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The Poetaster - Or, His Arraignment
by Ben Jonson
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Alb. What, you are not gone, master Crispinus?

Cris. Yes, faith, I have a design draws me hence: pray, sir, fashion me an excuse to the ladies.

Alb. Will you not stay and see the jewels, sir? I pray you stay.

Cris. Not for a million, sir, now. Let it suffice, I must relinquish; and so, in a word, please you to expiate this compliment.

Alb. Mum. [Exit. Cris. I'll presently go and enghle some broker for a poet's gown, and bespeak a garland: and then, jeweller, look to your best jewel, i'faith. [Exit.



ACT III

SCENE I.-The Via Sacra (or Holy Street).

Enter HORACE, CRISPINUS following.

Hor. Umph! yes, I will begin an ode so; and it shall be to Mecaenas.

Oris.'Slid, yonder's Horace! they say he's an excellent poet: Mecaenas loves him. I'll fall into his acquaintance, if I can; I think he be composing as he goes in the street! ha! 'tis a good humour, if he be: I'll compose too.

Hor. Swell me a bowl with lus'y wine, Till I may see the plump Lyoeus swim Above the brim: I drink as I would write, In flowing measure fill'd with flame and sprite.

Cris. Sweet Horace, Minerva and the Muses stand auspicious to thy designs! How farest thou, sweet man? frolic? rich? gallant? ha!

Hor. Not greatly gallant, Sir; like my fortunes, well: I am bold to take my leave, Sir; you'll nought else, Sir, would you?

Cris. Troth, no, but I could wish thou didst know us, Horace; we are a scholar, I assure thee.

Hor. A scholar, Sir! I shall be covetous of your fair knowledge.

Cris. Gramercy, good Horace. Nay, we are new turn'd poet too, which is more; and a satirist too, which is more than that: I write just in thy vein, I. I am for your odes, or your sermons, or any thing indeed; we are a gentleman besides; our name is Rufus Laberius Crispinus; we are a pretty Stoic too.

Hor. To the proportion of your beard, I think it, sir.

Cris. By Phoebus, here's a most neat, fine street, is't not? I protest to thee, I am enamoured of this street now, more than of half the streets of Rome again; 'tis so polite and terse! there's the front of a building now! I study architecture too: if ever I should build, I'd have a house just of that prospective.

Hor. Doubtless, this gallant's tongue has a good turn, when he sleeps. [Aside.

Cris. I do make verses, when I come in such a street as this: O, your city ladies, you shall have them sit in every shop like the Muses—offering you the Castalian dews, and the Thespian liquors, to as many as have but the sweet grace and audacity to sip of their lips. Did you never hear any of my verses?

Bor. No, sir;—-but I am in some fear I must now. [Aside.

Cris. I'll tell thee some, if I can but recover them, I composed even now of a dressing I saw a jeweller's wife wear, who indeed was a jewel herself: I prefer that kind of tire now; what's thy opinion, Horace?

Hor. With your silver bodkin, it does well, sir.

Cris. I cannot tell; but it stirs me more than all your court-curls, or your spangles, or your tricks: I affect not these high gable-ends, these Tuscan tops, nor your coronets, nor your arches, nor your pyramids; give me a fine, sweet-little delicate dressing with a bodkin, as you say; and a mushroom for all your other ornatures!

Hor. Is it not possible to make an escape from him? [Aside.

Cris. I have remitted my verses all this while; I think I have forgot them.

Hor. Here's he could wish you had else. [Aside.

Chris. Pray Jove I can entreat them of my memory!

Hor. You put your memory to too much trouble, sir.

Cris. No, sweet Horace, we must not have thee think so.

Hor. I cry you mercy; then they are my ears That must be tortured: well, you must have patience, ears.

Cris. Pray thee, Horace, observe.

Hor. Yes, sir; your satin sleeve begins to fret at the rug that is underneath it, I do observe: and your ample velvet bases are not without evident stains of a hot disposition naturally.

Cris. O—I'll dye them into another colour, at pleasure: How many yards of velvet dost thou think they contain?

Hor. 'Heart! I have put him now in a fresh way To vex me more:—-faith, sir, your mercer's book Will tell you With more patience than I can:—- For I am crost, and so's not that, I think.

Cris. 'Slight, these verses have lost me again! I shall not invite them to mind, now.

Hor. Rack not your thoughts, good sir; rather defer it To a new time; I'll meet you at your lodging, Or where you please: 'till then, Jove keep you, sir!

Cris. Nay, gentle Horace, stay; I have it now.

Hor. Yes, sir. Apollo, Hermes, Jupiter, Look down upon me. [Aside.

Cris. Rich was thy hap; sweet dainty cap, There to be placed; Where thy smooth black, sleek white may smack, And both be graced.

White is there usurp'd for her brow; her forehead: and then sleek, as the parallel to smooth, that went before. A kind of paranomasie, or agnomination: do you conceive, sir?

Hor. Excellent. Troth, sir, I must be abrupt, and leave you.

Cris. Why, what haste hast thou? prithee, stay a little; thou shalt not go yet, by Phoebus.

Hor. I shall not! what remedy? fie, how I sweat with suffering!

Cris. And then

Hor. Pray, sir, give me leave to wipe my face a little.

Cris. Yes, do, good Horace.

Hor. Thank you, sir. Death! I must crave his leave to p—, anon;. Or that I may go hence with half my teeth: I am in some such fear. This tyranny Is strange, to take mine ears up by commission, (Whether I will or no,) and make them stalls To his lewd solecisms, and worded trash. Happy thou, bold Bolanus, now I say; Whose freedom, and impatience of this fellow, Would, long ere this, have call'd him fool, and fool, And rank and tedious fool! and have flung jests As hard as stones, till thou hadst pelted him Out of the place; whilst my tame modesty Suffers my wit be made a solemn ass, To bear his fopperies—- [Aside.

Cris. Horace, thou art miserably affected to be gone, I see. But—prithee let's prove to enjoy thee a while. Thou hast no business, I assure me. Whither is thy journey directed, ha?

Hor. Sir, I am going to visit a friend that's sick.

Cris A friend! what is he; do not I know him?

Hor. No, sir, you do not know him; and 'tis not the worse for him.

Cris. What's his name 1 where is he lodged?

Hor. Where I shall be fearful to draw you out of your way, sir; a great way hence; pray, sir, let's part.

Cris. Nay, but where is't? I prithee say.

Hor. On the far side of all Tyber yonder, by Caesar's gardens.

Cris. O, that's my course directly; I am for you. Come, go; why stand'st thou?

Hor. Yes, sir: marry, the plague is in that part of the city; I had almost forgot to tell you, sir.

Cris. Foh! it is no matter, I fear no pestilence; I have not offended Phoebus.

Hor. I have, it seems, or else this heavy scourge Could ne'er have lighted on me.

Cris. Come along. Hor. I am to go down some half mile this way, sir, first, to speak with his physician; and from thence to his apothecary, where I shall stay the mixing of divers drugs.

Cris. Why, it's all one, I have nothing to do, and I love not to be idle; I'll bear thee company. How call'st thou the apothecary?

Hor. O that I knew a name would fright him now!—- Sir, Rhadamanthus, Rhadamanthus, sir. There's one so called, is a just judge in hell, And doth inflict strange vengeance on all those That here on earth torment poor patient spirits.

Cris. He dwells at the Three Furies, by Janus's temple.

Hor. Your pothecary does, sir.

Cris. Heart, I owe him money for sweetmeats, and he has laid to arrest me, I hear: but

Hor: Sir, I have made a most solemn vow, I will never bail any man.

Oris. Well then, I'll swear, and speak him fair, if the worst come. But his name is Minos, not Rhadamanthus, Horace.

Hor. That may be, sir, I but guess'd at his name by his sign. But your Minos is a judge too, sir.

Cris I protest to thee, Horace, (do but taste me once,) if I do know myself, and mine own virtues truly, thou wilt not make that esteem of Varius, or Virgil, or Tibullus, or any of 'em indeed, as now in thy ignorance thou dost; which I am content to forgive: I would fain see which of these could pen more verses in a day, or with more facility, than I; or that could court his mistress, kiss her hand, make better sport with her fan or her dog

Hor. I cannot bail you yet, sir.

Cris. Or that could move his body more gracefully, or dance better; you should see me, were it not in the street

Hor. Nor yet.

Cris. Why, I have been a reveller, and at my cloth of silver suit and my long stocking, in my time, and will be again

Hor. If you may be trusted, sir.

Cris. And then, for my singing, Hermogenes himself envies me, that is your only master of music you have in Rome.

Hor. Is your mother living, sir?

Cris. Ay! convert thy thoughts to somewhat else, I pray thee.

Hor. You have much of the mother in you, sir: Your father is dead?

Cris. Ay, I thank Jove, and my grandfather too, and all my kinsfolks, and well composed in their urns.

Hor. The more their happiness, that rest in peace, Free from the abundant torture of thy tongue: Would I were with them too!

Cris. What's that, Horace?

Hor. I now remember me, sir, of a sad fate A cunning woman, one Sabella, sung, When in her urn she cast my destiny, I being but a child.

Cris. What was it, I pray thee?

Hor. She told me I should surely never perish By famine, poison, or the enemy's sword; The hectic fever, cough, or pleurisy, Should never hurt me, nor the tardy gout: But in my time, I should be once surprised By a strong tedious talker, that should vex And almost bring me to consumption: Therefore, if I were wise, she warn'd me shun All such long-winded monsters as my bane; For if I could but 'scape that one discourser, I might no doubt prove an old aged man.— By your leave, Sir. [Going.

Cris. Tut, tut; abandon this idle humour, 'tis nothing but melancholy. 'Fore Jove, now I think on't, I am to appear in court here, to answer to one that has me in suit: sweet Horace, go with me, this is my hour; if I neglect it, the law proceeds against me. Thou art familiar with these things; prithee, if thou lov'st me, go.

Hor. Now, let me die, sir, if I know your laws, Or have the power to stand still half so long In their loud courts, as while a case is argued. Besides, you know, sir, where I am to go. And the necessity—-

Cris. 'Tis true.

Hor. I hope the hour of my release be come: he will, upon this consideration, discharge me, sure.

Cris. Troth, I am doubtful what I may best do, whether to leave thee or my affairs, Horace.

