SCENE I. -- THE MIDDLE AISLE OF ST. PAUL'S.
SHIFT. [COMING FORWARD.] This is rare, I have set up my bills without discovery.
SHIFT. Troth, signior, nothing but your rheum; I have been taking an ounce of tobacco hard by here, with a gentleman, and I am come to spit private in Paul's. 'Save you, sir.
ORANGE. Adieu, good signior Whiffe.
SHIFT. Faith, sir, I must now leave you, upon a few humours and occasions; but when you please, sir.
CLOVE. Farewell, sweet Apple-John! I wonder there are no more store of gallants here.
MIT. What be these two, signior?
COR. Marry, a couple, sir, that are mere strangers to the whole scope of our play; only come to walk a turn or two in this scene of Paul's, by chance.
ORANGE. Save you, good master Clove!
CLOVE. Sweet master Orange.
MIT. How! Clove and Orange?
COR. Ay, and they are well met, for 'tis as dry an Orange as ever grew: nothing but salutation, and "O lord, sir!" and "It pleases you to say so, sir!" one that can laugh at a jest for company with a most plausible and extemporal grade; and some hour after in private ask you what it was. The other monsieur, Clove, is a more spiced youth; he will sit you a whole afternoon sometimes in a bookseller's shop, reading the Greek, Italian, and Spanish, when he understands not a word of either; if he had the tongues to his suits, he were an excellent linguist.
CLOVE. Do you hear this reported for certainty?
ORANGE. O lord, sir.
[ENTER PUNTARVOLO AND CARLO, FOLLOWED BY TWO SERVING-MEN, ONE LEADING A DOG, THE OTHER BEARING A BAG.
PUNT. Sirrah, take my cloak; and you, sir knave, follow me closer. If thou losest my dog, thou shalt die a dog's death; I will hang thee.
CAR. Tut, fear him not, he's a good lean slave; he loves a dog well, I warrant him; I see by his looks, I: -- Mass, he's somewhat like him. 'Slud [TO THE SERVANT.] poison him, make him away with a crooked pin, or somewhat, man; thou may'st have more security of thy life; and -- So sir; what! you have not put out your whole venture yet, have you?
PUNT. No, I do want yet some fifteen or sixteen hundred pounds; but my lady, my wife, is 'Out of her Humour', she does not now go.
CAR. No! how then?
PUNT. Marry, I am now enforced to give it out, upon the return of myself, my dog, and my cat.
CAR. Your cat! where is she?
PUNT. My squire has her there, in the bag; sirrah, look to her. How lik'st thou my change, Carlo?
CAR. Oh, for the better, sir; your cat has nine lives, and your wife has but one.
PUNT. Besides, she will never be sea-sick, which will save me so much in conserves. When saw you signior Sogliardo?
CAR. I came from him but now; he is at the herald's office yonder; he requested me to go afore, and take up a man or two for him in Paul's, against his cognisance was ready.
PUNT. What, has he purchased arms, then?
CAR. Ay, and rare ones too; of as many colours as e'er you saw any fool's coat in your life. I'll go look among yond' bills, an I can fit him with legs to his arms.
PUNT. With legs to his arms! Good! I will go with you, sir.
ENTER FASTIDIOUS, DELIRO, AND MACILENTE.
MACI. Why, on my feet, sir.
FAST. No, on your head, sir; for 'tis that must bear you out, I assure you; as thus, sir. You must first have an especial care so to wear your hat, that it oppress not confusedly this your predominant, or foretop; because, when you come at the presence-door, you may with once or twice stroking up your forehead, thus, enter with your predominant perfect; that is, standing up stiff.
MACI. As if one were frighted?
FAST. Ay, sir.
MACI. Which, indeed, a true fear of your mistress should do, rather than gum-water, or whites of eggs; is't not so, sir?
FAST. An ingenious observation. Give me leave to crave your name, sir?
DELI. His name is Macilente, sir.
