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ings than legs, nor no more shoes than feet; nay,
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 alewife of Wincot, if she know me not: if she say I am not fourteen pence on the score for sheer ale, score me up for the lyingest knave in Christendom. What, I am not bestraught:5 Here's
1 Serv. O, 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,
of Burton-heath;--Marian Hacket the fat ale-wife of Wincot,] I suspect we should read — Barton-heath. Barton and Woodmancot, or, as it is vulgarly pronounced, Woncot, are both of them in Gloucestershire, near the residence of Shakspeare's old enemy, Justice Shallow. Very probably too, this fat ale-wife might be a real character. STEEVENS.
- I am not bestraught:) Bestraught seems to have been synonymous to distraught or distracted.
And twenty caged nightingales do sing:
Above the morning lark: Or wilt thou hunt?
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: 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: Thou hast a lady far more beautiful Than any woman in this waning age. 1 Serv. And, till the tears that she hath shed for
Sly. Am I a lord? and have I such a lady
2 Serv. Will't please your mightiness to wash
[Servants present an 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 fay, a goodly nap. But did I never speak of all that time?
1 Serv. O, yes, my lord; but very idle words:For though you lay here in this goodly chamber, Yet would you say, ye were beaten out of door; And rail upon the hostess of the house; And say, you would present her at the leet, Because she brought stone jugs and no seala quarts: Sometimes you would call out for Cicely Hacket.
Sly. Ay, the woman's maid of the house.
Sly. Now, Lord be thanked for my good amends!
- leet,) At the Court-leet, or courts of the manor.
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; What is thy will with
her ? Sly. Are you my wife, and will not call me
husband? My men should call me-lord; I am your goodman. Page. My husband and my lord, my lord and
Sly. I know it well:—What must I call her?
ladies. Sly. Madam wife, they say that I have dream'd,
and slept Above some fifteen
and more. Page. Ay, and the time seems thirty unto me; Being all this time abandon'd from your bed. Sly. 'Tis much;
Servants, leave me and her alone. Madam, undress you, and come now to bed.
Page. Thrice noble lord, let me entreat of you, To pardon me yet for a night or two; Or, if not so, until the sun be set: For your physicians have expressly charg’d, In peril to incur your former malady, That I should yet absent me from I hope, this reason stands for my excuse.
sly. Ay, it stands so, that I may hardly tarry so long. But I would be loth to fall into my dreams again; I will therefore tarry, in despite of the flesh and the blood.
Enter a Servant. Serv. Your honour's players, hearing your amend
ment, Are come to play a pleasant comedy, For so your doctors hold it very meet; Seeing too much sadness hath congeal'd 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 commonty a Christmas gambol, or a tumblingtrick ?? Page. No, my good lord; it is more pleasing
stuff. Sly. What, houshold 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.
? Is not a commonty a Christmas gambol, or a tumbling trick ?] Thus the old copies; the modern ones readIt is not a commodity, &c. Commonty for comedy, &c. STEEVENS.
In the old play the players themselves use the word commodity corruptly for a comedy.' BlacksTONE.