“lordship”: I ne’er drank sack in my life; and if
you give me any conserves, give me conserves of
beef: ne’er ask me what raiment I’ll wear; for I
have no more doublets than backs, no more stockings
than legs, nor no more shoes than feet; nay,
sometimes more feet than shoes, or such shoes as my
toes look through the over-leather.
Sly, old Sly’s son of Burtonheath, by birth a
pedlar, by education a cardmaker, by transmutation a
bear-herd, and now by present profession a tinker?
Ask Marian Hacket, the fat ale-wife of Wincot, if
she know me not: if she say I am not fourteen pence
on the score for sheer ale, score me up for the
lyingest knave in Christendom. What! I am not
As beaten hence by your strange lunacy.
O noble lord, bethink thee of thy birth,
Call home thy ancient thoughts from banishment
And banish hence these abject lowly dreams.
Look how thy servants do attend on thee,
Each in his office ready at thy beck.
Wilt thou have music? hark! Apollo plays,
And twenty caged nightingales do sing:
Or wilt thou sleep? we’ll have thee to a couch
Softer and sweeter than the lustful bed
On purpose trimm’d up for Semiramis.
Say thou wilt walk; we will bestrew the ground:
Or wilt thou ride? thy horses shall be trapp’d,
Their harness studded all with gold and pearl.
Dost thou love hawking? thou hast hawks will soar
Above the morning lark or wilt thou hunt?
Thy hounds shall make the welkin answer them
And fetch shrill echoes from the hollow earth.
Or do I dream? or have I dream’d till now?
I do not sleep: I see, I hear, I speak;
I smell sweet savours and I feel soft things:
Upon my life, I am a lord indeed
And not a tinker nor Christophero Sly.
Well, bring our lady hither to our sight;
And once again, a pot o’ the smallest ale.
For though you lay here in this goodly chamber,
Yet would you say ye were beaten out of door;
And rail upon the hostess of the house;
And say you would present her at the leet,
Because she brought stone jugs and no seal’d quarts:
Sometimes you would call out for Cicely Hacket.
Are come to play a pleasant comedy;
For so your doctors hold it very meet,
Seeing too much sadness hath congeal’d your blood,
And melancholy is the nurse of frenzy:
Therefore they thought it good you hear a play
And frame your mind to mirth and merriment,
Which bars a thousand harms and lengthens life.