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.

AUD.  O, I understand thee! the first crowd was made of a horse-head. 
’Tis true, the finding of a dead horse-head
Was the first invention of string instruments,
Whence rose the gittern, viol, and the lute: 
Though others think the lute was first devis’d
In imitation of a tortoise-back,
Whose sinews, parched by Apollo’s beams,
Echo’d about the concave of the shell: 
And seeing the shortest and smallest gave shrill’st sound,
They found out frets, whose sweet diversity
(Well-touched by the skilful learned fingers)
Raiseth so strange a multitude of chords. 
Which their opinion many do confirm,
Because Testado signifies a lute. 
But if I by no means—­

APP.  Nay, if you begin to critic once, we shall never have done.

       [Exit APPETITUS, and carries away AUDITUS perforce.


CRAPULA, a fat-bellied slave, clothed in a light veil of sarsanet, a garland of vine-leaves on his head, &c.  SOMNUS in a mantle of black cobweb lawn down to the foot, over a dusky-coloured taffeta coat, and a crown of poppy-tops on his head, a company of dark-coloured silk scarfs in one hand, a mace of poppy in the other, leaving his head upon a pillow on CRAPULA’S shoulders.

CRA.  Somnus, good Somnus, sweet Somnus, come apace!

SOM.  Eh, O, O; are you sure they be so? oho, oho, oho; eh, waw? 
What good can I do? ou, hoh, haw.

CRA.  Why, I tell you, unless you help—­
                   [SOMNUS falls down and sleeps
Soft son of night, right heir to quietness,
Labour’s repose, life’s best restorative,
Digestion’s careful nurse, blood’s comforter,
Wit’s help, thought’s charm, the stay of Microcosm,
Sweet Somnus, chiefest enemy to care: 
My dearest friend, lift up thy lumpish head,
Ope thy dull eyes, shake off this drowsiness,
Rouse up thyself.

SOM.  O Crapula, how now, how now!  O, O, how; who’s there? 
Crapula, speak quickly, what’s the matter?

CRA.  As I told you, the noble Senses, peers of Microcosm,
Will eftsoon fall to ruin perpetual. 
Unless your ready helping-hand recure them. 
Lately they banqueted at Gustus’ table,
And there fell mad or drunk, I know not whether;
So that it’s doubtful in these outrageous fits,
That they’ll murder one another.

SOM.  Fear it not. 
If they have ’scap’d already, bring me to them
Or them to me; I’ll quickly make them know
The power of my large-stretched authority. 
These cords of sleep, wherewith I wont to bind
The strongest arm that e’er resisted me,
Shall be the means whereby I will correct
The Senses’ outrage and distemperature.

CRA.  Thanks, gentle Somnus, I’ll go seek them out,
And bring them to you soon as possible.

SOM.  Despatch it quickly, lest I fall asleep for want of work.

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