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See this despatch'd with all the haste thou canst; Anon I'll give thee more instructions.

[Exit Servant.

I know, the boy will well usurp the grace,
Voice, gait, and action of a gentlewoman:
I long to hear him call the drunkard, husband;
And how my men will stay themselves from laughter,
When they do homage to this simple peasant.
I'll in to counsel them: haply, my presence
May well abate the over-merry spleen,
Which otherwise would grow into extremes.



A Bedchamber in the Lord's House.


SLY is discovered in a rich night gown, with Attendants; some with apparel, others with bason, ewer, and other appurtenances. Enter Lord, dressed like a Servant.

SLY. For God's sake, a pot of small ale."

* A Bedchamber &c.] From the original stage direction in the first folio it appears that Sly and the other persons mentioned in the Induction, were intended to be exhibited here, and during the representation of the comedy, in a balcony above the stage. The direction here is-Enter aloft the drunkard with attendants, &c. So afterwards, at the end of this scene- -The Presenters above speak. See the Account of our old Theatres, Vol. II.


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Sly is discovered &c.] Thus, in the original play: "Enter two with a table and a banquet on it, and two other, with Slie asleepe in a chaire, richlie apparelled, and the musick plaieng.

"One. So, sirha, now go call my lord;

"And tell him all things are ready as he will'd it.

1 SERV. Will't please your lordship drink a cup of sack?

2 SERV. Will❜t please your honour taste of these conserves?

3 SERV. What raiment will your honour wear to-day?

SLY. I am Christophero Sly; call not me-honour,

"Another. Set thou some wine upon the boord,

"And then Ile go fetch my lord presently.
"Enter the Lord and his men.

“Lord. How now, what is all things readie? "One. Yea, my lord.


"Lord. Then sound the musicke, and Ile wake him strait, "And see you doe as earst I gave in charge. "My lord, my lord, (he sleeps soundly,) my lord.

"Slie. Tapster, give's a little small ale: heigh ho.
"Lord. Heere's wine, my lord, the purest of the grape.
"Slie. For which lord?

"Lord. For your honor, my lord.

"Slie. Who I, am I a lord?-Iesus, what fine apparell have I got!

"Lord. More richer far your honour hath to weare, "And if it please you, I will fetch them straight.

"Wil. And if your honour please to ride abroad, "Ile fetch your lustie steedes more swift of pace "Then winged Pegasus in all his pride, "That ran so swiftlie over Persian plaines.

"Tom. And if your honour please to hunt the deere, "Your hounds stands readie cuppled at the doore, "Who in running will oretake the row, "And make the long-breathde tygre broken-winded."



small ale.] This beverage is mentioned in the accounts of the Stationers' Company in the year 1558: "For a stande of small ale;" I suppose it was what we now call small beer, no mention of that liquor being made on the same books, though duble bere, and duble duble ale, are frequently recorded.


It appears from The Captain, by Beaumont and Fletcher, Act IV. sc. ii. that single beer and small beer were synonymous terms. MALONE.

nor lordship: I never 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, sometimes, more feet than shoes, or such shoes as my toes look through the overleather.

LORD. Heaven cease this idle humour in your honour!

O, 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 Christopher Sly, old Sly's son of Burton-heath;" by birth a pedler, by education a card-maker, by transmutation a bear-herd, and now by present pro


of Burton-heath;Marian Hacket, the fat ale-wife of Wincot,] I suspect we should read-Barton-heath. Barton and Woodmancot, or, as it is vulgarly pronounced, Woncot, are both of them in Gloucestershire, near the residence of Shakspeare's old enemy, Justice Shallow. Very probably too, this fat ale-wife might be a real character. STEEVENS.

Wilnecotte is a village in Warwickshire, with which Shakspeare was well acquainted, near Stratford. The house kept by our genial hostess, still remains, but is at present a mill. The meanest hovel to which Shakspeare has an allusion, interests curiosity, and acquires an importance: at least, it becomes the object of a poetical antiquarian's inquiries. T. WARTON.

Burton Dorset is a village in Warwickshire. RITson.

There is likewise a village in Warwickshire called Burton Hastings.

Among Sir A. Cockayn's Poems (as Dr. Farmer and Mr. Steevens have observed,) there is an epigram on Sly and his ale, addressed to Mr. Clement Fisher of Wincot.

The text is undoubtedly right.

There is a village in Warwickshire called Barton on the Heath, where Mr. Dover, the founder of the Cotswold games, lived.


fession a tinker? Ask Marian Hacket, the fat alewife of Wincot, if she know me not: if she say I am not fourteen pence on the score for sheer ale, score me up for the lyingest knave in Christendom. What, I am not bestraught: Here's

1 SERV. O, this it is that makes your lady mourn. 2 SERV. O, this it is that makes your servants droop.

LORD. Hence comes it that your kindred shun your house,

As beaten hence by your strange lunacy.
O, noble lord, bethink thee of thy birth;
Call home thy ancient thoughts from banishment,
And banish hence these abject lowly dreams:
Look how thy servants do attend on thee,
Each in his office ready at thy beck.

I am not bestraught:] I once thought that if our poet did not design to put a corrupted word into the mouth of the Tinker, we ought to read-distraught, i. e. distracted. So, in Romeo and Juliet :

"O, if I wake, shall I not be distraught," &c. For there is no verb extant from which the participle bestraught can be formed. In Albion's England, however, by Warner, 1602, I meet with the word as spelt by Shakspeare:

"Now teares had drowned further speech, till she as one
"Did crie," &c.

Again, in the old song, beginning: "When griping grief,” &c. No. 53. Paradyse of dainty Deuises, edit. 1576: "Be-straughted heads relyef hath founde."

Again, in Lord Surrey's translation of the 4th Book of Virgil's Eneid:

"Well near bestraught, upstart his heare for dread." STEEVENS.

Bestraught seems to have been synonymous to distraught or distracted. See Minsheu's DICT. 1617: " Bestract, a Lat. distractus mente. Vi. Mad and Bedlam." MALONE.

Wilt thou have musick? hark! Apollo plays,


And twenty caged nightingales do sing:
Or wilt thou sleep? we'll have thee to a couch,
Softer and sweeter than the lustful bed

On purpose trimm’d up for Semiramis.

Say, thou wilt walk; we will bestrew the ground:
Or wilt thou ride? thy horses shall be trapp'd,
Their harness studded all with gold and pearl.
Dost thou love hawking? thou hast hawks will soar
Above the morning lark: Or wilt thou hunt?
Thy hounds shall make the welkin answer them,
And fetch shrill echoes from the hollow earth.

1 SERV. Say, thou wilt course; thy greyhounds are as swift

As breathed stags, ay, fleeter than the roe.

2 SERV. Dost thou love pictures? we will fetch thee straight

Adonis, painted by a running brook :
And Cytherea all in sedges hid;
Which seem to move and wanton with her breath,
Even as the waving sedges play with wind.

LORD. We'll show thee Io, as she was a maid; And how she was beguiled and surpris'd, As lively painted as the deed was done.

3 SERV. Or Daphne, roaming through a thorny wood;

Scratching her legs that one shall swear she bleeds:
And at that sight shall sad Apollo weep,
So workmanly the blood and tears are drawn.

LORD. Thou art a lord, and nothing but a lord: Thou hast a lady far more beautiful Than any woman in this waning age.

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