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O, that a mighty man of such descent,
Of such possessions, and so 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 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.
2 Serv. O, this it is that makes your servants droop.
Lord. Hence comes it that your kindred shun your

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 music? Hark! Apollo plays,


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 trimmed up for Semiramis.

Say, thou wilt walk? we will bestrew the ground.
Or wilt thou ride? Thy horses shall be trapped,
Their harness studded all with gold and pearl.
Dost thou love hawking? Thou hast hawks will soar
Above the morning lark. Or wilt thou hunt?

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,
And fetch shrill echoes from the hollow earth.

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;
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 surprised,
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 thee,
Like envious floods, o'erran her lovely face,
She was the fairest creature in the world;
And yet she is inferior to none.

Sly. Am I a lord, and have I such a lady?
Or do I dream? Or have I dreamed till now?
I do not sleep; I see, I hear, I speak ;

I smell sweet savors, and I feel soft things:-
Upon my life, I am a lord, indeed;

And not a tinker, nor Christophero Sly.-
Well, bring our lady hither to our sight;
And once again, a pot o'the smallest ale.

2 Serv. Will't please your mightiness to wash your


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[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.-
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,2
Because she brought stone jugs and no sealed 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

Nor no such men as you have reckoned up,-
As Stephen Sly, and old John Naps of Greece,3
And Peter Turf, and Henry Pimpernell;

And twenty more such names and men as these,
Which never were, nor no man ever saw.

Sly. Now, Lord be thanked for my good amends!
All. Amen.

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?
and will not call me-

My men should call me-lord; I am your goodman.
Page. My husband and my lord, my lord and


I am your wife in all obedience.

Sly. I know it well.-What must I call her?
Lord. Madam.

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.

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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.
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 charged,
In peril to incur your former malady,
That I should yet absent me from your bed.
I hope this reason stands for my excuse.

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.


Luc. Tranio, since-for the great desire I had
To see fair Padua, nursery of arts-
I am arrived for fruitful Lombardy,
The pleasant garden of great Italy;
And, y my father's love and leave, am armed
With his good will, and thy good company,
Most trusty servant, well approved in all;
Here let us breathe, and happily institute
A course of learning, and ingenious1 studies.
Pisa, renowned for grave citizens,
Gave me my being, and my father first,
A merchant of great traffic through the world,
Vincentio, come of the Bentivolii.
Vincentio's son, brought up in Florence,
It shall become, to serve all hopes conceived,2
To deck his fortune with his virtuous deeds:
And therefore, Tranio, for the time I study,
Virtue, and that part of philosophy
Will I apply, that treats of happiness
By virtue 'specially to be achieved.
Tell me thy mind; for I have Pisa left,
And am to Padua come; as he that leaves
A shallow plash, to plunge him in the deep,
And with satiety seeks to quench his thirst.

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.

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