough, ye shall know it.                   950

  _Gentylwoman._ Syr, yf ye medyll, remember me fyrste.

  _Launder._ Then in this medlynge my parte shal be the wurst.

  _Mery-reporte._ Now, I beseche our lorde, the devyll the[200] burst.
      Who medlyth wyth many I hold hym accurst,
      Thou hore, can I medyl wyth you both at ones.                  955

                 _Here the_ GENTYLWOMAN _goth forth_.

  _Launder._ By the mas, knave, I wold I had both thy stones
      In my purs, yf thou medyl not indyfferently,
      That both our maters in yssew may be lyckly.

  _Mery-reporte._ Many wordes, lyttell mater, and to no purpose,
      Suche is the effect that thou dost dysclose,                   960
      The more ye byb[201] the more ye babyll,
      The more ye babyll the more ye fabyll,
      The more ye fabyll the more unstabyll,
      The more unstabyll the more unabyll,
      In any maner thynge to do any good.                            965
      No hurt though ye were hanged, by the holy rood!          D ii _b_

  _Launder._ The les your sylence, the lesse your credence,
      The les your credens the les your honeste,
      The les your honeste the les your assystens,
      The les your assystens the les abylyte                         970
      In you to do ought. Wherfore, so god me save,
      No hurte in hangynge such a raylynge knave.

  _Mery-reporte._ What monster is this? I never harde none suche.
      For loke how myche more I have made her to myche,
      And so farre, at lest, she hath made me to lyttell.            975
      Wher be ye Launder? I thynke in some spytell.[202]
      Ye shall washe me no gere, for feare of fretynge[203]
      I love no launders that shrynke my gere in wettynge,
      I praye the go hens, and let me be in rest.
      I wyll do thyne erand as I thynke best.                        980

  _Launder._ Now wolde I take my leve, yf I wyste how.
      The lenger I lyve the more knave you.

  _Mery-reporte._ The lenger thou lyvest the pyte the gretter,
      The soner thou be ryd the tydynges the better!
      Is not this a swete offyce that I have,                        985
      When every drab shall prove me a knave?
      Every man knoweth not what goddes servyce is,
      Nor I my selfe knewe yt not before this.
      I thynke goddes servauntes may lyve holyly,
      But the devyls servauntes lyve more meryly.                    990
      I know not what god geveth in standynge fees,
      But the devyls servaunts have casweltees[204]
      A hundred tymes mo then goddes servauntes have.
      For, though ye be never so starke a knave,
      If ye lacke money the devyll wyll do no wurse                  995
      But brynge you strayght to a-nother mans purse.
      Then wyll the devyll promote you here in this world,
      As unto suche ryche yt doth moste accord.
      Fyrste _pater noster qui es in celis_,
      And then ye shall sens[205] the shryfe wyth your helys.       1000
      The greatest frende ye have in felde or towne,
      Standynge a-typ-to, shall not reche your crowne.

            _The_ BOY _cometh in, the lest that can play_.

  _Boy._ This same is even he, by al lycklyhod.
      Syr, I pray you, be not you master god?

  _Mery-reporte._ No, in good fayth, sonne. But I may say to the
      I am suche a man that god may not mysse me.             D iii 1006
      Wherfore with the god yf thou wouldest have ought done
      Tell me thy mynde, and I shall shew yt sone.

  _Boy._ Forsothe, syr, my mynde is thys, at few wordes,
      All my pleasure is in catchynge of byrdes,                    1010
      And makynge of snow-ballys and throwyng the same;
      For the whyche purpose to have set in frame,[206]
      Wyth my godfather god I wolde fayne have spoken,
      Desyrynge hym to have sent me by some token
      Where I myghte have had great frost for my pytfallys,         1015
      And plente of snow to make my snow-ballys.
      This onys[207] had, boyes lyvis be such as no man leddys.
      O, to se my snow ballys lyght on my felowes heddys,
      And to here the byrdes how they flycker theyr wynges
      In the pytfale! I say yt passeth all thynges.                 1020
      Syr, yf ye be goddes servaunt, or his kynsman,
      I pray you helpe me in this yf ye can.

  _Mery-reporte._ Alas, pore boy, who sent the hether?

  _Boy._ A hundred boys that stode to-gether,
      Where they herde one say in a cry                             1025
      That my godfather, god almighty,
      Was come from heven, by his owne accorde,
      This nyght to suppe here wyth my lorde,[208]
      And farther he sayde, come whos[o][209] wull,
      They shall sure have theyr bellyes full                       1030
      Of all wethers who lyste to crave,
      Eche sorte suche wether as they lyste to have.
      And when my felowes thought this wolde be had,
      And saw me so prety a pratelynge lad,
      Uppon agrement, wyth a great noys,                            1035
      "Sende lyttell Dycke," cryed al the boys.
      By whose assent I am purveyd[210]
      To sew for the wether afore seyd.
      Wherin I pray you to be good, as thus,
      To helpe that god may geve yt us.                             1040

  _Mery-reporte._ Gyve boyes wether, quoth a! nonny,[211] nonny!

  _Boy._ Yf god of his wether wyll gyve nonny,
      I pray you, wyll he sell ony?
      Or lend us a bushell of snow, or twayne,
      And poynt us a day to pay hym agayne?                         1045

  _Mery-reporte._ I can not tell, for, by thys light,          D iii _b_
      I chept[212] not, nor borowed, none of hym this night.
      But by suche shyfte as I wyll make
      Thou shalte se soone what waye he wyll take.

  _Boy._ Syr, I thanke you. Then I may departe.                     1050

                        _The_ BOY _goth forth_.

  _Mery-reporte._ Ye, fare well, good sonne, wyth all my harte,
      Now suche an other sorte[213] as here hath bene
      In all the dayes of my lyfe I have not sene.
      No sewters now but women, knavys, and boys,
      And all theyr sewtys are in fansyes and toys.                 1055
      Yf that there come no wyser after thys cry
      I wyll to the god and make an ende quyckely.
      Oyes,[214] yf that any knave here
      Be wyllynge to appere,
      For wether fowle or clere,                                    1060
      Come in before thys flocke
      And be he hole or syckly,
      Come, shew hys mynde quyckly,
      And yf hys tale be not lyckly[215]
      Ye shall lycke my tayle in the nocke.                         1065
      All thys tyme I perceyve is spent in wast,
      To wayte for mo sewters I se none make hast.
      Wherfore I wyll shew the god all thys procys
      And be delyvered of my symple[216] offys.
      Now, lorde, accordynge to your commaundement,                 1070
      Attendynge sewters I have ben dylygent,
      And, at begynnyng as your wyll was I sholde,
      I come now at ende to shewe what eche man wolde.
      The fyrst sewter before your selfe dyd appere,
      A gentylman desyrynge wether clere,                           1075
      Clowdy nor mysty, nor no wynde to blowe,
      For hurte in hys huntynge; and then, as ye know,
      The marchaunt sewde, for all of that kynde,
      For wether clere and mesurable wynde
      As they maye best bere theyr saylys to make spede.            1080
      And streyght after thys there came to me, in dede,
      An other man who namyd hym-selfe a ranger,
      And sayd all of hys crafte be farre brought in daunger,
      For lacke of lyvynge, whyche chefely ys wynde-fall.
      But he playnely sayth there bloweth no wynde at al,      D iv 1085
      Wherfore he desyreth, for encrease of theyr fleesys,[217]
      Extreme rage of wynde, trees to tere in peces.
      Then came a water-myller and he cryed out
      For water and sayde the wynde was so stout
      The rayne could not fale, wherfore he made request            1090
      For plenty of rayne, to set the wynde at rest.
      And then, syr, there came a wynde myller in,
      Who sayde for the rayne he could no wynde wyn,
      The water he wysht to be banysht all,
      Besechynge your grace of wynde contynuall.                    1095
      Then came there an other that wolde banysh all this
      A goodly dame, an ydyll thynge iwys.
      Wynde, rayne, nor froste, nor sonshyne, wold she have,
      But fayre close wether, her beautye to save.
      Then came there a-nother that lyveth by laundry,              1100
      Who muste have wether hote & clere here clothys to dry.
      Then came there a boy for froste and snow contynuall,
      Snow to make snow ballys and frost for his pytfale,
      For whyche, god wote, he seweth full gredely.
      Your fyrst man wold have wether clere and not wyndy;          1105
      The seconde the same, save cooles[218] to blow meanly;
      The thyrd desyred stormes and wynde moste extremely;
      The fourth all in water and wolde have no wynde;
      The fyft no water, but al wynde to grynde;
      The syxt wold have none of all these, nor no bright son;      1110
      The seventh extremely the hote son wold have wonne;
      The eyght, and the last, for frost & snow he prayd.
      Byr lady, we shall take shame, I am a-frayd!
      Who marketh in what maner this sort is led
      May thynke yt impossyble all to be sped.                      1115
      This nomber is smale, there lacketh twayne of ten,
      And yet, by the masse, amonge ten thousand men
      No one thynge could stande more wyde from the tother;
      Not one of theyr sewtes agreeth wyth an other.
      I promyse you, here is a shrewed pece of warke.               1120
      This gere wyll trye wether ye be a clarke.
      Yf ye trust to me, yt is a great foly;
      For yt passeth my braynes, by goddes body!

  _Jupyter._ Son, thou haste ben dylygent and done so well,
      That thy labour is ryght myche thanke-worthy.        D iv _b_ 1125
      But be thou suer we nede no whyt thy counsell,
      For in ourselfe we have foresene remedy,
      Whyche thou shalt se. But, fyrste, departe hence quyckly
      To the gentylman and all other sewters here
      And commaunde them all before us to appere.                   1130

  _Mery-reporte._ That shall be no longer in doynge
      Then I am in commynge and goynge.

                       MERY-REPORTE _goth out_.

  _Jupyter._ Suche debate as from above ye have herde,
      Suche debate beneth amonge your selfes ye se;
      As longe as heddes from temperaunce be deferd,                1135
      So longe the bodyes in dystemperaunce be,
      This perceyve ye all, but none can helpe save we.
      But as we there have made peace concordantly,
      So woll we here now gyve you remedy.

              MERY-REPORTE _and al the sewters entreth_.

  _Mery-reporte._ If I hadde caught them                            1140
      Or ever I raught[219] them,
      I wolde have taught them
      To be nere me;
      Full dere have I bought them,
      Lorde, so I sought them,                                      1145
      Yet have I brought them,
      Suche as they be.

  _Gentylman._ Pleaseth yt your majeste, lorde, so yt is,
      We, as your subjectes and humble sewters all,
      Accordynge as we here your pleasure is,                       1150
      Are presyd[220] to your presens, beynge principall
      Hed and governour of all in every place,
      Who joyeth not in your syght, no joy can have.
      Wherfore we all commyt us to your grace
      As lorde of lordes us to peryshe or save.                     1155

  _Jupyter._ As longe as dyscrecyon so well doth you gyde
      Obedyently to use your dewte,
      Dout ye not we shall your savete provyde,
      Your grevys we have harde, wherfore we sent for ye
      To receyve answere, eche man in his degre,                    1160
      And fyrst to content most reason yt is,
      The fyrste man that sewde, wherfore marke ye this,

      Oft shall ye have the wether clere and styll
      To hunt in for recompens of your payne.                        D v
      Also you marchauntes shall have myche your wyll.              1165
      For oft-tymes, when no wynde on lande doth remayne,
      Yet on the see pleasaunt cooles you shall obtayne.
      And syns your huntynge maye rest in the nyght,
      Oft shall the wynde then ryse, and before daylyght

      It shall ratyll downe the wood, in suche case                 1170
      That all ye rangers the better lyve may;
      And ye water-myllers shall obtayne this grace
      Many tymes the rayne to fall in the valey,
      When at the selfe tymes on hyllys we shall purvey
      Fayre wether for your wyndmilles, with such coolys of wynde
      As in one instant both kyndes of mylles may grynde.           1176

      And for ye fayre women, that close wether wold have,
      We shall provyde that ye may suffycyently
      Have tyme to walke in, and your beauty save;
      And yet shall ye have, that lyveth by laundry,                1180
      The hote sonne oft ynough your clothes to dry.
      Also ye, praty chylde, shall have both frost and snow,
      Now marke this conclusyon, we charge you arow.[221]

      Myche better have we now devysed for ye all
      Then ye all can perceve, or coude desyre.                     1185
      Eche of you sewd to have contynuall
      Suche wether as his crafte onely doth requyre,
      All wethers in all places yf men all tymes myght hyer,
      Who could lyve by other? what is this neglygens
      Us to atempt in suche inconvenyens.                           1190

      Now, on the tother syde, yf we had graunted
      The full of some one sewt and no mo,
      And from all the rest the wether had forbyd,
      Yet who so hadde obtayned had wonne his owne wo.
      There is no one craft can preserve man so,                    1195
      But by other craftes, of necessyte,
      He muste have myche parte of his commodyte.

      All to serve at ones and one destroy a nother,             D v _b_
      Or ellys to serve one and destroy all the rest,
      Nother wyll we do the tone nor the tother                     1200
      But serve as many, or as few, as we thynke best;
      And where, or what tyme, to serve moste or leste,
      The dyreccyon of that doutles shall stande
      Perpetually in the power of our hande.

      Wherfore we wyll the hole worlde to attende                   1205
      Eche sorte on suche wether as for them doth fall,
      Now one, now other, as lyketh us to sende.
      Who that hath yt, ply[222] it, and suer we shall
      So gyde the wether in course to you all,
      That eche wyth other ye shall hole[223] remayne               1210
      In pleasure and plentyfull welth, certayne.

  _Gentylman._ Blessed was the tyme wherin we were borne,
      Fyrst for the blysfull chaunce of your godly presens.
      Next for our sewt was there never man beforne
      That ever harde so excellent a sentens                        1215
      As your grace hath gevyn to us all arow,
      Wherin your hyghnes hath so bountyfully
      Dystrybuted my parte that your grace shall know,
      Your selfe sooll[224] possessed of hertes of all chyvalry.

  _Marchaunt._ Lyke-wyse we marchauntes shall yeld us holy,[225]    1220
      Onely to laude the name of Jupyter
      As god of all goddes, you to serve soolly;
      For of every thynge, I se, you are norysher.

  _Ranger._ No dout yt is so, for so we now fynde;
      Wherin your grace us rangers so doth bynde,                   1225
      That we shall gyve you our hertes with one accorde,
      For knowledge to know you as our onely lorde.

  _Water Myller._ Well, I can no more, but "for our water
      We shall geve your lordshyp our ladyes sauter."

  _Wynde Myller._ Myche have ye bounde us; for, as I be saved,
      We have all obteyned better then we craved.                   1231

  _Gentylwoman._ That is trew, wherfore your grace shal trewly
      The hertes of such as I am have surely.

  _Launder._ And suche as I am, who be as good as you,
      His hyghness shall be suer on, I make a vow.[226]             1235

  _Boy._ Godfather god, I wyll do somewhat for you agayne.          D vi
      By Cryste, ye maye happe to have a byrd or twayne,
      And I promyse you, yf any snow come,
      When I make my snow ballys ye shall have some.

  _Mery-reporte._ God thanke your lordshyp. Lo, how this is brought
    to pas!                                                         1240
      Syr, now shall ye have the wether even as yt was.

  _Jupyter._ We nede no whyte our selfe any farther to bost,
      For our dedes declare us apparauntly.
      Not onely here on yerth, in every cost,
      But also above in the hevynly company,                        1245
      Our prudens hath made peace unyversally,
      Whyche thynge we sey, recordeth us as pryncypall
      God and governour of heven, yerth, and all.
      Now unto that heven we woll make retourne,
      When we be gloryfyed most tryumphantly,                       1250
      Also we woll all ye that on yerth sojourne,
      Syns cause gyveth cause to knowe us your lord onely,
      And nowe here to synge moste joyfully,
      Rejoycynge in us, and in meane tyme we shall
      Ascende into our trone celestyall.                            1255

                                FINIS.


                        Printed by W. Rastell.

                                 1533.

                           _Cum privilegio._


FOOTNOTES:

[98] _I.e._ of the audience as representing mankind.

[99] For use as a plural cf. l. 347 'besecheth,' 844 'ye doth.'

[100] The dispensers respectively of frost, sunshine, wind, and rain.

[101] placed on record.

[102] powers, not 'pores.'

[103] that which they have experienced.

[104] conclusion.

[105] _I.e._ some one in the audience.

[106] Said to one of the attendants.

[107] The phrase in alphabet-learning for a letter sounded by itself;
cf. _Wily Beguiled_: "A _per se_ A" (Hawkins' Origin of English Drama,
3: 357. Oxford: 1772).

[108] matters.

[109] frieze.

[110] sweeting, sweetheart.

[111] separated.

[112] impartial.

[113] out of good fellowship.

[114] the end.

[115] equivalent to stanza.

[116] clownish rascals.

[117] Louvain.

[118] In Herts.

[119] Perhaps one of the numerous Barfords.

[120] In Notts.

[121] In Essex.

[122] Tottenham.

[123] In Suffolk.

[124] Near Woolwich.

[125] Witham, in Essex.

[126] Bristol.

[127] Possibly Gravelye near Baldock.

[128] There is a parish of Buttsbury in Essex: 'ynge Gyngiang Jayberd'
defies explanation.

[129] Have given notice to the petitioners to appear. The 'cry' is
supposed to have been made outside.

[130] mastership.

[131] the audience.

[132] journeying.

[133] rouse the game.

[134] call off after a kill.

[135] avail.

[136] clyster, purge.

[137] parson.

[138] As the play was written before 1533, the clergy were still
celibates, and this is only Mery-reporte's 'humour.'

[139] immediately.

[140] Explained by 'thynges wherof there is plente.'

[141] available.

[142] heard more, or others.

[143] in the same rightness.

[144] Scio (Chios).

[145] Purlieus are technically the woods adjacent to a royal forest; a
chase is an unenclosed part.

[146] What on earth would it matter?

[147] dispensed with, missed.

[148] To give two pounds of wheat for grinding sixty-four.

[149] wheel.

[150] feeder of the mill.

[151] axletree.

[152] Jupiter's proclamation.

[153] making rejoice.

[154] too far at variance.

[155] given less freedom.

[156] the kingdom of saints.

[157] assembly.

[158] scatter, blow about.

[159] flying apart.

[160] murrain, plague.

[161] dispensed with.

[162] roundly, completely.

[163] the psalms appointed for the Hours of the Blessed Virgin.

[164] esteem.

[165] admit.

[166] hair-breadth.

[167] float.

[168] sent.

[169] moderate cool breezes.

[170] choir.

[171] _Sic_ in all editions.

[172] of not sufficient advantage.

[173] Indistinguishable from trifles.

[174] off.

[175] The earliest reference to a dearth of corn in the reign of Henry
VIII. which I can find in Holinshed is _sub anno_ 1523, when he states
that the price in London was 20 _s._ a quarter, but without assigning
any cause. The reference here is, I think, clearly to the great rains
of the autumn of 1527 and April and May, 1528, of which Holinshed
writes that they "caused great floods and did much harme namelie in
corne, so that the next yeare [1528?] it failed within the realme and
great dearth ensued."

[176] one.

[177] preliminary.

[178] moderate, adjust.

[179] morass.

[180] stands still.

[181] the flat fixed stone (or bed stone) over which the turning stone,
or _runner_, moved.

[182] reviling.

[183] decayed.

[184] be leaky; misprinted _belyke_ by Kitson.

[185] or _jet_ (l. 835), strut.

[186] parrot.

[187] simpletons.

[188] Jesus.

[189] trim.

[190] smart.

[191] guess.

[192] Mlle. Simper de Coquette.

[193] communicate.

[194] wanton.

[195] Cf. note on _Roister Doister_, I. iv. 12. _Merygreeke_: "But with
whome is he nowe so sadly roundyng yonder?" _Dougerie_: "With _Nobs
nicebecetur miserere_ fonde." Explained by Flügel as a contraction of
_Nescio quid dicitur_ = Mistress 'What's-her-name.' _Gen. Ed._

[196] At regard, _i.e._ as the object of.

[197] perils.

[198] sweeter.

[199] fetch.

[200] thee.

[201] In _The Play of Love_, Heywood writes of "bybbyll babbyll,
clytter clatter."

[202] hospital, lazar-house.

[203] rubbing.

[204] casualties, chance perquisites.

[205] swing to and fro with your heels before the sheriff, as a censer
is swung by a thurifer.

[206] made arrangements.

[207] once.

[208] Cardinal Wolsey suggests himself as the person most likely to be
thus referred to, but if the reference of l. 636 is to the excessive
rain of 1527-28, Wolsey's disgrace followed it rather too closely for
the phrase "within this seven yere."

[209] Rastell ed., 'whose.'

[210] provided.

[211] Usually a mere exclamation, but here apparently as if from _non_,
not.

[212] bargained for.

[213] assemblage.

[214] oyez, hearken.

[215] likely.

[216] foolish.

[217] plunder.

[218] Cf. l. 590, "meane cooles."

[219] reached.

[220] pressed, have hastened.

[221] in order.

[222] use.

[223] whole.

[224] solely.

[225] wholly.

[226] St. John's copy ends.



JOHAN JOHAN

=Previous Editions and the Present Text.=--An edition of "A Mery Play
between Johan Johan, the Husbande, Tyb, his Wyfe and Syr Jhan, the
Preest, attributed to John Heywood 1533,"[227] was printed at the
Chiswick Press by C[harles] Whittingham "from an unique copy in the
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford," some time in the first half of the present
century.[228] The anonymous editor prefaces it with the following brief
"advertisement":--

    "This is one of the six Plays attributed by our dramatic
    biographers to John Heywood, author of _The Four P's_ (contained
    in Dodsley's collection), of 'the Spider and Flie,' and of some
    other poems, an account of which may be found in the Third Volume
    of Warton's History of English Poetry. No copy of this Mery Play
    appears to exist except that in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford,
    from which this is a faithful reprint. Exclusive of its antiquity
    and rarity, it is valuable as affording a specimen of the earliest
    and rudest form of our Comedy (for the Poem is shorter, & the
    number of the Dramatis Personæ yet fewer than those of the _Four
    P's_) & of the liberty with which even the Roman Catholic authors
    of that age felt themselves authorized to treat the established
    priesthood."

The Ashmolean copy (now in the Bodleian Library) can no longer be
reckoned unique, another copy having been discovered in the Pepys
collection at Magdalene College, Cambridge. This copy has been used in
correcting the Chiswick Press text, and it may be as well to mention
that the following changes, besides a good many minor ones, have been
made on its authority, and are not surreptitious emendations of the
present editor.

l. 4, _myche_ for _muche_; l. 27, _Whan_ for _Whyn_; l. 31, _thwak_
for _twak_; l. 89, _enrage_ for _engage_; l. 94, _But_ for _Thou_; l.
121, _thou_ for _you_; l. 129, _lyk_ for _syk_; l. 132, _to go_ for
_go_; l. 137, _fare_ for _face_; l. 305, _waxe_ for _ware_; l. 335,
_for I_ for _I_; l. 471, _Ye_ for _le_; l. 497, _mych_ for _much_;
l. 540, _beyond_ for _beand_; l. 542, _a bevy_ for _bevy_; l. 552,
_beyond_ for _beyand_; l. 581, _v_ for _ix_; l. 604, _I am_ for _am I_.

In the apportionment of ll. 240-266 between the two speakers, my
predecessor, like myself, though not in the same manner, has departed
from Rastell's (clearly erroneous) arrangement of the speeches, but his
dislike of footnotes has caused him to omit any mention of the fact.
The title-page is a representation, not a _facsimile_. There is no
running head-line in the original.

                                                     ALFRED W. POLLARD.


FOOTNOTES:

[227] See Critical Essay, pp. 10, 14.

[228] My own copy has beneath the initials of a former owner the date
"March 22, 1833"; that in the British Museum is assigned to 1830. I
have seen it stated, but I know not on what authority, that the book
appeared in 1819.



[Decoration]

                              A mery play

                        Betwene Johan Johan the
                          husbande / Tyb his
                           wyfe / & syr Jhān
                              the preest

[Decoration]



                             A Mery Play,
                                betwene
             JOHAN JOHAN, _the husbande_. TYB, _his wyfe_,
                                   &
                        SYR JHAN, _the preest_


                     JOHAN JOHAN, _the Husbande_.

      God spede you, maysters, everychone,
      Wote ye not whyther my wyfe is gone?
      I pray God the dyvell take her,
      For all that I do I can not make her,
      But she wyll go a gaddynge very myche                            5
      Lyke an Antony pyg[229] with an olde wyche,
      Whiche ledeth her about hyther and thyther;
      But, by our lady, I wote not whyther.
      But, by goggis[230] blod, were she come home
      Unto this my house, by our lady of Crome,[231]                  10
      I wolde bete her or that I drynke.
      Bete her, quotha? yea, that she shall stynke!
      And at every stroke lay her on the grounde,
      And trayne[232] her by the here[233] about the house rounde.
      I am evyn mad that I bete her not nowe,                         15
      But I shall rewarde her, hard[e]ly,[234] well ynowe;
      There is never a wyfe betwene heven and hell
      Whiche was ever beten halfe so well.
        Beten, quotha? yea, but what and she therof dye?
      Then I may chaunce to be hanged shortly.                        20
      And whan I have beten her tyll she smoke,
      And gyven her many a c.[235] stroke,
      Thynke ye that she wyll amende yet?
      Nay, by our lady, the devyll spede whyt![236]
      Therfore I wyll not bete her at all.                            25
        And shall I not bete her? no shall?[237]
      Whan she offendeth and doth a-mys,                         A i _b_
      And kepeth not her house, as her duetie is?
      Shall I not bete her, if she do so?
      Yes, by cokkis[238] blood, that shall I do;                     30
      I shall bete her and thwak her, I trow,
      That she shall beshyte the house for very wo.
        But yet I thynk what my neybour wyll say than,
      He wyll say thus: "Whom chydest thou, Johan Johan?"
      "Mary," will I say! "I chyde my curst wyfe,                     35
      The veryest drab that ever bare lyfe,
      Whiche doth nothying but go and come,
      And I can not make her kepe her at home."
      Than I thynke he wyll say by and by,[239]
      "Walke her cote,[240] Johan Johan, and bete her hardely."       40
      But than unto hym myn answere shal be,
      "The more I bete her the worse is she:
      And wors and wors make her I shall."
        He wyll say than, "bete her not at all."
      "And why?" shall I say, "this wolde be wyst,[241]               45
      Is she not myne to chastice as I lyst?"
        But this is another poynt worst of all,
      The folkis wyll mocke me whan they here me brall;[242]
      But for all that, shall I let[243] therfore
      To chastyce my wyfe ever the more,                              50
      And to make her at home for to tary?
      Is not that well done? yes, by Saynt Mary,
      That is a poynt[244] of an honest man
      For to bete his wyfe well nowe and than.
        Therfore I shall bete her, have ye no drede!                  55
      And I ought to bete her, tyll she be starke dede.
      And why? by God, bicause it is my pleasure,
      And if I shulde suffre her, I make you sure,
      Nought shulde prevayle[245] me, nother staffe nor waster,[246]
      Within a whyle she wolde be my mayster.                         60
        Therfore I shall bete her by cokkes mother,
      Both on the tone syde and on the tother,
      Before and behynde; nought shall be her bote,[247]
      From the top of the heed to the sole of the fote.
        But, masters, for Goddis sake, do not entrete                 65
      For her, whan that she shal be bete;
      But, for Goddis passion, let me alone,
      And I shall thwak her that she shall grone:
      Wherfore I beseche you, and hartely you pray,
      And I beseche you say me not nay,                               70
      But that I may beate her for this ones;                       A ii
      And I shall beate her, by cokkes bones,
      That she shall stynke lyke a pole-kat;
      But yet, by goggis body, that nede nat,
      For she wyll stynke without any betyng,                         75
      For every nyght ones she gyveth me an hetyng;
      From her issueth suche a stynkyng smoke,
      That the savour therof almost doth me choke.
      But I shall bete her nowe, without fayle;
      I shall bete her toppe and tayle,                               80
      Heed, shulders, armes, legges, and all,
      I shall bete her, I trowe that I shall;
      And, by goggis boddy, I tell you trewe,
      I shall bete her tyll she be blacke and blewe.
        But where the dyvell trowe ye she is gon?                     85
      I holde a noble[248] she is with Syr Jhān;
      I fere I am begyled alway,
      But yet in faith I hope well nay;
      Yet I almost enrage that I ne can
      Se the behavour of our gentylwoman.                             90
      And yet, I thynke, thyther as she doth go
      Many an honest wyfe goth thyther also,
      For to make some pastyme and sporte.
      But than my wyfe so ofte doth thyther resorte
      That I fere she wyll make me weare a fether.                    95
      But yet I nede not for to fere nether,
      For he is her gossyp, that is he.
        But abyde a whyle, yet let me se,
      Where the dyvell hath our gyssypry[249] begon?
      My wyfe had never chylde, daughter nor son.                    100
        Nowe if I forbede her that she go no more,
      Yet wyll she go as she dyd before,
      Or els wyll she chuse some other place;
      And then the matter is in as yll case.
        But in fayth all these wordes be in wast,                    105
      For I thynke the matter is done and past;
      And whan she cometh home she wyll begyn to chyde,
      But she shall have her payment styk by her syde;
      For I shall order her, for all her brawlyng,
      That she shall repent to go a catter-wawlyng.[250]             110

                            [_Enter_ TYB.]

  _Tyb._ Why, whom wylt thou beate, I say, thou knave?

  _Johan._ Who, I, Tyb? none, so God me save.

  _Tyb._ Yes, I harde the say thou woldest one bete.

  _Johan._ Mary, wyfe, it was stokfysshe[251] in Temmes Strete,
      Whiche wyll be good meate agaynst Lent.               A ii _b_ 115
      Why, Tyb, what haddest thou thought that I had ment?

  _Tyb._ Mary, me thought I harde the bawlyng.
      Wilt thou never leve this wawlyng?[252]
      Howe the dyvell dost thou thy selfe behave?
      Shall we ever have this worke, thou knave?                     120

  _Johan._ What! wyfe, how sayst thou? was it well gest of me
      That thou woldest be come home in safete,
      As sone as I had kendled a fyre?
      Come warme the, swete Tyb, I the requyre.

  _Tyb._ O, Johan Johan, I am afrayd, by this lyght,                 125
      That I shalbe sore syk this nyght.

  _Johan_ [_aside_]. By cokkis soule, nowe, I dare lay a swan
      That she comes nowe streyght fro Syr Johan;
      For ever whan she hath fatched of hym a lyk,
      Than she comes home, and sayth she is syk.                     130

  _Tyb._ What sayst thou?

  _Johan._            Mary, I say,
      It is mete for a woman to go play
      Abrode in the towne for an houre or two.

  _Tyb._ Well, gentylman, go to, go to.

  _Johan._ Well, let us have no more debate.                         135

  _Tyb_ [_aside_]. If he do not fyght, chyde, and rate,
      Braule and fare as one that were frantyke,
      There is nothyng that may hym lyke.[253]

  _Johan_ [_aside_]. If that the parysshe preest, Syr Jhān,
      Dyd not se her nowe and than,
      And gyve her absolution upon a bed,
      For wo and payne she wolde sone be deed.

  _Tyb._ For goddis sake, Johan Johan, do the not displease,
      Many a tyme I am yll at ease.
      What thynkest nowe, am not I somwhat syk?                      145

  _Johan_ [_aside_]. Nowe wolde to God, and swete Saynt Dyryk,[254]
      That thou warte in the water up to the throte,
      Or in a burnyng oven red hote,
      To se an I wolde pull the out.

  _Tyb._ Nowe, Johan Johan, to put the out of dout,                  150
      Imagyn thou where that I was
      Before I came home.

  _Johan._            My percase,[255]
      Thou wast prayenge in the Churche of Poules
      Upon thy knees for all Chrysten soules.

  _Tyb._ Nay.

  _Johan._  Than if thou wast not so holy,                           155
      Shewe me where thou wast, and make no lye?

  _Tyb._ Truely, Johan Johan, we made a pye,
      I and my gossyp Margery,
      And our gossyp the preest, Syr Jhān,                         A iii
      And my neybours yongest doughter An;                           160
      The preest payde for the stuffe and the makyng,
      And Margery she payde for the bakyng.

  _Johan._ By cokkis lylly woundis,[256] that same is she,
      That is the most bawde hens to Coventre.

  _Tyb._ What say you?

  _Johan._            Mary, answere me to this:                      165
      Is not Syr Johan a good man?

  _Tyb._                   Yes, that he is.

  _Johan._ Ha, Tyb, if I shulde not greve the,
      I have somewhat wherof I wolde meve the.[257]

  _Tyb._ Well, husbande, nowe I do conject
      That thou hast me somewhat in suspect;                         170
      But, by my soule, I never go to Syr Johan
      But I fynde hym lyke an holy man,
      For eyther he is sayenge his devotion,
      Or els he is goynge in processyon.

  _Johan_ [_aside_]. Yea, rounde about the bed doth he go,           175
      You two together, and no mo;
      And for to fynysshe the procession,
      He lepeth up and thou lyest downe.

  _Tyb._ What sayst thou?

  _Johan._            Mary, I say he doth well,
      For so ought a shepherde to do, as I harde tell,               180
      For the salvation of all his folde.

  _Tyb._ Johan Johan!

  [_Johan._]          What is it that thou wolde?

  _Tyb._ By my soule I love thee too too,[258]
      And I shall tell the, or I further go,
      The pye that was made, I have it nowe here,                    185
      And therwith I trust we shall make good chere.

  _Johan._ By kokkis body that is very happy.

  _Tyb._ But wotest who gave it?

  _Johan._               What the dyvel rek I?

  _Tyb._ By my fayth, and I shall say trewe, than
      The Dyvell take me, and it were not Syr Johan.                 190

  _Johan._ O holde the peas, wyfe, and swere no more,
      But I beshrewe both your hartes therfore.

  _Tyb._ Yet peradventure, thou hast suspection
      Of that was never thought nor done.

  _Johan._ Tusshe, wife, let all suche matters be,                   195
      I love thee well, though thou love not me:
      But this pye doth nowe catche harme,
      Let us set it upon the harth to warme.

  _Tyb._ Than let us eate it as fast as we can.
      But bycause Syr Jhān is so honest a man,                       200
      I wolde that he shulde therof eate his part.

  _Johan._ That were reason, I thee ensure.

  _Tyb._ Than, syns that it is thy pleasure,
      I pray the than go to hym ryght,                         A iii _b_
      And pray hym come sup with us to nyght.                        205

  _Jhan_ [_aside_]. Shall he cum hyther? by kokkis soule I was a-curst
      Whan that I graunted to that worde furst!
      But syns I have sayd it, I dare not say nay,
      For than my wyfe and I shulde make a fray;
      But whan he is come, I swere by goddis mother,                 210
      I wold gyve the dyvell the tone[259] to cary away the tother.

  _Tyb._ What sayst?

  _Johan._            Mary, he is my curate, I say,
      My confessour and my frende alway,
      Therfore go thou and seke hym by and by,
      And tyll thou come agayne, I wyll kepe the pye.                215

  _Tyb._ Shall I go for him? nay, I shrewe me than!
      Go thou, and seke, as fast as thou can,
      And tell hym it.

  _Johan._            Shall I do so?
      In fayth, it is not mete for me to go.

  _Tyb._ But thou shalte go tell hym, for all that.                  220

  _Johan._ Than shall I tell hym, wotest [thou] what?
      That thou desyrest hym to come make some chere.

  _Tyb._ Nay, that thou desyrest hym to come sup here.

  _Johan._ Nay, by the rode, wyfe, thou shalt have the worshyp
      And the thankes of thy gest, that is thy gossyp.               225

  _Tyb_ [_aside_]. Full ofte I se my husbande wyll me rate,
      For this hether commyng of our gentyll curate.

  _Johan._ What sayst, Tyb? let me here that agayne.

  _Tyb._ Mary, I perceyve very playne
      That thou hast Syr Johan somwhat in suspect;                   230
      But by my soule, as far as I conject,
      He is vertuouse and full of charyte.

  _Johan_ [_aside_]. In fayth, all the towne knoweth better, that he
      Is a hore-monger, a haunter of the stewes,
      An ypocrite, a knave, that all men refuse;                     235
      A lyer, a wretche, a maker of stryfe,
      Better than they knowe that thou art my good wyfe.

  _Tyb._ What is that, that thou hast sayde?

  _Johan._ Mary, I wolde have the table set and layde,
      In this place or that, I care not whether.                     240

  _Tyb._ Than go to, brynge the trestels[260] hyther.
      Abyde[261] a whyle, let me put of my gown!
      But yet I am afrayde to lay it down,
      For I fere it shal be sone stolen.

  [_Johan._] And yet it may lye safe ynough unstolen.                245

  [_Tyb._] It may lye well here, and I lyst,--
      But, by cokkis soule, here hath a dogge pyst;
      And if I shulde lay it on the harth bare,                     A iv
      It myght hap to be burned, or I were ware,
      Therfore I pray you,[262] take ye the payne                    250
      To kepe my gowne tyll I come agayne.
        But yet he shall not have it, by my fay,
      He is so nere the dore, he myght ron away;
      But bycause that ye be trusty and sure
      Ye shall kepe it, and it be your pleasure;                     255
      And bycause it is arrayde[263] at the skyrt,
      Whyle ye do nothyng, skrape of the dyrt.

  [_Johan._] Lo, nowe am I redy to go to Syr Jhan,
      And byd hym come as fast as he can.

  [_Tyb._] Ye, do so without ony taryeng.                            260
      But I say, harke! thou hast forgot one thyng;
      Set up the table, and that by and by.[264]
      Nowe go thy ways.

  [_Johan._]          I go shortly;[265]
      But se your candelstykkis be not out of the way.

  _Tyb._ Come agayn, and lay the table I say;                        265
      What! me thynkkis, ye have sone don!

  _Johan._ Nowe I pray God that his malediction
      Lyght on my wyfe, and on the baulde[266] preest.

  _Tyb._ Nowe go thy ways and hye the! seest?

  _Johan._ I pray to Christ, if my wyshe be no synne,                270
      That the preest may breke his neck, whan he comes in.

  _Tyb._ Now cūm again.

  _Johan._            What a myschefe wylt thou, fole!

  _Tyb._ Mary, I say, brynge hether yender stole.

  _Johan._ Nowe go to, a lyttell wolde make me
      For to say thus, a vengaunce take the!                         275

  _Tyb._ Nowe go to hym, and tell hym playn,
      That tyll thou brynge hym, thou wylt not come agayn.

  _Johan._ This pye doth borne here as it doth stande.

  _Tyb._ Go, washe me these two cuppes in my hande.

  _Johan._ I go, with a myschyefe lyght on thy face!                 280

  _Tyb._ Go, and byd hym hye hym a pace,
      And the whyle I shall all thynges amende.

  _Johan._ This pye burneth here at this ende.
      Understandest thou?

  _Tyb._              Go thy ways, I say.

  _Johan._ I wyll go nowe, as fast as I may.                         285

  _Tyb._ How, come ones agayne: I had forgot;
      Loke, and there be ony ale in the pot.

  _Johan._ Nowe a vengaunce and a very myschyefe
      Lyght on the pylde[267] preest, and on my wyfe,
      On the pot, the ale, and on the table,                         290
      The candyll, the pye, and all the rable,
      On the trystels, and on the stole;                        A iv _b_
      It is moche ado to please a curst fole.

  _Tyb._ Go thy ways nowe, and tary no more,
      For I am a hungred very sore.                                  295

  _Johan._ Mary, I go.

  _Tyb._              But come ones agayne yet;
      Brynge hyther that breade, lest I forget it.

  _Johan._ I-wys it were tyme for to torne
      The pye, for y-wys it doth borne.

  _Tyb._ Lorde! how my husbande nowe doth patter,                    300
      And of the pye styl doth clatter.
      Go nowe, and byd hym come away;
      I have byd the an hundred tymes to day.

  _Johan._ I wyll not gyve a strawe, I tell you playne,
  If that the pye waxe cold agayne.                                  305

  _Tyb._ What! art thou not gone yet out of this place?
      I had went,[268] thou haddest ben come agayn in the space:
      But, by cokkis soule, and I shulde do the ryght,
      I shulde breke thy knaves heed to nyght.

  _Johan._ Nay, than if my wyfe be set a chydyng,                    310
      It is tyme for me to go at her byddyng.
      There is a proverbe, whiche trewe nowe preveth,
      He must nedes go that the dyvell dryveth.
                                     [_He goes to the Priest's house._]
      How mayster curate, may I come in
      At your chamber dore, without ony syn.                         315

                        SYR JHAN _the Preest_.

        Who is there nowe that wolde have me?
      What! Johan Johan! what newes with the?

  _Johan._ Mary, Syr, to tell you shortly,
      My wyfe and I pray you hartely,
      And eke desyre you wyth all our myght,                         320
      That ye wolde come and sup with us to nyght.

  _Syr J._ Ye must pardon me, in fayth I ne can.

  _Johan._ Yes, I desyre you, good Syr Johan,
      Take payne this ones; and, yet at the lest,
      If ye wyll do nought at my request,                            325
      Yet do somewhat for the love of my wyfe.

  _Syr J._ I wyll not go, for makyng of stryfe.
      But I shall tell the what thou shalte do,
      Thou shall tary and sup with me, or thou go.

  _Johan._ Wyll ye not go than? why so?                              330
      I pray you tell me, is there any dysdayne,
      Or ony enmyte, betwene you twayne?

  _Syr J._ In fayth to tell the, betwene the and me,
      She is as wyse a woman as any may be;
      I know it well; for I have had the charge                  B i 335
      Of her soule, and serchyd her conscyens at large.
      I never knew her but honest and wyse,
      Without any yvyll, or any vyce,
      Save one faut, I know in her no more,
      And because I rebuke her, now and then, therfore,              340
      She is angre with me, and hath me in hate;
      And yet that that I do, I do it for your welth.

  _Johan._ Now God yeld it yow, god master curate,
      And as ye do, so send you your helth,
      Ywys I am bound to you a plesure.                              345

  _Syr J._ Yet thou thynkyst amys, peradventure,
      That of her body she shuld not be a good woman,
      But I shall tell the what I have done, Johan,
      For that matter; she and I be somtyme aloft,
      And I do lye uppon her, many a tyme and oft,                   350
      To prove her, yet could I never espy
      That ever any dyd worse with her than I.

  _Johan._ Syr, that is the lest care I have of nyne,
      Thankyd be God, and your good doctryne;
      But yf it please you, tell me the matter,                      355
      And the debate[269] betwene you and her.

  _Syr J._ I shall tell the, but thou must kepe secret.

  _Johan._ As for that, Syr, I shall not let.

  _Syr J._ I shall tell the now the matter playn,--
      She is angry with me and hath me in dysdayn                    360
      Because that I do her oft intyce
      To do some penaunce, after myne advyse,
      Because she wyll never leve her wrawlyng,[270]
      But alway with the she is chydyng and brawlyng;
      And therfore I knowe, she hatyth [my] presens.                 365

  _Johan._ Nay, in good feyth, savyng your reverens.

  _Syr J._ I know very well, she hath me in hate.

  _Johan._ Nay, I dare swere for her, master curate:
      [_Aside_] But, was I not a very knave?
      I thought surely, so god me save,                              370
      That he had lovyd my wyfe, for to deseyve me,
      And now he quytyth hym-self; and here I se
      He doth as much as he may, for his lyfe,
      To styn[te][271] the debate betwene me and my wyfe.

  _Syr J._ If ever she dyd, or though[t][272] me any yll,            375
      Now I forgyve her with m[y][273] fre wyll;
      Therfore, Johan Johan, now get the home
      And thank thy wyfe, and say I wyll not come.

  _Johan._ Yet, let me know, now, good Syr Johan,                B i _b_
      Where ye wyll go to supper than.                               380

  _Syr J._ I care nat greatly and I tell the.
      On saterday last, I and ii or thre
      Of my frendes made an appoyntement,
      And agaynst this nyght we dyd assent
      That in a place we wolde sup together;                         385
      And one of them sayd, he[274] wolde brynge thether
      Ale and bread; and for my parte, I
      Sayd, that I wolde gyve them a pye,
      And there I gave them money for the makynge;
      And an-other sayd, she wolde pay for the bakyng;               390
      And so we purpose to make good chere
      For to dryve away care and thought.

  _Johan._ Than I pray you, Syr, tell me here,
      Whyther shulde all this geare be brought?

  _Syr J._ By my fayth, and I shulde not lye,                        395
      It shulde be delyvered to thy wyfe, the pye.

  _Johan._ By God! it is at my house, standyng by the fyre.

  _Syr J._ Who bespake that pye? I the requyre.

  _Johan._ By my feyth, and I shall not lye,
      It was my wyfe, and her gossyp Margerye,                       400
      And your good masshyp,[275] callyd Syr Johan,
      And my neybours yongest doughter An;
      Your masshyp payde for the stuffe and makyng,
      And Margery she payde for the bakyng.[276]

  _Syr J._ If thou wylte have me nowe, in faithe I wyll go.          405

  _Johan._ Ye, mary, I beseche your masshyp do so,
      My wyfe taryeth for none but us twayne;
      She thynketh longe or I come agayne.

  _Syr J._ Well nowe, if she chyde me in thy presens,
      I wylbe content, and take [it] in pacyens.                     410

  _Johan._ By cokkis soule, and she ones chyde,
      Or frowne, or loure, or loke asyde,
      I shall brynge you a staffe as myche as I may heve,
      Than bete her and spare not; I gyve you good leve
      To chastyce her for her shreude varyeng.                       415
                                    [_They return to_ JOHAN'S _house_.]

  _Tyb._ The devyll take the for thy long taryeng!
      Here is not a whyt of water, by my gowne,
      To washe our handes that we myght syt downe;
      Go and hye the, as fast as a snayle,
      And with fayre water fyll me this payle.                       420

  _Johan._ I thanke our Lorde of his good grace
      That I cannot rest longe in a place.

  _Tyb._ Go, fetche water, I say, at a worde,                       B ii
      For it is tyme the pye were on the borde;
      And go with a vengeance, & say thou art prayde.                425

  _Syr. J._ A! good gossyp! is that well sayde?

  _Tyb._ Welcome, myn owne swete harte,
      We shall make some chere or we departe.

  _Johan._ Cokkis soule, loke howe he approcheth nere
      Unto my wyfe: this abateth my chere. [_Exit._]                 430

  _Syr J._ By God, I wolde ye had harde the tryfyls,
      The toys, the mokkes, the fables, and the nyfyls,[277]
      That I made thy husbande to beleve and thynke!
      Thou myghtest as well into the erthe synke,
      As thou coudest forbeare laughyng any whyle.                   435

  _Tyb._ I pray the let me here part of that wyle.

  _Syr J._ Mary, I shall tell the as fast as I can.
       But peas, no more--yonder cometh thy good man.

                          [_Re-enter_ JOHAN.]

  _Johan._ Cokkis soule, what have we here?
      As far as I sawe, he drewe very nere                           440
      Unto my wyfe.

  _Tyb._              What, art come so sone?
      Gyve us water to wasshe nowe--have done.

                  _Than he bryngeth the payle empty._

  _Johan._ By kockes soule, it was, even nowe, full to the brynk,
      But it was out agayne or I coude thynke;
      Wherof I marveled, by God Almyght,                             445
      And than I loked betwene me and the lyght
      And I spyed a clyfte, bothe large and wyde.
      Lo, wyfe! here it is on the tone[278] syde.

  _Tyb._ Why dost not stop it?

  _Johan._            Why, howe shall I do it?

  _Tyb._ Take a lytle wax.

  _Johan._            Howe shal I come to it?                        450

  _Syr J._ Mary, here be ii wax candyls, I say,
      Whiche my gossyp Margery gave me yesterday.

  _Tyb._ Tusshe, let hym alone, for, by the rode,
      It is pyte to helpe hym, or do hym good.

  _Syr J._ What! Jhan Jhan, canst thou make no shyfte?               455
      Take this waxe, and stop therwith the clyfte.

  _Johan._ This waxe is as harde as any wyre.

  _Tyb._ Thou must chafe it a lytle at the fyre.

  _Johan._ She that boughte the these waxe candylles twayne,
      She is a good companyon certayn.                               460

  _Tyb._ What, was it not my gossyp Margery?

  _Syr J._ Yes, she is a blessed woman surely.

  _Tyb._ Nowe wolde God I were as good as she,
      For she is vertuous, and full of charyte.

  _Johan_ [_aside_]. Nowe, so God helpe me; and by my holydome,[279] 465
      She is the erranst baud betwene this and Rome.

  _Tyb._ What sayst?                                            B ii _b_

  _Johan._            Mary, I chafe the wax,
      And I chafe it so hard that my fingers krakks.
      But take up this py that I here torne;
      And it stand long, y-wys it wyll borne.                        470

  _Tyb._ Ye, but thou must chafe the wax, I say.

  _Johan._ Byd hym syt down, I the pray--
      Syt down, good Syr Johan, I you requyre.

  _Tyb._ Go, I say, and chafe the wax by the fyre,
      Whyle that we sup, Syr Jhan and I.                             475

  _Johan._ And how now, what wyll ye do with the py?
      Shall I not ete therof a morsell?

  _Tyb._ Go and chafe the wax whyle thou art well,
      And let us have no more pratyng thus.

  _Syr. J._ _Benedicite._

  _Johan._            _Dominus._                                     480

  _Tyb._ Now go chafe the wax, with a myschyfe.

  _Johan._ What! I come to blysse the bord,[280] swete wyfe!
      It is my custome now and than.
      Mych good do it you, Master Syr Jhan.

  _Tyb._ Go chafe the wax, and here no lenger tary.                  485

  _Johan_ [_aside_]. And is not this a very purgatory
      To se folkis ete, and may not ete a byt?
      By kokkis soule, I am a very wodcok.
      This payle here, now a vengaunce take it!
      Now my wyfe gyveth me a proud mok!                             490

  _Tyb._ What dost?

  _Johan._            Mary, I chafe the wax here,
      And I ymagyn to make you good chere,
  [_Aside._] That a vengaunce take you both as ye syt,
      For I know well I shall not ete a byt.
      But yet, in feyth, yf I myght ete one morsell,                 495
      I wold thynk the matter went very well.

  _Syr J._ Gossyp, Jhan Jhan, now mych good do it you.
      What chere make you, there by the fyre?

  _Johan._ Master parson, I thank yow now;
      I fare well enow after myne own desyre.                        500

  _Syr J._ What dost, Jhan Jhan, I the requyre?

  _Johan._ I chafe the wax here by the fyre.

  _Tyb._ Here is good drynk, and here is a good py.

  _Syr J._ We fare very well, thankyd be our lady.

  _Tyb._ Loke how the kokold chafyth the wax that is hard,           505
      And for his lyfe, daryth not loke hetherward.

  _Syr J._ What doth my gossyp?

  _Johan._            I chafe the wax--
  [_Aside._] And I chafe it so hard that my fyngers krakks;
      And eke the smoke puttyth out my eyes two:
      I burne my face, and ray my clothys also,                B iii 510
      And yet I dare not say one word,
      And they syt laughyng yender at the bord.

  _Tyb._ Now, by my trouth, it is a prety jape,
      For a wyfe to make her husband her ape.
      Loke of Jhan Jhan, which maketh hard shyft                     515
      To chafe the wax, to stop therwith the clyft.

  _Johan_ [_aside_]. Ye, that a vengeance take ye both two,
      Both hym and the, and the and hym also;
      And that ye may choke with the same mete
      At the furst mursell that ye do ete.                           520

  _Tyb._ Of what thyng now dost thou clatter,
      Jhan Jhan? or whereof dost thou patter?

  _Johan._ I chafe the wax, and make hard shyft
      To stopt her-with of the payll the ryft.

  _Syr J._ So must he do, Jhan Jhan, by my father kyn,               525
      That is bound of wedlok in the yoke.

  _Johan_ [_aside_]. Loke how the pyld preest crammyth in;
      That wold to God he myght therwith choke.

  _Tyb._ Now, Master Parson, pleasyth your goodnes
      To tell us some tale of myrth or sadnes,                       530
      For our pastyme, in way of communycacyon.

  _Syr J._ I am content to do it for our recreacyon,
      And of iii myracles I shall to you say.

  _Johan._ What, must I chafe the wax all day,
      And stond here, rostyng by the fyre?                           535

  _Syr J._ Thou must do somwhat at thy wyves desyre!
      I know a man whych weddyd had a wyfe,
      As fayre a woman as ever bare lyfe,
      And within a senyght after, ryght sone
      He went beyond se, and left her alone,                         540
      And taryed there about a vii yere;
      And as he cam homeward he had a hevy chere,
      For it was told hym that she was in heven.
      But, when that he comen home agayn was,
      He found his wyfe, and with her chyldren seven,                545
      Whiche she had had in the mene space;
      Yet had she not had so many by thre
      Yf she had not had the help of me.
      Is not this a myracle, yf ever were any,
      That this good wyfe shuld have chyldren so many                550
      Here in this town, whyle her husband shuld be
      Beyond the se, in a farre contre.

  _Johan._ Now, in good soth, this is a wonderous myracle,
      But for your labour, I wolde that your tacle             B iii _b_
      Were in a skaldyng water well sod.                             555

  _Tyb._ Peace, I say, thou lettest the worde of God.

  _Sir J._ An other myracle eke I shall you say,
      Of a woman, whiche that many a day
      Had been wedded, and in all that season
      She had no chylde, nother doughter nor son;                    560
      Wherfore to Saynt Modwin[281] she went on pilgrimage,
      And offered there a lyve pyg, as is the usage
      Of the wyves that in London dwell;
      And through the vertue therof, truly to tell,
      Within a moneth after, ryght shortly,                          565
      She was delyvered of a chylde as moche as I.
      How say you, is not this myracle wonderous?

  _Johan._ Yes, in good soth, syr, it is marvelous;
      But surely, after myn opynyon,
      That chylde was nother doughter nor son.                       570
      For certaynly, and I be not begylde,
      She was delyvered of a knave chylde.

  _Tyb._ Peas, I say, for Goddis passyon,
      Thou lettest Syr Johan's communication.

  _Sir J._ The thyrde myracle also is this:                          575
      I knewe another woman eke y-wys,
      Whiche was wedded, & within v. monthis after
      She was delyvered of a fayre doughter,
      As well formed in every membre & joynt,
      And as perfyte in every poynt                                  580
      As though she had gone v monthis full to th' ende.
      Lo! here is v monthis of advantage.

  _Johan._ A wonderous myracle! so God me mende;
      I wolde eche wyfe that is bounde in maryage,
      And that is wedded here within this place,                     585
      Myght have as quicke spede in every suche case.

  _Tyb._ Forsoth, Syr Johan, yet for all that
      I have sene the day that pus, my cat,
      Hath had in a yere kytlyns eyghtene.

  _Johan._ Ye, Tyb, my wyfe, and that have I sene.                   590
      But howe say you, Syr Jhan, was it good, your pye?
      The dyvell the morsell that therof eate I.
      By the good lorde this is a pyteous warke--
      But nowe I se well the olde proverbe is treu:
      The parysshe preest forgetteth that ever he was clarke!        595
      But, Syr Jhan, doth not remembre you
      How I was your clerke, & holpe you masse to syng,
      And hylde the basyn alway at the offryng?                     B iv
      He never had halfe so good a clarke as I!
      But, notwithstandyng all this, nowe our pye                    600
      Is eaten up, there is not lefte a byt,
      And you two together there do syt,
      Eatynge and drynkynge at your owne desyre,
      And I am Johan Johan, whiche must stande by the fyre
      Chafyng the wax, and dare none other wyse do.                  605

  _Syr J._ And shall we alway syt here styll, we two?
      That were to mych.

  _Tyb._              Then ryse we out of this place.

  _Syr J._ And kys me than in the stede of grace;
      And farewell leman and my love so dere.

  _Johan._ Cokkis body, this waxe it waxte colde agayn here;--       610
      But what! shall I anone go to bed,
      And eate nothyng, nother meate nor brede?
      I have not be wont to have suche fare.

  _Tyb._ Why! were ye not served there as ye are,
      Chafyng the waxe, standying by the fyre?                       615

  _Johan._ Why, what mete gave ye me, I you requyre?

  _Sir J._ Wast thou not served, I pray the hartely,
      Both with the brede, the ale, and the pye?

  _Johan._ No, syr, I had none of that fare.

  _Tyb._ Why! were ye not served there as ye are,                    620
      Standyng by the fyre chafyng the waxe?

  _Johan._ Lo, here be many tryfyls and knakks--
      By kokkis soule, they wene I am other dronke or mad.

  _Tyb._ And had ye no meate, Johan Johan? no had?

  _Johan._ No, Tyb my wyfe, I had not a whyt.                        625

  _Tyb._ What, not a morsel?

  _Johan._            No, not one byt;
      For honger, I trowe, I shall fall in a sowne.

  _Sir J._ O, that were pyte, I swere by my crowne.

  _Tyb._ But is it trewe?

  _Johan._            Ye, for a surete.

  _Tyb._ Dost thou ly?

  _Johan._            No, so mote I the![282]                        630

  _Tyb._ Hast thou had nothyng?

  _Johan._                      No, not a byt.

  _Tyb._ Hast thou not dronke?

  _Johan._                     No, not a whyt.

  _Tyb._ Where wast thou?

  _Johan._               By the fyre I dyd stande.

  _Tyb._ What dydyst?

  _Johan._            I chafed this waxe in my hande,
      Where-as I knewe of wedded men the payne                       635
      That they have, and yet dare not complayne;
      For the smoke put out my eyes two,
      I burned my face, and rayde my clothes also,
      Mendyng the payle, whiche is so rotten and olde,
      That it will not skant together holde;                         640
      And syth it is so, and syns that ye twayn
      Wold gyve me no meate for my suffysance,                  B iv _b_
      By ko[k]kis soule I wyll take no lenger payn,
      Ye shall do all yourself, with a very vengaunce,
      For me, and take thou there thy payle now,                     645
      And yf thou canst mend it, let me se how.

  _Tyb._ A! horson's knave! hast thou brok my payll?
      Thou shall repent, by kokkis lylly nayll.
      Rech me my dystaf, or my clyppyng sherys:
      I shall make the blood ronne about his erys.                   650

  _Johan._ Nay, stand styll, drab, I say, and come no nere,
      For by kokkis blood, yf thou come here,
      Or yf thou onys styr toward this place,
      I shall throw this shovyll full of colys in thy face.

  _Tyb._ Ye! horson dryvyll! get the out of my dore.                 655

  _Johan._ Nay! get thou out of my house, thou prestis hore.

  _Sir J._ Thou lyest, horson kokold, evyn to thy face.

  _Johan._ And thou lyest, pyld preest, with an evyll grace.

  _Tyb._ And thou lyest.

  _Johan._            And thou lyest, Syr.

  _Syr J._                           And thou lyest agayn.

  _Johan._ By kokkis soule, horson preest, thou shalt be slayn;      660
      Thou hast eate our pye, and gyve me nought,
      By kokkes blod, it shal be full derely bought.

  _Tyb._ At hym, Syr Johan, or els God gyve the sorow.

  _Johan._ And have at your hore and thefe, Saynt George to borrow.[283]

  _Here they fyght by the erys a whyle, and than the preest and the wyfe
                         go out of the place._

  _Johan._ A! syrs! I have payd some of them even as I lyst,         665
      They have borne many a blow wilh my fyst,
      I thank God, I have walkyd them well,
      And dryven them hens.  But yet, can ye tell
      Whether they be go? for by God, I fere me,
      That they be gon together, he and she,                         670
      Unto his chamber, and perhappys she wyll,
      Spyte of my hart, tary there styll,
      And, peradventure, there, he and she
      Wyll make me cokold, evyn to anger me;
      And then had I a pyg in the woyrs[284] panyer,                 675
      Therfor, by God, I wyll hye me thyder
      To se yf they do me any vylany:
      And thus fare well this noble company.

                                 FINIS


                     Imprinted by Wyllyam Rastell
                        the xii day of February
                         the yere of our Lord
                           MCCCC and XXXIII
                           _Cum privilegio_


FOOTNOTES:

[229] The _New Eng. Dict._ quotes from Fuller's _Worthies_: "St.
Anthonie is notoriously known for the patron of hogs, having a pig for
his page in all pictures."

[230] God's.

[231] There are three Croomes in the manor of Ripple, Worcestershire,
and the church of Ripple is dedicated to the B. Virgin, but Nash's
_History of Worcestershire_, says nothing of "Our Lady of Crome."

[232] drag.

[233] hair.

[234] assuredly; text 'hardly.'

[235] hundred.

[236] the devil a bit.

[237] shall I not? For this curious elliptical construction cf. l. 624,
"And had ye no meate, Johan Johan? no had?" See also Udall's _R. D._,
I. iv. 32.

[238] God's.

[239] immediately.

[240] dust her jacket, beat her. To walk = to full cloth.

[241] This question must be answered.

[242] scold.

[243] cease.

[244] characteristic.

[245] avail.

[246] cudgel.

[247] remedy.

[248] wager 6_s._ 8_d._ Cf. Udall, _R. D._, I. iii. 27.

[249] the relation of a child's sponsors at baptism to his parents.

[250] go a "love"-making.

[251] fish salted so hard that it had to be softened by beating before
cooking.

[252] literally, cat-calling.

[253] Tyb's 'aside' perhaps only means "if he is not scolding nothing
can please him," i.e. he likes scolding better than anything else. But
Tyb is at present half-afraid, and it is at least possible that she
means "if I haven't set him scolding this time, no occasion for being
angry will content him."

[254] This saint is not mentioned by the Bollandists; the name may be a
contraction for one of the four St. Theodorics.

[255] guess.

[256] God's little wounds; cf. l. 648.

[257] consult, question thee.

[258] excessively.

[259] the one.

[260] The stands on which the 'board' of the table was fixed when
needed.

[261] This line is attributed in Rastell's edition to Johan, the next
attribution being at l. 252, also to Johan. Lines 258, 259 are given to
Tyb, ll. 260-262 to Johan, l. 263 _a_ to Johan, ll. 263 _b_-266 to Tyb.

[262] 'I pray you,' etc., said to one of the spectators, whom she next
pretends to mistrust, turning at l. 254 to another one.

[263] dirtied.

[264] Fix the board on the trestles, and that at once.

[265] 263, etc. In the French _Farse of Pernet qui va au vin_ there
are similar false starts and returnings, but in that case Pernet keeps
coming back to watch his wife and her lover.

[266] bald, shaven, not "bold."

[267] shorn.

[268] thought.

[269] quarrel.

[270] crying out, scolding.

[271] Misprinted _stynk_.

[272] Misprinted _though_.

[273] Misprinted _me_.

[274] Apparently a misprint for _she_; it was clearly to be provided by
Tyb; cf. l. 618.

[275] Cf. _Play of Wether_, l. 235. Udall's _R. D._, I. iv. 33, etc.

[276] No provision seems to have been made for Margery and Anne sharing
in the pie.

[277] Cf. "nyfuls," _Play of the Wether_, l. 617.

[278] Cf. l. 211.

[279] salvation.

[280] Cf. Pernet's:

    Vous irayje signer la table?
    Je scay bien le benedicite.

[281] S. Modwena, an Irish virgin, who died A.D. 518. She is said
to have been the patroness of Burton-upon-Trent, and Henry VIII.'s
commissioners sent thence to London "the image of seint Moodwyn with
her red kowe and hir staff, which wymen labouryng of child in those
parties were very desirous to have with them to lean upon."

[282] may I thrive.

[283] for my backer. Cf. _R. D._ IV. vii. 75, IV. viii. 45.

[284] worse.



  _Nicholas Udall_

                            ROISTER DOISTER


                                       _Edited with Critical Essay and
                                       Notes by Ewald Flügel, Ph.D.,
                                       Professor in Stanford University_



CRITICAL ESSAY


=Life.=--Nicholas Udall was born in 1506, of a good family residing
in Hampshire. As a lad of fourteen he entered Corpus Christi College,
Oxford, and took his bachelor's degree there in May, 1524.[285] The
years of his University life came at a period of great religious
fermentation, and young Udall was, according to an old tradition,[286]
one of the young enthusiasts in whom the humanistic tilling of Erasmus
had prepared the soil for Lutheran doctrines from Wittenberg. We may,
therefore, imagine young Udall to have been one of those of whose
heretical perversities Warham complains to Wolsey.[287] Apparently
Udall, as he grew older, grew if not calmer at least more cautious,
and succeeded later in gaining the favour of Mary the Princess, and
in retaining that of Mary the Queen. While at college, he formed a
lasting friendship with John Leland, a friendship of which some poems
of the latter give us a pleasing testimony.[288] Leland, of almost the
same age as Udall, had taken his first degree at Cambridge in 1522,
and according to an old custom, he continued his studies at Oxford,
where Udall's generosity won his heart.[289] In May, 1533, a number
of verses were composed by them in joint authorship, for a pageant at
the coronation of Anne Boleyn.[290] In the same year Udall seems to
have settled at London as a teacher. He may even have contemplated
becoming a monk--like Thomas More thirty years earlier; he certainly
dates his preface to the _Flowers from Terence_ from the Augustinian
Monastery at London, on the last of February, 1534. In the following
June he received the degree of Master of Arts from Oxford, and appears
in the latter part of the same year as "Magister Informator" at Eton,
succeeding Master Richard Coxe.[291] In this capacity he received
payments between the last terms, 1534 and 1541.[292]

We can scarcely judge at this late day of the character of Udall's
educational services, but the fact that he was generally on good terms
with his pupils may reasonably be inferred from the preface to the
edition of the _Flowers_, printed in 1545.

We may further infer with regard to his mastership at Eton, that
he was himself influenced by the Eton custom of performing a
play at Christmas. It appears even possible that the clause in a
"consuetudinary" of Eton (about 1560), allowing the Latin school comedy
to give place to an English one, if it were "witty and graceful,"[293]
may have been a result of Udall's mastership. And it is probable that
_Roister Doister_ was originally one of such plays unpretentiously
offered by Udall to his boys,[294] modestly put aside after the
performance and printed long afterwards. If all this be true, Udall's
mastership deserves immortal fame in the annals of English literature.
But the immortality is unfortunately of a different nature. Udall is
stigmatized by one ungrateful pupil as a second _Orbilius plagosus_,
the realization of Erasmus's executioner. Tusser's often quoted
doggerel runs:

    "From Paules I went to Eaton sent
    To learn streight waies, the latin phraies,
    When fiftie three stripes giuen to mee
        At once I had:
    For fault but small, or none at all,
    It came to pas, thus beat I was,
    See Udall see, the mercie of thee,
        To me poore lad."[295]

We cannot now decide upon the merits of the case, but we are inclined
to think that Tom Tusser the boy was as shiftless as Thomas Tusser the
man later proved to be, and that, although he may have been a fine
"querister," his "latin phraies" would frequently offend the ear of
the conscientious humanist. Let us suppose that Thomas deserved his
fifty-three stripes twice over, but did not realize that ὁ μὴ δαρεὶς
ἄνθρωπος οὐκ παιδεύεται.[296]

In March, 1541,[297] some abuses were exposed that had lately disgraced
the school. A robbery of plate and silver images was detected, to which
two late Eton scholars and a servant of Udall's confessed; and Udall
himself became "suspect to be counsel of the robbery." The judicial
report states that Udall "having certain interrogatoryes ministred unto
hym toching the sayd fact and other felonious trespasses whereof he was
suspected, did confess that he did comitt a heinous offence with the
sayd cheney [a "scoler" of Eton] sundry tymes hertofore and of late
the vjᵗʰ day of this present monethe in this present yere at London:
whereupon he was committed to the Marshalsey."

Udall was discharged from his office, but did not remain long in
prison (as would have been the case if he had been proved guilty of a
"felonious" crime); and an influential personage unknown to us made
efforts to bring about his "restitucion to the roume of Scholemaister
in Eton." Udall thanked this patron in an interesting letter, which
seems to corroborate the words of the indictment, but states that the
"heinous offence" was committed in London (_not_ in Eton), and that it
resulted in heavy debts. The most careful consideration of the letter
leads me to believe that Udall had nothing to do with the _theft_,
but had neglected his duties as teacher, and had not given the right
example of "frugall livyng."[298] Most likely he had only followed the
royal example; had enjoyed too much "Pastyme with good companye!"

In the same letter Udall petitions for a place where he could show his
"amendment," and which would enable him also "by litle and litle ... to
paye euery man his own."[299]

We do not know of the result of this letter, but it seems that Udall
went "north" in the autumn of the same year. At any rate, in October,
1542, Robert Aldrich, Bishop of Carlisle, received letters "by the
hande of Mr. Vdall";[300] and Leland in a charming little song
addressed to his "snow-white friend," refers to Udall as residing among
the "Brigantes, where Mars now has the rule."[301]

In the same autumn appeared Udall's translation of Erasmus's
_Apophthegms_[302] and--after his return south--he was connected for
the following three years with a great literary undertaking, which was
not only favoured by the Court, but progressing under its auspices and
with its collaboration,--Princess Mary taking the most active part.
This was the English translation of Erasmus's _Paraphrase of the New
Testament_.[303]

Under Edward VI., Udall devoted himself to theological works; he stood
up for the royal prerogative in religious matters in his _Answer to
the articles of the commoners of Devonshire and Cornwall_ (summer
1549[304]); he took his share in a memorial volume published in 1551,
after Bucer's death, and he translated in the same year Peter Martyr's
_Tractatus_ and _Disputatio De Eucharistia_. A royal patent[305] (of
1551) granted him the "privilege and lycense ... to preint the Bible
in Englyshe as well in the large volume for the use of the churches
wᵗʰin this our Realme ... as allso in any other convenient volume."

This privilege was not the only sign of royal favour: we find Udall in
November, 1551, presented by the King to a prebend in Windsor,[306] and
later (in March, 1553) to the Parsonage of Calborne, in the Isle of
Wight.

After such favours received from Edward, and such services in the
Protestant camp, we should expect to find Udall in disgrace under Queen
Mary, and sharing with his fellow-Protestants at least the bitter fate
of exile, but Mary had apparently preserved a grateful memory for her
former fellow-worker in the Erasmian translation. If, indeed, she did
not use him as a theologian, she remembered his dramatic talents, and
so we find that a special warrant was issued, December 3, 1554, which
shows us Udall in the rôle of playwright. The Office of the Queen's
Revels was directed by the warrant referred to, to deliver to Udall
such "apparel" at any time as he might require for the "setting foorth
of Dialogues and Enterludes" before the Queen, for her "regell disporte
and recreacion." In the beginning of the document[307] appears an
allusion to Udall as having shown previously "at soondrie seasons"
his "dilligence" in arranging "Dialogues and Enterludes"--important
documentary evidence of his connection with the "Revels," a connection
apparently begun with the pageant for which he furnished such poor
verses at Anne Boleyn's coronation.

This evidence for the fact that Udall was known as a writer of "plays"
before 1554 is singularly corroborated by the quotation of Roister's
letter to Custance (Act III., Scene iv.) as an example of "ambiguity"
in the 1553 edition of Wilson's _Rule of Reason_.[308]

As to the nature of Udall's "Dialogues," "Enterludes," and "devises,"
we are not entirely without information. The very date of the warrant
would indicate the occasion for Udall's services (December 3, 1554), if
we had not a more definite statement. He was commissioned to get up the
Christmas shows before Mary and Philip.

Udall was in a dangerous position, since any reference to the
Protestant sympathies of the nation might have cost his life, but he
realized the situation, and with good tact presented "divers plaies,"
the "incydents" of which were very innocent:[309] "A mask of patrons
of gallies like Venetian senators, with galley-slaves for their
torche-bearers; a mask of 6 Venuses or amorous ladies with 6 Cupids
and 6 torche-bearers to them," and some "Turkes archers,"[310] "Turkes
magistrates," and "Turkie women," "6 lions' hedds of paste and cement,"
and a few other harmless paraphernalia.

How long Udall served the queen in this capacity we do not know. In
1555, towards the end of his career, we find him at his old calling as
master of Westminster School.[311] When in November of the following
year the old monastery was again opened, naturally Udall's services
became superfluous, and he was doubtless discharged; and so indeed the
darkness enshrouding the last months of his life may cover a period of
great distress. He died in December, 1556, and found his last resting
place in St. Margaret's, Westminster; where almost thirty years before
Skelton had found first a sanctuary and then a grave.

It seems that the queen did not erect a monument over the ashes of her
old friend, at least none is registered by the industrious Weever;[312]
but Udall does not need a monument from Queen Mary, he has erected it
himself--_ære perennius_--in the annals of English literature.

=Date of the Play.=--_Roister Doister_ was formerly assigned to the
time of Udall's mastership at Eton (1534-41).[313] In more recent
years, however, this date has been rejected, and Professor J. W. Hales
has tried to show that "this play was in fact written in 1552, and more
probably written for Westminster school."[314]

The arguments of Professor Hales, as far as I can see, might be
summarized thus:

1. The fact that Wilson--an old Eton boy himself, who left the school
in 1541, and ought to have known of the play if it had ever been
performed there--does _not_ insert the "ambiguous letter" in his first
and second editions of the _Rule of Reason_ (1551, 1552), whereas he
inserts it in the edition of 1553, "_suggests_ that this _comedy was
written between the appearances of the second and the third editions_."

In favour of this theory speak further--according to Professor Hales--

2. The fact that Bale does not mention any of Udall's comedies in the
1548 edition of his _Catalogus_;

3. The fact that "about 1552" Udall was in high esteem as a "comic
dramatist";

4. The fact that Udall quotes a number of proverbial phrases which he
got from Heywood's proverbs, published first in 1546;

5. The fact that the usury statute of 37 Henry VIII. was repealed
in 1552, "of some moment" as far as the "reference [in the play] to
excessive usury" is concerned.

The first argument is doubtless the strongest, but I venture to argue
that the quotation of 1553 does _not_ prove that the play was _written_
in 1552, but only that Wilson was unable _to use a copy of the play_
before 1553; whether this copy was a manuscript copy, or _a printed_
(and now lost) edition of the play, we cannot decide; _most probably
Wilson's quotation was made from an early edition of Roister, printed
in 1552_.

The fact that Wilson left Eton in 1541 seems to make it probable that
he remembered the "ambiguous" passage from his school days.

The second argument is very slight, for Bale does not give a _complete_
list of Udall's works either in edition 1548 or in edition 1557; nor
does he mention Udall's connection with the coronation pageants of
1533; and a modest school comedy would naturally not at once become
public property.

The _third_ argument is based on a serious anachronism. _We do not know
anything_ of Udall's fame as a "comic dramatist _about 1552_." The
warrant of December 3, 1554, is dated, and cannot be used for "about
1552." Besides, the nature of Udall's "dialogues and interludes" for
the "regell disporte and recreacion," as explained on p. 93, above,
excludes any possibility of connecting these "Dialogues" with the
comedy.

The number of proverbial phrases which Udall uses in common with
Heywood's _Proverbs_ (the early date of which, 1546, is rather a myth)
proves no dependence of Udall on Heywood. Their use proves merely that
Udall, as well as Heywood, talked the London English of his time, and
that both were familiar with phrases common in the early sixteenth
century. Any possible number of such phrases could not prove any
"dependence."

With regard to the allusion in _Roister Doister_ to the Usury Statute,
one may readily see that the reference is _not_ to a date later than
the repeal, in 1552, of 37 Henry VIII., c. 9, but to a _period between
1545 and 1552_. In Act V., Scene vi., lines 21 to 30, Custance blames
Roister humorously, _not_ for taking interest at all, but for taking
_too much_ (fifteen to one!), and for taking it _right away_ instead of
waiting until the year was up. The passage, therefore, does not refer
to the law passed 5 and 6 Edward VI., c. 20 (1552), which repeals 37
Henry VIII., c. 9, and orders that "no person shall lend or forbear
any sum of money for any maner of Usury or Increase to be received or
hoped for above the Sum lent, upon pain to forfeit the Sum lent, and
the Increase, [with] Imprisonment, and Fine at the king's pleasure."
The passage refers to 37 Henry VIII., c. 20 (1545), to a law which
allows ten per cent interest: "The sum of ten pound in the hundred, and
so after that rate and _not above_," and which forbids the lender "to
receive, accept or take in Lucre or Gain for the forbearing or giving
Day of Payment _of one whole year_ of and for his or their money," for
any other "Period" but the year, not "for a longer or shorter time."
Cf. the technical term "gain" in line 30.

If, therefore, Custance's joke can be taken as an indication of the
time when the play was written, it would be an indication of the period
between 1545 and 1552, or, at any rate, _before_ 1552.[315]

I should, however, not be inclined on account of this reference to
usury to date the play between 1545 and 1552. I would rather regard
the allusion as a later insertion, which ought not to weaken the force
of the internal evidence in favour of the old theory, according to
which the play belongs to the Eton period of Udall's life, to the years
between 1534 and 1541.

=Date of the Early Edition.=--The Stationers Company's _Registers_ show
(ed. Arber, 1, 331) four pence as

    "Recevyd of Thomas hackett for hys lycense for pryntinge of a play
    intituled Rauf Ruyster Duster,"

and the unique copy of the play which has come down to us has been
regarded as the solitary relic of this edition. Title-page and colophon
are lacking.

Hackett, however, printed between October (November?), 1560, and July,
1589; and Arber dates the unique copy: "? 1566."

This copy is now in the possession of Eton College. On the first
fly-leaf are written the words: "The Gift of the Revᵈ Thoˢ Briggs to
Eton Coll. Library, Decʳ 1818." As shown above, the quotation of the
"ambiguous" letter in the 1553 edition of Wilson's _Logique_ speaks,
however, in favour of an edition earlier than that of the unique copy;
and this earlier edition might be dated "1552?".[316]

=Place of Roister Doister in English Literature.=--_Roister Doister_
is the only specimen of Udall's dramatic art preserved by Fate, but it
is sufficient to justify us in assigning to the author his place as
father of English Comedy.

The causes that brought a "Latinist," a schoolmaster, a theological
writer to such a position are interesting to consider. Primarily, of
course, it is his genius, his "_Froh-natur_," his way of looking at
the world, and his art of representing this picture of the world, to
which we owe _Roister Doister_, but besides this we may be certain that
Udall's classical training, the condition of the Latin School-comedy
of his time, and, finally, his clear insight into the character of the
national play helped him to the place that he holds.

If Udall had been merely a pedantic schoolmaster, one of whose duties
it was to superintend an annual Christmas play, he would have been
satisfied with an adaptation of--let us say--the _Miles Gloriosus_, or
he would merely have translated the _Miles_ as the _Andria_ had been
translated before; perhaps he would even have been satisfied with a
performance of the play in the Latin. On the other hand, had he never
been obliged to drill boys in Terence, his plays would have remained
"interludes" of the old type, and at best, he would now receive
honourable mention by the side of Heywood. It was his very position as
teacher of the classics, his humanism (apart from the annual necessity
of advising the "enterluders" at Christmas time) which must have
pointed out to him the way in which the "enterlude" might be outgrown,
the way that would lead to a new category of plays: the "comedy."

Udall (if the prologue to _Roister Doister_ is his own, as we have no
reason to doubt)[317] seems to have been somewhat doubtful at first
about the designation of his play; he calls it at the beginning "thys
enterlude"; but he realized the new departure which he had taken,
and calls it later "Our Comedie or Enterlude." By the use of this
word,--the first time applied correctly to an _English_ comedy,--Udall
indicates his aspirations, his sources and classical models: those
plays which were the comedies _par excellence_, the comedies of
Terence, and--especially since the discovery of the twelve "new" plays
in 1429--those of Plautus. Udall shows himself a genuine disciple of
the Renaissance; he "imitates" in that true way in which "imitation"
has always ultimately proved "originality": he shows that he had
absorbed the spirit of the Roman comedy, that he fully understood the
easy movement, the sparkling and refined dialogue, the succinct but
full delineation of character, and the clear development of a plot. But
besides all this he possessed enough patriotic feeling not to overlook
the merits of the modest national "interlude" of England. He did not
too anxiously avoid carrying out here and there even a farcical motive;
but with the higher ideal before him, he succeeded in fusing the
classical and the national elements into a new category, becoming thus
the father of English comedy.

