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He bear himself with honourable action,
honour will command,
seven years, hath esteem'd him 16 No better than a poor and loathsome beggar: And if the boy have not a woman's gift, To rain a shower of commanded tears, An onion will do well for such a shift: Which in a napkin being close convey’d, Shall in despite enforce a watery eye. See this despatch'd with all the haste thou canst; Anon I'll give thee more instructions.
[Exit Servant. I know the boy will well usurp
grace, Voice, gait, and action of a gentlewoman: I long to hear him call the drunkard husband; And how my men will stay themselves from laughter, When they do homage to this simple peasant. I'll in to counsel them: haply 17, my presence May well abate the over-merry spleen, Which otherwise would grow into extremes.
15 The old copy reads this. The emendation is Theobald's.
16 Him is used for himself, as in Chapman's Banquet of Sense, 1595:
"The sense wherewith he feels him deified.' 17 Perhaps.
A Bedchamber in the Lord's House.
Sly is discovered in a rich night gown, with Atten
dants; some with apparel, others with bason, ewer, and other appurtenances. Enter Lord, dressed like a Servant 1. Sly. For God's sake, a pot of small ale. 1 Sero. Will't please your lordship drink a cup of
sack? 2 Serv. Will’t please your honour taste of these
conserves ? 3 Serv. What raiment will your honour wear to-day?
Sly. I am Christophero Sly; call not me--honour, nor lordship: I never drank sack in my life; and if you give me any conserves, give me conserves of beef. Ne'er ask me what raiment I'll wear: for I have no more doublets than backs, no more stockings than legs, nor no more shoes than feet; nay, sometimes, more feet than shoes, or such shoes as my toes look through the over leather. Lord. Heaven cease this idle humour in your
honour! 0, that a mighty man of such descent, Of such ossessions, and
high esteem, Should be infused with so foul a spirit!
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
| From the original stage direction in the first folio, it appears that Sly and the other persons mentioned in the Induction were intended to be exhibited here, and during the representation of the comedy, in a balcony above the stage.
a tinker? Ask Marian Hacket, the fat ale-wife of Wincot?, if she know me not: if she
I am not fourteen pence on the score for sheer ale", score me up for the lyingest knave in Christendom. What, I am not bestraught*: Here's 1 Serv. 0, this it is that makes
your lady mourn. 2 Serv. O, this it is that makes your servants droop. Lord. Hence comes it that your kindred shun your
house, As beaten hence by your strange lunacy. O, noble lord, bethink thee of thy birth; Call home thy ancient thoughts from banishment, And banish hence these abject lowly dreams : Look how thy servants do attend on thee, Each in his office ready at thy beck. Wilt thou have musick? hark! Apollo plays,
[Musick. And twenty caged nightingales do sing : Or wilt thou sleep? we'll have thee to a couch, Softer and sweeter than the lustful bed On purpose trimm'd
for Semiramis. 2 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.
3 Sheer-ale has puzzled the commentators; and as none of the conjectures offered appear to me satisfactory, I shall add one of my own. Maunday Thursday, the day preceding Good-Friday, was anciently called Sheer-Thursday, and as it was a day of great comfort to the poor from the doles or distribution of clothes, meat and drink, made by the rich; so Sheer-ale may have been ale which the Tinker had drunk on that day, at his own charge, or rather at that of his landlady, in addition to the portion he had received as alms. But after all sheer-ale may mean nothing more than ale unmixed, mere-ale or pure ale. The word sheer is still used for mere, pure. We have stark beer for stout and strong beer, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Beggar's Bush, Act iii. Sc. 1.
4 i. e. distraught, distracted.
Say, thou wilt walk; we will bestrew the ground:
1 Serv. Say, thou wilt course; thy greyhounds are
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; And Cytherea all in sedges hid; Which seem to move and wanton with her breath, Even as the waving sedges play with wind.
Lord. We'll show thee Io, as she was a maid; And how she was beguiled and surpris’d, As lively painted as the deed was done.
3 Serv. Or Daphne roaming through a thorny wood: Scratching her legs that one shall swear she bleeds: And at that sight shall sad Apollo weep, So workmanly the blood and tears are drawn.
Lord. Thou art a lord, and nothing but a lord:
Sly. Am I a lord; and have I such a lady;
and I feel soft things :Upon my life, I am a lord, indeed;
yes, my lord; but
And not a tinker, nor Christophero Sly.-
[Servants present a ewer, bason, and napkin. O, how we joy to see your wit restor'd! O, that once more you knew but what you are ! These fifteen years you have been in a dream; Or, when you wak’d, so wak'd as if you slept. Sly. These fifteen years ! by my fayó, a goodly
nap But did I never speak of all that time? 1 Serv. O,
idle words :For though you lay here in this goodly chamber, Yet would you say, ye were beaten out of door; And rail upon the hostess of the house;
would present her at the leet 6, Because she brought stone jugs and no seal'd quarts : Sometimes
you would call out for Cicely Hacket. Sly. Ay, the woman's maid of the house. 3 Serv. Why, sir, you know no house, nor no such
maid, Nor no such men as you have reckon'd up, As Stephen Sly, and old John Naps of Greece?, And Peter Turf, and Henry Pimpernell;
According to some old authorities, Sly here uses a very adylike imprecation. 'Ecastor,' says Cooper, by my fay, used only of women. It is merely a contraction of by my faith.
6 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.'
7 Blackstone proposes to read, 'old John Naps o'the Green.' The addition seems to have been a common one. In Henry IV. Part II. we have Peter Bullcalf of the Green, and Clement Perkes o'the Hill.
And say, you