Part 1 out of 10
A SELECT COLLECTION OF OLD ENGLISH PLAYS, VOL. VIII
Originally published by Robert Dodsley in the Year 1744.
Now first chronologically arranged, revised and enlarged with the Notes
of all the Commentators, and new Notes
W. CAREW HAZLITT
Summer's Last Will and Testament
The Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntington
The Death of Robert Earl of Huntington
Contention between Liberality and Prodigality
Grim the Collier of Croydon.
SUMMER'S LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT.
_A pleasant Comedie, called Summer's last will and Testament. Written
by Thomas Nash. Imprinted at London by Simon Stafford, for Water Burre_.
[Thomas Nash, son of William Nash, minister, and Margaret his wife, was
baptized at Lowestoft, in Suffolk, in November 1567. He was admitted
a scholar at St John's College, Cambridge, on the Lady Margaret's
foundation, in 1584, and proceeded B.A. in 1585:] the following is a
copy of the Register:--
"Tho. Nashe Coll. Joh. Cantab. A.B. ib. 1585." The place, though not
the time, of his birth we have under his own authority, for in his
"Lenten Stuff," printed in 1599, he informs us that he was born at
Lowestoft; and he leads us to conclude that his family was of some note,
by adding that his "father sprang from the Nashes of Herefordshire."
It does not appear that Nash ever proceeded Master of Arts at Cambridge,
and most of his biographers agree that he left his college about 1587.
It is evident, however, that he had got into disgrace, and probably was
expelled; for the author of "England to her three Daughters" in
"Polimanteia," 1595, speaking of Harvey and Nash, and the pending
quarrel between them, uses these terms: "Cambridge make thy two children
friends: _thou hast been unkind to the one to wean him before his time_,
and too fond upon the other to keep him so long without preferment: the
one is ancient and of much reading; the other is young, but full of
wit." The cause of his disgrace is reported to have been the share he
took in a piece called "Terminus et non Terminus," not now extant; and
it is not denied that his partner in this offence was expelled. Most
likely, therefore, Nash suffered the same punishment.
If Nash be the author of "An Almond for a Parrot," of which there is
little doubt, although his name is not affixed to it, he travelled in
Italy; and we find from another of his pieces that he had been in
Ireland. Perhaps he went abroad soon after he abandoned Cambridge, and
before he settled in London and became an author. His first appearance
in this character seems to have been in 1589, and we believe the
earliest date of any tract attributed to him relating to Martin
Marprelate is also 1589. He was the first, as has been frequently
remarked, to attack this enemy of the Church with the keen missiles of
wit and satire, throwing aside the lumbering and unserviceable weapons
of scholastic controversy. Having set the example in this respect, he
had many followers and imitators, and among them John Lily, the dramatic
poet, the author of "Pap with a Hatchet."
In London Nash became acquainted with Robert Greene, and their
friendship drew him into a long literary contest with Gabriel Harvey, to
which Nash owes much of his reputation. It arose out of the posthumous
attack of Harvey upon Robert Greene, of which sufficient mention has
been made elsewhere. Nash replied on behalf of his dead companion, and
reiterated the charge which had given the original offence to Harvey,
viz., that his brother was the son of a ropemaker. One piece was
humorously dedicated to Richard Litchfield, a barber of Cambridge, and
Harvey answered it under the assumed character of the same barber, in a
tract called "The Trimmino of Thomas Nash," which also contained a
woodcut of a man in fetters. This representation referred to the
imprisonment of Nash for an offence he gave by writing a play (not now
extant) called "The Isle of Dogs," and to this event Francis Meres
alludes in his "Palladia Tamia," 1598, in these terms: "As Actaeon was
worried of his own hounds, so is Tom Nash of his 'Isle of Dogs.' Dogs
were the death of Euripides; but be not disconsolate, gallant young
Juvenal; Linus, the son of Apollo, died the same death. Yet God forbid,
that so brave a wit should so basely perish!--Thine are but paper dogs;
neither is thy banishment like Ovid's eternally to converse with the
barbarous _Getes_. Therefore comfort thyself, sweet Tom, with Cicero's
glorious return to Rome, and with the council Aeneas gives to his
sea-beaten soldiers." Lib. I. Aeneid.
"Pluck up thine heart, and drive from thence both fear and care away:
To think on this may pleasure be, perhaps, another day."
--_Durato, et temet rebus servato secundis_. (fol. 286.)
This was in part verified in the next year, for when Nash published his
"Lenten Stuff," he referred with apparent satisfaction to his past
troubles in consequence of his "Isle of Dogs."
So much has been said, especially by Mr D'Israeli in his "Quarrels of
Authors," on the subject of this dispute between Nash and Harvey, that
it is unnecessary to add anything, excepting that it was carried to such
a length, and the pamphlets contained so much scurrility, that it was
ordered from authority in 1599 that all the tracts on both sides should
be seized and suppressed.
As with Greene, so with Nash, an opinion on his moral conduct and
general deportment has been too readily formed from the assertions of
his opponents; and because Gabriel Harvey, to answer a particular
purpose, states, "You may be in one prison to-day and in another
to-morrow," it has been taken for granted, that "after his arrival in
London, he was often confined in different jails." No doubt, he and his
companions Greene, Marlowe, and Peele, led very disorderly lives, and it
is singular that all four died prematurely, the oldest of them probably
not being forty years of age. It is certain that Nash was not living at
the time when the "Return from Parnassus" was produced, which, though
not printed until 1606, was written before the end of the reign of
Elizabeth: his ashes are there spoken of as at rest, but the mention of
him as dead, nearest to the probable date of that event, is to be found
in [Fitzgeoffrey's "Affaniae," 1601, where an epitaph upon him is
printed. His name also occurs in] an anonymous poem, under the title of
"The Ant and the Nightingale, or Father Hubbard's Tales," 1604, where
the following stanza is met with--
"Or if in bitterness thou rail like Nash:
Forgive me, honest soul, that term thy phrase
_Railing_; for in thy works thou wert not rash,
Nor didst affect in youth thy private praise.
Thou hadst a strife with that Tergemini;
Thou hurt'dst them not till they had injured thee."
The author of a MS. epitaph, in "Bibl. Sloan," Pl. XXI. A. was not so
squeamish in the language he employed--
"Here lies Tom Nash, that notable _railer_,
That in his life ne'er paid shoemaker nor tailor."
The following from Thomas Freeman's Epigrams, 1614, is not out of its
OF THOMAS NASH.
"Nash, had Lycambes on earth living been
The time thou wast, his death had been all one;
Had he but mov'd thy tartest Muse to spleen
Unto the fork he had as surely gone:
For why? there lived not that man, I think,
Us'd better or more bitter gall in ink."
It is impossible in the present day to attempt anything like a correct
list of the productions of Nash, many of which were unquestionably
printed without his name: the titles of and quotations from a great
number may be found in the various bibliographical miscellanies, easily
accessible. When he began to write cannot be ascertained, but it was
most likely soon after his return from the Continent, and the dispute
between John Penry and the Bishops seems then to have engaged his
pen. There is one considerable pamphlet by him, called "Christ's
Tears over Jerusalem," printed in 1593, which, like some of the tracts
by Greene, is of a repentant and religious character; and it has been
said that, though published with his name, it was not in fact his
production. There is no sufficient ground for this supposition, and Nash
never subsequently disowned the performance: the address "To the Reader"
contains an apology to Gabriel Harvey for the attack upon him, in terms
that seem to vouch for their own sincerity. "Nothing (says Nash) is
there now so much in my vows as to be at peace with all men, and make
submissive amends where I most displeased; not basely fear-blasted, or
constraintively overruled, but purely pacificatory: suppliant for
reconciliation and pardon do I sue to the principallest of them 'gainst
whom I professed utter enmity; even of Master Doctor Harvey I heartily
desire the like, whose fame and reputation (through some precedent
injurious provocations and fervent excitements of young heads) I rashly
assailed: yet now better advised, and of his perfections more
confirmedly persuaded, unfeignedly I entreat of the whole world from my
pen his worth may receive no impeachment. All acknowledgments of
abundant scholarship, courteous, well-governed behaviour, and ripe,
experienced judgment do I attribute to him."
We have already seen with what malignity Harvey trampled upon the corpse
of Greene, and he received this apology of Nash in a corresponding
spirit; for instead of accepting it, in his "New Letter of Notable
Contents," 1593, he rejects it with scorn: "Riotous vanity (he replies)
was wont to root so deeply that it could hardly be unrooted; and where
reckless impudency taketh possession, it useth not very hastily to be
dispossessed. What say you to a spring of rankest villainy in February,
and a harvest of ripest divinity in May? But what should we hereafter
talk any more of paradoxes or impossibilities, when he that penned the
most desperate and abominable pamphlet of 'Strange News,' and disgorged
his stomach of as poisonous rancour as ever was vomited in print, within
few months is won, or charmed, or enchanted, (or what metamorphosis
should I term it?) to astonish carnal minds with spiritual
meditations," &c. Such a reception of well-intended and
eloquently-written amends was enough to make Nash repent even his
repentance, as far as Gabriel Harvey was concerned.
Of the popularity of Nash as a writer some notion may be formed from a
fact he himself mentions in his "Have with you to Saffron Walden," that
between 1592, when his "Pierce Penniless, his Supplication to the Devil"
was first printed, and 1596 it "passed through the pikes of at least six
impressions." How long his reputation as a satirist survived him may be
judged from the fact that in 1640 Taylor the Water Poet published a
tract, which had for its second title "Tom Nash, his Ghost (the old
Martin queller), newly rouz'd:" and in _Mercurius Anti-pragmaticus_,
from Oct. 12 to Oct. 19, 1647, is the following passage: "Perhaps you
will be angry now, and when you steal forth disguised, in your next
intelligence thunder forth threatenings against me, and be as satirical
in your language as ever was your predecessor Nash, who compiled a
learned treatise in the praise of a red herring."
Only two plays in which Nash had any concern have come down to us: his
"Isle of Dogs," before noticed, was probably never printed, or at all
events it is not now known to exist. He wrote alone--
(1.) A pleasant Comedy called "Summer's Last Will and Testament."
