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.

ANA.  Good, good; but what had your invention been, but for my remembrance?  I can prove that thou, belly-sprung invention, art the most improfitable member in the world; for ever since thou wert born, thou hast been a bloody murderer; and thus I prove it:  In the quiet years of Saturn (I remember Jupiter was then but in his swathe-bands), thou rentest the bowels of the earth, and broughtest gold to light, whose beauty, like Helen, set all the world by the ears.  Then, upon that, thou foundest out iron, and puttest weapons in their hands, and now in the last populous age thou taughtest a scabshin friar the hellish invention of powder and guns.

HEU.  Call’st it hellish? thou liest!  It is the admirablest invention of all others, for whereas others imitate nature, this excels nature herself.

MEM.  True; for a cannon will kill as many at one shot as thunder doth commonly at twenty.

ANA.  Therefore more murdering art thou than the light-bolt[278].

HEU.  But to show the strength of my conceit, I have found out a means to withstand the stroke of the most violent culverin.  Mendacio, thou saw’st it, when I demonstrated the invention.

ANA.  What, some woolpacks or mud walls, or such like?

HEU.  Mendacio, I prythee tell it him, for I love not to be a trumpeter of mine own praises.

MEN.  I must needs confess this device to pass all that ever I heard or saw, and thus it was—­first he takes a falcon, and charges it (without all deceits) with dry powder well-camphired[279], then did he put in a single bullet, and a great quantity of drop-shot both round and lachrymal.  This done, he sets me a boy sixty paces off, just point blank over against the mouth of the piece.  Now in the very midst of the direct line he fastens a post, upon which he hangs me in a cord a siderite of Herculean stone[280].

ANA.  Well, well, I know it well, it was found out in Ida, in the year of the world ——­ by one Magnes, whose name it retains, though vulgarly they call it the Adamant.

MEN.  When he had hanged this adamant in a cord, he comes back, and gives fire to the touchhole:  now the powder consumed to a void vacuum—­

HEU.  Which is intolerable in nature, for first shall the whole machine of the world, heaven, earth, sea, and air, return to the misshapen house of Chaos, than the least vacuum be found in the universe.

MEN.  The bullet and drop-shot flew most impetuously from the fiery throat of the culverin; but, O, strange, no sooner came they near the adamant in the cord, but they were all arrested by the serjeant of nature, and hovered in the air round about it, till they had lost the force of their motion, clasping themselves close to the stone in most lovely manner, and not any one flew to endanger the mark; so much did they remember their duty to nature, that they forgot the errand they were sent of.

ANA.  This is a very artificial lie.

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