« PreviousContinue »
quart bumpers after supper, to prove their
Lovel. Come, shall we adjourn to the Tennis SIR WALTER WOODVIL. SIMON WOODVIL. (Disguised as Frenchmen.) Court?
Wood. No, you shall go with me into the gallery, where I will show you the Vandyke I have purchased. "The late King taking leave of
Lovel. I will but adjust my dress, and attend
For joy, that Charles, her monarch, is restored:
towns and villages.
And these have eat into my old estates,
And these have drain'd thy father's cellars dry;
The baffled factions in their houses skulk;
Sir W. How fares my boy, Simon, my youngest born,
Who live by observation, note these changes
Of the popular mind, and thereby serve their
Touching his honour and fidelity.
Still I could wish him charier of his person, Then why not I? What's Charles to me, or And of his time more frugal, than to spend In riotous living, graceless society,
I to myself am chief.-
But as my own advancement hangs on one of And mirth unpalatable, hours better employ'd (With those persuasive graces nature lent him) In fervent pleadings for a father's life.
Sir W. I would not owe my life to a jealous court,
My hope, my pride, young Woodvil, speak to me
And trick of precedence, the ducks, and nods
Whose shallow policy I know it is,
Nor yet to be seen whispering with some great Unknowing what free grace or mercy mean,
They fear to punish, therefore do they pardon.
To beg or bargain with the court for my life.
True to the letter of his paternal charge.
Sir W. Well, my good cause, and my good
Shall be for sons to me, if John prove false.
Of a noble death is not an every-day fortune:
Do I affect the favours of the court.
I would be great, for greatness hath great power,
Simon. I would not wrong my brother by
I know him generous, full of gentle qualities,
No prodigal in his nature, but affecting
This show of bravery for ambitious ends.
Till when, we'll live as free in this green forest,
Simon. 'Tis said, that Robert Earl of Hunting-
Of that mad archer, and of the tax he levied
That, men say, haunt these woods, affecting privacy,
And pluck you from your hiding-place in the More than the manner of their countrymen. Simon. We have here a wonder.
Sir W. Fair death shall be my doom, and foul The face is Margaret's face.
For spiritual regards; nay, once, 'tis said,
He robb'd the king himself.
Marg. Bon jour, messieurs. Ye have handsome
I should have ta'en ye else for other two,
MARGARET enters in boy's apparel.
Sir W. What pretty boy have we here?
Sir W. Who are they? Marg. A gallant brace of Frenchmen, curl'd monsieurs,
Sir W. The face is Margaret's, but the dress the same
Which now ye miss, that constitute a difference.
A perilous man (smiling). Ye had a country, exiles, ye have none now; Sir W. How quietly we live here, Unread in the world's business,
Friends had ye, and much wealth, ye now have
And take no note of all its slippery changes.
Without the ills and falsehoods of the greater;
Simon. Only the dangerous errors, fond conceits,
As, namely, riches, honours, birth, place, courtesy,
And feeling some tears coming,
Soul-killing lies, and truths that work small good, And having spent her stock of idle words,
Hastes now to clasp Sir Walter Woodvil's knees,
Our manners, laws, our customs, all are foreign
I know ye loathe them, cannot learn them readily;
Old custom has made pleasant.
You, that are read So deeply in our story, what are you?
Marg. A bare adventurer; in brief a woman, That put strange garments on, and came thus far To seek an ancient friend:
[Addressing them both.
Better the dead were gather'd to the dead,
Simon. Not many; some few, as thus :-
Simon. Why, whither should we go?
Sir W. You to the Court, where now your Bursting the lazy bands of sleep that bound him,
With all his fires and travelling glories round him.
Marg. Where young men's flatteries cozen To view the leaves, thin dancers upon air,
Go eddying round; and small birds, how they
There pride oft gets the vantage hand of duty,
Commits a rape on Fortune.
Mistress Margaret, How fared my brother John, when you left Devon ?