Hor. O Jupiter! me, sir, me, by any means; I beseech you, me, sir.

Cris. No, faith, I'll venture those now; thou shalt see I love thee—some, Horace.

Hor. Nay, then I am desperate: I follow you, sir. 'Tis hard contending with a man that overcomes thus.

Cris. And how deals Mecaenas with thee? liberally, ha? is he open handed? bountiful?

Hor. He's still himself, sir.

Cris. Troth, Horace, thou art exceeding happy in thy friends and acquaintance; they are all most choice spirits, and of the first rank of Romans: I do not know that poet, I protest, has used his fortune more prosperously than thou hast. If thou wouldst bring me known to Mecaenas, I should second thy desert well; thou shouldst find a good sure assistant of me, one that would speak all good of thee in thy absence, and be content with the next place, not envying thy reputation with thy patron. Let me not live, but I think thou and I, in a small time, should lift them all out of favour, both Virgil, Varius, and the best of them, and enjoy him wholly to ourselves.

Hor. Gods, you do know it, I can hold no longer; This brize has prick'd my patience. Sir, your silkness Clearly mistakes Mecaenas and his house, To think there breathes a spirit beneath his roof, Subject unto those poor affections Of undermining envy and detraction, Moods only proper to base grovelling minds. That place is not in Rome, I dare affirm, More pure or free from such low common evils. There's no man griev'd, that this is thought more rich, Or this more learned; each man hath his place, And to his merit his reward of grace, Which, with a mutual love, they all embrace.

Cris. You report a wonder: 'tis scarce credible, this.

Hor. l am no torturer to enforce you to believe it; but it is so

Cris. Why, this inflames me with a more ardent desire to be his, than before; but I doubt I shall find the entrance to his familiarity somewhat more than difficult, Horace.

Hor. Tut, you'll conquer him, as you have done me; there's no standing out against you, sir, I see that: either your importunity, or the intimation of your good parts, or

Cris. Nay, I'll bribe his porter, and the grooms of his chamber; make his doors open to me that way first, and then I'll observe my times. Say he should extrude me his house to-day, shall I there- fore desist, or let fall my suit to-morrow? No; I'll attend him, follow him, meet him in the street, the highways, run by his coach, never leave him. What! man hath nothing given him in this life without much labour

Hor. And impudence. Archer of heaven, Phoebus, take thy bow, And with a full-drawn shaft nail to the earth This Python, that I may yet run hence and live: Or, brawny Hercules, do thou come down, And, tho' thou mak'st it up thy thirteenth labour, Rescue me from this hydra of discourse here. [Enter FUSCUS ARISTIUS. Ari. Horace, well met.

Hor. O welcome, my reliever; Aristius, as thou lov'st me, ransom me.

Ari. What ail'st thou, man?

Hor. 'Death, I am seized on here By a land remora; I cannot stir, Nor move, but as he pleases.

Cris. Wilt thou go, Horace?

Hor. Heart! he cleaves to me like Alcides' shirt, Tearing my flesh and sinews: O, I've been vex'd And tortured with him beyond forty fevers. For Jove's sake, find some means to take me from him.

Ari. Yes, I will;—but I'll go first and tell Mecaenas. [Aside.

Cris. Come, shall we go?

Ari. The jest will make his eyes run, i'faith. [Aside.

Hor. Nay, Aristius!

Ari. Farewell, Horace. [Going.

Hor. 'Death! will he leave me? Fuscus Aristius! do you hear? Gods of Rome! You said you had somewhat to say to me in private.

Ari. Ay, but I see you are now employed with that gentleman; 'twere offence to trouble you; I'll take some fitter opportunity: farewell. [Exit.

Hor. Mischief and torment! O my soul and heart, How are you cramp'd with anguish! Death itself Brings not the like convulsions, O, this day! That ever I should view thy tedious face.—-

Cris. Horace, what passion, what humour is this?

Hor. Away, good prodigy, afflict me not. A friend, and mock me thus! Never was man So left under the axe.—- [Enter Minos with two Lictors.

How now?

Min. That's he in the embroidered hat, there, with the ash-colour'd feather: his name is Laberius Crispinus.

Lict. Laberius Crispinus, I arrest you in the emperor's name.

Cris. Me, sir! do you arrest me?

Lice. Ay, sir, at the suit of master Minos the apothecary. [Exit hastily. Hor. Thanks, great Apollo, I will not slip thy favour offered me in my escape, for my fortunes.

Cris. Master Minos! I know no master

Minos. Where's Horace? Horace! Horace!

Min. Sir, do not you know me?

Cris. O yes, I know you, master Minos; cry you mercy. But Horace? God's me, is he gone?

Min. Ay, and so would you too, if you knew how.—Officer, look to him.

Cris. Do you hear, master Minos? pray let us be used like a man of our own fashion. By Janus and Jupiter, I meant to have paid you next week every drachm. Seek not to eclipse my reputation thus vulgarly.

Min. Sir, your oaths cannot serve you; you know I have forborne you long.

Cris. I am conscious of it, sir. Nay, I beseech you, gentlemen, do not exhale me thus, remember 'tis but for sweetmeats—

Lict. Sweet meat must have sour sauce, sir. Come along.

Cris. Sweet master Minos, I am forfeited to eternal disgrace, if you do not commiserate. Good officer, be not so officious. Enter TUCCA and Pyrgi. Tuc. Why, how now, my good brace of bloodhounds, whither do you drag the gentleman? You mongrels, you curs, you ban-dogs! we are captain Tucca that talk to you, you inhuman pilchers.

Min. Sir, he is their prisoner.

Tuc. Their pestilence! What are you, sir?

Min. A citizen of Rome, sir.

Tuc. Then you are not far distant from a fool, sir.

Min. A pothecary, sir.

Tuc. I knew thou wast not a physician: foh! out of my nostrils, thou stink'st of lotium and the syringe; away, quack-salver!— Follower, my sword. [Aside. I Pyr. Here, noble leader; you'll do no harm with it, I'll trust you.

Tuc. Do you hear, you goodman, slave? Hook, ram, rogue, catchpole, loose the gentleman, or by my velvet arms— [Strikes up his heels, and seizes his sword. Lict. What will you do, sir?

Tuc. Kiss thy hand, my honourable active varlet, and embrace thee thus.

1 Pyr. O patient metamorphosis!

Tuc. My sword, my tall rascal.

Lict. Nay, soft, sir; some wiser than some.

Tuc. What! and a wit too? By Pluto, thou must be cherish'd, slave; here's three drachms for thee; hold.

2 Pyr. There's half his lendings gone.

Tuc. Give me.

Lict. No, sir, your first word shall stand; I'll hold all.

Tuc. Nay, but rogue—

Lict. You would make a rescue of our prisoner, sir, you.

Tuc. I a rescue! A way, inhuman varlet. Come, come, I never relish above one jest at most; do not disgust me, Sirrah; do not, rogue! I tell thee, rogue, do not.

Lict. How, sir! rogue?

Tuc. Ay; why, thou art not angry, rascal, art thou?

Lict. I cannot tell, sir; I am little better upon these terms.

Tuc. Ha, gods and fiends! why, dost hear, rogue, thou? give me thy hand; I say unto thee, thy hand, rogue. What, dost not thou know me? not me, rogue? not captain Tucca, rogue?

Min. Come, pray surrender the gentleman his sword, officer; we'll have no fighting here.

Tuc. What's thy name?

Min. Minos, an't please you.

Tuc. Minos! Come hither, Minos; thou art a wise fellow, it seems; let me talk with thee.

Cris. Was ever wretch so wretched as unfortunate I!

Tuc. Thou art one of the centumviri, old boy, art not?

Min. No indeed, master captain.

Tuc. Go to, thou shalt be then; I'll have thee one.

Minos. Take my sword from these rascals, dost thou see! go, do it; I cannot attempt with patience. What does this gentleman owe thee, little Minos?

Min. Fourscore sesterties, sir.

Tuc. What, no more! Come, thou shalt release him.

Minos: what, I'll be his bail, thou shalt take my word, old boy, and cashier these furies: thou shalt do't, I say, thou shalt, little Minos, thou shalt.

Cris. Yes; and as I am a gentleman and a reveller, I'll make a piece of poetry, and absolve all, within these five days.

Tuc. Come, Minos is not to learn how to use a gentleman of quality, I know.—My sword: If he pay thee not, I will, and I must, old boy. Thou shalt be my pothecary too. Hast good eringos, Minos.

Min. The best in Rome, sir.

Tuc. Go to, then—Vermin, know the house.

1 Pyr. I warrant you, colonel.

Tuc. For this gentleman, Minos—

Min. I'll take your word, captain.

Tuc. Thou hast it. My sword.

Min. Yes, sir: But you must discharge the arrest, master Crispinus.

Tuc. How, Minos! Look in the gentleman's face, and but read his silence. Pay, pay; 'tis honour, Minos.

Cris. By Jove, sweet captain, you do most infinitely endear and oblige me to you.

Tuc. Tut, I cannot compliment, by Mars; but, Jupiter love me, as I love good words and good clothes, and there's an end. Thou shalt give my boy that girdle and hangers, when thou hast worn them a little more.

Cris. O Jupiter! captain, he shall have them now, presently:— Please you to be acceptive, young gentleman.

1 Pyr. Yes, sir, fear not; I shall accept; I have a pretty foolish humour of taking, if you knew all. [Aside.

Tuc. Not now, you shall not take, boy.

Cris. By my truth and earnest, but he shall, captain, by your leave.

Tuc. Nay, an he swear by his truth and earnest, take it, boy: do not make a gentleman forsworn.

Lict. Well, sir, there's your sword; but thank master Minos; you had not carried it as you do else.

Tuc. Minos is just, and you are knaves, and

Lict. What say you, sir?