In conjunction with Marlowe he produced--
(2.) "The Tragedy of Dido, Queen of Carthage," played by the children
of her Majesty's chapel. 1594. 4to.
Phillips, in his "Theatrum Poetarum," also assigned to Nash, "See me,
and see me not," a comedy, which may be a different play, and not, as
has been generally supposed, "Hans Beer Pot;" because, the name of the
author, Dawbridgecourt Belchier, being subscribed to the dedication,
such a mistake could not easily be made.
CHRISTMAS, | _Sons to WINTER_.
BOY _to speak the Epilogue_.
SUMMER'S LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT.
_Enter_ WILL SUMMER, _in his fool's coat
but half on, coming out_.
_Noctem peccatis et fraudibus objice nubem_. There is no such fine
time to play the knave in as the night. I am a goose or a ghost, at
least; for what with turmoil of getting my fool's apparel, and care of
being perfect, I am sure I have not yet supp'd to-night. Will Summer's
ghost I should be, come to present you with "Summer's Last Will and
Testament." Be it so; if my cousin Ned will lend me his chain and his
fiddle. Other stately-pac'd Prologues use to attire themselves within: I
that have a toy in my head more than ordinary, and use to go without
money, without garters, without girdle, without hat-band, without points
to my hose, without a knife to my dinner, and make so much use of this
word without in everything, will here dress me without. Dick
Huntley cries, Begin, begin: and all the whole house, For shame,
come away; when I had my things but now brought me out of the laundry.
God forgive me, I did not see my Lord before! I'll set a good face on
it, as though what I had talk'd idly all this while were my part. So it
is, _boni viri_, that one fool presents another; and I, a fool by nature
and by art, do speak to you in the person of the idiot of our
play-maker. He, like a fop and an ass, must be making himself a public
laughingstock, and have no thank for his labour; where other Magisterii,
whose invention is far more exquisite, are content to sit still and do
nothing. I'll show you what a scurvy Prologue he had made me, in an old
vein of similitudes: if you be good fellows, give it the hearing, that
you may judge of him thereafter.
At a solemn feast of the Triumviri in Rome, it was seen and observed
that the birds ceased to sing, and sat solitary on the housetops, by
reason of the sight of a painted serpent set openly to view. So fares it
with us novices, that here betray our imperfections: we, afraid to look
on the imaginary serpent of envy, painted in men's affections, have
ceased to tune any music of mirth to your ears this twelvemonth,
thinking that, as it is the nature of the serpent to hiss, so childhood
and ignorance would play the gosling, contemning and condemning what
they understood not. Their censures we weigh not, whose senses are not
yet unswaddled. The little minutes will be continually striking, though
no man regard them: whelps will bark before they can see, and strive to
bite before they have teeth. Politianus speaketh of a beast who, while
he is cut on the table, drinketh and represents the motions and voices
of a living creature. Such like foolish beasts are we who, whilst we are
cut, mocked, and flouted at, in every man's common talk, will
notwithstanding proceed to shame ourselves to make sport. No man
pleaseth all: we seek to please one. Didymus wrote four thousand books,
or (as some say) six-thousand, on the art of grammar. Our author hopes
it may be as lawful for him to write a thousand lines of as light a
subject. Socrates (whom the oracle pronounced the wisest man of Greece)
sometimes danced: Scipio and Laslius, by the sea-side, played at
peeble-stone: _Semel insanivimus omnes_. Every man cannot with
Archimedes make a heaven of brass, or dig gold out of the iron mines of
the law. Such odd trifles as mathematicians' experiments be artificial
flies to hang in the air by themselves, dancing balls, an egg-shell that
shall climb up to the top of a spear, fiery-breathing gores, _poeta
noster_ professeth not to make. _Placeat sibi quinque licebit_. What's a
fool but his bauble? Deep-reaching wits, here is no deep stream for you
to angle in. Moralisers, you that wrest a never-meant meaning out of
everything, applying all things to the present time, keep your attention
for the common stage; for here are no quips in characters for you to
read. Vain glosers, gather what you will; spite, spell backward what
thou canst. As the Parthians fight flying away, so will we prate and
talk, but stand to nothing that we say.
How say you, my masters? do you not laugh at him for a coxcomb? Why, he
hath made a prologue longer than his play: nay, 'tis no play neither,
but a show. I'll be sworn the jig of Rowland's godson is a giant in
comparison of it. What can be made of Summer's last will and testament!
Such another thing as Gyllian of Brentford's will, where she
bequeathed a score of farts amongst her friends. Forsooth, because the
plague reigns in most places in this latter end of summer, Summer
must come in sick; he must call his officers to account, yield his
throne to Autumn, make Winter his executor, with tittle-tattle Tom-boy.
God give you good night in Watling Street; I care not what you say now,
for I play no more than you hear; and some of that you heard too (by
your leave) was _extempore_. He were as good have let me had the best
part, for I'll be revenged on him to the uttermost, in this person of
Will Summer, which I have put on to play the prologue, and mean not to
put it off till the play be done. I'll sit as a chorus, and flout the
actors and him at the end of every scene. I know they will not interrupt
me, for fear of marring of all; but look to your cues, my masters, for I
intend to play the knave in cue, and put you besides all your parts, if
you take not the better heed. Actors, you rogues, come away; clear your
throats, blow your noses, and wipe your mouths ere you enter, that you
may take no occasion to spit or to cough, when you are _non plus_. And
this I bar, over and besides, that none of you stroke your beards to
make action, play with your cod-piece points, or stand fumbling on your
buttons, when you know not how to bestow your fingers. Serve God, and
act cleanly. A fit of mirth and an old song first, if you will.
_Enter_ SUMMER, _leaning on_ AUTUMN'S _and_ WINTER'S
_shoulders, and attended on with a train of Satyrs and
_Fair Summer droops, droop men and beasts therefore,
So fair a summer look for never more:
All good things vanish less than in a day,
Peace, plenty, pleasure, suddenly decay.
Go not yet away, bright soul of the sad year,
The earth is hell when thou, leav'st to appear.
What! shall those flowers that deck'd thy garland erst,
Upon thy grave be wastefully dispersed?
O trees, consume your sap in sorrow's source,
Streams turn to tears your tributary course.
Go not yet hence, bright soul of the sad year,
The earth is hell when thou leav'st to appear.
[The Satyrs and Wood-nymphs go out singing, and leave_
SUMMER _and_ WINTER _and_ AUTUMN _on the stage_.
WILL SUM. A couple of pretty boys, if they would wash their faces, and
were well breech'd in an hour or two. The rest of the green men
have reasonable voices, good to sing catches or the great _Jowben_ by
the fire's side in a winter's evening. But let us hear what Summer can
say for himself, why he should not be hiss'd at.
SUM. What pleasure always lasts? no joy endures:
Summer I am; I am not what I was;
Harvest and age have whiten'd my green head;
On Autumn now and Winter I must lean.
Needs must he fall, whom none but foes uphold,
Thus must the happiest man have his black day.
_Omnibus una manet nox, et calcanda semel via lethi_.
This month have I lain languishing a-bed,
Looking each hour to yield my life and throne;
And died I had indeed unto the earth,
But that Eliza, England's beauteous Queen,
On whom all seasons prosperously attend,
Forbad the execution of my fate,
Until her joyful progress was expir'd.
For her doth Summer live, and linger here,
And wisheth long to live to her content:
But wishes are not had, when they wish well:
I must depart, my death-day is set down;
To these two must I leave my wheaten crown.
So unto unthrifts rich men leave their lands,
Who in an hour consume long labour's gains.
True is it that divinest Sidney sung,
_0, he is marr'd, that is for others made_.
Come near, my friends, for I am near my end.
In presence of this honourable train,
Who love me, for I patronise their sports,
Mean I to make my final testament:
But first I'll call my officers to 'count,
And of the wealth I gave them to dispose,
Know what is left I may know what to give
Vertumnus, then, that turn'st the year about,
Summon them one by one to answer me.
First, Ver, the Spring, unto whose custody
I have committed more than to the rest;
The choice of all my fragrant meads and flowers,
And what delights soe'er nature affords.
VER. I will, my lord. Ver, lusty Ver, by the name of lusty Ver, come
into the court! lose a mark in issues.
_Enter_ VER, _with his train, overlaid with suits of
green moss, representing short grass, singing.
Spring, the sweet spring, is the year's pleasant king,
Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in ring,
Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing,
Cuckow, jug, jug, pu--we, to-wit, to-whoo.
The palm and may make country houses gay,
Lambs frisk and play, the shepherds pipe all day,
And hear we aye birds tune this merry lay,
Cuckow, jug, jug, pu--we, to-wit, to-whoo.
The fields breathe sweet, the daisies kiss our feet,
Young lovers meet, old wives a-sunning sit;
In every street these tunes our ears do greet,
Cuckow, jug, jug, pu--we, to-wit, to-whoo.
Spring, the sweet spring_.
WILL SUM. By my troth, they have voices as clear as crystal: this is
a pratty thing, if it be for nothing but to go a-begging with.
SUM. Believe me, Ver, but thou art pleasant bent;
This humour should import a harmless mind.
Know'st thou the reason why I sent for thee?
VER. No, faith, nor care not whether I do or no.
If you will dance a galliard, so it is: if not--
To wear the black and yellow,
My mates are gone, I'll follow_.
SUM. Nay, stay awhile, we must confer and talk.
Ver, call to mind I am thy sovereign lord,
And what thou hast, of me thou hast and hold'st.
Unto no other end I sent for thee,
But to demand a reckoning at thy hands,
How well or ill thou hast employ'd my wealth.
VER. If that be all, we will not disagree:
A clean trencher and a napkin you shall have presently.
WILL SUM. The truth is, this fellow hath been a tapster in his days.
VER _goes in, and fetcheth out the hobby-horse and
the morris-dance, who dance about_.
SUM. How now? is this the reckoning we shall have?
WIN. My lord, he doth abuse you; brook it not.
AUT. _Summa totalis_, I fear, will prove him but a fool.
VER. About, about! lively, put your horse to it, rein him harder; jerk
him with your wand: sit fast, sit fast, man! fool, hold up your ladle
WILL SUM. O brave Hall! O, well-said, butcher. Now for the credit
of Worcestershire. The finest set of morris-dancers that is between
this and Streatham. Marry, methinks there is one of them danceth like
a clothier's horse, with a woolpack on his back. You, friend with the
hobby-horse, go not too fast, for fear of wearing out my lord's
tile-stones with your hobnails.