FAST. Good signior Macilente, if this gentleman, signior Deliro, furnish you, as he says he will, with clothes, I will bring you, to-morrow by this time, into the presence of the most divine and acute lady in court; you shall see sweet silent rhetorick, and dumb eloquence speaking in her eye, but when she speaks herself, such an anatomy of wit, so sinewised and arterised, that 'tis the goodliest model of pleasure that ever was to behold. Oh! she strikes the world into admiration of her; O, O, O! I cannot express them, believe me.
MACI. O, your only admiration is your silence, sir.
PUNT. 'Fore God, Carlo, this is good! let's read them again.
PUNT. This is above measure excellent, ha!
CAR. No, this, this! here's a fine slave.
PUNT. Why, this is without parallel, this.
CAR. Well, I'll mark this fellow for Sogliardo's use presently.
PUNT. Or rather, Sogliardo, for his use.
CAR. Faith, either of them will serve, they are both good properties: I'll design the other a place too, that we may see him.
PUNT. No better place than the Mitre, that we may be spectators with you, Carlo. Soft, behold who enters here:
SOG. Save you, good sir Puntarvolo; your dog's in health, sir, I see: How now, Carlo?
CAR. We have ta'en simple pains, to choose you out followers here.
PUNT. Come hither, signior.
CLOVE. Monsieur Orange, yon gallants observe us; prithee let's talk fustian a little, and gull them; make them believe we are great scholars.
ORANGE. O lord, sir!
CLOVE. Nay, prithee let us, believe me, -- you have an excellent habit in discourse.
ORANGE. It pleases you to say so, sir.
CLOVE. By this church, you have, la; nay, come, begin -- Aristotle, in his daemonologia, approves Scaliger for the best navigator in his time; and in his hypercritics, he reports him to be Heautontimorumenos: -- you understand the Greek, sir?
ORANGE. O, good sir!
MACI. For society's sake he does. O, here be a couple of fine tame parrots!
CLOVE. Now, sir, whereas the ingenuity of the time and the soul's synderisis are but embrions in nature, added to the panch of Esquiline, and the inter-vallum of the zodiac, besides the ecliptic line being optic, and not mental, but by the contemplative and theoric part thereof, doth demonstrate to us the vegetable circumference, and the ventosity of the tropics, and whereas our intellectual, or mincing capreal (according to the metaphysicks) as you may read in Plato's Histriomastix -- You conceive me sir?
ORANGE. O lord, sir!
CLOVE. Then coming to the pretty animal, as reason long since is fled to animals, you know, or indeed for the more modelising, or enamelling, or rather diamondising of your subject, you shall perceive the hypothesis, or galaxia, (whereof the meteors long since had their initial inceptions and notions,) to be merely Pythagorical, mathematical, and aristocratical -- For, look you, sir, there is ever a kind of concinnity and species -- Let us turn to our former discourse, for they mark us not.
FAST. Mass, yonder's the knight Puntarvolo.
DELI. And my cousin Sogliardo, methinks.
MACI. Ay, and his familiar that haunts him, the devil with the shining face.
DELI. Let 'em alone, observe 'em not.
SOG. Nay, I will have him, I am resolute for that. By this parchment, gentlemen, I have been so toiled among the harrots yonder, you will not believe! they do speak in the strangest language, and give a man the hardest terms for his money, that ever you knew.
CAR. But have you arms, have you arms?
SOG. I'faith, I thank them; I can write myself gentleman now; here's my patent, it cost me thirty pound, by this breath.
PUNT. A very fair coat, well charged, and full of armory.
SOG. Nay, it has as much variety of colours in it, as you have seen a coat have; how like you the crest, sir?
PUNT. I understand it not well, what is't?
SOG. Marry, sir, it is your boar without a head, rampant. A boar without a head, that's very rare!
CAR. Ay, and rampant too! troth, I commend the herald's wit, he has decyphered him well: a swine without a head, without brain, wit, anything indeed, ramping to gentility. You can blazon the rest, signior, can you not?
