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.

    [APPETITUS heaveth up his club to brain CRAPULA; but
    SOMNUS in the meantime catcheth him behind, and binds him.

SOM.  Why, how now, Crapula?

CRA.  Am I not dead? is not my soul departed?

SOM.  No, no, see where he lies,
That would have hurt thee:  fear nothing.

   [SOMNUS lays the Senses all in a circle, feet to feet,
   and wafts his wand over them
.

So rest you all in silent quietness;
Let nothing wake you, till the power of sleep,
With his sweet dew cooling your brains enflam’d,
Hath rectified the vain and idle thoughts,
Bred by your surfeit and distemperature;
Lo, here the Senses, late outrageous,
All in a round together sleep like friends;
For there’s no difference ’twixt the king and clown,
The poor and rich, the beauteous and deform’d,
Wrapp’d in the veil of night and bonds of sleep;
Without whose power and sweet dominion
Our life were hell, and pleasure painfulness. 
The sting of envy and the dart of love,
Avarice’ talons, and the fire of hate,
Would poison, wound, distract, and soon consume
The heart, the liver, life, and mind of man. 
The sturdy mower, that with brawny arms
Wieldeth the crooked scythe, in many a swath
Cutting the flowery pride on velvet plain,
Lies down at night, and in the weird[316] folds
Of his wife’s arms forgets his labour past. 
The painful mariner and careful smith,
The toiling ploughman, all artificers,
Most humbly yield to my dominion: 
Without due rest nothing is durable. 
Lo, thus doth Somnus conquer all the world
With his most awful wand, and half the year
Reigns o’er the best and proudest emperors. 
Only the nurslings of the Sisters nine
Rebel against me, scorn my great command;
And when dark night from her bedewed[317] wings
Drops sleepy silence to the eyes of all,
They only wake, and with unwearied toil
Labour to find the Via Lactea,
That leads to the heaven of immortality;
And by the lofty towering of their minds,
Fledg’d with the feathers of a learned muse,
They raise themselves unto the highest pitch,
Marrying base earth and heaven in a thought. 
But thus I punish their rebellion: 
Their industry was never yet rewarded: 
Better to sleep, than wake and toil for nothing.

[Exeunt SOMNUS and CRAPULA.

SCAENA DECIMA SEPTIMA.

The five Senses, LINGUA, APPETITUS, all asleep
and dreaming
; PHANTASTES, HEURESIS.

AUD.  So ho, Rockwood;[318] so ho, Rockwood; Rockwood, your organ:  eh, Chanter, Chanter; by Acteon’s head-tire, it’s a very deep-mouthed dog, a most admirable cry of hounds.  Look here, again, again:  there, there, there! ah, ware counter![319]

VIS.  Do you see the full moon yonder, and not the man in it? why, methinks ’tis too-too evident:  I see his dog very plain, and look you, just under his tail is a thorn-bush of furze.

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