VER. So, so, so; trot the ring twice over, and away. May it please my
lord, this is the grand capital sum; but there are certain parcels
behind, as you shall see.
SUM. Nay, nay, no more; for this is all too much.
VER. Content yourself; we'll have variety.
_Here enter three_ CLOWNS _and three_ MAIDS,
_singing this song, dancing:--
Trip and go, heave and hoe,
Up and down, to and fro;
From the town to the grove,
Two and two let us rove.
A maying, a playing:
Love hath no gainsaying;
So merrily trip and go_.
WILL SUM. Beshrew my heart, of a number of ill legs I never saw worse
dancers. How bless'd are you, that the wenches of the parish do not
SUM. Presumptuous Ver, uncivil-nurtur'd boy? Think'st I will be derided
thus of thee? Is this th'account and reckoning that thou mak'st?
VER. Troth, my lord, to tell you plain, I can give you no other account;
_nam quae habui perdidi_; what I had, I spent on good fellows; in these
sports you have seen, which are proper to the spring, and others of like
sort (as giving wenches green gowns, making garlands for fencers,
and tricking up children gay), have I bestowed all my flowery treasure
and flower of my youth.
WILL SUM. A small matter. I know one spent in less than a year eight
and fifty pounds in mustard, and another that ran in debt, in the space
of four or five year, above fourteen thousand pound in lute-strings and
SUM. O monstrous unthrift! who e'er heard the like?
The sea's vast throat, in so short tract of time,
Devoureth nor consumeth half so much.
How well might'st thou have liv'd within thy bounds.
VER. What, talk you to me of living within my bounds? I tell you none
but asses live within their bounds: the silly beasts, if they be put in
a pasture, that is eaten bare to the very earth, and where there is
nothing to be had but thistles, will rather fall soberly to those
thistles and be hunger-starv'd, than they will offer to break their
bounds; whereas the lusty courser, if he be in a barren plot, and spy
better grass in some pasture near adjoining, breaks over hedge and
ditch, and to go, ere he will be pent in, and not have his bellyful.
Peradventure, the horses lately sworn to be stolen, carried that
youthful mind, who, if they had been asses, would have been yet extant.
WILL SUM. Thus, we may see, the longer we live the more we shall learn:
I ne'er thought honesty an ass till this day.
VER. This world is transitory; it was made of nothing, and it must to
nothing: wherefore, if we will do the will of our high Creator, whose
will it is that it pass to nothing, we must help to consume it to
nothing. Gold is more vile than men: men die in thousands and ten
thousands, yea, many times in hundred thousands, in one battle. If then
the best husband has been so liberal of his best handiwork, to what end
should we make much of a glittering excrement, or doubt to spend at a
banquet as many pounds as he spends men at a battle? Methinks I honour
_Geta_, the Roman emperor, for a brave-minded fellow; for he commanded a
banquet to be made him of all meats under the sun, which were served in
after the order of the alphabet, and the clerk of the kitchen, following
the last dish, which was two miles off from the foremost, brought him an
index of their several names. Neither did he pingle, when it was set on
the board, but for the space of three days and three nights never rose
from the table.
WILL SUM. O intolerable lying villain, that was never begotten without
the consent of a whetstone!
SUM. Ungracious man, how fondly he argueth!
VER. Tell me, I pray, wherefore was gold laid under our feet in the
veins of the earth, but that we should contemn it, and tread upon it,
and so consequently tread thrift under our feet? It was not known till
the iron age, _donec facinus invasit mortales_, as the poet says; and
the Scythians always detested it. I will prove it that an unthrift, of
any, comes nearest a happy man, in so much as he comes nearest to
beggary. Cicero saith, _summum bonum_ consists in _omnium rerum
vacatione_, that is, the chiefest felicity that may be to rest from all
labours. Now who doth so much _vacare a rebus_, who rests so much, who
hath so little to do as the beggar? who can sing so merry a note, as he
that cannot change a groat? _Cui nil est, nil deest_: he that hath
nothing wants nothing. On the other side, it is said of the carl, _Omnia
habeo, nec quicquam habeo_: I have all things, yet want everything.
_Multi mihi vitio vertunt quia egeo_, saith Marcus Cato in Aulus
Gellius; _at ego illis quia nequeunt egere_: many upbraid me, saith he,
because I am poor; but I upbraid them, because they cannot live if they
be poor. It is a common proverb, _Divesque miserque_, a rich man and
a miserable: _nam natura paucis contenta_, none so contented as the poor
man. Admit that the chiefest happiness were not rest or ease, but
knowledge, as Herillus, Alcidamus, and many of Socrates' followers
affirm; why _paupertas omnes perdocet artes_, poverty instructs a man in
all arts; it makes a man hardy and venturous, and therefore is it called
of the poets _paupertas audax_, valiant poverty. It is not so much
subject to inordinate desires as wealth or prosperity. _Non habet, unde
suum paupertas pascat amorem_; poverty hath not wherewithal to feed
lust. All the poets were beggars; all alchemists and all philosophers
are beggars. _Omnia mea mecum porto_, quoth Bias, when he had nothing
but bread and cheese in a leathern bag, and two or three books in his
bosom. Saint Francis, a holy saint, and never had any money. It is
madness to doat upon muck. That young man of Athens, Aelianus makes
mention of, may be an example to us, who doated so extremely on the
image of Fortune, that when he might not enjoy it, he died for sorrow.
The earth yields all her fruits together, and why should we not spend
them together? I thank heavens on my knees, that have made me an
SUM. O vanity itself: O wit ill-spent!
So study thousands not to mend their lives,
But to maintain the sin they most affect,
To be hell's advocates 'gainst their own souls.
Ver, since thou giv'st such praise to beggary,
And hast defended it so valiantly,
This be thy penance: thou shalt ne'er appear
Or come abroad, but Lent shall wait on thee:
His scarcity may countervail thy waste.
Riot may flourish, but finds want at last.
Take him away that knoweth no good way,
And lead him the next way to woe and want. [_Exit_ VER.
Thus in the paths of knowledge many stray,
And from the means of life fetch their decay.
WILL SUM. Heigho. Here is a coil indeed to bring beggars to stocks. I
promise you truly I was almost asleep; I thought I had been at a sermon.
Well, for this one night's exhortation, I vow, by God's grace, never to
be good husband while I live. But what is this to the purpose? "Hur come
to Fowl," as the Welshman says, "and hur pay an halfpenny for hur seat,
and hur hear the preacher talg, and hur talg very well, by gis; but
yet a cannot make her laugh: go to a theatre and hear a Queen's Fice,
and he make hur laugh, and laugh hur belly full." So we come hither to
laugh and be merry, and we hear a filthy, beggarly oration in the praise
of beggary. It is a beggarly poet that writ it; and that makes him so
much commend it, because he knows not how to mend himself. Well, rather
than he shall have no employment but lick dishes, I will set him a work
myself, to write in praise of the art of stooping, and how there never
was any famous thresher, porter, brewer, pioneer, or carpenter that had
straight back. Repair to my chamber, poor fellow, when the play is done,
and thou shalt see what I will say to thee.
SUM. Vertumnus, call Solstitium.
VER. Solstitium, come into the court: without, peace there below! make
room for Master Solstitium.
_Enter_ SOLSTITIUM, _like an aged hermit, carrying a pair of
balances, with an hour-glass in either of them--one hour-glass
white, the other black: he is brought in by a number of Shepherds,
playing upon recorders_.
SOL. All hail to Summer, my dread sovereign lord.
SUM. Welcome, Solstitium: thou art one of them,
To whose good husbandry we have referr'd
Part of those small revenues that we have.
What hast thou gain'd us? what hast thou brought in?
SOL. Alas, my lord! what gave you me to keep
But a few day's-eyes in my prime of youth?
And those I have converted to white hairs;
I never lov'd ambitiously to climb,
Or thrust my hand too far into the fire.
To be in heaven, sure, is a bless'd thing;
But Atlas-like to prop heaven on one's back,
Cannot but be more labour than delight.
Such is the state of men in honour plac'd;
They are gold vessels made for servile uses;
High trees that keep the weather from low houses,
But cannot shield the tempest from themselves.
I love to dwell betwixt the hills and dales;
Neither to be so great to be envied,
Nor yet so poor the world should pity me.
_Inter utrumque tene, medio tutissimus ibis_.
SUM. What dost thou with those balances thou bear'st?
SOL. In them I weigh the day and night alike:
This white glass is the hour-glass of the day,
This black one the just measure of the night.
One more than other holdeth not a grain;
Both serve time's just proportion to maintain.
SUM. I like thy moderation wondrous well;
And this thy balance-weighing, the white glass
And black, with equal poise and steadfast hand,
A pattern is to princes and great men,
How to weigh all estates indifferently;
The spiritualty and temporalty alike:
Neither to be too prodigal of smiles,
Nor too severe in frowning without cause.
If you be wise, you monarchs of the earth,
Have two such glasses still before your eyes;
Think as you have a white glass running on,
Good days, friends, favour, and all things at beck,
So this white glass run out (as out it will)
The black comes next; your downfall is at hand.
Take this of me, for somewhat I have tried;
A mighty ebb follows a mighty tide.
But say, Solstitium, hadst thou nought besides?
Nought but day's-eyes and fair looks gave I thee?
SOL. Nothing, my lord, nor aught more did I ask.
SUM. But hadst thou always kept thee in my sight,
Thy good deserts, though silent, would have ask'd.
SOL. Deserts, my lord, of ancient servitors
Are like old sores, which may not be ripp'd up.
Such use these times have got, that none must beg,
But those that have young limbs to lavish fast.
SUM. I grieve no more regard was had of thee:
A little sooner hadst thou spoke to me,
Thou hadst been heard, but now the time is past:
Death waiteth at the door for thee and me.
Let us go measure out our beds in clay;
Nought but good deeds hence shall we bear away.
Be, as thou wert, best steward of my hours,
And so return into thy country bow'rs.
[_Here_, SOLSTITIUM _goes out with his music, as he comes in_.