Tuc. Pass on, my good scoundrel, pass on, I honour thee: [Exeunt Lictors.] But that I hate to have action with such base rogues as these, you should have seen me unrip their noses now, and have sent them to the next barber's to stitching; for do you see—-I am a man of humour, and I do love the varlets, the honest varlets, they have wit and valour, and are indeed good profitable,—errant rogues, as any live in an empire. Dost thou hear, poetaster? [To Crispinus.] Second me. Stand up, Minos, close, gather, yet, so! Sir, (thou shalt have a quarter-share, be resolute) you shall, at my request, take Minos by the hand here, little Minos, I will have it so; all friends, and a health; be not inexorable. And thou shalt impart the wine, old boy, thou shalt do it, little Minos, thou shalt; make us pay it in our physic. What! we must live, and honour the gods sometimes; now Bacchus, now Comus, now Priapus; every god a little. [Histrio passes by.] What's he that stalks by there, boy, Pyrgus? You were best let him pass, Sirrah; do, ferret, let him pass, do

2 Pyr. 'Tis a player, sir.

Tuc. A player! call him, call the lousy slave hither; what, will he sail by and not once strike, or vail to a man of war? ha!-Do you hear, you player, rogue, stalker, come back here! [Enter Histrio. No respect to men of worship, you slave! what, you are proud, you rascal, are you proud, ha? you grow rich, do you, and purchase, you twopenny tear-mouth? you have FORTUNE, and the good year on your side, you stinkard, you have, you have!

Hist. Nay, 'sweet captain, be confined to some reason; I protest I saw you not, sir.

Tuc. You did not? where was your sight, OEdipus? you walk with hare's eyes, do you? I'll have them glazed, rogue; an you say the word, they shall be glazed for you: come we must have you turn fiddler again, slave, get a base viol at your back, and march in a tawny coat, with one sleeve, to Goose-fair; then you'll know us, you'll see us then, you will, gulch, you will. Then, Will't please your worship to have any music, captain?

Hist. Nay, good captain.

Tuc. What, do you laugh, Howleglas! death, you perstemptuous varlet, I am none of your fellows; I have commanded a hundred and fifty such rogues, I,

2 Pyr. Ay, and most of that hundred and fifty have been leaders of a legion. [Aside.

Hist. If I have exhibited wrong, I'll tender satisfaction, captain.

Tuc. Say'st thou so, honest vermin! Give me thy hand; thou shalt make us a supper one of these nights.

Hist. When you please, by Jove, captain, most willingly. us. Dost thou swear! To-morrow then; say and hold, slave. There are some of you players honest gentlemen-like scoundrels, and suspected to have some wit, as well as your poets, both at drinking and breaking of jests, and are companions for gallants. A man may skelder ye, now and then, of half a dozen shillings, or so. Dost thou not know that Pantalabus there?

Hist. No, I assure you, captain.

Tuc. Go; and be acquainted with him then; he is a gentleman, parcel poet, you slave; his father was a man of worship, I tell thee. Go, he pens high, lofty, in a new stalking strain, bigger than half the rhymers in the town again; he was born to fill thy mouth, Minotaurus, he was, he will teach thee to tear and rand. Rascal, to him, cherish his muse, go; thou hast forty-forty shillings, I mean, stinkard; give him in earnest, do, he shall write for thee, slave! If he pen for thee once, thou shalt not need to travel with thy pumps full of gravel any more, after a blind jade and a hamper, and stalk upon boards and barrel heads to an old crack'd trumpet.

Hist. Troth, I think I have not so much about me, captain.

Tuc. It's no matter; give him what thou hast, stiff-toe, I'll give my word for the rest; though it lack a shilling or two, it skills not: go, thou art an honest shifter; I'll have the statute repeal'd for thee.—Minos, I must tell thee, Minos, thou hast dejected yon gentleman's spirit exceedingly; dost observe, dost note, little Minos?

Min. Yes, sir.

Tuc. Go to then, raise, recover, do; suffer him not to droop in prospect of a player, a rogue, a stager: put twenty into his hand—twenty sesterces I mean,—and let nobody see; go, do it—the work shall commend itself; ye Minos, I'll pay.

Min. Yes, forsooth, captain.

2 Pyr. Do not we serve a notable shark? [Aside.

Tuc. And what new matters have you now afoot, sirrah, ha? I would fain come with my cockatrice one day, and see a play, if I knew when there were a good bawdy one; but they say you have nothing but HUMOURS, REVELS, and SATIRES, that gird and f—t at the time, you slave.

Hist. No, I assure you, captain, not we. They are on the other side of Tyber: we have as much ribaldry in our plays as can be, as you would wish, captain: all the sinners in the suburbs come and applaud our action daily.

Tuc. I hear you'll bring me o' the stage there; you'll play me, they say; I shall be presented by a sort of copper-laced scoundrels of you: life of Pluto! an you stage me, stinkard, your mansions shall sweat for't, your tabernacles, varlets, your Globes, and your Triumphs.

Hist. Not we, by Phoebus, captain; do not do us imputation without desert.

Tuc. I will not, my good twopenny rascal; reach me thy neuf. Dost hear? what wilt thou give me a week for my brace of beagles here, my little point-trussers? you shall have them act among ye.—I Sirrah, you, pronounce.—Thou shalt hear him speak in King Darius' doleful strain.

1 Pyr. O doleful days! O direful deadly dump! O wicked world, and worldly wickedness! How can I hold my fist from crying, thump, In rue of this right rascal wretchedness!

Tuc. In an amorous vein now, sirrah: peace!

1 Pyr. O, she is wilder, and more hard, withal, Than beast, or bird, or tree, or stony wall. Yet might she love me, to uprear her state: Ay, but perhaps she hopes some nobler mate. Yet might she love me, to content her fire: Ay, but her reason masters her desire. Yet might she love me as her beauty's thrall: Ay, but I fear she cannot love at all.

Tuc. Now, the horrible, fierce soldier, you, sirrah.

2 Pyr. What! will I brave thee? ay, and beard thee too; A Roman spirit scorns to bear a brain So full of base pusillanimity.

Hist. Excellent!

Tuc. Nay, thou shalt see that shall ravish thee anon; prick up thine ears, stinkard.—The ghost, boys!

1 Pyr. Vindicate!

2 Pyr. Timoria!

1 Pyr. Vindicta!

2 Pyr. Timoria!

1 Pyr. Veni!

2 Pyr. Veni!

Tuc. Now thunder, sirrah, you, the rumbling player.

2 Pyr. Ay, but somebody must cry, Murder! then, in a small voice.

Tuc. Your fellow-sharer there shall do't:

Cry, sirrah, cry.

1 Pyr. Murder, murder!

2 Pyr. Who calls out murder? lady, was it you?

Hist. O, admirable good, I protest.

Tuc. Sirrah, boy, brace your drum a little straiter, and do the t'other fellow there, he in the—what sha' call him—and yet stay too.

2 Pyr. Nay, an thou dalliest, then I am thy foe, And fear shall force what friendship cannot win; Thy death shall bury what thy life conceals. Villain! thou diest for more respecting her—-

1 Pyr. O stay, my lord.

2 Pyr. Than me: Yet speak the truth, and I will guerdon thee; But if thou dally once again, thou diest.

Tuc. Enough of this, boy.

2 Pyr. Why, then lament therefore: d—n'd be thy guts Unto king Pluto's Hell, and princely Erebus; For sparrows must have food—-

Hist. Pray, sweet captain, let one of them do a little of a lady.

Tuc. O! he will make thee eternally enamour'd of him, there: do, sirrah, do; 'twill allay your fellow's fury a little.

1 Pyr. Master, mock on; the scorn thou givest me, Pray Jove some lady may return on thee.

2 Pyr. Now you shall see me do the Moor: master, lend me your scarf a little.

Tuc. Here, 'tis at thy service, boy.

2 Pyr. You, master Minos, hark hither a little [Exit with Minos, to make himself ready. Tuc. How dost like him? art not rapt, art not tickled now? dost not applaud, rascal? dost not applaud?

Hist. Yes: what will you ask for them a week, captain?

Tuc. No, you mangonising slave, I will not part from them; you'll sell them for enghles, you: let's have good cheer tomorrow night at supper, stalker, and then we'll talk; good capon and plover, do you hear, sirrah? and do not bring your eating player with you there; I cannot away with him: he will eat a leg of mutton while I am in my porridge, the lean Polyphagus, his belly is like Barathrum; he looks like a midwife in man's apparel, the slave: nor the villanous out-of-tune fiddler, AEnobarbus, bring not him. What hast thou there? six and thirty, ha?

Hist. No, here's all I have, captain, some five and twenty: pray, sir, will you present and accommodate it unto the gentleman? for mine own part, I am a mere stranger to his humour; besides, I have some business invites me hence, with master Asinius Lupus, the tribune.

Tuc. Well, go thy ways, pursue thy projects, let me alone with this design; my Poetaster shall make thee a play, and thou shalt be a man of good parts in it. But stay, let me see; do not bring your AEsop, your politician, unless you can ram up his mouth with cloves; the slave smells ranker than some sixteen dunghills, and is seventeen times more rotten. Marry, you may bring Frisker, my zany; he's a good skipping swaggerer; and your fat fool there, my mango, bring him too; but let him not beg rapiers nor scarfs, in his over-familiar playing face, nor roar out his barren bold jests with a tormenting laughter, between drunk and dry. Do you hear, stiff-toe? give him warning, admonition, to forsake his saucy glavering grace, and his goggle eye; it does not become him, sirrah: tell him so. I have stood up and defended you, I, to gentlemen, when you have been said to prey upon puisnes, and honest citizens, for socks or buskins; or when they have call'd you usurers or brokers, or said you were able to help to a piece of flesh—I have sworn, I did not think so, nor that you were the common retreats for punks decayed in their practice; I cannot believe it of you.

Hist. Thank you, captain. Jupiter and the rest of the gods confine your modern delights without disgust.

Tuc. Stay, thou shalt see the Moor ere thou goest. [Enter DEMETRIUS at a distance. What's he with the half arms there, that salutes us out of his cloak, like a motion, ha?

Hist. O, sir, his doublet's a little decayed; he is otherwise a very simple honest fellow, sir, one Demetrius, a dresser of plays about the town here; we have hired him to abuse Horace, and bring him in, in a play, with all his gallants, as Tibullus, Mecaenas, Cornelius Gallus, and the rest.

Tuc. And why so, stinkard?

Hist. O, it will get us a huge deal of money, captain, and we have need on't; for this winter has made us all poorer than so many starved snakes: nobody comes at us, not a gentleman, nor a—

Tuc. But you know nothing by him, do you, to make a play of?

Hist. Faith, not much, captain; but our author will devise that that shall serve in some sort.

Tuc. Why, my Parnassus here shall help him, if thou wilt. Can thy author do it impudently enough?

