Page images

I am Cyrus of Persia,
And, I prithee, leave me not thus like a clod of clay
Wherewith my body is covered. [All exeunt.
[Enter the king in great pomp, who reads it, and

issueth, crieth vermeum.* Boh. What meaneth this?

OBER. Cyrus of Persia,
Mighty in life, within a marble grave
Was laid to rot, whom Alexander once
Beheld entomb’d, and weeping did confess,
Nothing in life could scape from wretchedness :
Why then boast men ?

Boh. What reck I then of life,
Who makes the grave my tomb, the earth my wife?

Ober. † But mark me more.


Boh. I can no more, my patience will not warp To see these flatteries how they scorn and carp.

Ober. Turn but thy head." [Enter [f] our kings carrying crowns, ladies pre

senting odours to potentate f enthroned, who suddenly is slain by his servants, and thrust out; and so, they eat.

[Exeunt. Boh. Sike is the world; but whilk is he I saw ?

OBER. Sesostris, who was conqueror of the world, Slain at the last, and stamp'd on by his slaves.

Boh. How blest are peur men then that know their Now mark the sequel of my jig;

[graves ! $ An he weele meet ends. The mirk and sable night Doth leave the peering morn to pry abroad ;

* vermeum] Qy. if a misprint for “vermium” the first word of some Latin sentence on the vanity of earthly grandeur.

+ But mark me more] The 4to. gives this to Bohan.
# potentate] The 4to. potentates.
graves] The 4to.“ grave.”

Thou nill me stay : hail then, thou pride of kings !
I ken the world, and wot well worldly things.
Mark thou my jig, in mirkest terms that tells,
The loath of sins, and where corruption dwells.
Hail me ne mere with shows of guidly sights;
My grave is mine, that rids me from despights;
Accept my jig, guid king, and let me rest;
The grave with guid men is a gay-built nest.

OBER. The rising sun doth call me hence away;
Thanks for thy jig, I may no longer stay:
But if my train did wake thee from thy rest,
So shall they sing thy lullaby to nest. [Exeunt.

Act II.

Enter the Countess or ARRAN, with Ida her

daughter, in their porch, sitting at work.

A Song.

Count. Fair Ida, might you choose the greatest Midst all the blessings that abound, (good, Wherein, my daughter, should your liking be?

Ida. Not in delights, or pomp, or majesty.
Count. And why?

IDA. Since these are means to draw the mind From perfect good, and make true judgment blind. Count. Might you have wealth, and fortune's

richest store? Ida. Yet would I (might I choose) be honest poor : For she that sits at fortune's feet a-low, Is sure she shall not taste a further woe, But those that prank on top of fortune's ball, Still fear a change, and, fearing, catch a fall. Count. Tut, foolish maid, each one contemneth


Ida. Good reason why, they know not good indeed. Count. Many, marry, then, on whom distress doth

Jour. IDA. Yes, they that virtue deem an honest dower. Madam, by right this world I may compare Unto my work, wherein with heedful care The heavenly workman plants with curious hand, As I with needle draw each thing on land, Even as he list: some men like to the rose Are fashion'd fresh; some in their stalks do close, And, born, do sudden die; some are but weeds, And yet from them a secret good proceeds. I with my needle, if I please, may blot The fairest rose within my cambric plot : God with a beck can change each worldly thing, The poor to earth, the beggar to the king. What then hath man, wherein he well may boast, Since by a beck he lives, a lour* is lost?

Enter Eustace, with letters. Count. Peace, Ida, here are strangers near at hand. Eust. Madam, God speed. COUNT. I thank you, gentle squire.

Eust. The country Countess of Northumberland Doth greet you well, and hath requested me To bring these letters to your ladyship.

[He carries the letters. Count. I thank her honour, and yourself, my

friend : [She receives and peruseth them. I see she means you good, brave gentleman. Daughter, the Lady Elinor salutes Yourself as well as me: then for her sake 'Twere good you entertain'd that courtier well.

IDA. As much salute as may become my sex, And he in virtue can vouchsafe to think,

* lour] The 4to. “ lover.” VOL. II.


I yield him for the courteous Countess' sake.
Good sir, sit down: my mother here, and I,
Count time misspent an endless vanity.

Eust. Beyond report, the wit, the fair,* the shape! What work you here, fair mistress ? inay I see it?

IDA. Good sir, look on: how like you this compact?

Eust. Methinks in this I see true love in act : The woodbines with their leaves do sweetly spread, The roses blushing prank them in their red; No flower but boasts the beauties of the spring; This bird hath life indeed if it could sing. What means, fair mistress, had you in this work ?

IDA. My needle, sir.

Eust. In needles then there lurks Some hidden grace, I deem, beyond my reach. Ida. Not grace in them, good sir, but those that

teach. Eust. Say, that your needle now were Cupid's But ah! her eye must be no less, (sting, In which is heaven and heavenliness, In which the food of God is shut, Whose powers the purest minds do glut.

IDA. What, if it were?

Eust. Then see a wondrous thing;
I fear me you would paint in Tereus't heart
Affection in his power and chiefest part.I

IDA. Good lord, sir, no! for hearts but pricked soft
Are wounded sore, for so I hear it oft.
Eust. What recks the wound, $ where but your

happy eye May make him live, whom Jove hath judg'd to die?

Ida. Should life and death within this needle lurk, I'll prick no hearts, I'll prick upon my work.

[ocr errors]

Enter ATEUKIN, with Slipper, the clown. Count. Peace, Ida, I perceive the fox at hand. Eust. The fox! why, fetch your hounds, and chase him hence.

[fence. Count. 0, sir, these great men bark at small ofCome,* will it please you to enter, gentle sir?

[Offer to Exeunt. Atev. Stay, courteous ladies, favour me so much, As to discourse a word or two apart.

Count. Good sir, my daughter learns this rule of To shun resort, and strangers' company; [me, For some are shifting mates that carry letters, Some such as you too good, because our betters.

SLIP. Now I pray you, sir, what a kin are you to a pickerel ?

Ateu. Why, knave?

Slip. By my troth, sir, because I never knew a proper situation fellow of your pitch fitter to swallow a gudgeon.

Ateu. What meanest thou by this?

Slip. Shifting fellow, sir; these be thy words, shifting fellow : this gentlewoman, I fear me, knew your bringing up.

ATEU. How so?

Slip. Why, sir, your father was a miller, that could shift for a peck of grist in a bushel, and you a fair-spoken gentleman that can get more land by a lie, than an honest man by his ready money.

Areu. Caitiff, what sayest thou ?

Slip. I say, sir, that if she call you shifting knave, you shall not put her to the proof.

Ateu. And why?
Slip. Because, sir, living by your wit as you do,

* Come, &c.] The 4to. gives this line to Ateukin.

« PreviousContinue »