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Prithee, hear me.
Rhe. Agelastus, so surnamed for his gravity,' was a very wise fellow, kept his countenance all days of his life as demurely as a judge that pronounceth sentence of death on a poor rogue for stealing as much bacon as would serve at a meal with a calf's head. Yet he smiled once, and never but once :—thou art no scholar?
Pel. I have read pamphlets dedicated to me.Dost call him Agelastus? Why did he laugh?
Rhe. To see an ass eat thistles. Puppy, go study to be a singular coxcomb. Cuculus is an ordinary ape; but thou art an ape of an ape.
1 i.e. With a livery richly laced or turned up. 2 Court etiquette.
3 The story is in Pliny, who tells it of Crassus, the grandfather of the unfortunate Crassus who fell the victim of his rapacity in Parthia.—Gifford.
Pel. Thou hast a patent to abuse thy friends.-
Cuc. How now, minx, how now! where is your duty, your distance ? Let me have service methodically tendered ; you are now one of us. Your curtsy. [GRILLA curtsies.] Good! remember that you are to practise courtship. Was thy father a piper, sayest thou?
Cril. A sounder of some such wind-instrument, forsooth.
· Cuc. Was he so ?-Hold up thy head. Be thou musical to me, and I will marry thee to a dancer; one that shall ride on his footcloth, and maintain thee in thy muff and hood.
Gril. That will be fine indeed.
Cuc. I have a brain, I have a head-piece: o' my conscience, if I take pains with thee, I should raise thy understanding, girl, to the height of a nurse, or a court-midwife at least: I will make thee big in time, wench.
Gril. E'en do your pleasure with me, sir.
Pel. That's well ; he's an honest blade, though he be blunt.
Grilla's answer is meant to intimate that her father was a sowgelder. Sow-gelders, it appears, used formerly to blow a horn. So in Fletcher's Beggar's Bush, act iii. sc. i: “ Enter Higgen disguised as a sow-gelder, singing as follows,
Have ye any work for the sow-gelder, oh ?
My horn goes to high, to low, to high, to low.”-Dyce, ? i.e. A horse's cloth housings.
Cuc. Who cares? We can be as blunt as he, for's life.
Rhe. Cuculus, there is, within a mile or two, a sow-pig hath sucked a brach,' and now hunts the deer, the hare, nay, most unnaturally, the wild-boar, as well as any hound in Cyprus.
Cuc. Monstrous sow-pig! is't true?
Pel. I'll be at charge of a banquet on thee for a sight of her.
Rhe. Every thing takes after the dam that gave it suck. Where hadst thou thy milk?
Cuc. I? Why, my nurse's husband was a most excellent maker of shittlecocks.
Pel. My nurse was a woman-surgeon.?
Rhe. La now, a shittlecock maker! all thy brains are stuck with cork and feather, Cuculus. This learned courtier takes after the nurse too; a she-surgeon ; which is, in effect, a mere matcher of colours. Go learn to paint and daub compliments, 'tis the next step to run into a new suit. My Lady Periwinkle here never sucked : suck thy master, and bring forth moon-calves, fop, do ! This is good philosophy, sirs ; make use on't. Gril. Bless us, what a strange creature this is ! Cuc. A gull, an arrant gull by proclamation.
Enter Corax, passing over the stage. Pel. Corax, the prince's chief physician ! What business speeds his haste?--Are all things well, sir?
Cor. Yes, yes, yes.
Rhe. Phew! you may wheel about, man; we know you're proud of your slovenry and practice ; 'tis your virtue. The prince's melancholy fit, I presume, holds still.
1 The kennel term for a bitch-hound. This anecdote is taken from Burton, who took it from Giraldus Cambrensis. The late Sir Harry Mildmay had a sow-pig that would apparently do all that Cuculus thinks so monstrous, without having sucked a brach for the matter. - Gifford. ? i.e. A dealer in paints and cosmetics for ladies.
Cor. So do thy knavery and desperate beggary.
Cor. I'll stay in spite of thy teeth. There lies my gravity. [Throws off his gown.] Do what thou darest; I stand thee.
Rhe. Mountebanks, empirics, quack-salvers, mineralists, wizards, alchemists, cast-apothecaries, old wives and barbers, are all suppositors to the right worshipful doctor, as I take it. Some of ye are the head of your art, and the horns too-but they come by nature. Thou livest single for no other end but that thou fearest to be a cuckold.
Cor. Have at thee! Thou affectest railing only for thy health ; thy miseries are so thick and so lasting, that thou hast not one poor denier to bestow on opening a vein: wherefore, to avoid a pleurisy, thou'lt be sure to prate thyself once a month into a whipping, and bleed in the breech instead of the arm.
Rhe. Have at thee again !
Rhe. Thou art in thy religion an atheist, in thy condition” a cur, in thy diet an epicure, in thy lust a goat, in thy sleep a hog; thou takest upon thee the habit of a grave physician, but art indeed an impostorous empiric. Physicians are the cobblers, rather the botchers, of men's bodies; as the one patches our tattered clothes, so the other solders our diseased flesh. Come on.
Cuc. To't, to't! hold him to’t ! hold him to't! to't, to't, to't!
Cor. The best worth in thee is the corruption of thy mind, for that only entitles thee to the dignity of a louse,
1 A dog kept fastened up on account of its fierceness. The term was also applied to dogs employed in bull and bear baiting.
a thing bred out of the filth and superfluity of ill humours. Thou bitest anywhere, and any man who defends not himself with the clean linen of secure honesty ; him thou darest not come near. Thou art fortune's idiot, virtue's bankrupt, time's dunghill, manhood's scandal, and thine own scourge. Thou wouldst hang thyself, so wretchedly miserable thou art, but that no man will trust thee with as much money as will buy a halter ; and all thy stock to be sold is not worth half as much as may procure it.
Rhe. Ha, ha, ha! this is flattery, gross flattery.
Cor. I have employment for thee, and for ye all. Tut, these are but good-morrows between us.
Rhe. Are thy bottles full ?
Cor. I'll shape ye all for a device before the prince: we'll try how that can move him.
Rhe. He shall fret or laugh.
Cor. Come all unto my chamber : the project is cast : the time only we must attend.
Rhe. The melody must agree well and yield sport, When such as these are, knaves and fools, consort.
SCENE III. An Apartment in the House of
Enter AMETHUS, THAMASTA and Kala.
What would you have me do?