Udall's position appears clearly if one compares his work with _Gammer
Gurtons Nedle_ on the one hand, and--regarding them as a type--with
Heywood's farces on the other.

The good taste and higher art of _Roister Doister_ are at once evident:
the play is free from the undeniable vulgarity of _Gammer Gurton_, and
in delineation of character is distinctly superior. The plot, simple as
it is, is never as meagre as in the clever dialogues of Heywood; and as
much as Udall surpasses Heywood in construction of the plot, I think
he surpasses him in delineation of character. For even if, as Ward
says,[318] in Heywood's witty plays, the "personified abstractions" of
the moralities have been entirely superseded by "personal types," these
personal types have not yet matured into individual persons, into men
of flesh and blood, as they have in Udall's play.

I take, of course, for granted Udall's absolute superiority over that
category of interludes which--bastards of the "Moralities"--seem to
have had no other purpose than to introduce dogmatical moralizations,
seasoned perhaps with a tavern scene or with some other farcical
coarseness, and at best ending with an "unmotived" conversion of the
sinner or sinners.

=Plot and Characters.=--Udall's plot is so simple that its development
becomes clear at a glance; it consists of the unsuccessful wooing of
Ralph Roister Doister for the hand of Dame Christian Custance, evolved
amid various entanglements, and ultimately unsuccessful, not so much
because Custance is at the time of Roister's first advances already
engaged to another man, as because Roister's folly is so enormous that
no success can be possible.

Now the figure of an avowed fool in love would give excellent scenes
for a farce, but would not yield the complications of character
and situation necessary for a comedy; and in order to bring about
this essential complexity, there is introduced a second motive for
action in this fool's own character,--that of vainglory. There is
also introduced a personage who shall season the play by his wit and
produce the necessary entanglements. This is Mathew Merygreeke, who
grows gradually under the poet's hands, until he occupies the most
prominent place in the play, at least as far as our interest in the
different characters is concerned. Despite all that has been said to
the contrary, Merygreeke is Udall's own creation,--a figure in itself
deserving of high praise. Undoubtedly this character was at first
conceived as a mere modern parasite, of a much higher type, however,
than the Sempronio, for instance (in _Calisto and Meliboea_), but as
the play advanced the figure outgrew its original limits, and although
in the first scenes Merygreeke is scarcely out of the eggshell of
the parasite, he proves very soon to be a new character: a character
belonging to the class of Pandarus, a "Friend" playing the part of
kindly Fate, a Vice certainly mischievous and cruel enough, but
directing everything to a good end; as full of humour and fun as of
character, and, at the bottom of his heart, of good-nature.

Merygreeke comes indeed to Roister at first "for his stomach's sake"
and wants a new coat, but he has on the whole only a few traits of the
parasite,[319] and these might be left out without injuring the play
in the least. As soon as he sees Roister in love, his humour gains
the upper hand; he realizes at once what a capital source of fun this
"love" on the part of a vain fool might become, and he determines to
bring about such complications as will yield the greatest quantity
of amusement. His purpose may, indeed, at first have been merely
egotistical, to have the fun himself; but he is forgiven because
all the other persons of the play--as well as the audience--are
liberally invited to the feast. Merygreeke may appear at times as a
false friend and thus as an immoral character, but his flattery is so
exaggerated, his lies are so improbable, so enormous, so amusing to all
sane people,--Roister so fully deserves (indeed provokes) the cruel
treatment,--that any possible wrath of a moralizing censor is entirely
disarmed. Supreme folly stands outside the common moral order of
things. Even if Merygreeke had not disclosed his motives, we could see
from the respect which is shown him by Custance and Trusty, that he is
far from being a treacherous parasite. And after all he does not betray
his friend. He rather helps him to what he really desires. And what
Roister most desires in this world is, after all, not the possession of
the fair widow, but the satisfaction of his vanity. How quickly does he
forget his love in the delusion fostered by Merygreeke, that Goodluck
and Custance desire to live in peace with him because they fear him.
The lie is in harmony with poetic justice.

Merygreeke has been characterized[320] as "the Artotrogos of Plautus,
the standing figure of the parasite of the Greek new comedy and its
Latin reproductions." But, though Merygreeke was doubtless originally
planned as the parasite of the play, and though here and there to the
very end of the play we find allusions which corroborate this, I note,
first, that the classical parasite[321] lacks the element of modern
humour, of witty but, after all, good-natured enjoyment of the mischief
which he stirs up; secondly, that Merygreeke is free from endless
and--to us--tedious allusions to the "stomach"; and, thirdly, from the
vulgar, and almost uninteresting, selfishness, revealed in such words
as these of Gnatho:

    Principio ego vos credere ambos hoc mi vehementer volo
    _Me huius quicquid faciam id facere maxume causa mea_.

I may be mistaken, but I cannot find that the classical parasite has
any _fine_ touch of the humour that is inseparable from "humanity,"
from good nature. The classical parasite is, on account of this
deficiency, distinctly inferior to this modern creation.

As completely as in Merygreeke's case, Udall disarms the moralist in
the case of Roister himself, whose lying[322] and bragging, whose
cowardice, matched only by his vanity, cannot possibly be regarded as
setting a bad example, because they have reached dimensions which are
grotesque and plainly ridiculous. They result only in the propagation
of his folly, and that is allowed to reap its--poor--external fruit:
Roister is "invited" to the banquet (and Roister has constitutionally
a good "stomach"), and he is made to believe that he is a much
"dreaded lion." Fate has fortunately not pressed the mirror into his
hands. He is saved the sight of the ass's ears visible to every one
else.[323] And as kind as Fate is his "friend" Merygreeke, who never
reveals to him his absolute wretchedness, and who has to the last
the satisfaction of knowing Roister a "glad man." Here was a great
danger for a less skilful writer than Udall--a danger of marring our
enjoyment of Merygreeke's part by inserting traits of a finer or
grosser brutality, a danger of spoiling the whole feast by some drop of
malice. The element of conscious humiliation is absent; the pathetic is
consequently avoided.

The other figures of the play are kept in the background; even
Custance, and Gawin Goodluck, who comes in at the end of the play
to give the _coup de grace_ to Roister's foolish hopes. As a lover
Goodluck is hardly a success. He is so fish-blooded that, in a scene
which savours of a judicial procedure, the evidence of Trusty becomes
necessary before he can be satisfied of the fidelity of his betrothed.
Goodluck is obviously no Romeo. In the widow ready to marry again Udall
presents a good study of character. Custance is a well-to-do London
city-wife of the days of Henry VIII. and Edward VI., ruling like a
queen over servants who themselves are happily introduced and capitally
delineated. We imagine her neither lean, nor pale, but rather like the
wife of Bath--like her, resolute and substantial, but more faithful.
She is, to a certain extent, even shrewd; she enjoys fun,--after
she has been made to see it,--and she is not without a touch of
sentimentality.

Indeed, to Custance Udall has assigned the only serious scene in the
play, Act V., Scene iii. This monologue appears pathetic, and sounds
like a prayer of innocence, extremely well justified in a woman who
finds herself surrounded by difficulties and involved in a complication
which seems to question her honour. The last words of the complaint
indicate, however, that Goodluck would better not doubt _too_ much,
because Custance's patience might reach a limit, and her natural
independence might sharply bring him to his senses.[324] She appears in
that very scene as the match of Goodluck, who will be very happy with
her if he gets her.

Udall shows his complete superiority over his predecessors in these
delineations of character even more than in the creation of the plot.
Though in the development of the latter everything fits together and is
arranged in good order and proportion, it is, after all, the _dramatis
personæ_ that interest us most. Udall's persons are men and women of
flesh and blood, interesting and amusing living beings, not the wax
figures of "Sapience" or "Folly," "Virtuous Living" or "Counterfet
Countenance." Udall's persons are vastly superior to these wooden
"dialoguers," whom one feels to be acting merely for a school-bred
morality, and they leave the coarse-grained but witty figures even of
Heywood's farces far behind.

If anything, his _persons_ show that Udall had studied his Plautus and
Terence as a clear and sharp observer,[325] and that he had learned
from them where the originals for a comedy were to be found--in life,
in the actual world surrounding the poet.

=The Present Text= is based upon Arber's reprint of July 1, 1869,
which has been carefully collated by Professor Gayley with the unique
copy in the library of Eton College. The courtesy of the librarian,
F. Warre Cornish, M.A., and the other authorities of Eton College, is
hereby heartily acknowledged. In the present text all variations from
the original are inclosed in brackets. But, in uniformity with the
regulation adopted for this series, _j_ and _v_ have been substituted
for _i_ and _u_ when used as consonants, and _u_ has been printed for
_v_ when used as a vowel. References in the footnotes to previous
editions are thus indicated: A., Arber's reprint; C., W. D. Cooper's
edition for the Shakespeare Society, 1847; H., Hazlitt's Dodsley
(edition in Vol. III.), Lond. 1874; M., Professor J. M. Manly's edition
in "Specimens of the Pre-Shaksperean Drama," Vol. II., Boston, 1897.
References to the Eton copy are indicated by E.

                                                          EWALD FLÜGEL.


FOOTNOTES:

[285] Wood's _Fasti_, quoted by Arber. Arber assigns 1504 as the year
of Udall's birth, but makes him "æt. 18" in 1524. Cf. Cooper's Extracts
from C. C. C. Register.

[286] Cf. Bale, _Catal._ ed. 1557, Cent. 9, 45 (fol. 717; general
statement concerning Udall's Protestantism). _Lutheranis disciplinis
dum in academia studuit addictus fuit_, Tanner after Wood, cf.
Cooper, XII. It is remarkable, however, that we do not find Udall in
correspondence with the reformers "in exile."

[287] In March, 1521, cf. Ellis, _Original Letters_, I. i, 239 _sqq._

[288] Reprinted from Leland's _Collectanea_, V. by Cooper, XII. XIV.
XXVI.

[289] Cf. the epigram "_de liberalitate Nic. Odoualli_," quoted by
Cooper, XII.

[290] Original among the _Royal Mss._, 18 A. L. XIV. Cf. _Calendars_,
etc., VI., No. 564; _Ib._ 565, referring to Latin verses on this
coronation by Richard Coxe, Udall's predecessor at Eton (from _Harl.
Ms._ 6148, f. 117). Udall's verses are reprinted by Arber, _English
Garner_, 2, 52; parts of them published by Collier and Fairholt. Cf.
Cooper (XIII.), who dates the pageant 1532 (as does Ward, _Hist. Dram.
Poetry_, I. 141). This pageant shows Udall's earliest connection with
the revels, and may have given him a name at the side of Heywood.

[291] U. speaks later of the Eton mastership as "that roume which I was
neuer desirous to obtain."

[292] Cf. Arber, p. 3.

[293] Cf. Warton, _Hist. of English Poetry_, 3, 308; _Interdum etiam
exbibet_ [sc. _ludi magister_] _Anglico sermone contextas fabulas,
si quæ babeant acumen et leporem_. Eton was the only place where _we
know_ of _English_ plays; but Radulphus Radclif at Hitchin _may_ have
performed some of his school comedies in English, as the "plebs"
mentioned by Bale would not much have appreciated Latin performances,
_Catalogus_, 8, 98, fol. 700; Herford, _Literary Relations_, p. 110,
citing the occasional admission of English school plays at Eton, says
that to "this concession we owe the _Ralph Roister Doister_." More
likely we owe the concession to _Roister Doister_. Cf. Herford on
Udall's _De Papatu_.

[294] It seems improbable that the _R. D._ was ever performed at Court;
Udall's "interludes and devices" were pageants, as the _Loseley Mss._
prove; see below.

[295] Tusser's _500 Pointes_, ed. Payne & Heritage, p. 205.

[296] Cooper attributes to Udall's severity the running away
from school of "divers" Eton boys alluded to by Roger Ascham
(_Schoolmaster_). But this passage refers to 10 Dec. 1563, twenty-two
years after Udall had ceased to swing the rod over the Eton boys!

[297] Cf. quotation from Nicolas's _Proceedings and Ordinances of
the Privy Council_, 7, 152-53, in Cooper; the date is 14 March 32
Henry VIII. (1541-42) and _not_ 1543, as Arber gives it. Arber dates
Udall's letter also wrongly 1543; it is referred to 1541-42 in Ellis's
_Original Letters of Eminent Literary Men_, Camden Soc., 1843, P. 1.

[298] "Accepte this myn honest chaunge from vice to virtue, from
prodigalitee to frugall livyng, from negligence of teachyng to
assiduitee, from playe to studie, from lightness to gravitee." He
speaks about his "offenses," does not wish to excuse himself, but
says "humana quidem esse, et emendari posse." He begs for a chance
to show his "emendyng and reformac̄on," and quotes instances from
ancient history of great men who had indulged in a "veray riottous
and dissolute sorte of livyng" in their youth, had been "drowned in
voluptuousness" and had lived in "slaundre and infamie," but had
reformed. Not a word is said about thefts, "robberies," and such
"felonious trespasses." Cf. the whole letter from a new collation in
Flügel's _Lesebuch_, I, 351.

[299] U. does not beg in this letter for his "restitution," as Arber
seems to accept.

[300] Cf. Cooper, XXIII.

[301] Mars had "the rule" there October, 1542-July, 1543 (Froude, 3,
525-570), then again August, 1547 (Somerset in Berwick, Froude, 4,
288); the naval expedition of Hertford in May, 1544, being here out of
the question (_Ib._ 4, 32).

[302] This translation (published in September) might also indicate
some connection between Udall and Aldrich during the summer of
1542. Aldrich was a great "Erasmian"; he had been the _juvenis
blandæ eloquentiæ_ whom Erasmus used as interpreter on that immortal
pilgrimage to Walsingham, and he kept up a correspondence with Erasmus.

[303] Udall took as his share _St. Luk_ and the "disposition" of
the rest with exception of _St. John_ and _St. Mark_; perhaps he
assisted also in the translation of _Matthew_ and _Acts_. The Prefaces
are dated 1545, 1548. The whole must have been quite a lucrative
business-undertaking, because every parish in England had, by law, to
buy a copy of this work and "every parson had to have and diligently
study the same conferring the one [_the New Testament both in Latin and
English_] with the other [_the paraphrase_]." Cf. Cranmer's _Remains_,
155, 156 (1548); the Injunctions of Edward, 1547 (_Ib._ 499, 501),
etc.; cf. also Grindal's _Works_, 134, 157; Hooper's _Works_, 2, 139,
143 (_Parker Soc._).

[304] Cranmer too wrote "_Answers to the Fifteen Articles of the
Rebels_, Devon, Anno 1549," reprinted in his _Remains_, 163; and a
number of references to the Rebellion may be found in the writings
of the Reformers, f. i. _Letter of Hooper to Bullinger_, 25 June,
1549, _of John ab Ulmis to Bullinger_, May 28, 1550, of _Burcher to
Bullinger_, 25 August, 1549. But none of these correspondents ever
mention Udall.

[305] Cf. Cooper, XXX.

[306] An interesting letter of Udall's, dated August, 1552, referring
to his place at Windsor, was printed in _Archæologia_, 1869, Vol. XLII.
91, but has not hitherto been utilized for Udall's Biography. The
preface to a translation of T. Geminie's _Anatomy_ by Udall is dated
20 July, 1552; cf. Cooper, XXXI.; Udall's _Epistolæ et Carmina ad Gul.
Hormannum et ad Jo. Lelandum_, are quoted by Bale, etc., and given
under this year by Cooper (who reads: Hermannum). Hormann died 1535, as
vice-provost of Eton.

[307] This warrant was communicated to the Archæological Society,
December 9, 1824, by Mr. Bray (_Archæologia_, 21, 551), but not printed
until 1836 in the _Loseley Mss._, now first edited by A. J. Kempe; No.
31, p. 63.

[308] See below, under Date of the Early Edition of _R. D._ Another
early allusion to Udall as a playwright is that from Nichols's
_Progresses of Queen Elizabeth_, 3, 177, according to which "an English
play called _Ezekias_, made by Mr. Udall and handled by King's College
men only," was performed before Elizabeth August 8, 1564, at Cambridge;
see Cooper's Preface, xxxiii. Bale, who does not mention Udall as a
playwright in the edition 1548 of his _Catalogus_ (he mentions only
[Ochino's?] _Tragoedia de papatu_), says in the edition September,
1557, that Udall wrote "comœdias plures." There is nothing on Udall in
his _Supplement_ of 1559.

[309] It is remarkable that these documents should never have been
utilized for Udall's biography. Cf. the "Miscellaneous Extracts from
Various Accounts relating to the Office of the Revels," printed among
the _Loseley Mss._, p. 90. The Muniment Room of James More Molyneux at
Loseley House, Surrey, would furnish these and perhaps other documents
most valuable for Udall's History and that of the Early Drama.

The "scheme for an interlude, in which the persons of the drama were
to be _a King_, _a Knight_, _a Judge_, _a Preacher_, _a Scholar_, _a
Serving-man_," which Hazlitt (_Handbook_, 622) carelessly attributes to
Udall, is not connected with his name; cf. _Loseley Mss._, p. 64.

[310] These _may_ refer to another pageant, _l.c._

[311] No exact date given by Cooper, XXXIV. Hales gives good reasons
for the probability that Udall's mastership commenced in 1553; cf.
_Englische Studien_, 18, 421; cf. _ib._, a very interesting note on the
Terentian Plays, annually performed at the Westminster School. It seems
almost as if here, as well as at Eton, Udall's headmastership had some
significance for the history of the English school comedy.

[312] _Funerall Monuments_, ed. 1631, fol. 497.

[313] See above, p. 90, and notes.

[314] The Date of the First English Comedy, in _Englische Studien_, 18,
408-421.

[315] Professor Hales, in his essay on the date of _Roister_
(_Englische Studien_, 18, 419) quotes for these usury laws the
incomplete account of them in Craik's _History of British Commerce_, 1,
22, 231.

The law of 1545 (_so_ dated by Ruffhead; and not 1546) is far more
important on account of its clause about the "yearly interest" than of
that about the ten per cent.

[316] To Collier has been given the credit of first ("soon after 1820")
connecting Udall's name with _Roister Doister_, the unique copy of
which had been published by the finder, the Revᵈ. Thoˢ. Briggs, in
1818. But, in the first place, Collier could not have identified the
"ambiguous" letter in "Wilson's _Art of Logic_, printed by Richard
Grafton, 1551," as he says he did, since "The rule of Reason, contei
|| nyng the Arte of || Logique, set forth || in Englishe, || by Thomas
|| Vuilson. || _An._ M. D. LI. _does not contain the quotation from
Roister Doister_ (copy in the Bodleian kindly examined for me by
Professor Gayley), _neither does the edition of 1552_ (cf. Arber). On
folio 66 of the _third_ edition (1553) appears for the first time: "An
example of soche doubtful writing whiche by reason of poincting maie
haue double sense, and contrarie meaning, taken out of an entrelude
made by Nicolas Vdal." And, in the second place, Collier had been
anticipated, in part, for as early as 1748 reference had been made to
the passage from Wilson by Tanner, who writes (_Bibliotheca_, 8. n.):
In Thos. Wilson's _Logica_, p. 69 [it is _leaf_ 67 of edition 1567 in
my possession] _sunt quidem versus ambigui sensus ex Comœdia quadam
huius Nic. Udalli desumpti_.

[317] With this opinion, and that of p. 90, _n._ 4, contrast Fleay's
argument, _Hist. Stage_, pp. 59, 60. _Gen. Ed._

[318] Ward in _Dict. Nat. Biog._ 26, 332. Ward says that in Heywood's
Plays the "bridge had been built" to English Comedy. I think rather
that this bridge was a temporary structure, waiting to be replaced by
the more solidly planned work of a higher architect.

[319] These traits as well as the practical jokes would, of course, be
especially enjoyed by the Eton players and their youthful audience.

[320] Ward, _Hist. Dram. Lit._, 1, 157 (Lond.: 1899).

[321] Cf. the splendid essay on the Roman _Colax_ and Parasite in O.
Ribbeck's _Hist. of Roman Lit._ (_Stuttgart_, 1887), 1, 83 _sqq._

[322] "These lies are like their father--gross as a mountain, open,
palpable."--Shak., _1 Hen. IV._ 2, 4.

[323] Ward, _l.c._, calls Roister "a vain-glorious, cowardly blockhead,
of whom the Pyrgopolinices of Plautus is the precise prototype." That
his character has some fine points, modelled after the Terentian
Thraso, is shown in the notes (cf. especially the last scene).
Roister's character, indeed, is the least original of the play, but he
is not Udall's favourite figure. Udall did not spend as much labour on
him as on Merygreeke.

[324] This possible complication, which would have yielded a fine
scene, seems not to have occurred to Udall.

[325] In this respect even _Jack Juggler_ deserves credit. I find no
trace of Plautus and Terence in Heywood's plays.



                            ROISTER DOISTER

                                  BY

                            NICHOLAS UDALL



[The Persons of the Play

  RALPH ROYSTER DOYSTER, "_Miles_."[326]
  MATHEWE MERYGREEKE, _his friend_.
  GAWIN GOODLUCKE, _London Merchant, affianced to Custance_.
  TRISTRAM TRUSTY, _his friend_.
  DOBINET DOUGHTIE, _servant to Royster_.
  TOM TRUPENIE, _servant to Custance_.
  SYM SURESBY, _servant to Goodluck_.
  HARPAX _and other Musicians in Royster's service_.
  SCRIVENER.
  DAME CHRISTIAN CUSTANCE, _a wealthy widow_.
  MAGE MUMBLE CRUST, _her old nurse_.
  TIBET TALK APACE  }
  ANNOT ALYFACE     } _maids of Custance_.

                              _THE SCENE_

                             LONDON[327]]


FOOTNOTES:

[326] Cf. stage-direction, III, iii, 83, and Appendix _B_.

[327] St. Paul's is mentioned, II, iv, 40; Sym Suresby seems to
come directly from the landing place; the house of Custance might,
therefore, safely be located in the _City_ proper.



                            Roister Doister


                             The Prologue.

  What Creature is in health, eyther yong or olde,                  A ii
  But som mirth with modestie wil be glad to use
  As we in thys Enterlude shall now unfolde,
  Wherin all scurilitie we utterly refuse,
  Avoiding such mirth wherin is abuse:
  Knowing nothing more comendable for a mans recreation
  Than Mirth which is used in an honest fashion:                       7

  For Myrth prolongeth lyfe, and causeth health.
  Mirth recreates our spirites and voydeth pensivenesse,
  Mirth increaseth amitie, not hindring our wealth,
  Mirth is to be used both of more and lesse,
  Being mixed with vertue in decent comlynesse.
  As we trust no good nature can gainsay the same:
  Which mirth we intende to use, avoidyng all blame.                  14

  The wyse Poets long time heretofore,
  Under merrie Comedies secretes did declare,
  Wherein was contained very vertuous lore,
  With mysteries and forewarnings very rare.
  Suche to write neither _Plautus_[328] nor _Terence_ dyd spare,
  Whiche among the learned[329] at this day beares[330] the bell:[331]
  These with such other therein dyd excell.                           21

  Our Comedie or Enterlude which we intende to play.
  Is named Royster Doyster in deede.
  Which against the vayne glorious doth invey,
  Whose humour the roysting sort continually doth feede.
  Thus by your pacience we intende to proceede
  In this our Enterlude by Gods leave and grace,
  And here I take my leave for a certaine space.                      28

                                FINIS.


                          Actus. i. Scæna. i.

          MATHEWE MERYGREEKE. _He entreth singing._             A ii _b_

  As long lyveth the mery man (they say)[332]
  As doth the sory man, and longer by a day.
  Yet the Grassehopper for all his Sommer pipyng,
  Sterveth in Winter wyth hungrie gripyng,
  Therefore an other sayd sawe doth men advise,                        5
  That they be together both mery and wise.
  Thys Lesson must I practise, or else ere long,
  Wyth mee Mathew Merygreeke[333] it will be wrong.
  In deede men so call me, for by him that us bought,
  What ever chaunce betide, I can take no thought,                    10
  Yet wisedome woulde that I did my selfe bethinke
  Where to be provided this day of meate and drinke:
  For knowe[334] ye that for all this merie note of mine,
  He might appose[335] me now that should aske where I dine.
  My lyving lieth heere and there, of Gods grace,                     15
  Sometime wyth this good man, sometyme in that place,
  Sometime Lewis Loytrer[336] biddeth me come neere,
  Somewhyles Watkin Waster maketh us good cheere,
  Sometime Davy Diceplayer[337] when he hath well cast
  Keepeth revell route as long as it will last.                       20
  Sometime Tom Titivile[338] maketh us a feast,
  Sometime with sir Hugh Pye I am a bidden gueast,
  Sometime at Nichol Neverthrives I get a soppe,
  Sometime I am feasted with Bryan Blinkinsoppe,[339]
  Sometime I hang on Hankyn[340] Hoddydodies sleeve,                  25
  But thys day on Ralph Royster Doysters by hys leeve.
  For truely of all men he is my chiefe banker
  Both for meate and money, and my chiefe shootanker.[341]
  For, sooth Roister Doister in that he doth say,[342]
  And require what ye will ye shall have no nay.                      30
  But now of Roister Doister somewhat to expresse,                 A iii
  That ye may esteeme him after hys worthinesse,
  In these twentie townes and seke them throughout,
  Is not the like stocke, whereon to graffe a loute.
  All the day long is he facing[343] and craking[344]                 35
  Of his great actes in fighting and fraymaking:
  But when Roister Doister is put to his proofe,
  To keepe the Queenes[345] peace is more for his behoofe.
  If any woman smyle or cast on hym an eye,
  Up is he to the harde eares in love by and by,                      40
  And in all the hotte haste must she be hys wife,
  Else farewell hys good days, and farewell his life,
  Maister Raufe Royster Doyster is but dead and gon
  Excepte she on hym take some compassion,
  Then chiefe of counsell, must be Mathew Merygreeke,                 45
  What if I for mariage to suche an one seeke?
  Then must I sooth it, what ever it is:
  For what he sayth or doth can not be amisse,
  Holde up his yea and nay, be his nowne[346] white[347] sonne,
  Prayse and rouse him well, and ye have his heart wonne,             50
  For so well liketh he his owne fonde fashions
  That he taketh pride of false commendations.
  But such sporte have I with him as I would not leese,
  Though I should be bounde to lyve with bread and cheese.
  For exalt hym, and have hym as ye lust in deede:                    55
  Yea to hold his finger in a hole for a neede.
  I can with a worde make him fayne or loth,
  I can with as much make him pleased or wroth,
  I can when I will make him mery and glad,
  I can when me lust make him sory and sad,                           60
  I can set him in hope and eke in dispaire,
  I can make him speake rough, and make him speake faire.
  But I marvell I see hym not all thys same day,
  I wyll seeke him out: But loe he commeth thys way,
  I have yond espied hym sadly comming,                   A iii _b_   65
  And in love for twentie pounde, by hys glommyng.


                         Actus. i. Scæna. ii.

               RAFE ROISTER DOISTER. MATHEW MERYGREEKE.

  _R. Royster._ Come death when thou wilt, I am weary of my life.

  _M. Mery._ I tolde you I, we should wowe another wife.

  _R. Royster._ Why did God make me suche a goodly person?

  _M. Mery._ He is in[348] by the weke, we shall have sport anon.

  _R. Royster._ And where is my trustie friende Mathew Merygreeke?     5

  _M. Mery._ I wyll make as I sawe him not, he doth me seeke.

  _R. Roister._ I have hym espyed me thinketh, yond is hee,
      Hough Mathew Merygreeke my friend, a worde with thee.[349]

  _M. Mery._ I wyll not heare him, but make as I had haste,
      Farewell all my good friendes, the tyme away dothe waste,       10
      And the tide they say, tarieth for no man.

  _R. Roister._ Thou must with thy good counsell helpe me if thou can.

  _M. Mery._ God keepe thee worshypfull Maister Roister Doister,
      And fare well the lustie Maister Roister Doister.

  _R. Royster._ I muste needes speake with thee a worde or twaine.    15

  _M. Mery._ Within a month or two I will be here againe,
      Negligence in greate affaires ye knowe may marre all.

  _R. Roister._ Attende upon me now, and well rewarde thee I shall.

  _M. Mery._ I have take my leave, and the tide is well spent.

  _R. Roister._ I die except thou helpe, I pray thee be content,      20
      Doe thy parte wel nowe, and aske what thou wilt,
      For without thy aide my matter is all spilt.

  _M. Mery._ Then to serve your turne I will some paines take,
      And let all myne owne affaires alone for your sake.

  _R. Royster._ My whole hope and trust resteth onely in thee.        25

  _M. Mery._ Then can ye not doe amisse what ever it bee.

  _R. Royster._ Gramercies Merygreeke, most bounde to thee I am.    A iv

  _M. Mery._ But up with that heart, and speake out like a ramme,
      Ye speake like a Capon that had the cough now:
      Bee of good cheere, anon ye shall doe well ynow.                30

  _R. Royster._ Upon thy comforte, I will all things well handle.

  _M. Mery._ So loe, that is a breast to blowe out a candle.
      But what is this great matter I woulde faine knowe,
      We shall fynde remedie therefore I trowe.
      Doe ye lacke money? ye knowe myne olde offers,                  35
      Ye have always a key to my purse and coffers.

  _R. Royster._ I thanke thee: had ever man suche a frende?

  _M. Mery._ Ye gyve unto me: I must needes to you lende

  _R. Royster._ Nay I have money plentie all things to discharge.[350]

  _M. Mery_ [_aside_]. That knewe I ryght well when I made offer so
    large.                                                            40

  _R. Royster._ But it is no suche matter.[351]

  _M. Mery._ What is it than?
      Are ye in daunger of debte to any man?
      If ye be, take no thought nor be not afraide,
      Let them hardly[352] take thought how they shall be paide.

  _R. Royster._ Tut I owe nought.                                     45

  _M. Mery._ What then? fear ye imprisonment?

  _R. Royster._ No.

  _M. Mery._ No I wist ye offende not so,[353] to be shent.
      But if [y]e[354] had, the Toure coulde not you so holde,
      But to breake out at all times ye would be bolde.
      What is it? hath any man threatned you to beate?

  _R. Royster._ What is he that durst have put me in that heate?      50
      He that beateth me, by his armes,[355] shall well fynde,
      That I will not be farre from him nor runne behinde.

  _M. Mery._ That thing knowe all men ever since ye overthrewe,
      The fellow of the Lion which _Hercules_ slewe.[356]
      But what is it than?                                            55

  _R. Royster._ Of love I make my mone.

  _M. Mery._ Ah this foolishe a[357] love, wilt neare let us alone?
      But bicause ye were refused the last day,
      Ye said ye woulde nere more be intangled that way:
      "I would medle no more, since I fynde all so unkinde,"[358]

  _R. Royster._ Yea, but I can not so put love out of my minde.       60

  _Math. Mer._ But is your love tell me first, in any wise,     A iv _b_
      In the way of Mariage, or of Merchandise?
      If it may otherwise than lawfull be founde,
      Ye get none of my helpe for an hundred pounde.

  _R. Royster._ No by my trouth I would have hir to my Wife.          65

  _M. Mery._ Then are ye a good man, and God save your life,
      And what or who is she, with whome ye are in love?

  _R. Royster._ A woman whome I knowe not by what meanes to move.

  _M. Mery._ Who is it?

  _R. Royster._ A woman yond.

  _M. Mery._ What is hir name?

  _R. Royster._ Hir yonder.                                           70

  _M. Mery._ Who[359][?]

  _R. Royster._ Mistresse ah--

  _M. Mery._ Fy fy for shame[!]
      Love ye, and know not whome? but hir yonde, a Woman,
      We shall then get you a Wyfe, I can not tell whan.

  _R. Royster._ The faire Woman, that supped wyth us yesternyght--
      And I hearde hir name twice or thrice, and had it ryght.

  _M. Mery._ Yea, ye may see ye nere[360] take me to good cheere with
    you,                                                              75
      If ye had, I coulde have tolde you hir name now.

  _R. Royster._ I was to blame in deede, but the nexte tyme perchaunce:
      And she dwelleth in this house.

  _M. Mery._ What Christian Custance.

  _R. Royster._ Except I have hir to my Wife, I shall runne madde.

  _M. Mery._ Nay unwise perhaps, but I warrant you for madde.         80

  _R. Royster._ I am utterly dead unlesse I have my desire.

  _M. Mery._ Where be the bellowes that blewe this sodeine fire?

  _R. Royster._ I heare she is worthe a thousande pounde and more.

  _M. Mery._ Yea, but learne this one lesson of me afore,
      An hundred pounde of Marriage money doubtlesse,                 85
      Is ever thirtie pounde sterlyng, or somewhat lesse,
      So that hir Thousande pounde yf she be thriftie,
      Is muche neere[361] about two hundred and fiftie,
      Howebeit wowers and Widowes are never poore.

  _R. Royster._ Is she a Widowe?[362] I love hir better therefore.    90

  _M. Mery._ But I heare she hath made promise to another.

  _R. Royster._ He shall goe without hir, and[363] he were my brother.

  _M. Mery._ I have hearde say, I am right well advised,
      That she hath to Gawyn Goodlucke promised.

  _R. Royster._ What is that Gawyn Goodlucke?                     B i 95

  _M. Mery._ a Merchant man.

  _R. Royster._ Shall he speede afore me? nay sir by sweete Sainct Anne.
      Ah sir, Backare quod Mortimer to his sowe,[364]
      I wyll have hir myne owne selfe I make God a vow.
      For I tell thee, she is worthe a thousande pounde.

  _M. Mery._ Yet a fitter wife for your maship[365] might be founde: 100
      Suche a goodly man as you, might get one wyth lande,[366]
      Besides poundes of golde a thousande and a thousande,
      And a thousande, and a thousande, and a thousande,
      And so to the summe of twentie hundred thousande,
      Your most goodly personage is worthie of no lesse.[367]        105

  _R. Royster._ I am sorie God made me so comely doubtlesse,[368]
      For that maketh me eche where so highly favoured,
      And all women on me so enamoured.[369]

  _M. Mery._ Enamoured quod you? have ye spied out that?
      Ah sir, mary nowe I see you know what is what.                 110
      Enamoured ka?[370] mary sir say that againe,
      But I thought not ye had marked it so plaine.

  _R. Royster._ Yes, eche where they gaze all upon me and stare.

  _M. Mery._ Yea malkyn, I warrant you as muche as they dare.
      And ye will not beleve what they say in the streete,           115
      When your mashyp passeth by all such as I meete,
      That sometimes I can scarce finde what aunswere to make.
      Who is this (sayth one) sir _Launcelot du lake_?[371]
      Who is this, greate _Guy_[372] of Warwike, sayth an other?
      No (say I) it is the thirtenth _Hercules_ brother.             120
      Who is this? noble _Hector_ of _Troy_, sayth the thirde?
      No, but of the same nest (say I) it is a birde.
      Who is this? greate _Goliah_, _Sampson_, or _Colbrande_?[373]
      No (say I) but it is a brute[374] of the Alie[375] lande.
      Who is this? greate _Alexander_?[376] or _Charle le Maigne_?   125
      No, it is the tenth Worthie, say I to them agayne:
      I knowe not if I sayd well.

  _R. Royster._ Yes for so I am.

  _M. Mery._ Yea, for there were but nine worthies before ye
    came.                                                        B i _b_
      To some others, the third _Cato_[377] I doe you call.
      And so as well as I can I aunswere them all.                   130
      Sir I pray you, what lorde or great gentleman is this?
      Maister Ralph Roister Doister dame say I, ywis.
      O Lorde (sayth she than) what a goodly man it is,
      Woulde Christ I had such a husbande as he is.
      O Lorde (say some) that the sight of his face we lacke:[378]   135
      It is inough for you (say I) to see his backe.
      His face is for ladies of high and noble parages.[379]
      With whome he hardly scapeth great mariages.
      With muche more than this, and much otherwise.

  _R. Royster._ I can thee thanke that thou canst suche answeres
    devise:                                                          140
      But I perceyve thou doste me throughly knowe.

  _M. Mery._ I marke your maners for myne owne learnyng I trowe,
      But suche is your beautie, and suche are your actes,
      Suche is your personage, and suche are your factes,[380]
      That all women faire and fowle, more and less,                 145
      They[381] eye you, they lubbe[382] you, they talke of you
        doubtlesse,
      Your p[l]easant looke maketh them all merie,
      Ye passe not by, but they laugh till they be werie,
      Yea and money coulde I have[,] the truthe to tell,
      Of many, to bryng you that way where they dwell.               150

  _R. Royster._ Merygreeke for this thy reporting well of mee:

  _M. Mery._ What shoulde I else sir, it is my duetie pardee:

  _R. Royster._ I promise thou shalt not lacke, while I have a grote.

  _M. Mery._ Faith sir, and I nere had more nede of a newe cote.

  _R. Royster._ Thou shalte have one to morowe, and golde for to
    spende.                                                          155

  _M. Mery._ Then I trust to bring the day to a good ende.
      For as for mine owne parte having money inowe,
      I could lyve onely with the remembrance of you.
      But nowe to your Widowe whome you love so hotte.

  _R. Royster._ By cocke thou sayest truthe, I had almost forgotte.  160

  _M. Mery._ What if Christian Custance will not have you what?

  _R. Royster._ Have me? yes I warrant you,[383] never doubt of that,
    I knowe she loveth me, but she dare not speake.                 B ii

  _M. Mery._ In deede meete it were some body should it breake.

  _R. Royster._ She looked on me twentie tymes yesternight,          165
      And laughed so.

  _M. Mery._ That she coulde not sitte upright,

  _R. Royster._ No faith coulde she not.

  _M. Mery._ No even such a thing I cast.[384]

  _R. Royster._ But for wowyng thou knowest women are shamefast.
      But and she knewe my minde, I knowe she would be glad,
      And thinke it the best chaunce that ever she had.              170

  _M. Mery._ Too[385] hir then like a man, and be bolde forth to starte,
      Wowers never speede well, that have a false harte.

  _R. Royster._ What may I best doe?

  _M. Mery._ Sir remaine ye a while [here[386]]?
      Ere long one or other of hir house will appere.
      Ye knowe my minde.                                             175

  _R. Royster._ Yea now hardly[387] lette me alone.

  _M. Mery._ In the meane time sir, if you please, I wyll home,
      And call your Musitians,[388] for in this your case
      It would sette you forth, and all your wowyng grace,
      Ye may not lacke your instrumentes to play and sing.

  _R. Royster._ Thou knowest I can doe that.                         180

  _M. Mery._ As well as any thing.
      Shall I go call your folkes, that ye may shewe a cast?[389]

  _R. Royster._ Yea runne I beseeche thee in all possible haste.

  _M. Mery._ I goe.  _Exeat._

  _R. Royster._ Yea for I love singyng out of measure,
      It comforteth my spirites and doth me great pleasure.          185
      But who commeth forth yond from my swete hearte Custance?
      My matter frameth well, thys is a luckie chaunce.


                         Actus. i. Scæna iii.

  MAGE MUMBLE CRUST,[390] _spinning on the distaffe_. TIBET TALK APACE,
           _sowyng_. ANNOT ALYFACE, _knittyng_. R. ROISTER.

  _M. Mumbl._ If thys distaffe were spoonne[,] Margerie Mumblecrust[--]

  _Tib. Talk._[391] Where good stale ale is will drinke no water I
    trust.

  _M. Mumbl._ Dame Custance hath promised us good ale and white
  bread.[392]

  _Tib. Talk._ If she kepe not promise, I will beshrewe hir head:
                                                                B ii _b_
      But it will be starke nyght before I shall have done.            5

  _R. Royster_ [_aside_]. I will stande here a while, and talke with
    them anon,
      I heare them speake of Custance, which doth my heart good,
      To heare hir name spoken doth even comfort my blood.

  _M. Mumbl._ Sit downe to your worke Tibet like a good girle.

  _Tib. Talk._ Nourse medle you with your spyndle and your whirle,    10
      No haste but good, Madge Mumblecrust, for whip and whurre[393]
      The olde proverbe doth say, never made good furre.

  _M. Mumbl._ Well, ye wyll sitte downe to your worke anon, I trust.

  _Tib. Talk._ Soft fire maketh sweete malte,[394] good Madge
    Mumblecrust.

  _M. Mumbl._ And sweete malte maketh joly good ale for the nones.    15

  _Tib. Talk._ Whiche will slide downe the lane without any bones.
                                                         _Cantet._[395]
      Olde browne bread crustes must have much good mumblyng,
      But good ale downe your throte hath good easie tumbling.

  _R. Royster_ [_aside_]. The jolyest wench that ere I hearde, little
    mouse,--
      May I not rejoice that she shall dwell in my house?             20

  _Tib. Talk._ So sirrha, nowe this geare beginneth for to frame.

  _M. Mumbl._ Thanks to God, though your work stand stil, your tong
    is not lame

  _Tib. Talk._ And though your teeth be gone, both so sharpe and so fine
      Yet your tongue can renne on patins[396] as well as mine.

  _M. Mumbl._ Ye were not for nought named Tyb Talke apace.           25

  _Tib. Talk._ Doth my talke grieve you? Alack, God save your grace.

  _M. Mumbl._ I holde[397] a grote ye will drinke anon for this geare.

  _Tib. Talk._ And I wyll pray you the stripes for me to beare.

  _M. Mumbl._ I holde a penny, ye will drink without a cup.

  _Tib. Talk._ Wherein so ere ye drinke, I wote ye drinke all up.     30

  _An. Alyface._[398] By Cock and well sowed, my good Tibet Talke apace.

  _Tib. Talk._ And een as well knitte my nowne Annot Alyface.

  _R. Royster_ [_aside_]. See what a sort she kepeth that must be my
    wife[!]
      Shall not I when I have hir, leade a merrie life?

  _Tib. Talk._ Welcome my good wenche, and sitte here by me just.     35

  _An. Alyface._ And howe doth our old beldame here, Mage Mumblecrust?

  _Tib. Talk._ Chyde, and finde faultes, and threaten to complaine.

  _An. Alyface._ To make us poore girles shent to hir is small gaine.
                                                                   B iii

  _M. Mumbl._ I dyd neyther chyde, nor complaine, nor threaten.

  _R. Royster_ [_aside_]. It woulde grieve my heart to see one of them
    beaten.                                                           40

  _M. Mumbl._ I dyd nothyng but byd hir worke and holde hir peace.

  _Tib. Talk._ So would I, if you coulde your clattering ceasse:
      But the devill can not make olde trotte[399] holde hir tong.

  _An. Alyface._ Let all these matters passe, and we three sing a song,
      So shall we pleasantly bothe the tyme beguile now,              45
      And eke dispatche all our workes ere we can tell how.

  _Tib. Talk._ I shrew them that say nay, and that shall not be I.

  _M. Mumbl._ And I am well content.

  _Tib. Talk._ Sing on then by and by.

  _R. Royster_ [_aside_]. And I will not away, but listen to their song,
      Yet Merygreeke and my folkes tary very long.                    50

              TIB, AN, _and_ MARGERIE, _doe singe here_.

            Pipe mery Annot.[400] etc.
      Trilla, Trilla. Trillarie.
      Worke Tibet, worke Annot, worke Margerie.
      Sewe Tibet, knitte Annot, spinne Margerie.
      Let us see who shall winne the victorie.                        55

  _Tib. Talk._ This sleve is not willyng to be sewed I trowe,
      A small thing might make me all in the grounde to throwe.

                       _Then they sing agayne._

      Pipe merrie Annot. etc.
      Trilla. Trilla. Trillarie.
      What Tibet, what Annot, what Margerie.                          60
      Ye sleepe, but we doe not, that shall we trie.
      Your fingers be nombde, our worke will not lie.

  _Tib. Talk._ If ye doe so againe, well I would advise you nay.
      In good sooth one stoppe[401] more, and I make holy day.

                     _They singe the thirde tyme._

            Pipe Mery Annot. etc.                                     65
      Trilla. Trilla. Trillarie.
      Nowe Tibbet, now Annot, nowe Margerie.                   B iii _b_
      Nowe whippet[402] apace for the maystrie,
      But it will not be, our mouth is so drie.

  _Tib. Talk._ Ah, eche finger is a thombe to day me thinke,          70
      I care not to let all alone, choose it swimme or sinke.

                     _They sing the fourth tyme._

            Pipe Mery Annot. etc.
      Trilla. Trilla. Trillarie.
      When Tibet, when Annot, when Margerie.
      I will not, I can not, no more can I.                           75
      Then give we all over, and there let it lye.
                                     _Lette hir caste downe hir worke._

  _Tib. Talk._ There it lieth, the worste is but a curried cote[!][403]
      Tut I am used therto, I care not a grote.

  _An. Alyface._ Have we done singyng since? then will I in againe,
      Here I founde you, and here I leave both twaine. _Exeat._

  _M. Mumbl._ And I will not be long after: Tib Talke apace.

  _Tib. Talk._ What is yᵉ matter?

  _M. Mumbl._ [_looking at R._]. Yond stode a man al this space
      And hath hearde all that ever we spake togyther.

  _Tib. Talk._ Mary the more loute he for his comming hither.
      And the lesse good he can to listen maidens talke.              85
      I care not and I go byd him hence for to walke:
      It were well done to knowe what he maketh here away.[404]

  _R. Royster_ [_aside_]. Nowe myght I speake to them, if I wist what
    to say.

  _M. Mumbl._ Nay we will go both off, and see what he is.

  _R. Royster._ One that hath hearde all your talke and singyng ywis. 90

  _Tib. Talk._ The more to blame you, a good thriftie husbande[405]
      Woulde elsewhere have had some better matters in hande.

  _R. Royster._ I dyd it for no harme, but for good love I beare,
      To your dame mistresse Custance, I did your talke heare.
      And Mistresse nource I will kisse you for acquaintance.         95

  _M. Mumbl._ I come anon sir.

  _Tib. Talk._ Faith I would our dame Custance
      Sawe this geare.

  _M. Mumbl._ I must first wipe al cleane, yea I must.

  _Tib. Talk._ Ill chieue[406] it dotyng foole, but it must be cust.

                    [ROYSTER _kisses_ MUMBLECRUST.]

  _M. Mumbl._ God yelde[407] you sir, chad[408] not so much ichotte[408]
    not whan,
      Nere since chwas bore chwine, of such a gay gentleman.         100

  _R. Royster._ I will kisse you too[,] mayden[,] for the good will I
    beare you.                                                      B iv

  _Tib Talk._ No forsoth, by your leave ye shall not kisse me.

  _R. Royster._ Yes be not afearde, I doe not disdayne you a whit.

  _Tib. Talk._ Why shoulde I feare you? I have not so little wit,
      Ye are but a man I knowe very well.                            105

  _R. Royster._ Why then?

  _Tib. Talk._ Forsooth for I wyll not, I use not to kisse men.

  _R. Royster._ I would faine kisse you too good maiden, if I myght.

  _Tib. Talk._ What shold that neede?

  _R. Royster._ But to honor you by this light.
      I use to kisse all them that I love[,] to God I vowe.

  _Tib. Talk._ Yea sir? I pray you when dyd ye last kisse your
    cowe.[409]                                                       110

  _R. Royster._ Ye might be proude to kisse me, if ye were wise.

  _Tib. Talk._ What promotion were therein?

  _R. Royster._ Nourse is not so nice.[410]

  _Tib. Talk._ Well I have not bene taught to kissing and licking.

  _R. Royster._ Yet I thanke you mistresse Nourse, ye made no sticking.

  _M. Mumbl._ I will not sticke for a kosse with such a man as you.  115

  _Tib. Talk._ They that lust: I will againe to my sewyng now.

  _An. Alyfac_[_e_, _re-entering_]. Tidings hough, tidings, dame
    Custance greeteth you well.

  _R. Royster._ Whome me?

  _An. Alyface._ You sir? no sir? I do no suche tale tell.

  _R. Royster._ But and she knewe me here.

  _An. Alyface._ Tybet Talke apace,
      Your mistresse Custance and mine, must speake with your grace.

  _Tib. Talk._ With me?

  _An. Alyface._ Ye muste come in to hir out of all doutes.

  _Tib. Talk._ And my work not half done? A mischief on all loutes.
                                              _Ex_[_eant_] _am_[_bae_.]

  _R. Royster._ Ah good sweet nourse[!]

  _M. Mumb._ A good sweete gentleman[!]

  _R. Royster._ What?

  _M. Mumbl._ Nay I can not tel sir, but what thing would you?

  _R. Royster._ Howe dothe sweete Custance, my heart of gold, tell
    me[,] how?                                                       125

  _M. Mumbl._ She dothe very well sir, and commaunde me to you.

  _R. Royster._ To me?

  _M. Mumbl._ Yea to you sir.

  _R. Royster._ To me? nurse tel me plain
      To me?

  _M. Mumb._ Ye.

  _R. Royster._ That word maketh me alive again.

  _M. Mumbl._ She commaunde me to one last day who ere it was.

  _R. Royster._ That was een to me and none other by the Masse.      130

  _M. Mumbl._ I can not tell you surely, but one it was.

  _R. Royster._ It was I and none other: this commeth to good passe.
      I promise thee nourse I favour hir.

  _M. Mumb._ Een so sir.

  _R. Royster._ Bid hir sue to me for mariage.

  _M. Mumbl._ Een so sir.                                       B iv _b_

  _R. Royster._ And surely for thy sake she shall speede.            135

  _M. Mumb._ Een so sir.

  _R. Royster._ I shall be contented to take hir.

  _M. Mumb._ Een so sir.

  _R. Royster._ But at thy request and for thy sake.

  _M. Mumb._ Een so sir.

  _R. Royster._ And come hearke in thine eare what to say.

  _M. Mumb._ Een so sir.

     _Here lette him tell hir a great long tale in hir eare._[411]


                        Actus. i. Scæna. iiii.

      MATHEW MERYGREEKE. DOBINET DOUGHTIE. HARPAX [_and Musitians
    entering_]. RALPH ROYSTER. MARGERIE MUMBLECRUST [_still on the
                         scene, whispering_].

  _M. Mery._ Come on sirs apace, and quite your selves like men,
      Your pains shalbe rewarded.

  _D. Dou._ But I wot not when.

  _M. Mery._ Do your maister worship as ye have done in time past.

  _D. Dough._ Speake to them: of mine office he shall have a cast.

  _M. Mery._ _Harpax_,[412] looke that thou doe well too, and thy
    fellow.                                                            5

  _Harpax._ I warrant, if he will myne example folowe.

  _M. Mery._ Curtsie whooresons, douke you and crouche at every
    worde,

  _D. Dough._ Yes whether our maister speake earnest or borde.

  _M. Mery._ For this lieth upon his preferment in deede.

  _D. Dough._ Oft is hee a wower, but never doth he speede.           10

  _M. Mery._ But with whome is he nowe so sadly roundyng yond?

  _D. Dough._ With Nobs nicebecetur miserere[413] fonde.

  [_M._] _Mery_ [_approaching R. R._]. God be at your wedding, be ye
    spedde alredie?
      I did not suppose that your love was so greedie,
      I perceive nowe ye have chose[414] of devotion,                 15
      And joy have ye ladie of your promotion.

  _R. Royster._ Tushe foole, thou art deceived, this is not she.

  _M. Mery._ Well mocke[415] muche of hir, and keepe hir well I
    vise[416] ye.
      I will take no charge of such a faire piece keeping.

  _M. Mumbl._ What ayleth thys fellowe? he driveth me to weeping.     20

  _M. Mery._ What weepe on the weddyng day? be merrie woman,
      Though I say it, ye have chose a good gentleman.

  _R. Royster._ Kocks nownes[417] what meanest thou man[?] tut a
    whistle[418][!]

  [_M. Mery._][419] Ah sir, be good to hir, she is but a
    gristle,[420]                                                    C i
      Ah sweete lambe and coney.                                      25

  _R. Royster._ Tut thou art deceived.

  _M. Mery._ Weepe no more lady, ye shall be well received.
      Up wyth some mery noyse sirs, to bring home the bride.[421]

  _R. Royster._ Gogs armes knave, art thou madde? I tel thee thou
    art wide.[422]

  _M. Mery._ Then ye entende by nyght to have hir home brought.

  _R. Royster._ I tel thee no.                                        30

  _M. Mery._ How then?

  _R. Royster._ Tis neither ment ne thought.

  _M. Mery._ What shall we then doe with hir?

  _R. Royster._ Ah foolish harebraine,
      This is not she.

  _M. Mery._ No is?[423] why then unsayde againe,
      And what yong girle is this with your mashyp so bolde?

  _R. Royster._ A girle?

  _M. Mery._ Yea. I dare say, scarce yet three score yere old.        34

  _R. Royster._ This same is the faire widowes nourse of whome ye wotte.

  _M. Mery._ Is she but a nourse of a house? hence home olde trotte,
    Hence at once.

  _R. Royster._ No, no.

  _M. Mery._ What an please your maship
      A nourse talke so homely[424] with one of your worship?

  _R. Royster._ I will have it so: it is my pleasure and will.        39

  _M. Mery._ Then I am content. Nourse come againe, tarry still.

  _R. Royster._ What, she will helpe forward this my sute for hir part.

  _M. Mery._ Then ist mine owne pygs nie,[425] and blessing on my hart.

  _R. Royster._ This is our best friend[,] man[!]

  _M. Mery._ Then teach hir what to say[!]

  _M. Mumbl._ I am taught alreadie.

  _M. Mery._ Then go, make no delay.

  _R. Royster._ Yet hark one word in thine eare.                      45

  _M. Mery_ [_Dobinet, etc., press on Royster, who pushes them back_].
    Back sirs from his taile.

  _R. Royster._ Backe vilaynes, will ye be privie of my counsaile?

  _M. Mery._ Backe sirs, so: I tolde you afore ye woulde be shent.

  _R. Royster._ She shall have the first day a whole pecke of argent.

  _M. Mumbl._ A pecke?  _Nomine patris_ [_crossing herself_], have ye
    so much spare?[426]

  _R. Royster._ Yea and a carte lode therto, or else were it bare,    50
      Besides other movables, housholde stuffe and lande.

  _M. Mumbl._ Have ye lands too.

  _R. Royster._ An hundred marks.

  _M. Mery._ Yea a thousand.

  _M. Mumbl._ And have ye cattell too? and sheepe too?

  _R. Royster._ Yea a fewe.

  _M. Mery._ He is ashamed the numbre of them to shewe.
      Een rounde about him, as many thousande sheepe goes,            55
      As he and thou and I too, have fingers and toes.

  _M. Mumbl._ And how many yeares olde be you?

  _R. Royster._ Fortie at lest.

  _M. Mery._ Yea and thrice fortie to them.                      C i _b_

  _R. Royster._ Nay now thou dost jest.
      I am not so olde, thou misreckonest my yeares.                  59

  _M. Mery._ I know that: but my minde was on bullockes and steeres.

  _M. Mumbl._ And what shall I shewe hir your masterships name is?

  _R. Royster._ Nay she shall make sute ere she know that ywis.

  _M. Mumbl._ Yet let me somewhat knowe.

  _M. Mery._ This is hee[,] understand,
      That killed the blewe Spider[427] in Blanchepouder[428] lande.

  _M. Mumbl._ Yea _Jesus_[!] William[!] zee law[!] dyd he zo[?]
    law[!]                                                            65

  _M. Mery._ Yea and the last Elephant[429] that ever he sawe,
      As the beast passed by, he start out of a buske,[430]
      And een with pure strength of armes pluckt out his great tuske.

  _M. Mumbl._ _Jesus, nomine patris_ [_crossing herself_], what a thing
    was that?

  _R. Roister._ Yea but Merygreke one thing thou hast forgot.         70

  _M. Mery._ What?

  _R. Royster._ Of thother Elephant.

  _M. Mery._ Oh hym that fledde away.

  _R. Royster._ Yea.

  _M. Mery._ Yea he knew that his match was in place that day
      Tut, he bet the king of Crickets[431] on Christmasse day,
      That he crept in a hole, and not a worde to say.

  _M. Mumbl._ A sore man by zembletee.[432]                           75

  _M. Mery._ Why, he wrong a club
      Once in a fray out of the hande of Belzebub.

  _R. Royster._ And how when Mumfision?

  _M. Mery._ Oh your coustrelyng[433]
      Bore the lanterne a fielde so before the gozelyng.
      Nay that is to long a matter now to be tolde:
      Never aske his name Nurse, I warrant thee, be bolde,            80
      He conquered in one day from _Rome_, to _Naples_,
      And woonne Townes[,] nourse[,] as fast as thou canst make Apples.

  _M. Mumbl._ O Lorde, my heart quaketh for feare: he is to sore.

  _R. Royster._ Thou makest hir to much afearde, Merygreeke no more.
      This tale woulde feare my sweete heart Custance right evill.

  _M. Mery._ Nay let hir take him Nurse, and feare not the devill.    86
      But thus is our song dasht. [_To the musicians_] Sirs ye may
        home againe.

  _R. Royster._ No shall they not. I charge you all here to remaine:
      The villaine slaves[!] a whole day ere they can be founde.

  _M. Mery._ Couche on your marybones whooresons, down to the
    ground[!][434]                                                    90
      Was it meete he should tarie so long in one place
      Without harmonie of Musike, or some solace?                   C ii
      Who so hath suche bees as your maister in hys head,
      Had neede to have his spirites with Musike to be fed.
      By your maisterships licence [_picking something from his coat_].

  _R. Royster._ What is that? a moate?                                96

  _M. Mery._ No it was a fooles feather[435] had light on your coate.

  _R. Roister._ I was nigh no feathers since I came from my bed.

  _M. Mery._ No sir, it was a haire that was fall from your hed.

  _R. Roister._ My men com when it plese them.

  _M. Mery._ By your leve.

  _R. Roister._ What is that?

  _M. Mery._ Your gown was foule spotted with the foot of a gnat.    100

  _R. Roister._ Their maister to offende they are nothing afearde.
      What now?

  _M. Mery._ A lousy haire from your masterships beard.
      _Omnes famul_[_i_].[436] And sir for Nurses sake pardon this one
        offence.
      We shall not after this shew the like negligence.              104

  _R. Royster._ I pardon you this once, and come sing nere the wurse.

  _M. Mery._ How like you the goodnesse of this gentleman[,] nurse?

  _M. Mumbl._ God save his maistership that so can his men forgeve,
      And I wyll heare them sing ere I go, by his leave.

  _R. Royster._ Mary and thou shalt wenche, come we two will daunce.

  _M. Mumbl._ Nay I will by myne owne selfe foote the song perchaunce.

  _R. Royster._ Go to it sirs lustily.                               111

  _M. Mumbl._ Pipe up a mery note,
      Let me heare it playde, I will foote it for a grote.

                            _Cantent._[437]

  _R. Royster._ Now nurse take thys same letter here to thy mistresse.
      And as my trust is in thee plie my businesse.

  _M. Mumbl._ It shalbe done[!][438]                                 115

  _M. Mery._ Who made it?

  _R. Royster._ I wrote it ech whit.

  _M. Mery._ Then nedes it no mending.

  _R. Royster._ No, no.

  _M. Mery._ No I know your wit.
      I warrant it wel.

  _M. Mumb._ It shal be delivered.
      But if ye speede, shall I be considered?

  _M. Mery._ Whough, dost thou doubt of that?

  _Madge._ What shal I have?                                         119

  _M. Mery._ An hundred times more than thou canst devise to crave.

  _M. Mumbl._ Shall I have some newe geare? for my olde is all spent.

  _M. Mery._ The worst kitchen wench shall goe in ladies rayment.

  _M. Mumbl._ Yea?

  _M. Mery._ And the worst drudge in the house shal go better
      Than your mistresse doth now.

  _Mar._ Then I trudge with your letter. [_Exit._]

  _R. Royster._ Now may I repose me: Custance is mine owne.     C ii _b_
      Let us sing and play homeward that it may be knowne.           126

  _M. Mery._ But are you sure, that your letter is well enough?

  _R. Royster._ I wrote it my selfe.

  _M. Mery._ Then sing we to dinner.

                 _Here they sing, and go out singing._


                          Actus. i. Scæna. v.

               CHRISTIAN CUSTANCE. MARGERIE MUMBLECRUST.

  _C. Custance._ Who tooke[439] thee thys letter Margerie Mumblecrust?

  _M. Mumbl._ A lustie gay bacheler tooke it me of trust,
      And if ye seeke to him he will lowe[440] your doing.

  _C. Custance._ Yea, but where learned he that manner of wowing?

  _M. Mumbl._ If to sue to hym, you will any paines take,              5
      He will have you to his wife (he sayth) for my sake.

  _C. Custance._ Some wise gentlemen belike. I am bespoken:[441]
      And I thought verily thys had bene some token
      From my dere spouse[442] Gawin Goodluck, whom when him please
      God luckily sende home to both our heartes ease.                10

  _M. Mumbl._ A joyly[443] man it is I wote well by report,
      And would have you to him for marriage resort:
      Best open the writing, and see what it doth speake.

  _C. Custance._ At thys time nourse I will neither reade ne breake.

  _M. Mumbl._ He promised to give you a whole pecke of golde.         15

  _C. Custance._ Perchaunce lacke of a pynte when it shall be all tolde.

  _M. Mumbl._ I would take a gay riche husbande, and I were you.

  _C. Custance._ In good sooth Madge, een so would I, if I were
    thou.[444]
      But no more of this fond talke now, let us go in,
      And see thou no more move me folly to begin.                    20
      Nor bring mee no mo letters for no mans pleasure,
      But thou know from whom.

  _M. Mumbl._ I warrant ye shall be sure.


                   Actus. ii. Scæna i.[445]                      C [iii]

                           DOBINET DOUGHTIE.

  _D. Dough._ Where is the house I goe to, before or behinde?
      I know not where nor when nor how I shal it finde.
      If I had ten mens bodies and legs and strength,
      This trotting that I have must needs lame me at length.
      And nowe that my maister is new set on wowyng,                   5
      I trust there shall none of us finde lacke of doyng:
      Two paire of shoes a day will nowe be too litle
      To serve me, I must trotte to and fro so mickle.
      Go beare me thys token, carrie me this letter,
      Nowe this is the best way, nowe that way is better.             10
      Up before day sirs, I charge you, an houre or twaine,
      Trudge, do me thys message, and bring worde quicke againe,
      If one misse but a minute, then [H]is armes and woundes[446]
      I woulde not have slacked for ten thousand poundes.
      Nay see I beseeche you, if my most trustie page,                15
      Goe not nowe aboute to hinder my mariage,
      So fervent hotte wowyng, and so farre from wiving,
      I trowe never was any creature livyng,
      With every woman is he in some loves pang,
      Then up to our lute at midnight, twangledome twang,[447]        20
      Then twang with our sonets, and twang with our dumps,[448]
      And heyhough from our heart, as heavie as lead lumpes:
      Then to our recorder[449] with toodleloodle poope
      As the howlet out of an yvie bushe should hoope.
      Anon to our gitterne, thrumpledum, thrumpledum thrum,           25
      Thrumpledum, thrumpledum, thrumpledum, thrumpledum thrum.
      Of Songs and Balades also is he a maker,
      And that can he as finely doe as Iacke Raker,[450]       C iii _b_
      Yea and _extempore_ will he dities compose,
      Foolishe _Marsias_ nere made the like I suppose,                30
      Yet must we sing them, as good stuffe I undertake,
      As for such a pen man is well fittyng to make.
      Ah for these long nights, heyhow, when will it be day?
      I feare ere I come she will be wowed away.
      Then when aunswere is made that it may not bee,                 35
      O death why commest thou not? by and by[452] (sayth he)[;]
      But then, from his heart to put away sorowe,
      He is as farre in with some newe love next morowe.
      But in the meane season we trudge and we trot,
      From dayspring to midnyght, I sit not, nor rest not.            40
      And now am I sent to dame Christian Custance:
      But I feare it will ende with a mocke for pastance.[451]
      I bring hir a ring, with a token in a cloute,
      And by all gesse, this same is hir house out of doute.
      I knowe it nowe perfect, I am in my right way.                  45
      And loe yond the olde nourse that was wyth us last day.


                          Actus ii. Scæna ii.

                  MAGE MUMBLECRUST. DOBINET DOUGHTIE.

  _M. Mumbl_. I was nere so shoke[453] up afore since I was borne,
      That our mistresse coulde not have chid[453] I wold have sworne:
      And I pray God I die if I ment any harme,
      But for my life time this shall be to me a charme.

  _D. Dough._ God you save and see nurse, and howe is it with you?     5

  _M. Mumbl._ Mary a great deale the worse it is for suche as thou.

  _D. Dough._ For me? Why so?

  _M. Mumb._ Why wer not thou one of them, say,
      That song and playde here with the gentleman last day?

  _D. Dough._ Yes, and he would know if you have for him spoken.
      And prayes you to deliver this ring and token.                  10

  _M. Mumbl._ Nowe by the token that God tokened[,] brother,
      I will deliver no token one nor other.
      I have once ben so shent for your maisters pleasure,          C iv
      As I will not be agayne for all hys treasure.

  _D. Dough._ He will thank you woman.                                15

  _M. Mumbl._ I will none of his thanke. _Ex._

  _D. Dough._ I weene I am a prophete, this geare will prove blanke:[454]
      But what should I home againe without answere go?
      It were better go to _Rome_[455] on my head than so.
      I will tary here this moneth, but some of the house             20
      Shall take it of me, and then I care not a louse.
      But yonder commeth forth a wenche or a ladde,
      If he have not one Lumbardes touche,[456] my lucke is bad.


                        Actus. ii. Scæna. iii.

                TRUEPENIE. D. DOUGH. TIBET T. ANOT AL.

  _Trupeny._ I am cleane lost for lacke of mery companie,
      We gree not halfe well within, our wenches and I,
      They will commaunde like mistresses, they will forbyd,
      If they be not served, Trupeny must be chyd.
      Let them be as mery nowe as ye can desire,                       5
      With turnyng of a hande, our mirth lieth in the mire,
      I can not skill of such chaungeable mettle,
      There is nothing with them but in docke out nettle.[457]

  _D. Dough._ Whether is it better that I speake to him furst,
      Or he first to me, it is good to cast the wurst.                10
      If I beginne first, he will smell all my purpose,
      Otherwise I shall not neede any thing to disclose.

  _Trupeny._ What boy have we yonder? I will see what he is.

  _D. Dough._ He commeth to me. It is hereabout ywis.

  _Trupeny._ Wouldest thou ought friende, that thou lookest so about?

  _D. Dough._ Yea, but whether ye can helpe me or no, I dout.         16
      I seeke to one mistresse Custance house here dwellyng.

  _Trupenie._ It is my mistresse ye seeke too by your telling.

  _D. Dough._ Is there any of that name heere but shee?

  _Trupenie._ Not one in all the whole towne that I knowe
    pardee.                                                  C iv _b_ 20

  _D. Dough._ A Widowe she is I trow.

  _Trupenie._ And what and she be?

  _D. Dough._ But ensured to an husbande.

  _Trupenie._ Yea, so thinke we.

  _D. Dough._ And I dwell with hir husbande that trusteth to be.

  _Trupenie._ In faith then must thou needes be welcome to me,
      Let us for acquaintance shake handes togither,                  25
      And what ere thou be, heartily welcome hither.

  _Tib. Talk._ Well Trupenie never but flinging.[458]
                                                    [entering with AN.]

  _An. Alyface._ And frisking?

  _Trupenie._ Well Tibet and Annot, still swingyng and whiskyng?

  _Tib. Talk._ But ye roile abroade.

  _An. Alyface._ In the streete evere where.

  _Trupenie._ Where are ye twaine, in chambers when ye mete me there? 30
      But come hither fooles, I have one nowe by the hande,
      Servant to hym that must be our mistresse husbande,
      Byd him welcome.

  _An. Alyface._ To me truly is he welcome.

  _Tib. Talk._ Forsooth and as I may say, heartily welcome.

  _D. Dough._ I thank you mistresse maides.                           35

  _An. Alyface._ I hope we shal better know.

  _Tib. Talk._ And when wil our new master come.

  _D. Dough._ Shortly I trow.

  _Tib. Talk._ I would it were to morow: for till he resorte
      Our mistresse being a Widow hath small comforte,
      And I hearde our nourse speake of an husbande to day
      Ready for our mistresse, a riche man and a gay,                 40
      And we shall go in our frenche hoodes[459] every day,
      In our silke cassocks (I warrant you) freshe and gay,
      In our tricke[460] ferdegews and billiments of golde,[461]
      Brave[462] in our sutes of chaunge seven double folde,
      Then shall ye see Tibet sirs, treade the mosse so trimme,       45
      Nay, why sayd I treade? ye shall see hir glide and swimme,
      Not lumperdee clumperdee like our spaniell Rig.

  _Trupeny._ Mary then prickmedaintie[463] come toste me a fig.[464]
      Who shall then know our Tib Talke apace trow ye?

  _An. Alyface._ And why not Annot Alyface as fyne as she?            50

  _Trupeny._ And what had Tom Trupeny, a father or none?

  _An. Alyface._ Then our prety newe come man will looke to be one.

  _Trupeny._ We foure I trust shall be a joily mery knot.
      Shall we sing a fitte to welcome our friende, Annot?           D i

  _An. Alyface._ Perchaunce he can not sing.                          55

  _D. Dough._ I am at all assayes.[465]

  _Tib. Talk._ By cocke and the better welcome to us alwayes.

                           _Here they sing._

    A thing very fitte
    For them that have witte,
    And are felowes knitte
    Servants in one house to bee,                                     60
    Is fast fast for to sitte,
    And not oft to flitte,
    Nor varie a whitte,
    But lovingly to agree.
      No man complainyng,                                             65
    Nor other disdayning,
    For losse or for gainyng,
    But felowes or friends to bee.
    No grudge remainyng,
    No worke refrainyng,                                              70
    Nor helpe restrainyng,
    But lovingly to agree.

    No man for despite,
    By worde or by write
    His felowe to twite,                                              75
    But further in honestie,
    No good turnes entwite,[466]
    Nor olde sores recite,
    But let all goe quite,
    And lovingly to agree.                                            80
    After drudgerie,
    When they be werie,
    Then to be merie,
    To laugh and sing they be free
    With chip and cherie                                              85
    Heigh derie derie,
    Trill on the berie,[467]
    And lovingly to agree.

_Finis._

  _Tib. Talk._ Wyll you now in with us unto our mistresse go?

  _D. Dough._ I have first for my maister an errand or two.           90
      But I have here from him a token and a ring,
      They shall have moste thanke of hir that first doth it bring.

  _Tib. Talk._ Mary that will I.

  _Trupeny._ See and Tibet snatch not now.

  _Tib. Talk._ And why may not I sir, get thanks as well as you?
                                                               _Exeat._

  _An. Alyface._ Yet get ye not all, we will go with you both.        95
      And have part of your thanks be ye never so loth.
                                                      [_Exeant omnes._]
  _D. Dough._ So my handes are ridde of it: I care for no more.
      I may now return home: so durst I not afore. _Exeat._


                    Actus. ii. Scæna. iiii.                    D i _b_

              C. CUSTANCE. TIBET. ANNOT ALYFACE. TRUPENY.

  _C. Custance._ Nay come forth all three: and come hither pretie mayde:
      Will not so many forewarnings make you afrayde?

  _Tib. Talk._ Yes forsoth.

  _C. Custance._ But stil be a runner up and downe
      Still be a bringer of tidings and tokens to towne.

  _Tib. Talk._ No forsoth mistresse.                                   5

  _C. Custance._ Is all your delite and joy
      In whiskyng and ramping[468] abroade like a Tom boy.

  _Tib. Talk._ Forsoth these were there too, Annot and Trupenie.

  _Trupenie._ Yea but ye alone tooke it, ye can not denie.

  _Annot Aly._ Yea that ye did.

  _Tibet._ But if I had not, ye twaine would.

  _C. Custance._ You great calfe ye should have more witte, so ye
    should:                                                           10
      But why shoulde any of you take such things in hande.

  _Tibet._ Because it came from him that must be your husbande.

  _C. Custance._ How do ye know that?

  _Tibet._ Forsoth the boy did say so.

  _C. Custance._ What was his name?

  _An. Alyface._ We asked not.

  _C. Custance._ No?[469]

  _An. Aliface._ He is not farre gone of likelyhod.                   15

  _Trupeny._ I will see.

  _C. Custance._ If thou canst finde him in the streete bring him to me.

  _Trupenie._ Yes. _Exeat._

  _C. Custance._ Well ye naughty girles, if ever I perceive
      That henceforth you do letters or tokens receive,
      To bring unto me from any person or place,
      Except ye first shewe me the partie face to face,               20
      Eyther thou or thou, full truly abye[470] thou shalt.

  _Tibet._ Pardon this, and the next tyme pouder me in salt.

  _C. Custance._ I shall make all girles by you twaine to beware.

  _Tibet._ If ever I offende againe do not me spare.
      But if ever I see that false boy any more                       25
      By your mistreshyps licence I tell you afore
      I will rather have my cote twentie times swinged,
      Than on the naughtie wag not to be avenged.

  _C. Custance._ Good wenches would not so rampe abrode ydelly,
      But keepe within doores, and plie their work earnestly,    D ii 30
      If one would speake with me that is a man likely,
      Ye shall have right good thanke to bring me worde quickly.
      But otherwyse with messages to come in post
      From henceforth I promise you, shall be to your cost.
      Get you in to your work.                                        35

  _Tib. An._ Yes forsoth.

  _C. Custance._ Hence both twaine.
  And let me see you play me such a part againe.
                                              [_Exeant_ TIB. _and_ AN.]

  _Trupeny_ [_entering_]. Maistresse, I have runne past the farre ende
    of the streete,
      Yet can I not yonder craftie boy see nor meete.

  _C. Custance._ No?

  _Trupeny._ Yet I looked as farre beyonde the people.
      As one may see out of the toppe of Paules steeple.              40

  _C. Custance._ Hence in at doores, and let me no more be vext.

  _Trupeny._ Forgeve me this one fault, and lay on for the next.

  _C. Custance._ Now will I in too, for I thinke so God me mende,
      This will prove some foolishe matter in the ende. _Exeat._


                        Actus. [i]ii. Scæna. i.

                          MATHEWE MERYGREEKE.

  _M. Mery._ Nowe say thys againe: he hath somewhat to dooing
      Which followeth the trace of one that is wowing,
      Specially that hath no more wit in his hedde,
      Than my cousin Roister Doister withall is ledde.
      I am sent in all haste to espie and to marke                     5
      How our letters and tokens are likely to warke.
      Maister Roister Doister must have aunswere in haste
      For he loveth not to spende much labour in waste.
      Nowe as for Christian Custance by this light,
      Though she had not hir trouth to Gawin Goodluck plight,         10
      Yet rather than with such a loutishe dolte to marie,
      I dare say woulde lyve a poore lyfe solitarie,
      But fayne woulde I speake with Custance if I wist how
      To laugh at the matter, yond commeth one forth now.


                    Actus. iii. Scæna. ii.                    D ii _b_

               TIBET. M. MERYGREEKE. CHRISTIAN CUSTANCE.

  _Tib. Talk._ Ah that I might but once in my life have a sight
      Of him that made us all so yll shent by this light,
      He should never escape if I had him by the eare,
      But even from his head, I would it bite or teare.
      Yea and if one of them were not inowe,                           5
      I would bite them both off, I make God avow.

  _M. Mery._ What is he, whome this little mouse doth so threaten?

  _Tib. Talk._ I woulde teache him I trow, to make girles shent or
    beaten.

  _M. Mery._ I will call hir: Maide with whome are ye so hastie?

  _Tib. Talk._ Not with you sir, but with a little wag-pastie,        10
      A deceiver of folkes, by subtill craft and guile.

  _M. Mery._ I knowe where she is: Dobinet hath wrought some wile.

  _Tib. Talk._ He brought a ring and token which he sayd was sent
      From our dames husbande, but I wot well I was shent:
      For it liked hir as well to tell you no lies,                   15
      As water in hir shyppe, or salt cast in hir eies:
      And yet whence it came neyther we nor she can tell.

  _M. Mery._ We shall have sport anone: I like this very well.
      And dwell ye here with mistresse Custance faire maide?

  _Tib. Talk._ Yea mary doe I sir: what would ye have sayd?           20

  _M. Mery._ A little message unto hir by worde of mouth.

  _Tib. Talk._ No messages by your leave, nor tokens forsoth.

  _M. Mery._ Then help me to speke with hir.

  _Tibet._ With a good wil that.
      Here she commeth forth. Now speake ye know best what.

                         [CUSTANCE _enters_.]

  _C. Custance._ None other life with you maide, but abrode to skip?  25

  _Tib. Talk._ Forsoth here is one would speake with your
    mistresship.[471]

  _C. Custance._ Ah, have ye ben learning of mo messages now?

  _Tib. Talk._ I would not heare his minde, but bad him shewe it to you.

  _C. Custance._ In at dores.

  _Tib. Talk._ I am gon. _Ex._

  _M. Mery._ Dame Custance god ye save.

  _C. Custance._ Welcome friend Merygreeke: and what thing wold
    ye have?                                               D iii[472] 30

  _M. Mery._ I am come to you a little matter to breake.

  _C. Custance._ But see it be honest, else better not to speake.

  _M. Mery._ Howe feele ye your selfe affected here of late?

  _C. Custance._ I feele no maner chaunge but after the olde rate.
      But whereby do ye meane?                                        35

  _M. Mery._ Concerning mariage.
      Doth not love lade you?

  _C. Custance._ I feele no such cariage.[473]

  _M. Mery._ Doe ye feele no pangues of dotage? aunswere me right.

  _C. Custance._ I dote so, that I make but one sleepe all the night
      But what neede all these wordes?

  _M. Mery._ Oh Jesus, will ye see
      What dissemblyng creatures these same women be?                 40
      The gentleman ye wote of, whome ye doe so love,
      That ye woulde fayne marrie him, yf ye durst it move,
      Emong other riche widowes, which are of him glad,
      Lest ye for lesing of him perchaunce might runne mad,
      Is nowe contented that upon your sute making,                   45
      Ye be as one in election of taking.

  _C. Custance._ What a tale is this? that I wote of? whome I love?

  _M. Mery._ Yea and he is as loving a worme againe as a dove.
      Een of very pitie he is willyng you to take,
      Bicause ye shall not destroy your selfe for his sake.           50

  _C. Custance._ Mary God yelde his mashyp what ever he be,
      It is gentmanly spoken.

  _M. Mery._ Is it not trowe ye?
      If ye have the grace now to offer your self, ye speede.

  _C. Custance._ As muche as though I did, this time it shall not neede,
      But what gentman is it, I pray you tell me plaine,              55
      That woweth so finely?

  _M. Mery._ Lo where ye be againe,
      As though ye knewe him not.

  _C. Custance._ Tush ye speake in jest.

  _M. Mery._ Nay sure, the partie is in good knacking[474] earnest,
      And have you he will (he sayth) and have you he must.

  _C. Custance._ I am promised duryng my life, that is just.          60

  _M. Mery._ Mary so thinketh he, unto him alone.

  _C. Custance._ No creature hath my faith and trouth but one,
      That is Gawin Goodlucke: and if it be not hee,
      He hath no title this way what ever he be,               D iii _b_
      Nor I know none to whome I have such worde spoken.              65

  _M. Mery._ Ye knowe him not[,] you[,] by his letter and token[!]

  _C. Custance._ In dede true it is, that a letter I have,
      But I never reade it yet as God me save.

  _M. Mery._ Ye a woman? and your letter so long unredde.

  _C. Custance._ Ye may therby know what hast I have to wedde.        70
      But now who it is, for my hande I knowe by gesse.

  _M. Mery._ Ah well I say.

  _C. Custance._ It is Roister Doister doubtlesse.

  _M. Mery._ Will ye never leave this dissimulation?
      Ye know hym not.

  _C. Custance._ But by imagination,
      For no man there is but a very dolt and loute                   75
      That to wowe a Widowe woulde so go about.
      He shall never have me hys wife while he doe live.

  _M. Mery._ Then will he have you if he may, so mote I thrive,
      And he biddeth you sende him worde by me,
      That ye humbly beseech him, ye may his wife be,                 80
      And that there shall be no let in you nor mistrust,
      But to be wedded on Sunday next if he lust,
      And biddeth you to looke for him.

  _C. Custance._ Doth he byd so?

  _M. Mery._ When he commeth, aske hym whether he did or no?

  _C. Custance._ Goe say, that I bid him keepe him warme at home      85
      For if he come abroade, he shall cough me a mome.[475]
      My mynde was vexed, I shrew his head sottish dolt.

  _M. Mery._ He hath in his head[----][476]

  _C. Custance._ As much braine as a burbolt.[477]

  _M. Mery._ Well dame Custance, if he heare you thus play choploge.[478]

  _C. Custance._ What will he?                                        90

  _M. Mery._ Play the devill in the horologe.[479]

  _C. Custance._ I defye him loute.

  _M. Mery._ Shall I tell hym what ye say?

  _C. Custance._ Yea and adde what so ever thou canst, I thee pray,
      And I will avouche it what so ever it bee.

  _M. Mery._ Then let me alone we will laugh well ye shall see,
      It will not be long ere he will hither resorte.                 95

  _C. Custance._ Let hym come when hym lust, I wishe no better
    sport.
      Fare ye well, I will in, and read my great letter.
      I shall to my wower make answere the better. _Exeat._         D iv


                        Actus. iii. Scæna. iii.

                  MATHEW MERYGREEKE. ROISTER DOISTER.

  _M. Mery._ Nowe that the whole answere in my devise doth rest,
      I shall paint out our wower in colours of the best.
      And all that I say shall be on Custances mouth,
      She is author of all that I shall speake forsoth.
      But yond commeth Roister Doister nowe in a traunce.              5

  _R. Royster._ _Juno_ sende me this day good lucke and good chaunce.
      I can not but come see how Merygreeke doth speede.

  _M. Mery_ [_aside_]. I will not see him, but give him a jutte in
    deede.[480]
      I crie your mastershyp mercie[!] [_running hard into him_]

  _R. Royster._ And whither now?

  _M. Mery._ As fast as I could runne sir in post against you.        10
      But why speake ye so faintly, or why are ye so sad?

  _R. Royster._ Thou knowest the proverbe, bycause I can not be had.
      Hast thou spoken with this woman?

  _M. Mery._ Yea that I have.

  _R. Royster._ And what will this geare be?

  _M. Mery._ No so God me save.

  _R. Royster._ Hast thou a flat answer?                              15

  _M. Mery._ Nay a sharp answer.

  _R. Royster._ What

  _M. Mery._ Ye shall not (she sayth) by hir will marry hir cat.
      Ye are such a calfe, such an asse, such a blocke,
      Such a lilburne,[481] such a hoball,[482] such a lobcocke,[483]
      And bicause ye shoulde come to hir at no season,
      She despised your maship out of all reason.                     20
      Bawawe[484] what ye say (ko I) of such a jentman,
      Nay I feare him not (ko she) doe the best he can.
      He vaunteth him selfe for a man of prowesse greate,
      Where as a good gander I dare say may him beate.
      And where he is louted[485] and laughed to skorne,              25
      For the veriest dolte that ever was borne,
      And veriest lubber, sloven and beast,
      Living in this worlde from the west to the east:          D iv _b_
      Yet of himselfe hath he suche opinion,
      That in all the worlde is not the like minion.[486]             30
      He thinketh eche woman to be brought in dotage
      With the onely sight of his goodly personage:
      Yet none that will have hym: we do hym loute and flocke,[487]
      And make him among us, our common sporting stocke,
      And so would I now (ko she) save onely bicause,                 35
      Better nay (ko I) I lust not medle with dawes.
      Ye are happy (ko I) that ye are a woman,
      This would cost you your life in case ye were a man.

  _R. Royster._ Yea an hundred thousand pound should not save hir life.

  _M. Mery._ No but that ye wowe hir to have hir to your wife,        40
      But I coulde not stoppe hir mouth.

  _R. Royster._ Heigh how alas,

  _M. Mery._ Be of good cheere man, and let the worlde passe.[488]

  _R. Royster._ What shall I doe or say nowe that it will not bee.

  _M. Mery._ Ye shall have choice of a thousande as good as shee,
      And ye must pardon hir, it is for lacke of witte.               45

  _R. Royster._ Yea, for were not I an husbande for hir fitte?
      Well what should I now doe?

  _M. Mery._ In faith I can not tell.

  _R. Royster._ I will go home and die.

  _M. Mery._ Then shall I bidde toll the bell?

  _R. Royster._ No.

  _M. Mery._ God have mercie on your soule, ah good gentleman,
      That er ye shuld th[u]s dye for an unkinde woman,               50
      Will ye drinke once ere ye goe.

  _R. Royster._ No, no, I will none.

  _M. Mery._ How feele[489] your soule to God.

  _R. Royster._ I am nigh gone.

  _M. Mery._ And shall we hence streight?

  _R. Royster._ Yea.

  _M. Mery._ _Placebo dilexi._
      Maister [R]oister Doister will streight go home and die.
      _ut infra._[490]                                                54

  _R. Royster._ Heigh how, alas, the pangs of death my hearte do breake.

  _M. Mery._ Holde your peace for shame sir, a dead man may not speake.
      _Nequando_: What mourners and what torches shall we have?

  _R. Royster._ None.

  _M. Mery._ _Dirige._  He will go darklyng to his grave,
      _Neque, lux, neque crux, neque mourners, neque_ clinke,
      He will steale to heaven, unknowing to God I thinke.            60
      _A porta inferi_, who shall your goodes possesse?

  _R. Royster._ Thou shall be my sectour,[491] and have all more
    and lesse.                                                       E i

  _M. Mery._ _Requiem æternam._  Now God reward your mastershyp.
      And I will crie halfepenie doale for your worshyp.
      Come forth sirs, heare the dolefull newes I shall you tell.
                                            _Evocat servos militis._ 65
      Our good maister here will no longer with us dwell,
      But in spite of Custance, which hath hym weried,
      Let us see his mashyp solemnely buried.
      And while some piece of his soule is yet hym within,
      Some part of his funeralls let us here begin.                   70
      _Audiui vocem_, All men take heede by this one gentleman,
      Howe you sette your love upon an unkinde woman.
      For these women be all such madde pievishe elves,
      They will not be wonne except it please them selves.
      But in fayth Custance if ever ye come in hell,                  75
      Maister Roister Doister shall serve you as well.
      And will ye needes go from us thus in very deede?

  _R. Royster._ Yea in good sadnesse[!]

  _M. Mery._ Now Jesus Christ be your speede.
      Good night Roger olde knave, farewell Roger olde knave,
      Good night Roger[492] olde knave, knave knap.     _ut infra._[493]
      Pray for the late maister Roister Doisters soule,               81
      And come forth parish Clarke, let the passing bell toll.
      Pray for your mayster sirs, and for hym ring a peale.
                                                   _Ad servos militis._
      He was your right good maister while he was in heale.
      _Qui Lazarum_.                                                  85

  _R. Royster._ Heigh how.

  _M. Mery._ Dead men go not so fast
      _In Paradisum_.                                                 87

  _R. Royster._ Heihow.

  _M. Mery._ Soft, heare what I have cast.[494]

  _R. Royster._ I will heare nothing, I am past.

  _M. Mery._ Whough, wellaway.
      Ye may tarie one houre, and heare what I shall say,             90
      Ye were best sir for a while to revive againe,
      And quite them er ye go.

  _R. Royster._ Trowest thou so?

  _M. Mery._ Ye plain.

  _R. Royster._ How may I revive being nowe so farre past?

  _M. Mery._ I will rubbe your temples, and fette you againe at last.

  _R. Royster._ It will not be possible.                              95

  _M. Mery_ [_rubbing R.'s temples roughly_]. Yes for twentie pounde.

  _R. Royster._ Armes[!][495] what dost thou?

  _M. Mery._ Fet you again out of your sound[496]
      By this crosse ye were nigh gone in deede, I might feele
      Your soule departing within an inche of your heele.        E i _b_
      Now folow my counsell.

  _R. Royster._ What is it?

  _M. Mery._ If I wer you,
      Custance should eft seeke to me, ere I woulde bowe.            100

  _R. Royster._ Well, as thou wilt have me, even so will I doe.

  _M. Mery._ Then shall ye revive againe for an houre or two.

  _R. Royster._ As thou wilt I am content for a little space.

  _M. Mery._ Good happe is not hastie:[497] yet in space com[e]th
    grace,[498]
      To speake with Custance your selfe shoulde be very well,       105
      What good therof may come, nor I, nor you can tell.
      But now the matter standeth upon your mariage,
      Ye must now take unto you a lustie courage.[499]
      Ye may not speake with a faint heart to Custance,
      But with a lusty breast[500] and countenance,                  110
      That she may knowe she hath to answere to a man.

  _R. Royster._ Yes I can do that as well as any can.

  _M. Mery._ Then bicause ye must Custance face to face wowe,
      Let us see how to behave your selfe ye can doe.
      Ye must have a portely bragge after your estate.               115

  _R. Roister._ Tushe, I can handle that after the best rate.

  _M. Mery._ Well done, so loe, up man with your head and chin,
      Up with that snoute man: so loe, nowe ye begin,
      So, that is somewhat like, but[,] prankie[501] cote, nay[,]
        whan[!]
      That is a lustie brute,[502] handes under your side man:       120
      So loe, now is it even as it shoulde[503] bee,
      That is somewhat like, for a man of your degree.
      Then must ye stately goe, jetting[504] up and downe,
      Tut, can ye no better shake the taile of your gowne?
      There loe, such a lustie bragge it is ye must make.            125

  _R. Royster._ To come behind, and make curtsie, thou must som
    pains take.

  _M. Mery._ Else were I much to blame, I thanke your mastershyp[,][505]
      The lorde one day[--]all to begrime you with worshyp,
                                     [_M. pushes violently against R._]
      Backe sir sauce,[506] let gentlefolkes have elbowe roome,
      Voyde sirs, see ye not maister Roister Doister come?           130
      Make place my maisters. [_Knocks against R._]

  _R. Royster._ Thou justlest nowe to nigh.

  _M. Mery._ Back al rude loutes.                                   E ii

  _R. Royster._ Tush.

  _M. Mery._ I crie your maship mercy
      Hoighdagh, if faire fine mistresse Custance sawe you now,
      Ralph Royster Doister were hir owne I warrant you.

  _R. Royster._ Neare[507] an M by your girdle?[508]                 135

  _M. Mery._ Your good mastershyps
      Maistershyp, were hir owne Mistreshyps mistreshyps,
      Ye were take[509] up for haukes, ye were gone, ye were gone,
      But now one other thing more yet I thinke upon.

  _R. Royster._ Shewe what it is.

  _M. Mery._ A wower be he never so poore
      Must play and sing before his bestbeloves doore,               140
      How much more than you?

  _R. Royster._ Thou speakest wel out of dout.

  _M. Mery._ And perchaunce that woulde make hir the sooner come out.

  _R. Royster._ Goe call my Musitians, bydde them high apace.

  _M. Mery._ I wyll be here with them ere ye can say trey ace.[510]
                                                               _Exeat._

  _R. Royster._ This was well sayde of Merrygreeke, I lowe hys wit,  145
      Before my sweete hearts dore we will have a fit[,]
      That if my love come forth, that I may with hir talke,
      I doubt not but this geare shall on my side walke.
      But lo, how well Merygreeke is returned sence.

  _M. Mery_ [_returning with the musicians_]. There hath grown no
    grasse on my heele since I went hence,                           150
      Lo here have I brought that shall make you pastance.

  _R. Royster._ Come sirs let us sing to winne my deare love Custance.

                            _Cantent._[511]

  _M. Mery._ Lo where she commeth, some countenaunce to hir make.
      And ye shall heare me be plaine with hir for your sake.        154


                       Actus. iii. Scæna. iiii.

                CUSTANCE. MERYGREEKE. ROISTER DOISTER.

  _C. Custance._ What gaudyng[512] and foolyng is this afore my doore?

  _M. Mery._ May not folks be honest, pray you, though they be pore?

  _C. Custance._ As that thing may be true, so rich folks may be fooles,

  _R. Royster._ Hir talke is as fine as she had learned in schooles.

  _M. Mery._ Looke partly towarde hir, and drawe a little nere. E ii _b_

  _C. Custance._ Get ye home idle folkes.                              6

  _M. Mery._ Why may not we be here?
      Nay and ye will haze,[513] haze: otherwise I tell you plaine,
      And ye will not haze, then give us our geare againe.

  _C. Custance._ In deede I have of yours much gay things God save all.

  _R. Royster._ Speake gently unto hir, and let hir take all.         10

  _M. Mery._ Ye are to tender hearted: shall she make us dawes?
      Nay dame, I will be plaine with you in my friends cause.

  _R. Royster._ Let all this passe sweete heart and accept my
    service.[514]

  _C. Custance._ I will not be served with a foole in no wise,
      When I choose an husbande I hope to take a man.                 15

  _M. Mery._ And where will ye finde one which can doe that he can?
      Now thys man towarde you being so kinde,
      You not to make him an answere somewhat to his minde.

  _C. Custance._ I sent him a full answere by you dyd I not?

  _M. Mery._ And I reported it.                                       20

  _C. Custance._ Nay I must speake it againe.

  _R. Royster._ No no, he tolde it all.

  _M. Mery._ Was I not metely plaine?

  _R. Royster._ Yes.

  _M. Mery._ But I would not tell all, for faith if I had
      With you dame Custance ere this houre it had been bad,
      And not without cause: for this goodly personage,
      Ment no lesse than to joyne with you in mariage.                25

  _C. Custance._ Let him wast no more labour nor sute about me.

  _M. Mery._ Ye know not where your preferment lieth I see,
      He sending you such a token, ring and letter.

  _C. Custance._ Mary here it is, ye never sawe a better.

  _M. Mery._ Let us see your letter.                                  30

  _C. Custance._ Holde, reade it if ye can.
      And see what letter it is to winne a woman.

  _M. Mery_ [_takes the letter and reads_]. To mine owne deare coney
    birde, swete heart, and pigsny
      Good Mistresse Custance present these by and by,
      Of this superscription do ye blame the stile?

  _C. Custance._ With the rest as good stuffe as ye redde a great
    while.                                                            35

  _M. Mery._ Sweete mistresse where as I love you nothing at all,[515]
      Regarding your substance and richesse chiefe of all,
      For your personage, beautie, demeanour and wit,
      I commende me unto you never a whit.                         E iii
      Sorie to heare report of your good welfare.                     40
      For (as I heare say) suche your conditions are,
      That ye be worthie favour of no living man,
      To be abhorred of every honest man.
      To be taken for a woman enclined to vice.
      Nothing at all to Vertue gyving hir due price.                  45
      Wherfore concerning mariage, ye are thought
      Suche a fine Paragon, as nere honest man bought.
      And nowe by these presentes I do you advertise
      That I am minded to marrie you in no wise.
      For your goodes and substance, I coulde bee content             50
      To take you as ye are.  If ye mynde to bee my wyfe,
      Ye shall be assured for the tyme of my lyfe,
      I will keepe ye ryght well, from good rayment and fare,
      Ye shall not be kepte but in sorowe and care.
      Ye shall in no wyse lyve at your owne libertie,                 55
      Doe and say what ye lust, ye shall never please me,
      But when ye are mery, I will be all sadde,
      When ye are sory, I will be very gladde.
      When ye seeke your heartes ease, I will be unkinde,
      At no tyme, in me shall ye muche gentlenesse finde.             60
      But all things contrary to your will and minde,
      Shall be done: otherwise I wyll not be behinde
      To speake. And as for all them that woulde do you wrong
      I will so helpe and mainteyne, ye[516] shall not lyve long.
      Nor any foolishe dolte, shall cumbre you but I.[517]            65
      I, who ere say nay, wyll sticke by you tyll I die,
      Thus good mistresse Custance, the lorde you save and kepe,
      From me Roister Doister, whether I wake or slepe.
      Who favoureth you no lesse, (ye may be bolde)
      Than this letter purporteth, which ye have unfolde.             70

  _C. Custance._ Howe by this letter of love? is it not fine?

  _R. Royster._ By the armes of Caleys[518] it is none of myne.

  _M. Mery._ Fie you are fowle to blame this is your owne hand. E iii _b_

  _C. Custance._ Might not a woman be proude of such an husbande?

  _M. Mery._ Ah that ye would in a letter shew such despite.          75

  _R. Royster._ Oh I would I had hym here, the which did it endite.

  _M. Mery._ Why ye made it your selfe ye tolde me by this light.

  _R. Royster._ Yea I ment I wrote it myne owne selfe yesternight.

  _C. Custance._ Ywis sir, I would not have sent you such a mocke.

  _R. Royster._ Ye may so take it, but I ment it not so by cocke.     80

  _M. Mery._ Who can blame this woman to fume and frette and
    rage?
      Tut, tut, your selfe nowe have marde your owne marriage.
      Well, yet mistresse Custance, if ye can this remitte,
      This gentleman other wise may your love requitte.               84

  _C. Custance._ No God be with you both, and seeke[519] no more to me.
                                                               _Exeat._

  _R. Royster._ Wough, she is gone for ever, I shall hir no more see.

  _M. Mery._ What weepe? fye for shame, and blubber? for manhods sake,
      Never lette your foe so muche pleasure of you take.
      Rather play the mans parte, and doe love refraine.
      If she despise you een despise ye hir againe.                   90

  _R. Royster._ By gosse[520] and for thy sake I defye hir in deede.

  _M. Mery._ Yea and perchaunce that way ye shall much sooner speede,
      For one madde propretie these women have in fey,
      When ye will, they will not: Will not ye, then will they.
      Ah foolishe woman, ah moste unluckie Custance,                  95
      Ah unfortunate woman, ah pievishe Custance,
      Art thou to thine harmes so obstinately bent,
      That thou canst not see where lieth thine high preferment?
      Canst thou not lub[521] dis man, which coulde lub dee so well?
      Art thou so much thine own foe[?]                              100

  _R. Royster._ Thou dost the truth tell.

  _M. Mery._ Wel I lament.

  _R. Royster._ So do I.

  _M. Mery._ Wherfor?

  _R. Royster._ For this thing
      Bicause she is gone.

  _M. Mery._ I mourne for an other thing.

  _R. Royster._ What is it Merygreeke, wherfore thou dost griefe take?

  _M. Mery._ That I am not a woman myselfe for your sake,
      I would have you my selfe, and a strawe for yond Gill,         105
      And mocke[522] much of you though it were against my will.
      I would not I warrant you, fall in such a rage,               E iv
      As so to refuse suche a goodly personage.

  _R. Royster._ In faith I heartily thanke thee Merygreeke.

  _M. Mery._ And I were a woman.                                     110

  _R. Royster._ Thou wouldest to me seeke.

  _M. Mery._ For though I say it, a goodly person ye bee.

  _R. Royster._ No, no.

  _M. Mery._ Yes a goodly man as ere I dyd see.

  _R. Royster._ No, I am a poore homely man as God made mee.

  _M. Mery._ By the faith that I owe to God sir, but ye bee.
      Woulde I might for your sake, spend a thousande pound land.    115

  _R. Royster._ I dare say thou wouldest have me to thy husbande.

  _M. Mery._ Yea: And I were the fairest lady in the shiere,
  And knewe you as I know you, and see you nowe here.
  Well I say no more.

  _R. Royster._ Grammercies with all my hart.

  _M. Mery._ But since that can not be, will ye play a wise parte?   120

  _R. Royster._ How should I?

  _M. Mery._ Refraine[523] from Custance a while now.
      And I warrant hir soone right glad to seeke to you,
      Ye shall see hir anon come on hir knees creeping.
      And pray you to be good to hir salte teares weeping.

  _R. Royster._ But what and she come not?                           125

  _M. Mery._ In faith then farewel she.
      Or else if ye be wroth, ye may avenged be.

  _R. Royster._ By cocks precious potsticke, and een so I shall.
      I wyll utterly destroy hir, and house and all,
      But I woulde be avenged in the meane space,
      On that vile scribler, that did my wowyng disgrace.            130

  _M. Mery._ Scribler (ko you) in deede he is worthy no lesse.
      I will call hym to you, and ye bidde me doubtlesse.

  _R. Royster._ Yes, for although he had as many lives,
      As a thousande widowes, and a thousande wives,
      As a thousande lyons, and a thousand rattes,                   135
      A thousande wolves, and a thousande cattes,
      A thousande bulles, and a thousande calves,
      And a thousande legions divided in halves,
      He shall never scape death on my swordes point,
      Though I shoulde be torne therfore joynt by joynt.             140

  _M. Mery._ Nay, if ye will kyll him, I will not fette him,    E iv _b_
      I will not in so muche extremitie sette him,
      He may yet amende sir, and be an honest man,
      Therefore pardon him good soule, as muche as ye can.

  _R. Royster._ Well, for thy sake, this once with his lyfe he shall
    passe,                                                           145
      But I wyll hewe hym all to pieces by the Masse.

  _M. Mery._ Nay fayth ye shall promise that he shall no harme have,
      Else I will not set him.

  _R. Royster._ I shall so God me save.
      But I may chide him a good.[524]

  _M. Mery._ Yea that do hardely.

  _R. Royster._ Go then.                                             150

  _M. Mery._ I returne, and bring him to you by and by. _Ex._


                          Actus iii. Scæna v.

            ROISTER DOISTER. MATHEWE MERYGREEKE. SCRIVENER.

  _R. Royster._ What is a gentleman but his worde and his promise?
      I must nowe save this vilaines lyfe in any wife,
      And yet at hym already my handes doe tickle,
      I shall uneth holde them, they wyll be so fickle.
      But lo and Merygreeke have not brought him sens?                 5

  _M. Mery_ [_entering with the Scriv._]. Nay I woulde I had of my
    purse payde fortie pens.

  _Scrivener._ So woulde I too: but it needed not that stounde,

  _M. Mery._ But the jentman[525] had rather spent five thousande
    pounde,
      For it disgraced him at least five tymes so muche.

  _Scrivener._ He disgraced hym selfe, his loutishnesse is suche.     10

  _R. Royster._ Howe long they stande prating? Why comst thou not away?

  _M. Mery._ Come nowe to hymselfe, and hearke what he will say.

  _Scrivener._ I am not afrayde in his presence to appeere.

  _R. Royster._ Arte thou come felow?

  _Scrivener._ How thinke you? am I not here?                         14

  _R. Royster._ What hindrance hast thou done me, and what villanie?

  _Scrivener._ It hath come of thy selfe, if thou hast had any.

  _R. Royster._ All the stocke thou comest of later or rather,[526]
      From thy fyrst fathers grandfathers fathers father,
      Nor all that shall come of thee to the worldes ende,           F i
      Though to three score generations they descende,                20
      Can be able to make me a just recompense,
      For this trespasse of thine and this one offense.

  _Scrivener._ Wherin?

  _R. Royster._ Did not you make me a letter brother?[527]

  _Scrivener._ Pay the like hire, I will make you suche an other.

  _R. Royster._ Nay see and these whooreson Phariseys and Scribes     25
      Doe not get their livyng by polling[528] and bribes.[529]
      If it were not for shame
                           [_advances towards the Scr. to strike him._]

  _Scrivener_[530]. Nay holde thy hands still.

  _M. Mery._ Why[,] did ye not promise that ye would not him spill?

  _Scrivener_ [_prepares to fight_]. Let him not spare me.
                                                         [_Strikes R._]

  _R. Royster._ Why wilt thou strike me again?

  _Scrivener._ Ye shall have as good as ye bring of me that is plaine. 30

  _M. Mery._ I can not blame him sir, though your blowes wold him greve.
      For he knoweth present death to ensue of all ye geve.

  _R. Royster._ Well, this man for once hath purchased thy pardon.

  _Scrivener._ And what say ye to me? or else I will be gon.

  _R. Royster._ I say the letter thou madest me was not good.         35

  _Scrivener._ Then did ye wrong copy it of likelyhood.

  _R. Royster._ Yes, out of thy copy worde for worde I wrote.

  _Scrivener._ Then was it as ye prayed to have it I wote,
      But in reading and pointyng there was made some faulte.

  _R. Royster._ I wote not, but it made all my matter to haulte.      40

  _Scrivener._ How say you, is this mine originall or no?

  _R. Royster._ The selfe same that I wrote out of, so mote I go.

  _Scrivener._ Loke you on your owne fist,[531] and I will looke on
    this.
      And let this man be judge whether I reade amisse.
      To myne owne dere coney birde, sweete heart, and pigsny,[532]   45
      Good mistresse Custance, present these by and by.
      How now? doth not this superscription agree?

  _R. Royster._ Reade that is within, and there ye shall the fault see.

  _Scrivener._ Sweete mistresse, where as I love you, nothing at all
      Regarding your richesse and substance: chiefe of all            50
      For your personage, beautie, demeanour and witte
      I commende me unto you: Never a whitte
      Sory to heare reporte of your good welfare.                F i _b_
      For (as I heare say) suche your conditions are,
      That ye be worthie favour: of no living man                     55
      To be abhorred: of every honest man
      To be taken for a woman enclined to vice
      Nothing at all: to vertue giving hir due price.
      Wherefore concerning mariage, ye are thought
      Suche a fine Paragon, as nere honest man bought.                60
      And nowe by these presents I doe you advertise,
      That I am minded to marrie you: In no wyse
      For your goodes and substance: I can be content
      To take you as you are: yf ye will be my wife,
      Ye shall be assured for the time of my life,                    65
      I wyll keepe you right well: from good raiment and fare,
      Ye shall not be kept: but in sorowe and care
      Ye shall in no wyse lyve: at your owne libertie,
      Doe and say what ye lust: ye shall never please me
      But when ye are merrie: I will bee all sadde                    70
      When ye are sorie: I wyll be very gladde
      When ye seeke your heartes ease: I will be unkinde
      At no time: in me shall ye muche gentlenesse finde.
      But all things contrary to your will and minde
      Shall be done otherwise: I wyll not be behynde                  75
      To speake: And as for all they that woulde do you wrong,
      (I wyll so helpe and maintayne ye) shall not lyve long.
      Nor any foolishe dolte shall cumber you, but I,
      I, who ere say nay, wyll sticke by you tyll I die.
      Thus good mistresse Custance, the lorde you save and kepe.      80
      From me Roister Doister, whether I wake or slepe,
      Who favoureth you no lesse, (ye may be bolde)
      Than this letter purporteth, which ye have unfolde.
      Now sir, what default can ye finde in this letter?

  _R. Royster._ Of truth in my mynde there can not be a better.       85

  _Scrivener._ Then was the fault in readyng, and not in writyng,
      No nor I dare say in the fourme of endityng,                  F ii
      But who read this letter, that it sounded so nought?

  _M. Mery._ I redde it in deede.

  _Scrivener._ Ye red it not as ye ought.

  _R. Royster._ Why thou wretched villaine was all this same fault in
    thee? [_Advances angrily against M._]                             90

  _M. Mery_ [_strikes R._]. I knocke your costarde[533] if ye offer to
  strike me.

  _R. Royster._ Strikest thou in deede? and I offer but in jest?

  _M. Mery._ Yea and rappe you againe except ye can sit in rest.
      And I will no longer tarie here me beleve.

  _R. Royster._ What wilt thou be angry, and I do thee forgeve?       95
      Fare thou well scribler, I crie thee mercie in deede.

  _Scrivener._ Fare ye well bibbler, and worthily may ye speede.

  _R. Royster._ If it were an other but thou, it were a knave.

  _M. Mery._ Ye are an other your selfe sir, the lorde us both save,
      Albeit in this matter I must your pardon crave,                100
      Alas woulde ye wyshe in me the witte that ye have?
      But as for my fault I can quickely amende,
      I will shewe Custance it was I that did offende.

  _R. Royster._ By so doing hir anger may be reformed.

  _M. Mery._ But if by no entreatie she will be turned,              105
      Then sette lyght by hir and bee as testie as shee,
      And doe your force upon hir with extremitie.

  _R. Roister._ Come on therefore lette us go home in sadnesse.

  _M. Mery._ That if force shall neede all may be in a readinesse,[534]
      And as for thys letter hardely[535] let all go,                110
      We wyll know where[536] she refuse you for that or no.
                                                     _Exeant am_[_bo._]


                         Actus iiii. Scæna i.

                             SYM SURESBY.

  _Sim Sure._ Is there any man but I Sym Suresby alone,
      That would have taken such an enterprise him upon,
      In suche an outragious tempest as this was.
      Suche a daungerous gulfe of the sea to passe.             F ii _b_
      I thinke verily _Neptunes_ mightie godshyp,                      5
      Was angry with some that was in our shyp,
      And but for the honestie which in me he founde,
      I thinke for the others sake we had bene drownde.
      But fye on that servant which for his maisters wealth[537]
      Will sticke for to hazarde both his lyfe and his health.        10
      My maister Gawyn Goodlucke after me a day
      Bicause of the weather, thought best hys shyppe to stay,
      And now that I have the rough sourges so well past,
      God graunt I may finde all things safe here at last.
      Then will I thinke all my travaile well spent.                  15
      Nowe the first poynt wherfore my maister hath me sent
      Is to salute dame Christian Custance his wife[538]
      Espoused: whome he tendreth no lesse than his life,
      I must see how it is with hir well or wrong,
      And whether for him she doth not now thinke long:               20
      Then to other friendes I have a message or tway,
      And then so to returne and mete him on the way.
      Now wyll I goe knocke that I may dispatche with speede,
      But loe forth commeth hir selfe happily in deede.


                         Actus iiii. Scæna ii.

                   CHRISTIAN CUSTANCE. SIM. SURESBY.

  _C. Custance._ I come to see if any more stirryng be here,
      But what straunger is this, which doth to me appere?

  _Sym Surs._ I will speake to hir: Dame the lorde you save and see.

  _C. Custance._ What friende Sym Suresby? Forsoth right welcome ye be,
      Howe doth mine owne Gawyn Goodlucke, I pray the tell?            5

  _S. Suresby._ When he knoweth of your health he will be perfect well.

  _C. Custance._ If he have perfect helth, I am as I would be.     F iii

  _Sim. Sure._ Suche newes will please him well, this is as it should
    be.

  _C. Custance._ I thinke now long for him.

  _Sym Sure._ And he as long for you.                                 10

  _C. Custance._ When wil he be at home?

  _Sym Sure._ His heart is here een now
      His body commeth after.

  _C. Custance._ I woulde see that faine.

  _Sim Sure._ As fast as wynde and sayle can cary it a maine.
      But what two men are yonde comming hitherwarde?

  _C. Custance._ Now I shrew their best Christmasse chekes[539] both
    togetherward.                                                     14


                       Actus. iiii. Scæna. iii.

   CHRISTIAN CUSTANCE. SYM SURESBY. RALPH ROISTER. MATHEW MERYGREKE.
                               TRUPENY.

  _C. Custance._ What meane these lewde felowes thus to trouble me stil?
      Sym Suresby here perchance shal therof deme som yll.
      And shall su[s]pect[540] in me some point of naughtinesse,
      And they come hitherward.

  _Sim Sure._ What is their businesse?

  _C. Custance._ I have nought to them, nor they to me in sadnesse     5

  _Sim Sure._ Let us hearken them, somewhat there is I feare it.

  _R. Royster._ I will speake out aloude best, that she may heare it.

  _M. Mery._ Nay alas, ye may so feare hir out of hir wit.

  _R. Royster._ By the crosse of my sworde, I will hurt hir no whit.

  _M. Mery._ Will ye doe no harme in deede, shall I trust your worde? 10

  _R. Royster._ By Roister Doisters fayth I will speake but in borde.

  _Sim Sure._ Let us hearken them, somwhat there is I feare it.

  _R. Royster._ I will speake out aloude, I care not who heare it:
      Sirs, see that my harnesse, my tergat, and my shield,
      Be made as bright now, as when I was last in fielde,            15
      As white as I shoulde to warre againe to morrowe:
      For sicke shall I be, but I worke some folke sorow.
      Therfore see that all shine as bright as sainct George,
      Or as doth a key newly come from the Smiths forge.
      I woulde have my sworde and harnesse to shine so bright,[541]
                                                           F iii _b_  20
      That I might therwith dimme mine enimies sight,
      I would have it cast beames as fast I tell you playne,
      As doth the glittryng grasse after a showre of raine.
      And see that in case I shoulde neede to come to arming,
      All things may be ready at a minutes warning,                   25
      For such chaunce may chaunce in an houre, do ye heare?

  _M. Mery._ As perchance shall not chaunce againe in seven yeare.

  _R. Royster._ Now draw we neare to hir, and here what shall be sayde.
                                             [_Advances towards Cust._]

  _M. Mery._ But I woulde not have you make hir too muche afrayde.

  _R. Royster._ Well founde sweete wife[542] (I trust) for al this your
    soure looke.                                                      30

  _C. Custance._ Wife, why cal ye me wife?

  _Sim Sure._ [_enters while the last words are spoken_]. Wife? this
    gear goth acrook.

  _M. Mery._ Nay mistresse Custance, I warrant you, our letter
      Is not as we redde een nowe, but much better,
      And where ye halfe stomaked this gentleman afore,
      For this same letter, ye wyll love hym now therefore,           35
      Nor it is not this letter, though ye were a queene,
      That shoulde breake marriage betweene you twaine I weene.

  _C. Custance._ I did not refuse hym for the letters sake.

  _R. Royster._ Then ye are content me for your husbande to take.

  _C. Custance._ You for my husbande to take? nothing lesse truely.   40

  _R. Royster._ Yea say so, sweete spouse, afore straungers hardly.

  _M. Mery._ And though I have here his letter of love with me,
      Yet his ryng and tokens he sent, keepe safe with ye.

  _C. Custance._ A mischiefe take his tokens, and him and thee too.
      But what prate I with fooles? have I nought else to doo?        45
      Come in with me Sym Suresby to take some repast.

  _Sim Sure._ I must ere I drinke by your leave, goe in all hast,
      To a place or two, with earnest letters of his.

  _C. Custance._ Then come drink here with me.

  _Sim Sure._ I thank you.

  _C. Custance._ Do not misse.
      You shall have a token to your maister with you.                50

  _Sym Sure._ No tokens this time gramercies, God be with you.
                                                               _Exeat._

  _C. Custance._ Surely this fellowe misdeemeth some yll in me.
      Which thing but God helpe, will go neere to spill me.

  _R. Royster._ Yea farewell fellow, and tell thy maister Goodlucke
      That he cometh to late of thys blossome to plucke.        F iv  55
      Let him keepe him there still, or at least wise make no hast.
      As for his labour hither he shall spende in wast.
      His betters be in place nowe.

  _M. Mery_ [_aside_]. As long as it will hold.

  _C. Custance._ I will be even with thee thou beast, thou mayst be
    bolde.

  _R. Royster._ Will ye have us then?                                 60

  _C. Custance._ I will never have thee.[543]

  _R. Royster._ Then will I have you!

  _C. Custance._ No, the devill shall have thee.
      I have gotten this houre more shame and harme by thee,
      Then all thy life days thou canst do me honestie.

  _M. Mery [to Roister_]. Why nowe may ye see what it comth too in the
    ende,
      To make a deadly foe of your most loving frende:                65
      [_To Custance_]. And ywis this letter if ye woulde heare it now--

  _C. Custance._ I will heare none of it.

  _M. Mery_ [_to Cust._]. In faith would ravishe you.

  _C. Custance._ He hath stained my name for ever this is cleare.

  _R. Royster._ I can make all as well in an houre--

  _M. Mery_ [_aside_]. As ten yeare--
      [_To Cust._]. How say ye, will ye have him?                     70

  _C. Custance._ No.

  _M. Mery._ Will ye take him?

  _C. Custance._ I defie him.

  _M. Mery._ At my word?

  _C. Custance._ A shame take him.
      Waste no more wynde, for it will never bee.

  _M. Mery._ This one faulte with twaine shall be mended, ye shall see.
      Gentle mistresse Custance now, good mistresse Custance,
      Honey mistresse Custance now, sweete mistresse Custance,        75
      Golden mistresse Custance now, white[544] mistresse Custance,
      Silken mistresse Custance now, faire mistresse Custance.

  _C. Custance._ Faith rather than to mary with suche a doltishe loute,
      I woulde matche my selfe with a beggar out of doute.

  _M. Mery._ Then I can say no more, to speede we are not like,       80
      Except ye rappe out a ragge of your Rhetorike.

  _C. Custance._ Speake not of winnyng me: for it shall never be so.

  _R. Royster._ Yes dame, I will have you whether ye will or no,
      I commaunde you to love me, wherfore shoulde ye not?
      Is not my love to you chafing and burning hot?                  85

  _M. Mery._ Too hir, that is well sayd.

  _R. Royster._ Shall I so breake my braine
      To dote upon you, and ye not love us againe?

  _M. Mery._ Wel sayd yet.

  _C. Custance._ Go to[,] you goose.

  _R. Royster._ I say Kit Custance,
      In case ye will not haze,[545] well, better yes perchaunce.
                                                               F iv _b_

  _C. Custance._ Avaunt lozell,[546] picke thee hence.                90

  _M. Mery._ Well sir, ye perceive,
      For all your kinde offer, she will not you receive.

  _R. Royster._ Then a strawe for hir, and a strawe for hir againe,
      She shall not be my wife, woulde she never so faine,
      No and though she would be at ten thousand pounde cost.

  _M. Mery._ Lo dame, ye may see what an husbande ye have lost.       95

  _C. Custance._ Yea, no force, a jewell muche better lost than founde.

  _M. Mery._ Ah, ye will not beleve how this doth my heart wounde.
      How shoulde a mariage betwene you be towarde,
      If both parties drawe backe, and become so frowarde.

  _R. Royster_ [_threatening, advancing upon Cust._]. Nay dame, I will
    fire thee out of thy house,[547]                                 100
      And destroy thee and all thine, and that by and by.

  _M. Mery._ Nay for the passion of God sir, do not so.

  _R. Royster._ Yes, except she will say yea to that she sayd no.

  _C. Custance._ And what, be there no officers trow we, in towne
      To checke idle loytrers,[548] braggyng up and downe?           105
      Where be they, by whome vacabunds shoulde be represt?
      That poore sillie[549] Widowes might live in peace and rest.
      Shall I never ridde thee out of my companie?
      I will call for helpe, what hough, come forth Trupenie.

  _Trupenie_ [_entering_]. Anon. What is your will mistresse? dyd ye
    call me?                                                         110

  _C. Custance._ Yea, go runne apace, and as fast as may be,
      Pray Tristram Trusty, my moste assured frende,
      To be here by and by, that he may me defende.

  _Trupenie._ That message so quickly shall be done by Gods grace,
      That at my returne ye shall say, I went apace. _Exeat._        115

  _C. Custance._ Then shall we see I trowe, whether ye shall do me
    harme,

  _R. Royster._ Yes in faith Kitte, I shall thee[550] and thine so
    charme,
      That all women incarnate by thee may beware.

  _C. Custance._ Nay, as for charming me, come hither if thou dare,
      I shall cloute thee tyll thou stinke, both thee and thy
        traine,                                                      120
      And coyle thee mine owne handes, and sende thee home againe.

  _R. Royster._ Yea sayst thou me that dame? dost thou me threaten?
      Goe we, I still see whether I shall be beaten.                  Gi

  _M. Mery._ Nay for the paishe[551] of God, let me now treate peace,
      For bloudshed will there be in case this strife increace.      125
      Ah good dame Custance, take better way with you.

  _C. Custance._ Let him do his worst.

  _M. Mery._ [_Roister advances upon Cust., attempts to strike_]. Yeld
    in time. [_to Cust._]

  _R. Royster_ [_is beaten back by Cust.; retiring to Mery._:]. Come
    hence thou. _Exeant Roister et Mery._


                       Actus. iiii. Scæna. iiii.

      CHRISTIAN CUSTANCE. ANOT ALYFACE. TIBET T. M. MUMBLECRUST.

  _C. Custance._ So sirra, if I should not with hym take this way,
      I should not be ridde of him I thinke till doomes day,
      I will call forth my folkes, that without any mockes
      If he come agayne we may give him rappes and knockes.
      Mage Mumblecrust, come forth, and Tibet Talke apace.             5
      Yea and come forth too, mistresse Annot Alyface.
                                                   [_Enter the maids._]
  _Annot Aly._ I come.

  _Tibet._ And I am here.

  _M. Mumb._ And I am here too at length.

  _C. Custance._ Like warriers if nede bee, ye must shew your strength
      The man that this day hath thus begiled you,
      Is Ralph Roister Doister, whome ye know well inowe,[552]        10
      The moste loute and dastarde that ever on grounde trode.

  _Tib. Talk._ I see all folke mocke hym when he goth abrode.

  _C. Custance._ What pretie maide? will ye talke when I speake?

  _Tib. Talk._ No forsooth good mistresse.

  _C. Custance._ Will ye my tale breake?
      He threatneth to come hither with all his force to fight,       15
      I charge you if he come[:] on him with all your might[!]

  _M. Mumbl._ I with my distaffe will reache hym one rappe,

  _Tib. Talk._ And I with my newe broome will sweepe hym one swappe,
      And then with our greate clubbe I will reache hym one rappe[--]

  _An. Aliface._ And I with our skimmer will fling him one flappe.    20

  _Tib. Talk._ Then Trupenies fireforke will him shrewdly fray,
      And you with the spitte may drive him quite away.

  _C. Custance._ Go make all ready, that it may be een so.        Gi _b_

  _Tib. Talk._ For my parte I shrewe them that last about it go.
                                                              _Exeant._


                        Actus. iiii. Scæna. v.

      CHRISTIAN CUSTANCE. TRUPENIE. TRISTRAM TRUSTY. C. CUSTANCE.

  _C. Custance._ Trupenie dyd promise me to runne a great pace,
      My friend Tristram Trusty to set into this place.
      Indeede he dwelleth hence a good stert[553] I confesse:
      But yet a quicke messanger might twice since[,] as I gesse,
      Have gone and come againe. Ah yond I spie him now.               5

  _Trupeny_ [_enters with Trusty, whom he leaves behind_]. Ye are a slow
    goer sir, I make God avow.
      My mistresse Custance will in me put all the blame.
      Your leggs be longer than myne: come apace for shame.

  _C. Custance._ I can[554] thee thanke Trupenie, thou hast done right
    wele.

  _Trupeny._ Maistresse since I went no grasse hath growne on my hele, 10
      But maister Tristram Trustie here maketh no speede.

  _C. Custance._ That he came at all I thanke him in very deede,
      For now have I neede of the helpe of some wise man.

  _T. Trusty._ Then may I be gone againe, for none such I [a]m.

  _Trupenie._ Ye may bee by your going: for no Alderman               15
      Can goe I dare say, a sadder pace than ye can.

  _C. Custance._ Trupenie get thee in, thou shalt among them knowe,
      How to use thy selfe, like a propre man I trowe.

  _Trupeny._ I go. [_Ex._]

  _C. Custance._ Now Tristram Trusty I thank you right much.
      For at my first sending to come ye never grutch.                20

  _T. Trusty._ Dame Custance God ye saue, and while my life shall last,
      For my friende Goodlucks sake ye shall not sende in wast.

  _C. Custance._ He shal give you thanks.

  _T. Trusty._ I will do much for his sake[!]

  _C. Custance._ But alack, I feare, great displeasure shall be take.

  _T. Trusty._ Wherfore?                                              25

  _C. Custance._ For a foolish matter.

  _T. Trusty._ What is your cause[?]

  _C. Custance._ I am yll accombred with a couple of dawes.

  _T. Trusty._ Nay weepe not woman: but tell me what your cause is  G ii
      As concerning my friende is any thing amisse?

  _C. Custance._ No not on my part: but here was Sym Suresby[--]

  _T. Trustie._ He was with me and told me so.                        30

  _C. Custance._ And he stoode by
      While Ralph Roister Doister with helpe of Merygreeke,
      For promise of mariage dyd unto me seeke.[555]

  _T. Trusty._ And had ye made any promise before them twaine[?]

  _C. Custance._ No I had rather be torne in pieces and flaine,
      No man hath my faith and trouth, but Gawyn Goodlucke,           35
      And that before Suresby dyd I say, and there stucke,
      But of certaine letters there were suche words spoken.

  _T. Trustie._ He tolde me that too.

  _C. Custance._ And of a ring and token.
      That Suresby I spied, dyd more than halfe suspect,
      That I my faith to Gawyn Goodlucke dyd reiect.                  40

  _T. Trusty._ But there was no such matter dame Custance in deede?

  _C. Custance._ If ever my head thought it, God sende me yll speede.
      Wherfore I beseech you, with me to be a witnesse,
      That in all my lyfe I never intended thing lesse,
      And what a brainsicke foole Ralph Roister Doister is,           45
      Your selfe know well enough.

  _T. Trusty._ Ye say full true ywis.

  _C. Custance._ Bicause to bee his wife I ne graunt nor apply,[556]
      Hither will he com he sweareth by and by,
      To kill both me and myne, and beate downe my house flat.
      Therfore I pray your aide.                                      50

  _T. Trustie._ I warrant you that.

  _C. Custance._ Have I so many yeres lived a sobre life,
      And shewed my selfe honest, mayde, widowe, and wyfe
      And nowe to be abused in such a vile sorte,
      Ye see howe poore Widowes lyve all voyde of comfort.

  _T. Trusty._ I warrant hym do you no harme nor wrong at all.        55

  _C. Custance._ No, but Mathew Merygreeke doth me most appall,[557]
      That he woulde joyne hym selfe with suche a wretched loute.

  _T. Trusty._ He doth it for a jest I knowe hym out of doubte,
      And here cometh Merygreke.

  _C. Custance._ Then shal we here his mind.


                        Actus. iiii. Scæna. vi.                 G ii _b_

             MERYGREKE. CHRISTIAN CUSTANCE. TRIST. TRUSTY.

  _M. Mery._ Custance and Trustie both, I doe you here well finde.

  _C. Custance._ Ah Mathew Merygreeke, ye have used me well.

  _M. Mery._ Nowe for altogether[558] ye must your answere tell.
      Will ye have this man, woman? or else will ye not?
      Else will he come never bore so brymme[559] nor tost so hot.     5

  _Tris. and Cu._ But why joyn ye with him.

  _T. Trusty._ For mirth?

  _C. Custance._ Or else in sadnesse[?]

  _M. Mery._ The more fond of you both! hardly yᵉ[560] mater gesse[!]

  _Tristram._ Lo how say ye dame?

  _M. Mery._ Why do ye thinke dame Custance
      That in this wowyng I have ment ought but pastance?

  _C. Custance._[561] Much things ye spake, I wote, to maintaine his
    dotage.                                                           10

  _M. Mery._ But well might ye judge I spake it all in mockage?[562]
      For why? Is Roister Doister a fitte husband for you?

  _T. Trusty._ I dare say ye never thought it.

  _M. Mery._ No to God I vow.
      And did not I knowe afore of the insurance[563]
      Betweene Gawyn Goodlucke, and Christian Custance?               15
      And dyd not I for the nonce, by my conveyance,[564]
      Reade his letter in a wrong sense for daliance?
      That if you coulde have take it up at the first bounde,
      We should therat such a sporte and pastime have founde,
      That all the whole towne should have ben the merier.            20

  _C. Custance._ Ill ake your heades both, I was never werier,
      Nor never more vexte since the first day I was borne.

  _T. Trusty._ But very well I wist he here did all in scorne.

  _C. Custance._ But I feared thereof to take dishonestie.

  _M. Mery._ This should both have made sport, and shewed your
    honestie                                                          25
      And Goodlucke I dare sweare, your witte therin would low.

  _T. Trusty._ Yea, being no worse than we know it to be now.

  _M. Mery._ And nothing yet to late, for when I come to him,
      Hither will he repaire with a sheepes looke full grim,
      By plaine force and violence to drive you to yelde.       G iii 30

  _C. Custance._ It ye two bidde me, we will with him pitche a fielde,
      I and my maides together.

  _M. Mery._ Let us see, be bolde.

  _C. Custance._ Ye shall see womens warre.

  _T. Trusty._ That fight wil I behold.

  _M. Mery._ If occasion serve, takyng his parte full brim,
      I will strike at you, but the rappe shall light on him.         35
      When we first appeare.

  _C. Custance._ Then will I runne away
      As though I were afeard.

  _T. Trusty._ Do you that part wel play
      And I will sue for peace.

  _M. Mery._ And I wil set him on.
      Then will he looke as fierce as a Cotssold lyon.[565]

  _T. Trusty._ But when gost thou for him?                            40

  _M. Mery._ That do I very nowe.

  _C. Custance._ Ye shall find us here.

  _M. Mery._ Wel god have mercy on you. _Ex._

  _T. Trusty._ There is no cause of feare, the least boy in the streete:

  _C. Custance._ Nay, the least girle I have, will make him take his
    feete.
      But hearke, me thinke they make preparation.

  _T. Trusty._ No force, it will be a good recreation.                45

  _C. Custance._ I will stand within, and steppe forth speedily,
      And so make as though I ranne away dreadfully. [_Exeant._]


                       Actus. iiii. Scæna. vii.

 R. ROYSTER. M. MERYGREEKE. C. CUSTANCE. D. DOUGHTIE. HARPAX. TRISTRAM
                                TRUSTY.

  _R. Royster._ Nowe sirs, keepe your ray,[566] and see your heartes be
    stoute,
      But where be these caitifes, me think they dare not route,[567]
      How sayst thou Merygreeke? What doth Kit Custance say?

  _M. Mery._ I am loth to tell you.

  _R. Royster._ Tushe speake man, yea or nay?

  _M. Mery._ Forsooth sir, I have spoken for you all that I can.       5
      But if ye winne hir, ye must een play the man,
      Een to fight it out, ye must a mans heart take.

  _R. Royster._ Yes, they shall know, and[568] thou knowest I have a
    stomacke.

  [_M. Mery._] A stomacke (quod you) yea, as good as ere man had.
                                                               G iii _b_

  _R. Royster._ I trowe they shall finde and feele that I am a lad.   10

  _M. Mery._ By this crosse I have seene you eate your meate as well,
      As any that ere I have seene of or heard tell,
      A stomacke quod you? he that will that denie
      I know was never at dynner in your companie.

  _R. Royster._ Nay, the stomacke of a man it is that I meane.        15

  _M. Mery._ Nay the stomacke of a horse or a dogge I weene.

  _R. Royster._ Nay a mans stomacke with a weapon meane I.

  _M. Mery._ Ten men can scarce match you with a spoone in a pie.

  _R. Royster._ Nay the stomake of a man to trie in strife.

  _M. Mery._ I never sawe your stomake cloyed yet in my lyfe.         20

  _R. Royster._ Tushe I meane in strife or fighting to trie.

  _M. Mery._ We shall see how ye will strike nowe being angry.

  _R. Royster_ [_strikes M._]. Have at thy pate then, and save thy head
    if thou may.

  _M. Mery._ [_strikes R. again_]. Nay then have at your pate agyne by
    this day,

  _R. Royster._ Nay thou mayst not strike at me againe in no wise.    25

  _M. Mery._ I can not in fight make to you suche warrantise:
      But as for your foes here let them the bargaine bie.[569]

  _R. Royster._ Nay as for they, shall every mothers childe die.
      And in this my fume a little thing might make me,
      To beate downe house and all, and else the devill take me.      30

  _M. Mery._ If I were as ye be, by gogs deare mother,
      I woulde not leave one stone upon an other.
      Though she woulde redeeme it with twentie thousand poundes.

  _R. Royster._ It shall be even so, by his lily woundes.

  _M. Mery._ Bee not at one with hir upon any amendes.                35

  _R. Royster._ No though she make to me never so many frendes.
      Nor if all the worlde for hir woulde undertake,[570]
      No not God hymselfe neither, shal not hir peace make,
      On therfore, marche forwarde,--soft, stay a whyle yet.[!]

  _M. Mery._ On.                                                      40

  _R. Royster._ Tary.

  _M. Mery._ Forth.

  _R. Royster._ Back.

  _M. Mery._ On.

  _R. Royster._ Soft. Now forward set. [_march against the house._]

  _C. Custance_ [_entering_:]. What businesse have we here? out[!]
    alas, alas! [_retires for fun._]

  _R. Royster._ Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.
      Dydst thou see that Merygreeke? how afrayde she was?
      Dydst thou see how she fledde apace out of my sight?        [G iv]
      Ah good sweete Custance I pitie hir by this light.              45

  _M. Mery._ That tender heart of yours wyll marre altogether,
      Thus will ye be turned with waggyng of a fether.

  _R. Royster._ On sirs, keepe your ray.

  _M. Mery._ On forth, while this geare is hot.

  _R. Royster._ Soft, the Armes of Caleys, I have one thing forgot.

  _M. Mery._ What lacke we now?                                       50

  _R. Royster._ Retire, or else we be all slain.

  _M. Mery._ Backe for the pashe of God, backe sirs, backe againe.
      What is the great mater?

  _R. Royster._ This hastie forth goyng
      Had almost brought us all to utter undoing,
      It made me forget a thing most necessarie.

  _M. Mery._ Well remembered of a captaine by sainct Marie.           55

  _R. Royster._ It is a thing must be had.

  _M. Mery._ Let us have it then.

  _R. Royster._ But I wote not where nor how.

  _M. Mery._ Then wote not I when.
      But what is it?

  _R. Royster._ Of a chiefe thing I am to seeke.

  _M. Mery._ Tut so will ye be, when ye have studied a weke.
      But tell me what it is?                                         60

  _R. Royster._ I lacke yet an hedpiece.

  _M. Mery._ The kitchen collocauit,[571] the best hennes to grece,
      Runne, fet it Dobinet, and come at once withall,
      And bryng with thee my potgunne, hangyng by the wall,
                                                       [_Dobinet goes_]
      I have seene your head with it full many a tyme,
      Covered as safe as it had bene with a skrine:                   65
      And I warrant it save your head from any stroke,
      Except perchaunce to be amased[572] with the smoke:
      I warrant your head therwith, except for the mist,
      As safe as if it were fast locked up in a chist: [_Dob. enters_]
      And loe here our Dobinet commeth with it nowe.                  70

  _D. Dough._ I will cover me to the shoulders well inow.

  _M. Mery._ Let me see it on.

  _R. Royster._ In fayth it doth metely well.

  _M. Mery._ There can be no fitter thing. Now ye must us tell
      What to do.

  _R. Royster._ Now forth in ray sirs, and stoppe no more.            73

  _M. Mery._ Now sainct George to borow,[573] Drum dubbe a dubbe afore.

  _T. Trusty._ [_entering_]. What meane you to do sir, committe
    manslaughter.

  _R. Royster._ To kyll fortie such, is a matter of laughter.

  _T. Trusty._ And who is it sir, whome ye intende thus to spill?
                                                               G iv _b_

  _R. Royster._ Foolishe Custance here forceth me against my will.

  _T. Trusty._ And is there no meane your extreme wrath to slake.     80
      She shall some amendes unto your good mashyp make.

  _R. Royster._ I will none amendes.

  _T. Trusty._ Is hir offence so sore?

  _M. Mery._ And he were a loute she coulde have done no more.
      She hath calde him foole, and dressed him like a foole.
      Mocked him lyke a foole, used him like a foole.                 85

  _T. Trusty._ Well yet the Sheriffe, the Justice, or Constable,
      Hir misdemeanour to punishe might be able.

  _R. Royster._ No sir, I mine owne selfe will in this present cause,
      Be Sheriffe, and Justice, and whole Judge of the lawes,
      This matter to amende, all officers be I shall,                 90
      Constable, Bailiffe, Sergeant.

  _M. Mery._ And hangman and all.

  _T. Trusty._ Yet a noble courage, and the hearte of a man
      Should more honour winne by bearyng with a woman.
      Therfore take the lawe, and lette hir aunswere thereto.

  _R. Royster._ Merygreeke, the best way were even so to do.          95
      What honour should it be with a woman to fight?

  _M. Mery._ And what then, will ye thus forgo and lese your right?

  _R. Royster._ Nay, I will take the lawe on hir withouten grace.

  _T. Trusty._ Or yf your mashyp coulde pardon this one trespace.
      I pray you forgive hir.                                        100

  _R. Royster._ Hoh?

  _M. Mery._ Tushe tushe sir do not.
      Be good maister to hir.

  _R. Royster._ Hoh?

  _M. Mery._ Tush I say do not.
      And what shall your people here returne streight home?

  _T. Trustie._ Yea, levie the campe sirs, and hence againe eche
    one,[574]

  _R. Royster._ But be still in readinesse if I happe to call,
      I can not tell what sodaine chaunce may befall.                105

  _M. Mery._ Do not off your harnesse sirs I you advise,
      At the least for this fortnight in no maner wise,
      Perchaunce in an houre when all ye thinke least,
      Our maisters appetite to fight will be best.
      But soft, ere ye go, have once at Custance house.              110

  _R. Royster._ Soft, what wilt thou do?

  _M. Mery._ Once discharge my harquebouse
      And for my heartes ease, have once more with my potgoon.       H i

  _R. Royster._ Holde thy handes else is all our purpose cleane
  fordoone.

  _M. Mery._ And it cost me my life.

  _R. Royster._ I say thou shalt not.

  _M. Mery_ [_making a mock assault_]. By the matte[575] but I will.
    Have once more with haile shot.                                  115
      I will have some penyworth, I will not leese all.


                    Actus. iiii. Scæna. viii.[576]

    M. MERYGREEKE. C. CUSTANCE. R. ROISTER. TIB. T. AN. ALYFACE. M.
  MUMBLECRUST. TRUPENIE. DOBINET DOUGHTIE. HARPAX. _Two drummes with
                           their Ensignes._

  _C. Custance._ What caitifes are those that so shake my house wall?

  _M. Mery_ [_with a sly wink_]. Ah sirrha[!] now Custance if ye had so
    muche wit
      I woulde see you aske pardon, and your selves submit.

  _C. Custance._ Have I still this adoe with a couple of fooles?

  _M. Mery._ Here ye what she saith?                                   5

  _C. Custance._ Maidens come forth with your tooles.

  _R. Royster._ In a ray.

  _M. Mery._ Dubba dub sirrha.

  _R. Royster._ In a ray.
      They come sodainly on us.

  _M. Mery._ Dubbadub.

  _R. Royster._ In a ray.
      That ever I was borne, we are taken tardie.

  _M. Mery._ Now sirs, quite our selves like tall men and hardie.

  _C. Custance._ On afore Trupenie, holde thyne owne Annot,           10
      On towarde them Tibet, for scape us they can not.
      Come forth Madge Mumblecrust, so stande fast togither.

  _M. Mery._ God sende us a faire day.

  _R. Royster._ See they marche on hither.

  _Tib. Talk._ But mistresse.

  _C. Custance._ What sayst [th]ou?[577]

  _Tib._ Shall I go fet our goose?[578]

  _C. Custance._ What to do?                                          15

  _Tib._ To yonder Captain I will turne hir loose
      And she gape and hisse at him, as she doth at me,
      I durst jeoparde my hande she wyll make him flee.

  _C. Custance._ On forward.

  _R. Royster._ They com.

  _M. Mery._ Stand. [_They fight; M. hitting R._

  _R. Royster._ Hold.

  _M. Mery._ Kepe.

  _R. Royster._ There.

  _M. Mery._ Strike.

  _R. Royster._ Take heede.

  _C. Custance._ Wel sayd Truepeny.

  _Trupeny._ Ah whooresons.

  _C. Custance._ Wel don in deede.

  _M. Mery._ Hold thine owne _Harpax_, downe with them Dobinet.
                                                              H i _b_ 20

  _C. Custance._ Now Madge, there Annot: now sticke them Tibet.

  _Tib. Talk._ [_against Dob._]. All my chiefe quarell is to this same
    little knave,
      That begyled me last day, nothyng shall him save.

  _D. Dough._ Downe with this litle queane, that hath at me such spite,
      Save you from hir maister, it is a very sprite.                 25

  _C. Custance._ I my selfe will mounsire graunde[579] captaine
    undertake, [_advances against Roister._]

  _R. Royster._ They win grounde.

  _M. Mery._ Save your selfe sir, for gods sake.

  _R. Royster_ [_retiring, beaten_]. Out, alas, I am slaine, helpe.

  _M. Mery._ Save your selfe.

  _R. Royster._ Alas.

  _M. Mery._ Nay then, have at you mistresse.
                         [_pretending to strike Cust., he hits Roist._]

  _R. Royster._ Thou hittest me, alas.

  _M. Mery._ I will strike at Custance here. [_again hitting R._]     30

  _R. Royster._ Thou hittest me.

  _M. Mery._ [_aside_]. So I wil.
      Nay mistresse Custance.

  _R. Royster._ Alas, thou hittest me still.
      Hold.

  _M. Mery._ Save your self sir.

  _R. Royster._ Help,[580] out alas I am slain

  _M. Mery._ Truce, hold your hands, truce for a pissing while or
    twaine:
      Nay how say you Custance, for saving of your life,
      Will ye yelde and graunt to be this gentmans wife?              35

  _C. Custance._ Ye tolde me he loved me, call ye this love?

  _M. Mery._ He loved a while even like a turtle dove.

  _C. Custance._ Gay love God save it, so soone hotte, so soone
    colde,[581]

  _M. Mery._ I am sory for you: he could love you yet so he coulde.

  _R. Royster._ Nay by cocks precious[582] she shall be none of mine. 40

  _M. Mery._ Why so?

  _R. Royster. _Come away, by the matte she is mankine.[583]
      I durst adventure the losse of my right hande,
      If shee dyd not slee hir other husbande:
      And see if she prepare not againe to fight.

  _M. Mery._ What then? sainct George to borow, our Ladies
    knight.[584]                                                      45

  _R. Royster._ Slee else whom she will, by gog she shall not slee mee.

  _M. Mery._ How then?

  _R. Royster._ Rather than to be slaine, I will flee.

  _C. Custance._ Too it againe, my knightesses, downe with them all.

  _R. Royster._ Away, away, away, she will else kyll us all.

  _M. Mery._ Nay sticke to it, like an hardie man and a tall.         50

  _R. Royster._ Oh bones,[585] thou hittest me. Away, or else die we
    shall.

  _M. Mery._ Away for the pashe of our sweete Lord Jesus Christ.

  _C. Custance._ Away loute and lubber, or I shall be thy priest.
                              _Exeant_ [_Royster and his 'army.'_][586]
      So this fielde is ours we have driven them all away.          H ii

  _Tib Talk._ Thankes to God mistresse, ye have had a faire day.      55

  _C. Custance._ Well nowe goe ye in, and make your selfe some cheere.

  _Omnes pariter._ We goe [!--_Exeant Custance's maidens_].

  _T. Trust._ Ah sir, what a field we have had heere.

  _C. Custance._ Friend Tristram, I pray you be a witnesse with me.

  _T. Trusty._ Dame Custance, I shall depose for your honestie,
      And nowe fare ye well, except some thing else ye wolde.  60

  _C. Custance._ Not now, but when I nede to sende I will be bolde.
      I thanke you for these paines. [_Exeat Trusty._[587]] And now I
        wyll get me in,
      Now Roister Doister will no more wowyng begin. _Ex._            63


                          Actus. v. Scæna. i.

                     GAWYN GOODLUCKE. SYM SURESBY.

      Sym Suresby my trustie man, nowe advise thee well,
      And see that no false surmises thou me tell,
      Was there such adoe about Custance of a truth?

  _Sim. Sure._ To reporte that I hearde and sawe, to me is ruth,
      But both my duetie and name and propretie,[588]                  5
      Warneth me to you to shewe fidelitie,
      It may be well enough, and I wyshe it so to be,
      She may hir selfe discharge and trie[589] hir honestie,
      Yet their clayme to hir me thought was very large,
      For with letters rings[590] and tokens, they dyd hir charge.    10
      Which when I hearde and sawe I would none to you bring.

  _G. Goodl._ No, by sainct Marie, I allowe thee in that thing.
      Ah sirra, nowe I see truthe in the proverbe olde,
      All things that shineth is not by and by[591] pure golde,
      If any doe lyve a woman of honestie,[592]                       15
      I would have sworne Christian Custance had bene shee.[592]

  _Sim Sure._ Sir, though I to you be a servant true and just.
      Yet doe not ye therfore your faithfull spouse mystrust.
      But examine the matter, and if ye shall it finde,         H ii _b_
      To be all well, be not ye for my wordes unkinde.                20

  _G. Goodl._ I shall do that is right, and as I see cause why.
      But here commeth Custance forth, we shal know by and by.


                         Actus. v. Scæna. ii.

              C. CUSTANCE. GAWYN GOODLUCKE. SYM SURESBY.

  _C. Custance._ I come forth to see and hearken for newes good,
      For about this houre is the tyme of likelyhood,
      That Gawyn Goodlucke by the sayings of Suresby,
      Would be at home, and lo yond I see hym I.
      What Gawyn Goodlucke, the onely hope of my life,                 5
      Welcome home, and kysse me your true espoused wife.

  _Ga. Good._ Nay soft dame Custance, I must first by your licence,
      See whether all things be cleere in your conscience,
      I heare of your doings to me very straunge.

  _C. Custance._ What feare ye? that my faith towardes you should
    chaunge?                                                          10

  _Ga. Good._ I must needes mistrust ye be elsewhere entangled.
      For I heare that certaine men with you have wrangled
      About the promise of mariage by you to them made.

  _C. Custance._ Coulde any mans reporte your minde therein persuade?

  _Ga. Good._ Well, ye must therin declare your selfe to stande
    cleere,                                                           15
      Else I and you dame Custance may not joyne this yere.

  _C. Custance._ Then woulde I were dead, and faire layd in my grave,
      Ah Suresby, is this the honestie that ye have?
      To hurt me with your report, not knowyng the thing.

  _Sim Sure._ If ye be honest my wordes can hurte you nothing.        20
      But what I hearde and sawe, I might not but report.

  _C. Custance._ Ah Lorde, helpe poore widowes, destitute of comfort.
      Truly most deare spouse, nought was done but for pastance.

  _G. Good._ But such kynde of sporting is homely[593] daliance.

  _C. Custance._ If ye knewe the truthe, ye would take all in good
    parte.                                                      H iii 25

  _Ga. Good._ By your leave I am not halfe well skilled in that arte.

  _C. Custance._ It was none but Roister Doister that foolishe mome.[594]

  _Ga. Good._ Yea Custance, better (they say) a badde scuse[595] than
   none.[594]

  _C. Custance._ Why Tristram Trustie sir, your true and faithfull
    frende,
      Was privie bothe to the beginning and the ende.                 30
      Let him be the Judge, and for me testifie.

  _Ga. Good._ I will the more credite that he shall verifie,
      And bicause I will the truthe know een as it is,
      I will to him my selfe, and know all without misse.
      Come on Sym Suresby, that before my friend thou may             35
      Avouch the same wordes, which thou dydst to me say. _Exeant._


                         Actus. v. Scæna. iii.

                          CHRISTIAN CUSTANCE.

  _C. Custance._ O Lorde, howe necessarie it is nowe of dayes,
      That eche bodie live uprightly all maner wayes,
      For lette never so little a gappe be open,
      And be sure of this, the worst shall be spoken[.]
      Howe innocent stande I in this for deede or thought,[596]        5
      And yet see what mistrust towardes me it hath wrought[.]
      But thou Lorde knowest all folkes thoughts and eke intents
      And thou arte the deliverer of all innocentes.
      Thou didst helpe the advoutresse[597] that she might be amended,
      Much more then helpe Lorde, that never yll intended.            10
      Thou didst helpe _Susanna_, wrongfully accused,
      And no lesse dost thou see Lorde, how I am now abused,
      Thou didst helpe _Hester_, when she should have died,
      Helpe also good Lorde, that my truth may be tried.
      Yet if Gawin Goodlucke with Tristram Trusty speake.             15
      I trust of yll report the force shall be but weake,
      And loe yond they come sadly talking togither,           H iii _b_
      I wyll abyde, and not shrinke for their comming hither.


                        Actus. v. Scæna. iiii.

     GAWYN GOODLUCKE. TRISTRAM TRUSTIE. C. CUSTANCE. SYM SURESBY.

  _Ga. Good._ And was it none other than ye to me reporte?

  _Tristram._ No, and here were [yªᵗ] wished [ye] to have seene the
    sporte.[598]

  _Ga. Good._ Woulde I had, rather than halfe of that in my purse.

  _Sim Sure._ And I doe muche rejoyce the matter was no wurse,
      And like as to open it, I was to you faithfull,                  5
      So of dame Custance honest truth I am joyfull.
      For God forfende that I shoulde hurt hir by false reporte.

  _Ga. Good._ Well, I will no longer holde hir in discomforte.

  _C. Custance._ Nowe come they hitherwarde, I trust all shall be well.

  _Ga. Good_. Sweete Custance neither heart can thinke nor tongue
    tell,                                                             10
      Howe much I joy in your constant fidelitie,
      Come nowe kisse me the[599] pearle of perfect honestie.

  _C. Custance._ God lette me no longer to continue in lyfe,
      Than I shall towardes you continue a true wyfe.

  _Ga. Goodl._ Well now to make you for this some parte of amendes,   15
      I shall desire first you, and then suche of our frendes,
      As shall to you seeme best, to suppe at home with me,
      Where at your fought fielde we shall laugh and mery be.

  _Sim Sure._ And mistresse I beseech you, take with me no greefe,
      I did a true mans part, not wishyng you repreefe.[600]          20

  _C. Custance._ Though hastie reportes through surmises growyng,
      May of poore innocentes be utter overthrowyng,
      Yet bicause to thy maister thou hast a true hart,
      And I know mine owne truth, I forgive thee for my part.

  _Ga. Goodl._ Go we all to my house, and of this geare no more.      25
      Goe prepare all things Sym Suresby, hence, runne afore.       H iv

  _Sim Sure._ I goe. _Ex._

  _G. Good._ But who commeth yond, M. Merygreeke?

  _C. Custance._ Roister Doisters champion, I shrewe his best
    cheeke.[601]

  _T. Trusty._ Roister Doister selfe[602] your wower is with hym too.
      Surely some thing there is with us they have to doe.            30


                       Actus. v. Scæna. v.[603]

  M. MERYGREEKE. RALPH ROISTER. GAWYN GOODLUCKE. TRISTRAM TRUSTIE. C.
                               CUSTANCE.

  _M. Mery._ Yond I see Gawyn Goodlucke, to whome lyeth my message,
      I will first salute him after his long voyage,
      And then make all thing well concerning your behalfe.

  _R. Royster._ Yea for the pashe of God.

  _M. Mery._ Hence out of sight ye calfe,
      Till I have spoke with them, and then I will you fet[--]         5

  _R. Royster._ In Gods name.

  _M. Mery._ What Master Gawin Goodluck wel met
      And from your long voyage I bid you right welcome home.

  _Ga. Good._ I thanke you.

  _M. Mery._ I come to you from an honest mome.

  _Ga. Good._ Who is that?

  _M. Mery._ Roister Doister that doughtie kite.

  _C. Custance._ Fye, I can scarce abide ye shoulde his name recite.  10

  _M. Mery._ Ye must take him to favour, and pardon all past,
      He heareth of your returne, and is full yll agast.

  _Ga. Good._ I am ryght well content he have with us some chere.

  _C. Custance._ Fye upon hym beast, then wyll not I be there.

  _Ga. Good._ Why Custance do ye hate hym more than ye love me?       15

  _C. Custance._ But for your mynde[604] sir, where he were would I not
    be[.][605]

  _T. Trusty._ He woulde make us al laugh.

  _M. Mery._ Ye nere had better sport.

  _Ga. Good._ I pray you sweete Custance, let him to us resort.

  _C. Custance._ To your will I assent.

  _M. Mery._ Why, suche a foole it is,[606]
      As no man for good pastime would forgoe or misse.               20

  _G. Goodl._ Fet him to go wyth us.

  _M. Mery._ He will be a glad man. _Ex._

  _T. Trusty._ We must to make us mirth,[607] maintaine[608] hym all we
    can.
      And loe yond he commeth and Merygreeke with him.          H iv _b_

  _C. Custance._ At his first entrance ye shall see I wyll him trim.
      But first let us hearken the gentlemans wise talke.             25

  _T. Trusty._ I pray you marke if ever ye sawe crane so stalke.


                         Actus. v. Scæna. vi.

 R. ROISTER. M. MERYGREEKE. C. CUSTANCE. G. GOODLUCKE. T. TRUSTIE. D.
                           DOUGHTIE. HARPAX.

  _R. Royster._ May I then be bolde?

  _M. Mery._ I warrant you on my worde,
      They say they shall be sicke, but ye be at theyr borde.

  _R. Royster._ Thei wer not angry then[?]

  _M. Mery._ Yes at first, and made strange
      But when I sayd your anger to favour shoulde change,
      And therewith had commended you accordingly,                     5
      They were all in love with your mashyp by and by.
      And cried you mercy that they had done you wrong.

  _R. Royster._ For why, no man, woman, nor childe can hate me long.[609]

  _M. Mery._ We feare (quod they) he will be avenged one day,
      Then for a peny give all our lives we may.                      10

  _R. Royster._ Sayd they so in deede[?]

  _M. Mery._ Did they? yea, even with one voice
      He will forgive all (quod I) Oh how they did rejoyce.

  _R. Royster._ Ha, ha, ha.                                           13

  _M. Mery._ Goe fette hym (say they) while he is in good moode,
      For have his anger who lust, we will not by the Roode.          15

  _R. Royster._ I pray God that it be all true, that thou hast me tolde,
      And that she fight no more.

  _M. Mery._ I warrant you, be bolde
      Too them, and salute them. [_advance towards Goodl., etc._]

  _R. Royster._ Sirs, I greete you all well.

  _Omnes._ Your maistership is welcom.

  _C. Custance._ Savyng my quarell.
      For sure I will put you up into the Eschequer.[610]             20

  _M. Mery._ Why so? better nay: Wherfore?

  _C. Custance._ For an usurer.[611]

  _R. Royster._ I am no usurer good mistresse by his armes.

  _M. Mery._ When tooke he gaine of money to any mans harmes?

  _C. Custance._ Yes, a fowle usurer he is, ye shall see els[--]     I i

  _R. Royster_ [_aside to M._] Didst not thou promise she would picke no
    mo quarels?                                                       25

  _C. Custance._ He will lende no blowes, but he have in recompence
      Fiftene for one,[611] whiche is to muche of conscience.

  _R. Royster._ Ah dame, by the auncient lawe of armes, a man
      Hath no honour to foile his handes on a woman.

  _C. Custance._ And where other usurers[612] take their gaines
    yerely,                                                           30
       This man is angry but he have his by and by.

  _Ga. Goodl._ Sir, doe not for hir sake beare me your displeasure.

  _M. Mery._ Well, he shall with you talke therof more at leasure.
      Upon your good usage, he will now shake your hande.

  _R. Royster._ And much heartily welcome from a straunge lande.      35

  _M. Mery._ Be not afearde Gawyn to let him shake your fyst.

  _Ga. Goodl._ Oh the moste honeste gentleman that ere I wist.
      I beseeche your mashyp to take payne to suppe with us.

  _M. Mery._ He shall not say you nay and I too, by Jesus.
      Bicause ye shall be friends, and let all quarels passe.         40

  _R. Royster._ I wyll be as good friends with them as ere I was.

  _M. Mery._ Then let me fet your quier that we may have a song.

  _R. Royster._ Goe.

  _G. Goodluck._ I have hearde no melodie all this yeare long.

  _M. Mery_ [_to the musicians whom he has called in_]. Come on sirs
    quickly.

  _R. Royster._ Sing on sirs, for my frends sake.

  _D. Dough._ Cal ye these your frends?                               45

  _R. Royster._ Sing on, and no mo words make.

                        _Here they sing._[613]

  _Ga. Good._ The Lord preserve our most noble Queene of renowne,
      And hir virtues rewarde with the heavenly crowne.

  _C. Custance._ The Lorde strengthen hir most excellent Majestie,
      Long to reigne over us in all prosperitie.

  _T. Trusty._ That hir godly proceedings the faith to defende,[614]  50
      He may stablishe and maintaine through to the ende.

  _M. Mery._ God graunt hir as she doth, the Gospell to protect,[615]
      Learning and vertue to advaunce, and vice to correct.[616]

  _R. Royster._ God graunt hir lovyng subjects both the minde and grace,
      Hir most godly procedyngs worthily to imbrace.          I i _b_ 55

  _Harpax._ Hir highnesse most worthy counsellers[617] God prosper,
      With honour and love of all men to minister.

  _Omnes._ God graunt the nobilitie[618] sir to serve and love,
      With all the whole commontie as doth them behove.               59

                                 AMEN.


  Certaine Songs to be song by _those which shall use this Comedie or
                              Enterlude_

THE SECONDE SONG[619]

      Who so to marry a minion Wyfe,
    Hath hadde good chaunce and happe,
    Must love hir and cherishe hir all his life,
    And dandle hir in his lappe.                                       4

      If she will fare well, yf she wyll go gay,
    A good husbande ever styll,
    What ever she lust to doe, or to say,
    Must lette hir have hir owne will.                                 8

      About what affaires so ever he goe,
    He must shewe hir all his mynde,
    None of hys counsell she may be kept fr[o]e,[620]
    Else is he a man unkynde.                                         12


THE FOURTH SONG.[621]

      I mun be maried a Sunday
    I mun be maried a Sunday,
    Who soever shall come that way,                               [I ii]
    I mun be maried a Sunday.                                          4

      Royster Doyster is my name,
    Royster Doyster is my name,
    A lustie brute[622] I am the same,
    I mun be maried a Sunday.                                          8

      Christian Custance have I founde,
    Christian Custance have I founde,
    A Wydowe worthe a thousande pounde,
    I mun be maried a sunday.                                         12

      Custance is as sweete as honey,
    Custance is as sweete as honey,
    I hir lambe and she my coney,
    I mun be maried a Sunday.                                         16

      When we shall make our weddyng feast,
    When we shall make our weddyng feast,
    There shall bee cheere for man and beast,
    I mun be maried a Sunday.                                         20
            I mun be maried a Sunday, etc.


                          The Psalmodie.[623]

    _Placebo dilexi_,
  Maister Roister Doister wil streight go home and die,
  Our Lorde Jesus Christ his soule have mercie upon.
  Thus you see to day a man, to morow[624] John.[625]
    Yet saving for a womans extreeme crueltie,                         5
  He might have lyved yet a moneth or two or three,
  But in spite of Custance which hath him weried,              I ii. _b_
  His mashyp shall be worshipfully buried.
  And while some piece of his soule is yet hym within,
  Some parte of his funeralls let us here beginne.                    10
  _Dirige._ He will go darklyng to his grave.
  _Neque lux, neque crux, nisi solum_ clinke,[626]
  Never gentman so went toward heaven I thinke.[627]
    Yet sirs as ye wyll the blisse of heaven win,
  When he commeth to the grave lay hym softly in,                     15
  And all men take heede by this one Gentleman,
  How you sette your love upon an unkinde woman:
  For these women be all suche madde pievish elves,
  They wyll not be woonne except it please them selves.
  But in faith Custance if ever ye come in hell,                      20
  Maister Roister Doister shall serve you as well.
  Good night Roger old knave, Farewel Roger olde knave.
  Good night Roger olde knave, knave, knap.
  _Nequando. Audiui vocem. Requiem æternam._


    The Peale[628] of belles rong by the parish Clerk, _and Roister
                          Doisters foure men_

THE FIRST BELL A TRIPLE.[629]

When dyed he? When dyed he?

THE SECONDE

We have hym, We have hym.

THE THIRDE

Royster Doyster, Royster Doyster.

THE FOURTH BELL

He commeth, He commeth.

THE GREATE BELL

Our owne, Our owne.

                                FINIS.


FOOTNOTES:

[328] Cf. Prol. to _Jack Juggler_.

[329] Cf. the "lerned men" in the Prol. to the English _Andria_, circa
1520.

[330] The northern plural.

[331] To be the bell-wether, to excel.

[332] Cf. Camden's _Proverbs_, p. 264; Ray's _Proverbs_, p. 132.

[333] _Roger bon temps_: a mad rascal, a merry greek; _Gringalet_: a
merry grig ... rogue, etc. (Cotgrave).