Hist. O, I warrant you, captain, and spitefully enough too; he has one of tho most overflowing rank wits in Rome; he will slander any man that breathes, if he disgust him.

Tuc. I'll know the poor, egregious, nitty rascal; an he have these commendable qualities, I'll cherish him—stay, here comes the Tartar—I'll make a gathering for him, I, a purse, and put the poor slave in fresh rags; tell him so to comfort him.— [Demetrius comes forward.

Be-enter Minos, with 2 Pyrgus on his shoulders, and stalks backward and forward, as the boy acts.

Well said, boy.

2 Pyr. Where art thou, boy? where is Calipolis? Fight earthquakes in the entrails of the earth, And eastern whirlwinds in the hellish shades; Some foul contagion of the infected heavens Blast all the trees, and in their cursed tops The dismal night raven and tragic owl Breed and become forerunners of my fall!

Tuc. Well, now fare thee well, my honest penny-biter: commend me to seven shares and a half, and remember to-morrow.—If you lack a service, you shall play in my name, rascals; but you shall buy your own cloth, and I'll have two shares for my countenance. Let thy author stay with me. [Exit Histrio. Dem. Yes, sir.

Tuc. 'Twas well done, little Minos, thou didst stalk well: forgive me that I said thou stunk'st; Minos; 'twas the savour of a poet I met sweating in the street, hangs yet in my nostrils.

Cris. Who, Horace?

Tuc. Ay, he; dost thou know him?

Cris. O, he forsook me most barbarously, I protest.

Tuc. Hang him, fusty satyr, he smells all goat; he carries a ram under his arm-holes, the slave: I am the worse when I see him.— Did not Minos impart? [Aside to Crispinus.

Cris. Yes, here are twenty drachms he did convey.

Tuc. Well said, keep them, we'll share anon; come, little Minos.

Cris. Faith, captain, I'll be bold to shew you a mistress of mine, a jeweller's wife, a gallant, as we go along.

Tuc. There spoke my genius. Minos, some of thy eringos, little Minos; send. Come hither, Parnassus, I must have thee familiar with my little locust here; 'tis a good vermin, they say.— [Horace and Trebatius pass over the stage.] See, here's Horace, and old Trebatius, the great lawyer, in his company; let's avoid him now, he is too well seconded. [Exeunt.



ACT IV

SCENE I.-A Room in ALBIUS'S House. enter CHLOE, CYTHERIS, and Attendants.

Chloe. But, sweet lady, say; am I well enough attired for the court, in sadness?

Cyth. Well enough! excellent well, sweet mistress Chloe; this strait-bodied city attire, I can tell you, will stir a courtier's blood, more than the finest loose sacks the ladies use to be put in; and then you are as well jewell'd as any of them; your ruff and linen about you is much more pure than theirs; and for your beauty, I can tell you, there's many of them would defy the painter, if they could change with you. Marry, the worst is, you must look to be envied, and endure a few court-frumps for it.

Chloe. O Jove, madam, I shall buy them too cheap!—Give me my muff, and my dog there.-And will the ladies be any thing familiar with me, think you?

Cyth. O Juno! why you shall see them flock about you with their puff-wings, and ask you where you bought your lawn, and what you paid for it? who starches you? and entreat you to help 'em to some pure laundresses out of the city.

Chloe. O Cupid!—Give me my fan, and my mask too.—And will the lords, and the poets there, use one well too, lady?

Cyth. Doubt not of that; you shall have kisses from them, go pit-pat, pit-pat, pit-pat, upon your lips, as thick as stones out of slings at the assault of a city. And then your ears will be so furr'd with the breath of their compliments, that you cannot catch cold of your head, if you would, in three winters after.

Chloe. Thank you, sweet lady. O heaven! and how must one behave herself amongst 'em? You know all.

Cyth. Faith, impudently enough, mistress Chloe, and well enough. Carry not too much under thought betwixt yourself and them; nor your city-mannerly word, forsooth, use it not too often in any case; but plain, Ay, madam, and no, madam: nor never say, your lordship, nor your honour; but, you, and you, my lord, and my lady: the other they count too simple and minsitive. And though they desire to kiss heaven with their titles, yet they will count them fools that give them too humbly.

Chloe. O intolerable, Jupiter! by my troth, lady, I would not for a world but you had lain in my house; and, i'faith, you shall not pay a farthing for your board, nor your chambers.

Cyth. O, sweet mistress Chloe! Chloe. I'faith you shall not, lady; nay, good lady, do not offer it. [Enter GALLUS and TIBULLUS. Gal. Come, where be these ladies? By your leave, bright stars, this gentleman and I are come to man you to court; where your late kind entertainment is now to be requited with a heavenly banquet.

Cyth. A heavenly banquet; Gallus!

Gal. No less, my dear Cytheris.

Tib. That were not strange, lady, if the epithet were only given for the company invited thither; your self, and this fair gentle-woman.

Chloe. Are we invited to court, sir?

Tib. You are, lady, by the great princess Julia; who longs to greet you with any favours that may worthily make you an often courtier.

Chloe. In sincerity, I thank her, sir. You have a coach, have you not?

Tib. The princess hath sent her own, lady.

Chloe. O Venus! that's well: I do long to ride in a coach most vehemently.

Cyth. But, sweet Gallus, pray you resolve me why you give that heavenly praise to this earthly banquet?

Gal. Because, Cytheris, it must be celebrated by the heavenly powers: all the gods and goddesses will be there; to two of which you two must be exalted.

Chloe. A pretty fiction, in truth.

Cyth. A fiction, indeed, Chloe, and fit for the fit of a poet.

Gal. Why, Cytheris, may not poets (from whose divine spirits all the honours of the gods have been deduced) entreat so much honour of the gods, to have their divine presence at a poetical banquet?

Cyth. Suppose that no fiction; yet, where are your habilities to make us two goddesses at your feast?

Gal. Who knows not, Cytheris, that the sacred breath of a true poet can blow any virtuous humanity up to deity?

Tib. To tell you the female truth, which is the simple truth, ladies; and to shew that poets, in spite of the world, are able to deify themselves; at this banquet, to which you are invited, we intend to assume the figures of the gods; and to give our several loves the forms of goddesses. Ovid will be Jupiter; the princess Julia, Juno; Gallus here, Apollo; you, Cytheris, Pallas; I will be Bacchus; and my love Plautia, Ceres: and to install you and your husband, fair Chloe, in honours equal with ours, you shall be a goddess, and your husband a god.

Chloe. A god!—O my gods!

Tib. A god, but a lame god, lady; for he shall be Vulcan, and you Venus: and this will make our banquet no less than heavenly.

Chloe. In sincerity, it will be sugared. Good Jove, what a pretty foolish thing it is to be a poet! but, hark you, sweet Cytheris, could they not possibly leave out my husband? methinks a body's husband does not so well at court; a body's friend, or so—but, husband! 'tis like your clog to your marmoset, for all the world, and the heavens.

Cyth. Tut, never fear, Chloe! your husband will be left without in the lobby, or the great chamber, when you shall be put in, i'the closet, by this lord, and by that lady.

Chloe. Nay, then I am certified; he shall go. [Enter HORACE. Gal. Horace! welcome.

Hor. Gentlemen, hear you the news?

Tib. What news, my Quintus!

Hor. Our melancholic friend, Propertius, Hath closed himself up in his Cynthia's tomb; And will by no entreaties be drawn thence. [Enter Albius, introducing CRISPINUS and DEMETRIUS, followed by Tucca. Alb. Nay, good Master Crispinus, pray you bring near the gentleman. [Going Hor. Crispinus! Hide me, good Gallus; Tibullus, shelter me.

Cris. Make your approach, sweet captain.

Tib. What means this, Horace?

Hor. I am surprised again; farewell.

Gal. Stay, Horace. [Exit hastily. Tib 'Slight, I hold my life This same is he met him in Holy-street.

Hor. What, and be tired on by yond' vulture! No: Phoebus defend me!

Gal. Troth, 'tis like enough.—This act of Propertius relisheth very strange with me.

Tuc. By thy leave, my neat scoundrel: what, is this the mad boy you talk'd on?

Cris. Ay, this is master Albius, captain.

Tuc. Give me thy hand, Agamemnon; we hear abroad thou art the Hector of citizens: What sayest thou? are we welcome to thee, noble Neoptolemus?

Alb. Welcome, captain, by Jove and all the gods in the Capitol—

Tuc. No more, we conceive thee. Which of these is thy wedlock, Menelaus? thy Helen, thy Lucrece? that we may do her honour, mad boy.

Cris. She in the little fine dressing, sir, is my mistress.

Alb. For fault of a better, sir.

Tuc. A better! profane rascal: I cry thee mercy, my good scroyle, was't thou?

Alb. No harm, captain.

Tuc. She is a Venus, a Vesta, a Melpomene: come hither, Penelope; what's thy name, Iris?

Chloe. My name is Chloe, sir; I am a gentlewoman.

Tuc. Thou art in merit to be an empress, Chloe, for an eye and a lip; thou hast an emperor's nose: kiss me again: 'tis a virtuous punk; so! Before Jove, the gods were a sort of goslings, when they suffered so sweet a breath to perfume the bed of a stinkard: thou hadst ill fortune, Thisbe; the Fates were infatuate, they were, punk, they were.

Chloe. That's sure, sir: let me crave your name, I pray you, sir.

Tuc. I am known by the name of Captain Tucca, punk; the noble Roman, punk: a gentleman, and a commander, punk. [Walks aside. Chloe. In good time: a gentleman, and a commander! that's as good as a poet, methinks.

Cris. A pretty instrument! It's my cousin Cytheris' viol this, is it not?

Cyth. Nay, play, cousin; it wants but such a voice and hand to grace it, as yours is.

Cris. Alas, cousin, you are merrily inspired.

Cyth. Pray you play, if you love me.

Cris. Yes, cousin; you know I do not hate you.

Tib. A most subtile wench! how she hath baited him with a viol yonder, for a song!

Cris. Cousin, 'pray you call mistress Chloe! she shall hear an essay of my poetry.

Tuc. I'll call her.—Come hither, cockatrice: here's one will set thee up, my sweet punk, set thee up.

Chloe. Are you a poet so soon, sir?

CRlSPINUS plays and sings.

