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quart bumpers after supper, to prove their

SCENE.-Sherwood Forest.


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

his children."


Lovel. I will but adjust my dress, and attend
[Exit LOVEL.
John Wood. (alone.) Now Universal England
getteth drunk

For joy, that Charles, her monarch, is restored:
And she, that sometime wore a saintly mask,
The stale-grown vizor from her face doth pluck,
And weareth now a suit of morris bells,
With which she jingling goes through all her Most skilful to devour a patrimony;

towns and villages.

And these have eat into my old estates,

And these have drain'd thy father's cellars dry;
But these so common faults of youth not named,
(Things which themselves outgrow, left to them-

The baffled factions in their houses skulk;
The commonwealthsman, and state machinist,
The cropt fanatic, and fifth-monarchy-man,
Who heareth of these visionaries now?
They and their dreams have ended. Fools do I know no quality that stains his honour.
My life upon his faith and noble mind,
Where good men yield God thanks; but politic Son John could never play thy father false.
Simon. I never thought but nobly of my


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 know,

I to myself am chief.-
Some shallow mouths cry out, that I am smit
With the gauds and show of state, the point of

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
Some grief untold weighs heavy at thy heart:
I know it by thy alter'd cheer of late.
Thinkest thy brother plays thy father false?
It is a mad and thriftless prodigal,
Grown proud upon the favours of the court;
Court manners, and court fashions, he affects,
And in the heat and uncheck'd blood of youth,
Harbours a company of riotous men,
All hot, and young, court-seekers, like himself,


And trick of precedence, the ducks, and nods
Which weak minds pay to rank. "Tis not to sit
In place of worship at the royal masques,
Their pastimes, plays, and Whitehall banquetings,
For none of these,

Whose shallow policy I know it is,
On some reluctant acts of prudent mercy,
(Not voluntary, but extorted by the times,
In the first tremblings of new-fixed power,
And recollection smarting from old wounds,)
On these to build a spurious popularity.

Nor yet to be seen whispering with some great Unknowing what free grace or mercy mean,

They fear to punish, therefore do they pardon.
For this cause have I oft forbid my son,
By letters, overtures, open solicitings,
Or closet tamperings, by gold or fee,

To beg or bargain with the court for my life.
Simon. And John has ta'en you, father, at
your word,

True to the letter of his paternal charge.

Sir W. Well, my good cause, and my good
conscience, boy,

Shall be for sons to me, if John prove false.
Men die but once, and the opportunity

Of a noble death is not an every-day fortune:
It is a gift which noble spirits pray for.


Do I affect the favours of the court.

I would be great, for greatness hath great power,
And that's the fruit I reach at.-
Great spirits ask great play-room. Who could sit,
With these prophetic swellings in my breast,
That prick and goad me on, and never cease,
To the fortunes something tells me I was born to?
Who, with such monitors within to stir him,
Would sit him down, with lazy arms across,
A unit, a thing without a name in the state,
A something to be govern'd, not to govern,
A fishing, hawking, hunting, country gentleman?


Simon. I would not wrong my brother by

I know him generous, full of gentle qualities,
Incapable of base compliances,

No prodigal in his nature, but affecting

This show of bravery for ambitious ends.
He drinks, for 'tis the humour of the court,
And drink may one day wrest the secret from


Till when, we'll live as free in this green forest,
As yonder deer, who roam unfearing treason:
Who seem the aborigines of this place,
Or Sherwood theirs by tenure.


Simon. 'Tis said, that Robert Earl of Hunting-
Men call'd him Robin Hood, an outlaw bold,
With a merry crew of hunters here did haunt,
Not sparing the king's venison. May one believe
The antique tale?

Sir W.
There is much likelihood,
Such bandits did in England erst abound,
When polity was young. I have read of the


Of that mad archer, and of the tax he levied
On travellers, whatever their degree,
Baron, or knight, whoever pass'd these woods,
Layman, or priest, not sparing the bishop's

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.

life his.


For spiritual regards; nay, once, 'tis said,

He robb'd the king himself.


Marg. Bon jour, messieurs. Ye have handsome
English faces,

I should have ta'en ye else for other two,
I came to seek in the forest.

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

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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.
"Twere best we make a world among ourselves,
A little world,

Without the ills and falsehoods of the greater;
We too being all the inhabitants of ours,
And kings and subjects both in one.

Simon. Only the dangerous errors, fond conceits,
Which make the business of that greater world,
Must have no place in ours:

As, namely, riches, honours, birth, place, courtesy,
Good fame and bad, rumours and popular noises,
Books, creeds, opinions, prejudices national,
Humours particular,

And feeling some tears coming,

Soul-killing lies, and truths that work small good, And having spent her stock of idle words,
Feuds, factions, enmities, relationships,
Loves, hatreds, sympathies, antipathies,
And all the intricate stuff quarrels are made of.