WILL SUM. Fie, fie, of honesty, fie! Solstitium is an ass, perdy, this
play is a gallimaufry. Fetch me some drink, somebody. What cheer, what
cheer, my hearts? Are not you thirsty with listening to this dry sport?
What have we to do with scales and hour-glasses, except we were bakers
or clock-keepers? I cannot tell how other men are addicted, but it is
against my profession to use any scales but such as we play at with a
bowl, or keep any hours but dinner or supper. It is a pedantical thing
to respect times and seasons: if a man be drinking with good fellows
late, he must come home for fear the gates be shut: when I am in my warm
bed, I must rise to prayers, because the bell rings. I like no such
foolish customs. Actors, bring now a black jack and a rundlet of Rhenish
wine, disputing of the antiquity of red noses: let the Prodigal
Child come in in his doublet and hose all greasy, his shirt hanging
forth, and ne'er a penny in his purse, and talk what a fine thing it is
to walk summerly, or sit whistling under a hedge, and keep hogs. Go
forward, in grace and virtue to proceed, but let us have no more of
these grave matters.
SUM. Vertumnus, will Sol come before us?
VER. Sol, Sol; _ut, re, mi, fa, sol_!
Come to church, while the bell toll.
_Enter_ SOLSTITIUM _very richly attired,
with a noise of musicians before him_.
SUM. Ay, marry, here comes majesty in pomp,
Resplendent Sol, chief planet of the heavens!
He is our servant, looks he ne'er so big.
SOL. My liege, what crav'st thou at thy vassal's hands?
SUM. Hypocrisy, how it can change his shape!
How base is pride from his own dunghill put!
How I have rais'd thee, Sol. I list not tell,
Out of the ocean of adversity,
To sit in height of honour's glorious heaven,
To be the eyesore of aspiring eyes:
To give the day her life from thy bright looks,
And let nought thrive upon the face of earth,
From which thou shalt withdraw thy powerful smiles.
What hast thou done, deserving such high grace?
What industry or meritorious toil
Canst thou produce to prove my gift well-placed?
Some service or some profit I expect:
None is promoted but for some respect.
SOL. My lord, what need these terms betwixt us two?
Upbraiding ill-beseems your bounteous mind:
I do you honour for advancing me.
Why, 'tis a credit for your excellence
To have so great a subject as I am:
This is your glory and magnificence,
That, without stooping of your mightiness,
Or taking any whit from your high state,
You can make one as mighty as yourself.
AUT. O arrogance exceeding all belief!
Summer, my lord, this saucy upstart Jack,
That now doth rule the chariot of the sun,
And makes all stars derive their light from him,
Is a most base, insinuating slave,
The sum of parsimony and disdain;
One that will shine on friends and foes alike,
That under brightest smiles hideth black show'rs
Whose envious breath doth dry up springs and lake
And burns the grass, that beasts can get no food.
WIN. No dunghill hath so vile an excrement,
But with his beams he will thenceforth exhale.
The fens and quagmires tithe to him their filth:
Forth purest mines he sucks a gainful dross.
Green ivy-bushes at the vintner's doors
He withers, and devoureth all their sap.
AUT. Lascivious and intemperate he is:
The wrong of Daphne is a well-known tale.
Each evening he descends to Thetis' lap,
The while men think he bathes him in the sea.
O, but when he returneth whence he came
Down to the west, then dawns his deity,
Then doubled is the swelling of his looks.
He overloads his car with orient gems,
And reins his fiery horses with rich pearl.
He terms himself the god of poetry,
And setteth wanton songs unto the lute.
WIN. Let him not talk, for he hath words at will,
And wit to make the baldest matter good.
SUM. Bad words, bad wit! O, where dwells faith or truth?
Ill usury my favours reap from thee,
Usurping Sol, the hate of heaven and earth.
SOL. If envy unconfuted may accuse,
Then innocence must uncondemned die.
The name of martyrdom offence hath gain'd
When fury stopp'd a froward judge's ears.
Much I'll not say (much speech much folly shows):
What I have done you gave me leave to do.
The excrements you bred whereon I feed;
To rid the earth of their contagious fumes,
With such gross carriage did I load my beam
I burnt no grass, I dried no springs and lakes;
I suck'd no mines, I wither'd no green boughs,
But when to ripen harvest I was forc'd
To make my rays more fervent than I wont.
For Daphne's wrongs and 'scapes in Thetis' lap,
All gods are subject to the like mishap.
Stars daily fall ('tis use is all in all),
And men account the fall but nature's course.
Vaunting my jewels hasting to the west,
Or rising early from the grey-ey'd morn,
What do I vaunt but your large bountyhood,
And show how liberal a lord I serve?
Music and poetry, my two last crimes,
Are those two exercises of delight,
Wherewith long labours I do weary out.
The dying swan is not forbid to sing:
The waves of Hebrus play'd on Orpheus' strings,
When he (sweet music's trophy) was destroy'd.
And as for poetry, words' eloquence
(Dead Phaeton's three sisters' funeral tears
That by the gods were to Electrum turn'd),
Not flint or rock, of icy cinders flam'd,
Deny the force of silver-falling streams.
Envy enjoyeth poetry's unrest;
In vain I plead; well is to me a fault,
And these my words seem the sleight web of art,
And not to have the taste of sounder truth.
Let none but fools be car'd for of the wise:
Knowledge' own children knowledge most despise.
SUM. Thou know'st too much to know to keep the mean:
He that sees all things oft sees not himself.
The Thames is witness of thy tyranny,
Whose waves thou dost exhaust for winter show'rs.
The naked channel 'plains her of thy spite,
That laid'st her entrails unto open sight.
Unprofitably borne to man and beast,
Which like to Nilus yet doth hide his head,
Some few years since thou lett'st o'erflow these walks,
And in the horse-race headlong ran at race,
While in a cloud thou hidd'st thy burning face.
Where was thy care to rid contagious filth,
When some men wet-shod (with his waters) droop'd?
Others that ate the eels his heat cast up
Sicken'd and died by them impoisoned.
Sleptest, or kept'st thou then Admetus' sheep,
Thou drov'st not back these flowings of the deep?
SOL. The winds, not I, have floods and tides in chase.
Diana, whom our fables call the moon,
Only commandeth o'er the raging main:
She leads his wallowing offspring up and down,
She waning, all streams ebb: in the year
She was eclips'd, when that the Thames was bare.
SUM. A bare conjecture, builded on per-haps.
In laying thus the blame upon the moon,
Thou imitat'st subtle Pythagoras
Who, what he would the people should believe,
The same he wrote with blood upon a glass,
And turn'd it opposite 'gainst the new moon,
Whose beams, reflecting on it with full force,
Show'd all those lines to them that stood behind,
Most plainly writ in circle of the moon:
And then he said: not I, but the new moon,
Fair Cynthia, persuades you this and that.
With like collusion shalt thou now blind me;
But for abusing both the moon and me
Long shalt thou be eclipsed by the moon,
And long in darkness live and see no light--
Away with him, his doom hath no reverse!
SOL. What is eclips'd will one day shine again:
Though winter frowns, the spring will ease my pain.
Time from the brow doth wipe out every stain.
WILL SUM. I think the sun is not so long in passing through the twelve
signs, as the son of a fool hath been disputing here about _had I
wist_. Out of doubt, the poet is bribed of some that have a mess of
cream to eat, before my lord go to bed yet, to hold him half the night
with raff-raff of the rumming of Elinor. If I can tell what it
means, pray God I may never get breakfast more, when I am hungry. Troth,
I am of opinion he is one of those hieroglyphical writers, that by the
figures of beasts, plants, and of stones, express the mind, as we do in
A B C; or one that writes under hair, as I have heard of a certain
notary, Histiaesus, who, following Darius in the Persian wars, and
desirous to disclose some secrets of import to his friend Aristagoras,
that dwelt afar off, found out this means. He had a servant, that had
been long sick of a pain in his eyes, whom, under pretence of curing his
malady, he shaved from one side of his head to the other, and with a
soft pencil wrote upon his scalp (as on parchment) the discourse of his
business, the fellow all the while imagining his master had done nothing
but 'noint his head with a feather. After this he kept him secretly in
his tent, till his hair was somewhat grown, and then willed him to go to
Aristagoras into the country, and bid him shave him as he had done, and
he should have perfect remedy. He did so, Aristagoras shaved him with
his own hands, read his friend's letter, and when he had done, washed it
out, that no man should perceive it else, and sent him home to buy him a
nightcap. If I wist there were any such knavery, or Peter Bales's
brachygraphy, under Sol's bushy hair, I would have a barber, my host
of the Murrion's Head, to be his interpreter, who would whet his razor
on his Richmond cap, and give him the terrible cut like himself, but he
would come as near as a quart pot to the construction of it. To be
sententious, not superfluous, Sol should have been beholding to the
barber, and not to the beard-master. Is it pride that is shadowed
under this two-legg'd sun, that never came nearer heaven than Dubber's
hill? That pride is not my sin, Sloven's Hall, where I was born, be my
record. As for covetousness, intemperance, and exaction, I meet with
nothing in a whole year but a cup of wine for such vices to be
conversant in. _Pergite porro_, my good children, and multiply the
sins of your absurdities, till you come to the full measure of the grand
hiss, and you shall hear how we shall purge rheum with censuring your
SUM. Vertumnus, call Orion.
VER. Orion, Urion, Arion; My lord thou must look upon. Orion, gentleman
dog-keeper, huntsman, come into the court: look you bring all hounds and
no bandogs. Peace there, that we may hear their horns blow.
_Enter_ ORION _like a hunter, with a horn about his neck, all
his men after the same sort hallooing and blowing their horns_.
ORION. Sirrah, was't thou that call'd us from our game?
How durst thou (being but a petty god)
Disturb me in the entrance of my sports?
SUM. 'Twas I, Orion, caus'd thee to be call'd.
ORION. 'Tis I, dread lord, that humbly will obey.
SUM. How happ'st thou left'st the heavens to hunt below?
As I remember thou wert Hyrieus' son,
Whom of a huntsman Jove chose for a star,
And thou art call'd the Dog-star, art thou not?
