The Merry Devill of Edmonton


William Shakespeare

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Classic Literature Library

The Merry Devill of Edmonton Page 01



Sir Arthur Clare.
Sir Richard Mounchensey.
Sir Ralph Jerningham.
Henry Clare.
Raymond Mounchensey.
Frank Jerningham.
Sir John [a Priest].
Banks [the Miller of Waltham].
Smug [the Smith of Edmonton].
[Blague the] Host.
[Raph, Brian's man.]
[Friar Hildersham.]
[Coreb, a Spirit.]
Fabel [the Merry Devil].
Lady Clare.
Nuns and Attendants.

The Prologue.

Your silence and attention, worthy friends, That your free spirits may with more pleasing sense Relish the life of this our active scene: To which intent, to calm this murmuring breath, We ring this round with our invoking spells; If that your listning ears be yet prepard To entertain the subject of our play, Lend us your patience. Tis Peter Fabell, a renowned Scholler, Whose fame hath still been hitherto forgot By all the writers of this latter age. In Middle-sex his birth and his abode, Not full seven mile from this great famous City, That, for his fame in sleights and magicke won, Was calde the merry Friend of Emonton. If any here make doubt of such a name, In Edmonton yet fresh unto this day, Fixt in the wall of that old antient Church, His monument remayneth to be seen; His memory yet in the mouths of men, That whilst he lived he could deceive the Devill. Imagine now that whilst he is retirde From Cambridge back unto his native home, Suppose the silent, sable visagde night Casts her black curtain over all the World; And whilst he sleeps within his silent bed, Toiled with the studies of the passed day, The very time and hour wherein that spirit That many years attended his command, And often times twixt Cambridge and that town Had in a minute borne him through the air, By composition twixt the fiend and him, Comes now to claim the Scholler for his due.

[Draw the Curtains.]

Behold him here, laid on his restless couch, His fatal chime prepared at his head, His chamber guarded with these sable slights, And by him stands that Necromanticke chair, In which he makes his direfull invocations, And binds the fiends that shall obey his will. Sit with a pleased eye, until you know The Commicke end of our sad Tragique show.



[The Chime goes, in which time Fabell is oft seen to stare about him, and hold up his hands.]

FABELL. What means the tolling of this fatal chime? O, what a trembling horror strikes my heart! My stiffned hair stands upright on my head, As do the bristles of a porcupine.

[Enter Coreb, a Spirit.]

COREB. Fabell, awake, or I will bear thee hence Headlong to hell.

FABELL. Ha, ha, Why dost thou wake me? Coreb, is it thou?


FABELL. I know thee well: I hear the watchful dogs With hollow howling tell of thy approach; The lights burn dim, affrighted with thy presence; And this distemperd and tempestuous night Tells me the air is troubled with some Devill.

COREB. Come, art thou ready?

FABELL. Whither? or to what?

COREB. Why, Scholler, this the hour my date expires; I must depart, and come to claim my due.

FABELL. Hah, what is thy due?

COREB. Fabell, thy self.

FABELL. O, let not darkness hear thee speak that word, Lest that with force it hurry hence amain, And leave the world to look upon my woe: Yet overwhelm me with this globe of earth, And let a little sparrow with her bill Take but so much as she can bear away, That, every day thus losing of my load, I may again in time yet hope to rise.

COREB. Didst thou not write thy name in thine own blood, And drewst the formall deed twixt thee and me, And is it not recorded now in hell?

FABELL. Why comst thou in this stern and horrid shape, Not in familiar sort, as thou wast wont?

COREB. Because the date of thy command is out, And I am master of thy skill and thee.

FABELL. Coreb, thou angry and impatient spirit, I have earnest business for a private friend; Reserve me, spirit, until some further time.

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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