SOG. O, ay, I have it in writing here of purpose; it cost me two shilling the tricking.
CAR. Let's hear, let's hear.
PUNT. It is the most vile, foolish, absurd, palpable, and ridiculous escutcheon that ever this eye survised. -- Save you, good monsieur Fastidious.
COR. Silence, good knight; on, on.
SOG. [READS.] "Gyrony of eight pieces; azure and gules; between three plates, a chevron engrailed checquy, or, vert, and ermins; on a chief argent, between two ann'lets sable, a boar's head, proper."
CAR. How's that! on a chief argent?
SOG. [READS.] "On a chief argent, a boar's head proper, between two ann'lets sable."
CAR. 'Slud, it's a hog's cheek and puddings in a pewter field, this.
SOG. How like you them, signior?
PUNT. Let the word be, 'Not without mustard': your crest is very rare, sir.
CAR. A frying-pan to the crest, had had no fellow.
FAST. Intreat your poor friend to walk off a little, signior, I will salute the knight.
CAR. Come, lap it up, lap it up.
FAST. You are right well encounter'd, sir; how does your fair dog?
PUNT. In reasonable state, sir; what citizen is that you were consorted with? A merchant of any worth?
FAST. 'Tis signior Deliro, sir.
PUNT. Is it he? -- Save you, sir!
DELI. Good sir Puntarvolo!
MACI. O what copy of fool would this place minister, to one endued with patience to observe it!
CAR. Nay, look you, sir, now you are a gentleman, you must carry a more exalted presence, change your mood and habit to a more austere form; be exceeding proud, stand upon your gentility, and scorn every man; speak nothing humbly, never discourse under a nobleman, though you never saw him but riding to the star-chamber, it's all one. Love no man: trust no man: speak ill of no man to his face; nor well of any man behind his back. Salute fairly on the front, and wish them hanged upon the turn. Spread yourself upon his bosom publicly, whose heart you would eat in private. These be principles, think on them; I'll come to you again presently.
PUNT. [TO HIS SERVANT.] Sirrah, keep close; yet not so close: thy breath will thaw my ruff.
SOG. O, good cousin, I am a little busy, how does my niece? I am to walk with a knight, here.
ENTER FUNGOSO WITH HIS TAILOR.
TAI. What, he in the blush-coloured satin?
FUNG. Ay, he, sir; though his suit blush, he blushes not, look you, that's the suit, sir: I would have mine such a suit without difference, such stuff, such a wing, such a sleeve, such a skirt, belly and all; therefore, pray you observe it. Have you a pair of tables?
FAST. Why, do you see, sir, they say I am fantastical; why, true, I know it, and I pursue my humour still, in contempt of this censorious age. 'Slight, an a man should do nothing but what a sort of stale judgments about him this town will approve in him, he were a sweet ass: I'd beg him, i'faith. I ne'er knew any more find fault with a fashion, than they that knew not how to put themselves into it. For mine own part, so I please mine own appetite, I am careless what the fusty world speaks of me. Puh!
FUNG. Do you mark, how it hangs at the knee there?
TAI. I warrant you, sir.
FUNG. For God's sake do, not all; do you see the collar, sir?
TAI. Fear nothing, it shall not differ in a stitch, sir.
FUNG. Pray heaven it do not! you'll make these linings serve, and help me to a chapman for the outside, will you?
TAI. I'll do my best, sir: you'll put it off presently.
FUNG. Ay, go with me to my chamber you shall have it -- but make haste of it, for the love of a customer; for I'll sit in my old suit, or else lie a bed, and read the 'Arcadia' till you have done.
FAST. Where? where?
PUNT. What is he for a creature?
CAR. A pimp, a pimp, that I have observed yonder, the rarest superficies of a humour; he comes every morning to empty his lungs in Paul's here; and offers up some five or six hecatombs of faces and sighs, and away again. Here he comes; nay, walk, walk, be not seen to note him, and we shall have excellent sport.