[334] A. has 'know.'

[335] See _Like well to Like_, Dodsley, 3: 337.

[336] Cf. Robert the Ryfelar, etc., in _Pierce Plowman_; Peter
Piebaker, etc., in _Thersytes_; Margery Mylkeducke, etc., in Skelton.

[337] Cf. More's lines to Davy the dycer (_Works_, p. 1433ª.)

[338] See Appendix _C_.

[339] Cf. Ben Jonson's _New Inn_, II. ii.

[340] Cf. Hankin boby in _Thersytes_; Handy-dandy in _P. Plowman_;
Huddy-peke in _Four Elements_, in Skelton, etc.; _ib._ hoddy poule (=
"dunder-head," Dyce).

[341] "This ointment is even shot-anchor," Heywood's _Four PP_. (= last
resort).

[342] Cf. ll. 47, 49; for the whole scene cf. Plautus, _Miles Glor._
v. 31 _sqq._: _Et adsentandumst quicquid bic mentibitur_; also Ter.
_Eunucbus_, II. ii, 252 _et seq._

[343] Cf. Palsgrave, 542: "I face as one dothe that brauleth."

[344] boasting.

[345] Of course 'kinges' if written before July 7, 1553; probably
changed to 'Queen' (= Elizabeth) by the printer. (Fleay conjectures,
_Hist. Stage_, p. 59, that _R. D._ was revived March 8, 1561; the play
having been rewritten from an Edward VI. interlude. _Gen. Ed._)

[346] The 'n' transferred from 'myne' (my nowne). Cf. _nuncle_, etc.

[347] Cf. _Like will to Like_,329; Leland calls Udall _niveum ...
sodalem_; Cooper's ed. XXVII.

[348] Heywood's _Prov._; _Lear_, V. iii, 15.

[349] _R. R. D._ addresses _M._ with 'thou' 'thee,' whereas _M._
uses--on the whole--'you, ye' (to _R. R. D._); cf. Skeat's _William of
Palerne_, XLI. note; Zupitza's _Guy_, v. 356, note.

[350] Cf. _Miles_, v. 1063.

[351] The first half line is not assigned to _R. R. D._ in E. and A.;
but it should be. _Gen. Ed._

[352] certainly; cf. 'hardily,' Chauc. _C. T. Prol._ v. 156.

[353] E. has the comma after 'offende.'

[354] E. misprints _he_ for 'ye'; corrected by C. and H.

[355] An oath = by God's armes; cf. V. vi, 22.

[356] Cf. _Thersytes_, Dodsley, 1, 403.

[357] Cf. _Phil Soc. Dict._ s.v. A _prep._ § 11; C. and H. drop the 'a.'

[358] The quotation marks are the editor's.

[359] E., 'Whom.'

[360] never; C., 'ne're'; H., 'ne'er.'

[361] Middle Engl. comparative; cf. _near_, _ner_, etc.

[362] Cf. Plautus, _Miles_, 965.

[363] 'an.'

[364] Cf. Heywood's _Proverbs_, I. ch. 11 (72); 300 _Epigrams_, 158.

[365] _mastership_; see l. 116, etc.; cf. 'ientman,' III. v, 8;
'gemman,' etc.

[366] Cf. Plaut. _Miles_, 1061.

[367] Cf. _ib._: _Neu ecastor nimis uilist tandem._

[368] Cf. _ib._ 68, _et passim_; and Terent. _Eunuch._ V. viii, 62.

[369] Cf. Plaut. _Miles_, 1264, and the whole of the first scene.

[370] Cf. 'Ko I,' 'Ko she,' III. iii, 21, 35; 'Ko you,' III. iv, 131;
_Pericles_, II. i. 82; "Die Ke-tha?" 'company quotha?' _Four Elements_
[Dodsley, 1, 23].

[371] Cf. _Thersites_, [Dodsley, 1, 399, 400].

[372] E., 'Cuy.'

[373] _diabolicae staturae_; see _Guy of Warwick_, v. 9945, etc.

[374] _Brutus_, of the British, Welsh or Arthurian story, hence
generally a hero [Murray].

[375] 'Alie' = Hali, Haly, Holy? _or_ Alye = _affinis_ = of the
neighbouring country?

[376] Cf. Plaut. _Miles_, 777; Achilles, _ib._ 1054.

[377] _Tertius e caelo cecidit Cato_, Juven. _Sat._ 2, 40.

[378] Cf. Plaut. _Miles_, 65.

[379] Cf. "a prince of highe parage," _Chester Plays_, 1, 157.

[380] Cf. Caxton's "faytes of armes" (_Prol. Eneydos_), the _M. L._
"facta guerrae, armorum."

[381] E., 'They' (not 'That,' as A. reads).

[382] love; cf. III. iv, 99. Baby-talk? or the language of the Dutch
'minions'? Hazlitt says: a colloquialism still in use. But the
dictionaries are silent.

[383] R. uses 'you'; cf. I. ii, 8.

[384] Cf. Palsgrave, 477, "Je revolve."

[385] Cf. I. iv, iii, etc., C. & H. 'To.'

[386] Not in E.; added by C. In E., the comma is after 'while.'

[387] Cf. I. ii, 44; IV. vi, 7.

[388] Cf. Reinhardstoettner, _Plautus_, etc., 671: _Capitano Spavento
viene con li musici per far una mattinata a Isabella_.

[389] specimen.

[390] On Mumblecrust, etc., see Appendix _D_.

[391] Interrupting Mage.

[392] Better fare than usual. See Harrison's _Description of Engl._ in
Holinshed's _Chron._ 1, 168 (ed. 1587).

[393] Note the fondness for proverbs, a trait taken from life and often
to be found in later plays.--Sherwood: To whurre, whurle (or yarre)
as a dog, _Gronder comme un chien_. Cooper: scolding. It is perhaps =
whirr, whirret (slashing, slash)?

[394] Cf. III. iii, 102; Heywood's _Proverbs_, 1, ch. 2 (p. 6);
Camden's _Proverbs_, 276, 277, etc.

[395] Apparently vv. 17, 18.

[396] Heywood's _Proverbs_, 2, ch. 7. Patten: a wooden shoe that made a
great clattering.

[397] Wager; cf. _G. G. N._, I. iii, 20; I. iv, 47.

[398] entering.

[399] Sherwood: _Une vieille charougne_. A tough toothlesse trot, etc.

[400] The same song is alluded to in _A pore Helpe_ (Hazlitt's _Early
Pop. Poetry_, 3, 253).

[401] stitch.

[402] Cf. _whippit_ (in Halliwell): to jump about, etc. In _A Treatise
shewing ... the Pryde and Abuse of Women Now a Dayes_ (c. 1550): "With
whippet a whyle lyttle pretone, Prancke it, and hagge it well," etc.

[403] E. has comma.

[404] Murray's earliest quotation for 'here away,' etc., is from 1564.

[405] Sherwood: _Bon mesnagier_.

[406] bring to an end.

[407] yield it you = reward.

[408] I had; I wot. The dialect (generally southern, but occasionally
also northern) used by rustic characters in the earlier plays; _e.g._
in _G. G. N._, _Trial of Treasure_, _Like will to Like_, etc.

[409] Cf. _G. G. N._ v. 211; Heywood, _Prov._ 2, ch. 7; Camden, _Prov._
268.

[410] mincing, coy.

[411] Cf. the whispering scene in the _Trial of Treasure_.

[412] Cf. the slave of Polymachæroplagides in Plaut. _Pseudolus_.

[413] Hazlitt: intentional nonsense for '_nobis miscebetur_[!]
_miserere_.' Liturgical words muttered indistinctly and used here
jocosely. Heywood: "betweene you and your Ginifinee _Nycebecetur_"
(_Prov._ 1, ch. 11, p. 57 = 'What's her name?' _Nescio quid dicitur?_).

[414] Cf. 'spoke,' V. v, 5; and 'take,' III. iii, 135.

[415] make (Hazlitt).

[416] avise, advise.

[417] R.'s oaths are generally not so strong; I count in _G. G. N._ 48
oaths beginning with, By Gog's, Cocks, etc.

[418] For the rhyme's sake; cf. Wilson's _Rhetorique_, 202:
_Reticencia_, A whisht or warning to speake no more.

[419] These lines are assigned to R. in E.

[420] Cf. Sherwood: _Grison_, gray with age, ... grizle.

[421] This part of the scene is the reverse of Plaut. _Miles_, v. 1000
_seq._, where Pal. has difficulties in keeping Pyrg. from falling in
love with the servant.

[422] Cf. _G. G. N._ p. 252.

[423] 'Is it not she?' cf. v. 88; II. iv, 14. Elliptical construction,
cf. Heywood, _Johan_, ll. 26 and 624.

[424] friendly (Cotgr.).

[425] Cf. Chaucer's _Miller's Tale_, 3268, Skelton, etc.

[426] C., 'to' spare.

[427] Cf. the first scene in Plaut. _Miles_. Instead of the blue
spider, etc., Thersites kills Cotswold Lions, fights against a snail,
as Horribilicribrifax against a cat, and Sir Thopas (in _Endymion_)
against the 'monster' Ovis.

[428] _Pouldre blanche_: a powder compounded of Ginger, Cinnamon, and
Nutmegs (Cotgrave). Cf. _Blaunche laund_ in the _Story of Fulk Fitz
Warine_; the Lady of Blanchland in the poem on _Carle off Carlile_ in
Percy's _Folio Ms._ 3, 279, etc.

[429] Cf. Plaut. _Miles_, I. i, 26.

[430] Northern dialect for 'bush.'

[431] In the series of the 'blue spider' and the 'gozeling.' Cf. "the
King of Cockneys on _Childermas-day_," Brand's _Pop. Ant._ 1, 536, etc.

[432] by the holy blood? (Hazlitt: _quasi_ semblety, semblance.)

[433] Cf. _Custrel_ in _Phil. Soc. Dict., Coustillier_ in Cotgr.

[434] Here follows a farcical scene, doubtlessly inserted for the
applause of the galleries. The musicians are supposed to kneel in mock
reverence (v. 90), while M. indulges in practical jokes upon R.

[435] A picture of such a 'fool's feather,' added to the 'comb' in
Douce's _Illustrations_, II. Plate 4, 1 (cf. ib. p. 322).

[436] E., _famulae_, but the maids are not on the stage; v. 107 (his
men) shows that the musicians are meant.

[437] _Cantent_ refers apparently to the _Seconde Song_ at the end of
the play.

[438] E. has '?'.

[439] gave. Cf. _The Lytell Geste of Robyn Hode_: "Take him a gray
courser," etc.

[440] Cf. 'allowe,' V. i, 12; 'chieve,' 'gree,' etc. (C. changes:
'loue').

[441] promised.

[442] affianced; cf. IV. i, 17; IV iii, 41; V. ii, 6.

[443] C., 'ioly'; cf. ioily, II. iii, 53.

[444] Custance's quick answer need not be carried back to Parmenio (as
by Cooper).

[445] II. i. A night has passed between the first and the second acts
[note the 'last day' in v. 46]. The following monologue is distinctly
in the spirit of the Roman comedy. The signature at the bottom of this
page in the E. copy is C v.

[446] E., 'his,' and no dashes, but a comma after 'woundes.'

[447] _Twangillos_ in Halliwell, _Twango_ in Flügel's _Dict._

[448] An onomatopoetic melody, song; cf. _Romeo_, IV. v, 108, 129.

[449] flute.

[450] Cf. Skelton against Garnesche: "Ye wolde be callyd a maker And
make mocke lyke Jake Raker" (Dyce: "an imaginary person whose name had
become proverbial" for bad verses).

[451] Note 'pastance,' indicating the original pronunciation in the
rhyme, III. iii, 151; V. ii, 23; where the word is not required for the
rhyme we find 'pastime,' V. v, 20, etc. So in Henry VIII's famous song,
_Pastime with good companye_, we have the word rhyming with 'daliance,'
'daunce.'

[452] From time to time. _Prompt. Parv. Gen. Ed._

[453] 'shoke' in Shakespeare; 'chid' cf. II. iii, 4.

[454] unsuccessful.

[455] Cf. _Hickscorner_ (Dodsley, 1, 168): "If any of us three be mayor
of London I wis I will ride to Rome on my thumb."

[456] touchstone (Cotgr.). The Lombards famous as bankers; ill famed
for their "subtyl crafft ... to deceyue a gentyl man" (Boorde's
_Introd._, p. 186).

[457] Cf. Chaucer, _Troil._ 4, 461; Heywood, _Prov._ 2, ch. 1.
Reference to the cure of nettle-stings by dock-leaves.

[458] running about.

[459] Cf. Boorde's _Introd._, 191, etc.

[460] neat. Cf. Ascham, _Tox._ 28.

[461] E. and A. read: 'ferdegews'; C. and H.: 'ferdegews.' Is it
the same as French: _Verdugalle_ (A vardingale, Cotgr.)? _ib._ s.v.
_Bavolet_: A billiment or head-attire, etc.

[462] gay (the earliest quot. in Murray is from 1568).

[463] Cf. Jamieson's _Scott. Dict._: Prickmedainty, one who is finical
in dress or carriage.

[464] Is this related to "giving a fig"?

[465] ready for every event (_Phil. Soc. Dict._).

[466] to make a thing a subject for reproach (_Phil. Soc. Dict._).

[467] _Four Elem._ (Dodsley, 1, 20).

[468] Cf. Cotgr. _s.v. Trenon_: f. A great raumpe, or tomboy; _s.v.
Trotiere_: f. A raumpe ... raunging damsell, etc.

[469] E., 'No did?'--'did' spoils the rhyme.

[470] Cf. Palsgrave, 415; I abye, I forthynke or am punished for a
thynge, etc.

[471] Cf. II. iv, 26.

[472] Wrong signature in E., D. v.

[473] burden.

[474] Cf. _Appius and Virg._ (Dodsley, 4, 121): "it's time to be
knacking," etc.

[475] he will show what a fool he is; cf. Skelton, 2, 254: "thou wylte
coughe me a dawe" (a fole, etc.).

[476] E. has a period.

[477] Cf. Palsgr.: Byrde bolt matteras; Cotgrave, s.v. 'Matteras' ... a
quarrell [arrow] without feathers, ... a light-brain'd ... fellow.

[478] See Udall's _Apophthegms_ (1542, _apud_ Murray): "chop-loguers
or great pratlers." The word originated in Protestant derision of the
'tropological' and 'anagogical' senses of the scholastics; cf. _Tindale
on the four senses of Scripture_ (_Obedience of a Christian Man_, 304,
307, 308): "we must seek out some chopological sense."

[479] Cf. Heywood, _Prov._ 2, ch. 4 (109); 300 _Epigrams_, p. 149, etc.

[480] To hit, or run against (Baret, 1580, cf. Hall).

[481] heavy, stupid fellow (Halliwell).

[482] Cf. Sherwood: a Hob (or clowne).

[483] lubber.

[484] Cf. Baw! as an exclamation of contempt, repudiation, in
_Pierce Plowm._, C. 13, 74, 22, 398 ("still used in Lancashire as an
interjection of contempt and abhorrence," Whitaker, 1813, cf. Skeat).

[485] humiliated; Shak., _1 Hen. VI._ (IV. iii, 13).

[486] not only the lover, sweetheart, etc., but also the flatterer,
favorite (of a prince), despicable creature (cf. Cotgr.).

[487] a Latinism (_floccifacere_); used also in Udall's _Paraphr. to
Luke_ (1545; see _Phil. Soc. Dict._).

[488] Cf. _Towneley Myst._, 101, and _Trial of Treasure_; 'wynde,'
_Four Elem._; "let the world 'slide,'" _Wit and Science_.

[489] A translation from the Latin _Ordo ad visitandum infirmum_
(_interroget cum episcopus, quomodo credat in deum_, Maskell, _Mon.
Rit._, 1, 89).

[490] On this Mock Requiem see p. 186 and Appendix E.

[491] executor.

[492] Cf. Sherwood: _Roger bon temps_, a mad rascall, a merry greek.

[493] See p. 187.

[494] Cf. I. ii, 181; I. iv, 4; II. iii, 10, etc.

[495] by God's Armes!

[496] swoon.

[497] Cf. I. iii, 11, 14.

[498] Heywood, _Prov._ 1, ch. 4 (17); Camden's _Prov._, 271.

[499] H. makes the rhyme 'carriage.'

[500] voice? or rather courage.

[501] Cf. Palsgr. p. 664: set the plyghtes in order.

[502] gallant; cf. I. ii, 124, and the _Fourth Song_, v. 7.

[503] A. has 'should.'

[504] Cf. Palsgr. 589: I jette with facyon and countenaunce to set
forthe my selfe. _Je braggue_, etc.

[505] E. has no punctuation after 'mastershyp' or 'lord'; A. has a
period after the former.

[506] impudent fellow!

[507] never.

[508] Cf. Halliwell: to keep the term 'master' out of sight, to be
wanting in proper respect [M. makes good his carelessness in the next
verses!]

[509] Cf. 'chose,' I. iv, 15.

[510] In a 'treyce'; the French way of counting in games; cf. _ambs
ace_, _syce ace_, etc.

[511] This seems to refer to the '_Fourth Song_' at the end of the play.

[512] As early as the _Promptorium Parvulorum_: Gawde or jape = _Nuga_.

[513] C., 'have us.'

[514] E., 'sernice.'

[515] The ambiguous letter finds a pre-Shakespearian parallel in the
satirical poem on _Women_ printed from _Add. Ms._ 17492, fol. 18,
in Flügel's _Lesebuch_, p. 39; and in the poem printed in Ebert's
_Jahrbuch_, 14, 214.

[516] Cf. III. v, 77, where R. should have written or inserted 'yᵉˡ,'
thus obviating the necessity of resorting to bad grammar--'they' for
'them.'

[517] See Appendix _H_ under 'Arber.'

[518] Cf. IV. vii, 48; an oath in Skelton's _Magnif._ 685 (and _Bowge_,
398). Calais was lost to the English January 20, 1558.

[519] Cf. v. 110, 122; II. iii, 17, etc.

[520] = Gog's. R.'s oaths, gain force with his misfortune.

[521] Cf. I. ii, 146.

[522] make; cf. I. iv, 18.

[523] Palæstrio (_Miles Glor._ 1244): _Nam tu te vilem feceris_
..._Sine ultro veniat, quæsitet, desideret, exspectet._

[524] Cf. Tindale, 1462 [_Prol. Jonas_]: "the heathen Ninivites though
they were blinded with lusts a good"; _Two G. of V._, IV. iv, 170:
"weep agood."

[525] Cf. III. ii, 52.

[526] sooner.

[527] Cf. 'cousin,' III. i, 4.

[528] swindling.

[529] robbing; Palsgr. 465: I bribe, I pull, I pyll! _Ie bribe
(Romane), je derebbe ..._ He bribeth and he polleth.

[530] So in E.; A., C., and H. give the words "Nay ... still" to _Mery_
unnecessarily.

[531] R. had received his copy back from Custance!

[532] Omitted in A.

[533] head; cf. _G. G. N._, p. 250; _Hickscorner,_ p. 168, etc.

[534] H. gives this line to R.

[535] by all means; cf. I. ii, 175; IV, iii, 41, etc.

[536] whether.

[537] welfare; cf. _Prol._ 10.

[538] Cf. 'spouse,' etc., I. v, 9; IV. iii, 41. E. has comma between
'wife' and 'Espoused'.

[539] Cf. V. iv, 28; 'cheek' here like 'eyes,' 'teeth.'

[540] F., 'supect.'

[541] Taken from Plautus, _Mil. Glor._ I. 1.

[542] Cf. IV. i, 17.

[543] Note the 'thee' and 'you.'

[544] Cf. I. i, 49.

[545] Cf. III. iv, 7, 8.

[546] lubber or lout.

[547] C. adds the rhyme: 'though I die.'

[548] See Appendix _F_.

[549] simple, timid.

[550] R. 'thous' Custance now!

[551] Cf. v. 102 'passion'; 'pashe,' IV. vii, 51; IV. viii, 52.

[552] A. reads 'mowe,' C. 'inowe.'

[553] Cf. Cotgr., _Tressault_: A start ... also, a leap.

[554] Cf. I. ii, 140.

[555] Cf. II, iii. 17; III. iv, 85.

[556] Think of it.

[557] Sherwood, To appall: _Esmayer_, _descourager_.

[558] once for all.

[559] breme, brim, furious; cf. V. 34.

[560] So in E. C. reads correctly 'the'; but A. has 'yat,' and M.
'that.'

[561] The names of the speakers in vv. 10 and 11 are by mistake in
inverse order in E.

[562] 'mockage' is neither English nor French. Palsgr., Cotgr., etc.,
do not have it; Halliwell quotes it from "Collier's _Old Ballads_ 48;
Harrison, 235."

[563] See II. iii, 32.

[564] Cf. the figure of Crafty Conueyaunce in Skelton's _Magnyfycence_.

[565] the 'Cotswold lyon' is the 'sheepe' of v. 29; cf. Heywood,
_Prov._ I. ch. ii (78): 'as fierce as a Lion of Cotsolde'; _Thersites_
(Dodsley 1, 403), etc.

[566] line, array.

[567] Cf. Palsg. 695: assemble in routes, styrre about.

[568] H. changes 'and' into 'as.'

[569] Cf. 'chieve, 'low.

[570] intercede.

[571] Jocose formation; probably a "collock," a (kitchen) pail
(_North-Engl._ acc. to Halliwell). A large pail generally with an erect
handle in Yorks, Lancash., etc. (Wright, _Dial. Dict._). Cf. Heywood,
_Prov._ 2, ch. 7, "give you a _recumbentibus_." If this fine Latin
ending was a school-joke it would be of chronological importance.

[572] Stupefied; cf. Pilsgr. p. 421.

[573] for security; see _Robyn Hode_, st. 63; _Cock Lorels Bote_, etc.

[574] T. in addressing the 'Miles' goes on with his military jargon.
In E. this line is assigned to Royster, and the next two lines from
'_But_' to 'befall' to T. Trustie.

[575] By the mass!

[576] IV. viii, Cf. Plaut. _Miles_, v. 1394 _seq._

[577] E. has 'you.'

[578] the 'goose' would produce the same effect as the 'snail' in
_Thersites_.

[579] Heywood, _Prov._ 1, ch. 5 (21): "thus be I by this once _le
senior de graunde_, | many that commaund me, I shall commaunde."

[580] Cf. _Mil. Glor._ 1406.

[581] Heywood's _Prov._ 2, ch. 8; _ib._ 1, ch. 2; Camden, _Prov._ 270;
Ray, etc.

[582] See the complete oath, III. iv, 127.

[583] masculine, furious.

[584] See Child's _Ballads, Index_; Flügel's _Lesebuch_, 440.

[585] Gog's bones, _G. G. N. passim_.

[586] E. has the stage direction: _Exeant om_

[587] The _Exeat_ in E. stands at the end of 61.

[588] natural disposition.

[589] make proof of; cf. Palsgr. p. 762.

[590] Cf. Plaut. _Miles_, v. 957 (IV. i, 11).

[591] straightway, therefore.

[592] Note the rhyme.

[593] Cf. Sherwood, s.v.: ... 'rude,' 'simple,' 'vil,' etc.

[594] Note the rhyme.

[595] Cf. stablishe, etc.

[596] E. and A. have an interrogation mark.

[597] Adulteress.

[598] E., 'here were ye wished to haue.'

[599] Nom.-vocative; cf. V. vi, 37.

[600] reproach.

[601] See IV. ii, 14.

[602] Cf. Koch's _Hist. Gram._ 2: 324.

[603] Cf. last scene of Ter. _Eunuchus_.

[604] "Unless you desire it."

[605] E. has interrogation mark.

[606] Cf. _Eunuch._ V. viii, 49: _Fatuus est, insulsus, bardus_.

[607] Cf. _ib._ V. viii, 57; _Hunc comedendum et deridendum vobis
propino_.

[608] E., 'maintaiue.'

[609] Cf. _Eunuch._ V. viii, 62: _Numquam etiam fui usquam, quin me
omnes amarint plurimum._

[610] Cf. Pollock-Maitland, _Hist. Engl. Law_, 1, 171: "The Exchequer
is called a curia ... it receives and audits the accounts of the
sheriffs and other collectors; it calls the King's debtors before it,"
etc.

[611] Cf. Wright's Songs, 76.

[612] See Introd., _Date of the Play_.

[613] See Appendix G.

[614] The title, '_Fidei Defensor_,' was given to Henry VIII. in 1521;
the title, _Defender of the Faith_, is found in the statutes of Mary
and Elizabeth; _Defenders of the Faith_ in those of Philip and Mary.

[615] Similarly in the _Prayer_ at the end of _Cambyses_.

[616] Similarly in the _Prayer_ at the end of _Like will to Like_.

[617] Similarly in the plays of _Jacob and Esau_, _Disob. Child_, _New
Custom_, _Cambyses_, _Like will to Like_.

[618] Similarly in the _Prayers_ of _Nice Wanton_, _Disob. Child_,
_Appius_, _Like will to Like_, _Triall of Treas._ [all estates].

[619] See I. iv, 112.

[620] A. (and E.?): 'free.'

[621] To be inserted III. iii, 152.

[622] Cf. III. iii, 120.

[623] Cf. III. iii, 53.

[624] _Sic._ E.

[625] H. changes to 'none.'

[626] Cf. the slight differences III. iii, 59.

[627] Entirely new line.

[628] Cf., on 'Voices' of Bells, Brand, _Pop. Ant._ 2: 214, 216.

[629] Cotgr.: a Triple; also Gaillard-time in Music.



APPENDIX


=A. The Metre of Roister Doister.=--Udall's verse is a long line of
9, 10, 11, 12 (and rarely more) syllables; a verse which represents
the Middle English Long Line (or the Middle English _Septenarius_,
as it has been called for lack of a better name), as we find it, for
instance, in _Robert of Gloucester_, some Legends, and _Robert of
Brunne_.

This Middle English long line, of either six or seven stresses or
accents, is found in Skelton's _Magnyfycence_, and other early Plays.

In Roister Doister, on the whole, the lines of six accents seem to
prevail, lines corresponding to the Middle English Alexandrine,
or in Udall's case perhaps rather to the classical _senarius_, to
the _trimeter_ of the Roman comedy as understood by Udall. But a
great number of _septenarii_ occur at the side of these _senarii_,
distributed all over the play, and in the speeches of different persons.

In many cases it seems even doubtful whether a verse should be regarded
as a _senarius_ or a _septenarius_.

_Specimens of the Senarius_:--

  Truepen| ie get    | thee in||thou shalt|among  |them knowe
  I will | speake out| aloude ||I care    |not who|heare it.

_Specimens of the Septenarius_ (the syllable before the cæsura or
the end of the line with a slighter, secondary accent, produces this
_septenarius_ in most cases):--

  I go'   |now Tri'st|ram Tru'st|y`||I tha'nk     |you'    |right mu'ch|
  And see'|that in'  |case I'      ||should neede'|to come'|to arm'
                                                                 |ing.`
_Senarii or Septenarii_:--

        Yet a fi'tter wi'fe for you'r  || ma'ship mi'ght be fou'nde.
  or:   Ye't a fi'tter wi'fe for you'r || ma'ship mi'ght be fou'nde.

        Such a good'ly ma'n as you'    || mi'ght get on'e with la'nde.
  or:   Such' a good'ly ma'n as you'   || mi'ght get on'e with la nde.

=B. The Figure of the Miles Gloriosus in English Literature.=--The
limits of this edition forbid any detailed account of the pedigree of
the type of the _Miles Gloriosus_ in English Literature, but for the
benefit of the student, I wish to give the following references:--

On the _Miles Gloriosus_ of the Ancients, cf. the classical account
in Otto Ribbeck's _Alazon, Ein Beitrag zur Antiken Ethologie und zur
Kenntniss der Griechisch-Römischen Tragödie_, Leipzig, 1882. Cf.
further the masterly sketches in the _History of Roman Literature_
(Leipzig, 1887; 1, 66; 83) by the same author; the shorter account,
"_Über die Figuren des Miles Glorioius und seines Parasiten bei älteren
und neueren Dichtern_," by A. O. F. Lorenz (as an appendix to the
same scholar's edition of Plautus, _Mil. Glor._, Berlin, 1886; pp.
230 _seq._). The fullest collection of material for a general history
of this classical type in modern literature is contained in Karl von
Reinhardstoettner, _Plautus, Spätere Bearbeitungen Plautinischer
Lustspiele_, Leipzig, 1886 (pp. 130 _seq._, 595-680).

On the _Mil. Glor._ in English Literature, cf. the excellent
dissertation by Herman Graf, _Der Mil. Glor. im Englischen Drama bis
zur Zeit des Bürgerkrieges Rostock, s. a._ [1891; cf. Koch's note in
_Englische Studien_, 18, 134].

On the Shakespearian "quadrifoil," Falstaff, Parolles, Armado, Pistol,
cf. the charming _causerie_ by Julius Thümmel: _Der Mil. Glor. bei
Shakespeare_ [published first in the _Shakespeare Jahrbuch_ of 1878,
and, later, in the same author's _Shakespeare Charaktere_, Halle, 1887,
Vol. I. pp. 257-276].

=C. Titiville (I. i, 21).=--'Tuteville' was originally the name of
a devil in the French Mystery Plays (cf. Mone, _Schauspiele des
Mittelalters_, 2, 27);[630] from the French Mystery play the name was
introduced into the Mysteries of Germany, England,[631] and Holland.
His diabolical occupation is thus defined in the _Myroure of oure
Ladye_ (1 ch. 20; cf. Blunt's note, 342; as well as Skeat's to _Pierce
Plowm._, C. xiv, 123): "I am a poure dyuel and my name is Tytyuyllus
... I muste eche day ... brynge my master a thousande pokes [bags] full
of faylynges, & of neglygences in syllables and wordes that are done in
youre order in redynge and in syngynge, & else I must be sore beten."

This 'function' of the Devil seems to allow a connection[632] with
the Latin _titivillitium_,[633] "a vile thyng of no value" (Cooper),
something very small and trifling, like the "faylynges and neglygences
in syllables" in praying and reading of the church offices.

In Udall's time the ancient Devil had degenerated, and his name
had become a byword for a low, miserable fellow; cf. the play of
_Thersites_ (Dodsley, 1, 424):--

    Tinkers and taborers, tipplers, taverners,
    Tittifills, triflers, turners and trumpers,

and Heywood's _Proverbs_, 1 ch. 10 (40):--

    There is no moe such titifyls in Englandes ground || To hold with
    the hare and run with the hound.

=D. Mumblecrust and the Maids (I. iii.).=--1. _Mumblecrust._ Cooper
quotes the same name from Dekker's _Satiromastix_, and a Madge
Mumblecrust from _Misogonus_ (1577). Jack M. is the name of a beggar
in _Patient Grissel_, IV. iii (cf. Cooper). Different compounds are
Mumble-news (Shakesp. _L.L.L._ V. ii, 464) and Sir John Mumble-matins
(Pilkington, _Exposition upon Aggeus_, 1, 2).

2. _Tibet._ Tib (=Isabella) was the typical servant's name; cf.
_G.G.N._; Tib and Tom in _Ail's Well_, II. ii, 24; "every coistrel
inquiring for his Tib," _Pericles_, IV. vi, 176, etc.

3. In _Aly face_: the first part indicates the colour of her nose and
the desire of her heart.

The whole dialogue of these women takes us back to the times when it
was no dishonour to women to go "to the ale" and enjoy themselves there
with their gossips; cf. _P. Pl._, C. 7, 362; _Chester Pl._, 1, 53, etc.

=E. The Mock Requiem= (III. iii, 53) is one of the latest instances
of parodies of church services such as are found everywhere in the
literature of the Middle Ages. One of the oldest of such parodies is
the _Drunkard's Mass_, _Missa Gulæ_, printed in Halliwell and Wright's
_Reliquiæ Antiquæ_, 2, 208 (cf. the _Paternoster Goliæ_); the _Officium
Lusorum_ (printed in _Carmina Burana_, 248); the _Sequentia falsi
evangelii sec. Marcam_ (_Initium S. Evangelii sec. marcas argenti_) in
Du Meril, _Poés. Pop. Lat. Ant._ XII. s.p. 407, etc.

In English Lit. we find similar parodies in the _Requiem to the
Favourites of Henry VI_. (Ritson's _Songs_, 101; Furnivall's _Polit.
Rel. and Love Songs_, 6: For Jake Napes Sowle, _Placebo_, and
_Dirige_); in _Passages_ of the _Court of Love_ (Chalmers, _Engl.
Poets_, 1, 377), in the _Placebo Dilexi_ in Skelton's _Phyllyp
Sparowe_ (perhaps the source for Udall's happy thought); in Dunbar's
_Will of Maister Andr. Kennedy_, etc.

The parallels to Udall's parody are to be found in Maskell's _Monumenta
Ritualia_,[634] in the _Manuale et Processionale ad usum insignis
Eccles. Eboracensis_,[635] or in the _Rituale Romanum_.[636]

The references are, for--

1. The _Placebo Dilexi_ (Ps. 114), Man. Ebor. 60; Sarum 57*.

2. The Antiphona _Ne quando_ [_rapiat ut leo animam meam_, etc., Ps.
7], Ebor. 67. 68; Sarum 69*; Rit. Rom. 166. 167.

3. The Antiphona _Dirige_ [_Domine Deus meus in conspectu tuo viam
meam_], Ebor. 65; Sarum 62*; Rit. Rom. 166, etc.

4. _A porta inferi_ [_Erue Domine animas eorum_], Sarum 58*; Rit. Rom.
168.

5. _Requiem æternam_ [_dona eis Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis_],
Ebor. 64; Sarum 59*.

6. The 'Epistola' _Audivi vocem_ [_Lectio Libri Apoc. Joh._ 14, 13],
Sarum 76*; Rit. Rom. 158.

7. The _Responsorium: Qui Lazarum_ [_resuscitasti a monumento
fætidum_], Ebor. 69; R. Rom. 169.

8. The _Antiphona: In Paradisum_ [_deducant te Angeli_], Rit. Rom. 150,
etc.

It is needless to say that Merygreeke does not adhere strictly to the
order of the Ritual, but produces a humorous jumble.

The words _neque lux neque crux_ not in the Ritual, but refer to the
'order about the wax taper'[637] and the crucifix in the extreme
unction, etc. See Maskell, I. ccxcviii.; the '_clinke_'[638] refers
to the sounding of the passing bell (supposed to drive away evil
spirits).[639] Larimer remarks about such 'fooleries': "The devil
should have no abiding place in England if ringing of bells would
serve" (_Serm._, 27, 498), and the English reformers were, on the
whole, of Larimer's opinion;[640] but there were more tolerant men who
ultimately prevailed, and so in course of time one short peal before
the funeral was allowed, and one after it,[641] and even a threefold
peal was permitted by Whitgift.[642]

On the history of the Funeral Bell, valuable material is contained in
the _Parker Soc._ '_Index_,' s.v. Bells (cf. _ib._ sub. 'Candles').

=III. iii, 81, 83=: 'Pray for,' etc. If this passage were in a serious
context, interesting deductions could be drawn from it as to Udall's
religious views, and perhaps as to the date of the play. Prayers for
the dead were entirely against the spirit and doctrines of the early
Reformers. But here also less radical views were held, and so we find
the Prayer enjoined by Cranmer, 1534 (_Works_, 2, 460), by Edward VI.
(Injunctions, 1547, _ib._ 504). To mock the prayer would probably
have been unsafe between 1547 and 1556, when Udall died. Edward's
_Common Prayer Book_ of 1549 retains the prayer for the dead (p. 88,
145), but the edition of 1552 is silent about it (_ib._ 272, 319).
In _Elizabeth's Primer_ of 1559 this _Prayer_ is reintroduced (cf.
Priv. Prayers, 59, 67); but later Protestants again condemn it, _e.g._
Whitgift (1574), 3, 364.

=F. Roister as 'vagrant.' IV. iii, 104.=--Of all the statutes against
vagrants, that of 1 Edward VI. (c. 3), 1547, affords the best parallel
to Custance's resolute and humorous words. This law determines that
"whosoever ... being not lame shall either like a seruing-man wanting
a master, or like a beggar or after any such other sort be lurking in
any house or houses, or loitering, or idle wandering by the high wayes
side, or in streets, cities, townes, or villages ... then euery such
person shall bee taken for a vagabond, ... and it shalbe lawfull ...
to any ... person espying the same, to bring or cause to be brought
the said person so liuing idle and _loiteringly_, to two of the next
justices of the peace," etc.

=G. The prayer and 'song' at the end of the play. V. vi, 47.=--I
am inclined to think that the song which 'they sing' according to
the stage direction, is _not_ given,[643] and that verses 47-59 are
_spoken_, and represent the 'prayer' which the actors would all say
kneeling (cf. Nares's _Glossary_, s.v. 'kneel'). That the 'Queene'
referred to is Elizabeth, and not Mary, becomes clear from the words
"God graunt hir as she doth, _the Gospell to protect_." This proves,
too, that these words are not by Udall, but by the unknown hand that
prepared the play for the press under Elizabeth.

=H. Works quoted in the notes.=--

ARBER. The editions of Roister Doister in Arber's _English Reprints_--

  1. of July 1, 1869.
  2. of July 24, 1869.

N.B. The only difference which I have found between the two reprints is
the _absence_ of one line [III. iv, 66] on p. 51 in the ed. of July 24;
the line is contained in ed. of July 1, 1869.

CAMDEN. Proverbs in 'Remaines concerning Britaine.' London, 1623.

COOPER. Ralph Roister Doister, a comedy, ed. by W. D. Cooper, London.
Printed for the Shakespeare Society, 1847.

COTGRAVE. A French and English Dictionary, ed. 1650 (with the addition
of Dictionaire Anglais & François, by Robert Sherwood). [1st ed. 1611.]

DODSLEY, s. HAZLITT.

FLÜGEL. Neuenglisches Lesebuch von Ewald Flügel, Vol. I. "Die Zeit
Heinrich's VIII." Halle, 1895.

HALLIWELL. A Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words, by J. O.
Halliwell. London, 1847.

HAZLITT. Edition of Roister Doister in "A Select Collection of Old
English Plays," originally published by Robert Dodsley, 1744. Fourth
ed. by W. Carew Hazlitt. London, 1874 (Vol. 3).

HEYWOOD. The Proverbs of John Heywood [first published in 1546? and
reprinted from ed. 1598 by Julian Sharman]. London, 1874.

Epigrams [reprinted from ed. 1562]. Printed for the Spenser Society,
1867.

PALSGRAVE. Lesclarcissement de la Langue Francoyse compose par Maistre
Jehan Palsgraue, 1530. Pub. par F. Génin. Paris, 1852.

RAY. A Compleat Collection of English Proverbs, by J. Ray. Third ed.
London, 1742.


FOOTNOTES:

[630] Cf. _ib._, the collection of French names of the Devil;
and similar collections in Gosche's _Jahrbuch_, I.; Osborn,
_Teufelslitteratur_, 16. The English Devil is still waiting for his
Historian!

[631] Cf. _Towneley Myst._ (_Juditium_, p. 310, etc.): Tutivillus (to
the Primus Dæmon):--

    I was youre chefe tollare
    And sitten courte rollar
    Now am I master Lollar &c.

Gower, too, knows Titivillus; _Vox Clamantis_, 232:--

    _Hic est confessor Domini, sed nec Dominarum,
    Qui magis est blandus, quam Titivillus eis._

[632] There could not be a connection with: _Titimallus_--Titan (Joh.
de Janua).

[633] Freund's _Dict._ quotes it from Plautus, _Casin_ 2, 5, 39: _Non
ego istud verbum empsitem titivillitio_. The learned Ben Jonson knew
the word (_Silent Woman_, 4, 1):--

    Wife! buz? titivilitium
    There's no such thing in nature!

[634] _Inhumatio defuncti_, 1, 142; cf. also his 'dissertation' on the
order of the Burial, _ib._ CCXCIII.

[635] Ed. _Surtees Soc._ 1875, p. 60; cf. _ib._, _Commendatio Animarum_
56*; _De Modo Dicendi Exsequias defunctorum ad usum Sarum_ 80*.

[636] Chapter _De Exequiis_; _Officium Defunctorum_.

[637] Cf. _ib._, _cerei qui cum cruce et thuribulo de more ...
portabantur accensi_; unto the holy candle commit we our souls at our
last departing, Tindale, _Works_, 1, 225; _ib._ 48; 3, 140, etc.; on
the wax candle and driving the Devil away, cf. Latimer, _Sermons_, 27
(499). The reformers were as much against the candles as against the
bells, and other 'popish superstitions'; cf. Grindal's _Visitation
Book_ (1551-52), §§ 40, 46, etc.

[638] Cf. Brand's _Pop. Ant._ 2, 220.

[639] Cf. _Durandus Rationale_, Lib. I. fol. 9 (_De Campanis_): "Uerum
aliquo moriente campanæ debent pulsari ut populus hoc audiens oret pro
illo; pro muliere quidem bis ... pro viro vero ter pulsatur," etc. The
superstitious background was that the bells were believed to drive away
evil spirits. Cf. _ib._, "campanæ pulsantur ut demones timentes fugiant
... hæc etiam est causa quare ecclesia videns concitari tempestates
campanas pulsat ut demones tubas eterni regis _id est_ campanas
audientes territi fugiant et a tempestatis concitatione quiescant et
ut campanæ pulsationes fideles admoneant et prouocent pro instanti
periculo orationi insistere," and Brand's _Pop. Ant._ 2, 202.

[640] bells ... with such other vanities, Tindale, 3, 258; ape's play,
_ib._ 283, etc.

[641] Grindal, _Works_, 136.

[642] 3, 362; Injunctions at York, 1571, 8; Articles at Canterbury,
1576, 9.

[643] Collier, _Hist. Dram. Poetry_, 2, 459, thinks the whole epilogue
is 'sung.'



  _William Stevenson_

                         GAMMER GURTONS NEDLE


                                           _Edited with Critical Essay
                                           and Notes by Henry Bradley,
                                           Hon. M.A., Oxford_



CRITICAL ESSAY


=Date of the Play and its Authorship.=--The title-page of the earliest
known edition of _Gammer Gurtons Nedle_, printed by Thomas Colwell in
1575, states that this "right pithy, pleasaunt, and merie comedie" was
"played on stage, not longe ago, in Christes Colledge in Cambridge,"
and that it was "made by Mr. S., Mr. of Art." There is here no
intimation that any former edition had appeared. But the register
of the Company of Stationers shows that in the year ending 22 July,
1563, Colwell paid 4d. for licence to print a play entitled _Dyccon
of Bedlam, etc._; and as "_Diccon the Bedlam_" is a most important
character in _Gammer Gurtons Nedle_ (his name, by good right, standing
first in the list of _dramatis personæ_), there is a fair presumption
that the piece for which Colwell obtained a licence in 1562-3 was
in substance identical with that which he actually printed in 1575
under another title.[644] Whether _Dyccon_ was really published in
or soon after 1563, or whether Colwell for some reason or other
allowed twelve years to elapse before carrying out his intention of
publishing the play, cannot now be determined with certainty; the
balance of probability seems, however, to be in favour of the latter
supposition.[645]

The identity of "Mr. S., Master of Art," to whom the authorship of the
comedy is ascribed on the title-page, appears to be discoverable by
means of certain evidence contained in the bursar's books of Christ's
College, for the knowledge of which the present editor is indebted to
the kindness of the Master of that college, Dr. Peile. If we are right
in identifying _Gammer Gurtons Nedle_ with the play which was licenced
to the printer in the year ending 22 July, 1563, the performance at
Christ's College must have taken place before that date, for it was not
the custom to send a play to the press before it had been acted. Now,
in the academic year ending Michaelmas, 1563, there is no record of
any dramatic representation having been given in the college. In the
preceding year, 1561-62, the accounts mention certain sums "spent at
Mr. Chatherton's playe." The person referred to is William Chaderton,
then Fellow of Christ's; but, as his name does not begin with S, this
entry does not concern our inquiry. In 1560-61 there is no mention of
any play; but in 1559-60 we find the two following items:--

  "To the viales at Mr. Chatherton's plaie, 2_s._ 6_d._"
  "Spent at Mr. Stevenson's plaie, 5_s._"

As no evidence to the contrary has been found, it appears highly
probable that the "Mr. S." of _Gammer Gurtons Nedle_ was William
Stevenson, Fellow of Christ's College from 1559 to 1561. It is further
probable that he is identical with the person of the same name who was
Fellow of the college from 1551 to 1554,[646] and who appears in the
bursar's accounts as the author of a play acted in the year 1553-54.
It may be presumed that he was deprived of his fellowship under Queen
Mary, and was reinstated under Elizabeth. Whether Stevenson's play
of 1559-60 was the same which had been given six years before, or
whether it was a new one, there is no evidence to show. The former
supposition, however, derives some plausibility from the fact that,
as several critics have pointed out, the allusions to church matters
in _Gammer Gurtons Nedle_ seem to indicate a pre-Elizabethan date for
its composition.[647] At all events it seems likely that the play
of 1553-54 was in English, for the accounts speak of a Latin play
(managed by another Fellow, named Persevall) as having been performed
in the same year.

Of Stevenson's history nothing is known, beyond the bare facts that he
was born at Hunwick in Durham, matriculated as a sizar in November,
1546, became B.A. in 1549-50, M.A. in 1553, and B.D. in 1560. He was
ordained deacon in London in 1552, appointed prebendary of Durham in
January, 1560-61, and died in 1575, the year in which _Gammer Gurton_
was printed.

It may at first sight appear to be a formidable objection to
Stevenson's authorship of the play, that the title-page of the edition
of 1575 speaks of the representation at Cambridge as having taken
place "not longe ago." But Colwell had had the MS. in his possession
ever since 1563; and there is nothing unlikely in the supposition that
the wording of the original title-page was retained without any other
alteration than the change in the name of the piece. The title-page,
it may be remarked, is undated, the tablet at the foot, which is
apparently intended to receive the date, being left blank. This fact
may possibly indicate that when the printing of the volume was begun it
was anticipated that its publication might have to be delayed for some
time.[648] The appearance of the title-page suggests the possibility
that it may have been altered after being set up: "_Gammer gur_-| _tons
Nedle_" in small italic may have been substituted for =Diccon of= |
=Bedlam= in type as large as that of the other words in the same lines.
In Colwell's edition of Ingelend's _Disobedient Child_ (printed 1560)
the title-page has the same woodcut border, but the name of the piece
is in type of the same size as that of the preceding and following
words. As this woodcut does not occur in any other of Colwell's
publications now extant, it seems reasonable to infer that _Gammer
Gurton_ was printed long before 1575.

=Former Attributions of Authorship=.--It is necessary to say something
about the two persons to whom the authorship of _Gammer Gurtons Nedle_
has hitherto been attributed--Dr. John Bridges, who was in succession
Dean of Salisbury and Bishop of Oxford, and Dr. John Still, who was
made Bishop of Bath and Wells in 1593. It is curious that both the
distinguished churchmen who have been credited with the composition of
this very unclerical play received the degree of D.D. in the same year
in which it was published.

The evidence on which it has been attempted to assign the play to John
Bridges is contained in certain passages of the "Martin Marprelate"
tracts. In the first of these, the _Epistle_, published in 1588, the
author addresses Bridges in the following terms:--

    "You have bin a worthy writer, as they say, of a long time; your
    first book was a proper enterlude, called _Gammar Gurtons Needle_.
    But I think that this trifle, which sheweth the author to have had
    some witte and invention in him, was none of your doing, because
    your books seeme to proceede from the braynes of a woodcocke, as
    having neither wit nor learning."

In his second pamphlet, the _Epitome_, "Martin Marprelate" twice
alludes to the dean's supposed authorship of the play, in a manner
which conveys the impression that he really believed in it. None
of "Martin's" adversaries seem to have contradicted his statement
on this point, though Cooper in particular was at great pains to
refute the pamphleteer's "slanders" on other dignitaries. It must
be admitted that everything that is known of Bridges is decidedly
favourable to the supposition that he might have written comedy in
his youth. His voluminous _Defence of the Government of the Church
of England_ abounds in sprightly quips, often far from dignified in
tone; and his controversial opponents complained, with some justice,
of his "buffoonery." He is recorded by Harrington to have been a
prolific writer of verse; and that his interests were not exclusively
theological appears from the fact that he is said to have translated,
in 1558, three of Machiavelli's _Discourses_, having previously
resided in Italy. The only reason for rejecting "Martin Marprelate's"
attribution of _Gammer Gurtons Nedle_ to him is that he was not "Mr.
S.," and that he belonged not to Christ's College, but to Pembroke.
But as he was resident at Cambridge in 1560 (having taken the degree
of A.M. in that year), it is quite possible that he may have assisted
William Stevenson in the composition or revision of the play.

The name of Bishop Still is so familiar as that of the reputed author
of _Gammer Gurton_, that many readers will be surprised to learn
that this attribution was first proposed in 1782 by Isaac Reed in
his enlarged edition of Baker's _Biographia Dramatica_.[649] Reed
discovered in the accounts of Christ's College an entry referring to
a play acted at Christmas, 1567 (not 1566, as he states); and as this
is the latest entry of the kind occurring before 1575, he plausibly
inferred that it related to the representation of _Gammer Gurtons
Nedle_, which in Colwell's title-page was stated to have taken place
"not long ago." The only Master of Arts of the college then living,
whose surname began with S, that he was able to find, was John Still,
whom he therefore confidently identified with the "Mr. S." who is
said to have written _Gammer Gurton_. If our arguments in favour of
Stevenson's authorship be accepted, Reed's conclusion of course falls
to the ground; and the character of Bishop Still, as it is known from
the testimony of several of his personal friends, renders it incredible
that he can ever have distinguished himself as a comic writer. The
characteristic quality by which he seems chiefly to have impressed his
contemporaries was his extraordinary seriousness. Archbishop Parker, in
1573, speaks of him as "a young man," but "better mortified than some
other forty or fifty years of age"; and another eulogist commends "his
staidness and gravity." If Still's seriousness had been, like that of
many grave and dignified persons, in any eminent degree qualified by
wit, there would surely have been some indication of the fact in the
vivaciously written account of him given by Harrington. But neither
there nor elsewhere is there any evidence that he ever made a joke,
that he ever wrote a line of verse, or that he had any interests other
than those connected with his sacred calling. A fact which has often
been remarked upon as strange by those who have accepted the current
theory of Still's authorship of _Gammer Gurton_ is that in 1592, when
he was vice-chancellor of Cambridge, his signature, followed by those
of other heads of houses, was appended to a memorial praying that the
queen would allow a Latin play to be substituted for the English play
which she had commanded to be represented by the university actors on
the occasion of her approaching visit. The memorialists urged that the
performance of English plays had not been customary in the university,
being thought "nothing beseminge our students." It is not necessary
to attribute much importance to this incident, but, so far as it has
any bearing on the question at all, it goes to support the conclusion,
already certain on other grounds, that the author of _Gammer Gurtons
Nedle_ cannot have been John Still.[650]

=Place in the History of Comedy.=--In attempting to assign the place
of _Gammer Gurtons Nedle_ in the history of the English drama,
we should remember that it is the sole surviving example of the
vernacular college comedies--probably more numerous than is commonly
suspected--produced during the sixteenth century, and that most of
the features which appear to us novel were doubtless the result of a
gradual development. So far as our knowledge goes, however, it is the
second English comedy conforming to the structural type which modern
Europe has learned from the example of the Roman playwrights. The
choice of the old "septenary" measure, in which most of the dialogue
is written, may have been due to recollection of the Terentian iambic
tetrameter catalectic, just as the rugged Alexandrines of _Ralph
Roister Doister_ were probably suggested by the Latin comic senarius.
But while in Udall's play the matter as well as the form is largely of
classical origin, the plot and the characters of _Gammer Gurtons Nedle_
are purely native. Its material is drawn at first hand from observation
of English life; its literary ancestry, so far as it has any, is
mainly to be traced through John Heywood's interludes to the farces
of the fifteenth-century mysteries, of which one brilliant example is
preserved in the _Secunda Pastorum_ of the Towneley cycle.

The artistic merit of the piece has often been unduly depreciated, from
causes which it is not difficult to understand. The very rudimentary
kind of humour which turns on physically disgusting suggestions is
no longer amusing to educated people, and there is so much of this
poor stuff in the play that the real wit of some scenes, and the
clever portraiture of character throughout, have not received their
fair share of acknowledgment. Most people who have lived long in an
English village will recognise Gammer Gurton and Dame Chat as capital
studies from life, though their modern representatives are not quite so
foul-mouthed in their wrath as the gossips of the sixteenth century;
and Hodge, whose name has become the conventional designation of the
English farm labourer, is an equally lifelike figure. The brightly
drawn character of Diccon represents a type which the working of the
poor laws, and many social changes, have banished from our villages.
But old people who were living down to the middle of this century had
many stories to tell of the crazy wanderer, who was recognised as too
feather-brained to be set to any useful work, but who was a welcome
guest in cottage homes, and whose pranks were looked on with kindly
toleration by well-disposed people, even when they led to inconvenient
consequences.[651] The game of cross-purposes brought about by Diccon's
machinations, which forms the plot, is humorously imagined, and worked
out with some skill. It does not, of course, rise above the level of
farce; but there is real comedy, not quite of the lowest order, in
the scene where the fussy self-importance of Dr. Rat, bursting with
impotent rage at his well-merited discomfiture, is confronted with the
calm impartiality of "Master Baily"--the steward of the lord of the
manor, apparently, and the representative of temporal authority in the
village. The common verdict that _Gammer Gurtons Nedle_ is a work of
lower rank than _Ralph Roister Doister_ is perhaps on the whole not
unjust; but the later play has some merits of its own, and, as the
first known attempt to present a picture of contemporary rustic life
in the form of a regular comedy, it may be admitted to represent a
distinct advance in the development of English dramatic art.

=Dialect.=--The treatment of dialect in the play demands a word of
notice. All the characters, except the curate and the baily, who belong
to the educated class, and Diccon, who may be presumed to have come
down from a better social station than that of the village people, use
a kind of speech which is clearly intended to represent the dialect of
the southwestern counties. It is not always very correct; the writer,
for instance, seems to have thought that _cham_ stood for "am" as well
as "I am," so that he makes Hodge say "cham I not." Stevenson, as we
have seen, was of northern birth; and, as a line or two in the same
dialect is found in _Ralph Roister Doister_, there is some reason for
believing that the dialect of the stage rustic was already a matter of
established convention.[652] The word _pes_, a hassock, which occurs in
the play, is peculiar, so far as is known, to the East Anglian dialect,
and may have been picked up by the author in his walks about Cambridge.
Whether derived from _Gammer Gurton_ or from plays of earlier date,
the conventional dialect of the stage rustic kept its place throughout
the Elizabethan period. Shakspere's rustics, as is well known, mostly
use the southwestern forms, not those current in the poet's native
Warwickshire.

=The Present Text.=--The text of the present edition is taken from the
copy of Colwell's edition (1575) in the Bodleian Library. The original
spelling has been preserved, except that _j_ and _v_ are substituted
for _i_ and _u_ when used as consonants, and _u_ for _v_ when used as a
vowel. Obvious misprints have been corrected, but are mentioned in the
footnotes (except in the case of mere errors of word-division, which it
seemed unnecessary to notice). The punctuation, and the use of initial
capitals, have been conformed to modern practice. Another copy of
Colwell's edition is in the British Museum. The play was reprinted in
1661, and, with modernised spelling, in Dodsley's _Old Plays_, and in
the new edition of Dodsley by W. C. Hazlitt. An excellent edition, with
the original spelling, was published in 1897 by Professor J. M. Manly,
in vol. ii. of his _Specimens of the Pre-Shaksperean Drama_. Several of
the readings which are given in Professor Manly's text or footnotes as
those of Colwell's edition do not agree with those either of the London
or the Oxford copy. In the footnotes to the present edition reference
to Colwell's, Hazlitt's, and Manly's editions are indicated by Ed.
1575, H. and M., respectively.

                                                         HENRY BRADLEY.


FOOTNOTES:

[644] The alternative possibility is that _Gammer Gurton_ was a sequel
to _Dyccon_. In that case the two plays would most probably be by the
same author, so that the value of the argument in the next paragraph
would hardly be affected.

[645] Partly because the title-page of 1575 contains no indication that
the play had been printed before, and partly because (as will be shown)
there is some evidence that the publication was delayed after the title
had been changed. It would be interesting to know whether a second
licence was obtained for printing the play under its later name; but
there happens to be a gap in the detailed accounts of the Stationers
Company extending from 1571 to 1576.

[646] If the Stevenson of 1559-61 was not identical with his namesake,
some record of his graduations and matriculation ought to exist. But
Dr. Peile, who has taken the trouble to search through the university
registers for several years prior to 1559, informs me that no such
record can be found.

[647] The reference to the king, moreover, in Act V. ii, 236 would
strengthen the probability that the play of 1575 (and 1559-60) was
originally composed during Stevenson's first fellowship; at any rate
before the death of Edward VI. It might therefore be identical with the
play acted in 1553-4.--_Gen. Ed._

[648] Too much importance must not, however, be attached to this, as
the same thing is found in the title-page of _The Disobedient Child_,
above referred to. The date of 1575 for our comedy is given in the
colophon at the end of the book. See also p. 206 _n_.

[649] This title was given by Reed; Baker's original work of 1762 was
called _A Dictionary of the Stage_.

[650] The arguments against Still's authorship of _Gammer Gurton_, and
in favour of that of Bridges, are stated at length in an article by Mr.
C. H. Ross in the nineteenth volume of _Anglia_ (1896), to which we are
indebted for several useful references.

[651] Of course it is not meant that these persons corresponded
exactly to the type represented by Diccon--the ex-patient of Bethlehem
Hospital, discharged as being supposed to be cured or rendered
harmless, and wearing a badge indicating the possession of a licence to
beg.

[652] In Pikeryng's _Horestes_ (1567), which is some years earlier than
the first known publication of _Gammer Gurton_, the country characters
(one of whom is named Hodge) speak a strongly marked southwestern
dialect.



                                A Ryght
                      Pithy, Pleasaunt and merie
                          Comedie: Intytuled
                            _Gammer gurtons
                           Nedle_: Played on
                           Stage, not longe
                            ago in Christes

                        _Colledge in Cambridge_

                     _Made by Mr. S. Mr. of Art._

                        Imprynted at London in
                   Fleete street beneth the Conduit
                        at the ligne of S. John
                         Evangelist by _Thomas
                               Colwell_.



The Names of the Speakers in this Comedie

  DICCON,[653] _the Bedlem_.
  HODGE,[654] _Gammer Gurtons servante_.
  TYB, _Gammer Gurtons mayde_.
  GAMMER GURTON.
  COCKE,[655] _Gammer Gurtons boye_.
  DAME CHATTE.
  DOCTOR RAT, _the Curate_.
  MAYSTER BAYLYE.
  DOLL, _Dame Chattes mayde_.
  SCAPETHRYFT,[656] _Mayst. Beylies servante_.
  _Mutes._


God Save the Queene.

P. 205 represents the title-page, but without the border to which I
refer on p. 199. Mr. W. J. Lewis points out to me that this woodcut
title page had been used previously by William Copland, in 1553, for
his editions of Douglas _Æneis_ and _Palice of Honour_.


FOOTNOTES:

[653] The older form of Dick, nickname for Richard.

[654] Nickname for Roger.

[655] Misprinted _Docke_.

[656] Professor Manly gives _scapetbryk_ as the reading of the edition
of 1575; but in the copies in the Bodleian Library and in the British
Museum the name is printed correctly.



                         Gammer Gurtons Nedle


                          The Prologue. A ii

  As Gammer Gurton with manye a wyde styche
  Sat pesynge and patching of Hodg her mans briche,
  By chance or misfortune, as shee her geare tost,
  In Hodge lether bryches her needle shee lost.
  When Diccon the bedlem had hard by report                            5
  That good Gammer Gurton was robde in thys sorte,
  He quyetly perswaded with her in that stound[657]
  Dame Chat, her deare gossyp, this needle had found;
  Yet knew shee no more of this matter, alas!
  Then knoeth Tom, our clarke, what the priest saith at masse.        10
  Hereof there ensued so fearfull a fraye,
  Mas[658] Doctor was sent for, these gossyps to staye,
  Because he was curate, and estemed full wyse;
  Who found that he sought not, by Diccons device.
  When all thinges were tombled and cleane out of fassion,            15
  Whether it were by fortune, or some other constellacion,
  Sodenlye the neele Hodge found by the prickynge,
  And drew it out of his bottocke, where he felt it stickynge.
  Theyr hartes then at rest with perfect securytie,
  With a pot of good nale they stroake up theyr plauditie.            20


                   The fyrst Acte. The fyrst Sceane.

                                DICCON.

  _Diccon._ Many a myle have I walked, divers and sundry waies,
      And many a good mans house have I bin at in my daies;
      Many a gossips cup in my tyme have I tasted,
      And many a broche[659] and spyt have I both turned and basted;
      Many a peece of bacon have I had out of thir balkes,             5
      In ronnyng over the countrey, with long and were walkes;
      Yet came my foote never within those doore cheekes,
      To seeke flesh or fysh, garlyke, onyons, or leeke[s],
      That ever I saw a sorte[660] in such a plyght
      As here within this house appereth to my syght.                 10
      There is howlynge and scowlyng, all cast in a dumpe,
      With whewling and pewling, as though they had lost a trump. A ii b
      Syghing and sobbing, they weepe and they wayle;
      I marvell in my mynd what the devill they ayle.
      The olde trot syts groning, with alas! and alas!                15
      And Tib wringes her hands, and takes on in worse case.
      With poore Cocke, theyr boye, they be dryven in such fyts,
      I feare mee the folkes be not well in theyr wyts.
      Aske them what they ayle, or who brought them in this staye,
      They aunswer not at all, but "alacke!" and "welaway!"           20
      Whan I saw it booted not, out at doores I hyed mee,
      And caught a slyp of bacon, when I saw that none spyed mee,
      Which I intend not far hence, unles my purpose fayle,
      Shall serve for a shoinghorne to draw on two pots of ale.


                  The fyrst Acte. The second Sceane.

                            HODGE. DICCON.

  _Hodge._ See! so cham[661] arayed with dablynge in the durt!
      She that set me to ditchinge, ich wold she hat the squrt!
      Was never poore soule that such a life had.
      Gogs bones! thys vylthy glaye hase drest me to bad!
      Gods soule! see how this stuffe teares!                          5
      Iche were better to bee a bearward and set to keepe beares!
      By the Masse, here is a gasshe, a shamefull hole in deade!
      And one stytch teare furder, a man may thrust in his heade.

  _Diccon._ By my fathers soule, Hodge, if I shoulde now be sworne,
      I can not chuse but say thy breech is foule betorne,            10
      But the next remedye in such a case and hap
      Is to plaunche on a piece as brode as thy cap.

  _Hodge._ Gogs soule, man, tis not yet two dayes fully ended
      Synce my dame Gurton, chem sure, these breches amended;
      But cham made suc[h]e a drudge to trudge at euery neede,        15
      Chwold rend it though it were stitched with[662] sturdy
        pacthreede.

  _Diccon._ Ho[d]ge, let thy breeches go, and speake and tell mee soone
      What devill ayleth Gammer Gurton & Tib her mayd to frowne.

  _Hodge._ Tush, man, thart deceyved: tys theyr dayly looke;
      They coure so over the coles, theyre eyes be bleared with
        smooke.                                                       20

  _Diccon._ Nay, by the masse, I perfectly perceived, as I came hether,
      That eyther Tib and her dame hath ben by the eares together,
      Or els as great a matter, as thou shalt shortly see.

  _Hodge._ Now, iche beseeche our Lord they never better agree!

  _Diccon._ By Gogs soule, there they syt as still as stones in the
    streite,
      As though they had ben taken with fairies, or els with some il
        sprite.                                                       26

  _Hodge._ Gogs hart! I durst have layd my cap to a crowne
      Chwould lerne of some prancome as sone as ich came to town.

  _Diccon._ Why, Hodge, art thou inspyred? or dedst thou therof here?

  _Hodge._ Nay, but ich saw such a wonder as ich saw nat this seven
    yere.                                                             30
      Tome Tannkards cow, be Gogs bones! she set me up her saile,
      And flynging about his halfe aker[663] fysking with her taile,
      As though there had ben in her ars a swarme of bees,
      And chad not cryed "tphrowh, hoore," shead lept out of his lees.

  _Diccon._ Why, Hodg, lies the connyng in Tom Tankards cowes taile?  35

  _Hodge._ Well, ich chave hard some say such tokens do not fayle.
      Bot ca[n]st thou not tell,[664] in faith, Diccon, why she frownes,
        or wher at?
      Hath no man stolne her ducks or hen[n]es, or gelded Gyb, her cat?

  _Diccon._ What devyll can I tell, man? I cold not have one word!
      They gave no more hede to my talk than thow woldst to a lorde.

  _Hodge._ Iche cannot styll but muse, what mervaylous thinge it is.
      Chyll in and know my selfe what matters are amys.               42

  _Diccon._ Then fare well, Hodge, a while, synce thou doest inward
        hast,
      For I will into the good wyfe Chats, to feele how the ale doth
        taste.


                   The fyrst Acte. The thyrd Sceane.

                              HODGE. TYB.

  _Hodge._ Cham agast; by the masse, ich wot not what to do.
      Chad nede blesse me well before ich go them to.
      Perchaunce some felon sprit may haunt our house indeed;
      And then chwere but a noddy to venter where cha no neede.

  _Tyb._ Cham worse then mad, by the masse, to be at this staye!       5
      Cham chyd, cham blamd, and beaton, all thoures on the daye;
      Lamed and honger-storved, prycked up all in jagges,
      Havyng no patch to hyde my backe, save a few rotten ragges!

  _Hodge._ I say, Tyb--if thou be Tyb, as I trow sure thou bee,--
      What devyll make a doe is this, betweene our dame and thee?     10

  _Tyb._ Gogs breade, Hodg, thou had a good turne thou wart not here
    [this while]!                                                A iii b
      It had been better for some of us to have ben hence a myle;
      My gammer is so out of course and frantyke all at ones,
      That Cocke, our boy, and I, poore wench, have felt it on our
        bones.

  _Hodge._ What is the matter--say on, Tib--wherat she taketh so on?  15

  _Tyb._ She is undone, she sayth, alas! her joye and life is gone!
      If shee here not of some comfort, she is, fayth![665] but dead;
      Shal never come within her lyps one inch of meate ne bread.

  _Hodge._ Byr Ladie, cham not very glad to see her in this dumpe.
      Cholde[666] a noble her stole hath fallen, & shee hath broke
        her rumpe.                                                    20

  _Tyb._ Nay, and that were the worst, we wold not greatly care
      For bursting of her huckle bone, or breaking of her chaire;
      But greatter, greater, is her grief, as, Hodge, we shall all feele!

  _Hodge._ Gogs woundes, Tyb! my gammer has never lost her neele?

  _Tyb._ Her neele!

  _Hodge._          Her neele!                                        25

  _Tyb._ Her neele!
                    By him that made me, it is true, Hodge, I tell thee.

  _Hodge._ Gogs sacrament, I would she had lost tharte out of her
    bellie!
      The Devill, or els his dame, they ought[667] her, sure, a shame!
      How a murryon came this chaunce, say, Tib! unto our dame?

  _Tyb._ My gammer sat her downe on her pes,[668] and bad me reach thy
    breeches,                                                         30
      And by and by (a vengeance in it!) or she had take two stitches
      To clap a clout upon thine ars, by chaunce asyde she leares,
      And Gyb, our cat, in the milke pan she spied over head and eares.
      "Ah, hore! out, thefe!" she cryed aloud, and swapt the breches
        downe.                                                        34
      Up went her staffe, and out leapt Gyb at doors into the towne,
      And synce that tyme was never wyght cold set their eies upon it.
      Gogs malison chave (Cocke and I) bid twenty times light on it.

  _Hodge._ And is not then my breeches sewid up, to morow that I shuld
    were?

  _Tyb._ No, in faith, Hodge, thy breeches lie for al this never the
    nere.

  _Hodge._ Now a vengeance light on al the sort, that better shold have
    kept it,                                                          40
      The cat, the house, and Tib, our maid, that better shold have
        swept it!
      Se where she cometh crawling! Come on, in twenty devils way!
      Ye have made a fayre daies worke, have you not? pray you, say!


                   The fyrst Acte. The iiii. Sceane.

                      GAMMER. HODGE. TYB. COCKE.

  _Gammer._ Alas, Hoge, alas! I may well cursse and ban             A iv
      This daie, that ever I saw it, with Gyb and the mylke pan;
      For these and ill lucke togather, as knoweth Cocke, my boye,
      Have stacke away my deare neele, and robd me of my joye,
      My fayre long strayght neele, that was myne onely treasure;      5
      The fyrst day of my sorow is, and last end of my pleasure!

  _Hodge._ Might ha kept it when ye had it! but fooles will be fooles
    styll.
      Lose that is vast in your handes ye neede not but ye will.

  _Gammer._ Go hie the, Tib, and run thou, hoore, to thend here of
    the towne![669]
      Didst cary out dust in thy lap; seeke wher thou porest it
        downe,                                                        10
      And as thou sawest me roking, in the ashes where I morned,
      So see in all the heape of dust thou leave no straw unturned.

  _Tyb._ That chal, Gammer, swythe and tyte,[670] and sone be here
    agayne!

  _Gammer._ Tib, stoope & loke downe to the ground to it, and take some
    paine.

  _Hodge._ Here is a prety matter, to see this gere how it goes;      15
      By Gogs soule, I thenk you wold loes your ars, and it were loose!
      Your neele lost, it is pitie you shold lack care and endlesse
        sorow.
      Gogs deth! how shall my breches be sewid? Shall I go thus to
        morow?

  _Gammer._ Ah Hodg, Hodg! if that ich cold find my neele, by the reed,
      Chould sow thy breches, ich promise the, with full good double
        threed,                                                       20
      And set a patch on either knee shuld last this monethes twaine.
      Now God and good Saint Sithe[671] I praye to send it home againe!

  _Hodge._ Wherto served your hands and eies, but this your neele to
    kepe?
      What devill had you els to do? ye kept, ich wot, no sheepe!
      Cham fame abrode to dyg and delve, in water, myre, and claye,   25
      Sossing and possing in the durte styll from day to daye.
      A hundred thinges that be abrode, cham set to see them weele,
      And four of you syt idle at home, and can not keepe a neele!

  _Gammer._ My neele! alas! ich lost it, Hodge, what time ich me up
    hasted
      To save the milke set up for the, which Gib, our cat, hath
        wasted.                                                       30

  _Hodge._ The Devill he burst both Gib and Tib, with al the rest!
      Cham alwayes sure of the worst end, who ever have the best!
      Where ha you ben fidging abrode, since you your neele lost?

  _Gammer._ Within the house, and at the dore, sitting by this same
        post,
      Wher I was loking a long howre, before these folks came here;   35
      But welaway, all was in vayne, my neele is never the nere!

  _Hodge._ Set me a candle, let me seeke, and grope where ever it bee.
      Gogs hart, ye be so folish, ich thinke, you knowe it not when you
        it see!

  _Gammer._ Come hether, Cocke; what, Cocke, I say!

  _Cocke._          Howe, Gammer?

  _Gammer._                Goe, hye the soone,
      And grope behynd the old brasse pan, whych thing when thou hast
        done,                                                         40
      Ther shall thou fynd an old shooe, wherein if thou look well,
      Thou shalt fynd lyeng an inche of a whyte tallow candell.
      Lyght it, and bryng it tite away.

  _Cocke._          That shalbe done anone.

  _Gammer._ Nay, tary, Hodge, till thou hast light, and then weele seke
    ech one.                                                          45

  _Hodge._ Cum away, ye horson boy, are ye aslepe? ye must have a crier!

  _Cocke._ Ich cannot get the candel light: here is almost no fier.

  _Hodge._ Chil hold[672] the a peny chil make the come, if that ich may
    catch thine eares!
      Art deffe, thou horson boy? Cocke, I say; why canst not heares?

  _Gammer._ Beate hym not, Hodge, bul help the boy, and come you two
    together.


                       The i Acte. The v Sceane.

                      GAMMER. TYB. COCKE. HODGE.

  _Gammer._ How now, Tib? quycke, lets here what newes thou hast brought
    hether!

  _Tyb._ Chave tost and tumbled yender heap our and over againe,
      And winowed it through my fingers, as men wold winow grain;
      Not so much as a hens turd but in pieces I tare it,
      Or what so ever clod or clay I found, I did not spare it,       5
      Lokyng within and eke without, to fynd your neele, alas!
      But all in vaine and without help! your neele is where it was.

  _Gammer._ Alas my neele! we shall never meete! adue, adue, for aye!

  _Tyb._ Not so, Gammer, we myght it fynd, if we knew where it laye.

  _Cocke._ Gogs crosse, Gammer, if ye will laugh, looke in but at the
    doore,                                                            10
      And see how Hodg lieth tombling and tossing amids the floure,
      Rakyng there some fyre to fynd amonge the asshes dead,
      Where there is not one sparke so byg as a pyns head;
      At last in a darke corner two sparkes he thought he sees,
      Which were indede nought els but Gyb our cats two eyes.         15
      "Puffe!" quod Hodg, thinking therby to have fyre without doubt;
      With that Gyb shut her two eyes, and so the fyre was out;
      And by and by them opened, even as they were before;
      With that the sparkes appered, even as they had done of yore;
      And even as Hodge blew the fire (as he did thinke),             20
      Gib, as she felt the blast, strayghtway began to wyncke;
      Tyll Hodge fell of swering, as came best to his turne,
      The fier was sure bewicht, and therfore wold not burne.
      At last Gyb up the stayers, among the old postes and pinnes,
      And Hodge he hied him after, till broke were both his shinnes;  25
      Cursyng and swering othes were never of his makyng,
      That Gyb wold fyre the house if that shee were not taken.

  _Gammer._ See, here is all the thought that the foolysh urchyn taketh!
      And Tyb, me thinke, at his elbowe almost as mery maketh.
      This is all the wyt ye have, when others make their mone.       30
      Cum downe, Hodge, where art thou? and let the cat alone!

  _Hodge._ Gogs harte, help and come up! Gyb in her tayle hath fyre,
      And is like to burne all, if shee get a lytle hier!
      Cum downe, quoth you? nay, then you might count me a patch.[673]
      The house commeth downe on your heads, if it take ons the
        thatch.                                                       35

  _Gammer._ It is the cats eyes, foole, that shyneth in the darke.

  _Hodge._ Hath the cat, do you thinke, in every eye a sparke?

  _Gammer._ No, but they shyne as lyke fyre as ever man see.

  _Hodge._ By the masse, and she burne all, yoush beare the blame for
    mee!

  _Gammer._ Cum downe and helpe to seeke here our neele, that it were
    found.                                                            40
      Downe, Tyb, on the knees, I say! Downe, Cocke, to the ground!
      To God I make avowe, and so to good Saint Anne,
      A candell shall they have a pece, get it where I can,
      If I may my neele find in one place or in other.

  _Hodge._ Now a vengeaunce on Gyb light, on Gyb and Gybs mother,     45
      And all the generacyon of cats both far and nere!
      Loke on this ground, horson, thinks thou the neele is here?

  _Cocke._ By my trouth, Gammer, me thought your neele here I saw,
      But when my fyngers toucht it, I felt it was a straw.

  _Tyb._ See, Hodge, whats t[h]ys? may it not be within it?           50

  _Hodge._ Breake it, foole, with thy hand, and see and thou canst fynde
    it.

  _Tyb._ Nay, breake it you, Hodge, accordyng to your word.

  _Hodge._ Gogs sydes! fye! it styncks; it is a cats tourd!
      It were well done to make thee eate it, by the masse!

  _Gammer._ This matter amendeth not; my neele is still where it
        wasse.                                                        55
      Our candle is at an ende, let us all in quight,
      And come another tyme, when we have more lyght.


                           The Second Acte.

                         _First a Song._[674]

    Backe and syde go bare, go bare,
    Booth foote and hande go colde;
    But bellye, God send thee good ale ynoughe,
    Whether it be newe or olde.

    I can not eate but lytle meate,
    My stomacke is not good;
    But sure I thinke that I can drinke
    With him that weares a hood.
    Thoughe I go bare, take ye no care,
    I am nothinge a colde;
    I stuffe my skyn so full within
    Of joly good ale and olde.
      Backe and syde go bare, go bare, etc.

    I love no rost but a nut browne toste
    And a crab layde in the fyre.[675]
    A lytle bread shall do me stead:
    Much breade I not desyre.
    No froste nor snow, no winde, I trowe,
    Can hurte mee if I wolde;
    I am so wrapt, and throwly lapt
    Of joly good ale and olde.
      Backe and syde go bare, etc.

    And Tyb my wyfe, that as her lyfe
    Loveth well good ale to seeke,
    Full ofte drynkes shee tyll ye may see
    The teares run downe her cheeke;
    Then dooth she trowle to mee the bowle
    Even as a mault worme shuld;
    And sayth, sweete hart, I tooke my part
    Of this joly good ale and olde.
      Backe and syde go bare, etc.

    Now let them drynke till they nod and winke,
    Even as good felowes shoulde doe;
    They shall not miss to have the bliss
    Good ale doth bringe men to;
    And all poore soules that have scowred boules,
    Or have them lustly trolde,
    God save the lyves of them and theyr wyves,
    Whether they be yonge or olde.
      Backe and syde go bare, etc.


                 [The Second Acte.] The Fyrst Sceane.

                            DICCON. HODGE.

  _Diccon._ Well done, by Gogs malt! well songe and well sayde!
      Come on, mother Chat, as thou art true mayde,
      One fresh pot of ale lets see, to make an ende
      Agaynst this colde wether my naked armes to defende!
      This gere it warms the soule! Now, wind, blow on the worst!      5
      And let us drink and swill till that our bellies burste!
      Now were he a wise man by cunnynge could defyne
      Which way my journey lyeth, or where Dyccon will dyne!
      But one good turne I have: be it by nyght or daye,
      South, east, north or west, I am never out of my waye!          10

  _Hodge._ Chym goodly rewarded, cham I not, do you thyncke?
      Chad a goodly dynner for all my sweate and swyncke!
      Neyther butter, cheese, mylke, onyons, fleshe, nor fyshe,
      Save this poor pece of barly bread: tis a pleasant costly dishe!

  _Diccon._ Haile, fellow Hodge, and well[676] to fare with thy meat, if
    thou have any:                                                    15
      But by thy words, as I them smelled, thy daintrels be not manye.

  _Hodge._ Daintrels, Diccon? Gogs soule, man, save this piece of dry
    horsbread,
      Cha byt no byt this lyvelonge daie, no crome come in my head:
      My gutts they yawle-crawle, and all my belly rumbleth;
      The puddynges[677] cannot lye still, each one over other
        tumbleth.                                                     20
      By Gogs harte, cham so vexte, and in my belly pende,
      Chould one peece were at the spittlehouse, another at the castelle
        ende!

  _Diccon._ Why, Hodge, was there none at home thy dinner for to set?

  _Hodge._ Gogs[678] bread, Diccon, ich came to late, was nothing there
    to get!
      Gib (a fowle feind might on her light!) lickt the milke pan so
        clene,                                                        25
      See, Diccon, twas not so well washt this seven yere, as ich wene!
      A pestilence light on all ill lucke! chad thought, yet for all
        thys
      Of a morsell of bacon behynde the dore at worst shuld not misse:
      But when ich sought a slyp to cut, as ich was wont to do,
      Gogs soule, Diccon! Gyb, our cat, had eate the bacon to!        30

         (_Which bacon Diccon stole, as is declared before._)

  _Diccon._ Ill luck, quod he! mary, swere it, Hodge! this day, the
    trueth to tel,
      Thou rose not on thy ryght syde, or else blest thee not wel.
      Thy milk slopt up! thy bacon filtched! that was to bad luck, Hodg!

