A Select Collection of Old English Plays, Volume 9 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 508 pages of information about A Select Collection of Old English Plays, Volume 9.


OLFACTUS, in a garland of bays intermingled with white and red roses upon a false hair, his sleeves wrought with flowers under a damask mantle, over a pair of silk bases; a pair of buskins drawn with ribbon, a flower in his hand.


TAC.  Ay me!  Olfactus comes; I call’d too soon,
He’ll have half part, I fear; what shall I do! 
Where shall I run? how shall I shift him off?
    [TACTUS wraps up the robe and crown, and sits upon them.

OLF.  This is the time, and this the place appointed,
Where Visus promis’d to confer with me. 
I think he’s there—­no, no, ’tis Tactus sure. 
How now? what makes you sit so nicely?

TAC.  ’Tis past imagination, ’tis so indeed.

OLF.  How fast his hands[184] are fixed, and how melancholy he looks! 
Tactus!  Tactus!

TAC.  For this is true, man’s life is wondrous brittle.

OLF.  He’s mad, I think, he talks so idly.  So ho, Tactus!

TAC.  And many have been metamorphosed
To stranger matters and more uncouth forms.

OLF.  I must go nearer him; he doth not hear.

TAC.  And yet methinks, I speak as I was wont;

OLF.  Tactus, Tactus!

TAC.  Olfactus, as thou lov’st me, come not near me.

OLF.  Why, art thou hatching eggs? th’art afeard[185] to break them?

TAC.  Touch me not, lest thou chance to break my life.

OLF.  What’s this under thee?

TAC.  If thou meddle with me, I am utterly undone.

OLF.  Why, man, what ails thee?

TAC.  Let me alone, and I’ll tell thee;
Lately I came from fine Phantastes’ house.

OLF.  So I believe, for thou art very foolish.

TAC.  No sooner had I parted out of doors[186],
But up I held my hands before my face,
To shield mine eyes from th’light’s piercing beams;
When I protest I saw the sun as clear
Through these my palms, as through a perspective. 
No marvel; for when I beheld my fingers,
I saw my fingers were transform’d to glass;
Opening my breast, my breast was like a window,
Through which I plainly did perceive my heart: 
In whose two concaves[187] I discern’d my thoughts
Confus’dly lodged in great multitudes.

OLF.  Ha, ha, ha, ha! why, this is excellent,
Momus himself can find no fault with thee,
Thou’dst make a passing live anatomy;
And decide the question much disputed
Betwixt the Galenists and Aristotle.

TAC.  But when I had arriv’d, and set me down
Viewing myself—­myself, ay me! was changed,
As thou now seest, to a perfect urinal.

OLF.  T’a perfect urinal?  O monstrous, monstrous! 
Art not mad to think so?

TAC.  I do not think so, but I say I am so,
Therefore, Olfactus, come not near, I advise you.

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A Select Collection of Old English Plays, Volume 9 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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