AUT. Please it, your honour, heaven's circumference
Is not enough for him to hunt and range,
But with those venom-breathed curs he leads,
He comes to chase health from our earthly bounds.
Each one of those foul-mouthed, mangy dogs
Governs a day (no dog but hath his day):
And all the days by them so governed
The dog-days hight; infectious fosterers
Of meteors from carrion that arise,
And putrified bodies of dead men,
Are they engender'd to that ugly shape,
Being nought else but [ill-]preserv'd corruption.
'Tis these that, in the entrance of their reign,
The plague and dangerous agues have brought in.
They arre and bark at night against the moon,
For fetching in fresh tides to cleanse the streets,
They vomit flames and blast the ripen'd fruits:
They are death's messengers unto all those
That sicken, while their malice beareth sway.
ORION. A tedious discourse built on no ground.
A silly fancy, Autumn, hast thou told,
Which no philosophy doth warrantise,
No old-received poetry confirms.
I will not grace thee by refuting thee;
Yet in a jest (since thou rail'st so 'gainst dogs)
I'll speak a word or two in their defence.
That creature's best that comes most near to men;
That dogs of all come nearest, thus I prove:
First, they excel us in all outward sense,
Which no one of experience will deny:
They hear, they smell, they see better than we.
To come to speech, they have it questionless,
Although we understand them not so well.
They bark as good old Saxon as may be,
And that in more variety than we.
For they have one voice when they are in chase:
Another when they wrangle for their meat:
Another when we beat them out of doors.
That they have reason, this I will allege;
They choose those things that are most fit for them,
And shun the contrary all that they may.
They know what is for their own diet best,
And seek about for't very carefully.
At sight of any whip they run away,
As runs a thief from noise of hue and cry.
Nor live they on the sweat of others' brows,
But have their trades to get their living with--
Hunting and coneycatching, two fine arts.
Yea, there be of them, as there be of men,
Of every occupation more or less:
Some carriers, and they fetch; some watermen,
And they will dive and swim when you bid them;
Some butchers, and they worry sheep by night;
Some cooks, and they do nothing but turn spits.
Chrysippus holds dogs are logicians,
In that, by study and by canvassing,
They can distinguish 'twixt three several things:
As when he cometh where three broad ways meet,
And of those three hath stay'd at two of them,
By which he guesseth that the game went not,
Without more pause he runneth on the third;
Which, as Chrysippus saith, insinuates
As if he reason'd thus within himself:
Either he went this, that, or yonder way,
But neither that nor yonder, therefore this.
But whether they logicians be or no,
Cynics they are, for they will snarl and bite;
Right courtiers to flatter and to fawn;
Valiant to set upon the[ir] enemies;
Most faithful and most constant to their friends.
Nay, they are wise, as Homer witnesseth
Who, talking of Ulysses' coming home,
Saith all his household but Argus his dog
Had quite forgot him: ay, his deep insight
Nor Pallas' art in altering his shape,
Nor his base weeds, nor absence twenty years,
Could go beyond or any way delude.
That dogs physicians are, thus I infer;
They are ne'er sick, but they know their disease,
And find out means to ease them of their grief;
Special good surgeons to cure dangerous wounds:
For, stricken with a stake into the flesh,
This policy they use to get it out:
They trail one of their feet upon the ground,
And gnaw the flesh about where the wound is
Till it be clean drawn out: and then, because
Ulcers and sores kept foul are hardly cur'd,
They lick and purify it with their tongue,
And well observe Hippocrates' old rule,
The only medicine for the foot is rest:
For if they have the least hurt in their feet,
They bear them up and look they be not stirr'd.
When humours rise, they eat a sovereign herb,
Whereby what cloys their stomachs they cast up;
And as some writers of experience tell,
They were the first invented vomiting.
Sham'st thou not, Autumn, unadvisedly
To slander such rare creatures as they be?
SUM. We call'd thee not, Orion, to this end,
To tell a story of dogs' qualities.
With all thy hunting how are we enrich'd?
What tribute pay'st thou us for thy high place?
ORION. What tribute should I pay you out of nought?
Hunters do hunt for pleasure, not for gain.
While dog-days last, the harvest safely thrives;
The sun burns hot to finish up fruits' growth;
There is no blood-letting to make men weak.
Physicians in their Cataposia
Or little Elinctoria,
Masticatorum, and Cataplasmata:
Their gargarisms, clysters, and pitch'd-cloths,
Their perfumes, syrups, and their triacles,
Refrain to poison the sick patients,
And dare not minister, till I be out.
Then none will bathe, and so are fewer drown'd.
All lust is perilsome, therefore less us'd!
In brief, the year without me cannot stand.
Summer, I am thy staff and thy right hand.
SUM. A broken staff, a lame right hand I had,
If thou wert all the stay that held me up,
_Nihil violentum perpetuum_.
No violence that liveth to old age.
Ill-govern'd star, that never bod'st good luck,
I banish thee a twelvemonth and a day
Forth of my presence; come not in my sight,
Nor show thy head so much as in the night.
ORION. I am content: though hunting be not out,
We will go hunt in hell for better hap.
One parting blow, my hearts, unto our friends,
To bid the fields and huntsmen all farewell.
Toss up your bugle-horns unto the stars:
Toil findeth ease, peace follows after wars.
[_Here they go out, blowing their horns, and
hallooing as they came in_.
WILL SUM. Faith, this scene of Orion is right _prandium caninum_, a
dog's dinner which, as it is without wine, so here's a coil about dogs
without wit. If I had thought the ship of fools would have stay'd to
take in fresh water at the Isle of Dogs, I would have furnish'd it with
a whole kennel of collections to the purpose. I have had a dog myself,
that would dream and talk in his sleep, turn round like Ned fool, and
sleep all night in a porridge-pot. Mark but the skirmish between
Sixpence and the fox, and it is miraculous how they overcome one another
in honourable courtesy. The fox, though he wears a chain, runs as though
he were free; mocking us (as it is a crafty beast), because we, having a
lord and master to attend on, run about at our pleasures, like
masterless men. Young Sixpence, the best page his master hath, plays a
little, and retires. I warrant he will not be far out of the way when
his master goes to dinner. Learn of him, you diminutive urchins, how to
behave yourselves in your vocation: take not up your standings in a
nut-tree, when you should be waiting on my lord's trencher. Shoot but a
bit at butts; play but a span at points. Whatever you do, _memento
mori_--remember to rise betimes in the morning.
SUM. Vertumnus, call Harvest.
VER. Harvest, by west and by north, by south and by east,
Show thyself like a beast.
Goodman Harvest, yeoman, come in and say what you can. Boom for the
scythe and the sickle there.
_Enter_ HARVEST, _with a scythe on his neck, and all
his reapers with sickles, and a great black bowl with
a posset in it, borne before him; they come in singing.
Merry, merry, merry: cheery, cheery, cheery,
Trowl the blade bowl to me;
Hey derry, derry, with a poup and a lerry,
I'll trowl it again to thee:
Hooky, hooky, we have shorn,
And we have bound,
And we have brought Harvest
Home to town_.
SUM. Harvest, the bailiff of my husbandry,
What plenty hast thou heap'd into our barns?
I hope thou hast sped well, thou art so blithe.
HAR. Sped well or ill, sir, I drink to you on the same.
Is your throat clear to help us sing, _Hooky, hooky?
[Here they all sing after him.
Hooky, hooky, we have shorn,
And we have bound;
And we have brought Harvest
Home to town_.
AUT. Thou Corydon, why answer'st not direct?
HAR. Answer? why, friend, I am no tapster, to say, Anon, anon, sir:
but leave you to molest me, goodman tawny-leaves, for fear (as the
proverb says, leave is light) so I mow off all your leaves with my
WIN. Mock not and mow not too long; you were best not,
For fear we whet your scythe upon your pate.
SUM. Since thou art so perverse in answering,
Harvest, hear what complaints are brought to me.
Thou art accused by the public voice
For an engrosser of the common store;
A carl that hast no conscience nor remorse,
But dost impoverish the fruitful earth,
To make thy garners rise up to the heavens.
To whom giv'st thou? who feedeth at thy board?
No alms, but [an] unreasonable gain
Digests what thy huge iron teeth devour:
Small beer, coarse bread, the hind's and beggar's cry,
Whilst thou withholdest both the malt and flour,
And giv'st us bran and water (fit for dogs).
HAR. Hooky, hooky! if you were not my lord, I would say you lie. First
and foremost, you say I am a grocer. A grocer is a citizen: I am no
citizen, therefore no grocer. A hoarder up of grain: that's false; for
not so much for my elbows eat wheat every time I lean upon them. A
carl: that is as much as to say, a coneycatcher of good fellowship. For
that one word you shall pledge me a carouse: eat a spoonful of the curd
to allay your choler. My mates and fellows, sing no more _Merry, merry_,
but weep out a lamentable _Hooky, hooky_, and let your sickles cry--
_Sick, sick, and very sick,
And side, and for the time;
For Harvest your master is
Abusd without reason or rhyme_.
I have no conscience, I? I'll come nearer to you, and yet I am no scab,
nor no louse. Can you make proof wherever I sold away my conscience, or
pawned it? Do you know who would buy it, or lend any money upon it? I
think I have given you the pose. Blow your nose, Master Constable. But
to say that I impoverish the earth, that I rob the man in the moon, that
I take a purse on the top of St Paul's steeple; by this straw and thread,
I swear you are no gentleman, no proper man, no honest man, to make me
sing, _O man in desperation_.
SUM. I must give credit unto what I hear!
For other than I hear detract I nought.
HAR. Ay, ay; nought seek, nought have: An ill-husband is the first step
to a knave. You object, I feed none at my board: I am sure, if you were
a hog, you would never say so: for, sir reverence of their worships,
they feed at my stable-table every day. I keep good hospitality for hens
and geese: gleaners are oppressed with heavy burthens of my bounty:
They take me and eat me to the very bones,
Till there be nothing left but gravel and stones;
And yet I give no alms, but devour all! They say, what a man cannot hear
well, you hear with your harvest-ears; but if you heard with your
harvest-ears, that is, with the ears of corn which my alms-cart scatters,
they would tell you that I am the very poor man's box of pity; that there
are more holes of liberality open in Harvest's heart than in a sieve or
a dust-box. Suppose you were a craftsman or an artificer, and should come
to buy corn of me, you should have bushels of me; not like the baker's
loaf, that should weigh but six ounces, but usury for your money,
thousands for one. What would you have more? Eat me out of my apparel,
if you will, if you suspect me for a miser.