  _Hodge._ Nay, nay, ther was a fowler fault, my Gammer ga me the
    dodge;[679]
      Seest not how cham rent and torn, my heels, my knees, and my
        breech?                                                       35
      Chad thought, as ich sat by the fire, help here and there a
        stitch:
      But there ich was powpt[680] indeede.

  _Diccon._         Why, Hodge?

  _Hodge._                 Bootes not, man, to tell.
      Cham so drest amongst a sorte of fooles, chad better be in hell.
      My gammer (cham ashamed to say), by God, served me not weele.

  _Diccon._ How so, Hodge?

  _Hodge._     Has she not gone, trowest now, and lost her neele?

  _Diccon._ Her eele, Hodge? Who fysht of late? That was a dainty
    dysh!                                                             41

  _Hodge._ Tush, tush, her neele, her neele, her neele, man! tis neither
    flesh nor fysh;
      A lytle thing with an hole in the end, as bright as any syller,
      Small, longe, sharpe at the poynt, and straight as any pyller.

  _Diccon._ I know not what a devil thou meenst, thou bringst me more in
    doubt.                                                            45

  _Hodge._ Knowst not with what Tom Tailers man sits broching throughe a
    clout?
      A neele, a neele, a neele! my gammer's neele is gone.

  _Diccon._ Her neele, Hodge? now I smel thee! that was a chaunce alone!
      By the masse, thou hast a shamefull losse, and it wer but for thy
        breches.

  _Hodge._ Gogs soule, man, chould give a crown chad it but three
    stitches.                                                         50

  _Diccon._ How sayest thou, Hodge? What shuld he have, again thy nedle
    got?

  _Hodge._ Bern vathers soule, and chad it, chould give him a new grot.

  _Diccon._ Canst thou keep counsaile in this case?

  _Hodge._          Else chwold my tonge[681] were out.

  _Diccon._ Do than but then by my advise, and I will fetch it without
    doubt.

  _Hodge._ Chyll runne, chyll ryde, chyll dygge, chyl delve, chill
    toyle, chill trudge, shalt see;                                   55
      Chill hold, chil drawe, chil pull, chill pynche, chill kneele on
        my bare knee;
      Chill scrape, chill scratche, chill syfte, chill seeke, chill
        bowe, chill bende, chill sweate,
      Chill stoop, chil stur, chil cap, chil knele, chil crepe on hands
        and feete;
      Chill be thy bondman, Diccon, ich sweare by sunne and moone.
      And channot sumwhat to stop this gap, cham utterly undone!      60

              (_Pointing behind to his torne breeches._)

  _Diccon._ Why, is there any special cause thou takest hereat such
    sorow?

  _Hodge._ Kirstian Clack, Tom Simpsons maid, by the masse, coms hether
    to morow,
      Cham not able to say, betweene us what may hap;
      She smyled on me the last Sunday, when ich put of my cap.

  _Diccon._ Well, Hodge, this is a matter of weight, and must be kept
    close,                                                            65
      It might els turne to both our costes, as the world now gose.
      Shalt sware to be no blab, Hodge!

  _Hodge._          Chyll, Diccon.

  _Diccon._                Then go to,
      Lay thine hand here; say after me as thou shal here me do.
      Haste no booke?

  _Hodge._      Cha no booke, I!

  _Diccon._                Then needes must force us both,
      Upon my breech to lay thine hand, and there to take thine othe.

  _Hodge._ I, Hodge, breechelesse                                     71
      Sweare to Diccon, rechelesse,
      By the crosse that I shall kysse,
      To keep his counsaile close,
      And alwayes me to dispose                                       75
      To worke that his pleasure is. (_Here he kysseth_ DICCONS
        _breech_.)

  _Diccon._ Now, Hodge, see thou take heede,
      And do as I thee byd;
      For so I judge it meete;
      This nedle again to win,                                        80
      There is no shift therin
      But conjure up a spreete.

  _Hodge._ What, the great devill, Diccon, I saye?

  _Diccon._ Yea, in good faith, that is the waye.
      Fet with some prety charme.                                     85

  _Hodge._ Soft, Diccon, be not to hasty yet,
      By the masse, for ich begyn to sweat!
      Cham afrayde of some[682] harme.

  _Diccon._ Come hether, then, and sturre the nat
      One inche out of this cyrcle plat,                              90
      But stande as I thee teache.

  _Hodge._ And shall ich be here safe from theyr clawes?

  _Diccon._ The mayster devill with his longe pawes
      Here to the can not reache.
      Now will I settle me to this geare.                             95

  _Hodge._ I saye, Diccon, heare me, heare!
      Go softely to thys matter!

  _Diccon._ What devyll, man? art afraide of nought?

  _Hodge._ Canst not tarrye a lytle thought
      Tyll ich make a curtesie of water?                             100

  _Diccon._ Stand still to it; why shuldest thou feare hym?

  _Hodge._ Gogs sydes, Diccon, me thinke ich heare him!
      And tarrye, chal mare all!

  _Diccon._ The matter is no worse than I tolde it.

  _Hodge._ By the masse, cham able no longer to holde it!            105
      To bad! iche must beray the hall!

  _Diccon._ Stand to it, Hodge! sture not, you horson!
      What devyll, be thine ars strynges brusten?
      Thyselfe a while but staye,
      The devill (I smell hym) will be here anone.                   110

  _Hodge._ Hold him fast, Diccon, cham gone! cham gone!
      Chyll not be at that fraye!


                      The ii Acte. The ii Sceane.

                             DICCON. CHAT.

  _Diccon._ Fy, shytten knave, and out upon thee!
      Above all other loutes, fye on thee!
      Is not here a clenly prancke?
      But thy matter was no better,
      Nor thy presence here no sweter,                                 5
      To flye I can the thanke.[683]

      Here is a matter worthy glosynge,
      Of Gammer Gurton nedle losynge,
      And a foule peece of warke!
      A man I thyncke myght make a playe,                             10
      And nede no worde to this they saye,
      Being but halfe a clarke.

      Softe, let me alone! I will take the charge
      This matter further to enlarge
      Within a tyme shone.                                            15
      If ye will marke my toyes, and note,
      I will geve ye leave to cut my throte
      If I make not good sporte.

      Dame Chat, I say, where be ye? within?

  _Chat._ Who have we there maketh such a din?                        20

  _Diccon._ Here is a good fellow, maketh no great daunger.

  _Chat._ What, Diccon? Come nere, ye be no straunger.
      We be fast set at trumpe, man, hard by the fyre;
      Thou shall set on the king, if thou come a little nyer.

  _Diccon._ Nay, nay, there is no tarying; I must be gone againe.     25
      But first for you in councel I have a word or twain.

  _Chat._ Come hether, Dol! Dol, sit downe and play this game,
      And as thou sawest me do, see thou do even the same.
      There is five trumps beside the queene, the hindmost thou shalt
        finde her.
      Take hede of Sim Glovers wife, she hath an eie behind her!      30
      Now, Diccon, say your will.

  _Diccon._           Nay, softe a little yet;
      I wold not tel it my sister, the matter is so great.
      There I wil have you sweare by our dere Lady of Bullaine,
      Saint Dunstone, and Saint Donnyke, with the three kings of
        Kullaine,
      That ye shal keepe it secret.

  _Chat._             Gogs bread! that will I doo!                    35
      As secret as mine owne thought, by God and the devil two!

  _Diccon,_ Here is Gammer Gurton, your neighbour, a sad and hevy wight:
      Her goodly faire red cock at home was stole this last night.

  _Chat,_ Gogs soul! her cock with the yelow legs, that nightly crowed
    so just?

  _Diccon._ That cock is stollen.

  _Chat._             What, was he fet out of the hens ruste?         40

  _Diccon._ I can not tel where the devil he was kept, under key or
    locke;
      But Tib hath tykled in Gammers eare, that you shoulde steale the
      cocke.

  _Chat._ Have I, stronge hoore? by bread and salte!--

  _Diccon._           What, softe, I say, be styl!
      Say not one word for all this geare.

  _Chat._             By the masse, that I wyl!
      I wil have the yong hore by the head, & the old trot by the
        throte.                                                       45

  _Diccon._ Not one word, Dame Chat, I say; not one word, for my cote!

  _Chat._ Shall such a begars brawle[684] as that, thinkest thou, make
    me a theefe?
      The pocks light on her hores sydes, a pestlence and a mischeefe!
      Come out, thou hungry nedy bytche! O that my nails be short!

  _Diccon._ Gogs bred, woman, hold your peace! this gere wil els passe
    sport!                                                            50
      I wold not for an hundred pound this mater shuld be knowen,
      That I am auctour of this tale, or have abrode it blowen!
      Did ye not sweare ye wold be ruled, before the tale I tolde?
      I said ye must all secret keepe, and ye said sure ye wolde.

  _Chat._ Wolde you suffer, your selfe, Diccon, such a sort to revile
    you,                                                              55
      With slaunderous words to blot your name, and so to defile you?

  _Diccon._ No, Goodwife Chat, I wold be loth such drabs shulde blot my
    name;
      But yet ye must so order all that Diccon beare no blame.

  _Chat._ Go to, then, what is your rede? say on your minde, ye shall
    mee rule herein.

  _Diccon._ Godamercye to Dame Chat!  In faith thou must the gere
    begin.                                                            60
      It is twenty pound to a goose turd, my gammer will not tary,
      But hether ward she comes as fast as her legs can her cary,
      To brawle with you about her cocke; for wel I hard Tib say
      The Cocke was rosted in your house to brea[k]fast yesterday;
      And when ye had the carcas eaten, the fethers ye out flunge,    65
      And Doll, your maid, the legs she hid a foote depe in the dunge.

  _Chat._ Oh gracyous God! my harte it[685] burstes!

  _Diccon._           Well, rule your selfe a space;
      And Gammer Gurton when she commeth anon into thys place,
      Then to the queane, lets see, tell her your mynd and spare not.
      So shall Diccon blamelesse bee; and then, go to, I care not!    70

  _Chat._ Then, hoore, beware her throte!  I can abide no longer.
      In faith, old witch, it shalbe seene which of us two be stronger!
      And, Diccon, but at your request, I wold not stay one howre.

  _Diccon._ Well, keepe it till she be here, and then out let it powre!
      In the meane while get you in, and make no wordes of this.      75
      More of this matter within this howre to here you shall not misse,
      Because I knew you are my friend, hide it I cold not, doubtles.
      Ye know your harm, see ye be wise about your owne busines!
      So fare ye well.[686]

  _Chat._             Nay, soft, Diccon, and drynke! What, Doll, I say!
      Bringe here a cup of the best ale; lets see, come quicly
        a waye!                                                       80


                    The ii Acte. The iii Sceane.                       C

                            HODGE. DICCON.

  _Diccon._ Ye see, masters, that one end tapt of this my short devise!
      Now must we broche thot[h]er to, before the smoke arise;
      And by the time they have a while run, I trust ye need not crave
        it.
      But loke, what lieth in both their harts, ye ar like, sure, to
        have it.

  _Hodge._ Yea, Gogs soule, art alive yet? What, Diccon, dare ich
    come?                                                              5

  _Diccon._ A man is wel hied to trust to thee; I wil say nothing but
    mum;
      But and ye come any nearer, I pray you see all be sweete!

  _Hodge._ Tush, man, is Gammers neele found? that chould gladly weete.

  _Diccon._ She may thanke thee it is not found, for if thou had kept
    thy standing,
      The devil he wold have fet it out, even, Hodge, at thy
        commaunding.                                                  10

  _Hodge._ Gogs hart, and cold he tel nothing wher the neele might be
    found?

  _Diccon._ Ye folysh dolt, ye were to seek, ear we had got our ground;
      Therefore his tale so doubtfull was that I cold not perceive it.

  _Hodge._ Then ich se wel somthing was said, chope[687] one day yet to
    have it.
      But Diccon, Diccon, did not the devill cry "ho, ho, ho"?        15

  _Diccon._ If thou hadst taryed where thou stoodst, thou woldest have
    said so!

  _Hodge._ Durst swere of a boke, chard him rore, streight after ich was
    gon.
      But tel me, Diccon, what said the knave? let me here it anon.

  _Diccon._ The horson talked to mee, I know not well of what.
      One whyle his tonge it ran and paltered of a cat,               20
      Another whyle he stamered styll uppon a Rat;
      Last of all, there was nothing but every word, Chat, Chat;
      But this I well perceyved before I wolde him rid,
      Betweene Chat, and the Rat, and the cat, the nedle is hyd.
      Now wether Gyb, our cat, have eate it in her mawe,              25
      Or Doctor Rat, our curat, have found it in the straw,
      Or this Dame Chat, your neighbour, have stollen it, God hee
        knoweth!
      But by the morow at this time, we shal learn how the matter goeth.

  _Hodge._ Canst not learn tonight, man? seest not what is here?

              (_Pointyng behind to his torne breeches._)

  _Diccon._ Tys not possyble to make it sooner appere.                30

  _Hodge._ Alas, Diccon, then chave no shyft, but--least ich tary to
    longe--
      Hye me to Sym Glovers shop, theare to seeke for a thonge,
      Therwith this breech to tatche and tye as ich may.

  _Diccon._ To morow, Hodg, if we chaunce to meete, shall see what I
    will say.


                     The ii Acte. The iiii Sceane.

                            DICCON. GAMMER.

  _Diccon._ Now this gere must forward goe, for here my gammer commeth.
      Be still a while and say nothing; make here a little romth.[688]

  _Gammer._ Good Lord, shall never be my lucke my neele agayne to spye?
      Alas, the whyle! tys past my helpe, where tis still it must lye!

  _Diccon._ Now, Jesus! Gammer Gurton, what driveth you to this
    sadnes?                                                            5
      I feare me, by my conscience, you will sure fall to madnes.

  _Gammer._ Who is that? What, Diccon? cham lost, man! fye, fye!

  _Diccon._ Mary, fy on them that be worthy! but what shuld be your
    troble?

  _Gammer._ Alas! the more ich thinke on it, my sorow it waxeth doble.
      My goodly tossing[689] sporyars[690] neele chave lost ich wot not
        where.                                                        10

  _Diccon._ Your neele? whan?

  _Gammer._           My neele, alas! ich myght full ill it spare,
      As God him selfe he knoweth, nere one besyde chave.

  _Diccon._ If this be all, good Gammer, I warrant you all is save.

  _Gammer._ Why, know you any tydings which way my neele is gone?

  _Diccon._ Yea, that I do doubtlesse, as ye shall here anone.        15
      A see a thing this matter toucheth, within these twenty howres,
      Even at this gate, before my face, by a neyghbour of yours.
      She stooped me downe, and up she toke a nedle or a pyn.
      I durst be sworne it was even yours, by all my mothers kyn.

  _Gammer._ It was my neele, Diccon, ich wot; for here, even by this
    poste,                                                            20
      Ich sat, what time as ich up starte, and so my neele it loste.
      Who was it, leive[691] son? speke, ich pray the, and quickly tell
        me that!

  _Diccon._ A suttle queane as any in thys towne, your neyghboure here,
    Dame Chat.

  _Gammer._ Dame Chat, Diccon? Let me be gone, chil thyther in post
    haste.

  _Diccon._ Take my councell yet or ye go, for feare ye walke in
        wast.                                                         25
      It is a murrion crafty drab, and froward to be pleased;
      And ye take not the better way, our nedle yet ye lose[692] it:
      For when she tooke it up, even here before your doores,
      "What, soft, Dame Chat" (quoth I), "that same is none of yours."
      "Avant," quoth she, "syr knave! what pratest thou of that I
        fynd?                                                         30
      I wold thou hast kist me I wot whear;" she ment, I know, behind;
      And home she went as brag as it had ben a bodelouce,
      And I after, as bold as it had ben the goodman of the house.
      But there and ye had hard her, how she began to scolde!
      The tonge it went on patins, by hym that Judas solde!           35
      Ech other worde I was a knave, and you a hore of hores,
      Because I spake in your behalfe, and sayde the neele was yours.

  _Gammer._ Gogs bread, and thinks that that callet thus to kepe my
    neele me fro?

  _Diccon._ Let her alone, and she minds non other but even to dresse
    you so.

  _Gammer._ By the masse, chil rather spend the cote that is on my
    backe!                                                            40
      Thinks the false quean by such a slygh[t] that chill my neele
    lacke?

  _Diccon._ Slepe[693] not you[r] gere, I counsell you, but of this take
    good hede:
      Let not be knowen I told you of it, how well soever ye spede.

  _Gammer._ Chil in, Diccon, a cleene aperne to take and set before me;
      And ich may my neele once see, chil, sure, remember the!        45


                      The ii Acte. The v Sceane.

                                DICCON.

  _Diccon._ Here will the sporte begin; if these two once may meete,
      Their chere, durst lay money, will prove scarsly sweete.
      My gammer, sure, entends to be uppon her bones
      With staves, or with clubs, or els with coble stones.
      Dame Chat, on the other syde, if she be far behynde              5
      I am right far deceived; she is geven to it of kynde.[694]
      He that may tarry by it awhyle, and that but shorte,
      I warrant hym, trust to it, he shall see all the sporte.
      Into the towne will I, my frendes to vysit there,
      And hether straight againe to see thend of this gere.           10
      In the meane time, felowes, pype upp; your fiddles, I saie, take
        them,
      And let your freyndes here such mirth as ye can make them.


                     The iii. Acte. The i Sceane.

                                HODGE.

  _Hodge._ Sym Glover, yet gramercy! cham meetlye well sped now,
      Thart even as good a felow as ever kyste a cowe!
      Here is a thonge[695] in dede, by the masse, though ich speake it;
      Tom Tankards great bald curtal, I thinke, could not breake it!
      And when he spyed my neede to be so straight and hard,         Cii
      Hays lent me here his naull,[696] to set the gyb forward,[697]   6
      As for my gammers neele, the flyenge feynd go weete!
      Chill not now go to the doore againe with it to meete.
      Chould make shyfte good inough and chad a candels ende;
      The cheefe hole in my breeche with these two chil amende.       10


                     The iii. Acte. The ii Sceane.

                            GAMMER. HODGE.

  _Gammer._ Now Hodge, mayst nowe be glade, cha newes to tell thee;
      Ich knowe who hais my neele; ich trust soone shalt it see.

  _Hodge._ The devyll thou does! hast hard, Gammer, in deede, or doest
    but jest?

  _Gammer._ Tys as true as steele, Hodge.

  _Hodge._            Why, knowest well where dydst leese it?

  _Gammer._ Ich know who found it, and tooke it up! shalt see or it be
    longe.                                                             5

  _Hodge._ Gods mother dere! if that be true, farwel both naule an
    thong!
      But who hais it, Gammer, say on; chould faine here it disclosed.

  _Gammer._ That false fixen, that same Dame Chat, that counts her selfe
    so honest.

  _Hodge._ Who tolde you so?

  _Gammer._          That same did Diccon the bedlam, which saw it done.

  _Hodge._ Diccon? it is a vengeable knave, Gammer, tis a bonable[698]
    horson,                                                           10
      Can do mo things then that, els cham deceyved evill:
      By the masse, ich saw him of late cal up a great blacke devill!
      O, the knave cryed "ho, ho!" he roared and he thundred,
      And yead bene here, cham sure yould murrenly ha wondred.

  _Gammer._ Was not thou afraide, Hodge to see him in this place?     15

  _Hodge._ No, and chad come to me, chould have laid him on the face,
      Chould have, promised him!

  _Gammer._           But, Hodge, had he no hornes to pushe?

  _Hodge._ As long as your two armes. Saw ye never Fryer Rushe[699]
      Painted on a cloth, with a side long cowes tayle,
      And crooked cloven feete, and many a hoked nayle?               20
      For al the world, if I shuld judg, chould recken him his brother.
      Loke, even what face Frier Rush had, the devil had such another.

  _Gammer._ Now Jesus mercy, Hodg! did Diccon in him bring?

  _Hodge._ Nay Gammer, here me speke, chil tel you a greater thing;
      The devil (when Diccon had him, ich hard him wondrous weel)     25
      Sayd plainly here before us, that Dame Chat had your neele.

  _G_[_am_]_mer._ Then let us go, and aske her wherfore she minds to
    kepe it;
      Seing we know so much, tware a madnes now to slepe it.

  _Hodge._ Go to her, Gammer; see ye not where she stands in her
    doores?
      Byd her geve you the neele, tys none of hers but yours.         30


                    The iii. Acte. The iii. Sceane.

                         GAMMER. CHAT. HODGE.

  _Gammer._ Dame Chat, cholde praye the fair, let me have that is mine!
      Chil not this twenty yeres take one fart that is thyne;
      Therefore give me mine owne, and let me live besyde the.

  _Chat._ Why art thou crept from home hether, to mine own doores to
    chide me?
      Hence, doting drab, avaunt, or I shall set the further!          5
      Intends thou and that knave mee in my house to murther?

  _Gammer._ Tush, gape not so on[700] me, woman! shalt not yet eate mee!
      Nor all the frends thou hast in this shall not intreate mee!
      Mine owne goods I will have, and aske the no[701] beleve,[702]
      What, woman! pore folks must have right, though the thing you
        aggreve.                                                      10

  _Chat._ Give thee thy right, and hang the up, with al thy baggers
    broode!
      What, wilt thou make me a theefe, and say I stole thy good?

  _Gammer._ Chil say nothing, ich warrant thee, but that ich can prove
    it well.
      Thou fet my good even from my doore, cham able this to tel!

  _Chat._ Dyd I, olde witche, steale oft[703] was thine? how should that
    thing be knowen?                                                  15

  _Gammer._ Ich can no tel; but up thou tokest it as though it had ben
    thine owne,

  _Chat._ Mary, fy on thee, thou old gyb, with al my very hart!

  _Gammer._ Nay, fy on thee, thou rampe, thou ryg, with al that take
    thy parte!

  _Chat._ A vengeance on those lips that laieth such things to my
    charge!

  _Gammer._ A vengeance on those callats hips, whose conscience is so
    large!                                                            20

  _Chat._ Come out, hogge!

  _Gammer._           Come out, hogge, and let have me right!

  _Chat._ Thou arrant witche!

  _Gammer._    Thou bawdie bitche, chil make thee cursse this night!

  _Chat._ A bag and a wallet!

  _Gammer._           A carte for a callet!

  _Chat._             Why, wenest thou thus to prevaile?
      I hold thee a grote, I shall patche thy coate!               C iii

  _Gammer._           Thou warte as good kysse my tayle!
      Thou slut, thou kut, thou rakes, thou jakes! will not shame make
        the hide [the]?                                               25

  _Chat._ Thou skald, thou bald, thou rotten, thou glotton! I will no
    longer chyd the,
      But I will teache the to kepe home.

  _Gammer._           Wylt thou, drunken beaste?

  _Hodge._ Sticke to her, Gammer! take her by the head, chil warrant you
    thys feast!
      Smyte, I saye, Gammer! Byte, I say, Gammer! I trow ye wyll be
        keene!
      Where be your nayls? claw her by the jawes, pull me out bothe her
        eyen.                                                         30
      Gogs bones, Gammer, holde up your head!

  _Chat._             I trow, drab, I shall dresse thee.
      Tary, thou knave, I hold the a grote I shall make these hands
        blesse thee!
      Take thou this, old hore, for amends, and lerne thy tonge well to
        tame,
      And say thou met at this bickering, not thy fellow but thy dame!

  _Hodge._ Where is the strong stued hore? chil geare a hores marke!  35
      Stand out ones way, that ich kyll none in the darke!
      Up, Gammer, and ye be alyve! chil feygh[t] now for us bothe.
      Come no nere me, thou scalde callet! to kyll the ich wer loth.

  _Chat._ Art here agayne, thou hoddy peke? what, Doll! bryng me out my
    spitte.

  _Hodge._ Chill broche thee wyth this, bim father soule, chyll conjure
    that foule sprete!                                                40
      Let dore stand, Cock! why coms, in deede? kepe dore, thou horson
        boy!

  _Chat._ Stand to it, thou dastard, for thine eares, ise teche the, a
    sluttish toye!

  _Hodge._ Gogs woundes, hore, chil make the avaunte! take heede, Cocke,
    pull in the latche!

  _Chat._ Ifaith, sir Loose-breche, had ye taried, ye shold have found
    your match!

  _Gammer._ Now ware thy throte, losell, thouse paye[704] for al!

  _Hodge._            Well said, Gammer, by my soule.                 45
      Hoyse her, souse her, bounce her, trounce her, pull out her throte
        boule!

  _Chat._ Comst behynd me, thou withered witch? and I get once on foote
      Thouse pay for all, thou old tarlether! ile teach the what longs
        to it!
      Take the this to make up thy mouth, til time thou come by more!

  _Hodge._ Up, Gammer, stande on your feete; where is the olde hore?  50
      Faith, woulde chad her by the face, choulde cracke her callet
        crowne!

  _Gammer._ A Hodg, Hodg, where was thy help, when fixen had me downe?

  _Hodge._ By the masse, Gammer, but for my staffe Chat had gone nye to
    spyl you!
      Ich think the harlot had not cared, and chad not com, to kill you.
      But shall we loose our neele thus?

  _Gammer._           No Hodge chwarde[705] lothe doo soo,            55
      Thinkest thou chill take that at her hand? no, Hodg, ich tell
        the no!

  _Hodge._ Chold yet this fray wer wel take up, and our neele at home.
      Twill be my chaunce else some to kil, wher ever it be or whome!

  _Gammer._ We have a parson, Hodge, thou knoes, a man estemed wise,
      Mast Doctor Rat; chil for hym send, and let me here his advise. 60
      He will her shrive for all this gere, and geve her penaunce
        strait;
      Wese[706] have our neele, els Dame Chat comes nere within heaven
        gate.

  _Hodge._ Ye, mary, Gammer, that ich think best; wyll you now for him
    send?
      The sooner Doctor Rat be here, the soner wese ha an ende,
      And here, Gammer! Dyccons devill, as iche remember well,        65
      Of cat, and Chat, and Doctor Rat, a felloneus tale dyd tell.
      Chold you forty pound, that is the way your neele to get againe.

  _Gammer._ Chil ha him strait! Call out the boy, wese make him take the
    payn.

  _Hodge._ What, Co[c]ke, I saye! come out! What devill! canst not here?

  _Cocke._ How now, Hodg? how does Gammer, is yet the wether cleare?  70
      What wold chave[707] me to do?

  _Gammer._           Come hether, Cocke, anon!
      Hence swythe[708] to Doctor Rat, hye the that thou were gone,
      And pray hym come speke with me, cham not well at ease.
      Shalt have him at his chamber, or els at Mother Bees;
      Els seeke him at Hob Fylchers shop, for as charde it reported,  75
      There is the best ale in al the towne, and now is most resorted.

  _Cocke._ And shall ich brynge hym with me, Gammer?

  _Gammer._           Yea, by and by, good Cocke.

  _Cocke._ Shalt see that shal be here anone, els let me have on the
    docke.[709]

  _Hodge._ Now, Gammer, shall we two go in, and tary for hys commynge?
      What devill, woman! plucke up your hart, and leve of al this
        glomming.[710]                                                80
      Though she were stronger at the first, as ich thinke ye did find
        her,
      Yet there ye drest the dronken sow, what time ye cam behind her.

  _Gammer._ Nay, nay, cham sure she lost not all, for, set thend to the
    beginning,
      And ich doubt not but she will make small bost of her winning.


                    The iii Acte. The iiii Sceane.

                      TYB. HODGE. GAMMER. COCKE.

  _Tyb._ Se, Gammer, Gammer, Gib, our cat, cham afraid what she ayleth;
      She standes me gasping behind the doore, as though her winde her
        faileth:
      Now let ich doubt what Gib shuld mean, that now she doth so dote.

  _Hodge._ Hold hether! I chould twenty pound, your neele is in her
    throte.
      Grope her, ich say, me thinkes ich feele it; does not pricke your
        hand?                                                          5

  _Gammer._ Ich can feele nothing.

  _Hodge._            No, ich know thars not within this land
      A muryner cat then Gyb is, betwixt the Tems and Tyne;
      Shase as much wyt in her head almost as chave in mine!

  _Tyb._ Faith, shase eaten some thing, that will not easily downe;
      Whether she gat it at home, or abrode in the towne              10
      Ich can not tell.

  _Gammer._           Alas ich feare it be some croked pyn!
      And then farewell Gyb! she is undone, and lost al save the skyn!

  _Hodge._ Tys[711] your neele, woman, I say! Gogs soule! geve me a
    knyfe,
      And chil have it out[712] of her mawe, or els chal lose my lyfe!

  _Gammer._ What! nay, Hodg, fy! Kil not our cat, tis al the cats we ha
    now.                                                              15

  _Hodge._ By the masse, Dame Chat hays me so moved,[713] iche care not
    what I kyll, ma[714] God a vowe!
      Go to, then, Tyb, to this geare! holde up har tayle and take her!
      Chil see what devil is in her guts! chil take the paines to rake
        her!

  _Gammer._ Rake a cat, Hodge! what woldst thou do?

  _Hodge._            What, thinckst that cham not able?
      Did not Tom Tankard rake his curtal toore[715] day standing in the
        stable?                                                       20

  _Gammer._ Soft! be content, lets here what newes Cocke bringeth from
    Maist Rat.

  _Cocke._ Gammer, chave ben ther as you bad, you wot wel about what.
      Twill not be long before he come, ich durst sweare of a booke.
      He byds you see ye be at home, and there for him to looke.

  _Gammer._ Where didst thou find him, boy? was he not wher I told
    thee?                                                             25

  _Cocke._ Yes, yes, even at Hob Filchers house, by him that bought and
    solde me!
      A cup of ale had in his hand, and a crab lay in the fyer;
      Chad much a do to go and come, al was so ful of myer.
      And, Gammer, one thing I can tel, Hob Filchers naule was loste,
      And Doctor Rat found it againe, hard beside the doore poste.    30
      I chould a penny can say something your neele againe to set.

  _Gammer._ Cham glad to heare so much, Cocke, then trust he wil not let
      To helpe us herein best he can; therfore tyl time he come
      Let us go in; if there be ought to get thou shall have some.


                  The iiii Acte. The i Sceane.[716]                   D

                      DOCTOR RAT. GAMMER GURTON.

  _D. Rat._ A man were better twenty times be a bandog and barke,
      Then here among such a sort be parish priest or clarke,
      Where he shall never be at rest one pissing while a day,
      But he must trudge about the towne, this way and that way;
      Here to a drab, there to a theefe, his shoes to teare and rent,  5
      And that which is worst of al, at every knaves commaundement!
      I had not sit the space to drinke two pots of ale,
      But Gammer Gurtons sory boy was straite way at my taile,
      And she was sicke, and I must come, to do I wot not what!
      If once her fingers end but ake, trudge! call for Doctor Rat!   10
      And when I come not at their call, I only therby loose;
      For I am sure to lacke therfore a tythe pyg or a goose.
      I warrant you, when truth is knowen, and told they have their
        tale,
      The matter where about I come is not worth a halfpeny worth of
        ale;
      Yet must I talke so sage and smothe, as though I were a glosier 15
      Els, or the yere come at an end, I shal be sure the loser.
      What worke ye, Gammer Gurton? hoow? here is your frend M[ast] Rat.

  _Gammer._ A! good M[ast] Doctor! cha trebled, cha trebled you, chwot
    wel that!

  _D. Rat._ How do ye, woman? be ye lustie, or be ye not well at ease?

  _Gammer._ By gys, Master, cham not sick, but yet chave a
    disease.[717]                                                     20
      Chad a foule turne now of late, chill tell it you, by gigs!

  _D. Rat._ Hath your browne cow cast hir calfe, or your sandy sowe her
    pigs?

  _Gammer._ No, but chad ben as good they had as this, ich wot weel.

  _D. Rat._ What is the matter?

  _Gammer._           Alas, alas! cha lost my good neele!
  My neele, I say, and wot ye what, a drab came by and spied it,      25
  And when I asked hir for the same, the filth flatly denied it.

  _D. Rat._ What was she that?

  _Gammer._     A dame, ich warrant you! She began to scold and brawle--
  Alas, alas! Come hether, Hodge! this wr[e]tche can tell you all.


                  The iiii. Acte. The ii Sceane.[718]

               HODGE. DOCTOR RAT. GAMMER. DICCON. CHAT.

  _Hodge._ God morow, Gaffer Vicar.

  _D. Rat._           Come on, fellow, let us heare!
      Thy dame hath sayd to me, thou knowest of all this geare;
      Lets see what thou canst saie.

  _Hodge._            Bym fay, sir, that ye shall.
      What matter so ever there was done, ich can tell your maship
        [all]:
      My Gammer Gurton heare, see now,                                 5
        sat her downe at this doore, see now;
      And, as she began to stirre her, see now,
        her neele fell to the floore, see now;
      And while her staffe shee tooke, see now,
        at Gyb her cat to flynge, see now,                            10
      Her neele was lost in the floore, see now.
        Is not this a wondrous thing, see now?
      Then came the queane Dame Chat, see now,
        to aske for hir blacke cup, see now:
      And even here at this gate, see now,                            15
        she tooke that neele up, see now:
      My Gammer then she yeede,[719] see now,
        her neele againe to bring, see now,
      And was caught by the head, see now.
        Is not this a wondrous thing, see now?                        20
      She tare my Gammers cote, see now,
        and scratched hir by the face, see now;
      Chad thought shad stopt hir throte, see now.
        Is not this a wondrous case, see now?
      When ich saw this, ich was wrothe,[720] see now,                25
        and start betwene them twaine, see now;
      Els ich durst take a booke othe, see now,
        my gammer had bene slaine, see now.

  _Gammer._ This is even the whole matter, as Hodge has plainly tolde;
      And chould faine be quiet for my part, that chould.             30
      But help us, good Master, beseech ye that ye doo:
      Els shall we both be beaten and lose our neele too.

  _D. Rat._ What wold ye have me to doo? tel me, that I were gone;
      I will do the best that I can, to set you both at one.
      But be ye sure Dame Chat hath this your neele founde?           35

  _Gammer._ Here comes the man that see hir take it up of the ground.
      Aske him your selfe, Master Rat, if ye beleve not me:
      And help me to my neele, for Gods sake and Saint Charitie!

  _D. Rat._ Come nere, Diccon, and let us heare what thou can expresse.
      Wilt thou be sworne thou seest Dame Chat this womans neele have? 40

  _Diccon._ Nay, by S. Benit, wil I not, then might ye thinke me rave!

  _Gammer._ Why, didst not thou tel me so even here? canst thou for
    shame deny it?

  _Diccon._ I, mary, Gammer; but I said I would not abide by it.

  _D. Rat._ Will you say a thing, and not sticke to it to trie it?

  _Diccon._ "Stick to it," quoth you, Master Rat? mary, sir, I defy
    it!                                                               45
      Nay, there is many an honest man, when he suche blastes hath
        blowne
      In his freindes eares, he woulde be loth the same by him were
        knowne.
      If such a toy be used oft among the honestie,
      It may beseme a simple man of your and my degree.

  _D. Rat._ Then we be never the nearer, for all that you can tell!   50

  _Diccon._ Yea, mary, sir, if ye will do by mine advise and counsaile.
      If Mother Chat se al us here, she knoweth how the matter goes;
      Therfore I red you three go hence, and within keepe close,
      And I will into Dame Chats house, and so the matter use,
      That or[721] you cold go twise to church I warant you here
        news.                                                         55
      She shall look wel about hir, but, I durst lay a pledge,
      Ye shal of Gammers neele have shortly better knowledge.

  _Gammer._ Now, gentle Diccon, do so, and, good sir, let us trudge.

  _D. Rat._ By the masse, I may not tarry so long to be your judge.

  _Diccon._ Tys but a little while, man; what! take so much paine!    60
      If I here no newes of it, I wil come sooner againe.

  _Hodge._ Tary so much, good Master Doctor, of your gentlenes!

  _D. Rat._ Then let us hie us inward, and, Diccon, speede thy busines.

  _Diccon._[722] Now, sirs, do you no more, but kepe my counsaile juste,
      And Doctor Rat shall thus catch some good, I trust.             65
      But Mother Chat, my gossop, talke first with-all I must:
      For she must be chiefe captaine to lay the Rat in the dust.
      God deven, dame Chat, in faith, and wel met in this place!

  _Chat._ God deven, my friend Diccon; whether walke ye this pace?

  _Diccon._ By my truth, even to you, to learne how the world goeth.  70
      Hard ye no more of the other matter? say me, now, by your troth!

  _Chat._ O yes, Diccon, here the old hoore, and Hodge, that great
    knave--
      But, in faith, I would thou hadst sene,--O Lord, I drest them
        brave!
      She bare me two or three souses behind in the nape of the necke,
      Till I made hir olde wesen to answere againe, "kecke!"          75
      And Hodge, that dirty dastard, that at hir elbow standes,--
      If one pair of legs had not bene worth two paire of hands,
      He had had his bearde shaven if my nayles wold have served,    Dij
      And not without a cause, for the knave it well deserved.

  _Diccon._ By the masse, I can the thank, wench, thou didst so wel
    acquite the!                                                      80

  _Chat._ And thadst scene him, Diccon, it wold have made the beshite
    the
      For laughter. The horsen dolt at last caught up a club,
      As though he would have slaine the master devil Belsabub.
      But I set him soone inwarde.

  _Diccon._           O Lorde, there is the thing
      That Hodge is so offended! that makes him start and flyng!      85

  _Chat._ Why? makes the knave any moyling, as ye have seen or hard?

  _Diccon._ Even now I sawe him last, like a mad man he farde,
      And sware by heven and hell he would awreake his sorowe,
      And leve you never a hen on live, by eight of the clock to morow;
      Therfore marke what I say, and my wordes see that ye trust.     90
      Your hens be as good as dead, if ye leave them on the ruste.

  _Chat._ The knave dare as well go hang himself, as go upon my ground.

  _Diccon._ Wel, yet take hede I say, I must tel you my tale round.
      Have you not about your house, behind your furnace or leade[723]
      A hole where a crafty knave may crepe in for neade?             95

  _Chat._ Yes, by the masse, a hole broke down, even within these two
    dayes.

  _Diccon._ Hodge he intends this same night to slip in there awayes.

  _Chat._ O Christ! that I were sure of it! in faith he shuld have his
    mede!

  _Diccon._ Watch wel, for the knave wil be there as sure as is your
    crede.
      I wold spend my selfe a shilling to have him swinged well.     100

  _Chat._ I am as glad as a woman can be of this thing to here tell.
      By Gogs bones, when he commeth, now that I know the matter,
      He shal sure at the first skip to leape in scalding water,
      With a worse turne besides; when he will, let him come.

  _Diccon._ I tell you as my sister; you know what meaneth "mum"!
      [724]Now lacke I but my doctor to play his part againe.        106
      And lo where he commeth towards, peradventure to his paine!

  _D. Rat._ What good newes, Diccon, fellow? is Mother Chat at home?

  _Diccon._ She is, syr, and she is not, but it please her to whome;
      Yet did I take her tardy, as subtle as she was.                110

  _D. Rat._ The thing that thou wentst for, hast thou brought it to
    passe?

  _Diccon._ I have done that I have done, be it worse, be it better,
      And Dame Chat at her wyts ende I have almost set her.

  _D. Rat._ Why, hast thou spied the neele? quickly, I pray thee, tell!

  _Diccon._ I have spyed it, in faith, sir, I handled my selfe so
    well;                                                            115
      And yet the crafty queane had almost take my trumpe.
      But or all came to an ende, I set her in a dumpe.

  _D. Rat._ How so, I pray thee, Diccon?

  _Diccon._           Mary, syr, will ye heare?
      She was clapt downe on the backside, by Cocks mother dere,
      And there she sat sewing a halter or a bande,                  120
      With no other thing save Gammers nedle in her hande.
      As soone as any knocke, if the filth be in doubte,
      She needes but once puffe, and her candle is out:
      Now I, sir, knowing of every doore the pin,
      Came nycely, and said no worde, till time I was within;        125
      And there I sawe the neele, even with these two eyes;
      Who ever say the contrary, I will sweare he lyes.

  _D. Rat._ O Diccon, that I was not there then in thy steade!

  _Diccon._ Well, if ye will be ordred, and do by my reade,
      I will bring you to a place, as the house standes,             130
      Where ye shall take the drab with the neele in hir handes.

  _D. Rat._ For Gods sake do so, Diccon, and I will gage my gowne
  To geve thee a full pot of the best ale in the towne.

  _Diccon._ Follow me but a litle, and marke what I will say;
      Lay downe your gown beside you; go to, come on your way!       135
      Se ye not what is here? a hole wherin ye may creepe
      Into the house, and sodenly unwares among them leape;
      There shal ye finde the bitchfox and the neele together.
      Do as I bid you, man, come on your wayes hether!

  _D. Rat._ Art thou sure, Diccon, the swil-tub standes not here
    aboute?                                                          140

  _Diccon._ I was within my selfe, man, even now, there is no doubt.
      Go softly, make no noyse; give me your foote, Sir John.
      Here will I waite upon you, tyl you come out anone.

  _D. Rat._ Helpe, Diccon! out, alas! I shal be slaine among them!

  _Diccon._ If they give you not the nedle, tel them that ye will hang
    them.                                                            145
      Ware that! Hoow, my wenches! have ye caught the Foxe
      That used to make revel among your hennes an Cocks?
      Save his life yet for his order, though he susteine some paine.
      Gogs bread! I am afraide they wil beate out his braine.

  _D. Rat._ Wo worth the houre that I came heare!                    150
      And wo worth him that wrought this geare!
      A sort of drabs and queanes have me blest--
      Was ever creature halfe so evill drest?
      Who ever it wrought, and first did invent it
      He shall, I warrant him, erre long repent it!                  155
      I will spend all I have without my skinne                     Diii
      But he shall be brought to the plight I am in!
      Master Bayly, I trow, and he be worth his eares,
      Will snaffle these murderers and all that them beares.[725]
      I will surely neither byte nor suppe                           160
      Till I fetch him hether, this matter to take up.


                      The v. Acte. The i. Sceane.

                       MASTER BAYLY. DOCTOR RAT.

  _Bayly._ I can perceive none other, I speke it from my hart,
      But either ye ar in al the fault, or els in the greatest part.

  _D. Rat._ If it be counted his fault, besides all his greeves,
      When a poore man is spoyled and beaten among theeves,
      Then I confess my fault herein, at this season;                  5
      But I hope you will not judge so much against reason.

  _Bayly._ And, me thinkes, by your owne tale, of all that ye name,
      If any plaid the theefe, you were the very same.
      The women they did nothing, as your words make probation,
      But stoutly withstood your forcible invasion.                   10
      If that a theefe at your window to enter should begin,
      Wold you hold forth your hand and helpe to pull him in?
      Or you wold kepe him out? I pray you answere me.

  _D. Rat._ Mary, kepe him out, and a good cause why!
      But I am no theefe, sir, but an honest learned clarke.          15

  _Bayly._ Yea, but who knoweth that, when he meets you in the darke?
      I am sure your learning shines not out at your nose!
      Was it any marvaile though the poore woman arose
      And start up, being afraide of that was in hir purse?
      Me thinke you may be glad that you[r] lucke was no worse.       20

  _D. Rat._ Is not this evill ynough, I pray you, as you thinke?

                     (_Showing his broken head._)

  _Bayly._ Yea, but a man in the darke, if[726] chaunces do wincke,
      As soone he smites his father as any other man,
      Because for lacke of light discerne him he ne can.
      Might it not have ben your lucke with a spit to have
       ben slaine?                                                    25

  _D. Rat._ I think I am litle better, my scalpe is cloven to the
    braine.
      If there be all the remedy, I know who beares the k[n]ockes.

  _Bayly._ By my troth, and well worthy besides to kisse the stockes!
      To come in on the backe side, when ye might go about!
      I know non such, unles they long to have their braines knockt
        out.                                                          30

  _D. Rat._ Well, wil you be so good, sir, as talke with Dame Chat,
      And know what she intended? I aske no more but that.

  _Bayly._ Let her be called, fellow,[727] because of Master Doctor,
      I warrant in this case she wil be hir owne proctor;
      She will tel hir owne tale in metter or in prose,               35
      And byd you seeke your remedy, and so go wype your nose.


                      The v. Acte. The ii Sceane.

            M. BAYLY. CHAT. D. RAT. GAMMER. HODGE. DICCON.

  _Bayly._ Dame Chat, Master Doctor upon you here complained
      That you and your maides shuld him much misorder,
      And taketh many an oth, that no word he fained,
      Laying to your charge, how you thought him to murder;
      And on his part againe, that same man saith furder               5
      He never offended you in word nor intent.
      To heare you answer hereto, we have now for you sent.

  _Chat._ That I wold have murdered him? fye on him, wretch,
      And evil mought he thee[728] for it, our Lord I beseech.
      I will swere on al the bookes that opens and shuttes,           10
      He faineth this tale out of his owne guttes;
      For this seven weekes with me I am sure he sat not downe.
      Nay, ye have other minions, in the other end of the towne,
      Where ye were liker to catch such a blow,
      Then any where els, as farre as I know!                         15

  _Bayly._ Belike, then, Master Doctor, yon[729] stripe there ye got
    not!

  _D. Rat._ Thinke you I am so mad that where I was bet I wot not?
      Wil ye beleve this queane, before she hath tryd it?
      It is not the first dede she hath done, and afterward denide it.

  _Chat._ What, man, will you say I broke you[r] heade?               20

  _D. Rat._ How canst thou prove the contrary?

  _Chat._ Nay, how provest thou that I did the deade?

  _D. Rat._ To plainly, by S. Mary,
  This profe I trow may serve, though I no word spoke!

                   (_Showing his broken head._)                      DIV

  _Chat._ Bicause thy head is broken, was it I that it broke?         25
      I saw thee, Rat, I tel thee, not once within this fortnight.

  _D. Rat._ No mary, thou sawest me not, for why thou hadst no light;
      But I felt thee for al the darke, beshrew thy smothe cheekes!
      And thou groped me, this wil declare any day this six weekes.

                        (_Showing his heade._)

  _Bayly._ Answere me to this, M[ast] Rat: when caught you this harme of
    yours?                                                            30

  _D. Rat._ A while ago, sir, God he knoweth, within les then these two
    houres.

  _Bayly._ Dame Chat, was there none with you (confesse, i-faith) about
    that season?
      What, woman? let it be what it wil, tis neither felony nor
        treason.

  _Chat._ Yea, by my faith, master Bayly, there was a knave not farre
      Who caught one good philup on the brow with a dore barre,       35
      And well was he worthy, as it semed to mee;
      But what is that to this man, since this was not hee?

  _Bayly._ Who was it then? Lets here!

  _D. Rat._           Alas sir, aske you that?
      Is it not made plain inough by the owne mouth of Dame Chat?
      The time agreeth, my head is broken, her tong can not lye,      40
      Onely upon a bare nay she saith it was not I.

  _Chat._ No, mary, was it not indeede! ye shal here by this one thing:
      This after noone a frend of mine for good wil gave me warning,
      And bade me wel loke to my ruste,[730] and al my capons pennes,
      For if I toke not better heede, a knave wold have my hennes.    45
      Then I, to save my goods, toke so much pains as him to watch;
      And as good fortune served me, it was my chaunce hym for to catch.
      What strokes he bare away, or other what was his gaines,
      I wot not, but sure I am he had something for his paines!

  _Bayly._ Yet telles thou not who it was.

  _Chat._             Who it was? a false theefe,                     50
      That came like a false foxe my pullaine[731] to kil and mischeefe!

  _Bayly._ But knowest thou not his name?

  _Chat._             I know it; but what than?
      It was that crafty cullyon Hodge, my Gammer Gurtons man.

  _Bayly._ Cal me the knave hether, he shal sure kysse the stockes.
      I shall teach him a lesson for filching hens or cocks!          55

  _D. Rat._ I marvaile, Master Bayly, so bleared be your eyes;
      An egge is not so ful of meate, as she is ful of lyes:
      When she hath playd this pranke, to excuse al this geare,
      She layeth the fault in such a one, as I know was not there.

  _Chat._ Was he not thear? loke on his pate, that shal be his witnes! 60

  _D. Rat._ I wold my head were half so hole; I wold seeke no redresse!

  _Bayly._ God blesse you, Gammer Gurton!

  _Gammer._           God dylde you,[732] master mine!

  _Bayly._ Thou hast a knave within thy house--Hodge, a servant of
    thine;
      They tel me that busy knave is such a filching one,
      That hen, pig, goose or capon, thy neighbour can have none.     65

  _Gammer._ By God, cham much ameved,[733] to heare any such reporte!
      Hodge was not wont, ich trow, to have[734] him in that sort.

  _Chat._ A theevisher knave is not on live, more filching, nor more
    false;
      Many a truer man then he hase hanged up by the halse;[735]
      And thou, his dame,--of al his theft thou art the sole
        receaver;[736]                                                70
      For Hodge to catch, and thou to kepe, I never knew none better!

  _Gammer._ Sir reverence[737] of your masterdome, and you were out
    adoore,
      Chold be so bolde, for al hir brags, to cal her arrant whoore;
      And ich knew Hodge as bad as tow,[738] ich wish me endlesse sorow
      And chould not take the pains to hang him up before to morow!   75

  _Chat._ What have I stolne from the or thine, thou ilfavored olde
    trot?

  _Gammer._ A great deale more, by Gods blest, then chever by the got!
      That thou knowest wel, I neade not say it.

  _Bayly._            Stoppe there, I say,
      And tel me here, I pray you, this matter by the way,
      How chaunce Hodge is not here? him wold I faine have had.       80

  _Gammer._ Alas, sir, heel be here anon; ha be handled to bad.

  _Chat._ Master Bayly, sir, ye be not such a foole, wel I know,
      But ye perceive by this lingring there is a pad[739] in the straw.

 (_Thinking that Hodg his head was broke, and that Gammer wold not let
                        him come before them._)

  _Gammer._ Chil shew you his face, ich warrant the; lo now where he is!

  _Bayly._ Come on, fellow, it is tolde me thou art a shrew, iwysse:  85
      Thy neighbours hens thou takest, and playes the two legged foxe;
      Their chickens and their capons to, and now and then their cocks.

  _Hodge._ Ich defy them al that dare it say, cham as true as the best!

  _Bayly._ Wart not thou take within this houre in Dame Chats hens nest?

  _Hodge._ Take there? no, master; chold not dot for a house ful of
    gold!                                                             90

  _Chat._ Thou or the devil in thy cote--sweare this I dare be bold.

  _D. Rat._ Sweare me no swearing, quean, the devill he geve the sorow!
      Al is not worth a gnat thou canst sweare till to morow:         E
      Where is the harme he hath? shew it, by Gods bread!
      Ye beat him with a witnes, but the stripes light on my head!    95

  _Hodge._ Bet me? Gogs blessed body, chold first, ich trow, have burst
    the!
      Ich thinke and chad my hands loose, callet, chould have crust the!

  _Chat._ Thou shitten knave, I trow thou knowest the ful weight of my
    fist;
      I am fowly deceved onles thy head and my doore bar kyste.

  _Hodge._ Hold thy chat, whore, thou criest so loude, can no man els
    be hard.                                                         100

  _Chat._ Well, knave, and I had the alone, I wold surely rap thy
    costard!

  _Bayly._ Sir, answer me to this: is thy head whole or broken?

  _Hodge._[740] Yea, Master Bayly, blest be every good token,
      Is my head whole! Ich warrant you, tis neither scurvy nor scald!
      What, you foule beast, does think tis either pild or bald?     105
      Nay, ich thanke God, chil not for al that thou maist spend
      That chad one scab on my narse as brode as thy fingers end.

  _Bayly._ Come nearer heare!

  _Hodge._            Yes, that I dare.

  _Bayly._                 By our Lady, here is no harme,
      Hodges head is whole ynough, for al Dame Chats charme.

  _Chat._ By Gogs blest, hou ever the thing he clockes or
    smolders,[741]                                                   110
      I know the blowes he bare away, either with head or shoulders.
      Camest thou not, knave, within this houre, creping into my pens,
      And there was caught within my hous groping among my hens?

  _Hodge._ A plage both on the hens & the! A carte, whore, a carte!
      Chould I were hanged as hie as a tree and chware as false as
        thou art!                                                    115
      Geve my gammer again her washical[742] thou stole away in thy lap!

  _Gammer._ Yea Maister Baily, there is a thing you know not on, mayhap;
      This drab she kepes away my good, the devil he might her snare!
      Ich pray you that ich might have a right action on her [fare].

  _Chat._ Have I thy good, old filth, or any such old sowes?         120
      I am as true, I wold thou knew, as skin betwene thy browes!

  _Gammer._ Many a truer hath ben hanged, though you escape the daunger!

  _Chat._ Thou shalt answer, by Gods pity, for this thy foule slaunder!

  _Bayly._ Why, what can ye charge hir withal? To say so ye do not well.

  _Gammer._ Mary, a vengeance to hir hart! the whore hase stoln my
    neele!                                                           125

  _Chat._ Thy nedle, old witch? how so? it were almes thy scul to knock!
      So didst thou say the other day that I had stolne thy cock,
      And rosted him to my breakfast, which shal not be forgotten;
      The devil pul out thy lying tong and teeth that be so rotten!

  _Gammer._ Geve me my neele! As for my cock, chould be very loth    130
      That chuld here tel he shuld hang on thy false faith and troth.

  _Bayly._ Your talke is such, I can scarce learne who shuld be most
    in fault.

  _Gammer._ Yet shall be find no other wight, save she, by bred and
    salt!

  _Bayly._ Kepe ye content a while, se that your tonges ye holde.
      Me thinkes you shuld remembre this is no place to scolde.      135
      How knowest thou, Gammer Gurton, Dame Chat thy nedle had?

  _Gammer._ To name you, sir, the party, chould not be very glad.

  _Bayly._ Yea, but we must nedes heare it, and therfore say it boldly.

  _Gammer._ Such one as told the tale full soberly and coldly,
      Even he that loked on--wil sweare on a booke--                 140
      What time this drunken gossip my faire long neele up tooke,
      Diccon, master, the Bedlam, cham very sure ye know him.

  _Bayly._ A false knave, by Gods pitie! ye were but a foole to trow
    him.
      I durst aventure wel the price of my best cap,
      That when the end is knowen, all will turne to a jape.         145
      Tolde he not you that besides she stole your cocke that tyde?

  _Gammer._ No, master, no indede; for then he shuld have lyed.
  My cocke is, I thanke Christ, safe and wel a fine.

  _Chat._ Yea, but that ragged colt, that whore, that Tyb of thine,
      Said plainly thy cocke was stolne, and in my house was eaten.  150
      That lying cut[743] is lost that she is not swinged and beaten,
      And yet for al my good name, it were a small amendes!
      I picke not this geare, hearst thou, out of my fingers endes;
      But he that hard it told me, who thou of late didst name,
      Diccon, whom al men knowes, it was the very same.              155

  _Bayly._ This is the case: you lost your nedle about the dores,
      And she answeres againe, she hase no cocke of yours;
      Thus in you[r] talke and action, from that you do intend,
      She is whole five mile wide, from that she doth defend.
      Will you say she hath your cocke?

  _Gammer._           No, mary,[744] sir, that chil not,             160

  _Bayly._ Will you confesse hir neele?

  _Chat._                  Will I? No sir, will I not.

  _Bayly._ Then there lieth all the matter,

  _Gammer._                Soft, master, by the way!
  Ye know she could do litle, and she cold not say nay.

  _Bayly._ Yea, but he that made one lie about your cock stealing,
      Wil not sticke to make another, what time lies be in dealing.  165
      I wene the ende wil prove this brawle did first arise          Eii
      Upon no other ground but only Diccons lyes.

  _Chat._ Though some be lyes, as you belike have espyed them,
      Yet other some be true, by proof I have wel tryed them.

  _Bayly._ What other thing beside this, Dame Chat?

  _Chat._             Mary syr, even this.                           170
      The tale I tolde before, the selfe same tale it was his;
      He gave me, like a frende, warning against my losse,
      Els had my hens be stolne eche one, by Gods crosse!
      He tolde me Hodge wold come, and in he came indeede,
      But as the matter chaunsed, with greater hast than speede.     175
      This truth was said, and true was found, as truly I report.

  _Bayly._ If Doctor Rat be not deceived, it was of another sort.

  _D. Rat._ By Gods mother, thou and he be a cople of suttle foxes!
      Betweene you and Hodge, I beare away the boxes.
      Did not Diccon apoynt the place, wher thou shuldst stand to mete
      him?                                                           180

  _Chat._ Yes, by the masse, and if he came, bad me not sticke to
    speet[745] hym.

  _D. Rat._ Gods sacrament! the villain knave hath drest us round about!
      He is the cause of all this brawle, that dyrty shitten loute!
      When Gammer Gurton here complained, and made a ruful mone,
      I heard him sweare that you had gotten hir nedle that was
        gone;                                                        185
      And this to try, he furder said, he was ful loth; how be it
      He was content with small adoe to bring me where to see it.
      And where ye sat, he said ful certain, if I wold folow his read,
      Into your house a privy way he wold me guide and leade,
      And where ye had it in your hands, sewing about a clowte,      190
      And set me in the backe hole, therby to finde you out:
      And whiles I sought a quietnes, creping upon my knees,
      I found the weight of your dore bar for my reward and fees.
      Such is the lucke that some men gets, while they begin to mel
      In setting at one such as were out, minding to make al wel.    195

  _Hodge._ Was not wel blest, Gammer, to scape that stoure?[746] And
    chad ben there,
      Then chad been drest,[747] be like, as ill, by the masse, as
        Gaffar Vicar.

  _Bayly._ Mary, sir, here is a sport alone; I loked for such an end.
      If Diccon had not playd the knave, this had ben sone amend.
      My gammer here he made a foole, and drest hir as she was;      200
      And Goodwife Chat he set to scole, till both partes cried alas;
      And D[octor] Rat was not behind, whiles Chat his crown did pare.
      I wold the knave had ben starke blind, if Hodg had not his share.

  _Hodge._ Cham meetly wel sped alredy amongs, cham drest lik a coult!
      And chad not had the better wit, chad bene made a doult.       205

  _Bayly._ Sir knave, make hast Diccon were here, fetch him, where ever
    he bee!

  _Chat._ Fie on the villaine, fie, fie! that makes us thus agree!

  _Gammer._ Fie on him, knave, with al my hart! now fie! and fie againe!

  _D. Rat._ Now "fie on him!" may I best say, whom he hath almost
    slaine.

  _Bayly._ Lo where he commeth at hand, belike he was not fare!      210
      Diccon, heare be two or three thy company can not spare.

  _Diccon._ God blesse you, and you may be blest, so many al at once.

  _Chat._ Come knave, it were a good deed to geld the, by Cockes bones!
      Seest not thy handiwarke? Sir Rat, can ye forbeare him?

  _Diccon._ A vengeance on those hands lite, for my hands cam not nere
    hym.                                                             215
      The horsen priest hath lift the pot in some of these alewyves
        chayres
      That his head wolde not serve him, belyke, to come downe the
        stayres.

  _Bayly._ Nay, soft! thou maist not play the knave, and have this
    language to!
      If thou thy tong bridle a while, the better maist thou do.
      Confesse the truth, as I shall aske, and cease a while to
        fable;                                                       220
      And for thy fault I promise the thy handling shalbe reasonable.
      Hast thou not made a lie or two, to set these two by the eares?

  _Diccon._ What if I have? five hundred such have I seene within these
    seven yeares:
      I am sory for nothing else but that I see not the sport
      Which was betwene them when they met, as they them selves
        report.                                                      225

  _Bayly._ The greatest thing--Master Rat, ye se how he is drest!

  _Diccon._ What devil nede he be groping so depe, in Goodwife Chats
    hens nest?

  _Bayly._ Yea, but it was thy drift to bring him into the briars.

  _Diccon._ Gods bread! hath not such an old foole wit to save his
    eares?
      He showeth himselfe herein, ye see, so very a coxe,            230
      The cat was not so madly alured by the foxe
      To run into the snares was set for him, doubtlesse;
      For he leapt in for myce, and this Sir John for madnes.

  _D. Rat._ Well, and ye shift no better, ye losel, lyther, and lasye,
      I will go neare for this to make ye leape at a dasye.[748]     235
      In the kings name, Master Bayly, I charge you set him fast.

  _Diccon._ What, faste at cardes, or fast on slepe? it is the thing
    I did last.

  _D. Rat._ Nay, fast in fetters, false varlet, according to thy deedes.

  _Bayly._ Master Doctor, ther is no remedy, I must intreat you needes
      Some other kinde of punishment.                               Eiii

  _D. Rat._           Nay by all halowes                             240
      His punishment if I may judg, shal be naught els but the gallous.

  _Bayly._ That ware to sore, a spiritual man to be so extreame!

  _D. Rat._ Is he worthy any better, sir? how do ye judge and deame?

  _Bayly._ I graunt him wort[h]ie punishment, but in no wise so great.

  _Gammer._ It is a shame, ich tel you plaine, for such false knaves
    intreat!                                                         245
      He has almost undone us al--that is as true as steele,--
      And yet for al this great ado cham never the nere my neele!

  _Bayly._ Canst thou not say any thing to that, Diccon, with least or
    most?

  _Diccon._ Yea, mary, sir, this much I can say wel, the nedle is lost.

  _Bayly._ Nay, canst not thou tel which way that nedle may be found? 250

  _Diccon._ No, by my fay, sir, though I might have an hundred pound.

  _Hodge._ Thou lier, lickdish, didst not say the neele wold be gitten?

  _Diccon._ No, Hodge, by the same token, you were[749] that time
    beshitten
      For feare of Hobgobling--you wot wel what I meane;
      As long as it is sence, I feare me yet ye be scarce cleane.    255

  _Bayly._ Wel, Master Rat, you must both learne and teach us to
    forgeve.
      Since Diccon hath confession made, and is so cleane shreve,
      If ye to me conscent, to amend this heavie chaunce,
      I wil injoyne him here some open kind of penaunce,
      Of this condition (where ye know my fee is twenty pence):      260
      For the bloodshed, I am agreed with you here to dispence;
      Ye shal go quite, so that ye graunt the matter now to run
      To end with mirth emong us al, even as it was begun.

  _Chat._ Say yea, Master Vicar, and he shall sure confes to be your
    detter,
     And al we that be heare present, wil love you much the better.  265

  _D. Rat._ My part is the worst; but since you al here on agree,
      Go even to, Master Bayly! let it be so for mee!

  _Bayly._ How saiest thou, Diccon? art content this shal on me depend?

  _Diccon._ Go to, M[ast] Bayly, say on your mind, I know ye are my
    frend.

  _Bayly._ Then marke ye wel: To recompence this thy former action,--270
      Because thou hast offended al, to make them satisfaction,--
      Before their faces here kneele downe, and, as I shal the teach,--
      For thou shalt take an[750] othe of Hodges leather breache:
      First, for Master Doctor, upon paine of his cursse,
      Where he wil pay for al, thou never draw thy purse;            275
      And when ye meete at one pot he shall have the first pull,
      And thou shalt never offer him the cup but it be full.
      To Goodwife that thou shalt be sworne, even on the same wyse,
      If she refuse thy money once, never to offer it twise.
      Thou shalt be bound by the same, here as thou dost take it,    280
      When thou maist drinke of free cost, thou never forsake it.
      For Gammer Gurton's sake, againe sworne shalt thou bee,
      To helpe hir to hir nedle againe if it do lie in thee;
      And likewise be bound, by the vertue of that,
      To be of good abering to Gib her great cat.                    285
      Last of al, for Hodge the othe to scanne,
      Thou shalt never take him for fine gentleman.

  _Hodge._ Come, on, fellow Diccon, chal be even with thee now!

  _Bayly._ Thou wilt not sticke to do this, Diccon, I trow?

  _Diccon._ Now, by my fathers skin! my hand downe I lay it!         290
      Loke, as I have promised, I wil not denay it.
      But, Hodge, take good heede now, thou do not beshite me!

             (_And gave him a good blow on the buttocke._)

  _Hodge._ Gogs hart! thou false villaine, dost thou bite me?

  _Bayly._ What, Hodge, doth he hurt thee or ever he begin?

  _Hodge._ He thrust me into the buttocke with a bodkin or a pin!    295
      I saie, Gammer! Gammer!

  _Gammer._           How now Hodge, how now?

  _Hodge._ Gods malt, Gammer Gurton!

  _Gammer._                Thou art mad, ich trow!

  _Hodge._ Will you see the devil, Gammer?

  _Gammer._           The devil, sonne! God blesse us!

  _Hodge._ Chould iche were hanged, Gammer--

  _Gammer._                Mary, se, ye might dresse us--

  _Hodge._ Chave it, by the masse, Gammer!

  _Gammer._           What? not my neele, Hodge?                     300

  _Hodge._ Your neele, Gammer! your neele!

  _Gammer._                  No, fie, dost but dodge!

  _Hodge._ Cha found your neele, Gammer, here in my hand be it!

  _Gammer._ For al the loves on earth, Hodge, let me see it!

  _Hodge._ Soft, Gammer!

  _Gammer._           Good Hodge!

  _Hodge._                   Soft, ich say; tarie a while!

  _Gammer._ Nay, sweete Hodge, say truth, and do not me begile!      305

  _Hodge._ Cham sure on it, ich warrant you; it goes no more a stray.

  _Gammer._ Hodge, when I speake so faire; wilt stil say me nay?

  _Hodge._ Go neare the light, Gammer, this--wel, in faith, good
    lucke!--
      Chwas almost undone, twas so far in my buttocke!               Eiv

  _Gammer._ Tis min owne deare neele, Hodge, sykerly I wot!          310

  _Hodge._ Cham I not a good sonne, Gammer, cham I not?

  _Gammer._ Christs blessing light on thee, hast made me for ever!

  _Hodge._ Ich knew that ich must finde it, els choud a had it never!

  _Chat._ By my troth, gossyp Gurton, I am even as glad
      As though I mine owne selfe as good a turne had!               315

  _Bayly._ And I, by my concience, to see it so come forth,
  Rejoyce so much at it as three nedles be worth.

  _D. Rat._ I am no whit sory to see you so rejoyce.

  _Diccon._ Nor I much the gladder for al this noyce;
      Yet say "gramercy, Diccon," for springing of the game.         320

  _Gammer._ Gramercy, Diccon, twenty times! O how glad cham!
      If that chould do so much, your masterdome to come hether,
      Master Rat, Goodwife Chat, and Diccon together,
      Cha but one halfpeny, as far as iche know it,
      And chil not rest this night till ich bestow it.               325
      If ever ye love me, let us go in and drinke.

  _Bayly._ I am content, if the rest thinke as I thinke.
      Master Rat, it shal be best for you if we so doo;
      Then shall you warme you and dresse your self too.

  _Diccon._ Soft, syrs, take us with you, the company shal be the more!
      As proude coms behinde, they say, as any goes before!
      But now, my good masters, since we must be gone,
      And leave you behinde us here all alone;
      Since at our last ending thus mery we bee,
      For Gammer Gurtons nedle sake, let us have a plaudytie!

                FINIS. GURTON. PERUSED AND ALOWED, &C.


                          Imprinted at London
                in Fleetestreate beneath the Conduite,
                at the signe of S. John Euangelist, by
                            Thomas Colwell
                                 1575.


FOOTNOTES:

[657] moment, time.

[658] A common contraction for _master_.

[659] 'Broche' and 'spit' are synonymous.

[660] set of people, company; cf. Heywood, _Play of the Wether_, l. 94.

[661] I am. The rustic dialect in the piece is conventional, but its
general peculiarities are those of the southwestern counties; _iche_
= I, reduced to _ch_ in _cham_, _chould_, or _chwold_ (I would),
_chwere_, etc. The southwestern _v_ for _f_ is not generally used, but
occurs below in _vylthy_, in _vast_ (I. iv. 8), and in _vathers_ (II.
i. 52); _glaye_ for clay is probably not genuine dialect.

[662] Misprinted _what_.

[663] H. prints 'halse aker,' with the following absurd note: "I
believe we should read _halse anchor_, or _anker_, as it was anciently
spelt; a naval phrase."

[664] Ed. 1575 _till_.

[665] Printed _sayth_.

[666] I hold, _i.e._ 'I wager.'

[667] owed.

[668] 'Pess,' a hassock (Rye's _East Anglian Glossary_, English Dialect
Society).

[669] the ground attached to the house. (Cf. Sc. toun.)

[670] with vigour and speed, promptly.

[671] Commonly supposed to mean St. Osyth.

[672] wager, bet; compare note 2, page 101. Ed. 1575 _held_.

[673] a fool, jester.

[674] For the older and better form of this song, see Appendix.

[675] A roasted crab-apple was placed in a bowl of ale to give it a
flavour and take off the chill. Compare _Midsummer Night's Dream_, II.
i. 48, and Nashe, _Summer's Last Will and Testament_:--

    Sitting in a corner turning crabs,
    Or coughing o'er a warmed pot of ale.

[676] Ed. 1575 _will_.

[677] entrails.

[678] Ed. 1575 _Godgs_.

[679] Ed. 1575 _dogde_.

[680] deceived.

[681] Ed. 1575 _thonge_.

[682] Ed. 1575 _syme._

[683] give thee thanks.

[684] offspring, brat.

[685] Ed. 1575 'is'; the reading adopted seems better than _is burste_.

[686] Ed. 1575 _will_.

[687] I hope.

[688] room.

[689] first-rate.

[690] spurrier's, harness-maker's.

[691] dear.

[692] Read 'lese,' for the rime.

[693] slip, neglect. Perhaps we should read 'yon' for 'you[r].'

[694] by nature.

[695] Ed. 1575 has _thynge_.

[696] awl.

[697] Apparently a proverbial phrase, meaning 'to expedite matters.'

[698] abominable.

[699] 'Friar Rush,' the chief personage in a popular story translated
from the German, which relates the adventures of a devil in the
disguise of a friar.

[700] Ed. 1575 _no_.

[701] Ed. 1575 _on_.

[702] leave, permission.

[703] aught.

[704] Ed. 1575 _pray_.

[705] Probably a misprint for 'chware,' I would be.

[706] we shall.

[707] _Chave_ is either a blunder of the author's in the use of
dialect, or a misprint for 'thave' = thou have.

[708] quickly.

[709] tail, backside.

[710] sulking (compare _glum_, and _R. R. D._, I. i. 66).

[711] Ed. 1575 _Tyb._

[712] Ed. 1575 _bauet not i_.

[713] Ed. 1575 _moned_.

[714] (I) make.

[715] t'other, the other.

[716] Ed. 1575 _The ii Acte. The iiii Sceane._

[717] anxiety.

[718] In Colwell's edition this scene extends to the end of the act.
There should probably be a division after line 63, and again after
line 105 (as in Professor Manly's edition), but we have retained the
original arrangement.

[719] went.

[720] Ed. 1575, _worthe_.

[721] ere, before.

[722] M. begins a new scene here; H. says it should begin at line 68.

[723] Brewing trough.

[724] M. begins a new scene here.

[725] H. inserts '_with_' before 'them.' But 'beares' means 'support,
uphold.'

[726] Printed _of_, ed. 1575.

[727] This is said to Scapethryft, who is nowhere mentioned in the
text. 'Fellow' (equivalent to 'comrade') was originally a courteous
mode of addressing a servant, like the French _mon ami_.

[728] Ill may he thrive; the phrase is common in the fourteenth
century. Cf. also "y-the," _Hickscorner_, l .187.

[729] Ed. 1575 _you_.

[730] roost.

[731] poultry.

[732] God yield you, God reward you. Compare _Good den_, _God deven_ =
good e'en.

[733] moved, disturbed.

[734] behave.

[735] neck.

[736] Perhaps we should read 'recetter,' for the sake of the rime.

[737] saving your reverence.

[738] as thou.

[739] Toad; the same phrase occurs in Gosson, _Ephimerides of Phialo_
(Arber) 63, "I have neither replyed to the writer of this libel ...
nor let him go scot free ... but poynted to the strawe where the padd
lurkes."

[740] Ed. 1575 gives this line to Chat.

[741] cloaks or smothers.

[742] what shall I call (it). Compare "_nicebecetur_," _R. D._ I. iv.
12.

[743] 'cut' is often used in the sixteenth century as a term of abuse,
especially for women.

[744] Printed _mery_.

[745] spit.

[746] 'stoure,' uproar. Printed _scoure_.

[747] served out, done for.

[748] to 'leap at a daisy,' to be hanged. The allusion is to a story of
a man who, when the noose was adjusted round his neck, leapt off with
the words, "Have at yon daisy yonder" (_Pasquil's Jests_, 1604).

[749] Ed. 1575 _where_.

[750] Ed. 1575 _on_.



APPENDIX


The song at the beginning of the second act exists in an older and
better version, which was printed by Dyce (from a Ms. in his own
possession) in his edition of Skelton's _Works_, Vol. I, p. vii. It
is not likely that the date of the composition is much older than the
middle of the sixteenth century, and it may possibly be later. The
following copy is taken from Dyce, but the punctuation and the capitals
have been adjusted in accordance with the rules elsewhere adopted in
the present work.

    Backe and syde goo bare, goo bare;
    Bothe hande and fote goo colde;
    But, belly, God sende the good ale inoughe,
    Whether hyt be newe or olde.

    But yf that I maye have, trwly,
    Goode ale my belly full,
    I shall looke lyke one (by swete sainte Johnn)
    Were shoron agaynste the woole.
    Thowthe I goo bare, take ye no care,
    I am nothynge colde.
    I stuffe my skynne so full within
    Of joly good ale and olde.

    I cannot eate but lytyll meate;
    My stomacke ys not goode;
    But sure I thyncke that I cowde dryncke
    With hym that werythe an hoode.
    Dryncke ys my lyfe; although my wyfe
    Some tyme do chyde and scolde,
    Yete spare I not to plye the potte
    Of joly goode ale and olde.
    Backe and syde, etc.

    I love no roste but a browne toste,
    Or a crabbe in the fyer;
    A lytyll breade shall do me steade,
    Mooche breade I never desyer.
    Nor froste, nor snowe, nor wynde, I trow,
    Canne hurte me yf hyt wolde;
    I am so wrapped within, and lapped
    With joly goode ale and olde.
    Backe and syde, etc.

    I care ryte noughte, I take no thowte
    For clothes to kepe me warme;
    Have I goode dryncke, I surely thyncke
    Nothyng can do me harme.
    For trwly than I feare no man,
    Be he never so bolde,
    When I am armed, and throwly warmed
    With joly good ale and olde.
    Backe and syde, etc.

    But nowe and than I curse and banne;
    They make ther ale so small!
    God geve them care, and evill to fare!
    They strye the malte and all.
    Soche pevisshe pewe, I tell yowe trwe,
    Not for a crowne of golde
    There commethe one syppe within my lyppe,
    Whether hyt be newe or olde.
    Backe and syde, etc.

    Good ale and stronge makethe me amonge
    Full joconde and full lyte,
    That ofte I slepe, and take no kepe
    From mornynge untyll nyte.
    Then starte I uppe, and fle to the cuppe;
    The ryte waye on I holde.
    My thurste to staunche I fyll my paunche
    With joly goode ale and olde.
    Backe and syde, etc.

    And Kytte, my wyfe, that as her lyfe
    Lovethe well good ale to seke,
    Full ofte drynkythe she that ye maye se
    The teares ronne downe her cheke.
    Then dothe she troule to me the bolle
    As a goode malte-worme sholde,
    And say, "Swete harte, I have take my parte
    Of joly goode ale and olde."
    Backe and syde, etc.

    They that do dryncke tylle they nodde and wyncke,
    Even as good fellowes shulde do,
    They shall notte mysse to have the blysse
    That good ale hathe browghte them to.
    And all poore soules that skoure blacke bolles,
    And them hath lustely trowlde,
    God save the lyves of them and ther wyves,
    Wether they be yonge or olde!
    Backe and syde, etc.



  _John Lyly_

                        ALEXANDER AND CAMPASPE


                                 _Edited with Critical Essay and Notes
                                       by George P. Baker, A.B., Asst.
                                       Professor in Harvard University_



CRITICAL ESSAY


=Life.=--John Lyly was born in Kent between October 8, 1553, and
January, 1554. He entered Magdalen College, Oxford, 1569, but was
almost immediately rusticated. Returning in October, 1571, he was
graduated B.A. April 27, 1573. In May, 1574, he wrote unsuccessfully
to Lord Burleigh, begging for a fellowship at Magdalen. He proceeded
M.A. June 1, 1575, and lived mainly at the Universities till 1579.
_Euphues, the Anatomie of Wit_, appeared between December, 1578, and
spring, 1579. Another edition was printed in 1579; twelve others before
1637. In _An Address to the Gentlemen Scholars of Oxford_, prefixed to
the second, the 1579, edition, he answered a charge of having unfairly
criticised Oxford in the _Anatomie of Wit_. A sequel, _Euphues and his
England_, was licensed July 24, 1579, but did not appear for months.
Probably Lyly shared in the disfavour which, from late July, 1579, to
July, 1580, the Queen showed the party of Robert Dudley because of his
secret marriage with the Countess of Essex. _Endimion_, probably the
first of Lyly's extant comedies, was presented between late July and
early November, 1579, as an allegorical treatment of this quarrel. In
or near July, 1580, Lyly was "entertained as servant" by the Queen, and
was advised to aim at the Mastership of the Revels. By July, 1582, he
is to be found in the household of Lord Burleigh. A letter of his was
prefixed to Watson's _Passionate Centurie of Love_, published 1582.
By 1589, possibly earlier, he had become vice-master of St. Paul's
choir school. Before 1584 the Chapel Children and the Paul's Boys,
for whom he had written, ceased to act. During 1584 his _Sapho and
Phao_, written not long after February 6, 1582, and his _Alexander and
Campaspe_ were printed. _Tityrus and Gallathea_, licensed in 1584, was
not printed till 1592. Probably the main plot was written before 1584,
and the sub-plot for a revision of the play in or near 1588. From 1585
Lyly wrote for the Paul's Boys till in or near 1591, when the company
was again silent. The Chapel Children were not acting publicly between
November, 1584, and 1597. His _Mydas_ was acted between August, 1588,
and November, 1589, and printed in 1592. In August or September, 1589,
a pamphlet entitled _Pappe-with-an-Hatchet_, written by him for the
High Church party in the Marprelate controversy, made its appearance.
His _Mother Bombie_ was acted in 1589 or 1590, and printed in 1594.
_Alexander and Campaspe_ and _Sapho and Phao_ were reprinted in 1591,
and in the same year _Endimion_ was printed. _Gallathea_ appeared in
1592. Lyly wrote, in 1590 or 1591, an apparently unsuccessful begging
letter to the Queen, and another in 1593 or 1594. He was married by
1589, and he had two sons and one daughter. He was member of Parliament
for Hindon in 1589; for Aylesbury in 1593 and 1601; and for Appleby in
1597. _The Woman in the Moone_ was licensed in 1595, printed in 1597.
The quality of the blank verse in this play and the absence of marked
Euphuism favour a date of composition in or near 1590. _Lillie's Light_
was licensed June 3, 1596. If printed, it is non-extant. He wrote
prefatory Latin lines for Henry Lock's _Ecclesiastes_, otherwise called
_The Preacher_, in 1597. In 1597-1600 the Chapel Children revived his
plays. The _Maid's Metamorphosis_, incorrectly attributed to Lyly,
was printed in 1600. His _Love's Metamorphosis_ was printed in 1601:
it had been written about the time of the _Gallathea_,--before 1584,
or between 1588 and 1591. The Protea-Petulius part is probably from a
different play, or is a survival in a revision. Lyly died November 30,
1606, and was buried at St. Bartholomew's.[751]

=The Place of Euphues in English Literature.=--John Lyly was poet,
pamphleteer, novelist, and dramatist. As a pamphleteer he is
unimportant. As a poet he can best be studied in his plays. It is,
then, as novelist and dramatist that he is important. The material of
the two parts of the _Euphues_ makes it decidedly significant in its
own time. It is not, like most of the stories of Greene and Lodge,
mere romance, nor, like Nash's _Jack Wilton_, a tale of adventure
phrased with reportorial recklessness. It is a love story in which
romance is subordinated to the inculcation of ideas of high living and
thinking, and the demands of an involved style. It dimly foreshadows
two literary products which reach a development only long after
the days of Elizabeth--the novel with a purpose, and the stylistic
novel. The appearance of the book was epochal. Young writers of the
day--Munday, Greene, Nash, and Lodge--copied its style. Courtiers
patterned their speech upon it. Yet Gabriel Harvey was probably right
when he ill-naturedly wrote: "Young Euphues but hatched the egges that
his elder freendes laide." The _Anatomie_, at least, is such a book as
a recent university graduate of the present day, well read in some of
the classics, and especially susceptible to new literary influences
and cults, might compile. In the division _Euphues and His Ephœbus_
Lyly uses, with a few omissions and additions, Plutarch on _Education_;
in the letter to Botonio he translates Plutarch on _Exile_. In the
part _Euphues and Atheos_ he is indebted to chapters 9, 10, 11, and
12 of the _Dial of Princes_ (1529) by Antonio de Guevara, Bishop of
Guadix and Mendoza. Euphues and Lucilla debate "dubii," or artificial
discussions of set questions, such as one finds in Hortensio Lando
or Castiglione. There is, too, almost constant use of the unnatural
natural history of Pliny. All this material is bound together by a
style which, though it may ultimately be traced to the rounded periods
of Cicero, had developed slowly in writers of the Renaissance and the
years just before _Euphues_ appeared. George Pettie, for instance, in
his _Pettie Palace of Pettie His Pleasure_, published in 1576, has all
the stylistic characteristics of the _Euphues_ except the fabulous
natural history. It is, however, to Guevara in the _Dial of Princes_
that Lyly is thought to be particularly indebted for his style. This
man used "lavishly the well-known figures of pointed antithesis and
parisonic balanced clauses, in connection with a general climactic
structure of the sentence or period, the emphatic or antithetic words
being marked by rhyme or assonance." Lyly substitutes for rhyme
alliteration, and adds persistent play on words. The book is genuinely
Renaissance, then, for, looking to classic literature for much of its
substance, it expresses itself in a style that typifies an intellectual
mood of the hour.