Love is blind, and a wanton; In the whole world, there is scant one ——Such another: No, not his mother. He hath pluck'd her doves and sparrows, To feather his sharp arrows, And alone prevaileth, While sick Venus waileth. But if Cypris once recover The wag; it shall behove her To look better to him: Or she will undo him.

Alb. Wife, mum.

Alb. O, most odoriferous music!

Tuc. Aha, stinkard! Another Orpheus, you slave, another Orpheus! an Arion riding on the back of a dolphin, rascal!

Gal. Have you a copy of this ditty, sir?

Cris. Master Albius has.

Alb. Ay, but in truth they are my Wife's verses; I must not shew them.

Tuc. Shew them, bankrupt, shew them; they have salt in them, and will brook the air, stinkard.

Gal. How! To his bright mistress Canidia!

Cris. Ay, sir, that's but a borrowed name; as Ovid's Corinna, or Propertius his Cynthia, or your Nemesis, or Delia, Tibullus.

Gal. It's the name of Horace his witch, as I remember.

Tib. Why, the ditty's all borrowed; 'tis Horace's: hang him, plagiary!

Tut. How! he borrow of Horace? he shall pawn himself to ten brokers first. Do you hear, Poetasters? I know you to be men of worship—He shall write with Horace, for a talent! and let Mecaenas and his whole college of critics take his part: thou shalt do't, young Phoebus; thou shalt, Phaeton, thou shalt.

Dem. Alas, sir, Horace! he is a mere sponge; nothing but Humours and observation; he goes up and down sucking from every society, and when he comes home squeezes himself dry again. I know him, I.

Tuc. Thou say'st true, my poor poetical fury, he will pen all he knows. A sharp thorny-tooth, a satirical rascal, By him; he carries hay in his horn: he will sooner lose his best friend, than his least jest. What he once drops upon paper, against a man, lives eternally to upbraid him in the mouth of every slave, tankard-bearer, or waterman; not a bawd, or a boy that comes from the bake-house, but shall point at him: 'tis all dog, and scorpion; he carries poison in his teeth, and a sting in his tail. Fough! body of Jove! I'll have the slave whipt one of these days for his Satires and his Humours, by one cashier'd clerk or another.

Cris. We'll undertake him, captain.

Dem. Ay, and tickle him i'faith, for his arrogancy and his impudence, in commending his own things; and for his translating, I can trace him, i'faith. O, he is the most open fellow living; I had as lieve as a new suit I were at it.

Tuc. Say no more then, but do it; 'tis the only way to get thee a new suit; sting him, my little neufts; I'll give you instructions: I'll be your intelligencer; we'll all join, and hang upon him like so many horse-leeches, the players and all. We shall sup together, soon; and then we'll conspire, i'faith.

Gal. O that Horace had stayed still here!

Tib. So would not I; for both these would have turn'd Pythagoreans then.

Gal. What, mute?

Tib. Ay, as fishes, i'faith: come, ladies, shall we go?

Cyth. We wait you, sir. But mistress Chloe asks, if you have not a god to spare for this gentleman.

Gal. Who, captain Tucca?

Cyth. Ay, he.

Gal. Yes, if we can invite him along, he shall be Mars.

Chloe. Has Mars any thing to do with Venus?

Tib. O, most of all, lady.

Chloe. Nay, then I pray let him be invited: And what shall Crispinus be?

Tib. Mercury, mistress Chloe.

Chloe. Mercury! that's a poet, is it?

Gal. No, lady, but somewhat inclining that way; he is a herald at arms.

Chloe. A herald at arms! good; and Mercury! pretty: he has to do with Venus too?

Tib. A little with her face, lady; or so.

Chloe. 'Tis very well; pray let us go, I long to be at it.

Cyth. Gentlemen, shall we pray your companies along?

Cris. You shall not only pray, but prevail, lady.—Come, sweet captain.

Tuc. Yes, I follow: but thou must not talk of this now, my little bankrupt.

Alb. Captain, look here, mum.

Dem. I'll go write, sir. [Exeunt.



SCENE II.-A Room in Lupus's House. Enter Lupus, HISTRIO, and Lictors.

Tuc. Do, do: stay, there's a drachm to purchase ginger-bread for thy muse.

Lup. Come, let us talk here; here we may be private; shut the door, lictor. You are a player, you say.

Hist. Ay, an't please your worship.

Lup. Good; and how are you able to give this intelligence?

Hist. Marry, sir, they directed a letter to me and my fellow— sharers.

Lup. Speak lower, you are not now in your theatre, stager:—my sword, knave. They directed a letter to you, and your fellow-sharers: forward.

Hist. Yes, sir, to hire some of our properties; as a sceptre and crown for Jove; and a caduceus for Mercury; and a petasus— [Reenter Lictor. Lup. Caduceus and petasus! let me see your letter. This is a conjuration: a conspiracy, this. Quickly, on with my buskins: I'll act a tragedy, i'faith. Will nothing but our gods serve these poets to profane? dispatch! Player, I thank thee. The emperor shall take knowledge of thy good service. [A knocking within.] Who's there now? Look, knave. [Exit Lictor.] A crown and a sceptre! this is good rebellion, now.

Lic. 'Tis your pothecary, sir, master Minos.

Lup. What tell'st thou me of pothecaries, knave! Tell him, I have affairs of state in hand; I can talk to no apothecaries now. Heart of me! Stay the pothecary there. [Walks in a musing posture.] You shall see, I have fish'd out a cunning piece of plot now: they have had some intelligence, that their project is discover'd, and now have they dealt with my apothecary, to poison me; 'tis so; knowing that I meant to take physic to-day: as sure as death, 'tis there. Jupiter, I thank thee, that thou hast. yet made me so much of a politician. [Enter Minos. You are welcome, sir; take the potion from him there; I have an antidote more than you wot of, sir; throw it on the ground there: so! Now fetch in the dog; and yet we cannot tarry to try experiments now: arrest him; you shall go with me, sir; I'll tickle you, pothecary; I'll give you a glister, i'faith. Have I the letter? ay, 'tis here.—Come, your fasces, lictors: the half pikes and the Halberds, take them down from the Lares there. Player, assist me. [As they are going out, enter MECAENAS and HORACE. Mec. Whither now, Asinius Lupus, with this armory?

Lup. I cannot talk now; I charge you assist me: treason! treason!

Hor. How! treason?

Lup. Ay: if you love the emperor, and the state, follow me. [Exeunt.



SCENE III.-An Apartment in the Palace.

Enter OVID, JULIA, GALLUS, CYTHERIS, TIBULLUS, PLAUTIA, ALBIUS, CHLOE, TUCCA, CRISPINUS, HERMOGENES, PYRGUS, characteristically habited, as gods and goddesses.

Ovid. Gods and goddesses, take your several seats. Now, Mercury, move your caduceus, and, in Jupiter's name, command silence.

Cris. In the name of Jupiter, silence.

Her. The crier of the court hath too clarified a voice.

Gal. Peace, Momus.

Ovid. Oh, he is the god of reprehension; let him alone: 'tis his office. Mercury, go forward, and proclaim, after Phoebus, our high pleasure, to all the deities that shall partake this high banquet.

Cris. Yes, sir.

Gal. The great god, Jupiter,—[Here, and at every break in the line, Crispinus repeats aloud the words of Gallus.]—Of his licentious goodness,—Willing to make this feast no fast—From any manner of pleasure;—Nor to bind any god or goddess—To be any thing the more god or goddess, for their names:—He gives them all free license—To speak no wiser than persons of baser titles;—And to be nothing better, than common men, or women.—And therefore no god—Shall need to keep himself more strictly to his goddess—Than any man does to his wife:—Nor any goddess—Shall need to keep herself more strictly to her god—Than any woman does to her husband.—But, since it is no part of wisdom,—In these days, to come into bonds;—It shall be lawful for every lover—To break loving oaths,—To change their lovers, and make love to others,—As the heat of every one's blood,—And the spirit of our nectar, shall inspire.—And Jupiter save Jupiter!

Tib. So; now we may play the fools by authority.

Her. To play the fool by authority is wisdom.

Jul. Away with your mattery sentences, Momus; they are too grave and wise for this meeting.

Ovid. Mercury, give our jester a stool, let him sit by; and reach him one of our cates.

Tuc. Dost hear, mad Jupiter? we'll have it enacted, he that speaks the first wise word, shall be made cuckold. What say'st thou? Is it not a good motion?

Ovid. Deities, are you all agreed?

All, Agreed, great Jupiter.

Alb. I have read in a book, that to play the fool wisely, is high wisdom.

Gal. How now, Vulcan! will you be the first wizard?

Ovid. Take his wife, Mars, and make him cuckold quickly.

Tuc. Come, cockatrice.

Chloe. No, let me alone with him, Jupiter: I'll make you take heed, sir, while you live again; if there be twelve in a company, that you be not the wisest of 'em.

Alb. No more; I will not indeed, wife, hereafter; I'll be here: mum.

Ovid. Fill us a bowl of nectar, Ganymede: we will drink to our daughter Venus.

Gal. Look to your wife, Vulcan: Jupiter begins to court her.

Tib. Nay, let Mars look to it: Vulcan must do as Venus does, bear.

Tuc. Sirrah, boy; catamite: Look you play Ganymede well now, you slave. Do not spill your nectar; carry your cup even: so! You should have rubbed your face with whites of eggs, you rascal; till your brows had shone like our sooty brother's here, as sleek as a horn-book: or have steept your lips in wine, till you made them so plump, that Juno might have been jealous of them. Punk, kiss me, punk.

Ovid. Here, daughter Venus, I drink to thee.

Chloe. Thank you, good father Jupiter.

Tuc. Why, mother Juno! gods and fiends! what, wilt thou suffer this ocular temptation?

Tib. Mars is enraged, he looks big, and begins to stut for anger.

Her. Well played, captain Mars.

Tuc. Well said, minstrel Momus: I must put you in, must I? when will you be in good fooling of yourself, fidler, never?

Her. O, 'tis our fashion to be silent, when there is a better fool in place ever.

Tuc. Thank you, rascal.

Ovid. Fill to our daughter Venus, Ganymede, who fills her father with affection.

Jul. Wilt thou be ranging, Jupiter, before my face?

Ovid. Why not, Juno? why should Jupiter stand in awe of thy face, Juno?

Jul. Because it is thy wife's face, Jupiter.