ENTER SHIFT; AND WALKS BY, USING ACTION TO HIS RAPIER.
CAR. O, you shall have him give a number of those false fires ere he depart.
FAST. See, now he is expostulating with his rapier: look, look!
CAR. Did you ever in your days observe better passion over a hilt?
PUNT. Except it were in the person of a cutlet's boy, or that the fellow were nothing but vapour, I should think it impossible.
CAR. See again, he claps his sword o' the head, as who should say, well, go to.
FAST. O violence! I wonder the blade can contain itself, being so provoked.
CAR. "With that the moody squire thumpt his breast, And rear'd his eyen to heaven for revenge."
SOG. Troth, an you be good gentlemen, let's make them friends, and take up the matter between his rapier and him.
CAR. Nay, if you intend that, you must lay down the matter; for this rapier, it seems, is in the nature of a hanger-on, and the good gentleman would happily be rid of him.
FAST. By my faith, and 'tis to be suspected; I'll ask him.
MACI. O, here's rich stuff! for life's sake, let us go:
SHIFT. At your service.
FAST. Will you sell your rapier?
CAR. He is turn'd wild upon the question; he looks as he had seen a serjeant.
SHIFT. Sell my rapier! now fate bless me!
SHIFT. You ask'd me if I would sell my rapier, sir?
FAST. I did indeed.
SHIFT. Now, lord have mercy upon me!
PUNT. Amen, I say still.
SHIFT. 'Slid, sir, what should you behold in my face, sir, that should move you, as they say, sir, to ask me, sir, if I would sell my rapier?
FAST. Nay, let me pray you sir, be not moved: I protest, I would rather have been silent, than any way offensive, had I known your nature.
SHIFT. Sell my rapier? 'ods lid! -- Nay, sir, for mine own part, as I am a man that has serv'd in causes, or so, so I am not apt to injure any gentleman in the degree of falling foul, but -- sell my rapier! I will tell you, sir, I have served with this foolish rapier, where some of us dare not appear in haste; I name no man; but let that pass. Sell my rapier! -- death to my lungs! This rapier, sir, has travell'd by my side, sir, the best part of France, and the Low Country: I have seen Flushing, Brill, and the Hague, with this rapier, sir, in my Lord of Leicester's time; and by God's will, he that should offer to disrapier me now, I would -- Look you, sir, you presume to be a gentleman of sort, and so likewise your friends here; if you have any disposition to travel for the sight of service, or so, one, two, or all of you, I can lend you letters to divers officers and commanders in the Low Countries, that shall for my cause do you all the good offices, that shall pertain or belong to gentleman of your ---- [LOWERING HIS VOICE.] Please you to shew the bounty of your mind, sir, to impart some ten groats, or half a crown to our use, till our ability be of growth to return it, and we shall think oneself ---- 'Sblood! sell my rapier!
SOG. I pray you, what said he, signior? he's a proper man.
FAST. Marry, he tells me, if I please to shew the bounty of my mind, to impart some ten groats to his use, or so --
PUNT. Break his head, and give it him.
CAR. I thought he had been playing o' the Jew's trump, I.
SHIFT. My rapier! no, sir; my rapier is my guard, my defence, my revenue, my honour; -- if you cannot impart, be secret, I beseech you -- and I will maintain it, where there is a grain of dust, or a drop of water. [SIGHS.] Hard is the choice when the valiant must eat their arms, or clem. Sell my rapier! no, my dear, I will not be divorced from thee, yet; I have ever found thee true as steel, and -- You cannot impart, sir? -- Save you, gentlemen; -- nevertheless, if you have a fancy to it, sir --
FAST. Prithee away: Is signior Deliro departed?
CAR. Have you seen a pimp outface his own wants better?
SOG. I commend him that can dissemble them so well.
PUNT. True, and having no better a cloak for it than he has neither.