=Lyly's Plays: their Subdivision.=--Just before 1580 the acting of
choir boys was in great favour with the Queen and, as a consequence,
with the public. The boys of Westminster, Windsor, the Chapel Royal,
and St. Paul's were often summoned to court. For the last two
companies, with whom acting became a profession, Lyly wrote his plays.
These divide into four classes. The allegorical comedies, in which what
is alluded to is as important as what is said, are _Endimion_, _Sapho
and Phao_, and _Mydas_. _Endimion_, perhaps the most complete example
of Lyly's allegorical comedy, presents the apology of Leicester to the
Queen for his secret marriage with Lettice, Countess of Essex. _Sapho
and Phao_ is full of allusions to the coquetting of the Queen with
the Duc d'Alençon and his wrathful departure from England in February,
1582. _Mydas_ allegorises--though with less detail than the others--as
to the designs of Philip II. on the English throne, and the Spanish
Armada. _Gallathea_, _Love's Metamorphosis_, and _The Woman in the
Moone_ form a second class--pastoral comedies. They are allegorical
only when some figure is given qualities which the Queen was fond of
hearing praised as hers. _Mother Bombie_, standing alone as a comedy
on the model of Plautus, has a much more involved plot than any of the
other plays. Finally, also in a class by itself, is _Alexander and
Campaspe_.

In this, as in all the comedies except _Mother Bombie_ and _Love's
Metamorphosis_, Lyly used classic myth for his chief material. Yet
he but followed a custom of the day, for most of the plays given at
court between 1570 and 1590 by the children's companies were based
on such material: for instance, _Iphigenia_, _Narcissus_, _Alcmæon_,
_Quintus Fabius_, and _Scipio Africanus_. These subjects seem to have
been treated as pastorals, histories, and possibly allegories. Lyly
rejected in _Alexander and Campaspe_ the allegorical and the pastoral
form, and told rather naïvely, except in style, the story of the love
of Alexander and Apelles for Campaspe, repeating in his sub-plot many
historic retorts of Diogenes. In details of method Lyly seems to
have had a precursor. Richard Edwardes (born 1523, died 1566) in his
_Damon and Pythias_, printed in 1582, but usually assigned to 1564,
wrote in a way very suggestive of Lyly in _Alexander and Campaspe_. He
disclaimed in his prologue intention of referring to any court except
that of Dionysius at Syracuse; introduced lyrics; gave Aristippus
the philosopher an important place; inveighed against flattery at
the court; brought in the comic episode of Grim the collier without
connection with the main plot, just as Lyly often introduces his comic
material; and derived the fun of this scene mainly from two impudent
pages. Certainly it would have been natural for Lyly, early in his
career, to look to the plays of a former prominent master of the Chapel
Children.

=Alexander and Campaspe: Date, Sources.=--The exact date of _Alexander
and Campaspe_ it seems impossible to determine. It was written before
April, 1584, for it was licensed for printing in that month. The facts
that similes and references in _Euphues_ are found in it, and that the
work--here of a kind which Lyly never exactly repeats--resembles the
early _Damon and Pythias_ suggest that _Alexander and Campaspe_ belongs
early in his dramatic career. It has been held that it should precede
_Endimion_, but the allegory in that play; the fact that Blount, who
places _Sapho and Phao_, _Gallathea_, _Mydas_, and _Mother Bombie_ in
the order approved by the most recent criticism, puts it second; and
the better characterization, more natural dialogue, and slightly closer
binding together of the main and the sub-plot, argue for the second
place.

The play, like the _Anatomie of Wit_, is a composite. The main
plot--the story of Apelles and Campaspe--Lyly found in Book 35 of
Pliny's _History of the World_. His setting he took from Plutarch's
_Life of Alexander_. That, too, gave him the siege of Thebes, Timoclea,
some of the philosophers' names, most of their speeches, the generals,
and Hephestion, and probably suggested the possibilities of Diogenes as
a comic figure. The material for the scenes of the Cynic, and the name
Manes, he found in the _Lives of the Philosophers_ by Diogenes Laertius.

=Literary Estimate.=--In the extant plays from 1550 to 1580 love has
but a subordinate part. In _Alexander and Campaspe_, however, as in all
the Lyly comedies, the central idea is that of nearly all the great
plays of the Elizabethan drama--the love of man for woman. Doubtless
the subject appealed to Lyly especially because in the self-abnegation
of Alexander the Queen might choose to see a compliment to her final
position toward Leicester and the Countess of Essex. Diogenes he used
in order to get comic relief. That Lyly's comedies are comparatively
free from vulgarity is probably because they were given by children
before the Queen and her ladies. Possibly the youth of the actors is
the reason for the absence of strong emotional expression, but it
is more probable that the temperament of the author is responsible.
It is hard to believe that a dramatist who felt keenly emotional
possibilities in his material could have passed by Timoclea so rapidly,
for in Plutarch she has all the requisites of the heroine in a Beaumont
and Fletcher play. Nor would such a dramatist have made so little of
the struggle of Alexander between infatuation and the desire to regain
his accustomed self-command. Lyly's position toward his work is like
that of the early writers of chronicle-history plays. He does not
depend on selecting the most characteristic situations and speeches, on
supplying missing motives, on unification of material which history has
passed down in somewhat disordered fashion, but on repeating as many as
possible of the situations and speeches associated with the names. Like
those writers, too, he makes no attempt to get behind his material, to
see its interrelations and its dramatic significance as a whole.

Some allowance, however, must be made for faults in this play, for the
Prologue states that it was hastily written. The comedy itself shows
that Lyly planned as he wrote. The opening scene of the play leaves
one to suppose that Timoclea, who, rather than Campaspe, is the chief
female speaker, is to play an important part. She never appears again,
and is mentioned but once. Later parts of the play call for some
manifestation, in this first scene, of Campaspe's intense fascination
for Alexander, but there is nothing of the kind. Nor does the action in
any later scene really prepare for Alexander's self-reproaches for his
mad infatuation. Until late in the play, when Lyly speaks of Campaspe
as Alexander's concubine, a reader is not even entirely clear as to
their relations. Perhaps some of this lack of clearness and sequence
may result because the Timoclea part, at least, of the first scene is a
survival from an older play. In the _Accounts of the Revels at Court_,
under an entry for expenditures between January and February, 1573(4),
"One Playe showen at Hampton Coorte before her Maᵗⁱᵉ by Mr. Munkester's
Children" (Mulcaster's of the Merchant Taylors' School) is mentioned.
Interlined are the words: "Timoclia at the Sege of Thebes by Alexander."

The movement of the comedy is episodic. The clever little pages bind
the scenes together; Alexander connects the incidents of the main
story; but too often, especially in the sub-plot, the action is not
prepared for, and does not lead to anything. Nor does Lyly care much
for climax. The Diogenes sub-plot does not end; it is dropped just
before the main story closes. The great dramatic possibilities of
the final scene are practically thrown away. It is significant that
they could be developed only by a hand which could paint vividly the
contest of a soul, the gradual reascendency of old motives, and manly
renunciation.

Growth in character Lyly does not understand. As a rule his figures
are types rather than many-sided human beings. Nor are the types
always self-consistent. All the nobility of Alexander's renunciation
disappears when he says: "Go, Apelles, take with you your Campaspe;
Alexander is cloyed with looking on that which thou wond'rest at." In
general, Lyly is too ready to depend on the way in which his figures
speak rather than on truth to life in what they speak. In the retorts
of Apelles as he talks with Alexander of his work, there is, of course,
something of the real artist's pride in his art and irritation at royal
omniscience. There is characterization, too, in many of the speeches
of Diogenes, but in both of these instances Lyly is either quoting or
paraphrasing. Campaspe, it is true, is almost a character, and slightly
anticipates the arch heroines of Shakespeare. Hers are coquettishness,
womanly charm. In her scene with Apelles in the studio (Act IV. scene
2), the underlying passion of both almost breaks through the frigid
medium of expression. The pages may doubtless be traced back to the
witty, graceless slaves of Latin comedy, and more immediately to
precursors in the work of Edwardes, but Lyly adds so much individuality
and humour that they are a real accession in the history of the drama.
Moreover, many of his figures often comment incisively on customs and
follies of the time, preparing for the later comedy of manners.

No preceding play is so full of charming and lasting lyrics. In all
his comedies except _The Woman in the Moone_, Lyly writes neither in
the usual jingling rhymes nor the infrequently used blank verse, but
in prose. He shows the men of his day new possibilities in dialogue;
for though his artificial style prevents easy characterisation, it
does not keep him from effective repartee and a closer representation
of the give and take of real conversation than was possible with the
rhyming lines, or with blank verse as it was handled in his day.
Probably, however, the greatest importance of this play for the student
of Elizabethan drama is the way it shows interest in a romantic story
breaking through classic material and Renaissance expression, thus
anticipating the romantic drama of 1587. Clearly, then, the merits of
_Alexander and Campaspe_ are literary and historical, not dramatic.

=Lyly's Development as a Dramatist.=--That Lyly worked, however,
steadily toward more genuine drama becomes clear if one reads his plays
in order. In all he shows classical influence by his choice of subject,
or by constant allusion, but he is not a scholar in the sense of Jonson
or Chapman. He is well read in certain authors--Ovid, particularly
the _Metamorphoses_, Plutarch, Pliny, perhaps Lucian; he has at his
tongue's end many stock Latin quotations, and delights in misquoting
or paraphrasing for the sake of a pun, sure that the quick-witted
courtiers will recognize the originals. Classical in construction
he certainly is not. His interest is to find a pretty love story
which gives opportunities for dramatic surprises and complications,
effective groupings, graceful dances, and dainty lyrics. He is fertile
in finding interesting figures to bring upon the stage--the fairies of
_Endimion_, the fiddlers of _Mother Bombie_, the shepherds of _Love's
Metamorphosis_. If one examines the only two plays of his which lack
the contrasting comic under-plot,--_Love's Metamorphosis_, and _The
Woman in the Moone_,--it becomes clear that they are pastorals or
masques. Even the other plays owe to their sub-plots the right to be
called comedies. By choice of topics and by temperament, then, Lyly is
a writer of masques.

At first he developed his two plots side by side, as in _Endimion_. One
is used simply to relieve the other, or to fill time-spaces necessary
between incidents of the main plot. Later, he joins the two slightly
by letting figures in the sub-plot refer to incidents of the main
story. In _Mother Bombie_ he brings the groups together formally two
or three times, and closes the play with nearly all the characters on
the stage. In his last comedy, _The Woman in the Moone_, he discards
contrasted plots, and tries to get his effects from one large group
of figures. Even if his success in meeting his problem is not great,
the mere recognition of it is significant. Yet it cannot be said that
he ever becomes a good plotter, for he is always willing to bring in
anywhere new people, new interests, or even, as in _Mydas_, to shift to
a new plot midway. In _Mother Bombie_, when the climax of complication
is reached in the meeting of the disguised Accius and Silena and their
fathers, Lyly is unable to master the difficulties of the situation.
He lets the two reveal themselves tamely, confusingly, before he has
had anything like the potential fun out of the scene. Usually the plays
ramble gently on till Lyly thinks the audience must have enough; then
the _deus ex machina_ appears, and all ends. Climax in closing he seems
not to try for, but is content to end with a telling phrase.

In characterization his work varies. In the allegories he wishes merely
to suggest well-known figures; distinct, final characterization would
be out of place, even dangerous. In the pastoral-masques, the land of
fantasy, the lines of characterization need not be sharply drawn. But
even if one looks at _Mother Bombie_ and the sub-plots of the plays,
one sees that though there is perhaps a slight gain in portraying the
figures, the people are too often significant for the way in which
they talk rather than for action or characterizing speech. When Lyly
attempts strong presentation of crucial moments or pathos, he stammers,
or is particularly conventional.

As he develops, he modifies the eccentricities of his style. Nor is
it probable that the passing of the popular enthusiasm for Euphuism
is wholly responsible for this. He had the good sense to see the
superiority of prose to verse as the expression of comedy, and he
must have felt how much his rigidly artificial style cramped him. In
_Mother Bombie_, 1589-91, Euphuism is well-nigh gone. In its place we
have a style in which characterized dialogue is more possible and more
evident. In _The Woman in the Moone_ the exigencies of verse are too
much for Euphuism, and it practically disappears.

Very slowly, then, Lyly was working toward a drama of simple
characterizing dialogue, more unified, and at the same time more
complex. Even as he worked, however, Kyd, Greene, and Marlowe swept by
to accomplishment impossible for him under any conditions.

=His Place in English Comedy.=--John Lyly is not merely, then, as has
been too often suggested, a scholar "picking fancies out of books
(with) little else to marvel at." He was keenly alive to foreign and
domestic influences at work about him. His use of what other men
offer foreshadows the marvellous assimilative power of Shakespeare.
He seems to retain and apply with freedom all the similes and
illustrations that come in his way; many are not to be hunted down
except in out-of-the-way corners of the books best known to him. Only
a man of poetic feeling would have cared to work in these allegories
and pastorals. Humorous he is in the scenes of the pages. Here and
there, as in some of the replies of Apelles to Alexander, and in the
words of Parmenio on the rising sun (Act I, scene 1), there is caustic
irony. Lyly is a thinker, too, and a critic, as his frequent satire of
existing social customs or follies shows. Now and then he is fearless;
for instance, in his portrayal before the Queen of the artist's
contempt for royal assumption of knowledge (Act III, scene 4), and in
his comment on the impossibility of happy love between a subject and a
monarch (Act IV, scene 4). His allegories show best his ingenuity and
inventiveness. His mastery of involved phrasing is indubitable.

Without doubt, however, his attitude toward his work is more that of
the scholar than the poet or dramatist. His work is imitation of others
who seem to him models, with the main attention on style. He has the
inventiveness of the dramatist, but not his instinct for technique or
recognition of the possibilities of a story and care in working them
out. He never says a thing for himself if he can find it anywhere
in a recognized author. In this, however, he shared in the mood of
Spenser and his group. Indeed, a little comparison of Lyly with Spenser
will show that, though in accomplishment he is far below the poet,
he expresses in his comedies the historical influences, the existing
intellectual conditions, and the literary aspirations which Spenser
phrases in his early work. It is in poetic power, in imaginative sweep,
that the two separate widely.

Yet Lyly, drawing on what preceded and what surrounded him, did more
than express the literary mood and desires of his day. Through him
the lyric in the drama came to Dekker, Jonson, and Shakespeare, more
dainty and more varied. He broke the way for later men to use prose
as the means of expression for comedy. He gave them suggestions for
clever dialogue. At a time of loose and hurried dramatic writing he
showed that literary finish might well accompany such composition. His
pages are the prototypes of the boys and servants in Peele, Chapman,
Jonson, and Shakespeare. In a small way he foreshadowed the comedy of
manners. For as close a relationship between the drama and politics as
we find in his allegories, we must look to the declining days of the
Jacobean drama--to Middleton's _Game of Chess_. The romantic spirit
found expression in him, not in a drama of blood, but in pastorals
and masques which look forward to the masques of Jonson, to _Love's
Labour's Lost_, _Midsummer Night's Dream_, and _As You Like It_. His
influence on the highly sensitized mind of Shakespeare may be traced in
many lines and scenes.

His vogue as a dramatist was short. By 1590 the boisterous, romantic
drama, the often inchoate chronicle history, both frequently
accompanied by scenes of would-be comic horse-play, engrossed public
attention. The great period of experimentation with both old and crude
forms was beginning. It is not surprising that when Lyly's plays
were revived by the Chapel Children in 1597-1600, they could not
stand comparison with the work of Jonson, Dekker, Heywood, and other
dramatists of the day, but were called "musty fopperies of antiquity."
Their work, in bridging from the classic to romantic comedy, as
the Drama of Blood bridged from Seneca to real tragedy, was done.
Thereafter their main interest must be historical.

=Previous Editions and the Present Text.=--The title of the first
quarto (1584) is, "A moste excellent Comedie of Alexander, Campaspe,
and Diogenes, played before the Queene's Maiestie on twelfe day
at night, by her Maiestie's Children, and the Children of Paules.
Imprinted at London, for Thomas Cadman, 1584." In the second edition,
issued the same year by the same publisher, the title is changed to
_Campaspe_, and the play is said to have been given "on new yeares
day at night." The title, _Campaspe_, was retained in the third
quarto, 1591, for William Broome, and in Edward Blount's duodecimo
collective edition, 1632. (Manly.) Both, too, state that the play was
given "on twelfe-day at night." The headlines of all the quartos read
_Alexander and Campaspe_; of Blount, _A tragicall Comedie of Alexander
and Campaspe_. Besides the quartos and Blount's _Sixe Court Comedies_
there are these reprints: in Vol. II., Dodsley's _Select Collection of
Old Plays_, 1825; in Vol. I., _John Lilly's Dramatic Works_, F. W.
Fairholt, 1858; in Vol. II., _Specimens of the Pre-Shaksperean Drama_,
J. M. Manly, 1897. In the footnotes of the present edition the quartos
are indicated by A. B. and C., the other editions by Bl. Do. F. and M.
respectively. Blount's text, mainly, is followed. The variant readings
of the quartos are given on the authority of Fairholt.

                                                       GEORGE P. BAKER.


FOOTNOTES:

[751] The Introduction to _Endimion_, Holt & Co., carefully considers
the evidence for all these statements.



                               CAMPASPE

                      _Played before the Queenes
                         Maiestie_ on _Twelfe_
                             day at Night:

                          _By her_ MAIESTIES
                      Children, and the Children
                             of _Paules_.

                            _Vignette with
                                motto:

                           Mollia cum duris_

                                LONDON,

                     Printed by _William Stansby_,
                         for _Edward Blount_.

                                 1632.



The Persons of the Play[752]


  ALEXANDER, _King of Macedon_.
  HEPHESTION, _his General_.
  CLYTUS,    }
  PARMENIO,  }
  MILECTUS,  } _Warriors_.
  PHRYGIUS,  }
  MELIPPUS, _Chamberlain to Alexander_.
  ARISTOTLE,  }
  DIOGENES,   }
  CRISIPPUS,  }
  CRATES,     } _Philosophers_.
  CLEANTHES,  }
  ANAXARCHUS, }
  CRYSUS,     }
  APELLES, _a Painter_.
  SOLINUS,  }
  SYLVIUS,  } _Citizens of Athens_.
  PERIM,  }
  MILO,   } _Sons of Sylvius_.
  TRICO,  }
  GRANICUS, _Servant to Plato_.
  MANES, _Servant to Diogenes_.
  PSYLLUS, _Servant to Appelles_.
  Page _to Alexander_.
  Citizens of Athens.
  Soldiers.
  CAMPASPE, } _Theban Captives_.
  TIMOCLEA, }
  LAIS, _a Courtezan_.

  _SCENE_: ATHENS]


FOOTNOTES:

[752] Do. first gives the list. The two companies were probably united
for the Court performance. Thus the doubling of parts, common in the
days of Elizabeth, was avoided.



               THE PROLOGUE AT _the blacke Friers_[753]

  THEY that feare the stinging of waspes make fannes of peacocks
  tailes, whose spots are like eyes; and Lepidus, which could not
  sleepe for the chattering of birds, set up a beast whose head was
  like a dragon;[754] and wee, which stand in awe of report, are
  compelled to set before our owle Pallas shield,[755] thinking by
  her vertue to cover the others deformity. It was a signe of          5
  famine to Ægypt when Nylus flowed lesse than twelve cubites or
  more than eighteene: and it may threaten despaire unto us if wee
  be lesse courteous than you looke for or more cumbersome. But,
  as Theseus, being promised to be brought to an eagles nest, and,
  travailing all the day, found but a wren in a hedge, yet said,      10
  "This is a bird," so, we hope, if the shower[756] of our swelling
  mountaine seeme[757] to bring forth some elephant, performe but
  a mouse, you will gently say, "This is a beast." Basill softly
  touched yieldeth a sweete sent, but chafed in the hand, a ranke
  savour: we feare, even so, that our labours slily[758] glanced      15
  on will breed some content, but examined to the proofe, small
  commendation. The haste in performing shall be our excuse. There
  went two nights to the begetting of Hercules; feathers appeare not
  on the Phœnix under seven moneths; and the mulberie is twelve in
  budding: but our travailes are like the hares, who at one time      20
  bringeth forth, nourisheth, and engendreth againe,[759] or like the
  brood of Trochilus,[760] whose egges in the same moment that they
  are laid become birds. But, howsoever we finish our worke, we crave
  pardon if we offend in matter, and patience if wee transgresse in
  manners. Wee have mixed mirth with councell, and discipline         25
  with delight, thinking it not amisse in the same garden to sow
  pot-hearbes that wee set flowers. But wee hope, as harts that cast
  their hornes, snakes their skins, eagles their bils, become more
  fresh for any other labour, so, our charge being shaken off, we
  shall be fit for greater matters. But least, like the Myndians,     30
  wee make our gates greater than our towne,[761] and that our play
  runs out at the preface, we here conclude,--wishing that although
  there be in your precise judgements an universall mislike, yet we
  may enjoy by your wonted courtesies a generall silence.


FOOTNOTES:

[753] Before 1584 the Chapel Children acted publicly in a Blackfriars'
inn-yard. See pp. cxi-cxxxv, Lyly's _Endimion_, Holt & Co.

[754] "It hapned during the time of his Triumvirat (Lepidus's), that
in a certain place where he was, the magistrates attended him to his
lodging environed as it were with woods on everie side: the next morrow
Lepidus ... in bitter tearmes and minatorie words chid them for that
they had laid him where he could not sleep a wink all night long, for
the noise and singing that the birds made about him. They being thus
checked and rebuked, devised against the next night to paint in a piece
of parchment of great length a long Dragon or serpent, wherewith they
compassed the place where Lepidus should take his repose; the sight of
which serpent thus painted so terrified the birds, that they ... were
altogether silent."--Pliny, _Hist. of World_, Holland, 1635, xxxv. 11.

[755] The favor of the Queen. Elizabeth, like Minerva, was called
Pallas because of her celibacy. These words, with ll. 12, 13, p. 331,
show that the Court performance came first.

[756] The author, who presents the play.

[757] 'Seeming'?

[758] 'Slightly'? M.

[759] Holland, IX. 55; Topsell, _Hist. of Four-footed Beasts_, 1607, p.
267.

[760] A small, plover-like Nile bird.

[761] "Coming once to Myndos (Dorian colony on Carian coast), and
seeing their Gates very large, and their City but small, [Diogenes]
said, 'You Men of Myndos, I advise you to shut up your Gates for
fear your town should run out.'"--Diogenes Laertius, _Lives of
Philosophers_, 1606, VI. 425.



                      The Prologue at the Court.

  WE are ashamed that our bird, which fluttereth by twilight, seeming
  a swan, should[762] bee proved a bat, set against the sun. But,
  as Jupiter placed Silenus asse among the starres, and Alcibiades
  covered his pictures, being owles and apes, with a curtaine
  imbroidered with lions and eagles, so are we enforced upon a rough
  discourse to draw on a smooth excuse, resembling lapidaries who      5
  thinke to hide the cracke in a stone by setting it deepe in gold.
  The gods supped once with poore Baucis;[763] the Persian kings
  sometimes shaved stickes; our hope is Your Highnesse wil at this
  time lend an eare to an idle pastime. Appion, raising Homer from
  hell, demanded only who was his father;[764] and we, calling        10
  Alexander from his grave, seeke only who was his love. Whatsoever
  wee present, we wish it may be thought the dancing of Agrippa[765]
  his shadowes, who, in the moment they were seene, were of any shape
  one would conceive; or Lynces,[766] who, having a quicke sight to
  discerne, have a short memory to forget. With us it is like to      15
  fare as with these torches, which giving light to others consume
  themselves; and we shewing delight to others shame ourselves.


FOOTNOTES:

[762] 'Which, fluttering by twilight, seemeth a swan, should'?

[763] Ovid, _Meta._ III. 631.

[764] Holland, XXX. 2.

[765] Henry Cornelius Agrippa (von Nettesheim), knight, doctor, and,
by common reputation, magician. Died 1535. On request he raised
spirits--of the dead, Tully delivering his oration on Roscius; of
the living, Henry VIII. and his lords hunting.--Godwin, _Lives of
Necromancers_, 1834, 324-25.

[766] Lynxes. "It is thought that of all beastes they seeme most
brightly, for the poets faine that their eie-sight pierceth through
every solid body, although it be as thicke as a wall.... Although they
be long afflicted with hunger, yet when they eate their meate, if
they heare any noise, or any other chaunce cause them to turne aboute
from their meate, oute of the sight of it, they forgette their prey,
notwithstanding their hunger, and go to seeke another booty."--Topsell,
489-492.



                       [Alexander and Campaspe]


                    Actus primus. Scæna prima[767]

                  _Enter_ CLITUS _and_ PARMENIO[768]


  _CLYTUS._ Parmenio, I cannot tell whether I should more commend
  in Alexanders victories courage, or courtesie, in the one being a
  resolution without feare, in the other a liberalitie above custome.
  Thebes is razed, the people not racked; towers throwne downe,
  bodies not thrust aside; a conquest without conflict, and a          5
  cruell warre in a milde peace.[769]

  _Par._ Clytus, it becommeth the sonne of Philip to bee none
  other than Alexander is; therefore, seeing in the father a full
  perfection, who could have doubted in the sonne an excellency? For,
  as the moone can borrow nothing else of the sunne but light,[770]
  so of a sire in whom nothing but vertue was what could the          10
  childe receive but singular?[771] It is for turkies to staine each
  other, not for diamonds; in the one to bee made a difference in
  goodnesse, in the other no comparison.[772]

  _Clytus._ You mistake mee, Parmenio, if, whilest I commend
  Alexander, you imagine I call Philip into question; unlesse,        15
  happily, you conjecture (which none of judgement will conceive)
  that because I like the fruit, therefore I heave at the tree, or,
  coveting to kisse the childe, I therefore goe about to poyson the
  teat.

  _Par._ I, but, Clytus, I perceive you are borne in the east, and    20
  never laugh but at the sunne rising;[773] which argueth, though a
  dutie where you ought, yet no great devotion where you might.

  _Clytus._ We will make no controversie of that [of][774] which there
  ought to be no question; onely this shall be the opinion of us both,
  that none was worthy to be the father of Alexander but Philip, nor  25
  any meete to be the sonne of Philip but Alexander.

    [_Enter Soldiers with_ TIMOCLEA, CAMPASPE, _other captives, and
                               spoils_.]

  _Par._ Soft, Clytus, behold the spoiles and prisoners! A pleasant
  sight to us, because profit is joyned with honour; not much painfull
  to them, because their captivitie is eased by mercie.

  _Timo._ [_aside_]. Fortune, thou didst never yet deceive vertue,    30
  because vertue never yet did trust fortune! Sword and fire will
  never get spoyle where wisdome and fortitude beares sway. O Thebes,
  thy wals were raised by the sweetnesse of the harpe,[775] but rased
  by the shrilnes of the trumpet! Alexander had never come so neer
  the wals, had Epaminondas walkt about the wals; and yet might       35
  the Thebanes have beene merry in their streets, if hee had beene
  to watch their towers. But destinie is seldome forseene, never
  prevented. We are here now captives, whose neckes are voaked by
  force, but whose hearts cannot yeeld by death.--Come Campaspe and
  the rest, let us not be ashamed to cast our eyes on him on whom     40
  we feared not to cast our darts.

  _Par._ Madame, you need not doubt;[776] it is Alexander that is the
  conquerour.

  _Timo._ Alexander hath overcome, not conquered.

  _Par._ To bring all under his subjection is to conquer.             45

  _Timo._ He cannot subdue that which is divine.

  _Par._ Thebes was not.

  _Timo._ Vertue is.

  _Clytus._ Alexander, as hee tendreth[777] vertue, so hee will you.
  Hee drinketh not bloud, but thirsteth after honour; hee is greedie
  of victorie, but never satisfied with mercie; in fight terrible,    50
  as becommeth a captaine; in conquest milde, as beseemeth a king; in
  all things[778] than which nothing can be greater, hee is Alexander.

  _Camp._ Then, if it be such a thing to be Alexander, I hope it
  shall be no miserable thing to be a virgin.  For, if hee save our   55
  honours, it is more than to restore our goods; and rather doe I wish
  he preserve our fame than our lives: which if he doe, we will confesse
  there can be no greater thing than to be Alexander.

              [_Enter_ ALEXANDER _and_ HEPHESTION.[779]]

  _Alex._ Clytus, are these prisoners? Of whence these spoiles?

  _Clytus._ Like your Majestie,[780] they are prisoners, and of
  Thebes.                                                             60

  _Alex._ Of what calling or reputation?

  _Clytus._ I know not, but they seeme to be ladies of honour.

  _Alex._ I will know.  Madam, of whence you are I know, but
  who, I cannot tell.

  _Timo._ Alexander, I am the sister of Theagines, who fought a       65
  battell with thy father, before the citie of Chieronie,[781] where
  he died, I say--which none can gainsay--valiantly.[782]

  _Alex._ Lady, there seeme in your words sparkes of your brothers
  deedes, but worser fortune in your life than his death; but feare
  not, for you shall live without violence, enemies, or necessitie.
  But what are you, faire ladie, another sister to Theagines?         70

  _Camp._ No sister to Theagines, but an humble hand-maid to
  Alexander, born of a meane parentage, but to extreme[783] fortune.

  _Alex._ Well, ladies, for so your vertues shew you, whatsoever
  your births be, you shall be honorably entreated. Athens shall be   75
  your Thebes; and you shall not be as abjects of warre, but as
  subjects to Alexander. Parmenio, conduct these honourable ladies
  into the citie; charge the souldiers not so much as in words to
  offer them any offence; and let all wants bee supplied so farre
  forth as shall be necessarie for such persons and my prisoners.     80

                   _Exeunt_ PARME.[NIO] & _captivi._

  Hephestion,[784] it resteth now that wee have as great care to governe
  in peace as conquer in warre, that, whilest armes cease, arts may
  flourish, and, joyning letters with launces, wee endevour to bee as
  good philosophers as souldiers, knowing it no lesse prayse to bee wise
  than commendable to be valiant.                                     85

  _Hep._ Your Majestie therein sheweth that you have as great desire
  to rule as to subdue: and needs must that commonwealth be fortunate
  whose captaine is a philosopher, and whose philosopher a captaine.
                                                              _Exeunt._


                   Actus primus. Scæna secunda[785]

               [_Enter_] MANES,[786] GRANICHUS, PSYLLUS

  _Manes._ I serve in stead of a master a mouse,[787] whose house is a
  tub, whose dinner is a crust, and whose bed is a boord.

  _Psyllus._ Then art thou in a state of life which philosophers
  commend: a crum for thy supper, an hand for thy cup, and thy
  clothes for thy sheets; for _Natura paucis contenta._                5

  _Gran._ Manes, it is pitie so proper a man should be cast away
  upon a philosopher; but that Diogenes, that dogge,[788] should have
  Manes, that dog-bolt,[789] it grieveth nature and spiteth art: the one
  having found thee so dissolute--absolute[790] I would say--in bodie,
  the other so single--singular--in minde.                            10

  _Manes._ Are you merry? It is a signe by the trip of your tongue
  and the toyes[791] of your head that you have done that to day
  which I have not done these three dayes.

  _Psyllus._ Whats that?

  _Manes._ Dined.                                                     15

  _Gran._ I thinke Diogenes keepes but cold cheare.

  _Manes._ I would it were so; but hee keepeth neither hot nor
  cold.

  _Gran._ What then, luke warme? That made Manes runne from
  his master the last day.[792]                                       20

  _Psyllus._ Manes had reason, for his name foretold as much.

  _Manes._ My name?  How so, sir boy?

  _Psyllus._ You know that it is called mons a movendo, because it
  stands still.

  _Manes._ Good.                                                      25

  _Psyllus._ And thou art named Manes _a manendo_, because thou
  runnest away.

  _Manes._ Passing[793] reasons! I did not run away, but retire.

  _Psyllus._ To a prison, because thou wouldst have leisure to
    contemplate.                                                      30

  _Manes._ I will prove that my bodie was immortall because it was
  in prison.

  _Gran._ As how?

  _Manes._ Did your masters never teach you that the soule is
    immortall?                                                        35

  _Gran._ Yes.

  _Manes._ And the bodie is the prison of the soule.

  _Gran._ True.

  _Manes._ Why then, thus[794] to make my body immortall, I put it
  in prison.[795]                                                     40

  _Gran._ Oh, bad!

  _Psyllus._ Excellent ill!

  _Manes._ You may see how dull a fasting wit is: therefore, Psyllus,
  let us goe to supper with Granichus. Plato is the best fellow of all
  philosophers: give me him that reades[796] in the morning in the    45
  schoole, and at noone in the kitchen.

  _Psyllus._ And me!

  _Gran._ Ah, sirs, my master is a king in his parlour for the
  body, and a god in his studie for the soule. Among all his men he
  commendeth one that is an excellent musition; then stand I by and
  clap another on the shoulder and say, "This is a passing good       50
  cooke."

  _Manes._ It is well done Granichus; for give mee pleasure that
  goes in at the mouth, not the eare,--I had rather fill my guts
  than my braines.

  _Psyllus._ I serve Apelles, who feedeth mee as Diogenes doth        55
  Manes; for at dinner the one preacheth abstinence, the other
  commendeth counterfaiting[797]: when I would eate meate, he paints
  a[798] spit; and when I thirst, "O," saith he, "is not this a faire
  pot?" and pointes to a table[799] which containes the Banquet of
  the Gods, where are many dishes to feed the eye, but not to fill
  the gut.                                                            60

  _Gran._ What doest thou then?

  _Psyllus._ This doth hee then: bring in many examples that some
  have lived by savours; and proveth that much easier it is to fat
  by colours; and telles of birdes that have been fatted by painted
  grapes in winter, and how many have so fed their eyes with their
  mistresse picture that they never desired to take food, being       65
  glutted with the delight in their favours.[800] Then doth he shew
  me counterfeites,--such as have surfeited, with their filthy and
  lothsome vomites; and the riotous[801] Bacchanalls of the god
  Bacchus and his disorderly crew; which are painted all to the life
  in his shop. To conclude, I fare hardly, though I goe richly,       70
  which maketh me when I should begin to shadow a ladies face, to
  draw a lambs head, and sometime to set to the body of a maid a
  shoulder of mutton, for _Semper animus meus est in patinis_.[802]

  _Manes._ Thou art a god to mee; for, could I see but a cookes       75
  shop painted, I would make mine eyes fatte as butter, for I have
  nought but sentences to fill my maw: as, _Plures occidit crapula
  quam gladius_; _Musa jejunantibus amica_; Repletion killeth
  delicatly; and an old saw of abstinence by[803] Socrates,--The
  belly is the heads grave. Thus with sayings, not with meate, he
  maketh a gallimafray.[804]                                          80

  _Gran._  But how doest thou then live?

  _Manes._ With fine jests, sweet ayre, and the dogs[805] almes.

  _Gran._ Well, for this time I will stanch thy gut, and among pots
  and platters thou shall see what it is to serve Plato.

  _Psyllus._ For joy of it, Granichus, lets sing.                     85

  _Manes._ My voice is as cleare in the evening as in the morning.[806]

  _Gran._ An other commoditie of emptines!

                               SONG[807]

      _Gran._ O for a bowle of fatt canary,
    Rich Palermo, sparkling sherry,
    Some nectar else[808] from Juno's daiery:                         90
    O these draughts would make us merry!

      _Psil._ O for a wench! (I deale in faces,
    And in other dayntier things,)
    Tickled am I with her embraces,--
    Fine dancing in such fairy ringes.                                95

      _Ma._ O for a plump fat leg of mutton,
    Veale, lambe, capon, pigge, and conney![809]
    None is happy but a glutton;
    None an asse but who wants money.

      _Ch._ Wines, indeed, and girls are good,                       100
    But brave victuals feast the bloud:
    For wenches, wine, and lusty cheere,
    Jove would leape down to surfet heere. [_Exeunt._]


                    Actus primus. Scæna tertia[810]

                        [_Enter_] MELIPPUS[811]

  _Melip._ I had never such adoe to warne schollers to come before a
  king! First I came to Crisippus, a tall, leane old mad man, willing
  him presently to appeare before Alexander. Hee stood staring on my
  face, neither moving his eyes nor his body. I urging him to give
  some answer, hee tooke up a booke, sate downe, and saide nothing.    5
  Melissa, his maide, told mee it was his manner, and that oftentimes
  shee was fain to thrust meat into his mouth, for that he would
  rather sterve than cease studie. Well, thought I, seeing bookish
  men are so blockish and great clearkes such simple courtiers, I
  will neither be partaker of their commons nor their commendations.
  From thence I came to Plato and to Aristotle[812] and to divers     10
  other; none refusing to come, saving an olde, obscure fellow,
  who, sitting in a tub turned towardes the sunne, read Greeke to
  a young boy. Him when I willed to appeare before Alexander, he
  answered, "If Alexander would faine see mee, let him come to mee;
  if learne of me, let him come to mee; whatsoever it be, let him     15
  come to me." "Why," said I, "he is a king." He answered, "Why,
  I am a philosopher." "Why, but he is Alexander." "I, but I am
  Diogenes." I was halfe angry to see one so crooked in his shape to
  bee so crabbed in his sayings; so, going my way, I said, "Thou      20
  shalt repent it, if thou comest not to Alexander." "Nay," smiling
  answered hee, "Alexander may repent it if hee come not to Diogenes:
  vertue must bee sought, not offered." And so, turning himselfe to
  his cell, hee grunted I know not what, like a pig under a tub. But
  I must bee gone, the philosophers are comming. _Exit._              25

    [_Enter_ PLATO, ARISTOTLE, CRYSIPPUS, CRATES, CLEANTHES, _and_
                           ANAXARCHUS[813]]

  _Plato._ It is a difficult controversie, Aristotle, and rather
  to be wondred at than beleeved, how natural causes should worke
  supernaturall effects.

  _Aris._ I do not so much stand upon the apparition is seene in the  30
  moone,[814] neither the _Demonium_ of Socrates, as that I cannot by
  naturall reason give any reason of the ebbing and flowing of the
  sea; which makes me in the depth of my studies to crie out, _O ens
  entium, miserere mei_.

  _Plato._ Cleanthes and you attribute so much to nature by searching
  for things which are not to be found, that, whilest you studie a
  cause of your owne,[815] you omitt the occasion it selfe. There     35
  is no man so savage in whom resteth not this divine particle: that
  there is an omnipotent, eternall, and divine mover, which may be
  called God.

  _Cleant._ I am of this minde: that that first mover, which you      40
  terme God, is the instrument of all the movings which we attribute
  to nature.[816] The earth, which is masse, swimmeth[817] on the sea,
  seasons divided in themselves, fruits growing in themselves, the
  majestie of the skie, the whole firmament of the world, and whatsoever
  else appeareth miraculous,--what man almost of meane capacitie but  45
  can prove it natural?

  _Anax._ These causes shall be debated at our philosophers feast,
  in which controversie I will take part with Aristotle that there is
  _Natura naturans_,[818] and yet not God.

  _Cra._ And I with Plato that there is _Deus optimus maximus_, and   50
  not nature.

 [_Enter_ ALEXANDER, _attended by_ HEPHESTION, PARMENIO, _and_ CLYTUS]

  _Aris._ Here commeth Alexander.

  _Alex._ I see, Hephestion, that these philosophers are here attending
  for us.

  _Hep._ They are not philosophers if they know[819] not their duties. 55

  _Alex._ But I much mervaile Diogenes should bee so dogged.

  _Hep._ I doe not thinke but his excuse will be better than Melippus
    message.

  _Alex._ I will goe see him, Hephestion, because I long to see him
  that would command Alexander to come, to whom all the world is      60
  like to come.--Aristotle and the rest, sithence my comming from
  Thebes to Athens, from a place of conquest to a pallace of[820]
  quiet, I have resolved with my selfe in my court to have as many
  philosophers as I had in my camp souldiers. My court shal be a
  schoole wherein I wil have used as great doctrine[821] in peace as
  I did in warre discipline.                                          65

  _Aris._ We are all here ready to be commanded, and glad we are
  that we are commanded, for that nothing better becommeth kings
  than literature, which maketh them come as neare to the gods in
  wisdome as they doe in dignitie.                                    70

  _Alex._ It is so, Aristotle, but yet there is among you, yea and of
  your bringing up, that sought to destroy Alexander,--Calistenes,[822]
  Aristotle, whose treasons against his prince shall not be borne out
  with the reasons of his philosophie.

  _Aris._ If ever mischief entred into the heart of Calistenes, let   75
  Calistenes suffer for it; but that Aristotle ever imagined any such
  thing of Calistenes, Aristotle doth denie.

  _Alex._ Well, Aristotle, kindred may blinde thee, and affection me;
  but in kings causes I will not stand to schollers arguments. This
  meeting shal be for a commandement that you all frequent my         80
  court, instruct the young with rules,[823] confirme the olde with
    reasons:
  let your lives bee answerable to your learnings, least my proceedings
  be contrary to my promises.

  _Hep._ You said you would aske every one of them a question
  which yesternight none of us could answere.[824]                    85

  _Alex._ I will. Plato, of all beasts which is the subtilest?

  _Plato._ That which man hitherto never knew.

  _Alex._ Aristotle, how should a man be thought a god?

  _Aris._ In doing a thing unpossible for a man.

  _Alex._ Crisippus, which was first, the day or the night?           90

  _Aris._ The day, by a day.

  _Alex._ Indeede, strange questions must have strange answers.
  Cleanthes, what say you, is life or death the stronger?

  _Cle._ Life, that suffereth so many troubles.

  _Alex._ Crates, how long should a man live?                         95

  _Crates._ Till hee thinke it better to die than to live.

  _Alex._ Anaxarchus, whether doth the sea or the earth bring forth
  most creatures?

  _Anax._ The earth, for the sea is but a part of the earth.

  _Alex._ Hephestion, me thinkes they have answered all well, and    100
  in such questions I meane often to trie them.

  _Hep._ It is better to have in your court a wise man than in your
  ground a golden mine. Therefore would I leave war, to study
  wisdom, were I Alexander.

  _Alex._ So would I, were I Hephestion.[825] But come, let us goe   105
  and give release, as I promised, to our Theban thralls.[826]
              _Exeunt_ [_Alexander, Hephestion, Parmenio, and Clytus._]

  _Plato._ Thou art fortunate, Aristotle, that Alexander is thy
  scholler.

  _Aris._ And all you happy that he is your soveraigne.

  _Crisip._ I could like the man well, if he could be contented to   110
  bee but a man.

  _Aris._ He seeketh to draw neere to the gods in knowledge, not to be a
  god.
                                               [_Enter_ DIOGENES.[827]]

  _Plato._ Let us question a little with Diogenes why he went not
  with us to Alexander.  Diogenes, thou didst forget thy duety, that 115
  thou wentst not with us to the king.

  _Diog._ And you your profession that went to the king.

  _Plato._ Thou takest as great pride to be peevish as others do glory
  to be vertuous.

  _Diog._ And thou as great honour, being a philosopher, to be       120
  thought court-like, as others shame, that be courtiers, to be
  accounted philosophers.

  _Aris._ These austere manners set aside, it is well knowne that
  thou didst counterfeite money.[828]

  _Diog._ And thou thy manners, in that thou didst not counterfeite  125
  money.[829]

  _Aris._ Thou hast reason to contemne the court, being both in bodie
  and minde too crooked for a courtier.

  _Diog._ As good be crooked and indevour to make my selfe straight,
  from the court, as bee straight and learne to be crooked at the
  court.                                                             130

  _Cris._ Thou thinkest it a grace to be opposite against Alexander.

  _Diog._ And thou to be jump with Alexander.

  _Anax._ Let us goe, for in contemning him we shal better please
  him than in wondering at him.

  _Aris._ Plato, what doest thou thinke of Diogenes?                 135

  _Plato._ To be Socrates furious.[830] Let us go. _Exeunt Philosophi._

   [_Diogenes moves about with a lantern as if seeking something._]

           [_Enter_] PSYLLUS, MANES, [_and_] GRANICHUS.[831]

  _Psyllus._ Behold, Manes, where thy master is, seeking either for
  bones for his dinner or pinnes for his sleeves. I will goe salute
  him.

  _Manes._ Doe so; but mum, not a word that you saw Manes!           140

  _Gran._ Then stay thou behinde, and I will goe with Psyllus.

                                                [_Manes stands apart._]

  _Psyllus._ All hayle, Diogenes, to your proper person.

  _Diog._ All hate to thy peevish conditions.

  _Gran._ O dogge!

  _Psyllus._ What doest thou seeke for here?                         145

  _Diog._ For a man and a beast.

  _Gran._ That is easie without thy light to bee found: be not all
  these men?[832]

  _Diog._ Called men.

  _Gran._ What beast is it thou lookest for?                         150

  _Diog._ The beast my man Manes.

  _Psyllus._ Hee is a beast indeed that will serve thee.

  _Diog._ So is he that begat thee.

  _Gran._ What wouldest thou do, if thou shouldst find Manes?

  _Diog._ Give him leave to doe as hee hath done before.             155

  _Gran._ What's that?

  _Diog._ To run away.

  _Psyllus._ Why, hast thou no neede of Manes?

  _Diog._ It were a shame for Diogenes to have neede of Manes
  and for Manes to have no neede of Diogenes.[833]                   160

  _Gran._ But put the case he were gone, wouldst thou entertaine
  any of us two?

  _Diog._ Upon condition.

  _Psyllus._ What?

  _Diog._ That you should tell me wherefore any of you both were     165
  good.

  _Gran._ Why, I am a scholler and well seene in philosophy.

  _Psyllus._ And I a prentice and well seene in painting.

  _Diog._ Well then, Granichus, be thou a painter to amend thine
  ill face; and thou, Psyllus, a philosopher to correct thine evill  170
  manners.  But who is that? Manes?

  _Manes_ [_coming forward slowly_]. I care not who I were, so I were
  not Manes.

  _Gran._ You are taken tardie.

  _Psyllus._ Let us slip aside, Granichus, to see the salutation     175
  betweene Manes and his master. [_They draw back._]

  _Diog._ Manes, thou knowest the last day[834] I threw away my dish,
  to drinke in my hand, because it was superfluous;[835] now I am
  determined to put away my man and serve my selfe, _quia non egeo
  tui vel te_.                                                       180

  _Manes._ Master, you know a while agoe I ran away; so doe I
  meane to doe againe, _quia scio tibi non esse argentum_.

  _Diog._ I know I have no money, neither will I[836] have ever a man,
  for I was resolved long sithence to put away both my slaves,--money
  and Manes.                                                         185

  _Manes._ So was I determined to shake off[837] both my dogges,--hunger
  and Diogenes.

  _Psyllus._ O sweet consent[838] betweene a crowde[839] and a Jewes
    harpe!

  _Gran._ Come, let us reconcile them.

  _Psyllus._ It shall not neede, for this is their use: now doe they 190
  dine one upon another. _Exit Diogenes._

  _Gran._ [_coming forward with Psyllus_]. How now, Manes, art thou
  gone from thy master?

  _Manes._ No, I did but now binde my selfe to him.

  _Psyllus._ Why, you were at mortall jarres!                        195

  _Manes._ In faith, no; we brake a bitter jest one upon another.

  _Gran._ Why, thou art as dogged as he.

  _Psyllus._ My father knew them both little whelps.

  _Manes._ Well, I will hie me after my master.

  _Gran._ Why, is it supper time with Diogenes?                      200

  _Manes._ I, with him at all time when he hath meate.

  _Psyllus._ Why then, every man to his home; and let us steale
  out againe anone.

  _Gran._ Where shall we meete?

  _Psyllus._ Why at _Alae[840] vendibili suspensa hædera non est
    opus_.                                                           205

  _Manes._ O Psyllus, _habeo te loco parentis_; thou blessest me.
                                                              _Exeunt._


                Actus secundus.[841] Scæna prima.[842]

               ALEXANDER, HEPHESTION, [_and_] PAGE.[843]

  _Alex._ Stand aside, sir boy, till you be called. [_The Page stands
  aside._] Hephestion, how doe you like the sweet face of Campaspe?

  _Hep._ I cannot but commende the stout courage of Timoclea.

  _Alex._ Without doubt Campaspe had some great man to her
  father.                                                              5

  _Hep._ You know Timoclea had Theagines to her brother.

  _Alex._ Timoclea still in thy mouth!  Art thou not in love?

  _Hep._ Not I.

  _Alex._ Not with Timoclea, you meane. Wherein you resemble
  the lapwing, who crieth most where her nest is not.[844] And so     10
  you lead me from espying your love with Campaspe,--you crie
  Timoclea.

  _Hep._ Could I as well subdue kingdomes as I can my thoughts, or
  were I as farre from ambition as I am from love, all the world
  would account mee as valiant in armes as I know my selfe moderate
  in affection.                                                       15

  _Alex._ Is love a vice?

  _Hep._ It is no vertue.

  _Alex._ Well, now shalt thou see what small difference I make
  between Alexander and Hephestion. And, sith thou hast been          20
  alwaies partaker of my triumphes, thou shalt bee partaker of my
  torments. I love, Hephestion, I love! I love Campaspe,--a
  thing farre unfit for a Macedonian, for a king, for Alexander.
  Why hangest thou downe thy head, Hephestion, blushing to heare
  that which I am not ashamed to tell?                                25

  _Hep._ Might my words crave pardon and my counsell credit, I
  would both discharge the duetie of a subject, for so I am, and the
  office of a friend, for so I will.

  _Alex._ Speake Hephestion; for, whatsoever is spoken, Hephestion
  speaketh to Alexander.                                              30

  _Hep_. I cannot tell, Alexander, whether the report be more
  shamefull to be heard or the cause sorrowful to be beleeved? What,
  is the son of Philip, king of Macedon, become the subject of
  Campaspe, the captive of Thebes? Is that minde whose greatnes the
  world could not containe drawn within the compasse of an idle,      35
  alluring eie? Wil you handle the spindle with Hercules[845] when
  you should shake the speare with Achilles? Is the warlike sound
  of drum and trump turned to the soft noise of lyre and lute, the
  neighing of barbed[846] steeds, whose lowdnes filled the aire with
  terrour and whose breathes dimmed the sun with smoake, converted to
  delicate tunes and amorous glances?[847] O Alexander, that soft  40
  and yeelding minde should not bee in him whose hard and unconquerd
  heart hath made so many yeeld. But you love! Ah griefe! But whom?
  Campaspe. Ah shame! A maide, forsooth, unknowne, unnoble,--and
  who can tell whether immodest?--whose eyes are framed by art        45
  to enamour, and whose heart was made by nature to enchant. I, but
  shee is beautifull. Yea, but not therefore chaste. I, but she is
  comely in all parts of the bodie. But shee may bee crooked in
  some part of the minde. I, but shee is wise. Yea, but she is a
  woman. Beautie is like the blackberry, which seemeth red when       50
  it is not ripe,--resembling precious stones that are polished with
  honie,[848] which the smoother they looke, the sooner they breake.
  It is thought wonderfull among the sea-men, that mugill,[849] of
  all fishes the swiftest, is found in the belly of the bret,[850]
  of all the slowest: and shall it not seeme monstrous to wise men
  that the heart of the greatest conquerour of the world should       55
  be found in the hands of the weakest creature of nature,--of a
  woman, of a captive? Hermyns have faire skins, but foule livers;
  sepulchres fresh colours, but rotten bones; women faire faces, but
  false hearts. Remember, Alexander, thou hast a campe to governe,
  not a chamber. Fall not from the armour of Mars to the armes of     60
  Venus, from the fierie assaults of warre to the maidenly skirmishes
  of love, from displaying the eagle in thine ensigne to set downe
  the sparrow. I sigh, Alexander, that, where fortune could not
  conquer, folly should overcome. But behold all the perfection
  that may bee in Campaspe: a haire curling by nature, not art;       65
  sweete alluring eyes; a faire face made in despite of Venus; and a
  stately port in disdaine of Juno; a wit apt to conceive and quicke
  to answere; a skinne as soft as silke and as smooth as jet; a long
  white hand; a fine little foot,--to conclude, all parts answerable
  to the best part. What of this? Though she have heavenly gifts,     70
  vertue and beautie, is shee not of earthly metall, flesh and bloud?
  You, Alexander, that would be a god, shew your selfe in this worse
  than a man, so soone to be both overseene and over-taken[851] in a
  woman, whose false teares know their true times, whose smooth words
  wound deeper than sharpe swords. There is no surfet so dangerous    75
  as that of honie, nor any poyson so deadly as that of love: in the
  one physicke cannot prevaile, nor in the other counsell.

  _Alex._ My case were light, Hephestion, and not worthy to be called
  love, if reason were a remedie, or sentences could salve that       80
  sense cannot conceive. Little do you know and therefore sleightly
  doe you regard the dead embers in a private person or live coales
  in a great prince, whose passions and thoughts doe as farre exceed
  others in extremitie as their callings doe in majestie. An eclipse
  in the sunne is more than the falling of a starre: none can
  conceive the torments of a king, unlesse he be a king, whose        85
  desires are not inferiour to their dignities. And then judge,
  Hephestion, if the agonies of love be dangerous in a subject,
  whether they be not more than deadly unto Alexander, whose deepe
  and not to bee conceived sighes cleave the heart in shivers, whose
  wounded thoughts can neither be expressed nor endured. Cease        90
  then, Hephestion, with arguments to seeke to refell[852] that which
  with their deitie the gods cannot resist; and let this suffice to
  answere thee,--that it is a king that loveth, and Alexander, whose
  affections are not to bee measured  by reason, being immortall,
  nor, I feare me, to be borne, being intolerable.                    95

  _Hep._ I must needs yeeld, when neither reason nor counsell can
  bee heard.

  _Alex._ Yeeld, Hephestion, for Alexander doth love, and therefore
  must obtaine.                                                      100

  _Hep._ Suppose shee loves not you? Affection commeth not by
  appointment or birth; and then as good hated as enforced.

  _Alex._ I am a king, and will command.

  _Hep._ You may, to yeeld to lust by force, but to consent to love
  by feare, you cannot.                                              105

  _Alex._ Why? What is that which Alexander may not conquer
  as he list?

  _Hep._ Why, that which you say the gods cannot resist,--love.

  _Alex._ I am a conquerour, shee a captive; I as fortunate as shee  110
  faire: my greatnesse may answere her wants, and the gifts of my
  minde the modestie of hers. Is it not likely, then, that she should
  love? Is it not reasonable?

  _Hep._ You say that in love there is no reason; and, therefore,
  there can be no likelyhood.                                        115

  _Alex._ No more, Hephestion! In this case I will use mine own
  counsell, and in all other thine advice: thou mayst be a good
  souldier, but never good lover. Call my page. [_The Page comes
  forward._] Sirrah, goe presently to Apelles and will him to come to
  me without either delay or excuse.                                 120

  _Page._ I goe. [_Exit._]

  _Alex._ In the meane season, to recreate my spirits, being so
  neere, wee will goe see Diogenes. And see where his tub is.[853]
  [_Crosses stage._] Diogenes!

  _Diog._ Who calleth?                                               125

  _Alex._ Alexander. How happened it that you would not come
  out of your tub to my palace?[854]

  _Diog._ Because it was as farre from my tub to your palace as
  from your palace to my tub.

  _Alex._ Why then, doest thou owe no reverence to kings?            130

  _Diog._ No.

  _Alex._ Why so?

  _Diog._ Because they be no gods.

  _Alex._ They be gods of the earth.

  _Diog._ Yea, gods of earth.                                        135

  _Alex._ Plato is not of thy minde.

  _Diog._ I am glad of it.

  _Alex._ Why?

  _Diog._ Because I would have none of Diogenes minde but Diogenes.  140

  _Alex._ If Alexander have any thing that may pleasure Diogenes, let me
  know, and take it.

  _Diog._ Then take not from mee that you cannot give mee,--the light of
  the world.

  _Alex._ What doest thou want?                                      145

  _Diog._ Nothing that you have.

  _Alex._ I have the world at command.

  _Diog._ And I in contempt.

  _Alex._ Thou shalt live no longer than I will.

  _Diog._ But I shall die whether you will or no.                    150

  _Alex._ How should one learne to bee content?

  _Diog._ Unlearne to covet.

  _Alex._ Hephestion, were I not Alexander, I would wish to bee
  Diogenes!

  _Hep._ He is dogged, but discreet; I cannot tell how sharpe,       155
  with a kind of sweetnes; full of wit, yet too-too wayward.

  _Alex._ Diogenes, when I come this way againe, I will both see thee
  and confer with thee.

  _Diog._ Doe.[855] [_Enter_ APELLES.]

  _Alex._ But here commeth Apelles.  How now, Apelles, is Venus      160
  face yet finished?

  _Apel._ Not yet; beautie is not so soone shadowed whose perfection
  commeth not within the compasse either of cunning or of
  colour.

  _Alex._ Well, let it rest unperfect; and come you with mee where   165
  I will shew you that finished by nature that you have beene trifling
  about by art.
                          [_Exeunt Alexander, Hephestion, and Apelles._


                   Actus tertius. Scæna prima.[856]

  [_Enter_] APELLES, CAMPASPE [_and a little behind them_, PSYLLUS.]

  _Apel._ Ladie, I doubt whether there bee any colour so fresh that may
  shadow a countenance so faire.

  _Camp._ Sir, I had thought you had bin commanded to paint with your
  hand, not to glose[857] with your tongue; but as I have heard, it
  is the hardest thing in painting to set downe a hard favour,[858]
  which maketh you to despaire of my face; and then[859] shall you     5
  have as great thankes to spare your labour as to discredit your art.

  _Apel._ Mistris, you neither differ from your selfe nor your sexe;
  for, knowing your owne perfection, you seeme to disprayse that which
  men most commend, drawing them by that meane into an admiration     10
  where, feeding themselves, they fall into an extasie; your modestie
  being the cause of the one, and of the other your affections.

  _Camp._ I am too young to understand your speech, though old enough
  to withstand your devise. You have bin so long used to colours you
  can doe nothing but colour.[860]                                    15

  _Apel_ Indeed the colours I see, I feare will alter the colour I
  have.[861] But come, madam, will you draw neere?--for Alexander
  will be here anon. Psyllus, stay you here at the window. If any
  enquire for mee, answere, _Non lubet esse domi._
                                _Exeunt_ [_Apelles and Campaspe._[862]]

  _Psyllus._ It is alwayes my masters fashion when any faire
  gentle-woman is to be drawne within to make me to stay without.     20
  But if hee should paint Jupiter like a bull, like a swanne, like an
  eagle, then must Psyllus with one hand grind colours and with the
  other hold the candle. But let him alone! The better hee shadowes
  her face, the more will he burne his owne heart. And now if any     25
  man could meet with Manes, who, I dare say, lookes as leane as if
  Diogenes dropped out of his nose.[863] [_Enter_ MANES.]

  _Manes._ And here comes Manes, who hath as much meate in his
  maw as thou hast honestie in thy head.

  _Psyllus._ Then I hope thou art very hungry.                        30

  _Manes._ They that know thee know that.

  _Psyllus._ But doest thou not remember that wee have certaine
  liquor to conferre withall.

  _Manes._ I, but I have businesse; I must goe cry a thing.

  _Psyllus._ Why, what hast thou lost?                                35

  _Manes._ That which I never had,--my dinner!

  _Psyllus._ Foule lubber, wilt thou crie for thy dinner?

  _Manes._ I meane I must crie,--not as one would say "crie,"
  but "crie,"[864] that is, make a noyse.

  _Psyllus._ Why foole, that is all one; for, if thou crie, thou must 40
  needs make a noyse.

  _Manes._ Boy, thou art deceived: crie hath divers significations,
  and may be alluded to many things; knave but one,[865] and can be
  applyed but to thee.

  _Psyllus._ Profound Manes!                                          45

  _Manes._ Wee Cynickes are mad fellowes. Didst thou not finde
  I did quip thee?

  _Psyllus._ No, verily!  Why, what's a quip?

  _Manes._ Wee great girders call it a short saying of a sharpe wit,
  with a bitter sense in a sweet word.                                50

  _Psyllus._ How canst thou thus divine, divide, define, dispute, and
  all on the sodaine?

  _Manes._ Wit will have his swing! I am bewitcht, inspired, inflamed,
  infected.

  _Psyllus._ Well then will I not tempt thy gybing spirit.            55

  _Manes._ Doe not, Psyllus, for thy dull head will bee but
  a grind-stone for my quicke wit, which if thou whet with
  overthwarts,[866] _periisti, actum est de te_! I have drawne bloud
  at ones braines with a bitter bob.

  _Psyllus._ Let me crosse my selfe; for I die if I crosse thee.      60

  _Manes._ Let me doe my businesse. I my selfe am afraid lest my wit
  should waxe warme, and then must it needs consume some hard head
  with fine and prettie jests. I am sometimes in such a vaine that,
  for want of some dull pate to worke on, I begin to gird my selfe.   65

  _Psyllus._ The gods shield me from such a fine fellow, whose
  words melt wits like waxe.

  _Manes._ Well then, let us to the matter. In faith, my master
  meaneth to morrow to flie.

  _Psyllus._ It is a jest.                                            70

  _Manes._ Is it a jest to flie? Shouldest thou flie so soone, thou
  shouldest repent it in earnest.

  _Psyllus._ Well, I will be the cryer.

  _Manes and Psyllus_ (_one after another_). O ys! O ys! O ys![867] All
  manner of men, women, or children, that will come to morrow into    75
  the market place betweene the houres of nine and ten shall see
  Diogenes the Cynicke--flie.[868]

  _Psyllus._ I doe not thinke he will flie.

  _Manes._ Tush, say "flie!"

  _Psyllus._ Flie.                                                    80

  _Manes._ Now let us goe; for I will not see him againe till
  midnight,--I have a backe way into his tub.

  _Psyllus._ Which way callest thou the backe way, when every way
  is open?

  _Manes._ I meane to come in at his backe.                           85

  _Psyllus._ Well, let us goe away, that we may returne speedily.
                                                              _Exeunt._


                  Actus tertius. Scæna secunda.[869]

                     [_Enter_] APELLES, CAMPASPE.

  _Apel._ I shall never draw your eyes well, because they blinde
  mine.[870]

  _Camp._ Why then, paint mee without eyes, for I am blind.[871]

  _Apel._ Were you ever shadowed before of any?

  _Camp._ No; and would you could so now shadow me that I              5
  might not be perceived of any.[872]

  _Apel._ It were pitie but that so absolute[873] a face should furnish
  Venus temple amongst these pictures.

  _Camp._ What are these pictures?

  _Apel._ This is Læda, whom Jove deceived in likenesse of a swan.    10

  _Camp._ A faire woman, but a foule deceit.

  _Apel._ This is Alcmena, unto whom Jupiter came in shape of
  Amphitrion, her husband, and begate Hercules.

  _Camp._ A famous sonne, but an infamous fact.

  _Apel._ Hee might doe it, because hee was a god.                    15

  _Camp._ Nay, therefore it was evill done because he was a god.

  _Apel._ This is Danae, into whose prison Jupiter drizled a golden
  showre, and obtained his desire.

  _Camp._ What gold can make one yeeld to desire?

  _Apel._ This is Europa, whom Jupiter ravished; this, Antiopa.[874]  20

  _Camp._ Were all the gods like this Jupiter?

  _Apel._ There were many gods in this like Jupiter.

  _Camp._ I thinke in those dayes love was well ratified among men
  on earth when lust was so full authorised by the gods in Heaven.

  _Apel._ Nay, you may imagine there were women passing amiable       25
  when there were gods exceeding amorous.

  _Camp._ Were women never so faire, men would be false.

  _Apel._ Were women never so false, men would be fond.

  _Camp._ What counterfeit is this, Apelles?

  _Apel._ This is Venus, the goddesse of love.                        30

  _Camp._ What, bee there also loving goddesses?

  _Apel._ This is shee that hath power to command the very affections
  of the heart.

  _Camp._ How is she hired,--by prayer, by sacrifice, or bribes?

  _Apel._ By prayer, sacrifice, and bribes.                           35

  _Camp._ What prayer?

  _Apel._ Vowes irrevocable.

  _Camp._ What sacrifice?

  _Apel._ Hearts ever sighing, never dissembling.

  _Camp._ What bribes?                                                40

  _Apel._ Roses and kisses.  But were you never in love?

  _Camp._ No; nor love in me.

  _Apel._ Then have you injuried many.

  _Camp._ How so?

  _Apel._ Because you have been loved of many.                        45

  _Camp._ Flattered, perchance, of some.

  _Apel._ It is not possible that a face so faire and a wit so sharpe,
  both without comparison, should not be apt to love.

  _Camp._ If you begin to tip your tongue with cunning, I pray dip
  your pensill in colours and fall to that you must doe, not that you 50
  would doe.


                   Actus tertius. Scæna tertia.[875]

                  [_Enter_] CLYTUS [_and_] PARMENIO.

  _Clytus._ Parmenio, I cannot tell how it commeth to passe that in
  Alexander now a dayes there groweth an unpatient kind of life:
  in the morning he is melancholy, at noone solemne, at all times
  either more sowre or severe than hee was accustomed.

  _Par._ In kings causes I rather love to doubt[876] than conjecture, 5
  and thinke it better to bee ignorant than inquisitive: they have
  long eares and stretched armes;[877] in whose heads suspition is a
  proofe, and to be accused is to be condemned.

  _Clytus._ Yet betweene us there can bee no danger to find out the
  cause, for that there is no malice to withstand it. It may be an
  unquenchable thirst of conquering maketh him unquiet; it is not     10
  unlikely his long ease hath altered his humour; that he should be
  in love, it is not[878] impossible.

  _Par._ In love, Clytus? No, no; it is as farre from his thought
  as treason in ours. He, whose ever-waking eye, whose never-tired    15
  heart, whose body patient of labour, whose mind unsatiable of
  victorie, hath alwayes beene noted, cannot so soone be melted into
  the weake conceits of love. Aristotle told him there were many
  worlds; and that he hath not conquered one that gapeth for all
  galleth Alexander. But here he cometh.                              20

                 [_Enter_ ALEXANDER _and_ HEPHESTION.]

  _Alex._ Parmenio and Clytus, I would have you both readie to
  goe into Persia about an ambassage no lesse profitable to me than
  to your selves honourable.

  _Clytus._ Wee are readie at all commands, wishing nothing else
  but continually to be commanded.                                    25

  _Alex._ Well then, withdraw yourselves till I have further considered
  of this matter. _Exeunt Clytus and Parmenio._

  Now wee will see how Apelles goeth forward. I doubt mee that
  nature hath overcome art, and her countenance his cunning.

  _Hep._ You love, and therefore think any thing.                     30

  _Alex._ But not so farre in love with Campaspe as with
  Bucephalus,[879] if occasion serve either of conflict or[880]
  conquest.

  _Hep._ Occasion cannot want if will doe not.  Behold all Persia
  swelling in the pride of their owne power, the Scythians carelesse
  what courage or fortune can do, the Egyptians dreaming in the       35
  southsayings of their augures and gaping over the smoake of their
  beasts intralls. All these, Alexander, are to be subdued, if that
  world be not slipped out of your head which you have sworne to
  conquer with that hand.

  _Alex._ I confesse the labour's fit for Alexander, and yet
  recreation necessarie among so many assaults, bloudie wounds,       40
  intolerable troubles. Give me leave a little, if not to sit, yet
  to breath. And doubt not but Alexander can, when hee will, throw
  affections as farre from him as he can cowardise. But behold
  Diogenes talking with one at his tub.[881]                          45

  _Crysus._ One penny, Diogenes; I am a Cynicke.

  _Diog._ Hee made thee a begger that first gave thee any thing.

  _Crysus._ Why, if thou wilt give nothing, no bodie will give thee.

  _Diog._ I want nothing till the springs drie and the earth perish.

  _Crysus._ I gather for the gods.                                    50

  _Diog._ And I care not for those gods which want money.

  _Crysus._ Thou art not a right[882] Cynick, that wilt give nothing.

  _Diog._ Thou art not, that wilt begge any thing.

  _Crysus_ [_crossing to Alexander_]. Alexander! King Alexander!
  Give a poore Cynick a groat.[883]                                   55

  _Alex._ It is not for a king to give a groat.

  _Crysus._ Then give me a talent.[884]

  _Alex._ It is not for a begger to aske a talent. Away! [_Exit
  Crysus. Alexander crosses to the part of the stage opposite the tub of
  Diogenes where Apelles and Campaspe are._]                          60
  Apelles![885]

  _Apel._ Here.

  _Alex._ Now, gentlewoman, doth not your beautie put the painter
  to his trumpe?

  _Camp._ Yes, my lord, seeing so disordered a countenance, hee
  feareth hee shall shadow a deformed counterfeite.                   65

  _Alex._ Would he could colour the life with the feature! And mee
  thinketh, Apelles, were you as cunning as report saith you are,
  you may paint flowres as well with sweet smels as fresh colours,
  observing in your mixture such things as should draw neere to their
  savours.                                                            70

  _Apel._ Your Majestie must know, it is no lesse hard to paint
  savours than vertues; colours can neither speake nor thinke.

  _Alex._ Where doe you first begin when you draw any picture?

  _Apel._ The proportion of the face in just compasse as I can.

  _Alex._ I would begin with the eye, as a light to all the rest.     75

  _Apel._ If you will paint, as you are a king, Your Majestie may
  beginne where you please; but as you would bee a painter, you
  must begin with the face.

  _Alex._ Aurelius[886] would in one houre colour foure faces.

  _Apel._ I marvaile in halfe an houre hee did not foure.             80

  _Alex._ Why, is it so easie?

  _Apel._ No; but he doth it so homely.

  _Alex._ When will you finish Campaspe?

  _Apel._ Never finish; for alwayes in absolute beauty there is
  somewhat above art.                                                 85

  _Alex._ Why should not I by labour be as cunning as Apelles?

  _Apel._ God shield you should have cause to be so cunning[887] as
  Apelles!

  _Alex._ Me thinketh foure colours are sufficient to shadow any
  countenance; and so it was in the time of Phydias.[888]             90

  _Apel._ Then had men fewer fancies and women not so many
  favours.[889] For now, if the haire of her eyebrowes be blacke,
  yet must the haire of her head be yellow;[890] the attire of her
  head must bee different from the habit of her bodie, else would the
  picture seeme like the blazon of ancient armory,[891] not like the
  sweet delight of new-found amiablenesse.[892] For, as in garden     95
  knots[893] diversitie of odours make a more sweete savour, or as
  in musique divers strings cause a more delicate consent,[894] so,
  in painting, the more colours, the better counterfeit,--observing
  black for a ground, and the rest for grace.                        100

  _Alex._ Lend me thy pensill, Apelles; I will paint, and thou shalt
  judge.

  _Apel._ Here.

  _Alex._ The coale[895] breakes.

  _Apel._ You leane too hard.                                        105

  _Alex._ Now it blackes not.

  _Apel._ You leane too soft.

  _Alex._ This is awrie.

  _Apel._ Your eye goeth not with your hand.

  _Alex._ Now it is worse.                                           110

  _Apel._ Your hand goeth not with your minde.

  _Alex._ Nay, if all be too hard or soft,--so many rules and regards
  that ones hand, ones eye, ones minde must all draw together,--I had
  rather bee setting of a battell than blotting of a boord.[896] But
  how have I done here?                                              115

  _Apel._ Like a king.

  _Alex._ I thinke so; but nothing more unlike a painter.[897] Well,
  Apelles, Campaspe is finished as I wish. Dismisse her, and bring
  presently her counterfeit after me.

  _Apel._ I will.                                                    120

  _Alex._ [_as he crosses the stage._] Now, Hephestion, doth not this
  matter cotton as I would?[898] Campaspe looketh pleasantly; libertie
  will encrease her beautie, and my love shall advance her honour.

  _Hep._ I will not contrarie your Majestie; for time must weare
  out that love hath wrought, and reason weane what appetite nursed. 125
                    [_Campaspe passes on her way to the farther door._]

  _Alex._ How stately shee passeth by, yet how soberly, a sweete
  consent in her countenance, with a chaste disdaine, desire mingled
  with coynesse, and--I cannot tell how to terme it--a curst, yeelding
  modesty![899]

  _Hep._ Let her passe.                                              130

  _Alex._ So shee shall for the fairest on the earth!

_Exeunt_ [_Alexander and Hephestion at one side of the stage, Apelles
at the other._]


                   Actus tertius. Scæna quarta.[900]

                   [_Enter_] PSYLLUS [_and_] MANES.

  _Psyllus._ I shall be hanged for tarrying so long.

  _Manes._ I pray God my master be not flowne before I come!
                                                     [_Enter Apelles._]

  _Psyllus._ Away, Manes, my master doth come. [_Exit Manes._]

  _Apel._ Where have you beene all this while?

  _Psyllus._ Nowhere but here.                                         5

  _Apel._ Who was here sithens my comming?

  _Psyllus._ Nobodie.

  _Apel._ Ungracious wag, I perceive you have beene a loytering! Was
  Alexander nobodie?

  _Psyllus._ He was a king, I meant no mean bodie.                    10

  _Apel._ I will cudgell your bodie for it, and then will I say it
  was no bodie, because it was no honest bodie. Away, in! _Exit
  Psyllus._ Unfortunate Apelles, and therefore unfortunate because
  Apelles! Hast thou by drawing her beautie brought to passe that
  thou canst scarce draw thine owne breath? And by so much the
  more hast thou increased thy care by how much the more hast         15
  thou[901] shewed thy cunning? Was it not sufficient to behold the
  fire and warme thee, but with Satyrus thou must kisse the fire
  and burne thee? O Campaspe, Campaspe! Art must yeeld to nature,
  reason to appetite, wisdome to affection! Could Pigmalion entreate
  by prayer to have his ivory turned into flesh, and cannot           20
  Apelles obtaine by plaints to have the picture of his love changed
  to life? Is painting so farre inferiour to carving? Or dost thou,
  Venus, more delight to bee hewed with chizels then shadowed with
  colours? What Pigmalion, or what Pyrgoteles, or what Lysippus is
  hee,[902] that ever made thy face so faire or spread thy fame       25
  so farre as I? Unlesse, Venus, in this thou enviest mine art, that
  in colouring my sweet Campaspe I have left no place by cunning to
  make thee so amiable.[903] But, alas, shee is the paramour to a
  prince! Alexander, the monarch of the earth, hath both her body and
  affection. For what is it that kings cannot obtaine by prayers,     30
  threats, and promises? Will not shee thinke it better to sit under
  a cloth of estate[904] like a queene than in a poore shop like a
  huswife, and esteeme it sweeter to be the concubine of the lord of
  the world than spouse to a painter in Athens? Yes, yes, Apelles,
  thou maist swimme against the streame with the crab, and feede      35
  against the winde with the deere, and peck against the steele with
  the cockatrice:[905] starres are to be looked at, not reached at;
  princes to be yeelded unto, not contended with; Campaspe to be
  honoured, not obtained; to be painted, not possessed of thee. O
  faire face! O unhappy hand! And why didst thou drawe it--so         40
  faire a face? O beautifull countenance, the expres image of Venus,
  but somwhat fresher, the only patterne of that eternitie which
  Jupiter dreaming, asleepe, could not conceive againe waking! Blush,
  Venus, for I am ashamed to ende thee! Now must I paint things
  unpossible for mine art but agreeable with my affections,--deepe    45
  and hollow sighes, sad and melancholie thoughtes, woundes and
  slaughters of conceits, a life posting to death, a death galloping
  from life, a wavering constancie, an unsetled resolution, and
  what not, Apelles? And what but Apelles?[906] But as they that
  are shaken with a feaver are to be warmed with cloathes, not        50
  groanes, and as he that melteth in a consumption is to be recured
  by colices,[907] not conceits, so the feeding canker of my care,
  the never-dying worme of my heart, is to be killed by counsell,
  not cries, by applying of remedies, not by replying of reasons.
  And sith in cases desperate there must be used medicines that
  are extreame, I will hazard that little life that is left, to       55
  restore the greater part that is lost; and this shall be my first
  practise,--for wit must worke where authoritie is not,--as soone as
  Alexander hath viewed this portraiture, I will by devise give it a
  blemish, that by that meanes she may come againe to my shop; and
  then as good it were to utter my love and die with deniall as       60
  conceale it and live in dispaire.

                           SONG BY APELLES.

    Cupid and my Campaspe playd
    At cardes for kisses; Cupid payd.
    He stakes his quiver, bow, and arrows,                            65
    His mothers doves, and teeme of sparows;
    Looses them, too. Then, downe he throwes
    The corrall of his lippe, the rose
    Growing on's cheek,--but none knows how,--
    With these, the cristall of his brow,                             70
    And then the dimple of his chinne;
    All these did my Campaspe winne.
    At last, hee set her both his eyes;
    Shee won, and Cupid blind did rise.
      O love! has shee done this to thee?                             75
      What shall, alas, become of mee? [_Exit Apelles._]


                   Actus quartus. Scæna prima.[908]

          [_Enter_] SOLINUS, PSYLLUS, [_and_] GRANICHUS.[909]

  _Sol._ This is the place, the day, the time, that Diogenes hath
  appointed to flie.

  _Psyllus._ I will not loose the flight of so faire a foule as Diogenes
  is though my master cudgell my no body as he threatned.

  _Gran._ What, Psyllus, will the beast wag his wings to day?          5
                                                       [_Enter Manes._]

  _Psyllus._ Wee shall heare; for here commeth Manes. Manes, will it be?

  _Manes._ Be? He were best be as cunning as a bee, or else shortly he
  will not bee at all.

  _Gran._ How is hee furnished to flie? Hath he feathers?             10

  _Manes._ Thou art an asse! Capons, geese, and owles, have feathers. He
  hath found Dedalus old waxen wings,[910] and hath beene peecing them
  this moneth, he is so broad in the shoulders. O, you shall see him cut
  the ayre even like a tortoys!

  _Sol._ Me thinkes so wise a man should not bee so mad; his body     15
  must needs be too heavie.

  _Manes._ Why, hee hath eaten nothing this seven night but corke and
  feathers.

  _Psyllus_ [_aside_]. Touch him,[911] Manes.