SUM. I credit thee, and think thou wert belied.
But tell me, hast thou a good crop this year?
HAR. Hay, good plenty, which was so sweet
and so good, that when I jerted my whip, and said
to my horses but _hay_, they would go as they were
SUM. But _hay_ alone thou sayst not, but _hay-ree_.
HAR. I sing hay-ree, that is, hay and rye; meaning that they shall have
hay and rye, their bellyfuls, if they will draw hard. So we say, _Wa
hay_, when they go out of the way; meaning that they shall want hay if
they will not do as they should do.
SUM. How thrive thy oats, thy barley, and thy wheat?
HAR. My oats grow like a cup of beer that makes the brewer rich; my rye
like a cavalier, that wears a huge feather in his cap, but hath no
courage in his heart; hath a long stalk, a goodly husk, but nothing
so great a kernel as it was wont. My barley, even as many a novice, is
cross-bitten, as soon as ever he peeps out of the shell, so was it
frost-bitten in the blad, yet pick'd up his crumbs again afterward, and
bad "Fill pot, hostess," in spite of a dear year. As for my peas and my
vetches, they are famous, and not to be spoken of.
AUT. Ay, ay, such country-button'd caps as you
Do want no fetches to undo great towns.
HAR. Will you make good your words that we want no fetches?
WIN. Ay, that he shall.
HAR. Then fetch us a cloak-bag, to carry away yourself in.
SUM. Plough-swains are blunt, and will taunt bitterly.
Harvest, when all is done, thou art the man:
Thou dost me the best service of them all.
Rest from thy labours, till the year renews,
And let the husbandmen [all] sing thy praise.
HAR. Rest from my labours, and let the husbandmen sing my praise? Nay,
we do not mean to rest so: by your leave, we'll have a largess amongst
you, ere we part.
ALL. A largess, a largess, a largess!
WILL SUM. Is there no man will give them a hiss for a largess?
HAR. No, that there is not, goodman Lungis. I see charity waxeth
cold, and I think this house be her habitation, for it is not very hot:
we were as good even put up our pipes and sing _Merry, merry_, for we
shall get no money.
[_Here they all go out singing.
Merry, merry, merry: cheery, cheery, cheery!
Trowl the black bowl to me.
Hey derry, derry, with a poup and a lerry;
I'll trowl it again to thee.
Hooky, hooky, we have shorn
And we have bound,
And we have brought Harvest
Home to town_.
WILL SUM. Well, go thy ways, thou bundle of straw: I'll give thee this
gift; thou shalt be a clown while thou liv'st. As lusty as they are,
they run on the score with George's wife for their posset; and God knows
who shall pay goodman Yeoman for his wheat sheaf. They may sing well
_"Trowl the black bowl to me,
Trowl the black bowl to me_;"
for a hundred to one but they will all be drunk, ere they go to bed. Yet
of a slavering fool, that hath no conceit in anything but in carrying a
wand in his hand with commendation, when he runneth by the highway-side,
this stripling Harvest hath done reasonable well. O, that somebody had
the sense to set his thatched suit on fire, and so lighted him out: if I
had but a jet ring on my finger, I might have done with him what I
list. I had spoiled him, had I took his apparel prisoner; for, it
being made of straw, and the nature of jet to draw straw unto it, I
would have nailed him to the pommel of my chair, till the play were
done, and then have carried him to my chamber-door, and laid him at the
threshold, as a wisp or a piece of mat, to wipe my shoes on every time I
come up dirty.
SUM. Vertumnus, call Bacchus.
VER. Bacchus, Baccha, Bacchum: God Bacchus, God fat-back,
Baron of double beer and bottle ale,
Come in and show thy nose that is nothing pale:
Back, back, that God barrel-belly may enter.
_Enter_ BACCHUS _riding upon an ass trapped in ivy, himself
dressed in vine leaves, and a garland of grapes on his head;
his companions having all jacks in their hands, and ivy
garlands on their heads; they come singing.
Monsieur Mingo for quaffing doth surpass,
In cup, in corn or glass.
God Bacchus, do me right,
And dub me knight
BAC. Wherefore didst thou call me, Vertumnus? hast any drink to give me?
One of you hold my ass, while I light: walk him up and down the hall,
till I talk a word or two.
SUM. What, Bacchus; still _animus in patina_: no mind but on the pot?
BAC. Why, Summer, Summer, how wouldst do but for rain? What's a fair
house without water coming to it! Let me see how a smith can work, if he
have not his trough standing by him. What sets an edge on a knife? the
grindstone alone? No, the moist element poured upon it, which grinds out
all gaps, sets a point upon it, and scours it as bright as the
firmament. So I tell thee, give a soldier wine before he goes to battle;
it grinds out all gaps, it makes him forget all scars and wounds, and
fight in the thickest of his enemies, as though he were but at foils
among his fellows. Give a scholar wine going to his book, or being about
to invent; it sets a new point on his wit, it glazeth it, it scours it,
it gives him _acumen_. Plato saith, _Vinum esse fomitem quendam, et
incitabilem ingenii virtutisque_. Aristotle saith, _Nulla est magna
scientia absque mixtura dementia_! There is no excellent knowledge
without mixture of madness, and what makes a man more mad in the head
than wine? _Qui bene vult [Greek: Pioein] debet ante [Greek: pinein]_:
He that will do well must drink well. _Prome, prome, potum prome_! Ho,
butler, a fresh pot! _Nunc est libendum, nunc pede libero terra
pulsanda_: a pox on him that leaves his drink behind him.
SUM. It is wine's custom to be full of words. I pray thee, Bacchus, give
us _vicissitudinem loquendi_.
BAC. A fiddlestick! ne'er tell me I am full of words. _Faecundi calices,
quem non fecere disertum; aut bibe aut abi_; either take your
drink, or you are an infidel.
SUM. I would about thy vintage question thee. How thrive thy vines?
hadst thou good store of grapes?
BAC. _Vinum quasi venenum_; Wine is poison to a sick body. A sick body
is no sound body; _ergo_, wine is a pure thing, and is poison to all
corruption. Try-lill! the hunters whoop to you. I'll stand to it:
Alexander was a brave man, and yet an arrant drunkard.
WIN. Fie, drunken sot! forgett'st thou where thou art?
My lord asks thee what vintage thou hast made?
BAC. Our vintage was a vintage, for it did not work upon the advantage:
it came in the vauntguard of Summer.
And winds and storms met it by the way,
And made it cry, alas, and well-a-day!
SUM. That was not well; but all miscarried not?
BAC. Faith, shall I tell no lie? Because you are my countryman, and so
forth; and a good fellow is a good fellow, though he have never a penny
in his purse. We had but even pot-luck--little to moisten our lips
and no more. That same Sol is a pagan and a proselyte: he shined so
bright all summer, that he burnt more grapes than his beams were worth,
were every beam as big as a weaver's beam. _A fabis abstinendum_; faith,
he should have abstained, for what is flesh and blood without his liquor?
AUT. Thou want'st no liquor, nor no flesh and blood.
I pray thee, may I ask without offence,
How many tuns of wine hast in thy paunch?
Methinks that [that is] built like a round church,
Should yet have some of Julius Caesar's wine:
I warrant 'twas not broached this hundred year.
BAC. Hear'st thou, dough-belly! because thou talk'st and talk'st, and
dar'st not drink to me a black jack, wilt thou give me leave to broach
this little kilderkin of my corpse against thy back? I know thou art but
a micher, and dar'st not stand me. _A vous, Monsieur Winter_, a
frolic up-se-frieze: cross, ho.' _super naculum_.
[_Knocks the jack upon his thumb_.
WIN. Gramercy, Bacchus, as much as though I did. For this time thou must
pardon me perforce.
BAC. What, give me the disgrace? go to, I say, I am no Pope to pardon
any man. Ran, ran, tara: cold beer makes good blood. St George for
England! Somewhat is better than nothing. Let me see, hast thou done
me justice? why so: thou art a king, though there were no more kings in
the cards but the knave. Summer, wilt thou have a demi-culverin, that
shall cry _Husty-tusty_, and make thy cup fly fine meal in the element?
SUM. No, keep thy drink, I pray thee, to thyself.
BAC. This Pupilonian in the fool's coat shall have a cast of martins and
a whiff. To the health of Captain Rinocerotry! Look to it; let him have
weight and measure.
WILL SUM. What an ass is this! I cannot drink so much, though I should
BAC. Fool, do not refuse your moist sustenance: come, come, dog's head
in the pot; do what you are born to.
WILL SUM. If you will needs make me a drunkard against my will, so it
is; I'll try what burden my belly is of.
BAC. Crouch, crouch on your knees, fool, when you pledge God Bacchus.
[_Here_ WILL SUMMER _drinks, and they sing
about him_, BACCHUS _begins_.
All. _Monsieur Mingo for quaffing did surpass
In cup, in can, or glass_.
BAC. Ho, well shot, a toucher, a toucher!
_For quaffing Toy doth pass,
In cup, in can, or glass_.
All. _God Bacchus, do him right,
And dub him knight_.
BAC. Rise up, Sir Robert Toss-pot.
[_Here he dubs_ WILL SUMMER _with the black jack_.
SUM. No more of this, I hate it to the death.
No such deformer of the soul and sense,
As is this swinish damn'd horn drunkenness.
Bacchus, for thou abusest so earth's fruits,
Imprison'd live in cellars and in vaults.
Let none commit their counsels unto thee;
Thy wrath be fatal to thy dearest friends;
Unarmed run upon thy foemen's swords;
Never fear any plague, before it fall:
Dropsies and watery tympanies haunt thee;
Thy lungs with surfeiting be putrified,
To cause thee have an odious stinking breath;
Slaver and drivel like a child at mouth;
Be poor and beggarly in thy old age;
Let thine own kinsmen laugh when thou complain'st,
And many tears gain nothing but blind scoffs.
This is the guerdon due to drunkenness:
Shame, sickness, misery follow excess.
