MEN. I warrant you,
You need not fear so long as I am with you.
[He goes out, and comes in presently.
What colour is the robe?
LIN. There is but one.
[MENDACIO, going, turns in haste.
MEN. The key, madam, the key.
LIN. By Juno, how forgetful
Is sudden speed! Here, take it, run.
MEN. I’ll be here instantly.
LIN. Whilome this crown and gorgeous ornament
Were the great prize for which five orators
With the sharp weapons of their tongues contended:
But all their speeches were so equal wrought
And alike gracious, that, if his were witty,
His was as wise; the third’s fair eloquence
Did parallel the fourth’s firm gravity;
The last’s good gesture kept the balance 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 up both crown and robe to me,
As the chief patroness of their profession,
Which heretofore I holily have kept,
Like to a miser’s gold, to look on only.
But now I’ll put them to a better use,
And venture both, in hope to—
MEN. Have I not hied me, madam? look you here,
What shall be done with these temptations?
LIN. They say a golden Ball
Bred enmity betwixt three goddesses;
So shall this crown be author of debate
Betwixt five senses.
MEN. Where shall it be laid!
LIN. There, there, there; ’tis well; so, so, so.
MEN. A crown’s a pleasing bait to look
The craftiest fox will hardly ’scape this trap.
LIN. Come, let us away, and leave it to the chance.
MEN. Nay, rather let me stand close hereabouts,
And see the event.
LIN. Do so, and if they doubt,
How it came there, feign them some pretty fable,
How that some god—
MEN. Tut, tut, tut, let me alone:
I that have feign’d so many hundred gods,
Can easily forge some fable for the turn:
Whist, madam; away, away: you fright the fowl;
Tactus comes hard by, look you.
LIN. Is’t he for certain?
MEN. Yes, yes, yes, ’tis he.
LIN. ’Tis he indeed.
TACTUS, in a dark-coloured satin mantle over a pair of silk bases, a garland of bays, mixed with white and red roses, upon a black grogram, a falchion, wrought sleeves, buskins, &c.
MEN. Now, chaste Diana, grant my nets to hold.