« PreviousContinue »
wags, I was content to take a bond jointly of them all: they had me into a tavern, there they made me, the Scrivener, and the Serjeant drunk, pawned his mace for the wine, and sealed me an obligation nothing to the purpose:
pray you read it.
Mem. What wags be these! Why by this bond you can demand nothing; and things done in drink
may be repented in soberness, but not remedied.
Drom. Sir, I have his acquittance; let him sue his bond.
Hack. I'll cry quittance with thee. Serj. And I, or it shall cost me the laying on freely of my mace.
Scri. And I'll give thee such a dash with a pen as shall cost thee many a pound; with such a noverint* as Cheapside can show none such.
Half. Do your worst; our knaveries will revenge
upon your children's children. Mem. Then, boy, we will pay the hire of the horse; be not angry. The boys have been in a merry cozening vein, for they have served their masters of the same sort, but all must be forgotten. Now all are content but the poor fiddlers, they shall be sent for to the marriage, and have double fees.
Drom. You need no more send for a fiddler to a feast, than a beggar to a fair.
Stel. This day we will feast at my house.
* It is to be remembered that in the time of our poet (and very long afterwards) all legal instruments were written in Latin, and noverint universi was a very general beginning. VOL. I.
Pris. The next day at mine.
Sper. Then at mine the last ; and even so spend this week in good cheer.
Drom. Then we were best be going whilst every one is pleased; and yet these couples are not fully pleased till the priest have done his worst.
Ris. Come, Serjeant, we'll toss it this week, and make thy mace arrest a boiled capon.
Serj. No inore words at the wedding: if the mayor should know it, I were in danger of mine office.
Ris. Then take heed how, on such as we are, you show a cast of your office. Half. If
you mace us, we'll pepper you. Acc. Come, sister, the best is, we shall have good cheer these four days.
Luc. And be fools for ever.
For the subject and incidents of this Comedy, Lyly was indebted to Ovid, Galtruchius, and “ The Golden Ass” of Apuleius; in the latter work the story is related at large. If the reader be not already acquainted with it, he may be desirous of knowing something of the fabulous history on which it is founded, without referring to works, some of which are little known. According to these, Silenus, the drunken preceptor of Bacchus, having lost his way, was taken by some shepherds to the court of Midas, king of Phrygia, who hospitably entertained him for ten days, and then conducted him in safety to Bacchus, who, gratified at the kindness and attention shown to his friend, permitted Midas to make choice of his own recompense, and he solicited that every thing he touched might be changed into gold; his wish was immediately granted, a compliance
“ That kept the word of promise to the ear,
And broke it to the hope.” For his very food was necessarily subject to these transmutations, and thus the fulfilment of his own desires became a curse instead of a blessing. Overwhelmed with this unforeseen consequence he again approached the god, and, in compliance with his directions, bathed himself in the river Pactolus, and was released from this unhappy power; the final exertion of which was on the sands over which the river coursed, which were immediately changed into gold: but the misfortunes of Midas did not end here; for having on a future occasion maintained the superiority of Pan over Apollo' in a musical contention of these gods, the latter, enraged at his be