BAC. Now on my honour, Sim Summer, thou art a bad member, a dunce, a
mongrel, to discredit so worshipful an art after this order. Thou hast
cursed me, and I will bless thee. Never cap of Nipitaty in London
come near thy niggardly habitation! I beseech the gods of good
fellowship thou may'st fall into a consumption with drinking small beer!
Every day may'st thou eat fish, and let it stick in the midst of thy
maw, for want of a cup of wine to swim away in. Venison be _venenum_ to
thee: and may that vintner have the plague in his house that sells a
drop of claret to kill the poison of it! As many wounds may'st thou have
as Caesar had in the senate-house, and get no white wine to wash them
with; and to conclude, pine away in melancholy and sorrow, before thou
hast the fourth part of a dram of my juice to cheer up thy spirits.
SUM. Hale him away, he barketh like a wolf:
It is his drink, not he, that rails on us.
BAC. Nay soft, brother Summer, back with that fool. Here is a snuff in
the bottom of the jack, enough to light a man to bed withal: we'll
leave no flocks behind us, whatsoever we do.
SUM. Go drag him hence, I say, when I command.
BAC. Since we must needs go, let's go merrily. Farewell, Sir Robert
Toss-pot: sing amain _Monsieur Mingo_, whilst I mount up my ass.
[_Here they go out, singing, "Monsieur Mingo," as they came in_.
WILL SUM. Of all the gods, this Bacchus is the ill-favoured'st
mis-shapen god that ever I saw. A pox on him! he hath christened me with
a new nickname of Sir Robert Toss-pot that will not part from me this
twelvemonth. Ned fool's clothes are so perfumed with the beer he poured
on me, that there shall not be a Dutchman within twenty miles, but he'll
smell out and claim kindred of him. What a beastly thing it is to bottle
up all in a man's belly, when a man must set his guts on a gallon-pot
last, only to purchase the alehouse title of _boon companion_. "Carouse;
pledge me, and you dare! 'Swounds, I'll drink with thee for all that
ever thou art worth!" It is even as two men should strive who should run
farthest into the sea for a wager. Methinks these are good household
terms, "Will it please you to be here, sir? I commend me to you! Shall I
be so bold as trouble you? Saving your tale, I drink to you." And if
these were put in practice but a year or two in taverns, wine would soon
fall from six-and-twenty pound a tun, and be beggar's money--a penny a
quart, and take up his inn with waste beer in the alms-tub. I am a
sinner as others: I must not say much of this argument. Every one, when
he is whole, can give advice to them that are sick. My masters, you that
be good fellows, get you into corners, and sup off your provender
closely: report hath a blister on her tongue! open taverns are
tell-tales. _Non peccat quicunque potest peccasse negare_.
SUM. I'll call my servants to account, said I?
A bad account; worse servants no man hath.
_Quos credis fidos effuge, tutis eris_:
The proverb I have prov'd to be too true,
_Totidem domi hostes habemus quot servos_.
And that wise caution of Democritus,
_Servus necessaria possessio, non autem dulcis_:
Nowhere fidelity and labour dwells.
How young heads count to build on had I wist.
Conscience but few respect, all hunt for gain:
Except the camel have his provender
Hung at his mouth, he will not travel on.
Tyresias to Narcissus promised
Much prosperous hap and many golden days,
If of his beauty he no knowledge took.
Knowledge breeds pride, pride breedeth discontent:
Black discontent, thou urgest to revenge:
Revenge opes not her ears to poor men's prayers.
That dolt destruction is she without doubt,
That hales her forth and feedeth her with nought.
Simplicity and plainness, you I love!
Hence, double diligence, thou mean'st deceit:
Those that now serpent-like creep on the ground,
And seem to eat the dust, they crouch so low--
If they be disappointed of their prey,
Most traitorously will trace their nails and sting.
Yea, such as, like the lapwing, build their nests
In a man's dung, come up by drudgery,
Will be the first that, like that foolish bird,
Will follow him with yelling and false cries.
Well sung a shepherd, that now sleeps in skies,
"Dumb swans do love, and not vain chattering pies."
In mountains, poets say, Echo is hid,
For her deformity and monstrous shape:
Those mountains are the houses of great lords,
Where Stentor, with his hundred voices, sounds
A hundred trumps at once with rumour fill'd.
A woman they imagine her to be,
Because that sex keep nothing close they hear;
And that's the reason magic writers frame
There are more witches women, than of men;
For women generally, for the most part,
Of secrets more desirous are than men,
Which having got, they have no power to hold.
In these times had Echo's first fathers liv'd,
No woman, but a man, she had been feign'd
(Though women yet will want no news to prate);
For men (mean men), the scum and dross of all,
Will talk and babble of they know not what,
Upbraid, deprave, and taunt they care not whom.
Surmises pass for sound approved truths;
Familiarity and conference,
That were the sinews of societies,
Are now for underminings only us'd;
And novel wits, that love none but themselves,
Think wisdom's height as falsehood slyly couch'd,
Seeking each other to o'erthrow his mate.
O friendship! thy old temple is defac'd:
Embracing envy, guileful courtesy,
Hath overgrown fraud-wanting honesty.
Examples live but in the idle schools:
Sinon bears all the sway in princes' courts.
Sickness, be thou my soul's physician;
Bring the apothecary Death with thee.
In earth is hell, hell true felicity,
Compared with this world, the den of wolves!
AUT. My lord, you are too passionate without cause.
WIN. Grieve not for that which cannot be recall'd.
Is it your servant's carelessness you 'plain?
Tully by one of his own slaves was slain.
The husbandman close in his bosom nurs'd
A subtle snake, that after wrought his bane.
AUT. _Servos fideles liberalitas facit_;
Where on the contrary, _servitutem_--
Those that attend upon illiberal lords,
Whose covetise yields nought else but fair looks,
Even of those fair looks make their gainful use.
For, as in Ireland and in Denmark both,
Witches for gold will sell a man a wind
Which, in the corner of a napkin wrapp'd,
Shall blow him safe unto what coast he will;
So make ill-servants sale of their lord's wind
Which, wrapp'd up in a piece of parchment,
Blows many a knave forth danger of the law.
SUM. Enough of this: let me go make my will.
Ah! it is made, although I hold my peace:
These two will share betwixt them what I have.
The surest way to get my will perform'd
Is to make my executor my heir;
And he, if all be given him, and none else,
Unfallibly will see it well-perform'd.
Lions will feed though none bid them go to.
Ill-grows the tree affordeth ne'er a graft:
Had I some issue to sit on my throne,
My grief would die, death should not hear me groan;
But when, perforce, these must enjoy my wealth,
Which thank me not, but enter't as a prey,
Bequeath'd it is not, but clean cast away.
Autumn, be thou successor to my seat:
Hold, take my crown:--look, how he grasps for it!
Thou shalt not have it yet--but hold it, too;
Why should I keep what needs I must forego?
WIN. Then, duty laid aside, you do me wrong.
I am more worthy of it far than he:
He hath no skill nor courage for to rule.
A weatherbeaten, bankrupt ass it is
That scatters and consumeth all he hath:
Each one do pluck from him without control.
He is not hot nor cold; a silly soul,
That fain would please each part, if so he might.
He and the Spring are scholars' favourites:
What scholars are, what thriftless kind of men,
Yourself be judge; and judge of him by them.
When Cerberus was headlong drawn from hell,
He voided a black poison from his mouth,
Call'd _Aconitum_, whereof ink was made:
That ink, with reeds first laid on dried barks,
Serv'd me awhile to make rude works withal,
Till Hermes, secretary to the gods,
Or Hermes Trismegistus, as some will,
Weary with graving in blind characters
And figures of familiar beasts and plants,
Invented letters to write lies withal.
In them he penn'd the fables of the gods,
The giants' war, and thousand tales besides.
After each nation got these toys in use
There grew up certain drunken parasites,
Term'd poets, which, for a meal's meat or two.
Would promise monarchs immortality.
They vomited in verse all that they knew;
Feign'd causes and beginnings of the world;
Fetch'd pedigrees of mountains and of floods
From men and women whom the gods transform'd.
If any town or city they pass'd by
Had in compassion (thinking them madmen)
Forborne to whip them, or imprison them,
That city was not built by human hands;
'Twas rais'd by music, like Megara walls:
Apollo, poets' patron, founded it,
Because they found one fitting favour there.
Musaeus, Linus, Homer, Orpheus,
Were of this trade, and thereby won their fame.
WILL SUM. _Fama malum, quo non [aliud] velocius ullum_.
WIN. Next them a company of ragged knaves,
Sun-bathing beggars, lazy hedge-creepers,
Sleeping face upwards in the fields all night,
Dream'd strange devices of the sun and moon;
And they, like gipsies, wandering up and down,
Told fortunes, juggled, nicknam'd all the stars,
And were of idiots term'd philosophers.
Such was Pythagoras the silencer;
Prometheus, Thales, Milesius,
Who would all things of water should be made:
That positively said the air was God:
Zenocrates, that said there were eight gods;
And Cratoniates and Alcmaeon too,
Who thought the sun and moon and stars were gods.
The poorer sort of them, that could get nought,
Profess'd, like beggarly Franciscan friars,
And the strict order of the Capuchins,
A voluntary, wretched poverty,
Contempt of gold, thin fare, and lying hard.
Yet he that was most vehement in these,
Diogenes, the cynic and the dog,
Was taken coining money in his cell.
WILL SUM. What an old ass was that. Methinks he should have coined
carrot-roots rather; for, as for money, he had no use for['t], except
it were to melt, and solder up holes in his tub withal.
WIN. It were a whole Olympiad's work to tell
How many devilish, _ergo_, armed arts,
Sprung all as vices of this idleness:
For even as soldiers not employ'd in wars,
But living loosely in a quiet state--
Not having wherewithal to maintain pride,
Nay, scarce to find their bellies any food--
Nought but walk melancholy, and devise,
How they may cozen merchants, fleece young heirs,
Creep into favour by betraying men,
Rob churches, beg waste toys, court city dames,
Who shall undo their husbands for their sakes;
The baser rabble how to cheat and steal,
And yet be free from penalty of death:
So these word-warriors, lazy star-gazers,
Us'd to no labour but to louse themselves,
Had their heads fill'd with cozening fantasies.