Ovid. What, shall a husband be afraid of his wife's face? will she paint it so horribly? we are a king, cotquean; and we will reign in our pleasures; and we will cudgel thee to death, if thou find fault with us.

Jul. I will find fault with thee, king cuckold-maker: What, shall the king of gods turn the king of good-fellows, and have no fellow in wickedness? This makes our poets, that know our profaneness, live as profane as we: By my godhead, Jupiter, 1 will join with all the other gods here, bind thee hand and foot, throw thee down into the earth and make a poor poet of thee, if thou abuse me thus.

Gal. A good smart-tongued goddess, a right Juno!

Ovid. Juno, we will cudgel thee, Juno: we told thee so yesterday, when thou wert jealous of us for Thetis.

Pyr. Nay, to-day she had me in inquisition too.

Tuc. Well said, my fine Phrygian fry; inform, inform. Give me some wine, king of heralds, I may drink to my cockatrice.

Ovid. No more, Ganymede; we will cudgel thee, Juno; by Styx we will.

Jul. Ay, 'tis well; gods may grow impudent in iniquity, and they must not be told of it

Ovid. Yea, we will knock our chin against our breast, and shake thee out of Olympus into an oyster-boat, for thy scolding.

Jul. Your nose is not long enough to do it, Jupiter, if all thy strumpets thou hast among the stars took thy part. And there is never a star in thy forehead but shall be a horn, if thou persist to abuse me.

Cris. A good jest, i'faith.

Ovid. We tell thee thou angerest us, cotquean; and we will thunder thee in pieces for thy cotqueanity.

Cris. Another good jest.

Alb. O, my hammers and my Cyclops! This boy fills not wine enough to make us kind enough to one another.

Tuc. Nor thou hast not collied thy face enough, stinkard.

Alb. I'll ply the table with nectar, and make them friends.

Her. Heaven is like to have but a lame skinker, then.

Alb. Wine and good livers make true lovers: I'll sentence them together. Here, father, here, mother, for shame, drink yourselves drunk, and forget this dissension; you two should cling together before our faces, and give us example of unity.

Gal O, excellently spoken, Vulcan, on the sudden!

Tib. Jupiter may do well to prefer his tongue to some office for his eloquence. Tuc. His tongue shall be gentleman-usher to his wit, and still go before it.

Alb. An excellent fit office!

Cris. Ay, and an excellent good jest besides.

Her. What, have you hired Mercury to cry your jests you make?

Ovid. Momus, you are envious.

Tuc. Why, ay, you whoreson blockhead, 'tis your only block of wit in fashion now-a-days, to applaud other folks' jests.

Her. True; with those that are not artificers themselves. Vulcan, you nod, and the mirth of the jest droops.

Pyr. He has filled nectar so long, till his brain swims in it.

Gal. What, do we nod, fellow-gods! Sound music, and let us startle our spirits with a song.

Tuc. Do, Apollo, thou art a good musician.

Gal. What says Jupiter?

Ovid. Ha! ha!

Gal. A song.

Ovid. Why, do, do, sing.

Pla. Bacchus, what say you?

Tib. Ceres?

Pla. But, to this song?

Tib. Sing, for my part.

Jul. Your belly weighs down your head, Bacchus; here's a song toward.

Tib. Begin, Vulcan.

Alb. What else, what else?

Tuc. Say, Jupiter

Ovid. Mercury—-

Cris. Ay, say, say. [Music Alb. Wake! our mirth begins to die; Quicken it with tunes and wine. Raise your notes; you're out; fie, fie! This drowsiness is an ill sign. We banish him the quire of gods, That droops agen: Then all are men, For here's not one but nods.

Ovid. I like not this sudden and general heaviness amongst our godheads; 'tis somewhat ominous. Apollo, command us louder music, and let Mercury and Momus contend to please and revive our senses. [Music Herm. Then, in a free and lofty strain. Our broken tunes we thus repair; Cris. And we answer them again, Running division on the panting air; Ambo. To celebrate this, feast of sense, As free from scandal as offence. Herm. Here is beauty for the eye, Cris. For the ear sweet melody. Herm. Ambrosiac odours, for the smell, Cris. Delicious nectar, for the taste; Ambo. For the touch, a lady's waist; Which doth all the rest excel.

Ovid. Ay, this has waked us. Mercury, our herald; go from ourself, the great god Jupiter, to the great emperor Augustus Caesar, and command him from us, of whose bounty he hath received the sirname of Augustus, that, for a thank-offering to our beneficence, he presently sacrifice, as a dish to this banquet, his beautiful and wanton daughter Julia: she's a curst quean, tell him, and plays the scold behind his back; therefore let her be sacrificed. Command him this, Mercury, in our high name of Jupiter Altitonans.

Jul. Stay, feather-footed Mercury, and tell Augustus, from us, the great Juno Saturnia; if he think it hard to do as Jupiter hath commanded him, and sacrifice his daughter, that he had better do so ten times, than suffer her to love the well-nosed poet, Ovid; whom he shall do well to whip or cause to be whipped, about the capitol, for soothing her in her follies. [ Enter AUGUSTUS CAESAR, MECAENAS, HORACE, LUPUS, HISTRIO, MINUS, and Lictors. Caes. What sight is this? Mecaenas! Horace! say? Have we our senses? do we hear and see? Or are these but imaginary objects Drawn by our phantasy! Why speak you not? Let us do sacrifice. Are they the gods? [Ovid and the rest kneel. Reverence, amaze, and fury fight in me. What, do they kneel! Nay, then I see 'tis true I thought impossible: O, impious sight! Let me divert mine eyes; the very thought Everts my soul with passion: Look not, man, There is a panther, whose unnatural eyes Will strike thee dead: turn, then, and die on her With her own death. [Offers to kill his daughter. Mec. Hor. What means imperial Caesar?

Caes. What would you have me let the strumpet live That, for this pageant, earns so many deaths?

Tuc. Boy, slink, boy. [Exeunt Tucca and Pyrgus. Pyr. Pray Jupiter we be not followed by the scent, master.

Caes. Say, sir, what are you?

Alb. I play Vulcan, sir.

Caes. But what are you, sir?

Alb. Your citizen and jeweller, sir.

Caes. And what are you, dame?

Chloe. I play Venus, forsooth.

Caes. I ask not what you play, but what you are.

Chloe. Your citizen and jeweller's wife, sir.

Caes. And you, good sir? [Exit. Caes. O, that profaned name!—- And are these seemly company for thee, [To Julia. Degenerate monster? All the rest I know, And hate all knowledge for their hateful sakes. Are you, that first the deities inspired With skill of their high natures and their powers, The first abusers of their useful light; Profaning thus their dignities in their forms, And making them, like you, but counterfeits? O, who shall follow Virtue and embrace her, When her false bosom is found nought but air? And yet of those embraces centaurs spring, That war with human peace, and poison men.—- Who shall, with greater comforts comprehend Her unseen being and her excellence; When you, that teach, and should eternise her, Live as she were no law unto your lives, Nor lived herself, but with your idle breaths? If you think gods but feign'd, and virtue painted, Know we sustain an actual residence, And with the title of an emperor, Retain his spirit and imperial power; By which, in imposition too remiss, Licentious Naso, for thy violent wrong, In soothing the declined affections Of our base daughter, we exile thy feet From all approach to our imperial court, On pain of death; and thy misgotten love Commit to patronage of iron doors; Since her soft-hearted sire cannot contain her.

Cris. Your gentleman parcel-poet, sir.

Mec. O, good my lord, forgive! be like the gods.

Hor. Let royal bounty, Caesar, mediate.

Caes. There is no bounty to be shew'd to such As have no real goodness: bounty is A spice of virtue; and what virtuous act Can take effect on them, that have no power Of equal habitude to apprehend it, But live in worship of that idol, vice, As if there were no virtue, but in shade Of strong imagination, merely enforced? This shews their knowledge is mere ignorance, Their far-fetch'd dignity of soul a fancy, And all their square pretext of gravity A mere vain-glory; hence, away with them! I will prefer for knowledge, none but such As rule their lives by it, and can becalm All sea of Humour with the marble trident Of their strong spirits: others fight below With gnats and shadows; others nothing know. [Exeunt.



SCENE V.-A Street before the Palace. Enter TUCCA, CRISPINUS, and PYRGUS.

Tuc. What's become of my little punk, Venus, and the poultfoot stinkard, her husband, ha?

Cris. O; they are rid home in the coach, as fast as the wheels can run.

Tuc. God Jupiter is banished, I hear, and his cockatrice Juno lock'd up. 'Heart, an all the poetry in Parnassus get me to be a player again, I'll sell 'em my share for a sesterce. But this is Humours, Horace, that goat-footed envious slave; he's turn'd fawn now; an informer, the rogue! 'tis he has betray'd us all. Did you not see him with the emperor crouching?

Cris. Yes.

Tuc. Well, follow me. Thou shalt libel, and I'll cudgel the rascal. Boy, provide me a truncheon. Revenge shall gratulate him, tam Marti, quam Mercurio.

Pyr. Ay, but master, take heed how you give this out; Horace is a man of the sword.

Cris. 'Tis true, in troth; they say he's valiant.

[Horace passes over the stage. Tuc. Valiant? so is mine a—. Gods and fiends! I'll blow him into air when I meet him next: he dares not fight with a puck-fist.

Pyr. Master, he comes!

Tuc. Where? Jupiter save thee, my good poet, my noble prophet, my little fat Horace.—I scorn to beat the rogue in the court; and I saluted him thus fair, because he should suspect nothing, the rascal. Come, we'll go see how far forward our journeyman is toward the untrussing of him. [Exeunt.



SCENE VI. Enter HORACE, MECAENAS, LUPUS, HISTRIO, and Lictors.

Cris. Do you hear, captain? I'll write nothing in it but innocence, because I may swear I am innocent.

Hor. Nay, why pursue you not the emperor for your reward now, Lupus?

Mec. Stay, Asinius; You and your stager, and your band of lictors: I hope your service merits more respect, Than thus, without a thanks, to be sent hence.

His. Well, well, jest on, jest on.

Hor. Thou base, unworthy groom!

Lup. Ay, ay, 'tis good.