FAST. Od's precious, what mischievous luck is this! adieu, gentlemen.
PUNT. Whither in such haste, monsieur Fastidious?
FAST. After my merchant, signior Deliro, sir. [EXIT.
CAR. O hinder him not, he may hap lose his title; a good flounder, i'faith.
CAR. How! signior Whiffe?
ORANGE. What was the difference between that gallant that's gone and you, sir?
SHIFT. No difference; he would have given me five pound for my rapier, and
CLOVE. O, was it no otherwise? we thought you had been upon some terms.
SHIFT. No other than you saw, sir.
CLOVE. Adieu, good master Apple-John.
CAR. How! Whiffe, and Apple-John too? Heart, what will you say if this be the appendix or label to both you indentures?
PUNT. It may be.
CAR. Resolve us of it, Janus, thou that look'st every way; or thou, Hercules, that has travelled all countries.
PUNT. Nay, Carlo, spend not time in invocations now, 'tis late.
CAR. Signior, here's a gentleman desirous of your name, sir.
SHIFT. Sir, my name is cavalier Shift: I am known sufficiently in this walk, sir.
CAR. Shift! I heard your name varied even now, as I take it.
SHIFT. True, sir, it pleases the world, as I am her excellent tobacconist, to give me the style of signior Whiffe; as I am a poor esquire about the town here, they call me master Apple-John. Variety of good names does well, sir.
CAR. Ay, and good parts, to make those good names; out of which I imagine yon bills to be yours.
SHIFT. Sir, if I should deny the manuscripts, I were worthy to be banish'd the middle aisle for ever.
CAR. I take your word, sir: this gentleman has subscribed to them, and is most desirous to become your pupil. Marry, you must use expedition. Signior Insulso Sogliardo, this is the professor.
SOG. In good time, sir: nay, good sir, house your head; do you profess these sleights in tobacco?
SHIFT. I do more than profess, sir, and, if you please to be a practitioner, I will undertake in one fortnight to bring you, that you shall take it plausibly in any ordinary, theatre, or the Tilt-yard, if need be, in the most popular assembly that is.
PUNT. But you cannot bring him to the whiffe so soon?
SHIFT. Yes, as soon, sir; he shall receive the first, second, and third whiffe, if it please him, and, upon the receipt, take his horse, drink his three cups of canary, and expose one at Hounslow, a second at Stains, and a third at Bagshot.
SOG. You will not serve me, sir, will you? I'll give you more than countenance.
SHIFT. Pardon me, sir, I do scorn to serve any man.
CAR. Who! he serve? 'sblood, he keeps high men, and low men, he! he has a fair living at Fullam.
SHIFT. But in the nature of a fellow, I'll be your follower, if you please.
SOG. Sir, you shall stay, and dine with me, and if we can agree, we'll not part in haste: I am very bountiful to men of quality. Where shall we go, signior?
PUNT. Your Mitre is your best house.
SHIFT. I can make this dog take as many whiffes as I list, and he shall retain, or effume them, at my pleasure.
PUNT. By your patience, follow me, fellows.
SOG. Sir Puntarvolo!
PUNT. Pardon me, my dog shall not eat in his company for a million.
CAR. Nay, be not you amazed, signior Whiffe, whatever that stiff-necked gentleman says.
SOG. No, for you do not know the humour of the dog, as we do: Where shall we dine, Carlo? I would fain go to one of these ordinaries, now I am a gentleman.
CAR. So you may; were you never at any yet?
SOG. No, faith; but they say there resorts your most choice gallants.
CAR. True, and the fashion is, when any stranger comes in amongst 'em, they all stand up and stare at him, as he were some unknown beast, brought out of Africk; but that will be helped with a good adventurous face. You must be impudent enough, sit down, and use no respect: when anything's propounded above your capacity smile at it, make two or three faces, and 'tis excellent; they'll think you have travell'd; though you argue, a whole day, in silence thus, and discourse in nothing but laughter, 'twill pass. Only, now and then, give fire, discharge a good full oath, and offer a great wager; 'twill be admirable.