Hastes now to clasp Sir Walter Woodvil's knees,
And beg a boon for Margaret; his poor ward.
Sir W. Not at my feet, Margaret; not at my


Our manners, laws, our customs, all are foreign
to you,

I know ye loathe them, cannot learn them readily;
And there is reason, exiles, ye should love
Our English earth less than your land of France,
Where grows the purple vine; where all delights

Old custom has made pleasant.

Sir W.

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:

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[Addressing them both.
O you most worthy,
You constant followers of a man proscribed,
Following poor misery in the throat of danger;
Fast servitors to crazed and penniless poverty,
Serving poor poverty without hope of gain;
Kind children of a sire unfortunate;
Green clinging tendrils round a trunk decay'd,
Which needs must bring on you timeless decay;
Fair living forms to a dead carcase join'd ;—
What shall I say?

Better the dead were gather'd to the dead,
Than death and life in disproportion meet.-
Go, seek your fortunes, children.—

Simon. Not many; some few, as thus :-
To see the sun to bed, and to arise,
Like some hot amourist with glowing eyes,

Simon. Why, whither should we go?

Sir W. You to the Court, where now your Bursting the lazy bands of sleep that bound him,

brother John

With all his fires and travelling glories round him.
Sometimes the moon on soft night clouds to rest,
Like beauty nestling in a young man's breast,
And all the winking stars, her handmaids, keep
Admiring silence, while those lovers sleep.
Sometimes outstretcht, in very idleness,
Nought doing, saying little, thinking less,

Marg. Where young men's flatteries cozen To view the leaves, thin dancers upon air,
young maids' beauty.

Go eddying round; and small birds, how they

There pride oft gets the vantage hand of duty,
There sweet humility withers.


Commits a rape on Fortune.

Luck to John !
A light-heel'd strumpet, when the sport is done.
Sir W. You to the sweet society of your equals,
Where the world's fashion smiles on youth and

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
Some foul disloyalty. Now do I know,
John has proved false to her, for Margaret


It is a scurvy brother.

Sir W.

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,
And God-resembling likeness. The poor fly,
That makes short holiday in the sun beam,
And dies by some child's hand. The feeble bird
With little wings, yet greatly venturous

In the upper sky. The fish in th' other element,
That knows no touch of eloquence. What else?
Yon tall and elegant stag,

Who paints a dancing shadow of his horns
In the water, where he drinks.

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.
All men are false, I think. The date of love
Is out, expired; its stories all grown stale,
O'erpast, forgotten, like an antique tale

Of Hero and Leander.

Simon. I have known some men that are too

When mother Autumn fills their beaks with corn,
Filch'd from the careless Amalthea's horn;
And how the woods berries and worms provide
Without their pains, when earth has nought be

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,
And all fair things of earth, how fair they be.
Marg. (smiling.) And, afterwards, them paint

in simile.

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,
We'll eat our noon-tide meal; and, dinner done, liquor?
One of us shall repair to Nottingham,
To seek some safe night-lodging in the town,
Where you may sleep, while here with us you

By day, in the forest, expecting better times, And gentler habitations, noble Margaret.


Simon. Allons, young Frenchman—

Marg. Allons, Sir Englishman. The time has with this liquor? been

I've studied love-lays in the English tongue,
And been enamour'd of rare poesy:
Which now I must unlearn. Henceforth,
Sweet mother-tongue, old English speech, adieu;
For Margaret has got new name and language


SCENE.-An Apartment of State in Woodvil Hall.
Cavaliers drinking.

JOHN WOODVIL, LOVEL, GRAY, and four more.
John. More mirth, I beseech you, gentlemen-
Mr. Gray, you are not merry.—

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
Into the pristine state of singularity,
And each man stand alone.

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,
How reasonable too, and almost godlike !
Fast cement of fast friends, band of society,
Old natural go-between in the world's business,
Where civil life and order, wanting this cement,

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

that sort

Lovel. Vanity and gay thoughts of wine do Even with the fumes, their fathers. He is one,
meet in him and engender madness.
Whose sober morning actions
Shame not his o'ernight's promises;

Talks little, flatters less, and makes no promises;
Why this is he, whom the dark-wisdom'd fate
Might trust her counsels of predestination

[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,
Have no allayings of mortality in them.
I am too hot now, and o'ercapable,
For the tedious processes, and creeping wisdom,
Of human acts, and enterprises of a man.
I want some seasonings of adversity,
Some strokes of the old mortifier Calamity,
To take these swellings down, divines call vanity.
1st Gent. Mr. Woodvil, Mr. Woodvil.
2nd Gent. Where is Woodvil?

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,

friend now,

Night brawls, fierce words, and duels in the morning,

To conceal nothing from, to have no secrets.


And the world be no loser.

[Secing LOVEL

Why should I fear this inan?
Where is the company gone?

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
On all the properties of a brave friendship,
The mysteries that are in it, the noble uses,
Its limits withal, and its nice boundaries.
Exempli gratiá, how far a man

May lawfully forswear himself for his friend;
What quantity of lies, some of them brave ones,
He may lawfully incur in a friend's behalf;

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