Hor. Was this the treason, this the dangerous plot, Thy clamorous tongue so bellow'd through the court? Hadst thou no other project to encrease Thy grace with Caesar, but this wolfish train, To prey upon the life of innocent mirth And harmless pleasures, bred of noble wit? Away! I loath thy presence; such as thou, They are the moths and scarabs of a state, The bane of empires, and the dregs of courts; Who, to endear themselves to an employment, Care not whose fame they blast, whose life they endanger; And, under a disguised and cobweb mask Of love unto their sovereign, vomit forth Their own prodigious malice; and pretending To be the props and columns of their safety, The guards unto his person and his peace. Disturb it most, with their false, lapwing-cries.

Lup. Good! Caesar shall know of this, believe it!

Mec. Caesar doth know it, wolf, and to his knowledge, He will, I hope, reward your base endeavours. Princes that will but hear, or give access To such officious spies, can ne'er be safe: They take in poison with an open ear, And, free from danger, become slaves to fear. [Exeunt.



SCENE VII.-An open Space before the Palace. Enter OVID.

Banish'd the court! Let me be banish'd life, Since the chief end of life is there concluded: Within the court is all the kingdom bounded, And as her sacred sphere doth comprehend Ten thousand times so much, as so much place In any part of all the empire else; So every body, moving in her sphere, Contains ten thousand times as much in him, As any other her choice orb excludes. As in a circle, a magician then Is safe against the spirit he excites; But, out of it, is subject to his rage, And loseth all the virtue of his art: So I, exiled the circle of the court, Lose all the good gifts that in it I 'joy'd. No virtue current is, but with her stamp, And no vice vicious, blanch'd with her white hand. The court's the abstract of all Rome's desert, And my dear Julia the abstract of the court. Methinks, now I come near her, I respire Some air of that late comfort I received; And while the evening, with her modest veil, Gives leave to such poor shadows as myself To steal abroad, I, like a heartless ghost, Without the living body of my love, Will here walk and attend her: for I know Not far from hence she is imprisoned, And hopes, of her strict guardian, to bribe So much admittance, as to speak to me, And cheer my fainting spirits with her breath.

Julia. [appears above at her chamber window.] Ovid? my love?

Ovid. Here, heavenly Julia.

Jul. Here! and not here! O, how that word doth play With both our fortunes, differing, like ourselves, Both one; and yet divided, as opposed! I high, thou low: O, this our plight of place Doubly presents the two lets of our love, Local and ceremonial height, and lowness: Both ways, I am too high, and thou too low, Our minds are even yet; O, why should our bodies, That are their slaves, be so without their rule? I'll cast myself down to thee; if I die, I'll ever live with thee: no height of birth, Of place, of duty, or of cruel power, Shall keep me from thee; should my father lock This body up within a tomb of brass, Yet I'll be with thee. If the forms I hold Now in my soul, be made one substance with it; That soul immortal, and the same 'tis now; Death cannot raze the affects she now retaineth: And then, may she be any where she will. The souls of parents rule not children's souls, When death sets both in their dissolv'd estates; Then is no child nor father; then eternity Frees all from any temporal respect. I come, my Ovid; take me in thine arms, And let me breathe my soul into thy breast.

Ovid. O stay, my love; the hopes thou dost conceive Of thy quick death, and of thy future life, Are not authentical. Thou choosest death, So thou might'st 'joy thy love in the other life: But know, my princely love, when thou art dead, Thou only must survive in perfect soul; And in the soul are no affections. We pour out our affections with our blood, And, with our blood's affections, fade our loves. No life hath love in such sweet state as this; No essence is so dear to moody sense As flesh and blood, whose quintessence is sense. Beauty, composed of blood and flesh, moves more, And is more plausible to blood and flesh, Than spiritual beauty can be to the spirit. Such apprehension as we have in dreams, When, sleep, the bond of senses, locks them up, Such shall we have, when death destroys them quite. If love be then thy object, change not life; Live high and happy still: I still below, Close with my fortunes, in thy height shall joy.

Jul. Ay me, that virtue, whose brave eagle's wings, With every stroke blow stairs in burning heaven, Should, like a swallow, preying towards storms, Fly close to earth, and with an eager plume, Pursue those objects which none else can see, But seem to all the world the empty air! Thus thou, poor Ovid, and all virtuous men, Must prey, like swallows, on invisible food, Pursuing flies, or nothing: and thus love. And every worldly fancy, is transposed By worldly tyranny to what plight it list. O father, since thou gav'st me not my mind, Strive not to rule it; take but what thou gav'st To thy disposure: thy affections Rule not in me; I must bear all my griefs, Let me use all my pleasures; virtuous love Was never scandal to a goddess' state.— But he's inflexible! and, my dear love, Thy life may chance be shorten'd by the length Of my unwilling speeches to depart. Farewell, sweet life; though thou be yet exiled The officious court, enjoy me amply still: My soul, in this my breath, enters thine ears, And on this turret's floor Will I lie dead, Till we may meet again: In this proud height, I kneel beneath thee in my prostrate love, And kiss the happy sands that kiss thy feet. Great Jove submits a sceptre to a cell, And lovers, ere they part, will meet in hell.

Ovid. Farewell all company, and, if l could, All light with thee! hell's shade should hide my brows, Till thy dear beauty's beams redeem'd my vows. [Going Jul. Ovid, my love; alas! may we not stay. A little longer, think'st thou, undiscern'd?

Ovid. For thine own good, fair goddess, do not stay. Who would engage a firmament of fires Shining in thee, for me, a falling star? Be gone, sweet life-blood; if I should discern Thyself but touch'd for my sake, I should die.

Jul. I will begone, then; and not heaven itself Shall draw me back. [Going.

Ovid. Yet, Julia, if thou Wilt, A little longer stay.

Jul. I am content.

Ovid. O, mighty Ovid! what the sway of heaven Could not retire, my breath hath turned back.

Jul. Who shall go first, my love? my passionate eyes Will not endure to see thee turn from me.

Ovid. If thou go first, my soul Will follow thee.

Jul. Then we must stay.

Ovid. Ay me, there is no stay In amorous pleasures; if both stay, both die. I hear thy father; hence, my deity. [Julia retires from the window. Fear forgeth sounds in my deluded ears; I did not hear him; I am mad with love. There is no spirit under heaven, that works With such illusion; yet such witchcraft kill me, Ere a sound mind, without it, save my life! Here, on my knees, I worship the blest place That held my goddess; and the loving air, That closed her body in his silken arms. Vain Ovid! kneel not to the place, nor air; She's in thy heart; rise then, and worship there. The truest wisdom silly men can have, Is dotage on the follies of their flesh. [Exit.



ACT V SCENE I.-An Apartment in the Palace.

Enter CAESAR, MECAENAS, GALLUS, TIBULLUS, HORACE, and Equites Romani.

Caes. We, that have conquer'd still, to save the conquer'd, And loved to make inflictions fear'd, not felt; Grieved to reprove, and joyful to reward; More proud of reconcilement than revenge; Resume into the late state of our love, Worthy Cornelius Gallus, and Tibullus: You both are gentlemen: and, you, Cornelius, A soldier of renown, and the first provost That ever let our Roman eagles fly On swarthy AEgypt, quarried with her spoils. Yet (not to bear cold forms, nor men's out-terms, Without the inward fires, and lives of men) You both have virtues shining through your shapes; To shew, your titles are not writ on posts, Or hollow statues which the best men are, Without Promethean stuffings reach'd from heaven! Sweet poesy's sacred garlands crown your gentry: Which is, of all the faculties on earth, The most abstract and perfect; if she be True-born, and nursed with all the sciences. She can so mould Rome, and her monuments, Within the liquid marble of her lines, That they shall stand fresh and miraculous, Even when they mix with innovating dust; In her sweet streams shall our brave Roman spirits Chase, and swim after death, with their choice deeds Shining on their white shoulders; and therein Shall Tyber, and our famous rivers fall With such attraction, that the ambitious line Of the round world shall to her centre shrink, To hear their music: and, for these high parts, Caesar shall reverence the Pierian arts.

Mec. Your majesty's high grace to poesy, Shall stand 'gainst all the dull detractions Of leaden souls; who, for the vain assumings Of some, quite worthless of her sovereign wreaths, Contain her worthiest prophets in contempt. Gal. Happy is Rome of all earth's other states, To have so true and great a president, For her inferior spirits to imitate, As Caesar is; who addeth to the sun Influence and lustre; in increasing thus His inspirations, kindling fire in us.

Hor. Phoebus himself shall kneel at Caesar's shrine, And deck it with bay garlands dew'd with wine, To quit the worship Caesar does to him: Where other princes, hoisted to their thrones By Fortune's passionate and disorder'd power, Sit in their height, like clouds before the sun, Hindering his comforts; and, by their excess Of cold in virtue, and cross heat in vice, Thunder and tempest on those learned heads, Whom Caesar with such honour doth advance.

Tib. All human business fortune doth command Without all order; and with her blind hand, She, blind, bestows blind gifts, that still have nurst, They see not who, nor how, but still, the worst.

Caes. Caesar, for his rule, and for so much stuff As Fortune puts in his hand, shall dispose it, As if his hand had eyes and soul in it, With worth and judgment. Hands, that part with gifts Or will restrain their use, without desert, Or with a misery numb'd to virtue's right, Work, as they had no soul to govern them, And quite reject her; severing their estates From human order. Whosoever can, And will not cherish virtue, is no man. [Enter some of the Equestrian Order. Eques. Virgil is now at hand, imperial Caesar.

Caes. Rome's honour is at hand then. Fetch a chair, And set it on our right hand, where 'tis fit Rome's honour and our own should ever sit. Now he is come out of Campania, I doubt not he hath finish'd all his AEneids. Which, like another soul, I long to enjoy. What think you three of Virgil, gentlemen, That are of his profession, though rank'd higher; Or, Horace, what say'st thou, that art the poorest, And likeliest to envy, or to detract

Hor. Caesar speaks after common men in this, To make a difference of me for my poorness; As if the filth of poverty sunk as deep Into a knowing spirit, as the bane Of riches doth into an ignorant soul. No, Caesar, they be pathless, moorish minds That being once made rotten with the dung Of damned riches, ever after sink Beneath the steps of any villainy. But knowledge is the nectar that keeps sweet A perfect soul, even in this grave of sin; And for my soul, it is as free as Caesar's, For what 1 know is due I'll give to all. He that detracts or envies virtuous merit, Is still the covetous and the ignorant spirit.

