COMEDY. Then, ugly monster, do thy worst, I will defend them in despite of thee: And though thou thinkst with tragic fumes To brave my play unto my deep disgrace, I force it not, I scorn what thou canst do; I'll grace it so, thy self shall it confess From tragic stuff to be a pleasant comedy.

ENVY. Why then, Comedy, send thy actors forth And I will cross the first steps of their tread: Making them fear the very dart of death.

COMEDY. And I'll defend them maugre all thy spite: So, ugly fiend, farewell, till time shall serve, That we may meet to parle for the best.

ENVY. Content, Comedy; I'll go spread my branch, And scattered blossoms from mine envious tree Shall prove to monsters, spoiling of their joys.

[Exit.]

ACT I. SCENE I. Valentia. The Court.

[Sound. Enter Mucedorus and Anselmo his friend.]

MUCEDORUS. Anselmo.

ANSELMO. My Lord and friend.

MUCEDORUS. True, my Anselmo, both thy Lord and friend Whose dear affections bosom with my heart, And keep their domination in one orb.

ANSELMO. Whence near disloyalty shall root it forth, But faith plant firmer in your choice respect.

MUCEDORUS. Much blame were mine, if I should other deem, Nor can coy Fortune contrary allow: But, my Anselmo, loth I am to say I must estrange that friendship-- Misconsture not, tis from the Realm, not thee: Though Lands part Bodies, Hearts keep company. Thou knowst that I imparted often have Private relations with my royal Sire, Had as concerning beautious Amadine, Rich Aragon's bright Jewel, whose face (some say) That blooming Lilies never shone so gay, Excelling, not excelled: yet least Report Does mangle Verity, boasting of what is not, Wing'd with Desire, thither I'll straight repair, And be my Fortunes, as my Thoughts are, fair.

ANSELMO. Will you forsake Valencia, leave the Court, Absent you from the eye of Sovereignty? Do not, sweet Prince, adventure on that task, Since danger lurks each where: be won from it.

MUCEDORUS. Desist dissuasion, My resolution brooks no battery; Therefore, if thou retain thy wonted form, Assist what I intend.

ANSELMO. Your miss will breed a blemish in the Court, And throw a frosty dew upon that Beard, Whose front Valencia stoops to.

MUCEDORUS. If thou my welfare tender, then no more; Let Love's strong magic charm thy trivial phrase, Wasted as vainly as to gripe the Sun: Augment not then more answers; lock thy lips, Unless thy wisdom suite me with disguise, According to my purpose.

ANSELMO. That action craves no counsel, Since what you rightly are will more command, Than best usurped shape.

MUCEDORUS. Thou still art opposite is disposition: A more obscure servile habillament Beseems this enterprise.

ANSELMO. Than like a Florentine or Mountebank?

MUCEDORUS. Tis much too tedious; I dislike thy judgement: My mind is grafted on an humbler stock.

ANSELMO. Within my Closet does there hang a Cassock, Though base the weed is; twas a Shepherds, Which I presented in Lord Julio's Mask.

MUCEDORUS. That, my Anselmo, and none else but that, Mask Mucedorus from the vulgar view! That habit suits my mind; fetch me that weed.

[Exit Anselmo.]

Better than Kings have not disdained that state, And much inferiour, to obtain their mate.

[Enter Anselmo with a Shepherd's coat.]

So! Let our respect command thy secrecy. At once a brief farewell: Delay to lovers is a second hell.

[Exit Mucedorus.]

ANSELMO. Prosperity forerun thee; Awkward chance Never be neighbour to thy wishes' venture: Content and Fame advance thee; ever thrive, And Glory thy mortality survive.

[Exit.]

ACT I. SCENE II. A Forest in Arragon.

[Enter Mouse with a bottle of Hay.]

MOUSE. O horrible, terrible! Was ever poor Gentleman so scared out of his seven Senses? A Bear? nay, sure it cannot be a Bear, but some Devil in a Bear's Doublet: for a Bear could never have had that agility to have frighted em. Well, I'll see my Father hanged, before I'll serve his Horse any more: Well, I'll carry home my Bottle of Hay, and for once make my Father's Horse turn puritan and observe Fasting days, for he gets not a bit.

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William Shakespeare

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A Most Pleasant Comedy of Mucedorus
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