Sir Thomas More

Page 15

ERASMUS. I think twere best I did my duty to him In a short Latin speech.-- Qui in celiberima patria natus est ett gloriosa, plus habet negotii ut in lucem veniat quam qui--

RANDALL. I prithee, good Erasmus, be covered. I have forsworn speaking of Latin, else, as I am true counsellor, I'd tickle you with a speech. Nay, sit, Erasmus;--sit, good my Lord of Surrey. I'll make my lady come to you anon, if she will, and give you entertainment.

ERASMUS. Is this Sir Thomas More?

SURREY. Oh good Erasmus, you must conceive his vain: He's ever furnished with these conceits.

RANDALL. Yes, faith, my learned poet doth not lie for that matter: I am neither more nor less than merry Sir Thomas always. Wilt sup with me? by God, I love a parlous wise fellow that smells of a politician better than a long progress.

[Enter Sir Thomas More.]

SURREY. We are deluded; this is not his lordship.

RANDALL. I pray you, Erasmus, how long will the Holland cheese in your country keep without maggots?

MORE. Fool, painted barbarism, retire thyself Into thy first creation!

[Exit Randall.]

Thus you see, My loving learned friends, how far respect Waits often on the ceremonious train Of base illiterate wealth, whilst men of schools, Shrouded in poverty, are counted fools. Pardon, thou reverent German, I have mixed So slight a jest to the fair entertainment Of thy most worthy self; for know, Erasmus, Mirth wrinkles up my face, and I still crave, When that forsakes me I may hug my grave.

ERASMUS. Your honor's merry humor is best physic Unto your able body; for we learn Where melancholy chokes the passages Of blood and breath, the erected spirit still Lengthens our days with sportful exercise: Study should be the saddest time of life. The rest a sport exempt from thought of strife.

MORE. Erasmus preacheth gospel against physic, My noble poet.

SURREY. Oh, my Lord, you tax me In that word poet of much idleness: It is a study that makes poor our fate; Poets were ever thought unfit for state.

MORE. O, give not up fair poesy, sweet lord, To such contempt! That I may speak my heart, It is the sweetest heraldry of art, That sets a difference 'tween the tough sharp holly And tender bay tree.

SURREY. Yet, my lord, It is become the very logic number To all mechanic sciences.

MORE. Why, I'll show the reason: This is no age for poets; they should sing To the loud canon heroica facta; Qui faciunt reges heroica carmina laudant: And, as great subjects of their pen decay, Even so unphysicked they do melt away.

[Enter Master Morris.]

Come, will your lordship in?--My dear Erasmus-- I'll hear you, Master Morris, presently.-- My lord, I make you master of my house: We'll banquet here with fresh and staid delights, The Muses music here shall cheer our sprites; The cates must be but mean where scholars sit, For they're made all with courses of neat wit.

[Exeunt Surrey, Erasmus, and Attendants.]

How now, Master Morris?

MORRIS. I am a suitor to your lordship in behalf of a servant of mine.

MORE. The fellow with long hair? good Master Morris, Come to me three years hence, and then I'll hear you.

MORRIS. I understand your honor: but the foolish knave has submitted himself to the mercy of a barber, and is without, ready to make a new vow before your lordship, hereafter to leave cavil.

MORE. Nay, then, let's talk with him; pray, call him in.

[Enter Faulkner and Officers.]

FAULKNER. Bless your honor! a new man, my lord

MORE. Why, sure, this is not he.

FAULKNER. And your lordship will, the barber shall give you a sample of my head: I am he in faith, my lord; I am ipse.

MORE. Why, now thy face is like an honest man's: Thou hast played well at this new cut, and won.

FAULKNER. No, my lord; lost all that ever God sent me.

MORE. God sent thee into the world as thou art now, With a short hair. How quickly are three years Run out of Newgate!

FAULKNER. I think so, my lord; for there was but a hair's length between my going thither and so long time.

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

All Pages of This Book