Caes. Thanks, Horace, for thy free and wholesome sharpness, Which pleaseth Caesar more than servile fawns. A flatter'd prince soon turns the prince of fools. And for thy sake, we'll put no difference more Between the great and good for being poor. Say then, loved Horace, thy true thought of Virgil.

Hor. I judge him of a rectified spirit, By many revolutions of discourse, (In his bright reason's influence,) refined From all the tartarous moods of common men; Bearing the nature and similitude Of a right heavenly body; most severe In fashion and collection of himself; And, then, as clear and confident as Jove.

Gal. And yet so chaste and tender is his ear, In suffering any syllable to pass, That he thinks may become the honour'd name Of issue to his so examined self, That all the lasting fruits of his full merit, In his own poems, he doth still distaste; And if his mind's piece, which he strove to paint, Could not with fleshly pencils have her right.

Tib. But to approve his works of sovereign worth, This observation, methinks, more than serves, And is not vulgar. That which he hath writ Is with such judgment labour'd, and distill'd Through all the needful uses of our lives, That could a man remember but his lines, He should not touch at any serious point, But he might breathe his spirit out of him.

Caes. You mean, he might repeat part of his works, As fit for any conference he can use?

Tib. True, royal Caesar.

Caes. Worthily observed; And a most worthy virtue in his works. What thinks material Horace of his learning?

Hor. His learning savours not the school-like gloss, That most consists in echoing words and terms, And soonest wins a man an empty name; Nor any long or far-fetch'd circumstance Wrapp'd in the curious generalities of arts; But a direct and analytic sum Of all the worth and first effects of arts. And for his poesy, 'tis so ramm'd with life, That it shall gather strength of life, with being, And live hereafter more admired than now.

Caes. This one consent in all your dooms of him, And mutual loves of all your several merits, Argues a truth of merit in you all.—- [Enter VIRGIL. See, here comes Virgil; we will rise and greet him. Welcome to Caesar, Virgil! Caesar and Virgil Shall differ but in sound; to Caesar, Virgil, Of his expressed greatness, shall be made A second sirname, and to Virgil, Caesar. Where are thy famous AEneids? do us grace To let us see, and surfeit on their sight.

Virg. Worthless they are of Caesar's gracious eyes, If they were perfect; much more with their wants, Which are yet more than my time could supply. And, could great Caesar's expectation Be satisfied with any other service, I would not shew them.

Caes. Virgil is too modest; Or seeks, in vain, to make our longings more: Shew them, sweet Virgil.

Virg. Then, in such due fear As fits presenters of great works to Caesar, I humbly shew them.

Caes. Let us now behold A human soul made visible in life; And more refulgent in a senseless paper Than in the sensual complement of kings. Read, read thyself, dear Virgil; let not me Profane one accent with an untuned tongue: Best matter, badly shewn, shews worse than bad. See then this chair, of purpose set for thee To read thy poem in; refuse it not. Virtue, without presumption, place may take Above best kings, whom only she should make.

Virg. It will be thought a thing ridiculous To present eyes, and to all future times A gross untruth, that any poet, void Of birth, or wealth, or temporal dignity, Should, with decorum, transcend Caesar's chair. Poor virtue raised, high birth and wealth set under, Crosseth heaven's courses, and makes worldlings wonder.

Caes. The course of heaven, and fate itself, in this, Will Ceasar cross; much more all worldly custom.

Hor. Custom, in course of honour, ever errs; And they are best whom fortune least prefers.

Caes. Horace hath but more strictly spoke our thoughts. The vast rude swing of general confluence Is, in particular ends, exempt from sense: And therefore reason (which in right should be The special rector of all harmony) Shall shew we are a man distinct by it, From those, whom custom rapteth in her press. Ascend then, Virgil; and where first by chance We here have turn'd thy book, do thou first read.

Virg. Great Caesar hath his will; I will ascend. 'Twere simple injury to his free hand, That sweeps the cobwebs from unused virtue, And makes her shine proportion'd to her worth, To be more nice to entertain his grace, Than he is choice, and liberal to afford it.

Caes. Gentlemen of our chamber, guard the doors, And let none enter; [Exeunt Equites.] peace. Begin, good Virgil.

Virg. Meanwhile the skies 'gan thunder, and in tail Of that, fell pouring storms of sleet and hail: The Tyrian lords and Trojan youth, each where With Venus' Dardane nephew, now, in fear, Seek out for several shelter through the plain, Whilst floods come rolling from the hills amain. Dido a cave, the Trojan prince the same Lighted upon. There earth and heaven's great dame, That hath the charge of marriage, first gave sign Unto his contract; fire and air did shine, As guilty of the match; and from the hill The nymphs with shriekings do the region fill. Here first began their bane; this day was ground Of all their ills; for now, nor rumour's sound, Nor nice respect of state, moves Dido ought; Her love no longer now by stealth is sought: She calls this wedlock, and with that fair name Covers her fault. Forthwith the bruit and fame, Through all the greatest Lybian towns is gone; Fame, a fleet evil, than which is swifter none, That moving grows, and flying gathers strength, Little at first, and fearful; but at length She dares attempt the skies, and stalking proud With feet on ground, her head doth pierce a cloud! This child, our parent earth, stirr'd up with spite Of all the gods, brought forth; and, as some write, She was last sister of that giant race That thought to scale Jove' s court; right swift of pace, And swifter far of wing; a monster vast, And dreadful. Look, how many plumes are placed On her huge corps, so many waking eyes Stick underneath; and, which may stranger rise In the report, as many tongues she bears, As many mouths, as many listening ears. Nightly, in midst of all the heaven, she flies, And through the earth's dark shadow shrieking cries, Nor do her eyes once bend to taste sweet sleep; By day on tops of houses she doth keep, Or on high towers; and doth thence affright Cities and towns of most conspicuous site: As covetous she is of tales and lies, As prodigal of truth: this monster—

Lup. [within.] Come, follow me, assist me, second me! Where'! the emperor?

1 Eques. [within.] Sir, you must pardon us.

2 Eques. [within.] Caesar is private now; you may not enter.

Tuc. [within.] Not enter! Charge them upon their allegiance, cropshin.

1 Eques. [within.] We have a charge to the contrary, sir.

Lup. [within.] I pronounce you all traitors, horrible traitors: What! do you know my affairs? I have matter of danger and state to impart to Caesar.

Caes. What noise is there? who's that names Caesar?

Lup. [within.] A friend to Caesar. One that, for Caesar's good, would speak with Caesar.

Caes. Who is it? look, Cornelius.

1 Eques. [within.] Asinius Lupus.

Caes. O, bid the turbulent informer hence; We have no vacant ear now, to receive The unseason'd fruits of his officious tongue.

Mec. You must avoid him there.

Lup. [within.] I conjure thee, as thou art. Caesar, or respectest thine own safety, or the safety of the state, Caesar, hear me, speak with me, Caesar; 'tis no common business I come about, but such, as being neglected, may concern the life of Caesar.

Caes. The life of Caesar! Let him enter. Virgil, keep thy seat. Enter Lupus, Tucca, and Lictors. Eques. [within.] Bear back, there: whither will you? keep back!

Tuc. By thy leave, goodman usher: mend thy peruke; so.

Lup. Lay hold on Horace there; and on Mecaenas, lictors. Romans, offer no rescue, upon your allegiance: read, royal Caesar. [Gives a paper.] I'll tickle you, Satyr.

Tuc. He will, Humours, he will; he will squeeze you, poet puck-fist.

Lup. I'll lop you off for an unprofitable branch, you satirical varlet.

Tuc. Ay, and Epaminondas your patron here, with his flagon chain; come, resign: [takes off Mecaenas' chain,] though 'twere your great grandfather's, the law has made it mine now, sir. Look to him, my party-coloured rascals; look to him.

Caes. What is this, Asinius Lupus? I understand it not.

Lup. Not understand it! A libel, Caesar; a dangerous, seditious libel; a libel in picture.

Caes. A libel!

Lup. Ay, I found it in this Horace his study, in Mecaenas his house, here; I challenge the penalty of the laws against them.

Tuc. Ay, and remember to beg their land betimes; before some of these hungry court-hounds scent it out.

Caes. Shew it to Horace: ask him if he know it.

Lup. Know it! his hand is at it, Caesar.

Caes. Then 'tis no libel.

Hor. It is the imperfect body of an emblem, Caesar, I began for Mecaenas.

Lup. An emblem! right: that's Greek for a libel. Do but mark how confident he is.

Hor. A just man cannot fear, thou foolish tribune; Not, though the malice of traducing tongues, The open vastness of a tyrant's ear, The senseless rigour of the wrested laws, Or the red eyes of strain'd authority, Should, in a point, meet all to take his life: His innocence is armour 'gainst all these.

Lup. Innocence! O impudence! let me see, let me see! Is not here an eagle! and is not that eagle meant by Caesar, ha? Does not Caesar give the eagle? answer me; what sayest thou?

Tuc. Hast thou any evasion, stinkard?

Lup. Now he's turn'd dumb. I'll tickle you, Satyr.

Hor. Pish: ha, ha!

Lup. Dost thou pish me? Give me my long sword.

Hor. With reverence to great Caesar, worthy Romans, Observe but this ridiculous commenter; The soul 'to my device was in this distich: Thus oft, the base and ravenous multitude Survive, to share the spoils of fortitude. Which in this body I have figured here, A vulture—

Lup. A vulture! Ay, now, 'tis a vulture. O abominable! monstrous! monstrous! has not your vulture a beak? has it not legs, and talons, and wings, and feathers?

Tuc. Touch him, old buskins.

Hor. And therefore must it be an eagle?

Mec. Respect him not, good Horace: say your device.

Hor. A vulture and a wolf

Lup. A wolf! good: that's I; I am the wolf: my name's Lupus; I am meant by the wolf. On, on; a vulture and a wolf

Hor. Preying upon the carcass of an ass—

Lup. An ass! good still: that's I too; I am the ass. You mean me by the ass.

Mec. Prithee, leave braying then.

Hor. If you will needs take it, I cannot with modesty give it from you.

Mec. But, by that beast, the old Egyptians Were wont to figure, in their hieroglyphics, Patience, frugality, and fortitude; For none of which we can suspect you, tribune.

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