Marg. John was well, sir.
'Tis now nine months almost, Since I saw home. What new friends has John made?
Or keeps he his first love?—I did suspect
It is a scurvy brother.
general-contemplative for the narrow passion. I am in some sort a general lover.
Marg. In the name of the boy God, who plays at hoodman blind with the Muses, and cares not whom he catches: what is it you love?
Simon. Simply, all things that live,
From the crook'd worm to man's imperial form,
In the upper sky. The fish in th' other element,
Who paints a dancing shadow of his horns
Marg. I myself love all these things, yet so as with a difference :-for example, some animals better than others, some men rather than other men; the nightingale before the cuckoo, the swift and graceful palfrey before the slow and asinine mule. Your humour goes to confound all qualities. What sports do you use in the forest?
Fie upon it.
Of Hero and Leander.
Simon. I have known some men that are too
When mother Autumn fills their beaks with corn,
To answer their small wants.
To view the graceful deer come tripping by, Then stop, and gaze, then turn, they know not why,
Like bashful younkers in society.
To mark the structure of a plant or tree,
Sir W. Mistress Margaret will have need of some refreshment. Please you, we have some poor viands within.
Marg. Indeed I stand in need of them.
Sir W. Under the shade of a thick-spreading tree,
Upon the grass, no better carpeting,
By day, in the forest, expecting better times, And gentler habitations, noble Margaret.
ACT THE THIRD.
Simon. Allons, young Frenchman—
Marg. Allons, Sir Englishman. The time has with this liquor? been
I've studied love-lays in the English tongue,
SCENE.-An Apartment of State in Woodvil Hall.
JOHN WOODVIL, LOVEL, GRAY, and four more.
Gray. More wine, say I, and mirth shall ensue in course. What we have not yet above three half pints a man to answer for. Brevity is the soul of drinking, as of wit. Despatch, I say. More wine. (Fills.)
1st Gent. I entreat you, let there be some order, some method, in our drinkings. I love to lose my reason with my eyes open, to commit the deed of drunkenness with forethought and deliberation. I love to feel the fumes of the liquor gathering here, like clouds.
2nd Gent. And I am for plunging into madness at once. Damn order, and method, and steps, and degrees, that he speaks of. Let confusion have her legitimate work.
Lovel. I marvel why the poets, who, of all men, methinks, should possess the hottest livers, and most empyreal fancies, should affect to see such virtues in cold water.
3rd Gent. And where keeps he this sovereign
Gray. Virtue in cold water! ha ha! ha!--John. Because your poet-born hath an internal wine, richer than lippara or canaries, yet uncrushed from any grapes of earth, unpressed in mortal wine-presses.
3rd Gent. What may be the name of this wine? John. It hath as many names as qualities. It is denominated indifferently, wit, conceit, invention, inspiration, but its most royal and comprehensive name is fancy.
John. Its cellars are in the brain, whence your true poet deriveth intoxication at will; while his animal spirits, catching a pride from the quality and neighbourhood of their noble relative, the brain, refuse to be sustained by wines and fermentations of earth.
3rd Gent. But is your poet-born always tipsy
John. He hath his stoopings and reposes; but his proper element is the sky, and in the suburbs of the empyrean.
3rd Gent. Is your wine-intellectual so exquisite ? henceforth, I, a man of plain conceit, will, in all humility, content my mind with canaries.
4th Gent. I am for a song or a catch. When will the catches come on, the sweet wicked catches?
John. They cannot be introduced with propriety before midnight. Every man must commit his twenty bumpers first. We are not yet well roused. Frank Lovel, the glass stands with you. Lovel. Gentlemen, the Duke. (Fills.) All. The Duke. (They drink.)
Gray. Can any tell, why his Grace, being a Papist
John. Pshaw! we will have no questions of state now. Is not this his Majesty's birth-day? Gray. What follows?
John. That every man should sing, and be joyful, and ask no questions.
