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2 Play. So please your lordship to accept our
ber, Since once he play'd a farmer's eldest son ;'Twas where you woo'd the gentlewoman so well: I have forgot your name; but, sure, that part Was aptly fitted, and naturally perform’d. i Play. I think, 'twas Soto, that your honour
means. Lord. 'Tis very true;thou didst it excellent.Well, you are come to me in happy time; The rather for I have some sport in hand, Wherein your cunning can assist me much. There is a lord will hear you play to-night: But I am doubtful of your modesties; Lest, over-eying of his odd behaviour, (For yet his honour never heard a play,) You break into soine merry passion, And so offend him; for I tell If you should smile, he grows impatient. i Play. Fear not, my lord; we can contain our
selves, Were he the veriest antick in the world.
Lord. Go, sirrah, take them to the buttery,”
to accept our duty.] It was in those times the custom of players to travel in companies, and offer their service at great houses. Johnson.
take them to the buttery,] Mr. Pope had probably these words in his thoughts, when he wrote the following passage of his preface: “ the top of the profession were then mere players, not gentlemen of the stage; they were led into the buttery by the steward, not placed at the lord's table, or the lady's toilette." But he seems not to have observed, that the players here introduced are strollers: and there is no reason to suppose that our author, Heminge, Burbage, Condell, &c. who were licensed by King James, were treated in this manner. MALONE.
At the period when this comedy was written, and for many years after, the profession of a player was scarcely allowed to be
And give them friendly welcome every one:
Exeunt Servant and Players. Sirrah, go you to Bartholomew my page,
[To a Servant. And see him dress'd in all suits like a lady: That done, conduct him to the drunkard's chamber, And call him-madam, do him obeisance. Tell him from me, (as he will win my love,) He bear himself with honourable action, Such as he hath obsery'd in noble ladies Unto their lords, by them accomplished: Such duty to the drunkard let him do, With soft low tongue, and lowly courtesy; And say,—What is’t your honour will command, Wherein your lady, and your humble wife, May show her duty, and make known her love? And then with kind embracements, tempting
kisses, And with declining head into his bosom,Bid him shed tears, as being overjoy'd To see her noble lord restor'd to health, Who, for twice seven years, hath esteemed him 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, reputable. The imagined dignity of those who did not belong to itinerant companies, is, therefore, unworthy consideration. I can as easily believe that the blundering editors of the first folio were suffered to lean their hands on Queen Elizabeth's chair of state, as that they were admitted to the table of the Earl of Leicester, or the toilette of Lady Hunsdon. Like Stephen in Every Man in his Humour, the greatest indulgence our histrionic leaders could have expected, would have been “ a trencher and a napkin in the buttery." STEEVENS.
Ăn onion-] It is not unlikely that the onion was an expedient used by the actors of interludes.
Shall in despite enforce a watery eye.
laughter, When they do homage to this simple peasant. l'll in to counsel them: haply, my presence May well abate the over-merry spleen, Which otherwise would grow into extremes.
A Bedchamber in the Lord's House.
Sly is discovered in a rich night gown, with At
tendants; some with apparel, others with bason, ewer, and other appurtenances. Enter Lord, dressed like a Servant,
Sly. For God's sake, a pot of small ale. i Serv. 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
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 stock
ings than legs, nor no more shoes than feet; nay, sometimes, more feet than shoes, or such shoes as my toes look through the overleather. Lord. Heaven cease this idle humour in
honour! 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 alewife of Wincot, if she know me not: if she say 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
i 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.
3- 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: