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O, that a mighty man of such descent,
Sly. What, would you make me mad? Am not I Christopher Sly, old Sly's son of Burton-heath; by birth a pedler, by education a card-maker, by transmutation a bear-herd, and now by present profession a tinker? Ask Marian Hacket, the fat ale-wife of Wincot, if she know me not: if she say I am not fourteen pence on the score for sheer ale,2 score me up for the lyingest knave in Christendom. What, I am not bestraught. Here's
1 Serv. O, this it is that makes your lady mourn.
As beaten hence by your strange lunacy.
And twenty caged nightingales do sing.
On purpose trimmed up for Semiramis.
Say, thou wilt walk? we will bestrew the ground.
1 Wilnecotte, says Warton, is a village in Warwickshire, with which Shakspeare was well acquainted, near Stratford. The house kept by our genial hostess still remains, but is at present a mill. There is a village also called Barton on the heath in Warwickshire.
2 Sheer ale has puzzled the commentators; but none of the conjectures offered appear satisfactory. Sheer ale may mean nothing more than ale unmixed, mere ale, or pure ale. The word sheer is still used for mere, pure. 3 i. e. distraught, distracted.
Thy hounds shall make the welkin answer them,
1 Serv. Say, thou wilt course; thy greyhounds are as swift
As breathed stags; ay, fleeter than the roe.
2 Serv. Dost thou love pictures? We will fetch thee straight
Adonis, painted by a running brook;
Which seem to move and wanton with her breath,
Lord. We'll show thee Io, as she was a maid;
3 Serv. Or, Daphne roaming through a thorny wood,
Lord. Thou art a lord, and nothing but a lord.
1 Serv. And, till the tears that she hath shed for thee,
Sly. Am I a lord, and have I such a lady?
I smell sweet savors, and I feel soft things:-
And not a tinker, nor Christophero Sly.-
2 Serv. Will't please your mightiness to wash your
[Servants present a ewer, basin, and napkin. O, how we joy to see your wit restored! O, that once more you knew but what you are! These fifteen years you have been in a dream; Or, when you waked, so waked as if you slept.
Sly. These fifteen years! By my fay,' a goodly nap. But did I never speak of all that time?
1 Serv. O, yes, my lord; but very idle words.-
3 Serv. Why, sir, you know no house, nor no such
Nor no such men as you have reckoned up,-
And twenty more such names and men as these,
Sly. Now, Lord be thanked for my good amends!
Sly. I thank thee; thou shalt not lose by it.
Enter the Page, as a Lady, with Attendants.
Page. How fares my noble lord?
Sly. Marry, I fare well; for here is cheer enough. Where is my wife?
Page. Here, noble lord. Sly. Are you my wife, husband?
What is thy will with her?
My men should call me-lord; I am your goodman.
I am your wife in all obedience.
Sly. I know it well.-What must I call her?
1 A contraction of by my faith.
2 That is, at the court leet, where it was usual to present such matters, as appears from Kitchen on Courts:-" Also if tiplers sell by cups and dishes, or measures sealed or not sealed, is inquirable."
3 Blackstone proposes to read, "old John Naps o'the Green." The addition seems to have been a common one.
Sly. Al'ce madam, or Joan madam?
Lord. Madam, and nothing else; so lords call ladies. Sly. Madam wife, they say that I have dreamed and slept
Above some fifteen year and more.
Page. Ay, and the time seems thirty unto me; Being all this time abandoned from your bed.
Sly. 'Tis much.-Servants, leave me and her alone.
Madam, undress you, and come now to bed.
Sly. Ay, it stands so, that I may hardly tarry so long. But I would be loath to fall into my dreams again; I will therefore tarry, in despite of the flesh and the blood.
Enter a Servant.
Serv. Your honor's players, hearing your amendment, Are come to play a pleasant comedy, For so your doctors hold it very meet; Seeing too much sadness hath congealed your blood, And melancholy is the nurse of frenzy, Therefore they thought it good you hear a play, And frame your mind to mirth and merriment, Which bars a thousand harms, and lengthens life.
Sly. Marry, I will; let them play it. Is not a commonty1 a Christmas gambol, or a tumbling trick? Page. No, my good lord; it is more pleasing stuff. Sly. What, household stuff?
Page. It is a kind of history.
Sly. Well, we'll see't. Come, madam wife, sit by my side, and let the world slip; we shall ne'er be younger. [They sit down.
1 For comedy.
SCENE I. Padua. A public Place.
Enter LUCENTIO and TRANIO.
Luc. Tranio, since-for the great desire I had
Tra. Mi perdonate,5 gentle master mine, I am in all affected as yourself;
1 Ingenious and ingenuous were very commonly confounded by old writers.
2 i. e. to fulfil the expectations of his friends.
3 Apply for ply is frequently used by old writers. Thus Baret:-" with diligent endeavour to applie their studies." And in Turberville's Tragic Tales:-"How she her wheele applyde."
4 Small piece of water.
5 Pardon me.