ANA. Thus: when we are friends, then must I come and be dandled upon his palsy-quaking knees, and he’ll tell me a long story of his acquaintance with King Priamus and his familiarity with Nestor, and how he played at blowpoint with Jupiter, when he was in his sidecoats, and how he went to look bird-nests with Athous, and where he was at Deucalion’s flood, and twenty such old wives’ tales.
MEN. I wonder he, being so old, can talk so much.
ANA. Nature, thou know’st, knowing what an unruly engine the tongue is, hath set teeth round about for watchmen. Now, sir, my master’s old age hath coughed out all his teeth, and that’s the cause it runs so much at liberty.
ANA. O, but there’s one thing stings me to the very heart—to see an ugly, foul, idle, fat, dusty cloghead, called Oblivio, preferred before me. Dost know him?
MEN. Who, I? Ay, but care not for his acquaintance. Hang him, blockhead! I could never abide him. Thou, Remembrance, are the only friend that the arms of my friendship shall embrace. Thou hast heard Oportet mendacem esse memorem. But what of Oblivio?
ANA. The very naming of him hath made me forget myself. O, O, O, O, that rascal is so made of everywhere!
MEN. Who, Oblivio?
ANA. Ay, for our courtiers hug him continually in their ungrateful bosoms, and your smooth-bellied, fat-backed, barrel-paunched, tun-gutted drones are never without him. As for Memory, he’s a false-hearted fellow; he always deceives them; they respect not him, except it be to play a game at chests, primero, saunt, maw, or such like.
MEN. I cannot think such fellows have to do with Oblivio, since they never got anything to forget.
ANA. Again, these prodigal swaggerers that are so much bound to their creditors, if they have but one cross about them, they’ll spend it in wine upon Oblivio.
MEN. To what purpose, I prythee?
ANA. Only in hope he’ll wash them in the Lethe of their cares.
MEN. Why, then, no man cares for thee.
ANA. Yes, a company of studious paperworms and lean scholars, and niggarly scraping usurers, and a troop of heart-eating, envious persons, and those canker-stomached, spiteful creatures that furnish up commonplace books with other men’s faults. The time hath been, in those golden days when Saturn reigned, that, if a man received a benefit of another, I was presently sent for to put him in mind of it; but now, in these iron afternoons, save your friend’s life, and Oblivio will be more familiar with him than you.
HEURESIS, MENDACIO, ANAMNESTES.
HEU. Phantastes not at court? Is’t possible? ’Tis the strangest accident that ever was heard of. I had thought the ladies and gallants would never lie without him.