They plotted how to make their poverty
Better esteem'd of than high sovereignty.
They thought how they might plant a heaven on earth,
Whereof they would be principal low-gods;
That heaven they called Contemplation:
As much to say as a most pleasant sloth,
Which better I cannot compare than this,
That if a fellow, licensed to beg,
Should all his lifetime go from fair to fair
And buy gape-seed, having no business else.
That contemplation, like an aged weed,
Engender'd thousand sects, and all those sects
Were but as these times, cunning shrouded rogues.
Grammarians some, and wherein differ they
From beggars that profess the pedlar's French?
The poets next, slovenly, tatter'd slaves,
That wander and sell ballads in the streets.
Historiographers others there be,
And they, like lazars, lie by the highway-side,
That for a penny or a halfpenny
Will call each knave a good-fac'd gentleman,
Give honour unto tinkers for good ale,
Prefer a cobbler 'fore the black prince far,
If he bestow but blacking on their shoes:
And as it is the spittle-houses' guise
Over their gate to write their founders' names,
Or on the outside of their walls at least,
In hope by their example others mov'd
Will be more bountiful and liberal;
So in the forefront of their chronicles,
Or _peroratione operis_,
They learning's benefactors reckon up,
Who built this college, who gave that free school,
What king or queen advanced scholars most,
And in their times what writers flourished.
Rich men and magistrates, whilst yet they live,
They flatter palpably, in hope of gain.
Smooth-tongued orators, the fourth in place--
Lawyers our commonwealth entitles them--
Mere swash-bucklers and ruffianly mates,
That will for twelvepence make a doughty fray,
Set men for straws together by the ears.
Gold-breathing alchemists also we have,
Both which are subtle-witted humourists,
That get their meals by telling miracles,
Which they have seen in travelling the skies.
Vain boasters, liars, makeshifts, they are all;
Men that, removed from their ink-horn terms,
Bring forth no action worthy of their bread.
What should I speak of pale physicians,
Who as _Fismenus non nasatus_ was
(Upon a wager that his friends had laid)
Hir'd to live in a privy a whole year,
So are they hir'd for lucre and for gain,
All their whole life to smell on excrements.
WILL SUM. Very true, for I have heard it for a proverb many a time and
oft, _Hinc os faetidum_; Fah! he stinks like a physician.
WIN. Innumerable monstrous practices
Hath loitering contemplation brought forth more,
Which were too long particular to recite:
Suffice they all conduce unto this end,
To banish labour, nourish slothfulness,
Pamper up lust, devise new-fangled sins.
Nay, I will justify, there is no vice
Which learning and vile knowledge brought not in,
Or in whose praise some learned have not wrote.
The art of murder Machiavel hath penn'd;
Whoredom hath Ovid to uphold her throne,
And Aretine of late in Italy,
Whose Cortigiana teacheth bawds their trade.
Gluttony Epicurus doth defend,
And books of the art of cookery confirm,
Of which Platina hath not writ the least.
Drunkenness of his good behaviour
Hath testimonial from where he was born;
That pleasant work De Arte Bibendi,
A drunken Dutchman spew'd out few years since.
Nor wanteth sloth, although sloth's plague be want,
His paper pillars for to lean upon.
The praise of nothing pleads his worthiness.
Folly Erasmus sets a flourish on:
For baldness a bald ass I have forgot
Patch'd up a pamphletary periwig.
Slovenry Grobianus magnifieth:
Sodomitry a cardinal commends,
And Aristotle necessary deems.
In brief, all books, divinity except,
Are nought but tales of the devil's laws,
Poison wrapt up in sugar'd words,
Man's pride, damnation's props, the world's abuse.
Then censure, good my lord, what bookmen are:
If they be pestilent members in a state,
He is unfit to sit at stern of state,
That favours such as will o'erthrow his state.
Blest is that government, where no art thrives;
_Vox pupuli, vox Dei_,
The vulgar's voice it is the voice of God.
Yet Tully saith, _Non est concilium in vulgo,
Non ratio, non discrimen, non differentia_,
The vulgar have no learning, wit, nor sense.
Themistocles, having spent all his time
In study of philosophy and arts,
And noting well the vanity of them,
Wish'd, with repentance for his folly pass'd,
Some would teach him th'art of oblivion,
How to forget the arts that he had learn'd.
And Cicero, whom we alleged before,
(As saith Valerius), stepping into old age,
Despised learning, loathed eloquence.
Naso, that could speak nothing but pure verse,
And had more wit than words to utter it,
And words as choice as ever poet had,
Cried and exclaim'd in bitter agony,
When knowledge had corrupted his chaste mind:
_Discite, qui sapitis, non haec quae scimus inertes,
Sed trepidas acies et fera bella sequi_.
You that be wise, and ever mean to thrive,
O, study not these toys we sluggards use,
But follow arms, and wait on barbarous wars.
Young men, young boys, beware of schoolmasters;
They will infect you, mar you, blear your eyes:
They seek to lay the curse of God on you,
Namely, confusion of languages,
Wherewith those that the Tower of Babel built
Accursed were in the world's infancy.
Latin, it was the speech of infidels;
Logic hath nought to say in a true cause;
Philosophy is curiosity;
And Socrates was therefore put to death,
Only for he was a philosopher.
Abhor, contemn, despise these damned snares.
WILL SUM. Out upon it! who would be a scholar? not I, I promise you: my
mind always gave me this learning was such a filthy thing, which made me
hate it so as I did. When I should have been at school construing,
_Batte, mi fili, mi fili, mi Batte_, I was close under a hedge, or under
a barn-wall, playing at span-counter or jack-in-a-box. My master beat
me, my father beat me, my mother gave me bread and butter, yet all this
would not make me a squitter-book. It was my destiny; I thank her
as a most courteous goddess, that she hath not cast me away upon
gibridge. O, in what a mighty vein am I now against horn-books! Here,
before all this company, I profess myself an open enemy to ink and
paper. I'll make it good upon the accidence, body [of me,] that in
speech is the devil's paternoster. Nouns and pronouns, I pronounce you
as traitors to boys' buttocks; syntaxis and prosodia, you are tormentors
of wit, and good for nothing, but to get a schoolmaster twopence a-week.
Hang, copies! Fly out, phrase-books! let pens be turn'd to pick-tooths!
Bowls, cards, and dice, you are the true liberal sciences! I'll ne'er be
a goosequill, gentlemen, while I live.
SUM. Winter, with patience unto my grief
I have attended thy invective tale.
So much untruth wit never shadowed:
'Gainst her own bowels thou art's weapons turn'st.
Let none believe thee that will ever thrive.
Words have their course, the wind blows where it lists,
He errs alone in error that persists.
For thou 'gainst Autumn such exceptions tak'st,
I grant his overseer thou shalt be,
His treasurer, protector, and his staff;
He shall do nothing without thy consent:
Provide thou for his weal and his content.
WIN. Thanks, gracious lord; so I'll dispose of him,
As it shall not repent you of your gift.
AUT. On such conditions no crown will I take.
I challenge Winter for my enemy;
A most insatiate, miserable carl,
That to fill up his garners to the brim
Cares not how he endamageth the earth,
What poverty he makes it to endure!
He overbars the crystal streams with ice,
That none but he and his may drink of them:
All for a foul Backwinter he lays up.
Hard craggy ways, and uncouth slippery paths
He frames, that passengers may slide and fall.
Who quaketh not, that heareth but his name?
O, but two sons he hath worse than himself:
Christmas the one, a pinchback, cutthroat churl,
That keeps no open house, as he should do,
Delighteth in no game or fellowship,
Loves no good deeds, and hateth talk;
But sitteth in a corner turning crabs,
Or coughing o'er a warmed pot of ale.
Backwinter th'other, that's his nown sweet boy,
Who like his father taketh in all points.
An elf it is, compact of envious pride,
A miscreant born for a plague to men;
A monster that devoureth all he meets.
Were but his father dead, so he would reign,
Yea, he would go good-near to deal by him
As Nebuchadnezzar's ungracious son,
Foul Merodach, by his father dealt:
Who when his sire was turned to an ox
Full greedily snatch'd up his sovereignty,
And thought himself a king without control.
So it fell out, seven years expir'd and gone,
Nebuchadnezzar came to his shape again,
And dispossess'd him of the regiment;
Which my young prince, no little grieving at,
When that his father shortly after died,
Fearing lest he should come from death again,
As he came from an ox to be a man,
Will'd that his body, 'spoiled of coverture,
Should be cast forth into the open fields,
For birds and ravens to devour at will;
Thinking, if they bare, every one of them,
A bill-ful of his flesh into their nests,
He could not rise to trouble him in haste.
WILL SUM. A virtuous son! and I'll lay my life on't he was a cavalier
and a good fellow.
WIN. Pleaseth your honour, all he says is false.
For my own part, I love good husbandry,
But hate dishonourable covetise.
Youth ne'er aspires to virtue's perfect growth,
Till the wild oats be sown; and so the earth,
Until his weeds be rotted by my frosts
Is not for any seed or tillage fit.
He must be purged that hath surfeited:
The fields have surfeited with summer fruits;
They must be purg'd, made poor, oppress'd with snow,
Ere they recover their decayed pride.
For overbarring of the streams with ice,
Who locks not poison from his children's taste?
When Winter reigns, the water is so cold,
That it is poison, present death, to those
That wash or bathe their limbs in his cold streams.
The slipp'rier that ways are under us,
The better it makes us to heed our steps,
And look, ere we presume too rashly on.
If that my sons have misbehav'd themselves,
A God's name, let them answer't 'fore my lord.
AUT. Now, I beseech your honour it may be so.
SUM. With all my heart. Vertumnus, go for them.
WILL SUM. This same Harry Baker is such a necessary fellow to go on
errands as you shall not find in a country. It is pity but he should
have another silver arrow, if it be but for crossing the stage with his
SUM. To weary out the time, until they come,
Sing me some doleful ditty to the lute,
That may complain my near-approaching death.
Adieu, farewell, earth's bliss;
This world uncertain is.
Fond are life's lustful joys,
Death proves them all but toys.
None from his darts can fly:
I am sick, I must die.