SOG. I warrant you, I am resolute; come, good signior, there's a poor French crown for your ordinary.
SHIFT. It comes well, for I had not so much as the least portcullis of coin before.
MIT. I travail with another objection, signior, which I fear will be enforced against the author, ere I can be deliver'd of it.
COR. What's that sir?
MIT. That the argument of his comedy might have been of some other nature, as of a duke to be in love with a countess, and that countess to be in love with the duke's son, and the son to love the lady's waiting maid; some such cross wooing, with a clown to their servingman, better than to be thus near, and familiarly allied to the time.
COR. You say well, but I would fain hear one of these autumn-judgments define once, "Quid sit comoedia?" if he cannot, let him content himself with Cicero's definition, till he have strength to propose to himself a better, who would have a comedy to be 'imitatio vitae, speculum consuetudinis, imago veritatis'; a thing throughout pleasant and ridiculous, and accommodated to the correction of manners: if the maker have fail'd in any particle of this, they may worthily tax him; but if not, why -- be you, that are for them, silent, as I will be for him; and give way to the actors.
SCENE II. -- THE COUNTRY.
ENTER SORDIDO, WITH A HALTER ABOUT HIS NECK.
SORD. Nay, God's precious, if the weather and season be so respectless, that beggars shall live as well as their betters; and that my hunger and thirst for riches shall not make them hunger and thirst with poverty; that my sleep shall be broken, and their hearts not broken; that my coffers shall be full, and yet care; their's empty, and yet merry; -- 'tis time that a cross should bear flesh and blood, since flesh and blood cannot bear this cross.
MIT. What, will he hang himself?
COR. Faith, ay; it seems his prognostication has not kept touch with him, and that makes him despair.
MIT. Beshrew me, he will be 'out of his humour' then indeed.
SORD. Tut, these star-monger knaves, who would trust them? One says dark and rainy, when 'tis as clear as chrystal; another says, tempestuous blasts and storms, and 'twas as calm as a milk-bowl; here be sweet rascals for a man to credit his whole fortunes with! You sky-staring coxcombs you, you fat-brains, out upon you; you are good for nothing but to sweat night-caps, and make rug-gowns dear! you learned men, and have not a legion of devils 'a votre service! a votre service!' by heaven, I think I shall die a better scholar than they: but soft --
HIND. Here's a letter come from your son, sir.
SORD. From my son, sir! what would my son, sir? some good news, no doubt.
ENTER FIVE OR SIX RUSTICS, ONE AFTER ANOTHER.
1 RUST. Ah me, what pitiful sight is this! help, help, help!
2 RUST. How now! what's the matter?
1 RUST. O, here's a man has hang'd himself, help to get him again.
2 RUST. Hang'd himself! 'Slid, carry him afore a justice, 'tis chance-medley, o' my word.
3 RUST. How now, what's here to do?
4 RUST. How comes this?
2 RUST. One has executed himself, contrary to order of law, and by my consent he shall answer it.
5 RUST. Would he were in case to answer it!
1 RUST. Stand by, he recovers, give him breath.
5 RUST. Mass, 'twas well you went the footway, neighbour.
1 RUST. Ay, an I had not cut the halter --
SORD. How! cut the halter! ah me, I am undone, I am undone!
2 RUST. Marry, if you had not been undone, you had been hang'd. I can tell you.
SORD. You thread-bare, horse-bread-eating rascals, if you would needs have been meddling, could you not have untied it, but you must cut it; and in the midst too! ah me!
1 RUST. Out on me, 'tis the caterpillar Sordido! how curst are the poor, that the viper was blest with this good fortune!
