Sirrah, go see what Trumpet 'tis that sounds, Belike some Noble Gentleman that meanes (Trauelling some iourney) to repose him heere. Enter Seruingman.

How now? who is it? Ser. An't please your Honor, Players That offer seruice to your Lordship. Enter Players.

Lord. Bid them come neere: Now fellowes, you are welcome

Players. We thanke your Honor

Lord. Do you intend to stay with me to night? 2.Player. So please your Lordshippe to accept our dutie

Lord. With all my heart. This fellow I remember, Since once he plaide a Farmers eldest sonne, 'Twas where you woo'd the Gentlewoman so well: I haue forgot your name: but sure that part Was aptly fitted, and naturally perform'd

Sincklo. I thinke 'twas Soto that your honor meanes

Lord. 'Tis verie true, thou didst it excellent: Well you are come to me in happie time, The rather for I haue some sport in hand, Wherein your cunning can assist me much. There is a Lord will heare you play to night; But I am doubtfull of your modesties, Least (ouer-eying of his odde behauiour, For yet his honor neuer heard a play) You breake into some merrie passion, And so offend him: for I tell you sirs, If you should smile, he growes impatient

Plai. Feare not my Lord, we can contain our selues, Were he the veriest anticke in the world

Lord. Go sirra, take them to the Butterie, And giue them friendly welcome euerie one, Let them want nothing that my house affoords.

Exit one with the Players.

Sirra go you to Bartholmew my Page, And see him drest in all suites like a Ladie: That done, conduct him to the drunkards chamber, And call him Madam, do him obeisance: Tell him from me (as he will win my loue) He beare himselfe with honourable action, Such as he hath obseru'd in noble Ladies Vnto their Lords, by them accomplished, Such dutie to the drunkard let him do: With soft lowe tongue, and lowly curtesie, And say: What is't your Honor will command, Wherein your Ladie, and your humble wife, May shew her dutie, and make knowne her loue. And then with kinde embracements, tempting kisses, And with declining head into his bosome Bid him shed teares, as being ouer-ioyed To see her noble Lord restor'd to health, Who for this seuen yeares hath esteemed him No better then a poore and loathsome begger: And if the boy haue not a womans guift To raine a shower of commanded teares, An Onion wil do well for such a shift, Which in a Napkin (being close conuei'd) Shall in despight enforce a waterie eie: See this dispatch'd with all the hast thou canst, Anon Ile giue thee more instructions.

Exit a seruingman.

I know the boy will wel vsurpe the grace, Voice, gate, and action of a Gentlewoman: I long to heare him call the drunkard husband, And how my men will stay themselues from laughter, When they do homage to this simple peasant, Ile in to counsell them: haply my presence May well abate the ouer-merrie spleene, Which otherwise would grow into extreames. Enter aloft the drunkard with attendants, some with apparel, Bason and Ewer, & other appurtenances, & Lord.

Beg. For Gods sake a pot of small Ale

1.Ser. Wilt please your Lord drink a cup of sacke? 2.Ser. Wilt please your Honor taste of these Conserues? 3.Ser. What raiment wil your honor weare to day

Beg. I am Christophero Sly, call not mee Honour nor Lordship: I ne're drank sacke in my life: and if you giue me any Conserues, giue me conserues of Beefe: nere ask me what raiment Ile weare, for I haue no more doublets then backes: no more stockings then legges: nor no more shooes then feet, nay sometime more feete then shooes, or such shooes as my toes looke through the ouer-leather

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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The Merry Wiues of Windsor