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By these quaint tricks free passage hath beene bar'd,
That I could never equally be heard.
But well, 'tis well.
Aud. Lingua, thy feeble sexe
Hath hitherto with-held my ready hands,
That long'd to plucke that nimble instrument.
Ling. O, horrible ingratitude! that thou,
That thou of all the rest should'st threaten me :
Who by my meanes conceiv’st as many tongues,
As Neptune closeth lands betwixt his armes :
The ancient Hebrew, clad with mysteries,
The learned Greeke, rich in fit epithites,
Blest in the lovely marriage of pure words,
The Caldy wise, the Arabian physicall,
The Romane eloquent, the Tuscane grave,
The braving Spanish, and the smooth-tong'd French,
These precious iewels that adorne thine eares,
All from my mouthe's rich cabinet are stolne:
How oft hast thou beene chain'd vnto my tongue ?
Hang'd at my lips, and ravisht with my words,
So that a speech, faire feather'd, could not flie,
But thy eares' pit-fall caught it instantly.
But now, 0, heavens !
Aud. O, heavens, thou wrong'st me much,
Thou wrong'st me much thus falsely to upbraid me:
Had I not granted thee the use of hearing,
That sharpe-edg’d tongue, whetted against her master,
Those puffing lungs, those teeth, those dropsie lips,
That scalding throat, those nostrils full of ire;
Thy palate, proper instruments of speech,
Like to the winged chaunters of the wood,
Uttering nought else but idle sistements,
Mr. Payne Collier, in his very interesting Poetical Decameron, vol. 1. p. 34, thus cites these two lines,
“the learned Greek, Blest in the lovely marriage of sweet words, as Middleton beautifully expresses it in that odd play of his with an odd title, A Mad World, my Musters.”—Mr. C. probably quoted from memory; but it seems extraordinary that he should attribute two beautiful verses like these to a comedy of the nature of the one to which he has referred them. The only connection we can perceive between Lingua and the Mad World, my Masters, is, that they stand next to one another in Dodsley's Collection. VOL. II. PART II.
Tunes without sense, words inarticulate,
Had nere bin able t'have abus'd me thus:
Words are thy children, but of my begetting.
Ling. Perfidious lyar, how can I endure thee,
Cal'st thou my unspotted chastity in question?
0, could I use the breath mine anger spends,
Id'e make thee know-
Aud. Heavens looke on my distresse !
Defend me from this rayling viperesse,
For if I stay, her words’ sharpe vinegar
Will fret me through-Lingua I must be gone :
I heare one call me more than earnestly.
Ling. May the loud cannoning of thunder-bolts,
Screeking of wolves, howling of tortur'd ghosts
Pursue thee still, and fill thy amaz'd eares
With cold astonishment and horrid feares.
0, how these senses muffle Common Sense,
And more and more with pleasing objects strive,
To dull his judgement and pervert his will
To their behests; who, were he not so wrapt
I'th duskie clouds of their darke policies,
Would never suffer right to suffer wrong:
Fie, Lingua, wilt thou now degenerate ?
Art not a woman? do'st not love revenge?
Delightfull speeches, sweete perswasions
I have this long time us’d to get my right,
My right, that is, to make the senses sixe;
And have both name and power with the rest.
Oft have I season'd savory periods
With sugred words, to delude Gustus' taste,
And oft embelisht my entreative phrase
With smelling flowers of vernant rhetorique,
Limning and fashing it with various dyes,
To draw proud Visus to me by the eyes :
And oft perfum'd my petitory stile,
With civet speeches, t'entrap Olfactus' nose,
And clad myselfe in silken eloquence,
To allure the nicer touch of Tactus' hand.
But al's become lost labour, and my cause
Is still procrastinated; therefore, now
Hence ye base offspring of a broken mind,
Supple intreaties and smooth flatteries :
Go, kisse the love-sicke lippes of puling guls,
That still their braine to quench their love's disdaine ;
Go gild the tongues of bawds and parasites,
Come not within my thoughts. But thou, Deceit,
Breake up the pleasure of my brim-full brest,
Enrich my mind with subtill policies.
Well then I'le goe-whither? nay, what know I?
And do, in faith I will, the devill knowes what;
What if I set them all at variance,
And so obtaine to speak, it must be so.
It must be so, but how? there lies the point:
How? thus ;—tut, this device will never prove-
Augment it so—'twill be too soone discride,
Or so—not so, 'tis too too dangerous.
Pish, none of these—what if I take this course, ha?
Why there it goes, good, good, most excellent-
He that will catch eeles must disturbe the floud;
The chickens batcht, y'faith, for they are proud,
And soone will take a cause of disagreement.”