  _Manes._ Hee is so light that hee can scarce keepe him from flying  20
  at midnight. _Populus intrat._

  _Manes._ See they begin to flocke, and, behold, my master bustels
  himselfe to flie. [_They draw nearer the tub._]

  _Diog._[912] You wicked and bewitched Athenians, whose bodies
  make the earth to groane, and whose breathes infect the ayre
  with stench, come ye to see Diogenes flie? Diogenes commeth         25
  to see you sinke. Yea,[913] call me dogge! So I am, for I long
  to gnaw the bons in your skins. Yee tearme me an hater of men!
  No, I am a hater of your manners. Your lives, dissolute, not
  fearing death, will prove your deaths desperat, not hoping for
  life. What do you else in Athens but sleepe in the day and          30
  surfeit in the night,--backe-gods in the morning with pride, in
  the evening belly-gods with gluttony! You flatter kings, and call
  them gods. Speak truth of your selves and confesse you are divels!
  From the bee you have taken, not the honey, but the wax, to make
  your religion, framing it to the time, not to the truth. Your       35
  filthy lust you colour under a courtly colour of love, injuries
  abroad under the title of policies at home; and secret malice
  creepeth under the name of publike justice. You have caused
  Alexander to drie up springs and plant vines, to sow rocket and
  weed endiff,[914] to sheare sheepe, and shrine[915] foxes. All
  conscience is sealed[916] at Athens: swearing commeth of a          40
  hot mettle; lying of a quick wit; flattery of a flowing tongue;
  undecent talke of a merry disposition. All things are lawfull at
  Athens: either you think there are no gods, or I must think ye are
  no men. You build as though you should live for ever and surfeit as
  though you should die to morrowe. None teacheth true philosophie 45
  but Aristotle, because hee was the kings schoole-master! O times!
  O men! O corruption in manners! Remember that greene grasse must
  turne to drie hay. When you sleepe, you are not sure to wake; and
  when you rise, not certaine to lie downe. Looke you never so        50
  high, your heads must lie level with your feet. Thus have I flowne
  over[917] your disordered lives; and if you will not amend your
  manners, I will studie to flie further from you, that I may bee
  neerer to honestie.[918]

  _Sol._ Thou ravest, Diogenes, for thy life is different from thy    55
  words. Did not I see thee come out of a brothell house? Was it
  not a shame?

  _Diog._ It was no shame to goe out, but a shame to goe in.

  _Gran._ It were a good deede, Manes, to beate thy master.

  _Manes._ You were as good eate my master.                           60

  _One of the People._ Hast thou made us all fooles, and wilt thou not
  flie?

  _Diog._ I tell thee, unlesse thou be honest, I will flie.[919]

  _People._ Dog, dog, take a bone!

  _Diog._ Thy father need feare no dogs, but dogs thy father.[920]    65

  _People._ We will tell Alexander that thou reprovest him behinde
  his back.

  _Diog._ And I will tell him that you flatter him before his face.

  _People._ Wee will cause all the boyes in the streete to hisse at
  thee.

  _Diog._ Indeede, I thinke the Athenians have their children readie  70
  for any vice, because they bee Athenians.
                                        [_Exeunt Populus and Solinus._]

  _Manes._ Why, master, meane you not to flie?

  _Diog._ No, Manes, not without wings.

  _Manes._ Everybody will account you a lyar.

  _Diog._ No, I warrant you, for I will alwayes say the Athenians     75
  are mischevous.

  _Psyllus._ I care not; it was sport enough for mee to see these old
  huddles[921] hit home.

  _Gran._ Nor I.

  _Psyllus._ Come, let us goe; and hereafter when I meane to rayle    80
  upon any body openly, it shall bee given out, I will flie.  _Exeunt._


                  Actus quartus. Scæna secunda.[922]

                       [_Enter_] CAMPASPE.[923]

  _Camp. sola._ Campaspe, it is hard to judge whether thy choyce be
  more unwise or thy chance unfortunate. Doest thou preferre--but
  stay, utter not that in wordes which maketh thine eares to glow
  with thoughts. Tush, better thy tongue wagge than thy heart
  breake! Hath a painter crept further into thy minde than a           5
  prince;--Apelles, than Alexander? Fond wench, the basenes of thy
  minde bewraies the meannesse of thy birth. But, alas, affection is
  a fire which kindleth as well[924] in the bramble as in the oake,
  and catcheth hold where it first lighteth, not where it may best
  burne. Larkes, that mount aloft in the ayre, build their neasts     10
  below in the earth; and women that cast their eyes upon kings may
  place their hearts upon vassals. A needle will become thy fingers
  better than a lute, and a distaffe is fitter for thy hand than a
  scepter. Antes live safely till they have gotten wings, and juniper
  is not blowne up till it hath gotten an high top: the meane estate
  is without care as long as it continueth without pride. [_Enter     15
  Apelles._] But here commeth Apelles, in whom I would there were the
  like affection.

  _Apel._ Gentlewoman, the misfortune I had with your picture will
  put you to some paines to sit againe to be painted.                 20

  _Camp._ It is small paines for mee to sit still, but infinite for you
  to draw still.

  _Apel._ No, madame; to painte Venus was a pleasure, but to
  shadow the sweete face of Campaspe, it is a heaven!

  _Camp._ If your tongue were made of the same flesh that your        25
  heart is, your words would bee as your thoughts are; but, such a
  common thing it is amongst you to commend that oftentimes for
  fashion sake you call them beautifull whom you know blacke.

  _Apel._ What might men doe to be beleeved?

  _Camp._ Whet their tongue on their hearts.                          30

  _Apel._ So they doe, and speake as they thinke.

  _Camp._ I would they did!

  _Apel._ I would they did not!

  _Camp._ Why, would you have them dissemble?

  _Apel._ Not in love, but their love.[925] But will you give mee     35
  leave to aske you a question without offence?

  _Camp._ So that you will answere mee another without excuse.

  _Apel._ Whom doe you love best in the world?

  _Camp._ He that made me last in the world.

  _Apel._ That was a god.                                             40

  _Camp._ I had thought it had beene a man.  But whom doe you
  honour most, Apelles?

  _Apel._ The thing that is likest you, Campaspe.

  _Camp._ My picture?

  _Apel._ I dare not venture upon your person.  But come, let us      45
  go in: for Alexander will thinke it long till we returne. _Exeunt._


                   Actus quartus. Scæna tertia.[926]

                  [_Enter_] CLYTUS [_and_] PARMENIO.

  _Clytus._ We heare nothing of our embassage,--a colour[927]
  belike to bleare our eyes or tickle our eares or inflame our
  hearts. But what doth Alexander in the meane season but use for
  _tantara_,--_sol_, _fa_, _la_;[928] for his hard couch, downe beds;
  for his handfull of water, his standing-cup of wine?[929]            5

  _Par._ Clytus, I mislike this new delicacie and pleasing peace, for
  what else do we see now than a kind of softnes in every mans minde:
  bees to make their hives in souldiers helmets;[930] our steeds
  furnished with footclothes of gold, insteede of sadles of steele; more
  time to be required to scowre the rust of our weapons than there    10
  was wont to be in subduing the countries of our enemies. Sithence
  Alexander fell from his hard armour to his soft robes, behold the
  face of his court: youths that were wont to carry devises of victory
  in their shields engrave now posies of love in their ringes; they
  that were accustomed on trotting horses to charge the enemie with   15
  a launce, now in easie coches ride up and down to court ladies; in
  steade of sword and target to hazard their lives, use pen and paper to
  paint their loves; yea, such a feare and faintnesse is growne in court
  that they wish rather to heare the blowing of a horne to hunt than the
  sound of a trumpet to fight. O Philip, wert thou alive to see this  20
  alteration,--thy men turned to women, thy souldiers to lovers, gloves
  worne in velvet caps,[931] in stead of plumes in graven helmets,--thou
  wouldest either dye among them for sorrow or counfound[932] them for
  anger.

  _Clytus._ Cease, Parmenio, least in speaking what becommeth thee    25
  not, thou feele what liketh thee not: truth is never with out a
  scracht face; whose tongue although it cannot be cut out, yet
  must it be tied up.

  _Par._ It grieveth me not a little for Hephestion, who thirsteth
  for honour, not ease; but such is his fortune and neernesse in      30
  friendship to Alexander that hee must lay a pillow under his head
  when hee would put a target in his hand. But let us draw in, to
  see how well it becomes them to tread the measures in a daunce[933]
  that were wont to set the order for a march. _Exeunt._


                   Actus quartus. Scæna quarta.[934]

                  [_Enter_] APELLES [_and_] CAMPASPE.

  _Apel._ I have now, Campaspe, almost made an ende.

  _Camp._ You told mee, Apelles, you would never end.

  _Apel._ Never end my love, for it shal be[935] eternall.

  _Camp._ That is, neither to have beginning nor ending.

  _Apel._ You are disposed to mistake; I hope you do not mistrust.     5

  _Camp._ What will you say, if Alexander perceive your love?

  _Apel._ I will say it is no treason to love.

  _Camp._ But how if hee will not suffer thee to see my person?

  _Apel._ Then will I gaze continually on thy picture.

  _Camp._ That will not feede thy heart.                              10

  _Apel._ Yet shall it fill mine eye. Besides, the sweet thoughts,
  the sure hopes, thy protested faith, wil cause me to embrace thy
  shadow continually in mine armes, of the which by strong imagination
  I will make a substance.

  _Camp._ Wel, I must be gone. But this assure your selfe, that I
  had rather be in thy shop grinding colours than in Alexander's      15
  court following higher fortunes. [_As she crosses the stage_[936]]
  Foolish wench, what hast thou done? That, alas, which cannot be
  undone; and therefore I feare me undone. But content is such a
  life; I care not for aboundance. O Apelles, thy love commeth from
  the heart but Alexander's from the mouth! The love of kings is      20
  like the blowing of winds, which whistle sometimes gently among
  the leaves and straight waies turne the trees up by the rootes;
  or fire, which warmeth afarre off, and burneth neere hand; or the
  sea, which maketh men hoise their sailes in a flattering calme,
  and to cut their mastes in a rough storme. They place affection     25
  by times, by policy, by appoyntment. If they frowne, who dares
  call them unconstant; if bewray secrets, who will tearme them
  untrue; if fall to other loves, who trembles not, if hee call them
  unfaithfull? In kings there can bee no love but to queenes; for as
  neere must they meete in majestie as they doe in affection. It      30
  is requisite to stand aloofe from kings love, Jove, and lightening.
                                                                _Exit._

  _Apel._[937] Now, Apelles, gather thy wits together. Campaspe is
  no lesse wise then faire; thy selfe must be no lesse cunning then
  faithfull.[938] It is no small matter to be rivall with Alexander.  35

                    [_Enter_ PAGE _of_ ALEXANDER.]

  _Page._ Apelles, you must come away quickly with the picture
  the king thinketh that now you have painted it, you play with it.

  _Apel._ If I would play with pictures, I have enough at home.

  _Page._ None, perhaps, you like so well.

  _Apel._ It may be I have painted none so well.                      40

  _Page._ I have knowen many fairer faces.

  _Apel._ And I many better boyes. _Exeunt._


                   Actus quintus. Scæna prima.[939]

[_Enter_] SYLVIUS, PERIM, MILO, TRICO, [_and_] MANES. [DIOGENES _in his
                              tub_.][940]

  _Syl._ I have brought my sons, Diogenes, to be taught of thee.

  _Diog._ What can thy sonnes do?

  _Syl._ You shall see their qualities. Dance, sirha!
                                                  _Then Perim danceth._
  How like you this? Doth he well?

  _Diog._ The better, the worser.[941]                                 5

  _Syl._ The musicke very good.

  _Diog._ The musitions very bad, who onely study to have their
  strings in tune, never framing their manners to order.

  _Syl._ Now shall you see the other. Tumble, sirha!
                                                       _Milo tumbleth._
  How like you this? Why do you laugh?                                10

  _Diog._ To see a wagge that was borne to breake his neck by
  destinie to practise it by art.

  _Milo._ This dogge will bite me; I will not be with him.

  _Diog._ Feare not boy; dogges eate no thistles.

  _Perim._ I marvell what dogge thou art, if thou be a dogge.         15

  _Diog._ When I am hungry, a mastife; and when my belly is full, a
  spannell.

  _Syl._ Dost thou beleeve[942] that there are any gods, that thou art
  so dogged?

  _Diog._ I must needs beleeve there are gods, for I thinke thee an   20
  enemie to them.

  _Syl._ Why so?

  _Diog._ Because thou hast taught one of thy sonnes to rule his legges
  and not to follow learning, the other to bend his bodie every way and
  his minde no way.                                                   25

  _Perim._ Thou doest nothing but snarle and barke, like a dogge.

  _Diog._ It is the next[943] way to drive away a theefe.

  _Syl._ Now shall you heare the third, who sings like a nightingale.

  _Diog._ I care not; for I have a nightingale to sing[944] her selfe.

  _Syl._ Sing, sirha!                                                 30

                           TRYCO _singeth_.

                              SONG.[945]

    What[946] bird so sings yet so dos wayle?
    O 'tis the ravish'd[947] nightingale.
    "Jug, jug, jug, jug, tereu," shee cryes;
    And still her woes at midnight rise.
    Brave prick song,[948] who is't now we heare?                     35
    None but the larke so shrill and cleare.
    How at heavens gats[949] she claps her wings,
    The morne not waking till shee sings!
    Heark, heark, with what a pretty throat
    Poore Robin Red-breast tunes his note!                            40
    Heark how the jolly cuckoes sing
    "Cuckoe," to welcome in the spring;
    "Cuckoe," to welcome in the spring.

  _Syl._ Loe, Diogenes! I am sure thou canst not doe so much.

  _Diog._ But there is never a thrush but can.                        45

  _Syl._ What hast thou taught Manes, thy man?

  _Diog._ To be as unlike as may be thy sons.

  _Manes._ He hath taught me to fast, lie hard, and run away.

  _Syl._ How sayest thou, Perim, wilt thou bee with him?

  _Perim._ I, so he will teach me first to runne away.                50

  _Diog._ Thou needest not be taught, thy legges are so nimble.

  _Syl._ How sayest thou, Milo, wilt thou be with him?

  _Diog._ Nay, hold your peace; hee shall not.

  _Syl._ Why?

  _Diog._ There is not roome enough for him and me to tumble both in  55
  one tub.

  _Syl._ Well, Diogenes, I perceive my sonnes brooke not thy manners.

  _Diog._ I thought no lesse, when they knew my vertues.

  _Syl._ Farewell, Diogenes; thou neededst not have scraped rootes,   60
  if thou wouldst have followed Alexander.

  _Diog._ Nor thou have followed Alexander, if thou hadst scraped
  rootes.[950] _Exeunt_ [_all except Diogenes._]


                  Actus quintus. Scæna secunda.[951]

                        [_Enter_ APELLES.[952]]

  _Apel._ I feare mee, Apelles, that thine eyes have blabbed that
  which thy tongue durst not! What little regard hadst thou! Whilest
  Alexander viewed the counterfeit of Campaspe, thou stoodest gazing
  on her countenance. If he espie or but suspect, thou must needs
  twice perish,--with his hate and thine owne love. Thy pale lookes    5
  when he blushed, thy sad countenance when he smiled, thy sighes
  when he questioned, may breed in him a jelousie, perchance a
  frenzie. O love! I never before knew what thou wert, and now hast
  thou made me that I know not what my selfe am! Onely this I know,
  that I must endure intolerable passions for unknowne pleasures.     10
  Dispute not the cause, wretch, but yeeld to it; for better it is
  to melt with desire than wrastle with love. Cast thy selfe on thy
  carefull bed; be content to live unknown, and die unfound.[953] O
  Campaspe, I have painted thee in my heart! Painted? Nay, contrary
  to mine arte, imprinted; and that in such deepe characters that     15
  nothing can rase it out, unlesse it rubbe my[954] heart out. _Exit._


                   Actus quintus. Scæna tertia.[955]

 [_Enter_] MILECTUS, PHRYGIUS, [_and_] LAIS.[956] [DIOGENES _is in his
                                tub_.]

  _Mil._ It shall goe hard but this peace shall bring us some pleasure.

  _Phry._ Downe with armes, and up with legges! This is a world for the
  nonce![957]

  _Lais._ Sweet youths, if you knew[958] what it were to save your
  sweet blood, you would not so foolishly go about to spend it.        5
  What delight can there be in gashing, to make foule scarres in
  faire faces, and crooked maimes in streight legges, as though men,
  being borne goodly by nature, would of purpose become deformed
  by folly,--and all, forsooth for a new-found tearme, called
  _valiant_, a word which breedeth more quarrels than the sense can
  commendation?                                                       10

  _Mil._ It is true, Lais, a feather-bed hath no fellow. Good drinke
  makes good blood, and shall pelting[959] words spill it?

  _Phry._ I meane to enjoy the world, and to draw out my life at
  the wire-drawers; not to curtall it off at the cutlers.             15

  _Lais._ You may talke of warre, speake bigge, conquer worlds
  with great words; but stay at home, where in steade of alarums
  you shall have dances, for hot battailes with fierce men, gentle
  skirmishes with faire women. These pewter coates[960] can never sit
  so well as satten doublets. Beleeve me, you cannot conceive the     20
  pleasure of peace unlesse you despise the rudenes of warre.

  _Mil._ It is so.  But see Diogenes prying over his tub! Diogenes
  what sayest thou to such a morsell? [_Pointing to Lais._]

  _Diog._ I say I would spit it out of my mouth, because it should not
  poyson my stomacke.                                                 25

  _Phry._ Thou speakest as thou art; it is noe meate for dogges.

  _Diog._ I am a dogge, and philosophy rates[961] me from carrion.

  _Lais._ Uncivil wretch, whose manners are answerable to thy calling,
  the time was thou wouldest have had my company, had it not beene, as
  thou saidst, too deare.                                             30

  _Diog._ I remember there was a thing that I repented mee of, and
  now thou hast tolde it. Indeed, it was too deare of nothing,[962] and
  thou deare to no bodie.

  _Lais._ Downe, villaine, or I will have thy head broken!

  _Mil._ Will you couch?[963]                                         35

  _Phry._ Avant, curre! Come, sweet Lays, let us goe to some
  place and possesse peace. But first let us sing; there is more
  pleasure in tuning of a voyce, than in a volly of shot. [_A Song._]

  _Mil._ Now let us make hast, least Alexander finde us here!
                                      _Exeunt_ [_all except Diogenes._]


                   Actus quintus. Scæna quarta.[964]

 [_Enter_] ALEXANDER, HEPHESTION, [_and_] PAGE.[965] [DIOGENES _is in
                              his tub_.]

  _Alex._ Methinketh, Hephestion, you are more melancholy than
  you were accustomed; but I perceive it is all for Alexander. You
  can neither brooke this peace nor my pleasure. Bee of good cheare;
  though I winke, I sleepe not.

  _Hep._ Melancholy I am not, nor well content; for, I know not how,   5
  there is such a rust crept into my bones with this long ease that I
  feare I shall not scowre it out with infinite labours.

  _Alex._ Yes, yes, if all the travailes of conquering the world
  will set either thy bodie or mine in tune, we will undertake them.
  But what thinke you of Apelles? Did yee ever see any so perplexed?
  He neither answered directly to any question, nor looked            10
  stedfastly upon any thing. I hold my life the painter is in love.

  _Hep._ It may be; for commonly we see it incident in artificers
  to be enamoured of their owne workes, as Archidamus of his wooden
  dove, Pygmalion of his ivorie image,[966] Arachne of her woven      15
  swanne,[967]--especially painters, who playing with their owne
  conceits, now coveting[968] to draw a glancing eie, then a rolling,
  now a winking, still mending it, never ending it, till they be
  caught with it, and then, poore soules, they kisse the colours
  with their lips, with which before they were loth to taint their
  fingers.                                                            20

  _Alex._ I will find it out. Page, goe speedily for Apelles. Will
  him to come hither; and when you see us earnestly in talke,
  sodainly crie out, "Apelles shop is on fire!"

  _Page._ It shall be done.

  _Alex._ Forget not your lesson. [_Exit Page._]                      25

  _Hep._ I marvell what your devise shal be.

  _Alex._ The event shall prove.

  _Hep._ I pittie the poore painter if he be in love.

  _Alex._ Pitie him not, I pray thee. That severe gravity set aside,
  what doe you thinke of love?                                        30

  _Hep._ As the Macedonians doe of their hearbe beet,--which
  looking yellow in the ground and blacke in the hand,--thinke it
  better seene than toucht.

  _Alex._ But what doe you imagine it to be?

  _Hep._ A word, by superstition thought a god, by use turned to an   35
  humour, by selfe-will made a flattering madnesse.

  _Alex._ You are too hard-hearted to thinke so of love. Let us
  goe to Diogenes. [_They cross the stage._] Diogenes, thou mayst
  thinke it somewhat that Alexander commeth to thee againe so soone.

  _Diog._ If you come to learne, you could not come soone enough; if  40
  to laugh, you be come too soone.

  _Hep._ It would better become thee to be more courteous and frame thy
  self to please.

  _Diog._ And you better to bee lesse, if you durst displease.

  _Alex._ What doest thou thinke of the time we have here?            45

  _Diog._ That we have little and lose much.

  _Alex._ If one be sicke, what wouldst thou have him doe?

  _Diog._ Bee sure that hee make not his physician his heire.

  _Alex._ If thou mightest have thy will, how much ground would content
  thee?                                                              50

  _Diog._ As much as you in the end must be contented withall.

  _Alex._ What, a world?

  _Diog._ No, the length of my bodie.

  _Alex._ [_aside_]. Hephestion, shall I bee a little pleasant with him?

  _Hep._ [_aside_]. You may; but hee will be very perverse with you.  55

  _Alex._ [_aside_]. It skils not;[969] I cannot be angry with him.
  Diogenes, I pray thee what doest thou thinke of love?

  _Diog._ A little worser than I can of hate.

  _Alex._ And why?

  _Diog._ Because it is better to hate the things which make to love  60
  than to love the things which give occasion of hate.

  _Alex._ Why, bee not women the best creatures in the world?

  _Diog._ Next men and bees.

  _Alex._ What doest thou dislike chiefly in a woman?

  _Diog._ One thing.                                                  65

  _Alex._ What?

  _Diog._ That she is a woman.

  _Alex._ In mine opinion thou wert never borne of a woman, that thou
  thinkest so hardly of women. [_Enter Apelles._] But now commeth
  Apelles, who I am sure is as farre from thy thoughts as thou        70
  art from his cunning. Diogenes, I will have thy cabin[970] removed
  neerer to my court, because I will be a philosopher.

  _Diog._ And when you have done so, I pray you remove your
  court further from my cabin, because I will not be a courtier.

  _Alex._ But here commeth Apelles. Apelles, what peece of work       75
  have you now in hand?

  _Apel._ None in hand, if it like your Majestie; but I am devising
  a platforme[971] in my head.

  _Alex._ I thinke your hand put it in your head. Is it nothing
  about Venus?                                                        80

  _Apel._ No, but something above[972] Venus. [_The Page runs in._]

  _Page._ Apelles, Apelles, looke aboute[972] you! Your shop is on fire!

  _Apel._ [_starting off_]. Aye mee, if the picture of Campaspe be
  burnt, I am undone!                                                 85

  _Alex._ Stay, Apelles; no haste. It is your heart is on fire, not
  your shop; and if Campaspe hang there, I would shee were burnt.
  But have you the picture of Campaspe? Belike you love her well,
  that you care not though all be lost, so she be safe.

  _Apel._ Not love her!  But your Majestie knowes that painters in    90
  their last workes are said to excell themselves; and in this I have
  so much pleased my selfe, that the shadow as much delighteth mee,
  being an artificer, as the substance doth others, that are amorous.

  _Alex._ You lay your colours grosly.[973] Though I could not paint
  in your shop, I can spie into your excuse. Be not ashamed, Apelles;
  it is a gentlemans sport to be in love. [_To the Page._] Call      95
  hither Campaspe. [_Exit Page._] Methinkes[974] I might have beene
  made privie to your affection: though my counsell had not bin
  necessary, yet my countenance might have beene thought requisite.
  But Apelles, forsooth, loveth under hand; yea, and under Alexanders
  nose, and--but I say no more!                                      100

  _Apel._ Apelles loveth not so; but hee liveth to doe as Alexander
  will. [_Re-enter Page with Campaspe._]

  _Alex._ Campaspe, here is newes. Apelles is in love with you.

  _Camp._ It pleaseth your Majestie to say so.                       105

  _Alex._ [_aside_]. Hephestion, I will trie her too.--Campaspe, for
  the good qualities I know in Apelles and the vertue I see in you, I
  am determined you shall enjoy one another. How say you, Campaspe,
  would you say, "I?"

  _Camp._ Your hand-maid must obey if you command.                   110

  _Alex._ [_aside_]. Thinke you not, Hephestion, that she would faine
  be commanded.

  _Hep._ [_aside_]. I am no thought-catcher, but I ghesse
  unhappily.[975]

  _Alex._ I will not enforce marriage where I cannot compell love.

  _Camp._ But your Majestie may move a question where you be         115
  willing to have a match.

  _Alex._ [_aside_]. Beleeve me, Hephestion, these parties are
  agreed; they would have mee both priest and witnesse.--Apelles,
  take Campaspe! Why move yee not? Campaspe, take Apelles! Will it
  not be? If you be ashamed one of the other, by my consent you      120
  shall never come together. But dissemble not, Campaspe. Doe you
  love Apelles?

  _Camp._ Pardon, my lord; I love Apelles.

  _Alex._ Apelles, it were a shame for you, being loved so openly
  of so faire a virgin, to say the contrairie. Do you love Campaspe? 125

  _Apel._ Onely Campaspe!

  _Alex._ Two loving wormes, Hephestion! I perceive Alexander
  cannot subdue the affections of men, though he[976] conquer their
  countries. Love falleth, like a dew, as well upon the low grasse
  as upon the high cedar.[977] Sparkes have their heate, ants their
  gall, flies their spleene. Well, enjoy one another. I give her     130
  thee frankly, Apelles. Thou shalt see that Alexander maketh but a
  toy of love and leadeth affection in fetters, using fancie as a
  foole to make him sport or a minstrell to make him merry. It is
  not the amorous glance of an eye can settle an idle thought in the
  heart. No, no, it is childrens game, a life for seamsters and      135
  schollers; the one, pricking in clouts,[978] have nothing else to
  think on; the other, picking fancies out of books, have little else
  to marvaile at. Go, Apelles, take with you your Campaspe; Alexander
  is cloyed with looking on that which thou wondrest at.[979]        140

  _Apel._ Thankes to your Majestie on bended knee: you have honoured
  Apelles.

  _Camp._ Thankes with bowed heart: you have blessed Campaspe.
                                     _Exeunt_ [_Apelles and Campaspe_].

  _Alex._ Page, goe warne Clytus and Parmenio and the other lords to
  be in a readinesse; let the trumpet sound; strike up the drumme;
  and I will presently into Persia. How now, Hephestion, is          145
  Alexander able to resist love as he list?

  _Hep._ The conquering of Thebes was not so honourable as the
  subduing of these thoughts.

  _Alex._ It were a shame Alexander should desire to command the     150
  world, if he could not command himselfe. But come, let us goe. I
  will trie whether I can better beare my hand with my heart[980]
  than I could with mine eye. And, good Hephestion, when all the
  world is wonne and every country is thine and mine, either find me
  out another to subdue, or, of[981] my word I will fall in love.
  _Exeunt._                                                          155

                                 FINIS


FOOTNOTES:

[767] Manly, the only editor of preceding texts, who attempts to place
the scenes, prints here: "The audience-chamber of the palace. Clitus
and Parmenio near the door. Timoclea and Campaspe are brought in later
as prisoners. Alexander on the throne, attended by Hephestion." Do not
lines 77-78 suggest that the scene takes place just outside the city
walls, as Alexander returns from conquest; and that the characters
enter one after another?

[768] Plutarch (_Alexander_) says Clitus was of "a churlish nature,
prowde and arrogant." See IV. 315, 357-59. Plutarch mentions Parmenio
(_Alexander_), IV. 354-56.

[769] Lyly softens Plutarch. See IV. 309-10.

[770] "Likewise that shee loseth her light (as the rest of the planets)
by the brightnes of the Sun, when she approcheth neere. For borrowing
wholly of him her light she doth shine." Holland, II. 9.

[771] Old French _singulier_, excellent. F.

[772] 'Staine' for excel. The sense is, "It is for turquoises to excel
one another, not for diamonds, for among the latter there can be no
comparison, since all are perfect."

[773] Lyly refers both to the Persian sun-worshippers and the saying of
Pompey, "More worship the rising than the setting sun."

[774] All preceding texts read 'that which.'

[775] Odyssey, 11.

[776] Fear.

[777] Esteems.

[778] In all things he is that than.

[779] Mentioned in _North's Plutarch_, Nutt, IV. 345, 353, 380.

[780] If it like. See p. 327.

[781] _Sic_ A. and B.; Bl. 'Chyeronte.'

[782] For the dramatic story of Timoclea and the original of this
speech see _North's Plutarch_, Nutt, IV. 310-11.

[783] Worst possible.

[784] Bl. prints this as the name of the speaker.

[785] The market-place. M.

[786] Diogenes brought to Athens an attendant of this name, and
dismissed him for the reasons given p. 296.

[787] Lyly refers blindly to the following: "Seeing a mouse running
over a Room and considering with himself that it neither sought for a
Bed, nor was affraid to be alone in the dark, nor desired any of our
esteemed Dainties, he contrived a way to relieve his own Exigencies;
being the first, as some think, that folded in the Mantle, because his
necessity obliged him to sleep in it." _Lives of Philosophers_, VI.,
402.

[788] The constant application of the epithet "Dog," to Diogenes is
historically correct. When Alexander first went to see the philosopher,
he introduced himself thus: "I am Alexander, surnamed the Great." To
this Diogenes replied: "And I am Diogenes, surnamed the Dog." The
Athenians raised a pillar of Parian marble, surmounted with a dog, to
his memory.

[789] Currish fellow.

[790] Perfect.

[791] Conceits.

[792] Yesterday.

[793] Pun: surpassing, running by.

[794] Bl. prints _Why then, this_; F. _thus_.

[795] This Socratic method foreshadows Shakespeare's clowns and pages.

[796] 'Redes,' teaches.

[797] Pun: painting, substituting false for real.

[798] Bl. omits _a_.

[799] Picture.

[800] Countenances.

[801] Preceding texts read: _And with the riotous_; _with_ printer's
repetition.

[802] Terence, _Eunuchus_, 816.

[803] "All the old editions omit _by_; it appears in Dodsley, and
a sixteenth-century hand inserted it in ink in a copy of the third
edition, now in the Garrick collection." M.

[804] Hash.

[805] Diogenes.

[806] Referring to the bad effect on the voice of eating just before
singing.

[807] Bl. first gave the songs. In Bl. 'Granicus' is below 'Song.'

[808] Besides.

[809] Rabbit.

[810] Alexander's Palace. M. The first part might be there, but the
portion with Diogenes belongs in some public place through which the
philosophers pass, returning from the palace.

[811] Bl. adds here the names of all who enter during the scene.

[812] From Plutarch's account of Aristotle (_Alexander_, IV., 304-306,
363), Lyly borrows only the idea that Alexander, suspecting Aristotle
of treasonable designs, withdrew some of his friendliness.

[813] For his relations with Alexander and Clitus, see North's
_Plutarch_, IV., 359-360.

[814] See Prologue, _Endimion_.

[815] A theoretical cause.

[816] The preceding seven lines roughly sum up the contrasting opinions
of Plato and Aristotle on physical matters.

[817] 'The earth which as a masse swimmeth,' or 'The earth, which is a
masse, swimming'?

[818] Nature that is a creative energy.

[819] C. _knewe_.

[820] Bl. omits _of_.

[821] Instruction.

[822] Alexander "plainly shewed the ill will he bare unto Aristotle,
for that Callisthenes had bene brought up with him, being his kinsman,
and the son of Hero, Aristotle's neece." For the charges against the
philosopher Callisthenes, see North's _Plutarch_, Nutt, IV., 359-363.

[823] Bl. _rulers_, the quartos 'rules.'

[824] The following six questions and answers Lyly selects from nine
in an interview of Alexander with ten wise men of India. North's
_Plutarch_, Nutt, IV., 372-373.

[825] Alexander really spoke thus to Parmenio, but under very different
circumstances. _North's Plutarch_, Nutt, IV., 332-333.

[826] Bl. _thrall_.

[827] Neither the quartos nor Bl. mark this entrance. In the Garrick
copy of C. a contemporary of Lyly, W. Neile, noted it in ink. If
Diogenes enters here, he goes to the farther side of the stage. The
philosophers at once cross to him. Possibly he comes on at any time
during the preceding dialogue, and going quietly to his part of the
stage, waits till the philosophers see him and cross.

[828] See _Lives of Philosophers_, 1696, 401.

[829] "You pretend to be better than you are, for you do not at heart
object to counterfeiting," or, possibly, "Since you do not gain money
by counterfeiting, you live falsely, for you have no adequate means of
support."

[830] Mad.

[831] Editors, following Bl., have made the second act begin here, but
would Diogenes go out only to come on at once? Bl. printed 'Diogenes,
Psyllus,' etc. To the stage direction M. adds 'And Citizens.'

[832] This line is Lyly's rather vague reference to the search of
Diogenes for an honest man.

[833] Almost the words of Diogenes. See _Lives of Philosophers_, VI.,
423.

[834] Yesterday.

[835] "Seeing once a little Boy drinking Water out of the Hollow of
his Hand, he took his little Dish out of his Scrip, and threw it away,
saying: This little boy hath out-done me in frugality."--_Lives of
Philosophers_, VI., 412.

[836] Bl. omits _I_. The quartos give it.

[837] Preceding editions _of_.

[838] "In old musical treatises harmony is frequently termed a consent
of instruments." F.

[839] Fiddle.

[840] Bl. _ala._ M. corrects.

[841] The Market-place. M.

[842] Preceding editions, _Scæna Secunda_.

[843] Bl. added 'Diogenes, Apelles.'

[844] See _Epistle Dedicatorie, Euphues and his England_.

[845] Ovid, _Fasti_, II. 305.

[846] Horses covered with defensive armor.

[847] Did this suggest:--

    "Grim-visaged war hath smooth'd his wrinkled front;
    And now,--instead of mounting barbed steeds
    To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,--
    He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber,
    To the lascivious pleasing of a lute!"--_Rich. III_. I. 1.  Do.

[848] "All precious stones in general are improved in brilliancy by
being boiled in honey, Corsican honey more particularly."--_Hist. of
World_, XXXVII. 74. Bohn.

[849] Mullet.

[850] Cornish for brill and turbot.

[851] "Deceived and intoxicated with unreasoning affection." F.

[852] Refute.

[853] During the preceding dialogue Diogenes has probably come in with
his tub. Going to a remote part of the stage, he has put it down and
crawled into it.

[854] For the original of this scene and for some of the speeches,
see _North's Plutarch_, IV. 311-312, Nutt; see also _Lives of
Philosophers_, VI. 413.

[855] Does Diogenes go out here, or crawl into his tub, to emerge when
Crysus speaks to him, III. iii?

[856] The house of Apelles: first inside, then in front.

[857] Flatter.

[858] Homely face.

[859] If you give up in despair.

[860] Flatter.

[861] Longing, caused by her beauty, will take the color from his face.

[862] Bl. and later editors mark a new scene here. Stage direction in
Bl. 'Psyllus, Manes.'

[863] As lean as Diogenes himself? Query: 'Dropped him'? The phrase
suggests, "As like as if he had been spit out of his mouth" for "exact
image." Kittredge.

[864] Manes mimics each sound.

[865] F. inserts _to_ before _one_.

[866] Impudent replies.

[867] _Oyez._

[868] Psyllus, when he comes to "flie," breaks off incredulous. Manes
gives the word.

[869] Preceding editions, _tertia_. The Studio of Apelles.

[870]

    "But her eyes!
    How could he see to do them?" _M. of V._ III. ii.

[871] Does Campaspe playfully close her eyes here?

[872] Pun: to paint and to hide. Campaspe is posing nude.

[873] Perfect.

[874] Lyly is thinking of the work of Arachne, who challenged Minerva
to a trial of skill with the needle, and represented the amours of
Jupiter named. Ovid., _Meta._ VI. 1.

[875] Preceding editions _quarta_. As M. notes, Apelles and Campaspe
busy themselves with the picture at one side of the stage. A new scene
is hardly necessary. Bl. 'Clytus, Parmenio, Alexander, Hephestion,
Crysus, Diogenes, Apelles, Campaspe.'

[876] Remain undecided.

[877] The modern "long arm of the Law."

[878] Bl. omits _not_; A. gives it.

[879] _North's Plutarch_, Nutt, IV. 303-304, 351, 369-370.

[880] Bl. _of_; F. _or of_. M. corrects as in text.

[881] Diogenes enters before Crysus; or, more probably, has been on the
stage in his tub since II. 1. See p. 301.

[882] In this and the next line, the speakers refer to the popular idea
that true Cynics despised money.

[883] Fourpence. Often used for a very small sum.

[884] In Attica about $1000.

[885] As Alexander calls, he is supposed to enter the house of Apelles.
See p. 306, note 875.

[886] Arellius? Mentioned, Holland, XXXV. 10. No painter Aurelius is
known.

[887] Pun: technical knowledge and manual skill, and guileful. Apelles
thinks of his need to conceal his passion.

[888] For the original of this see Holland, XXXV. 7.

[889] Looks, with something of the sense of attractions.

[890] At this time it was fashionable to dye the hair yellow in
compliment to the natural color of the Queen's hair. F.

[891] A description simple because ancient armour lacked the varied
markings of Elizabethan coats-of-arms.

[892] Loveliness.

[893] Ornamental arrangements of flower-beds.

[894] Harmony.

[895] The charcoal with which Alexander is drawing.

[896] The old pictures were painted on wooden panels.

[897] For the suggestion for this scene, see Holland, XXXV. 10.

[898] Go as I wish.

[899] "Modesty tempered in yielding by a contrasting emotion." F.

[900] Preceding editions _quinta_. Before the house of Apelles. Is a
division needed? Apelles might remain when Alexander and Hephestion
leave, and just before Psyllus cries "Away, Manes," see his page and
move toward him. Bl. 'Psyllus, Manes, Apelles.'

[901] Bl. _Hast thou hast._ F. and M. strike out the first _hast_. Is
it not more likely that the second is the mistake?

[902] "Alexander streightly forbad by express edict, that no man should
draw his portrait in colours but Apelles the painter: that none should
engrave his personage but Pyrgoteles, the graver: and last of all, that
no workman should cast his image in brasse but Lysippus a founder,"
Holland, VII. 1.

[903] Apelles addresses here and in l. 44 a picture of Venus, which he
really left unfinished. Holland, XXXV. 11.

[904] Canopy

[905] Basilisk, Holland, VIII. 21.

[906] "Do I say paint what not (what is not) Apelles? What are all
these--sighs, wounds, etc., but Apelles himself?"

[907] _Cullises_, strengthening jellies.

[908] The market-place. M.

[909] Bl. adds 'Manes, Diogenes, Populus.'

[910] Ovid, _Meta._ VIII.

[911] Guy him.

[912] Diogenes has probably been in his tub since his dialogue with
Crysus, p. 308.

[913] M. suggests 'Yee.' See next line.

[914] Sow the inedible and weed out the edible.

[915] Shut up as if precious.

[916] "In falconry _sealed_ means blinded." Do.

[917] Railed at.

[918] For conduct of Diogenes similar to this scene see _Lives of
Philosophers_, VI. 405.

[919] Diogenes refers to ll. 50-54, p. 315. Throughout Diogenes is very
like a Cynic as described in Lucian's "Sale of the Philosophers."

[920] Diogenes, thinking of himself as older than most of the crowd and
wiser than any, names himself, apparently, in 'thy father.' "Diogenes
need fear no curs like you, but you need fear a rating from me."

[921] Decrepit persons.

[922] A room in the palace. M. Why not the house of Apelles, into which
the painter and Campaspe go after the last lines of the scene?

[923] Bl. 'Campaspe, Apelles.'

[924] Bl., 'aswell.'

[925] "Apelles would have no dissembling in real love, but only in the
simulated love he despises." F.

[926] The palace. M.

[927] Pretext.

[928] "For the sound of the war trumpet, the voice of the singer." F.

[929] A large and usually ornamental drinking cup, made especially for
the dresser or sideboard. The chief guest at an entertainment or the
presiding dignitary was served from it.

[930] An engraving in Alciati's _Emblems_, representing bees swarming
into the face-guard of a helmet probably provided this simile. F.

[931] Gloves were worn in the hat for three purposes,--as the favor of
a mistress, the memorial of a friend, and as a mark to challenge an
enemy.

[932] Destroy.

[933] To dance in a slow and stately fashion.

[934] Studio of Apelles.

[935] Bl., one word.

[936] Preceding editions, following Bl., read 'Campaspe alone.' It is
much more natural to suppose that while she is crossing the stage,
Apelles lingers on one side, watching her. When she goes out, he speaks.

[937] Preceding editions, _Actus quartus. Scæna quinta_; Bl. 'Apelles,
Page.'

[938] See note 61, p. 309.

[939] The market-place. M.

[940] Bl. puts 'Diogenes' before 'Sylvius.'

[941] For the originals of this and the first, third, fourth,
fifth, and sixth of Diogenes's speeches which follow see _Lives of
Philosophers_, VI. 406, 415, 417, 418, 424, 428, 431.

[942] Dost thou _not_?

[943] Readiest.

[944] Bl. omits _to_. F. and M. insert it. Query, 'sings'?

[945] Of course the Song falls into three stanzas, with divisions at
ll. 35, 39.--_Gen. Ed._

[946] These lines illustrate well how the memory of Shakespeare
caught and held the best in the lines of others. Here, scattered
through several lines, is the first line of the well-known song in
_Cymbeline_:--

             3    4
  "None but the larke so shrill and cleare.
      5     6      7
  How at heavens gats she claps her wings,
                                  8
  The morne not waking till she sings!
    1      2
  Heark, heark, with what a pretty throat
  Poore Robin Red-breast tunes his note!"

[947] Not only _enraptured_, but with reference to the story of
Philomela, Ovid, _Meta._ VI.

[948] Warbler.

[949]'Gate' as in Shakespeare? The 's' from 'she'?

[950] For the original of this see _Lives of Philosophers_, VI. 426.

[951] Studio of Apelles.

[952] Bl. and later editors, _Apelles alone_.

[953] "Be content to live with thy love unexpressed, and to die with it
undiscovered."

[954] Quartos and Bl. _thy_. Corrected by Do.

[955] The market-place. M.

[956] Bl. adds 'Diogenes.'

[957] For the purpose.

[958] Bl. _know_.

[959] Contemptible.

[960] Steel cuirasses.

[961] In Kent _rate_ is used for call away, off. F.

[962] If nothing were paid.

[963] Milectus threatens to strike Diogenes.

[964] The market-place. M.

[965] Bl. adds 'Diogenes, Apelles, Campaspe.'

[966] Ovid, _Meta._ X. 9.

[967] Earlier editions, _his wooden swanne_, borrowing the first two
words from the line above. See note, p. 305.

[968] M. suggests 'covet.'

[969] A. 'skilleth.'

[970] In Lyly's time 'cabin' seems to have been used vaguely for any
rude dwelling.

[971] A sketch for a picture, or the plan for a building. F.

[972] M., phrasing as in the text, says: "In Bl. these two words (each
standing at the end of a line) are interchanged. F. prints as I do,
but, as he has no note, I do not know whether he followed one of the
older editions, or corrects by conjecture."

[973] Frame your excuses clumsily.

[974] Bl., two words.

[975] "But my surmise is mischievous."

[976] Bl. _though conquer_. F. added the 'he.'

[977] See _Euphues and his England_, Arber, 256.

[978] Patching.

[979] "What good reckoning Alexander made of him, he shewed by one
notable argument; for having among his courtesans one named Campaspe,
whom he fancied especially in regard as well of that affection of his
as her incomparable beauty, he gave commandement to Apelles to draw
her picture all naked; but perceiving Apelles at the same time to be
wounded with the like dart of love as well as himself, he bestowed her
on him most frankly. Some are of opinion that by the patterne of this
Campaspe, Apelles made the picture of Venus Anadyomene." Holland, XXXV.
10. The name really was Pancaste.

[980] Alexander refers to the unfavorable comment of Apelles on his
drawing, p. 310, l. 109.

[981] F. _on_.


THE EPILOGUE AT THE BLACKE FRIERS

  WHERE the rain bow toucheth the tree, no caterpillars will hang
  on the leaves; where the gloworme creepeth in the night, no adder
  will goe in the day: wee hope in the eares where our travailes be
  lodged, no carping shall harbour in those tongues. Our exercises
  must be as your judgment is, resembling water, which is alwayes of   5
  the same colour into what it runneth. In the Troyan horse lay
  couched souldiers with children;[982] and in heapes of many words
  we feare divers unfit among some allowable. But, as Demosthenes
  with often breathing up the hill, amended his stammering, so wee
  hope with sundrie labours against the haire[983] to correct our
  studies. If the tree be blasted that blossomes, the fault is in     10
  the winde and not in the root; and if our pastimes bee misliked
  that have beene allowed, you must impute it to the malice of others
  and not our endevour. And so we rest in good case, if you rest well
  content.


FOOTNOTES:

[982] Knights.

[983] Against the grain. F.


The Epilogue at the Court

  WE cannot tell whether wee are fallen among Diomedes[984] birdes
  or his horses,--the one received some men with sweet notes,[985]
  the other bit all men with sharpe teeth. But, as Homer's gods
  conveyed them into cloudes whom they would have kept from curses,
  and, as Venus, least Adonis should be pricked with the stings of     5
  adders, covered his face with the wings of swans, so wee hope,
  being shielded with your Highnesse countenance, wee shall, though
  heare[986] the neighing, yet not feele the kicking of those jades,
  and receive, though no prayse--which we cannot deserve--yet a
  pardon, which in all humilitie we desire. As yet we cannot tell
  what we should tearme our labours, iron or bullion; only it         10
  belongeth to your Majestie to make them fit either for the forge or
  the mynt, currant by the stampe or counterfeit by the anvill. For,
  as nothing is to be called white unlesse it had beene named white
  by the first creator,[987] so can there be nothing thought good
  in the opinion of others unlesse it be christened good by the       15
  judgement of your selfe. For our selves, againe, we are like these
  torches of waxe, of which, being in your Highnesse hands, you may
  make doves or vultures, roses or nettles, laurell for a garland or
  ealder for a disgrace.[988]


FOOTNOTES:

[984] A king of Thrace who fed his horses with human flesh.

[985] "Birds called Diomedæ. Toothed they are, and they have eies as
red and bright as the fire: otherwise their feathers be all white.
Found they be in one place, innobled for the tombe and Temple of
Diomedes, on the coast of Apulia. Their manner is to cry with open
mouth uncessantly at any strangers that come aland, save only Grecians,
upon whom they wil seem to fawne and make signs of love ... as
descended from the race of Diomedes." Holland, X. 44.

[986] F. following Do. unnecessarily prints 'wee heare.'

[987] Bl. _creature_. F. first printed 'creator.'

[988] Disgrace attached to the elder because it was the tree on which
Judas hanged himself. F.



  _George Peele_

                          THE OLD WIVES' TALE


                                  _Edited with Critical Essay and Notes
                                       by F. B. Gummere, Ph.D.,
                                       Professor in Haverford College._



CRITICAL ESSAY


=Life.=--George Peele, probably sprung from a Devonshire family, and
the son of James Peele, clerk of Christ's Hospital, is known to have
been in 1565 a free scholar of the grammar school connected with that
foundation. He went to Oxford in 1571; studied at Broadgates Hall, now
Pembroke College, and at Christ Church; took his B.A. in 1577, his M.A.
in 1579, and went up to London about 1580. At Oxford he already had the
name of poet, scholar, and dramatist. He was married, it would seem, as
early as 1583, to a wife who brought him some property; this, however,
soon vanished, and left the poet dependent upon his wits. Although the
stories in the _Jests_ are musty old tales, fastened upon Peele, it
is unlikely that they settled on his name without a sense of fitness
on the part of a public that had known his ways,--his hopeless lack
of pence, his good nature and popularity, his shifts to beg, borrow,
and cozen. With Greene, Nashe, Marlowe, and a few lesser lights, he
belonged to that group of scholars who wrote plays, translations,
occasional poems, pageants, and whatever else would find a market.
Now and then, it is almost certain, he appeared as an actor. Of his
dissolute course of life, its misery and squalour, there can be no
doubt whatever; "driven as myself," says Greene, "to extreme shifts."
As early as 1579 Peele had made trouble for his father; he lived in
poverty; and the curtain falls upon an ignoble end. Dying before 1598,
the poet barely saw his fortieth year.

=Plays assigned to Peele.=--The best plays of Peele are _The
Arraignment of Paris_, published in 1584, and, in Fleay's opinion,
played as early as 1581,--a "first encrease," Nashe calls it, written
in smooth metres which doubtless had influence on Marlowe's own verse;
_The Old Wives' Tale_, published 1595; and the saccharine _David
and Bethsabe_, beloved of German critics. _Edward I._, with wofully
corrupt text, is good only in parts; _The Battle of Alcazar_, published
anonymously in 1594, is almost certainly Peele's, but does not help his
reputation; while _Sir Clyomon and Sir Clamydes_ is quite certainly
not Peele's in any way. Fleay, _Biographical Chronicle of the English
Drama_, II. 296, assigns it, along with _Common Conditions_ and _Appius
and Virginia_, to R. B. (Richard Bower?), whose initials appear on
the title-page of the last-named play. Professor Kittredge, however,
_Journal of Germanic Philology_, II. 8, suggests, as author of _Sir
Clyomon_, Thomas Preston of _Cambyses_ fame. By way of compensation
for this loss, Fleay (work quoted, II. 155) attributes to Peele _The
Wisdome of Doctor Doddipoll_, published in 1600; there is dialect in
the play, but overdone, good blank verse, and an indifferent plot. The
song, _What Thing is Love_, hardly makes foundation enough for the
assumption that Peele wrote the play, even with the aid of an enchanter
among the characters, and a metre like that of _David and Bethsabe_.
Further, Fleay presents our author with _Wily Beguiled_, possibly, he
thinks, a university play; but his proof is not convincing. Kirkman, in
a catalogue of plays added to his edition of _Tom Tiler and his Wife_,
1661, credits George Peele not only with _David and Bethsabe_, but
with _Alphonsus, Emperor of Germany_, while Will Shakespeare has the
_Arraignment of Paris_. _The Old Wives' Tale_ is set down as anonymous.

In regard to Peele's miscellaneous and occasional poetry there need be
noted here only his clever use of blank verse in shorter poems, his
charming lyrics, and those noble lines at the end of the _Polyhymnia_,
beginning--

    "His golden locks time hath to silver turn'd."

=Peele's Place in the Development of English Drama.=--Although we had a
text of absolute authority and a minutely accurate life of the author,
we should gain with all this lore no real stay for a study, a critical
understanding of _The Old Wives' Tale_, regarded as an element in the
making of English comedy. Peele and his play, along with any hints of
sources and models that are to be heeded, and with whatever help may
come from study of his other works, must be fused into a single fact
and compared with those "environmental conditions" which influence all
literary production. This will determine the equation between art and
nature, between the centrifugal forces, which are always expressing
themselves in terms of what is called genius or originality, and the
centripetal forces of a great literary and popular development. It
will determine the relation of Peele's comedy to the line of English
comedies.

Such a critical process leaves one with two qualities in mind that seem
to have had an initial force. They belong to Peele on contemporary
testimony confirmed by a study of his works. Tom Nashe, more in eulogy
than in discrimination, yet surely not without a dash of critical
discernment, calls Peele "the chief supporter of pleasance now living,
the atlas of poetry, and _primus verborum artifex_...."[989]

Nashe undoubtedly flatters, but another of the "college," Greene, in
that death-bed appeal to his brother playwrights, was in no mood for
flattery; and it is probably sincere, even if mistaken, praise when he
calls Peele "in some things rarer, in nothing inferior," to Marlowe,
and to that "young juvenall" who may be Nashe or Lodge. In what things
Peele was "rarer," Greene fails to say, but a study of _The Arraignment
of Paris_, of _David and Bethsabe_, even of portions of _Edward I._,
and of the _Battle of Alcazar_, supports the reputation of Peele as
an artist in words, and in prose as "well-languaged"; while in _The
Old Wives' Tale_ there greets the critic, not too openly, it is true,
but unmistakably, the quality of humour. Moreover, there are the
_Jests_ which, apocryphal as they doubtless are, and sorry stuff by
any reckoning, nevertheless show that to people of his day Peele was
counted a merry fellow, a humourist in our sense of the word.[990]
Perhaps Shakespeare's jests would seem as stale and flat if we had the
anecdotes that passed current among his successors at the playhouse.
In any case, George had a sense of humour which found utterance in
this _Old Wives' Tale_; it is not the classical humour of _Roister
Doister_, not the hearty but clumsy mirth of _Gammer Gurton_, but
rather a hint of the extravagant and romantic which turns upon itself
with audible merriment at its own pretences, a hint, not of farce or
of wit merely, but of genuine humour, something not to be found in
Greene's lighter work,[991] or in Lyly's _Mother Bombie_, or in any of
those earlier plays that did fealty to the comic muse. Such, then, is
the contemporary formula for Peele as a power in the making of English
drama: "_primus verborum artifex_," and "chief supporter of pleasance."
He was an artist in words, and he had the gift of humour.

As regards this artistry in words, it is well known that the conditions
of English life, the vigour of speech as quickened by intercourse in
the street, the market-place, the exchange, where a spoken word even in
traffic and commerce still counted better than a written word, dialogue
and conversation better than oratory, and the conditions of the stage
itself, with its slender resources of scenery and its confident appeal
to the imagination, all helped to push this pomp and mastery of phrase
into the forefront of an Elizabethan playwright's qualifications.
Probably the spectator at a play felt something of the interest which
was then so rife in the world of books and learning,--the interest in
words as words, in the course of a sentence as indicating more or less
triumph over a still untrained tongue. Nietzsche is extravagant but
suggestive in certain remarks that bear upon this verbal artistry in
the drama. Speaking of Nature and Art,[992] he insists that the Greeks
taught men to like pompous dramatic verse and an unnatural eloquence
in those tragic situations where mere nature is either stammering or
silent. The Italians went further and taught us to endure, in the
opera, something still more artificial and unnatural--a passion which
not only declaims, but sings. Tragic eloquence, sundered from nature,
feeds that pride which "loves art as the expression of a high heroic
unnaturalness and conventionality." "The Athenian," Nietzsche goes on
to say with cheerful heresy, "went into the theatre not to be roused
by pity and terror, but to listen to fine speeches." One is inclined
to think that this desire for fine speeches had a large share in the
motive which sent an Elizabethan to the play. Certainly the drama
responded to this demand more quickly than to any demand for coherence
of plot and delicacy of characterization. Who led in this movement?
Most critics brush aside all rivals from the path of Marlowe and credit
him alone with the "mighty line," the pomp of diction, the sweep of
word and figure, which brought the drama from those puerilities of
phrase and manner up to its noble estate. This is true in the sense
that Marlowe was infinitely greater as a poet and a tragedian than
either Greene or Peele. But as _verborum artifex_ it is probable that
Marlowe has had considerable credit which belongs to the others,
particularly Peele; and the testimony of Nashe and Greene, who knew
the craft, must not be rejected so utterly. Campbell, it is true,
praised Peele as "the oldest genuine dramatic poet of our language";
but Symonds, and with him are such scholars as Mr. A. W. Ward, asserts
that Peele "discovered no new vein." Symonds is inclined to look on
Greene as herald[993] and Marlowe as founder; Peele is a pleasant but
unimportant maker of plays and verse. Greene, he thinks, began the
school of gentleman and scholars who wrote for the stage at a time when
rhyming plays were in vogue; but none of those which Greene wrote has
come down to our day. Marlowe now comes imperiously upon the scene,
forces his blank verse into favour, and is at last reluctantly admitted
by Greene and the others into their "college." So runs the theory of
Symonds. Quite opposed to this view of the case is Mr. Fleay, who
declares that Marlowe followed George Peele in the article of "flowing
blank verse."[994] There can be no question, moreover, that certain
critics have exalted Greene too high and put Peele too low. Peele had
quite as much as Greene to do with the refining and energizing of
English dramatic diction, a process aptly described by Thomas Heywood
in his _Apology for Actors_:[995] "Our English tongue ... is now _by
this secondary meanes of playing_ continually refined, every writer
striving in himselfe to adde a new florish unto it." Plots remained
clumsy, crude; but what change in the diction of plays! In _Appius and
Virginia_ there is still puerile diction and jog-trot metre,--

    "They framèd also after this, out of his tender side,
    A piece of much formosity, with him for to abide."

From this to blank verse and compressed or energetic diction, as
(_Jeronimo_),--

    "My knee sings thanks unto your Highness bounty,"--

is a progress involving vast reformings, and some deformings,[996]
in diction and in metre, of such sweep that Elizabethans put these
qualities first when they went about to judge a play. "Your nine
comœdies," writes Harvey to Spenser, come nearer to Ariosto's, "eyther
for the finenesse of plausible Elocution, or the rareness of Poetical
Invention," than the _Faery Queene_ to the _Orlando Furioso_. In this
ennobling of diction, Peele may not have led the column of playwrights,
but he was certainly in the van. His achievement must not be dashed by
a comparison with Shakespeare, who covered up absurdities of plot--as
in the _Merchant of Venice_--by brilliant characterization, where this
earlier group depended upon the art of words.[997] For the related art
of brave metres, of a "flowing blank verse" in plays, we have no space
to argue upon the claims of leadership. Enough is done for the matter
if one remembers that Peele, who wrote admirable blank verse before
Marlowe was out of his teens, had nothing to learn from the greater
poet about the management of this metre in and for itself.[998]
Certainly he got more music out of the pentameter than any earlier
dramatist had done; witness such a movement as,--

    "What sign is rainy and what star is fair,"

or,--

    "And water running from the silver spring."

=The Old Wives' Tale, an Innovation in Comedy.=--It may be conceded
that Peele "discovered no new vein" in diction and in metre, although
his work in each was of a high order, not far removed from leadership.
Different is the case when one considers his claims for innovation in
comedy. He was the first to blend romantic drama with a realism which
turns romance back upon itself, and produces the comedy of subconscious
humour. The tragedies, and even the miracle plays, while extravagant
in form, had not been altogether unnatural in action. The supernatural
in that age was not unnatural. The unnatural was mainly confined to
the diction. Gradually, as every one knows, the romantic element, in
a wide sense, got upper hand and ruled the English drama. In _The Old
Wives' Tale_ this romantic spirit comes in, not as a new element, but
as a new kind of "art" grafted upon the "nature" of the rough and comic
stock; and to the reader's surprise draws away all unnaturalness from
the dialogue, which is now plain, natural, commonplace.[999] Realism
in diction was no new thing; romance in plot was not an innovation;
it was the clash, the interplay, the subjective element, the appeal
to something more than a literal understanding of what is said and
done, a new appeal to a deeper sense of humour--here lay the new
vein discovered by George Peele. The romantic drama, we repeat, was
known; witness that little group of "folk-lore romances," as Mr. Fleay
calls them, _Common Conditions_, _Sir Clyomon and Sir Clamydes_, and
_Appius and Virginia_; the two former are full of adventures, of
amorous knights and wandering ladies, a Forest of Strange Marvels,
an Isle of Strange Marshes, what not. In all of them, however, the
romance is presented in unnatural diction, to suit such unnatural
doings, and justifies those bitter words of the _Second and Third
Blast of Retrait from Plaies and Theaters_,[1000] that "the notablest
lier is become the best Poet ... for the strangest Comedie brings
greatest delectation ... faining countries neuer heard of, monsters
and prodigious creatures that are not...." A milder romantic drama,
but without the humour which we mean, is Greene's _Orlando Furioso_.
The other plays, however, have no humour at all except the traditional
humour of the Vice; and of the three representatives, Conditions, who
finally turns pirate, is certainly a far merrier person than Haphazard
in _Appius_ or Subtle Shift in _Sir Clyomon_. There is realistic
setting in _Common Conditions_, with some lively dialogue, and a
distinctly catching song and chorus[1001] of tinkers, at the opening
of the play. It is "business" here, however, not that dramatic irony,
springing from contrast of romantic plot and realistic diction, which
makes a sufficiently timid beginning in _The Old Wives' Tale_, and
grows so insistent in _The Knight of the Burning Pestle_. Moreover,
Peele's realistic work shows the control and consciousness of a higher
art. There are no peasants like Hodge in _Gammer Gurton_, Corin in _Sir
Clyomon_, and Hob and Lob in _Cambyses_.[1002] There is an outburst or
two of yokel wit in Peele's play; but there is no breaking of heads, no
chance for the clown to sing a song while drunk, as Hance does in the
interlude of _Like Wil to Like_. These signs of a subtler conception
of his art should be placed to Peele's credit; for while an obvious
dialect marks Hodge and Corin and the rest, Clunch and Madge speak a
plain English, reminding one irresistibly of the milk-woman's talk with
Piscator: it smacks of cottage and field and hedge-rows and, as Nashe
would say, has "old King Harrie sinceritie." There is a difference
as between the exaggerated "hayseed" of a comic paper and the finer
drawing in one of Hardy's peasants. Exaggeration would spoil the sense
of contrast between honest Madge and the high pretences of the plot.
In Huanebango there is girding not only at Harvey, but at the romance
hero in general; this big-mouthed, impossible fellow, with Corebus as a
foil, foreshadows, however dimly, the far more clever presentation of
an English Don Quixote in the person of Ralph.

A second element of humour in this realistic treatment of romance is
the use of an induction, or rather of a combination of the induction
and the play within the play, as a means of expressing dramatic irony.
Although the induction springs from the prologue, and although the
opening of _The Old Wives' Tale_ is technically an induction, like many
another of the time, it has to our thinking a distinctly new vein. What
Schwab[1003] calls the first example of the use of an induction--in
_The Rare Triumphs of Love and Fortune_--makes both induction and
play connected parts of a whole. It is a dramatic device, wholly
objective in character, external, with no demand upon the sense of
contrast. Different, but hardly a new idea,[1004] is the induction as
employed by Greene in _Alphonsus_ and _James IV._; here is a return
to the old notion of the prologue, a justifying of the playwright's
way. Will Summer, the pet jester,[1005] who ushers in Nashe's play,
calls himself outright a kind of chorus. In the old _Taming of a
Shrew_, printed in 1594, Sly, while only a casual commentator upon
the play, is entirely outside of the main action, which, as Schwab
points out, thus becomes an actual play within the play. Still, even
in these cases, the contrast is objective and direct. The induction
is a clever device to heighten interest in the play. Before, it had
served the playwright as an expression of his purpose in the main
drama; later, as with Ben Jonson, it voiced his critical opinions.
Whether objective or subjective, however, the contrast between play and
induction is direct. Quite different is that induction, which Schwab
rightly calls remarkable, in _The Knight of the Burning Pestle_; and
different, too, is that earlier attempt, which Schwab unaccountably
fails to mention, in _The Old Wives' Tale_. These both appeal to a
sense of humour awakened by the interplay of theme and treatment,
of character and situation. In Peele's play this involution of epic,
drama, and comment--a seeming confusion which has distressed many
of the critics--really heightens the dramatic power of the piece.
The induction is double. First come a bit of romance, with the lost
wanderers in the wood, and a realistic foil in their own dialogue--by
no means the "heavy prose" of Collier's censure. Secondly comes
outright realism with Clunch, Madge, the bread and cheese, and the
old joke about bedfellows, cleverly followed by Madge's abrupt raid
upon romantic ground. She is well started, but stumbling, when the
other actors break in; and the inner play, not without some confusion
and mystification, runs its course. Perhaps the sense of huddling,
abruptness, confusion, is intentional as part of an old wives' tale
indeed; perhaps, again, this must be laid to the charge of Peele's
carelessness in "plotting plaies." Be that as it may be, the interplay
of these elements makes a new kind of comedy; and the humour of this
play, crude and tentative as it seems when compared with the humour of
Uncle Toby[1006] and of those lesser lights that revolve in the orbit
of the Quixotic contrast, differs from earlier essays of the sort in
that it is not a separate element of fun, but rather something which
exists in solution with the comedy itself. _The Old Wives' Tale_ lies
midway between the utter lack of coherence in Nashe's play and the
subtlety of Beaumont and Fletcher. Will Summer is often irrelevant
and tiresome; the main action, on which he comments, is now pathetic,
now farcical, now merely spectacular; but in our play the thread of
romance runs throughout unbroken and keeps the piece in a sort of
unity, while the comment, whether direct or hinted, has a vastly finer
vein of irony. The romantic side of folk-lore has its due withal, as
in the test of fidelity at the end between Eumenides and Jack, with
the proposed division of Delia--a _casus_ always acceptable to such
an audience, and here of acute though subordinate interest. Moreover,
Peele has a kind of reticence and control in his art; he suggests in
a whisper what Will Summer would have roared into commonplace and
horse-play.

=The Background of Folk-Lore.=--Finally, the very _Old Wives' Tale_
itself, with its background of folk-lore, that tryst of ancient
splendour with modern poverty and ignorance on the territory of a
forgotten faith, is a thing of quietly humorous contrasts. Several
elements are to be considered in the charming little medley which
Peele has made from the folk-lore of his day--"that curious _mélange_
of nursery tales," as Mr. Joseph Jacobs calls it. The enchanter and
his spells, the stolen daughter and her brothers' quest, make a
familiar central group. Perhaps Madge set out to tell the story of
_Childe Rowland_, familiar to Elizabethans,[1007] although _Jack the
Giant Killer_ has his claims. The _fee-fa-fum_, as every one knows,
occurs also in Shakespeare's _Lear_. The help of the White Bear--a
transformation, like the saws and prophecies, sufficiently familiar in
these tales--is similar to that of Merlin in _Childe Rowland_; but the
ghost of Jack reminds one of the other story. Mr. Jacobs quotes Kennedy
that in a parallel Irish tale "Jack the servant is the spirit of the
buried man." One has only to make this substitution, and the vicarious
gratitude of the Giant Killer[1008] is better explained. Perhaps,
too, Peele has borrowed some of his thunder and lightning, as well as
Huanebango's _fee-fa-fum_, from the giants; and the disenchantment
at the hands of an invisible hero may belong, in part, to this tale.
Two other folk-tales may be named--_The Well of the World's End_,
mentioned, if a slight emendation be allowed, in _The Complaynt of
Scotland_, and _The Three Heads of the Well_--as known, in some form,
to Peele, and used directly in the story of the two daughters. The
familiar theme of the so-called "death index"[1009] is touched but
slightly; and perhaps it is unnecessary to go to the _Red Ettin_ for a
parallel to Huanebango and Corebus, who respectively refuse and give a
piece of cake to the helpful old man. The theme is common in folk-lore.
It is interesting to note that Beaumont and Fletcher show a liking for
folk-tales, as well as for traditional songs and ballads, in that play,
which by its induction and general spirit most closely resembles this
_Old Wives' Tale_. More dignified sources were long ago pointed out by
Warton, who remarked that "the names of some of the characters ... are
taken from the _Orlando Furioso_." Meroe, in Apuleius, was invoked. But
it seems clear enough that English folk-lore must be the mainstay of
critics who think all is done for a work of literature when they have
found out every possible and impossible source for plot, sideplot, and
allusion.

=Literary Estimate.=--The marvel, after all, is not that these
materials are huddled and confused in the combination; the confusion is
part of the artistic process, and if the figures move across the stage
without firm connection one with the other, that, too, is done after
the manner of the old tale. We are on romantic ground, and are to see
by glimpses. Here is no comedy of incident, in the usual meaning of
the term, no comedy of intrigue or of manners. It is rather a comedy
of comedies, a saucy challenge of romance, where art turns, however
timidly, upon itself. Perhaps Peele wrote this play, as Dryden wrote
_All for Love_, to please himself. Unquestionably, until Mr. Bullen
made a plea for mercy, _The Old Wives' Tale_ had been shamefully
treated. Collier[1010] calls it "nothing but a beldam's story, with
little to recommend it but heavy prose and not much lighter blank
verse," a most inadequate summary from any point of view. The play, he
thinks, has "a disgusting quantity of trash and absurdity." Dyce, while
regarding Peele's "superiority to Greene" as "unquestionable," is not
enthusiastic about _The Old Wives' Tale_. Mr. Ward speaks[1011] of "the
labyrinthine intricacy of the main scenes," knows not whether to call
it farce or interlude, and would pass it by save for the suggestion
of _Comus_. But Mr. Bullen very properly objects to this unfair
comparison. Symonds, to be sure, uses it even more unfairly. _The
Old Wives' Tale_, he makes bold to say, is the sow's ear to Milton's
silk purse.[1012] With an unusual blindness to literary perspective,
Symonds goes on to judge this flickering little candle of romance,
folk-lore, and half-roguish, half-ironical suggestion, by the sun-blaze
of Milton's high seriousness and full poetic splendours. Peele, it
seems, does not "lift his subject into the heavens of poetry.... The
wizard is a common conjurer. The spirit is a vulgar village ghost."
Why not, pray? What should they be for the purposes of this old wives'
tale? What would be left, say, of Chaucer's charming little story, that
"folye, as of a fox, or of a cok and hen," if one were to pulverize it
with such critical tools? Peele is not trying to raise comedy into the
heavens; he left that for his betters; and the ineffectual Delia is
a long remove from Hermia and Helena in the "wood near Athens." What
Peele, George Peele of the dingy jests, probably tried to do, and what
he surely succeeded in doing, was to bring a new and more subtle strain
of humour into the drama. _Itur in antiquam silvam._ Realism left
shabby and squalid things, alehouse wit, and laid hold of a sweeter
life. Reckless, good-natured scholar, George fairly followed the call
which haunted so many academic outcasts, the call which Marlowe and
Greene and Dekker answered with those sweet songs of country life, and
which led Peele to the making of this play. He wove romance and realism
into a fabric that may well show a coarse pattern and often very clumsy
workmanship, but, on the whole, it is a pleasing pattern and a new.
Moreover, it is all made of sound English stuff. The tales he used
for his main drama were familiar to English ears; the persons of his
framework play were kindly folk of any English village, and the air of
it all is as fresh and wholesome as an English summer morning.

=Sources, Title, Text.=--The sources of the play, so far as one may
speak of sources, are indicated in general above, and in particular
by notes to the following text. The plural form of the title ought
probably to be singular, in spite of common usage, the gloss _ealdra
cwéna spel_ (Wright, _Voc._), and 1 Timothy iv, 7; Mr. Fleay, perhaps
as a concession to Madge, prints _Old Wifes' Tale_ (_Biog. Chron. Eng.
Drama_, II. 154).[1013] He puts the date of composition "clearly 1590,"
on the theory that Harvey--Huanebango--is here satirized by Peele as
a consequence of Harvey's attack upon Lyly in 1589,--circulated then
in manuscript though not printed until 1593. Lämmerhirt[1014] argues,
but not conclusively, that the play was written before 1588,--partly
because of the allusions to Harvey, and partly because style and
form point to an early period in the author's development. Until a
surer date can be established, however, 1590 will serve as the time
of composition for this play. _The Old Wives' Tale_, says Dyce, "had
sunk into complete oblivion, till Steevens ... communicated to Reed
the account of it which appeared in the _Biographia Dramatica_." In
1783 Steevens writes to Warton: "All I have learned in relation to the
original from which the idea of Milton's _Comus_ might be borrowed, I
communicated to Mr. Reed.... Only a single copy of his [_sic_] _Old
Wives' Tale_ has hitherto appeared, and even that is at present out of
my reach...."[1015] As to the rhythmic structure, E. Penner notes[1016]
that of 964 lines of this play 192 are five-stress or ordinary heroic
verse, 7 are hexameters, and 100 short verses. The rest is prose.

The best edition is, of course, that of Bullen, in 3 vols., 1888-[B];
but there were excellent editions by Dyce, one in 1828 ff., and another
in 1861-[Dy.]. The present text of _The Old Wives' Tale_ is from
the 1595 quarto in the British Museum; the title-page is, with the
exception of the vignettes, a fair representation of the original.

                                                         F. B. GUMMERE.


FOOTNOTES:

[989] "To the Gentlemen Students of both Universities," prefixed to
Greene's _Menaphon_, a well-known passage. Little, if anything, can
be made of Meres when (Haslewood, II., 153) he couples Peele now with
Ariosto, now, as tragical poet, with Apollodorus Tarsensis. He does
not name Peele among the writers of comedy. Later, in _Have with You
to Saffron Walden_ (Grosart, III. 196), Nashe, with no mention of
Peele, concedes to Greene mastery, above all the craft, in "plotting of
plaies." This dramatic art of words, by the way, must not be confused
with Euphuistic feats. Greene, Nashe, even Harvey, turned with Sidney
against mere "playing with words and idle similies," and Peele is
anything but a follower of Guevara.

[990] _Merrie conceited Jests of George Peele, Gentleman, sometimes
a Student in Oxford Wherein is shewed the course of his life, how he
lived: a man very well knowne in the Citie of London and elsewhere...._
There was an edition in 1607, hardly ten years after Peele's death.

[991] _The Looking Glasse for London and England_ has some boisterous
comedy, but no humour. In _George-a-Greene_, good play that it is, the
ballad material is taken quite seriously. In _Friar Bacon and Friar
Bungay_ there is exquisite idyllic work, a dash of passable, though
quite traditional, comedy, but no trace of the peculiar element,
presently to be described as the dominant note of treatment in _The Old
Wives' Tale_.

[992] _Fröhliche Wissenschaft_, p. 109 f. So in his _Geburt der
Tragödie_, p. 89, speaking of the prologue as used by Euripides,
which told in advance the action of the play, Nietzsche asserts that
the Athenians were less interested in the plot than in the pathos of
situations and the rhetoric of the players.

[993] "The romantic play, the English Farsa, may be called in a great
measure his discovery." _Shakespeare's Predecessors_, p. 580.

[994] "A matter in which he certainly anticipated Marlowe," _Biog.
Chron._ II. 151.

[995] Ed. Shakespeare Society, 1841, p. 52.

[996] Peele is not of the extreme group whose feats in diction remind
one of what Dr. Johnson said about the metaphysical poets, that "their
wish was only to say what they hoped had never been said before."

[997] Gosson, in a well-known passage, puts brave language first among
dramatic attractions: "sweetness of words, fitness of epithets, with
metaphors, allegories...."

[998] Lämmerhirt counts nearly 84 per cent of the verses in the
_Arraignment of Paris_ as rhymed; _David and Bethsabe_ has less than 7
per cent, and _The Battle of Alcazar_ barely 3 per cent.

[999] The diction of _The Old Wives' Tale_ differs from Lyly's comic
prose much as Nashe's style in his pamphlets differs from the periods
of Lyly's _Euphues_.

[1000] Ed. W. C. Hazlitt, Roxburgh Library, 1869, p. 145.

[1001] See the song in _Appius_, "Hope so and hap so."--In _Misogonus_,
the Vice appears as a domestic fool.

[1002] Compare the French and broken English in _Three Lords and Three
Ladies of London_, the dialect of Boban the Scot in Greene's _James
IV._, and the inevitable Welshman.

[1003] _Das Schauspiel im Schauspiel_, Wien and Leipzig, 1896.

[1004] "A new _motiv_," says Schwab. Fleay (work quoted, I. 266) thinks
_The Old Wives' Tale_ fairly parodies the induction in _James IV._

[1005] See a similar bit of horse-play in _Wily Beguiled_.

[1006] The delicate irony of later triflings with romance--as in
Wieland's _Oberon_--is, of course, quite out of the question.

[1007] See _English Fairy Tales_, J. Jacobs, edition of 1898, pp. 243,
245. A monograph could be written on the folk-lore of this play, where,
it is to be conjectured, Peele has followed no single tale, but has
combined parts of separate stories, and flung in bits of rhyme and
fragments of superstition, as fancy bade him.

[1008] _English Fairy Tales_, p. 104. This theme of the _Thankful
Dead_ is extremely common. It is found in an old English romance, _Sir
Amadace_, and has been treated by Max Hippe, in Herrig's _Archiv_, Vol.
LXXXI, p. 141.

[1009] Jacobs, _English Fairy Tales_, Notes, p. 252. See also Frazer's
_Golden Bough_.

[1010] _Annals of Stage_, etc., III. 197.

[1011] _Eng. Dram. Lit._ I. 372.

[1012] _Shakespeare's Predecessors_, p. 563 ff. Mr. Jacobs thinks that
both poets went to folk-lore for their materials. _Childe Rowland_ is
the probable source.

[1013] It is entered on the Stationers' Registers to Raphe Hancock,
April 16, 1595, _the owlde wifes tale_. Cf. "an olde wives tale,"
Greene, _Groatsw._ (Grosart XII. 119).--Gen. Ed.

[1014] _G. P. Untersuchungen_, etc., Rostock, 1862, pp. 62 ff.

[1015] _Biogr. Mem. of the late Jos. Warton, DD._, London, 1806, p. 398.

[1016] _Metrische Untersuchungen zu George Peele_, in the _Archiv fur
das Studium d. neueren Spracben_, etc. (1890), LXXXV. 279.



[Decoration]

                                  THE

                            Old Wiues Tale.

                     A pleasant conceited Comedie
                    played by the Queenes Maiesties
                                players

                          Written by _G. P._


                             VIGNETTE


            Printed at London by _Iohn Danter_, and are to
                 be sold by _Raph Hancocke_, and _Iohn
                           Hardie_, _1595_.



[The Persons of the Play[1017]

  SACRAPANT.
  First Brother, named CALYPHA.
  Second Brother, named THELEA.
  EUMENIDES.
  ERESTUS.
  LAMPRISCUS.
  HUANEBANGO.
  COREBUS.
  WIGGEN.
  Churchwarden.
  Sexton.
  Ghost of JACK.
  Friar, Harvest-men, Furies, Fiddlers, etc.
  DELIA, _sister to_ CALYPHA _and_ THELEA.
  VENELIA, _betrothed to_ ERESTUS.
  ZANTIPPA, } _daughters to_ LAMPRISCUS.
  CELANTA,  }
  Hostess.
  ANTIC.
  FROLIC.
  FANTASTIC.
  CLUNCH, _a smith_.
  MADGE, _his wife_.]


FOOTNOTES:

[1017] Not in Q.; inserted by Dy. On the history of the characters see
Appendix _A_.



                          The Old Wives Tale.

             _Enter_ ANTICKE, FROLICKE, _and_ FANTASTICKE.

                               ANTICKE.

  HOW nowe fellowe Franticke,[1018] what, all a mort?[1019] Doth this
  sadnes become thy madnes? What though wee have lost our way in the
  woodes, yet never hang the head, as though thou hadst no hope to
  live till to morrow: for Fantasticke and I will warrant thy life to
  night for twenty in the hundred.                                     5

  _Frolicke._ Anticke and Fantasticke, as I am frollicke franion,[1020]
  never in all my life was I so dead slaine. What? to loose our way in
  the woode, without either fire or candle so uncomfortable? _O caelum!
  O terra! O maria! O Neptune!_[1021]                                 10

  _Fantas._ Why makes thou it so strange, seeing Cupid hath led our yong
  master to the faire Lady and she is the only saint that he hath sworne
  to serve?

  _Frollicke._ What resteth then but wee commit him to his wench, and
  each of us take his stand up in a tree, and sing out our ill        15
  fortune to the tune of _O man in desperation_.[1022]

  _Ant._ Desperately spoken, fellow Frollicke in the darke: but seeing
  it falles out thus, let us rehearse the old proverb.[1023]

    _Three merrie men, and three merrie men,
    And three merrie men be wee.                                      20
    I in the wood, and thou on the ground.
    And Jacke sleepes in the tree._

  _Fan._ Hush! a dogge in the wood, or a wooden dogge.[1024] O
  comfortable hearing! I had even as live the chamberlaine of the
  White Horse had called me up to bed.                                25

  _Frol._ Eyther hath this trotting cur gone out of his cyrcuit, or els
  are we nere some village, which should not be farre off, for I

             _Enter a_ SMITH _with a lanthorne & candle_.

  perceive the glymring of a gloworme, a candle, or a cats eye, my life
  for a halfe pennie. In the name of my own father, be thou oxe or asse
  that appearest, tell us what thou art.                              30

  _Smith._ What am I? Why I am Clunch the Smith; what are you, what make
  you in my territories at this time of the night?