2 RUST. Nay, how accurst art thou, that art cause to the curse of the poor?
3 RUST. Ay, and to save so wretched a caitiff?
4 RUST. Curst be thy fingers that loos'd him!
2 RUST. Some desperate fury possess thee, that thou may'st hang thyself too!
5 RUST. Never may'st thou be saved, that saved so damn'd a monster!
SORD. What curses breathe these men! how have my deeds
2 RUST. O miracle! see when a man has grace!
3 RUST. Had it not been pity so good a man should have been cast away?
2 RUST. Well, I'll get our clerk put his conversion in the 'Acts and Monuments'.
4 RUST. Do, for I warrant him he's a martyr.
2 RUST. O God, how he wept, if you mark'd it! did you see how the tears trill'd?
5 RUST. Yes, believe me, like master vicar's bowls upon the green, for all the world.
3 RUST. O neighbour, God's blessing o' your heart, neighbour, 'twas a good grateful deed.
COR. How now, Mitis! what's that you consider so seriously?
MIT. Troth, that which doth essentially please me, the warping condition of this green and soggy multitude; but in good faith, signior, your author hath largely outstript my expectation in this scene, I will liberally confess it. For when I saw Sordido so desperately intended, I thought I had had a hand of him, then.
COR. What! you supposed he should have hung himself indeed?
MIT. I did, and had framed my objection to it ready, which may yet be very fitly urged, and with some necessity; for though his purposed violence lost the effect, and extended not to death, yet the intent and horror of the object was more than the nature of a comedy will in any sort admit.
COR. Ay! what think you of Plautus, in his comedy called 'Cistellaria'? there, where he brings in Alcesimarchus with a drum sword ready to kill himself, and as he is e'en fixing his breast upon it, to be restrained from his resolved outrage, by Silenium and the bawd? Is not his authority of power to give our scene approbation?
MIT. Sir, I have this only evasion left me, to say, I think it be so indeed; your memory is happier than mine: but I wonder, what engine he will use to bring the rest out of their humours!
COR. That will appear anon, never pre-occupy your imagination withal. Let your mind keep company with the scene still, which now removes itself from the country to the court. Here comes Macilente, and signior Brisk freshly suited; lose not yourself, for now the epitasis, or busy part of our subject, is an act.
SCENE III. -- AN APARTMENT AT THE COURT
ENTER MACILENTE, FASTIDIOUS, BOTH IN A NEW SUIT, AND CINEDO, WITH TOBACCO.
FAST. Well, now signior Macilente, you are not only welcome to the court, but also to my mistress's withdrawing chamber -- Boy, get me some tobacco. I'll but go in, and shew I am here, and come to you presently, sir.
MACI. What's that he said? by heaven, I mark'd him not:
CIN. Ay, sir.
FAST. Give me; my mistress is upon coming, you shall see her presently, sir. [PUFFS.] You'll say you never accosted a more piercing wit. -- This tobacco is not dried, boy, or else the pipe is defective. -- Oh, your wits of Italy are nothing comparable to her: her brain's a very quiver of jests, and she does dart them abroad with that sweet, loose, and judicial aim, that you would -- here she comes, sir. [SAVIOLINA LOOKS IN, AND DRAWS BACK AGAIN.
MACI. 'Twas time, his invention had been bogged else.
SAV. [WITHIN.] Give me my fan there.
MACI. How now, monsieur Brisk?
FAST. A kind of affectionate reverence strikes me with a cold shivering, methinks.
MACI. I like such tempers well, as stand before their mistresses with fear and trembling; and before their Maker, like impudent mountains!
FAST. By this hand, I'd spend twenty pound my vaulting horse stood here now, she might see do but one trick.
MACI. Why, does she love activity?
CIN. Or, if you had but your long stockings on, to be dancing a galliard as she comes by.
FAST. Ay, either. O, these stirring humours make ladies mad with desire; she comes. My good genius embolden me: boy, the pipe quickly.
FAST. A second good morrow to my fair mistress.
SAV. Fair servant, I'll thank you a day hence, when the date of your salutation comes forth.
FAST. How like you that answer? is't not admirable?
MACI. I were a simple courtier, if I could not admire trifles, sir.