Lingua, producing a crown and robe, which she intends to throw in the way of the Senses as a bone of contention, describes the prize in these terms:
“ Ling. Whilome this crowne and gorgeous ornament,
Were the great prize, for which five orators,
With the sharpe weapon of their tongues contended;
But all their speeches were so equall wrought,
And alike gracious, that if his were witty,
His was as wise; the third's faire eloquence
Did paralell the fourth's firme gravity,
The last good gesture kept the ballance even
With all the rest, so that the sharpest eye
And most judicious censor could not judge
To whom the hanging victory should fall :
Therefore with one consent they all agreed,
To offer both crowne and robe to me,
As the chief patronesse of their profession;
Which heretofore I holily have kept,
Like to a miser's gold, to looke on only;
But now I'de put them to a better use."
Tactus first finds the insidious treasures, and, after admiring them, puts them on, and exclaims *
* Winstanley tells us, that on this play being acted by the students of Trinity College, Cambridge, Oliver Cromwell, then at that university, performed the part of Tactus, and of course had occasion
“Roses and bayes, packe hence: this crowne and robe,
My browes and body circles and invests.
How gallantly it fits me, sure the slave
Measur'd my head that wrought this coronet.
They lie that say complections cannot change;
My blood's enobl’d, and I am transform’d
Unto the sacred temper of a king :
Methinkes 1 heare my noble parasites
Stiling me Cæsar, or great Alexander,
Licking my feete, and wond'ring where I got
This precious ointment: how my pace is mended!
How princely doe I speake, how sharpe I threaten!
Peasants, I'le curbe your head-strong impudence,
And make you tremble when the lyon roares,
Ye earth-bred wormes ! oh, for a looking glasse:
Poets will write whole volumes of this scarre,
Wher's my attendants ? Come hither, sirra, quickly,
Or by the wings of Hermes.”.
He is interrupted by some of the other Senses, and is compelled to resort to some very humorous shifts, to conceal his treasure and send them off.
Common Sense demands of Mendacio, or the Liar, some account of the respective armaments of the Senses, whom he is informed are drawn up in battle array to contend for the crown and robe. Mendacio gives him a long description of the armies, written in an admirable vein of ludicrous exaggeration and mock-heroic dignity.
“Pha. Hot youths I protest, saw you those warlike preparations ?
Men. Lately, my lords, I spied into the army,
But oh, 'tis farre beyond my reach of wit,
Or strength of utterance, to describe their forces.
Com. S. Go to, speake what thou canst.
Men. Upon the right hand of a spacious hill,
to repeat this speech. He, it is said, entered with such spirit and animation into the part, that it is supposed the promptings of his future ambition then first rose in his breast-an anecdote curious enough if it were true. It is possible that Cromwell may have assisted in the representation of this play, though it was published many years before he was born. The consequence attributed to its effects is however sufficiently absurd. It should be recollected that Cromwell was a fellow commoner of Sidney, while the play is said to have been represented at Trinity College, a circumstance which almost alone destroys the credit of the story.
Proud Visus marshalleth a puissant army,
Three thousand eagles strong, whose valiant captaine
Is Jove's swift thunder-bearer, that same bird,
That hoist up Ganimede from the Troyan plaines :
The vant-gard strengthen'd with a wonderous flight
Of faulcons, haggards, hobbies, terselets,
Lanards, and goshaukes, spar-haukes, and ravenous birds,
The rereward granted to Auditus' charge,
Is stoutely follow'd with an impetuous heard
Of stiffe-neckt buls, and many horne-mad stagges
Of the best head the forrest can afford.
Pha. I promise you a fearefull troupe of souldiers.
Men. Right opposite stands Tactus, strongly mann'd,
With three thousand bristled urchins for his pikemen:
Four hundreth tortesses for elephants,
Besides a monstrous troupe of ugly spiders,
Within an ambushment, he hath commanded
Of their owne guts to spin a cordage fine,
Whereof t’have fram'd a net (O, wondrous worke)
That, fastned by the concave of the moone,
Spreads downe itselfe to th' earth's circumference.
Mem. 'Tis very strange, I cannot remember the like engine at any
Men. Nay more, my lord, the maskes are made so strong,
That I myselfe upon them scal'd the heavens,
And boldly walk't about the middle region,
Where, in the province of the meteors,
I saw the cloudy shops of haile and raine,
Garners of snow, and christals full of dew,
Rivers of burning arrowes, dens of dragons,
Huge beames of flames, and speares like fire-brands,
Where I beheld hot Mars and Mercurie,
With rackets made of speares, and balls of starres,
Playing at tennis for a tunne of nectar:
And that vast gaping of the firmament
Under the southerne pole, is nothing else
But the great hazzard of their tennis court :
The Zodiacke is their line. The shooting starres,
Which in an eye-bright evening seem to fall,
Are nothing but the bals they lose at bandy.
Thus having tooke my pleasure with those sights,
By the same net I went up, I descended.
Com. S. Well, sirra, to what purpose tends this stratagem?
Men. None know directly, but I thinke it is T' intrap the eagles when the battailes joyne.