  _Ant._ What doe we make, dost thou aske? Why we make faces for feare:
  such as if thy mortall eyes could behold, would make thee water the
  long seames of thy side slops,[1025] Smith.                         35

  _Frol._ And in faith, sir, unlesse your hospitalitie doe releeve us,
  wee are like to wander with a sorrowfull hey ho, among the owlets,
  & hobgoblins of the forrest: good Vulcan, for Cupids sake that hath
  cousned us all, befriend us as thou maiest, and commaund us howsoever,
  wheresoever, whensoever, in whatsoever, for ever and ever.[1026]    40

  _Smith._ Well, masters, it seemes to mee you have lost your waie in
  the wood: in consideration whereof, if you will goe with Clunch[1027]
  to his cottage, you shall have house roome, and a good fire to sit by,
  althogh we have no bedding to put you in.

  _All._ O blessed Smith, O bountifull Clunch.                        45

  _Smith._ For your further intertainment, it shall be as it may be, so
  and so.

                        _Heare a dogge barke._

  Hearke![1028] this is Ball my dogge that bids you all welcome in his
  own language; come, take heed for[1029] stumbling on the threshold.
  Open dore, Madge, take in guests. _Enter old woman._                50

  _Cl._ Welcome Clunch & good fellowes al that come with my good man;
  for my good mans sake come on, sit downe; here is a peece of cheese &
  a pudding of my owne making.

  _Anticke._ Thanks, Gammer; a good example for the wives of our
  towne.                                                              55

  _Frolicke._ Gammer, thou and thy good man sit lovingly together;
  we come to chat and not to eate.

  _Smith._ Well, masters, if you will eate nothing, take away. Come,
  what doo we to passe away the time? Lay a crab[1030] in the fire to
  rost for lambes-wooll. What, shall wee have a game at trumpe or     60
  ruffe[1031] to drive away the time, how say you?

  _Fantasticke._ This Smith leads a life as merrie as a king[1032] with
  Madge his wife. Syrrha Frolicke, I am sure thou art not without
  some round or other; no doubt but Clunch can beare his part.

  _Frolicke._ Els thinke you mee ill brought up;[1033] so set to it   65
  when you will. _They sing._

                                 SONG.

    When as the Rie reach to the chin,
    And chopcherrie,[1034] chopcherrie ripe within,
    Strawberries swimming in the creame,
    And schoole boyes playing in the streame:                         70
    Then O, then O, then O my true love said,
    Till that time come againe,
    Shee could not live a maid.

  _Ant._ This sport dooes well: but me thinkes, Gammer, a merry
  winters tale would drive away the time trimly. Come, I am sure      75
  you are not without a score.

  _Fantast._ I faith, Gammer, a tale of an howre long were as good
  as an howres sleepe.

  _Frol._ Looke you, Gammer, of the Gyant and the Kings Daughter,[1035]
  and I know not what. I have seene the day when I was a little one,  80
  you might have drawne mee a mile after you with such a discourse.

  _Old woman._ Well, since you be so importunate, my good man
  shall fill the pot and get him to bed; they that ply their worke must
  keepe good howres. One of you goe lye with him; he is a cleane
  skind man, I tell you, without either spavin or windgall; so I am   85
  content to drive away the time with an old wives winters tale.

  _Fantast._ No better hay in Devonshire,[1036] a my word, Gammer, Ile
  be one of your audience.

  _Frolicke._ And I another: thats flat.

  _Anticke._ Then must I to bed with the good man. _Bona nox_ Gammer; 90
  God night, Frolicke.

  _Smith._ Come on, my lad, thou shalt take thy unnaturall[1037] rest
  with me.

                   _Exeunt_ ANTICKE _and the_ SMITH.

  _Frollicke._ Yet this vantage shall we have of them in the morning,
  to bee ready at the sight thereof extempore.[1038]                  95

  _Old wom._ Nowe this bargaine, my masters, must I make with you, that
  you will say _hum_ & _ha_ to my tale, so shall I know you are awake.

  _Both._ Content, Gammer, that will we doo.

  _Old wom._ Once uppon a time there was a King or a Lord, or a
  Duke, that had a faire daughter, the fairest that ever was; as     100
  white as snowe, and as redd as bloud: and once uppon a time his
  daughter was stollen away, and hee sent all his men to seeke out his
  daughter, and hee sent so long, that he sent all his men out of his
  land.

  _Frol._ Who drest his dinner then?

  _Old woman._ Nay, either heare my tale, or kisse my taile.         105

  _Fan._ Well sed, on with your tale, Gammer.

  _Old woman._ O Lord, I quite forgot, there was a Conjurer, and this
  Conjurer could doo any thing, and hee turned himselfe into a great
  Dragon, and carried the Kinges Daughter away in his mouth to a
  Castle that hee made of stone, and there he kept hir I know not how
  long, till at last all the Kinges men went out so long, that       110
  hir two Brothers went to seeke hir.[1039] O, I forget: she (he I
  would say) turned a proper[1040] yong man to a Beare in the night,
  and a man in the day, and keeps[1041] by a crosse that parts three
  severall waies, & he[1042] made his Lady run mad ... Gods me bones,
  who comes here?                                                    115
                                              _Enter the two Brothers._

  _Frol._ Soft, Gammer, here some come to tell your tale for you.[1043]

  _Fant._ Let them alone, let us heare what they will say.

  1 _Brother._ Upon these chalkie cliffs of Albion[1044]
  We are arived now with tedious toile,                              120
  And compassing the wide world round about
  To seeke our sister, to[1045] seeke faire Delya forth,
  Yet cannot we so much as heare of hir.

  _2 Brother._ O fortune cruell, cruell & unkind,
  Unkind in that we cannot find our sister;                          125
  Our sister haples in hir cruell chance!
  Soft, who have we here?

          _Enter_ SENEX _at the Crosse, stooping to gather_.

  _1 Brother._ Now, father, God be your speed,
  What doo you gather there?

  _Old man._ Hips and hawes, and stickes and straws, and thinges     130
  that I gather on the ground, my sonne.[1046]

  _1 Brother._ Hips and hawes, and stickes and strawes! Why, is that all
  your foode, father?

  _Old man._ Yea, sonne.

  _2 Brother._ Father, here is an almes pennie for mee, and if I speede
  in that I goe for, I will give thee as good a gowne of gray[1047]  135
  as ever thou diddest weare.

  _1 Brother._ And, father, here is another almes pennie for me, and
  if I speede in my journey, I will give thee a palmers staffe of
  yvorie, and a scallop shell of beaten gold.[1048]                  140

  _Old man._ Was shee fayre?[1049]

  _2 Brother._ I, the fairest for white, and the purest for redd, as the
  blood of the deare, or the driven snow.

  _Old m._ Then harke well and marke well, my old spell:
  Be not afraid of every stranger,                                   145
  Start not aside at every danger:
  Things that seeme are not the same,
  Blow a blast at every flame:
  For when one flame of fire goes out,
  Then comes your wishes well about:                                 150
  If any aske who told you this good,
  Say the White Beare of Englands wood.

  _1 Brother._ Brother, heard you not what the old man said?
  Be not afraid of every stranger,
  Start not aside for every danger:                                  155
  Things that seeme are not the same,
  Blow a blast at every flame:
  If any aske who told you this good,
  Say the White Beare of Englands wood.[1050]

  _2 Brother._ Well, if this doo us any good,                        160
  Wel fare the White Bear of Englands wood. _Ex._

  _Old man._ Now sit thee here & tel a heavy tale.
  Sad in thy moode, and sober in thy cheere,
  Here sit thee now and to thy selfe relate,
  The hard mishap of thy most wretched state.                        165
  In Thessalie I liv'd in sweete content,
  Untill that Fortune wrought my overthrow;
  For there I wedded was unto a dame,
  That liv'd in honor, vertue, love, and fame:
  But Sacrapant, that cursed sorcerer,                               170
  Being besotted with my beauteous love,
  My deerest love, my true betrothed wife,
  Did seeke the meanes to rid me of my life.
  But worse than this, he with his chanting[1051] spels,
  Did turne me straight unto an ugly Beare;                          175
  And when the sunne doth settle in the west,
  Then I begin to don my ugly hide:
  And all the day I sit, as now you see,
  And speake in riddles all inspirde with rage,
  Seeming an olde and miserable man:                                 180
  And yet I am in Aprill of my age.

          _Enter_ VENELIA _his Lady mad; and goes in againe_.

  See where Venelya, my betrothed love,
  Runs madding all inrag'd about the woods,
  All by his curssed and inchanting spels.

               _Enter_ LAMPRISCUS _with a pot of honny_.

  But here comes Lampriscus, my discontented neighbour. How now,     185
  neighbour, you looke towarde the ground as well as I; you muse on
  something.

  _Lamp._ Neighbour on nothing, but on the matter I so often mooved to
  you: if you do any thing for charity, helpe me; if for neighborhood
  or brotherhood, helpe me: never was one so combered as is poore    190
  Lampryscus: and to begin, I pray receive this potte of honny to
  mend[1052] your fare.

  _Old man._ Thankes, neighbor, set it downe;
  Honny is alwaies welcome to the Beare.
  And now, neighbour, let me heere the cause of your comming.        195

  _Lampriscus._ I am (as you knowe, neighbour) a man unmaried, and lived
  so unquietly with my two wives, that I keepe every yeare holy the day
  wherein I buried the_m_ both: the first was on Saint Andrewes day, the
  other on Saint Lukes.[1053]

  _Old man._ And now, neighbour, you of this country say, your       200
  custome is out: but on with your tale, neighbour.

  _Lamp._ By my first wife, whose tongue wearied me alive, and
  sounded in my eares like the clapper of a great bell, whose talke
  was a continuall torment to all that dwelt by her, or lived nigh her,
  you have heard me say I had a handsome daughter.                   205

  _Old man._ True, neighbour.

  _Lampr._ Shee it is that afflictes me with her continuall clamoures,
  and hangs on me like a burre: poore shee is, and proude shee is; as
  poore as a sheepe new shorne, and as proude of her hopes, as a peacock
  of her taile well growne.                                          210

  _Old man._ Well said, Lampryscus, you speake it like an Englishman.

  _Lampr._ As curst as a waspe, and as frowarde as a childe new
  taken from the mothers teate; shee is to my age, as smoake to the
  eyes, or as vinegar to the teeth.                                  215

  _Old man._ Holily praised, neighbour, as much for the next.

  _Lampr._ By my other wife I had a daughter, so hard favoured, so foule
  and ill faced, that I thinke a grove full of golden trees, and the
  leaves of rubies and dyamonds, would not bee a dowrie annswerable to
  her deformitie.                                                    220

  _Old man._ Well, neighbour, nowe you have spoke, heere me speake; send
  them to the well for the water of life:[1054] there shall they finde
  their fortunes unlooked for. Neighbour, farewell. _Exit._

  _Lampr._ Farewell and a thousand;[1055] and now goeth poore Lampryscus
  to put in execution this excellent counsell. _Exeunt._             225

  _Frol._ Why this goes rounde without a fidling stick. But doo you
  heare, Gammer, was this the man that was a beare in the night, and a
  man in the day?

  _Old woman._ I, this is hee; and this man that came to him was a
  beggar, and dwelt uppon a greene.  But soft, who comes here? O     230
  these are the harvest men; ten to one they sing a song of mowing.

_Enter the harvest men a singing, with this_ SONG double repeated.[1056]

    All yee that lovely lovers be, pray you for me.
    Loe here we come a sowing, a sowing,
    And sowe sweete fruites of love:
    In your sweete hearts well may it proove. _Exeunt._              235

  _Enter_ HUANEBANGO[1057] _with his two hand sword, and_ BOOBY[1058]
                             _the Clowne_.

  _Fant._ Gammer, what is he?

  _Old woman._ O this is one that is going to the Conjurer; let him
  alone; here what he sayes.

  _Huan._ Now by Mars and Mercury, Jupiter and Janus, Sol and
  Saturnus, Venus and Vesta, Pallas and Proserpina, and by the honor
  of my house Polimackeroeplacydus,[1059] it is a wonder to see      240
  what this love will make silly fellowes adventure, even in the wane
  of their wits and infansie of their discretion. Alas, my friend,
  what fortune calles thee foorth to seeke thy fortune among brasen
  gates, inchanted towers, fire and brimstone, thunder and lightning?
  Beautie, I tell thee, is peerelesse, and she precious whom thou    245
  affectest: do off these desires, good countriman, good friend,
  runne away from thy selfe, and so soone as thou canst, forget her;
  whom none must inherit but he that can monsters tame, laboures
  atchive, riddles absolve, loose inchantments, murther magicke, and
  kill conjuring: and that is the great and mighty Huanebango.       250

  _Booby._ Harke you sir, harke you. First know I have here the
  flurting feather, and have given the parish the start for the long
  stocke.[1060] Nowe sir, if it bee no more but running through a
  little lightning and thunder, and riddle me, riddle me, what's
  this,[1061] Ile have the wench from the Conjurer if he were ten    255
  Conjurers.

  _Huan._ I have abandoned the court and honourable company, to
  doo my devoyre against this sore sorcerer and mighty magitian: if
  this Ladie be so faire as she is said to bee, she is mine, she is
  mine. _Meus, mea, meum, in contemptum omnium grammaticorum._       260

  _Booby._ _O falsum Latinum!_ the faire maide is _minum, cum
  apurtinantibus gibletes_ and all.

  _Huan._ If shee bee mine, as I assure my selfe the heavens will
  doo somewhat to reward my worthines, shee shall bee allied to
  none of the meanest gods, but bee invested in the most famous      265
  stocke of Huanebango Polimackeroeplacidus, my grandfather, my
  father Pergopolyneo, my mother Dyonora de Sardynya, famouslie
  descended.

  _Booby._ Doo you heare, sir, had not you a cosen, that was called
  Gustecerydis?                                                      270

  _Huan._ Indeede I had a cosen, that sometime followed the court
  infortunately, and his name Bustegustecerydis.

  _Booby._ O Lord I know him well; hee is the[1062] knight of the
  neates feete.

  _Huan._ O he lov'd no capon better. He hath oftentimes deceived    275
  his boy of his dinner; that was his fault, good Bustegustecerydis.

  _Booby._ Come, shall we goe along?[1063] Soft, here is an olde man at
  the Crosse; let us aske him the way thither. Ho, you Gaffer, I pray
  you tell where the wise man the Conjurer dwells.

  _Huan._ Where that earthly Goddesse keepeth hir abode, the         280
  commander of my thougts, and faire Mistres of my heart.

  _Old man._ Faire inough, and farre inough from thy fingering,
  sonne.

  _Huan._ I will followe my fortune after mine owne fancie, and
  doo according to mine owne discretion.                             285

  _Old man._ Yet give some thing to an old man before you goe.

  _Huan._ Father, mee thinkes a peece of this cake might serve
  your turne.

  _Old man._ Yea, sonne.

  _Huan._ Huanebango giveth no cakes for almes; aske of them         290
  that give giftes for poore beggars. Faire Lady, if thou wert once
  shrined in this bosome, I would buckler thee hara-tantara. _Exit._

  _Booby._ Father, doo you see this man? You litle thinke heele run
  a mile or two for such a cake, or passe for[1064] a pudding. I tell
  you, Father, hee has kept such a begging of mee for a peece of     295
  this cake! Whoo, he comes uppon me with a superfantiall substance,
  and the foyson[1065] of the earth, that I know not what he meanes.
  Iff hee came to me thus, and said, 'my friend Booby,' or so, why I
  could spare him a peece with all my heart; but when he tells me how
  God hath enriched mee above other fellowes with a cake, why hee    300
  makes me blinde and deafe at once. Yet, father, heere is a peece of
  cake for you,[1066] as harde as the world goes.[1067]

  _Old man._ Thanks, sonne, but list to mee:
  He shall be deafe when thou shalt not see.
  Farewell, my sonne; things may so hit,                             305
  Thou maist have wealth to mend thy wit.

  _Booby._ Farewell, father, farewell; for I must make hast after my
  two-hand sword that is gone before. _Exeunt omnes._

                  _Enter_ SACRAPANT _in his studie_.

  _Sacrapant._ The day is cleare, the welkin bright and gray,
  The larke is merrie, and records[1068] hir notes;                  310
  Each thing rejoyseth underneath the skie,
  But onely I whom heaven hath in hate,
  Wretched and miserable Sacrapant.
  In Thessalie was I borne and brought up.[1069]
  My mother Meroe hight, a famous witch,                             315
  And by hir cunning I of hir did learne,
  To change and alter shapes of mortall men.
  There did I turne my selfe into a dragon,
  And stole away the daughter to the king,
  Faire Delya, the mistres of my heart,                              320
  And brought hir hither to revive the man
  That seemeth yong and pleasant to behold,
  And yet is aged, crooked, weake and numbe.
  Thus by inchaunting spells I doo deceive
  Those that behold and looke upon my face;                          325
  But well may I bid youthfull yeares adue.

                _Enter_ DELYA _with a pot in hir hand_.

  See where she coms from whence my sorrows grow.
  How now, faire Delya, where have you bin?

  _Delya._ At the foote of the rocke for running water, and gathering
  rootes for your dinner, sir.                                       330

  _Sacr._ Ah, Delya, fairer art thou than the running water, yet harder
  farre than steele or adamant.

  _Delya._ Will it please you to sit downe, sir?

  _Sacr._ I, Delya, sit & aske me what thou wilt; thou shalt have it
  brought into thy lappe.                                            335

  _Delya._ Then I pray you, sir, let mee have the best meate from the
  king of Englands table, and the best wine in all France, brought in by
  the veriest knave in all Spaine.[1070]

  _Sacr._ Delya, I am glad to see you so pleasant.
  Well, sit thee downe.                                              340
  Spred, table, spred; meat, drinke & bred;
  Ever may I have what I ever crave,
  When I am spred, for[1071] meate for my black cock,
  And meate for my red.

      _Enter a_ FRIER _with a chine of beefe and a pot of wine_.

  _Sacr._ Heere, Delya, will yee fall to?                            345

  _Del._ Is this the best meate in England?

  _Sacr._ Yea.

  _Del._ What is it?

  _Sacr._ A chine of English beefe, meate for a king
  And a king's followers.                                            350

  _Del._ Is this the best wine in France?

  _Sacr._ Yea.

  _Del._ What wine is it?

  _Sacr._ A cup of neate wine of Orleance,
  That never came neer the brewers in England.[1072]                 355

  _Del._ Is this the veriest knave in all Spaine?

  _Sacr._ Yea.

  _Del._ What, is he a fryer?

  _Sacr._ Yea, a frier indefinit, & a knave infinit.

  _Del._ Then I pray ye, sir Frier, tell me before you goe, which is 360
  the most greediest Englishman?

  _Fryer._ The miserable and most covetous usurer.

  _Sacr._ Holde thee there, Friar. _Exit Friar._
  But soft, who have we heere? Delia, away, begon.[1073]

                       _Enter the two Brothers._

  Delya, away, for beset are we;                                     365
  But heaven or hell shall rescue her for me.[1074]

  _1. Br._ Brother, was not that Delya did appeare?
  Or was it but her shadow that was here?

  _2. Bro._ Sister, where art thou? Delya, come again;
  He calles, that of thy absence doth complaine.                     370
  Call out, Calypha, that she may heare,
  And crie aloud, for Delya is neere.

  _Eccho._ Neere.[1075]

  _1. Br._ Neere? O where, hast thou any tidings?

  _Eccho._ Tidings.                                                  375

  _2. Br._ Which way is Delya then,--or that, or this?

  _Eccho._ This.

  _1. Br._ And may we safely come where Delia is?

  _Eccho._ Yes.

  _2. Bro._ Brother, remember you the white                          380
  Beare of Englands wood:
  Start not aside for every danger;
  Be not afeard of every stranger;
  Things that seeme, are not the same.

  _1. Br._ Brother, why do we not the_n_ coragiously enter?          385

  _2. Br._ Then, brother, draw thy sword & follow me.

_Enter the Conjurer; it lightens & thunders; the 2. Brother falls
downe._

  _1. Br._ What, brother, doost thou fall?

  _Sacr._ I, and thou to, Calypha.

                 _Fall 1. Brother. Enter two Furies._

  _Adeste Dæmones_: away with them;
  Go cary them straight to Sacrapantos cell,                         390
  There in despaire and torture for to dwell.
  These are Thenores sonnes of Thessaly,
  That come to seeke Delya their sister forth;
  But with a potion, I to her have given,
  My arts hath made her to forget her selfe.                         395

           _He remooves a turfe, and shewes a light in a glasse._[1076]

  See heere the thing which doth prolong my life;
  With this inchantment I do any thing.
  And till this fade, my skill shall still endure,
  And never none shall breake this little glasse,
  But she that's neither wife, widow, nor maide.                     400
  Then cheere thy selfe; this is thy destinie,
  Never to die, but by a dead mans hand. _Exeunt._

  _Enter_ EUMENIDES _the wandering knight, and the Old Man_[1077] _at
                               the Crosse._

  _Eum._ Tell me, Time, tell me, just Time,
  When shall I Delia see?
  When shall I see the loadstar of my life?                          405
  When shall my wandring course end with her sight,
  Or I but view my hope, my hearts delight!
  Father, God speede; if you tell fortunes, I pray, good father, tell me
    mine.

  _Old man._ Sonne, I do see in thy face,                            410
  Thy blessed fortune worke apace;
  I do perceive that thou hast wit,
  Beg of thy fate to governe it;
  For wisdome govern'd by advise
  Makes many fortunate and wise.                                     415
  Bestowe thy almes, give more than all,
  Till dead men's bones come at thy call.
  Farewell, my sonne, dreame of no rest,
  Til thou repent that thou didst best. _Exit Old M._

  _Eum._ This man hath left me in a laborinth:                       420
  He biddeth me give more than all,
  Till dead mens bones come at thy call:
  He biddeth me dreame of no rest,
  Till I repent that I do best.

       _Enter_ WIGGEN, COROBUS,[1078] CHURCHWARDEN _and_ SEXTEN.

  _Wiggen._ You may be ashamed, you whorson scald Sexton and         425
  Churchwarden, if you had any shame in those shamelesse faces of
  yours, to let a poore man lie so long above ground unburied. A
  rot on you all, that have no more compassion of a good fellow
  when he is gone.

  _Simon._ What, would you have us to burie him, and to aunswere     430
  it our selves to the parrishe?

  _Sexton._ Parish me no parishes; pay me my fees, and let the rest
  runne on in the quarters accounts, and put it downe for one of your
  good deedes a Gods name; for I am not one that curiously stands
  upon merits.                                                       435

  _Corobus._ You whoreson, sodden-headed sheepes-face, shall a good
  fellow do lesse service and more honestie to the parish, & will you
  not, when he is dead, let him have Christmas[1079] buriall?

  _Wiggen._ Peace Corebus, as sure[1080] as Jack was Jack, the
  frollickst frannion[1081] amongst you, and I Wiggen his sweete
  sworne brother,[1082] Jack shall have his funerals, or some of     440
  them shall lie on Gods deare earth for it, thats once.[1083]

  _Churchwa._ Wiggen, I hope thou wilt do no more then thou
  darst aunswer.

  _Wig._ Sir, sir, dare or dare not, more or lesse, aunswer or not   445
  aunswer, do this, or have this.

  _Sex._ Helpe, helpe, helpe![1084] Wiggen sets upon the parish with a
  pike staffe.

                 EUMENIDES _awakes and comes to them_.

  _Eum._ Hould thy hands, good fellow.

  _Core._ Can you blame him, sir, if he take Jacks part against this 450
  shake-rotten parish that will not burie Jack.

  _Eum._ Why, what was that Jack?

  _Coreb._ Who Jack, sir, who our Jack, sir? as good a fellow as
  ever troade uppon neats leather.

  _Wiggen._ Looke you, sir, he gave foure score and nineteene        455
  mourning gownes to the parish when he died, and because he would
  not make them up a full hundred, they would not bury him; was
  not this good dealing?

  _Churchwar._ Oh Lord, sir, how he lies; he was not worth a
  halfe-penny, and drunke out every penny: and nowe his fellowes, his
  drunken companions, would have us to burie him at the[1085]        460
  charge of the parish. And we make many such matches, we may pull
  downe the steeple, sell the belles, and thatche the chauncell.
  He shall lie above ground till he daunce a galliard about the
  churchyard for Steeven Loache.                                     465

  _Wiggen._ _Sic argumentaris, domine Loache_;--and we make many
  such matches, we may pull downe the steeple, sell the belles, and
  thatche the chauncell: in good time, sir, and hang your selves in
  the bell ropes when you have done. _Domine oponens, præpono tibi
  hanc questionem_, whether you will have the ground broken, or your
  pates broken first? For one of them shall be done presently,       470
  and to begin mine[1086] Ile seale it upon your cockescome.

  _Eum._ Hould thy hands, I pray thee, good fellow; be not too hastie.

  _Coreb._ You capons face, we shall have you turnd out of the       475
  parish one of these dayes, with never a tatter to your arse; then you
  are in worse taking then Jack.

  _Eumen._ Faith and he is bad enough. This fellow does but the part
  of a friend, to seeke to burie his friend; how much will burie him?

  _Wiggen._ Faith, about some fifteene or sixteene shillings will    480
  bestow him honestly.

  _Sexton._ I, even there abouts, sir.

  _Eumen._ Heere, hould it then, and I have left me but one poore three
  halfe pence; now do I remember the wordes the old man spake at the
  crosse: 'bestowe all thou hast,'--and this is all,--'till dead     485
  mens bones comes at thy call.' Heare, holde it,[1087] and so farewell.

  _Wig._ God, and all good, bee with you sir; naie, you cormorants,
  Ile bestowe one peale of[1088] Jack at mine owne proper costs and
  charges.

  _Coreb._ You may thanke God the long staffe and the bilbowe        490
  blade crost not your cockescombe. Well, weele to the church
  stile,[1090] and have a pot, and so tryll lyll.

  _Both._ Come, lets go. _Exeunt._

  _Fant._ But harke you, gammer, me thinkes this Jack bore a great
  sway in the parish.                                                495

  _Old woman._ O this Jack was a marvelous fellow; he was but a
  poore man, but very well beloved: you shall see anon what this
  Jack will come to.

      _Enter the harvest men singing, with women in their hands._

  _Frol._ Soft, who have wee heere? our amorous harvest starres.[1089]

  _Fant._ I, I, let us sit still and let them alone.                 500

          _Heere they begin to sing, the song doubled._[1090]

    Soe heere we come a reaping, a reaping,
    To reape our harvest fruite,
    And thus we passe the yeare so long,
    And never be we mute. _Exit the harvest men._[1091]

         _Enter_ HUANEBANGO _and_ COREBUS _the clowne_.[1092]

  _Frol._ Soft, who have we here?                                    505

  _Old w._ O this is a cholerick gentleman; all you that love your
  lives, keepe out of the smell of his two-hand sworde: nowe goes he
  to the conjurer.

  _Fant._ Me thinkes the Conjurer should put the foole into a
  jugling boxe.                                                      510

  _Huan._ Fee, fa, fum,[1093] here is the Englishman,
  Conquer him that can, came for his lady bright,
  To proove himselfe a knight,
  And win her love in fight.

  _Cor._ Who-hawe, maister Bango, are you here? heare you, you       515
  had best sit downe heere, and beg an almes with me.

  _Huan._ Hence, base cullion, heere is he that commaundeth ingresse
  and egresse with his weapon, and will enter at his voluntary,
  whosover saith no.

       _A voice and flame of fire_: HUANEBANGO _falleth downe_.

  _Voice._ No.                                                       520

  _Old w._ So with that, they kist, and spoiled the edge of as good
  a two hand sword, as ever God put life in; now goes Corebus in,
  spight of the conjurer.

        _Enter the Conjurer, & strike_ COREBUS _blinde_.[1094]

  _Sacr._ Away with him into the open fields,
  To be a ravening pray to crowes and kites:[1095]                   525
  And for this villain, let him wander up & downe
  In nought but darkenes and eternall night.[1096]

  _Cor._ Heer hast thou slain Huan, a slashing knight,
  And robbed poore Corebus of his sight. _Exit._

  _Sacr._ Hence, villaine, hence.                                    530
  Now I have unto Delya given a potion of forgetfulnes,
  That when shee comes, shee shall not know hir brothers.
  Lo where they labour, like to country slaves,
  With spade and mattocke on this inchaunted ground!
  Now will I call hir by another name,                               535
  For never shall she know hir selfe againe,
  Untill that Sacrapant hath breathd his last.
  See where she comes. _Enter Delya._
  Come hither, Delya, take this gode.[1097]
  Here, hard[1098] at hand, two slaves do worke and dig for gold;    540
  Gore them with this & thou shalt have inough.

                        _He gives hir a gode._

  _Del._ Good sir, I know not what you meane.

  _Sacra._ She hath forgotten to be Delya,
  But not forgot the same[1099] she should forget:
  But I will change hir name.                                        545
  Faire Berecynthia, so this country calls you,
  Goe ply these strangers, wench, they dig for gold. _Exit Sacrapant._

  _Delya._ O heavens! how am I beholding to[1100] this faire yong man.
  But I must ply these strangers to their worke.
  See where they come.                                               550

    _Enter the two Brothers in their shirts, with spades, digging._

  _1. Brother._ O Brother, see where Delya is!

  _2. Brother._ O Delya, happy are we to see thee here.

  _Delya._ What tell you mee of Delya, prating swaines?
  I know no Delya nor know I what you meane;
  Ply you your work, or else you are like to smart.                  555

  _1. Brother._ Why, Delya, knowst thou not thy brothers here?
  We come from Thessalie to seeke thee forth,
  And thou deceivest thy selfe, for thou art Delya.

  _Delya._ Yet more of Delya? then take this and smart:
  What, faine you shifts for to defer your labor?                    560
  Worke, villaines, worke, it is for gold you digg.

  _2. Br._ Peace, brother, peace, this vild inchanter
  Hath ravisht Delya of hir sences cleane,
  And she forgets that she is Delya.

  _1. Br._ Leave, cruell thou, to hurt the miserable;                565
  Digg, brother, digg, for she is hard as steele.

        _Here they dig & descry the light under a little hill._

  _2. Br._ Stay, brother, what hast thou descride?

  _Del._ Away & touch it not; it is some thing that my lord hath hidden
  there. _She covers it agen._

                          _Enter_ SACRAPANT.

  _Sacr._ Well sed,[1101] thou plyest these pyoners well. Goe, get   570
    you in, you labouring slaves.
  Come, Berecynthia, let us in likewise,
  And heare the nightingale record hir notes. _Exeunt omnes._

  _Enter_ ZANTYPPA, _the curst daughter, to the Well,[1102] with a pot
                             in hir hand_.

  _Zant._ Now for a husband, house and home; God send a good one or
  none, I pray God. My father hath sent me to the well for the water
  of life, and tells mee, if I give faire wordes, I shall have a     575
  husband.

  _Enter the fowle wench to the Well for water, with a pot in hir hand._

  But heere comes Celanta, my sweete sister; Ile stand by and heare
  what she saies.

  _Celant._ My father hath sent mee to the well for water, and he    580
  tells me if I speake faire, I shall have a husband, and none of the
  worst. Well, though I am blacke,[1103] I am sure all the world will
  not forsake mee; and as the olde proverbe is, though I am blacke, I am
  not the divell.

  _Zant._ Marrie gup with a murren, I knowe wherefore thou speakest  585
  that; but goe thy waies home as wise as thou camst, or Ile set thee
  home with a wanion.

  _Here she strikes hir pitcher against hir sisters, and breakes them
                        both and goes hir way._

  _Celant._ I thinke this be the curstest queane in the world. You see
  what she is, a little faire, but as prowd as the divell, and the
  veriest vixen that lives upon Gods earth. Well, Ile let hir alone, and
  goe home and get another pitcher, and for all this get me to the   590
  well for water. _Exit._

  _Enter two Furies out of the Conjurers cell and laies_ HUANEBANGO _by
                          the Well of Life_.

            _Enter_ ZANTIPPA _with a pitcher to the Well_.

  _Zant._ Once againe for a husband, & in faith, Celanta, I have got the
  start of you. Belike husbands growe by the Well side. Now my father
  sayes I must rule my tongue: why, alas, what am I then? A woman    595
  without a tongue is as a souldier without his weapon; but Ile have my
  water and be gon.

  _Heere she offers to dip her pitcher in, and a head speakes in the
                                Well._

  _Head._ Gently dip, but not too deepe,[1104]
  For feare you make the golden birde[1105] to weepe,
  Faire maiden, white and red,                                       600
  Stroke me smoothe, and combe my head,
  And thou shalt have some cockell bread.

  _Zant._ What is this,--Faire maiden white & red,
  Combe me smooth, and stroke my head,
  And thou shall have some cockell bread.[1106]                      605
  Cockell callst thou it, boy?--faith, Ile give you cockell bread.

    _Shee breakes hir pitcher uppon his heade, then it thunders and
 lightens,[1107] and_ HUANEBANGO _rises up_: HUANEBANGO _is deafe and
                         cannot heare_.[1108]

  _Huan._ Phylyda phylerydos, Pamphylyda floryda flortos,
  Dub dub a dub, bounce quoth the guns, with a sulpherous huffe
    snuffe.[1109]
  Wakte with a wench, pretty peat, pretty love and my sweet prettie  610
    pigsnie;
  Just by thy side shall sit surnamed great Huanebango
  Safe in my armes will I keepe thee, threat Mars or thunder Olympus.

  _Zant._ Foe, what greasie groome have wee here?  Hee looks as      615
  though hee crept out of the backeside of the Well; and speakes like
  a drum perisht at the west end.

  _Huan._ O that I might, but I may not, woe to my destenie
    therefore,[1110]
  Kisse that I claspe,--but I cannot; tell mee my destenie           620
    where-fore?

  _Zant._ Whoope nowe I have my dreame, did you never heare so
    great a wonder as this?
  Three blue beanes in a blue bladder, rattle, bladder, rattle.[1111]

  _Huan._ Ile nowe set my countenance and to hir in prose; it may    625
  be this _rim ram ruffe_[1112] is too rude an incounter.

  Let me, faire Ladie, if you be at leisure, revell with your sweetnes,
  and raile uppon that cowardly Conjurer, that hath cast me or congealed
  mee rather into an unkinde sleepe and polluted my carcasse.

  _Zantyppa._ Laugh, laugh, Zantyppa, thou hast thy fortune, a foole 630
  and a husbande under one.

  _Huan._ Truely, sweete heart, as I seeme, about some twenty
  yeares, the very Aprill of mine age.

  _Zantyppa._ Why, what a prating asse is this?

  _Huanebango._ Hir corall lippes, hir crimson chinne,               635
  Hir silver teeth so white within:
  Hir golden locks, hir rowling eye,
  Hir pretty parts, let them goe by:
  Hey ho, hath wounded me,
  That I must die this day to see.                                   640

  _Za._ By gogs bones, thou art a flouting knave.
  "Hir corall lippes, hir crimson chinne," ka, "wilshaw."[1113]

  _Huan._ True, my owne, and my owne because mine, & mine because
  mine, ha ha! Above a thousand pounds in possibilitie, and
  things fitting thy desire in possession.                           645

  _Zan._ The sott thinkes I aske of his landes. Lobb[1114] be your
  comfort, and cuckold bee your destenie. Heare you, sir; and if you
  will have us, you had best say so betime.

  _Huan._ True, sweete heart, and will royallize thy progeny with
  my petigree. _Exeunt omnes._                                       650

               _Enter_ EUMENIDES _the wandring knight_.

  _Eu._ Wretched Eumenides, still unfortunate,
  Envied by fortune, and forlorne by fate;
  Here pine and die, wretched Eumenides.
  Die in the spring, the Aprill of my[1115] age?
  Here sit thee down, repent what thou hast don:                     655
  I would to God that it were nere begon.

                         _Enter_ JACKE.[1116]

  _Jacke._ You are well overtaken, sir.

  _Eum._ Who's that?

  _Jacke._ You are heartily well met, sir.

  _Eum._ Forbeare, I say, who is that which pincheth mee?            660

  _Jacke._ Trusting in God, good Master Eumenides, that you are in so
  good health as all your friends were at the making hereof, God give
  you God morrowe, sir, lacke you not a neate, handsome and cleanly
  yong lad, about the age of fifteene or sixteene yeares, that can
  runne[1117] by your horse,[1118] and for a neede make your         665
  master-shippes shooes as blacke as incke,--howe say you sir?

  _Eum._ Alasse, pretty lad, I know not how to keepe my selfe, and much
  lesse a servant, my pretty boy, my state is so bad.

  _Jacke._ Content your selfe, you shall not bee so ill a master
  but ile bee as bad a servant. Tut, sir, I know you, though you
  know not me. Are not you the man, sir, denie it if you can,        670
  sir,[1119] that came from a strange place in the land of Catita,
  where Jacke-a-napes flies with his taile in his mouth, to seeke out
  a Ladie as white as snowe, and as redd as blood; ha, ha, have I
  toucht you now?

  _Eum._ I thinke this boy be a spirit.                              675
  How knowst thou all this?

  _Jacke._ Tut, are not you the man, sir, denie it if you can, sir, that
  gave all the money you had to the burying of a poore man, and but
  one three-halfe-pence left in your pursse? Content you, sir, Ile serve
  you, that is flat.                                                 680

  _Eum._ Well, my lad, since thou art so impornate, I am content to
  entertaine thee, not as a servant, but a copartner in my journey. But
  whither shall we goe? for I have not any money more than one bare
  three halfe-pence.

  _Jacke._ Well, master content your selfe, for if my divination bee 685
  not out, that shall bee spent at the next inne or alehouse we come
  too; for maister, I knowe you are passing hungrie; therefore Ile goe
  before and provide dinner untill that you come; no doubt but youle
  come faire and softly after.

  _Eum._ I, go before, Ile follow thee.                              690

  _Jack._ But doo you heare, maister, doo you know my name?

  _Eum._ No, I promise thee, not yet.

  _Jack._ Why, I am Jack. _Exeunt_ Jack.

  _Eum._ Jack, why be it so, then.

 _Enter the Hostes and_ JACK, _setting meate on the table, and Fidlers
came[1120] to playi_, EUMENIDES _walketh up and downe, and will eate no
                                meate_.

  _Host._ How say you, sir, doo you please to sit downe?             695

  _Eum._ Hostes, I thanke you, I have no great stomack.

  _Host._ Pray, sir, what is the reason your maister is so strange?
  Doth not this meate please him?

  _Jack._ Yes, hostes, but it is my maisters fashion to pay before
  hee eates, therefore a reckoning, good hostesse.                   700

  _Host._ Marry shall you, sir, presently. _Exit._

  _Eum._ Why, Jack, what doost thou meane, thou knowest I have
  not any money: therefore, sweete Jack, tell me what shall I doo.

  _Jack._ Well, maister, looke in your pursse.[1121]

  _Eum._ Why, faith, it is a follie, for I have no money.            705

  _Jack._ Why, looke you, maister, doo so much for me.

  _Eum._ Alas, Jack, my pursse is full of money.

  _Jack._ 'Alas,' maister,--does that worde belong to this accident?
  Why, me thinkes I should have seene you cast away your cloake,
  and in a bravado daunced a galliard round about the chamber; why,  710
  maister, your man can teach you more wit than this; come, hostis
  cheere up my maister.

  _Hostis._ You are heartily welcome: and if it please you to eate
  of a fat capon, a fairer birde, a finer birde, a sweeter birde, a
  crisper birde, a neater birde, your worship never eate off.        715

  _Eum._ Thankes, my fine eloquent hostesse.

  _Jack._ But heare you, maister, one worde by the way; are you
  content I shall be halfes in all you get in your journey?

  _Eum._ I am, Jack, here is my hand.

  _Jack._ Enough, maister, I aske no more.                           720

  _Eum._ Come, hostesse, receive your money, and I thanke you
  for my good entertainment.

  _Host._ You are heartily welcome, sir.

  _Eum._ Come, Jack, whether go we now?

  _Jack._ Mary, maister, to the conjurers presently.                 725

  _Eu._ Content, Jack: Hostis, farewell. _Exe. om._

 _Enter_ COREBUS _and_ ZELANTO[1122] _the foule wench, to the Well for
                                water_.

  _Coreb._ Come, my ducke, come. I have now got a wife; thou art
  faire, art thou not?[1123]

  _Zelan._ My Corebus, the fairest alive, make no doubt of that.

  _Cor._ Come, wench, are we almost at the wel?                      730

  _Zela._ I, Corebus, we are almost at the Well now; Ile go fetch
  some water: sit downe while I dip my pitcher in.

  _Voyce._ Gently dip: but not too deepe;
  For feare you make the goulde_n_ beard to weepe.

_A head comes up with eares of corne, and she combes them in her lap._

  Faire maiden, white and red,                                       735
  Combe me smoothe, and stroke my head,
  And thou shall have some cockell bread.
  Gently dippe, but not too deepe,
  For feare thou make the goulden beard to weep.
  Faire maide, white and redde,                                      740
  Combe me smooth, and stroke my head;
  And every haire a sheave shall be,
  And every sheave a goulden tree.

  _A head[1124] comes up full of golde, she combes it into her lap._

  _Zelan._ Oh see, Corebus, I have combd a great deale of golde into my
  lap, and a great deale of corne.                                   745

  _Coreb._ Well said, wench; now we shall have just[1125] enough. God
  send us coiners to coine our golde. But come, shall we go home, sweet
  heart?

  _Zelan._ Nay, come, Corebus, I will lead you.

  _Coreb._ So, Corebus, things have well hit,                        750
  Thou hast gotten wealth to mend thy wit. _Exit._

                _Enter_ JACK _and the wandring knight_.

  _Jack._ Come away, maister, come.

  _Eum._ Go along, Jack, Ile follow thee.
  Jack, they say it is good to go crosse-legged, and say his prayers
  backward:[1126] how saiest thou?                                   755

  _Jack._ Tut, never feare, maister; let me alone, heere sit you still,
  speake not a word. And because you shall not be intised with his
  inchanting speeches, with this same wooll Ile stop your eares: and
  so, maister, sit still, for I must to the Conjurer. _Exit_ Jack.

             _Enter the Conjurer to the wandring knight._

  _Sa._ How now, what man art thou that sits so sad?                 760
  Why dost thou gaze upon these stately trees,
  Without the leave and will of Sacrapant?
  What, not a word but mum?
  Then, Sacrapant, thou art betraide.

 _Enter_ JACK _invisible, and taketh off_ SACRAPANTS _wreath from his
                 head, and his sword out of his hand_.

  _Sac._ What hand invades the head of Sacrapant?                    765
  What hatefull fury doth envy my happy state?
  Then, Sacrapant, these are thy latest dayes.
  Alas, my vaines are numd, my sinews shrinke,
  My bloud is pearst,[1127] my breath fleeting away,
  And now my timelesse date is come to end:                          770
  He in whose life his actions[1128] hath beene so foule,
  Now in his death to hell descends his soule.

                              _He dyeth._

  _Jack._ Oh, sir, are you gon? Now I hope we shall have some
  other coile. Now, maister, how like you this? the Conjurer hee is
  dead, and vowes never to trouble us more. Now get you to your      775
  faire Lady, and see what you can doo with her. Alas, he heareth me
  not all this while; but I will helpe that.

                _He pulles the wooll out of his eares._

  _Eum._ How now, Jack, what news?

  _Jack._ Heere, maister, take this sword and dig with it, at the
  foote of this hill.                                                780

                     _He digs and spies a light._

  _Eum._ How now, Jack, what is this?

  _Jack._ Maister, without this the Conjurer could do nothing, and
  so long as this light lasts, so long doth his arte indure, and this
  being out, then doth his arte decay.

  _Eum._ Why then, Jack, I will soone put out this light.            785

  _Jack._ I, maister, how?

  _Eum._ Why with a stone Ile breake the glasse, and then blowe
  it out.

  _Jack._ No, maister, you may as soone breake the smiths anfill, as
  this little vyoll; nor the biggest blast that ever Boreas blew,
  cannot blowe out this little light; but she that is neither        790
  maide,[1129] wife, nor widowe. Maister, winde this horne; and see
  what will happen.

                        _He windes the horne._

  _Heere enters_ VENELIA _and breakes the glasse, and blowes out the
                     light, and goeth in againe_.

  _Jack._ So, maister, how like you this? This is she that ranne madding
  in the woods, his betrothed love that keepes the crosse; and nowe, 795
  this light being out, all are restored to their former libertie. And
  now, maister, to the Lady that you have so long looked for.

      _He draweth a curten, and there_ DELIA _sitteth a sleepe_.

  _Eum._ God speed, faire maide sitting alone: there is once.
  God speed, faire maide; there is twise:                            800
  God speed, faire maide, that is thrise.

  _Delia._ Not so, good sir, for you are by.

  _Jack._ Enough, maister, she hath spoke; now I will leave her with
  you.

  _Eum._ Thou fairest flower of these westerne parts,                805
  Whose beautie so reflecteth in my sight,
  As doth a christall mirror in the sonne:
  For thy sweet sake I have crost the frosen Rhine,[1130]
  Leaving faire Po, I saild up Danuby,
  As farre as Saba, whose inhansing streames                         810
  Cuts twixt the Tartars and the Russians,--
  These have I crost for thee, faire Delia:
  Then grant me that which I have sude for long.

  _Del._ Thou gentle knight, whose fortune is so good,
  To finde me out, and set my brothers free,                         815
  My faith, my heart, my hand, I give to thee.

  _Eum._ Thankes, gentle madame: but heere comes Jack; thanke
  him, for he is the best friend that we have.

                _Enter_ JACK _with a head in his hand_.

  _Eum._ How now, Jack, what hast thou there?

  _Jack._ Mary, maister, the head of the conjurer.                   820

  _Eum._ Why, Jack, that is impossible; he was a young man.

  _Jack._ Ah, maister, so he deceived them that beheld him: but hee
  was a miserable, old, and crooked man; though to each mans eye h[e
  see]med young and fresh. For, maister, this Conjurer tooke the shape
  of the olde man that kept the crosse: and that olde man was in the 825
  likenesse of the Conjurer.[1131] But nowe, maister, winde your horne.
  _He windes his horne._

  _Enter_ VENELIA, _the two Brothers, and he that was at the Crosse_.

  _Eu._ Welcome, Erestus, welcome, faire Venelia,[1132]
  Welcome, Thelea, and Kalepha[1133] both!
  Now have I her that I so long have sought,                         830
  So saith faire Delia, if we have your consent.

  _1. Bro._ Valiant Eumenides, thou well deservest
  To have our favours: so let us rejoyce,
  That by thy meanes we are at libertie.
  Heere may we joy each in others sight,                             835
  And this faire Lady have her wandring knight.

  _Jack._ So, maister, nowe yee thinke you have done: but I must have a
  saying to you. You know you and I were partners, I to have halfe in
  all you got.

  _Eum._ Why, so thou shalt, Jack.                                   840

  _Jack._ Why, then, maister draw your sworde, part your Lady, let mee
  have halfe of her presently.

  _Eumenid._ Why, I hope, Jack, thou doost but jest; I promist thee
  halfe I got, but not halfe my Lady.

  _Jack._ But what else, maister? have you not gotten her? Therefore 845
  devide her straight, for I will have halfe; there is no remedie.

  _Eumen._ Well, ere I will falsifie my worde unto my friend, take her
  all; heere Jack, Ile give her thee.

  _Jacke._ Nay, neither more nor lesse, maister, but even just halfe.

  _Eum._ Before I will falsifie my faith unto my friend, I will      850
  divide hir; Jacke, thou shalt have halfe.

  _1. Brother._ Bee not so cruell unto our sister, gentle knight.

  _2. Brother._ O spare faire Delia; shee deserves no death.

  _Eum._ Content your selves; my word is past to him; therefore
  prepare thy selfe, Delya, for thou must die.                       855

  _Delya._ Then, farewell, worlde; adew Eumenides.

             _He offers to strike and_ JACKE _staies him_.

  _Jacke._ Stay, master; it is sufficient I have tride your constancie.
  Do you now remember since you paid for the burying of a poore
  fellow?

  _Eum._ I, very well, Jacke.                                        860

  _Jacke._ Then, master, thanke that good deed for this good turne, and
  so God be with you all.

                  JACKE _leapes downe in the ground_.

  _Eum._ Jacke, what, art thou gone?
  Then farewell, Jacke.
  Come, brothers and my beauteous Delya,                             865
  Erestus, and thy deare Venelia:
  We will to Thessalie with joyfull hearts.

  _All._ Agreed, we follow thee and Delya.

                         _Exeunt omnes._[1134]

  _Fant._ What, Gammer, a sleepe?

  _Old wom._ By the Mas, sonne, tis almost day, and my windowes      870
  shut[1135] at the cocks crow.

  _Frol._ Doo you heare, Gammer, mee thinkes this Jacke bore a great
  sway amongst them.

  _Old wom._ O, man, this was the ghost of the poore man, that they kept
  such a coyle to burie, & that makes him to help the wandring       875
  knight so much. But come, let us in: we will have a cup of ale and a
  tost this morning and so depart.[1136]

  _Fant._ Then you have made an end of your tale, Gammer?

  _Old wom._ Yes, faith. When this was done, I tooke a peece of
  bread and cheese, and came my way, and so shall you have, too,     880
  before you goe, to your breakefast.

                                FINIS.


             Printed at London by _John Danter_, for _Raph
               Hancocke_, and _John Hardie_, and are to
                   be solde at the shop over against
                    Saint Giles his Church without
                              Criplegate.
                                 1595.


FOOTNOTES:

[1018] A mistake for Frolic.

[1019] _Alamort_, mortally sick; and then, dispirited.

[1020] "A gay, reckless fellow."

[1021] Below 'Neptune,' Sig. A iii.

[1022] B. refers to Ebbsworth, _Roxburghe Ballads_, IV. 365, 468. See
also Nash, _Four Letters Confuted_ (Grosart, II. 190), who says of
Harvey's "barefoote rimes" that "they would have trowld off bravely to
the tune of _O man in desperation_, and, like _Marenzos_ Madrigals, the
mourneful note naturally have affected the miserable Dittie."

[1023] Chappell gives the song in _Popular Music of the Olden Time_, p.
216. _Three Merry Men_ is quoted in _Westward Hoe_, and in Barry's _Ram
Alley_ (sung by Smallshanks: see note, Hazlitt-Dodsley, X. 298), as
well as in _Twelfth Night_; and it is parodied by the musical cook in
_The Bloody Brother_. Chappell is somewhat daring when he takes these
words from the _Old Wives' Tale_ as the original; lines 3 and 4 look
like a parody.

[1024] Dy. points out the pun in 'wooden' (= mad).

[1025] Long wide breeches or trousers; Dy. See _Looking-Glass for
London and England_, near end: "This right slop is my pantry, behold a
manchet [_Draws it out_]" ...

[1026] A bit of nonsense like the talk of Macbeth's porter. The speech
is a sort of parody on the appeal of wandering knights or travellers
in romances, and Clunch, with his 'territories,' may take the place of
enchanter, giant, or the like.

[1027] This use of the third person is common in dramas of the time.
See Ward, _Old English Drama, Select Plays_, etc., Introd., p. xi.,
notes. So in Greene: "Which Brandamart (_i.e._ I)" ...; "For Sacripant
must have Angelica." It served to identify the actor.

[1028] They are now supposed to be at the cottage.

[1029] For fear of ...

[1030] A crab-apple. The pulp was mixed with ale, 'lamb's wool.'

[1031] Collier gave Dyce the following quotation from _Martin's Month's
Minde_: "leaving the ancient game of England (_Trumpe_), where every
coate and sute are sorted in their degree, are running to _Ruffe_,
where the greatest sorte of the sute carrieth away the game."

[1032] The familiar _motif_ of the contented peasant as entertainer of
royalty or what not.

[1033] According to the _Jests_ (Bullen, II. 314), George Peele had no
skill in music, and must have been a conspicuous exception; witness
the well-known statement of Chappell, _Popular Music_, p. 98. The
barber kept "lute or cittern" in his shop for the amusement of waiting
customers; and England had been a land of song from Cædmon's time down.
The "man in the street" was expected to know how to join in a part
song. The rural song, such as they sing here, was a great favorite with
the dramatists.

[1034] Chopcherry: "a game in which one tries to catch a suspended
cherry with the teeth; bob-cherry." ... New Engl. Dict.

[1035] A version of _Childe Rowland?_

[1036] Peele was probably of a Devonshire family.

[1037] A Dogberrian touch, evidently beloved by the pit, and a fine
makeweight to those pompous experiments with word and phrase which
delighted the serious playgoer.

[1038] Below 'extempore,' Sig. B.

[1039] See _Critical Essay_ for the folk-tales in question.

[1040] handsome.

[1041] 'he' keeps (frequents, lives), _i.e._ the young man. Omission of
subject is common in the ballads.

[1042] The conjurer.

[1043] See the _Critical Essay_ for this "play within the play."

[1044] The princes, of course, talk in metre when the "high style" is
needed, but in familiar prose with Erestus (= "Senex"). The repetitions
in this blank-verse are characteristic.

[1045] B. omits. Dy. proposes to omit 'faire.' Neither omission is
necessary.

[1046] Reminds one of nursery tales with bits of rhyme,--the
_cante-fable_ of folk-lore.

[1047] So Milton's famous "grey hooded Even, Like a sad votarist in
palmer's weed" ...

[1048] Below 'gold,' Sig. B ii.

[1049] Dy. assumes that "something ... has dropt out"; but this is not
necessary. Erestus, who says below that he 'speaks in riddles,' knows
the errand of the brothers, and asks the question abruptly. He plays
the part of Merlin in _Childe Rowland_.

[1050] The spell is important, solemn, and is therefore repeated. No
particular tale of The White Bear of England's Wood is known, but
similar cases of transformation are plentiful.

[1051] Dy. prints ''chanting'; needlessly.

[1052] Below 'mend,' Sig. B iii.

[1053] B. notes that "St. Luke's Day (18th October) was the day of
Horn Fair; and St. Luke was jocularly regarded as the patron saint of
cuckolds. St. Andrew was supposed to bring good luck to lovers." ...

[1054] The reference is to the tale preserved in several versions,
and known as "The Three Heads of the Well," Jacobs, _English Fairy
Tales_, p. 222. "The Well of the World's End," p. 215, however, has the
incident of filling a sieve.

[1055] So "God ye good night, and twenty, sir!" In Middleton's _Trick
to Catch the Old One_--"A thousand farewells." Compare the well-known
forms of greeting, as "Grüss' mir mein Liebchen zehntausend mal!" or
the elaborate message at the opening of the ballad _Childe Maurice_.

[1056] See Appendix _B_ on this Song.

[1057] See Appendix _A_.

[1058] The 'Booby' is later called 'Corebus' or 'Chorebus.' See Harvey,
_The Trimming of Thomas Nashe_, Grosart, III. 29: "Thou mayest be cald
the very Chorœbus of our time, of whom the proverbe was sayde, more
foole than Chorœbus: who was a seely ideot, but yet had the name of a
wise man." ...

[1059] Mr. Fleay thinks this is a pun upon that eternal theme of satire
for Harvey's enemies, the rope-maker's trade of his father. "The
name," Mr. Fleay says, "for the stock of Huanebango are adapted from
Plautus, Polymachæroplacidus (from _Pseudulus_), Pyrgopolinices (from
_Miles Gloriosus_), in shapes which inevitably suggest English puns
indicating Harvey's rope-making extraction, Polly-make-a-rope-lass, and
Perg-up-a-line-O...." Mr. Fleay is bold.

[1060] A difficult passage. Dy. thinks the stock is a sword,--Corebus
"has run away from the Parish, and become a sort of knight-errant." Dr.
Nicholson: "He has started and they may catch" (if they can) and as a
vagabond put him in the stocks. B. makes the clown plume himself on his
finery. He points with pride to his feather; and he is equally proud of
his fashionable "long stock" (_i.e._ the stocking fastened high above
the knee). This gives better sense than the second explanation; Corebus
asserts a sort of equality with Huanebango.

[1061] The successful guessing of riddles wins a bride, fortune,
liberty, what not, in many a folk-tale.

[1062] Below 'the,' Sig. C.

[1063] Enter _Erestus_.

[1064] care for.

[1065] plenty. Corebus quotes the stilted talk of Huanebango.

[1066] This gift of the cake reminds one of a similar _motif_ in the
tale of _The Red Ettin_, Jacobs, p. 135.

[1067] though times are hard.

[1068] sings.

[1069] Below 'up,' Sig. C ii.

[1070] These tricks of magic are the staple of tales and chapbooks
about conjurers, and make a braver showing in plays like _Doctor
Faustus_ and _Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay._ See the latter play in
this volume, and Mr. Ward's introduction to his edition of the two
dramas.

[1071] Later editions omit. The formula is less uncanny than usual; but
the two cocks have grim associations. The dark-red cock of Scandinavian
myth belonged to the underworld. See _The Wife of Usher's Well_, and R.
Köhler in the _Germania_, XI. 85 ff.

[1072] The local hits are to be noted: praise for roast beef of
England, wine of France, and girding at Spain, at brewers,--one thinks
of Falstaff's complaint about the lime in his sack,--friars, and
usurers.

[1073] Below 'begon,' Sig. C iii.

[1074] B. prints: 'heaven [n]or hell shall rescue her from me.'

[1075] Did this Echo suggest the song in _Comus_?

[1076] The "Life-Index," so called, of popular tales, connected with
the equally popular _motif_ of the "Thankful Dead."

[1077] Erestus.

[1078] Misprint for 'Corebus.'

[1079] Dogberry's distortion of words is about as old as English comedy.

[1080] Q. _assure_.

[1081] As above:--a gay, reckless fellow.

[1082] According to Sir Walter Scott "the very latest allusion to the
institution of brotherhood in arms" is in the ballad of _Bewick and
Grahame_, "sworn brethren" as they are, each "faith and troth" to the
other.

[1083] That's settled once for all.--Bullen.

[1084] Recent editions make the Sexton's speech end here, and put the
rest in the stage directions.

[1085] Below 'the,' Sig. D.

[1086] Open the argument from my side (with the aid of the
pike-staff).--Bullen.

[1087] Recent eds. [_Gives money_].

[1088] on.

[1089] harvesters.

[1090] See Appendix _B_.

[1091] Below 'men,' Sig. D ii.

[1092] B. points out that Corebus enters a moment later.

[1093] "The 'fee-fi-fo-fum' formula is common to all English stories of
giants and ogres; it also occurs in Peele's play and in _King Lear_....
Messrs. Jones and Krorf have some remarks on it in their 'Magyar
Tales,' pp. 340-341; so has Mr. Lang in his 'Perrault,' p. lxiii, where
he traces it to the furies in Æschylus' _Eumenides_."--Jacobs, _Eng.
Fairy Tales_, p. 243.

[1094] Recent eds.--_Enter_ Sacrapant _the Conjurer and_ Two Furies.

[1095] Recent eds.--Huanebango _is carried out by the_ Two Furies.

[1096] Recent eds.--_Strikes_ Corebus _blind_.

[1097] goad.

[1098] In this and like cases the editors restore a tolerable metre
by different printing. Thus 'Here hard' may be taken as part of the
preceding line.

[1099] Dr. Nicholson would read 'name' to no advantage. Sacrapant says
she has forgotten her name, but has not forgotten as much as she ought
to forget. The phrase is awkward, but is perhaps more "intelligible"
than Mr. Bullen allows.

[1100] Below 'to,' Sig. D iii.

[1101] Dy. prints 'Well done!'

[1102] To the popular tale, here plainly drawn upon, Peele has added an
amusing feature which seems to be his own invention. He provides the
deaf Huanebango with a scolding wife, while the blind Corebus takes her
ugly sister.

[1103] As much as "uncomely," "ugly," as shown by the countless
passages in Elizabethan literature, and the connotation of the
opposite, "fair." Dyce quotes the same phrase,--"though I am blacke, I
am not the Divell ..." from Greene's, _Quip for an Upstart Courtier_.

[1104] _In The Three Heads of the Well_, "a golden head came up
singing:--

    "'Wash me and comb me,
    And lay me down softly.
    And lay me on a bank to dry,
    That I may look pretty
    When somebody passes by.'"

[1105] _Sc._ beard.

[1106] The upshot of much investigation seems to be that the phrase to
have cockell-bread means to get a lover or a husband.

[1107] So in Hartmann's _Iwein_, a knight pours water from a certain
well upon a stone near by; a terrible thunderstorm is the immediate
result. A similar act may bring the milder rain for one's crops (Grimm,
_Mythologie_, p. 494).

[1108] Harvey had an indifferent ear for verse, and here,
perhaps,--since the hexameters follow so hard upon,--is a neat way of
stating the fact.

[1109] Both Stanyhurst and Harvey were favorites for this sort of
ridicule. The hexameters of the former are described admirably by
Nash, and, of course, are parodied here. Huff, Ruff, and Snuff were
characters in the play of _King Cambyses_. Cf. too Harvey in "Green's
Memoriall or certain funerall sonnets" (Son. vi):--

    "I wott not what these cutting Huffe-snuffes meane,
        Of alehouse daggers I have little skill...."

[1110] Dy. points out that this is an actual line in Harvey's _Encomium
Lauri_.

[1111] Below 'rattle,' Sig. E.

[1112] Used by Chaucer to describe the "hunting of the letter," in his
day still a normal rule of verse, particularly in the north of England
(Prologue to the "Persone's Tale"):--

    "But trusteth wel, I am a suthern man,
    I can not geste rum, ram, ruf, by letter...."

Professor Skeat (_Notes to C.T._, p. 446) thinks Peele has Chaucer in
mind, and shows that the latter probably borrowed the words "from some
French source."

[1113] 'Ka'=quoth he.--'Wilshaw'? [Qy.: Will ich ha(ve)? _Cf._ l. 648.
_Gen. Ed._]

[1114] Lob's pound, is B. notes, was a phrase of the day for "the
thraldom of the hen-pecked married man."

[1115] It is hardly necessary to correct this into 'thy.'

[1116] As a ghost, of course.

[1117] Below 'runne,' Sig. E ii.

[1118] The "foot-page" of the ballads.

[1119] These rhyming scraps remind one constantly of the _cante-fable_,
of the formula-jingles in popular tales.

[1120] Probably a misprint for 'come.'

[1121] Below 'pursse,' Sig. E iii.

[1122] Celanto.

[1123] He is blind.

[1124] In the tale there are three heads.

[1125] Dyce's copy read 'tost.' Mr. P. A. Daniel: "Qy.: 'Toast'?"

[1126] Milton, _Comus_, 817: "backward mutters of dissevering power."

[1127] Mr. P. A. Daniel would read 'iced.'

[1128] Dy., 'Acts.'

[1129] Below 'maide,' Sig. F.

[1130] Dy. notes that this and the three following lines are taken
almost verbatim from Greene's _Orlando Furioso_.

[1131] It is not necessary to adopt Mr. Daniel's emendation.

[1132] Below 'Venelia,' Sig. F ii.

[1133] Calypha.

[1134] That is, all the actors of the play within the play. Below
'_Omnes_,' Sig. F iii.

[1135] Q., _shuts_.

[1136] Part.



APPENDIX


=A. Characters: their Sources.=--T. Warton, in 1785 (_Milton's Poems
on Several Occasions_), pointed out that "the names of some of
the characters as Sacrapant, Chorebus, and others, are taken from
the _Orlando Furioso_." Peele quotes Ariosto freely near the end
of _Edward I_. Storojenko (Grosart's _Greene_, I, 180) thinks the
Sacrapant in Greene's _Orlando Furioso_ "a very transparent parody of
_Tamburlaine_." Mr. Fleay, with some daring, asserts that Huanebango
is travestied from Huon o'Bordeaux, and is "palpably Harvey." Erestus,
says the same authority, is from Kyd's _Soliman and Perseda_; "the
play is evidently full of personal allusions, which time only can
elucidate." Mr. Ward remarks that Jack is "namesake and rival of the
immortal giant-killer." The classics, of course, are represented.
Warton remarked that the story of Meroe could be found in Adlington's
translation of Apuleius, 1566; but it is hardly necessary to go to such
a source for the "White Bear of England's Wood."

=B. The Song of the Harvesters=--When the harvest-men enter again, and
sing the song "doubled,"--as here,--it is evidently the same thing, a
companion piece, only with reaping in place of sowing, and words to
match:--

    "Lo, here we come a-reaping, a-reaping,
      To reap our harvest-fruit.
    And thus we pass the year so long,
      And never be we mute."

Is it too much, then, to assume that the present song is to be restored
somewhat as follows?--

    Lo here we come a-sowing, a-sowing,
      And sow sweet fruits of love.
    All that lovers be pray you for me,--
      In your sweethearts well may it prove.

They would naturally enter with motions of sowing or of reaping, and
the opening words would fit the action. Moreover, "In your sweethearts
well may it prove" must refer to requital not for the act of sowing,
but for the prayers invoked. These craft-songs were common enough.
In _Summer's Last Will and Testament_ the harvest-men sing an old
folk-song of this kind, if one may judge by the _Hooky, hooky_ of the
refrain, said by one of the Dodsley editors (ed. 1825, IX, 41) to
be heard still "in some parts of the kingdom." The curious in these
matters may find valuable information about songs of labour in general,
with imitative action and suitable refrains, in Bücher's _Arbeit und
Rhythmus_, Abhandlungen d. phil.-hist. Classe d. königl. Sächsischen
Gesell. d. Wissenschaften, Bd. XVII.

    _Additional Note_--P. 368, l. 491, for 'church stile,' P. A. Daniel
    queries 'church ale'?--but see Overbury' _Characters_ (_Works_, p.
    145), "A Sexton": 'for at every church stile commonly ther's an
    ale-house.'



  _Robert Greene_

                          HIS PLACE IN COMEDY


                                    _A Monograph by G. E. Woodberry,
                                      Professor in Columbia University,
                                      New York._



GREENE'S PLACE IN COMEDY


OF the group of gifted college-bred men who had some part in the
fashioning of Shakespearian drama and drew into their mortal lungs a
breath of the element whose "air was fame," Greene has long been marked
with unenviable distinction. He had the misfortune to try to darken
with an early and single shaft the rising sun of Shakespeare; and he
has stood out like a shadow against that dawning genius ever since. The
mean circumstances of his Bohemian career, and the terribly brutal,
Zolaesque scene of his death-chamber--the most repulsively gruesome
in English literary annals--have sustained with a lurid light the
unfavourable impression; and, were this really all, no one would have
grudged oblivion the man's memory. The edition of his collected works,
however, which Grosart gave to scholars, has enlarged general knowledge
of Greene, and has permitted the formation of a more various image of
his personality, a juster estimate of his literary temperament, and a
clearer judgment concerning his position in the Elizabethan movement
of dramatic imagination; and some few, even before this, had lifted up
protestation against that ready damnation which seemed provided for him
by his irreverence toward the undiscovered god of our idolatry who,
then fleeting his golden days, seemed to this jaundiced eye "an upstart
crow beautified with our feathers, ... the only Shake-scene in a
country." Never were more unfortunate words for the "blind mouth" that
uttered them. But there is more to know of Greene than this one speech;
and though the occasion is not apt here for so complete a valuation of
his character and temperament, his deeds and works, as is to be desired
for truth's sake, yet it is needful to take some notice of his total
personality as evinced in his novels, plays, poems, and pamphlets, in
order to determine his relative station in the somewhat limited sphere
of English comedy.

Marlowe is commonly regarded as the forerunner of the heroic strain
in Shakespeare, with moulding influence on the imaginative habit of
his younger fellow-workman in respect to that phase of his art; and
Greene, who though he will never shine as a "morning-star" of the
drama was at least a twin luminary with Marlowe, has been credited
with occupying a similar position as the forerunner of Shakespeare
with respect to the portrayal of vulgar life. It is hardly to be
expected that an antithesis so convenient for the critics should be
really matter-of-fact. The narrower distinct claim that the Clown in
his successive reincarnations passed through the world of Greene's
stage on his way from his old fleshly prison in the Vice of the
primitive English play may require less argument; and in several other
particulars it may appear that fore-gleams of the Shakespearian drama
are discernible in Greene's works without drawing the consequence that
Shakespeare was necessarily a pupil in every school that was open to
him. Not to treat the matter too precisely, where precision is apt to
be illusory even if attainable in appearance, was there not a plain
growth of Greene as a man of letters closely attached to his time which
will illustrate the general development of the age and its art, and
naturally bring out those analogies between his work and Shakespeare's
that have been thought of as formative elements in him by which his
successor on the stage profited? The line of descent does not matter,
on the personal side, if the general direction of progress be made out.

Greene was distinctively a man of letters. He was born with the native
gift, and he put it to use in many ways. He tried all kinds of writing,
from prose to verse, from song to sermon, and apparently with equal
interest. He was college-bred and must have been of a scholarly and
receptive temperament; he was variously read in different languages
and subjects; and he began by being what he charged Shakespeare with
being,--an adapter. His tales, like others of the time, must be
regarded as in large measure appropriations from the fields of foreign
fiction. Even as he went on and gained a freer hand for expression,
he remained imitative of others, with occasional flashes of his own
talent; and, dying young, he cannot be thought to have given his
genius its real trial of thorough originality. In the main his work is
derivative and secondary and represents or reflects literary tradition
and example; he was still in the process of disencumbering himself of
this external reliance when he was exhausted, and perished; and it is
in those later parts of his work which show originality that he is
attached to the Shakespearian drama. Slight examination will justify
this general statement in detail. It is agreed that he drew his earlier
novels from the stock-fiction, with its peculiar type of woman and
its moral lesson; and he shows in these sensibility of imagination
and grace of style. He was, more than has been thought, a stylist, a
born writer; and this of itself would interest him in the euphuistic
fashion, then coming to its height in Lyly; and besides he always kept
his finger on the pulse of the time and was ambitious to succeed by
pleasing the popular taste: he adopted euphuism temporarily, employing
it in his own way. In the drama his play, _Orlando Furioso_, harks
back to Ariosto, and it was when the stage rang with _Tamburlaine_
that he brought out _Alphonsus, King of Aragon_, and when _Doctor
Faustus_ was on the boards that he followed with _Friar Bacon and Friar
Bungay_; on Sidney's _Arcadia_ succeeded his own _Menaphon_; and if
_James IV._ with its Oberon preceded _A Midsummer Night's Dream_--which
is undetermined--it was a unique inversion of the order which made
Greene always the second and not the first. In view of this literary
chronology it seems clear that in the start and well on into his career
Greene was the sensitive and ambitious writer following where Italian
tradition, contemporary genius, and popular acclaim blazed the way; and
in so doing his individual excellence lay not in originality on the
great scale, but in treatment, in his modification of the _genre_, in
his individual style and manner and purport--in the virtues, that is to
say, of an able, clever, variously equipped man of letters whose talent
had not yet discovered the core of genius in itself.

It is observable, too, in the earlier period of his work, that in his
treatment of his material so derived, he displays the qualities of the
weaker, the less robust literary habit; he uses refinement, he is
checked by his good taste, he strives for effects less violent, less
sensational, less difficult in the sense that it requires less of the
giant's strength to carry them off well. There is little, too, in this
portion of his work which lets personality burn through the literary
mould; that belongs to his late and stronger time. It is true that
his novels have a moral in them for edification; but, although he had
the preacher's voice, it is not here in the earlier tales that it is
heard; it was the immemorial privilege of the Renaissance tale, however
scandalous, to wear cowl and cassock. In the cardinal point of his
delineation of female character, for which he is highly praised because
of the purity and grace of the womanhood he presented, he follows the
Renaissance convention, as it seems to me, but with refining and often
true English touches--that ideal of Italian origin which is, on the
whole, one of outline, of pale graciousness, of immobile or expressive
beauty, pictorial; these women seem like lovely portraits which have
stepped down out of a frame, and have only so much of life as an
environment of light and air and silence can give them. Are they not,
for example, as truly like Spenser's women--except where Spenser's
are differentiated by doing "manly" parts--as they are prophetic of
Shakespeare's simpler types? Greene, no doubt, incorporated in this
ideal something of his own experience of noble and patient womanhood,
possibly as he had known it in his wife, as Shakespeare embodied
eternal reality in his creations; but it would not occur to me to
believe that Shakespeare found a model for Ophelia or Imogen in the
Lady Ida and Dorothea, any more than in Una and her sisters. All these
before Shakespeare are of one family--they are the conventionalized
Renaissance ideal variously modified and filled with richer artistic
life; but in Shakespeare they pass into that clear luminous air where
art and humanity are one thing. Greene should have our admiration for
his sensibility to the type, for the appreciation with which he drew
it, for the charm he thereby clothed his pages with; but as to there
being a line of descent, that is altogether another thing; and in
respect to Greene himself, his special female characterization imports
the element of refinement in him, the trait of the less robust literary
habit just spoken of. Similarly, he was of too sound taste to be long
content to speak in the cut phrase of euphuism, and he soon laid the
fashion off; and, in his afterplay on the _Tamburlaine_ motive, it
is a matter of debate whether he was parodying or rivalling Marlowe's
large-languaged rhetoric, and, whichever he was doing, he was hampered
by a better taste than his model, either laughing at it, or else
without the giant's strength to succeed in the worser way, and to
_Doctor Faustus_ and _Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay_, so far as they are
compared, like remarks apply. Greene has his own virtues in all these
instances, but they are not those of originating power, of creative
overflow, of genius of the Elizabethan stripe; they live within the
narrower circle of improvement through refined taste, or else of
satirical protest or comparative failure due to the same trait.

The thought of refinement in connection with Greene, the stress laid
upon it here, has not been commonly prominent in writings upon him,
and is out of harmony with our traditional impression of him--the
envious and dying profligate in his misery. Yet it is to be found
not only in his early portraits of womanhood of the pure type (he
afterward presented a baser one), nor in the fact often noted of the
marked purity of his works; but more pervasively in his continuing
taste, in those habits and choices in the literary field, those
revolts and reforms, which show the steady rightness of the man in
his self-criticism and his criticism of current successes. I seem to
feel this innate refinement in the limpidity of single lines; but it
is plain to every one in the lovely lyrics which have sung themselves
into the hearts of all lovers of our poetry, those songs, found in
all anthologies of English verse, which bear Greene's name. He was a
gross man, living grossly, as all know; but it sometimes happens that
in such fleshly natures--as, every one will at once think, in Ben
Jonson--there is found this flower of delicacy, the very fragrance of
the soul; and so it was with Greene, and the lyrics are the mortal sign
of this inward grace. It belongs with this, as has been observed by
several writers, that of all the men who preceded Shakespeare, Greene
most lets the breath of the English country blow through his pages,
and likes to lay his scene in some rural spot. He loved the country;
and yet, here too, protest may well be made when it is said that in
this he led the way for Shakespeare; surely all country paths were open
to the Warwickshire lad in his own right; nor need the difference be
allowed that the forest of Arden is a conventionalized nature, as one
critic maintains, while Greene's is of the soil--that is to mistake art
for convention; but to say even this one word in passing in behalf of
Shakespeare's nature-reality is superfluous, except that it suggests
the different road by which Shakespeare here, as well as in his dealing
with madness, witchcraft, and fairyland (in all of which Greene is
said to have taught him), went his own ways, irrespective of comrades
of the time. In this love of the country which Greene had lies the key
to the better man in him and to his own native distinctions. Beneath
his literary temperament, which seems an educational and professional
veneer that should finally drop away, is his genuine nature--the man
he was; and, life going on to imminent wreck, it became clear in his
later works that he was more and more engaged in contemporary life,
in what he saw and knew, and that he took his material from these; he
had written autobiographical sketches and accounts of low life and its
characters, and he had displayed certain tendencies toward preaching
and sympathies with the unredeemed masses of humanity, all somewhat
miscellaneously, and without any other art than a strong prose style;
but, at the end, is it not manifest that he had grown into realism as
his material, and into an attitude of moral denunciation and popular
sympathy in dealing with it, and is not this the significance of his
collaboration with Lodge in _A Looking-Glasse for London and England_,
and of his own unique _George-a-Greene_? All the earlier work seems to
end, and new beginnings appear both in his renderings of contemporary
realism, and in his most imaginative and various play, _James IV._

The gradual substitution, then, as Greene came to his time of
strength, of frank English realism for cultured Italian tradition and
contemporary vital literary example, seems to be the true line of
his growth. It shows distinctly in his choice of the English subject
of Roger Bacon in place of Doctor Faustus, in his satire of certain
aspects of court life, when he translated an Italian plot of Cinthio
into apocryphal history as _James IV._, in his presentation of the
state of London in collaboration with Lodge, and in the half-rebellious
play of _George-a-Greene_. This is the imaginative and artistic
side of what is practical in his pamphlets of personal repentance
and cony-catching. Personally I seem to detect Puritanism morally in
the one half, and Puritanism politically in the other half, of this
late dramatic work; but it cannot be maintained that the case is
certain. Apart from that, Greene was--what so few ever are, even in
an Elizabethan environment--a humourist; and he used the old English
comedy tradition as an element in his purely English work. The matter
is so plain and comparatively so slight as to require the fewest
words. In comedy specifically he gave examples, which he may be said
to have first given in the sense that he gave them in an original or
a developed form, of the court fool in Ralph, of the country bumpkin
or crass fool in Miles, of the highly developed and wholly humanized
_Vice_ in Adam, of a special humouristic type (aptly characterized
as the ancestor of Andrew Fairservice) in Andrew, otherwise not born
till Sir Walter Scott's day, and of the true Shakespearian clown, the
unmistakable one, in Slipper. Such was his definite service to comedy
in respect to type; and criticism can only point it out, because the
substance can be given only by reading the characters attentively. In
regard to humour at large, it appears to me that in his hands, apart
from linguistic felicity and wit, he presents a humour of situation
tending toward pure farce, and a humour of intention tending toward
pure satire of the social variety, and a humour of manners tending
toward pure pleasantry as in the "Vail Staff" episode. The single
link binding him with Shakespeare, in comedy is through the character
of Slipper; and yet here, as in the other instances of female
type, love of country scenes, and also in madness, witchcraft, and
fairyland, I cannot believe that Shakespeare may not have arrived at
his end--in this case, Launce--without necessarily being obliged to
Greene for assistance. The bent toward contemporary realism, toward a
well-languaged and winning clown, toward Englishry, which is another
name for nature in human life and its setting, is plain in Greene;
this was the running of the stream; but no larger inference follows
from it in my mind than that Greene had worked out his growth, as
Shakespeare in his apprenticeship also did, in similar directions,
but that Greene had done it on national lines, whereas Shakespeare
did it on universal lines, that Greene had done it in a practical,
whereas Shakespeare did it in an ideal way, and that Greene had done
it largely under personal conditions, being at war with his fate as a
mere man, whereas Shakespeare did it as a human spirit above the reach
of material vicissitude. What one owed to the other is an insignificant
detail at best; what is important is to observe in Greene the advancing
movement of the drama in moral intention, in higher characterization,
in original phases of humanity, in humour of more body and intellect,
in comedy and fantasy approaching the goal of the Elizabethan spirit.
Greene, it must be acknowledged, opened some veins that no one followed
up; some of his characters and much of his sympathies were his own in
an unshared way; but his work of all kinds ended with him, and, so far
as he was an explorer of the way, he was most like one who, in our
own time, may be an experimenter in some new force--his name is not
associated with scientific history, with new invention, with discovery,
but such success as he had was because his eye was on the element which
men of his craft were working out more thoroughly than he himself.

It is pleasant to close this brief note on one of the most unfortunate
of men whom our literature remembers, with a kindlier appreciation
of him than has hitherto obtained. The mere volume of his writings
indicates great industry; the criticism of them witnesses our respect
for his endowments, his taste, his fundamental manhood; the analysis of
them shows improvement in himself, and the