2nd Gent. Damn politics, they spoil drinking. 3rd Gent. For certain, 'tis a blessed monarchy. 2nd Gent. The cursed fanatic days we have seen! The times have been when swearing was out of fashion.
3rd Gent. And drinking. 1st Gent. And wenching.
Gray. The cursed yeas and forsooths, which we have heard uttered, when a man could not rap out an innocent oath, but straight the air was thought to be infected.
Lovel. 'Twas a pleasant trick of the saint, which that trim puritan Swear-not-at-all Smooth-speech used, when his spouse chid him with an oath for committing with his servant maid, to cause his house be fumigated with burnt brandy, and ends of scripture, to disperse the devil's breath, as he termed it.
All. Ha ha! ha!
Gray. But 'twas pleasanter, when the other saint Resist-the-devil-and-he-will-flee-from-thee Pureman was overtaken in the act, to plead an illusio visûs, and maintain his sanctity upon a supposed power in the adversary to counterfeit the shapes of things.
All. Ha ha! ha!
John. Another round, and then let every man devise what trick he can in his fancy, for the better manifesting our loyalty this day.
Gray. Shall we hang a puritan?
John. No, that has been done already in Cole- Would presently rush back
2nd Gent. Or fire a conventicle?
John. That is stale too.
3rd Gent. Or burn the Assembly's catechism? 4th Gent. Or drink the king's health, every man standing upon his head naked?
John (to Lovel). We have here some pleasant madness.
3rd Gent. Who shall pledge me in a pint bumper, while we drink to the king upon our knees?
How fine and noble a thing is confidence,
Lovel. Why on our knees, Cavalier?
John (smiling). For more devotion, to be sure. (To a servant.) Sirrah, fetch the gilt goblets. [The goblets are brought. They drink the King's health, kneeling. A shout of general approbation following the first appearance of the goblets.
(A servant enters.)
Servant. Gentlemen, the fireworks are ready. 1st Gent. What be they?
Lovel. The work of London artists, which our host has provided in honour of this day.
2nd Gent. 'Sdeath, who would part with his wine for a rocket?
Lovel. Why truly, gentlemen, as our kind host has been at the pains to provide this spectacle, we can do no less than be present at it. It will not take up much time. Every man may return fresh and thirsting to his liquor.
3rd Gent. There's reason in what he says.
2nd Gent. Charge on then, bottle in hand. There's husbandry in that.
[They go out, singing. Only LOVEL remains, who observes
John. We have here the unchecked virtues of the grape. How the vapours curl upwards! It were a life of gods to dwell in such an element : to see, and hear, and talk brave things. Now fie upon these casual potations. That a man's most exalted reason should depend upon the ignoble fermenting of a fruit, which sparrows pluck at as well as we! Which haunt my house, snorting the liquors, Gray (aside to Lovel). Observe how he is And when their wisdoms are afloat with wine, ravished. Spend vows as fast as vapours, which go off
John (still talking to himself.) This Lovel here's of a tough honesty, Would put the rack to the proof. He is not of
Lovel. Vanity and gay thoughts of wine do Even with the fumes, their fathers. He is one,
Talks little, flatters less, and makes no promises;
[While the rest are engaged in a wild kind of talk, JOHN advances to the front of the stage, and soliloquises. John. My spirits turn to fire, they mount so fast.
My joys are turbulent, my hopes show like
These high and gusty relishes of life, sure,
Gray, Let him alone. I have seen him in these lunes before. His abstractions must not taint the good mirth.
John (continuing to soliloquise). O for some What oaths, blood-crimes, hereditary quarrels,
Night brawls, fierce words, and duels in the morning,
To conceal nothing from, to have no secrets.
And the world be no loser.
Why should I fear this inan?
Lovel. To see the fireworks, where you will be expected to follow. But I perceive you are better engaged.
John. I have been meditating this half hour
May lawfully forswear himself for his friend;