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And say,—will’t please your lordship cool your hands?
Lord. Take him up gently, and to bed with him, And each one to his office when he wakes.
[SlY is borne out. A trumpet sounds. Sirrah, go see what trumpet 'tis that sounds :
[Exit Servant. Belike, some noble gentleman, that means, Travelling some journey, to repose him here.
An it please your honour, Players that offer service to your lordship.
Lord. Bid them come near.
Now, fellows, you are welcome. Players. We thank your honour.
7 And, when he says he is—, say, that he dreams,] The lord leaves something here to be understood. Sir Thomas Hanmer would insert poor, and Johnson Sly, although the lord could not know the name of the beggar; but no change is necessary. There is no dash after “is” in the folios, and it will be observed that the line is syllabically complete without any addition.
Lord. Do you intend to stay with me to-night ? 2 Play. So please your lordship to accept our duty.
Lord. With all my heart.—This fellow I remember, Since once he play'd a farmer's eldest son :'Twas where you woo'd the gentlewoman so well. I have forgot your name; but, sure, that part Was aptly fitted, and naturally perform’d.
1 Play. I think, 'twas Soto that your honour means'.
Lord. 'Tis very true: thou didst it excellent. Well, you are come to me in happy time, The rather for I have some sport in hand, Wherein your cunning can assist me much. There is a lord will hear you play to-night; But I am doubtful of your modesties, Lest, over-eying of his odd behaviour, (For yet his honour never heard a play,) You break into some merry passion, And so offend him ; for I tell you, sirs, If you should smile he grows impatient. 1 Play. Fear not, my lord: we can contain our
Lord. Go, sirrah, take them to the buttery,
[Exeunt Servant and Players.
8 I think, 'twas Soto that your honour means.] This line is given to Sincklo in the first folio ; and as there was an actor of that name in Shakespeare's company, he was most likely the person who played the character. He introduced again in “Henry IV." pt. 2, in “ Henry VI." pt. 3, &c. It has been supposed by Theobald, that the reference was to Soto in Beaumont and Fletcher's “Woman Pleased ;" but, as Tyrwhitt remarks, the circumstance of “ wooing the gentlewoman so well” does not tally with the story of that play. Probably a character called Soto figured in some other play of the time, now lost. Pope assigned the line to a character he calls Sim; having probably been misled by the second folio, where Sincklo's name is only printed Sin.
And call him madam, do him obeisance:
A Bedchamber in the Lord's House.
Sly is discovered ”, with Attendants; some with apparel,
others with bason, ewer, and appurtenances. Enter LORD, dressed like a Servant. Sly. For God's sake, a pot of small ale. 1 Serv.. Will’t please your lordship drink a cup of
sack? 2 Serv. Will’t please your honour taste of these con
serves? 3 Serv. What raiment will your honour wear to
day? Sly. I am Christophero Sly; call not me honour, nor 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, sometime, more feet than shoes, or such shoes as my toes look through the overleather.
Lord. Heaven cease this idle humour in your honour ! 0! that a mighty man, of such descent, Of such possessions, and so high esteem, Should be infused with so foul a spirit !
Sly. What! would you make me mad? Am not I
Sly is discovered,] The old stage-direction is, “ Enter aloft the drunkard with attendants,” &c. ; the meaning of which is, that Sly and those about him were represented in a balcony at the back of the stage, whence they were to witness the performance of the actors. Such appears to have been invariably the case when a play within a play was represented in our old theatres ; directly the reverse of our modern practice, where the play within a play is exhibited on a raised platform at the back of the stage, and the actors in the main play are in front.
1- I ne'er drank sack in my life ;) So the old copy of 1623 ; as afterwards, “Ne'er ask me,” &c. This is consistent, and there is no reason against it; though the modern editions have “never” in one instance, and“ ne'er” in the other. VOL. III.
Christopher Sly, old Sly's son, of Burton-heath”; by
1 Serv. O! this it is that makes your lady mourn.
trimm'd for Semiramis.
old Sly's son, of BURTON-HEATH ;] Perhaps, as Malone suggests, we ought to read, Barton-on-the-heath, a village in Warwickshire.
· by transmutation a BEAR-HERD,] i. e. Bear-ward. See vol. ii. p. 202, note 2.
4 Ask Marian Hacket, the fat alewife of Wincot,] Doubtless, Marian Hacket was living and well known at Wincot, about four miles from Stratford-uponAvon, at the time this play was written. Afterwards (p. 116) Cicely Hacket is spoken of by one of the servants.
5 What ! I am not BESTRAUGHT.] “ Bestraught " was used by Lord Surrey, Warner, and other good writers, as synonymous with distraught, or distracted. We also meet with it in the very rare romance of “ Narbonus,” by Austin Saker, 1580, 4to : “Now, if the olde souldyours were thus afflicted, and the auncient captaynes so tormented, Narbonus was also bestraught and incensed.”
6 0! this it is-] The folio inverts it is; but most likely it was meant that one servant should follow the form of expression used by the other.