FAST. [TALKS AND TAKES TOBACCO BETWEEN THE BREAKS.] Troth, sweet lady, I shall [PUFFS] -- be prepared to give you thanks for those thanks, and --
MACI. I never knew tobacco taken as a parenthesis before.
FAST. 'Fore God, sweet lady, believe it, I do honour the meanest rush in this chamber for your love.
SAV. Ay, you need not tell me that, sir; I do think you do prize a rush before my love.
MACI. Is this the wonder of nations!
FAST. O, by this air, pardon me, I said 'for' your love, by this light: but it is the accustomed sharpness of your ingenuity, sweet mistress, to
MACI. Ingenuity! I see his ignorance will not suffer him to slander her, which he had done notably, if he had said wit for ingenuity, as he meant it.
FAST. By the soul of music, lady -- HUM, HUM.
SAV. Would we might hear it once.
FAST. I do more adore and admire your -- HUM, HUM -- predominant perfections, than -- HUM, HUM -- ever I shall have power and faculty to express -- HUM.
SAV. Upon the viol de gambo, you mean?
FAST. It's miserably out of tune, by this hand.
SAV. Nay, rather by the fingers.
MACI. It makes good harmony with her wit.
FAST. Sweet lady, tune it. [SAVIOLINA TUNES THE VIOL.] -- Boy, some tobacco.
MACI. Tobacco again! he does court his mistress with very exceeding good changes.
FAST. Signior Macilente, you take none, sir?
MACI. No, unless I had a mistress, signior, it were a great indecorum for me to take tobacco.
FAST. How like you her wit?
MACI. Her ingenuity is excellent, sir.
FAST. You see the subject of her sweet fingers there -- Oh, she tickles it so, that -- She makes it laugh most divinely; -- I'll tell you a good jest now, and yourself shall say it's a good one: I have wished myself to be that instrument, I think, a thousand times, and not so few, by heaven! --
MACI. Not unlike, sir; but how? to be cased up and hung by on the wall?
FAST. O, no, sir, to be in use, I assure you; as your judicious eyes may testify. --
SAV. Here, servant, if you will play, come.
FAST. Instantly, sweet lady. -- In good faith, here's most divine tobacco!
SAV. Nay, I cannot stay to dance after your pipe.
FAST. Good! Nay, dear lady, stay; by this sweet smoke, I think your wit be all fire. --
MACI. And he's the salamander belongs to it.
SAV. Is your tobacco perfumed, servant, that you swear by the sweet smoke?
FAST. Still more excellent! Before heaven, and these bright lights, I think -- you are made of ingenuity, I --
MACI. True, as your discourse is. O abominable!
FAST. Will your ladyship take any?
SAV. O peace, I pray you; I love not the breath of a woodcock's head.
FAST. Meaning my head, lady?
SAV. Not altogether so, sir; but, as it were fatal to their follies that think to grace themselves with taking tobacco, when they want better entertainment, you see your pipe bears the true form of a woodcock's head.
FAST. O admirable simile!
AV. 'Tis best leaving of you in admiration, sir.
MACI. Are these the admired lady-wits, that having so good a plain song, can run no better division upon it? All her jests are of the stamp March was fifteen years ago. Is this the comet, monsieur Fastidious, that your gallants wonder at so?
FAST. Heart of a gentleman, to neglect me afore the presence thus! Sweet sir, I beseech you be silent in my disgrace. By the muses, I was never in so vile a humour in my life, and her wit was at the flood too! Report it not for a million, good sir: let me be so far endeared to your love.
MIT. What follows next, signior Cordatus? this gallant's humour is almost spent; methinks it ebbs apace, with this contrary breath of his mistress.
COR. O, but it will flow again for all this, till there come a general drought of humour among our actors, and then I fear not but his will fall as low as any. See who presents himself here!
MIT. What, in the old case?
COR. Ay, faith, which makes it the more pitiful; you understand where the scene is?