SIR RADERIC’S PAGE. For that I’ll give Master Recorder’s law, and that is this: there is a double oath—a formal oath and a material oath; a material oath cannot be broken, the formal oath may be broken. I swore formally. Farewell, fiddlers.
Farewell, good wags, whose wits praiseworth I deem,
Though somewhat waggish; so we all have been.
STUDIOSO. Faith, fellow-fiddlers, here’s no silver found in this place; no, not so much as the usual Christmas entertainment of musicians, a black jack of beer and a Christmas pie.
[They walk aside from their fellows.
Where’er we in the wide world playing be,
Misfortune bears a part, and mars our melody;
Impossible to please with music’s strain,
Our heart-strings broke are, ne’er to be tun’d again.
Then let us leave this baser fiddling trade;
For though our purse should mend, our credits fade.
Full glad am I to see thy mind’s free course.
Declining from this trencher-waiting trade.
Well, may I now disclose in plainer guise
What erst I meant to work in secret wise;
My busy conscience check’d my guilty soul,
For seeking maintenance by base vassalage;
And then suggested to my searching thought
A shepherd’s poor, secure, contented life,
On which since then I doated every hour,
And meant this same hour in [a] sadder plight,
To have stol’n from thee in secrecy of night.
Dear friend, thou seem’st to wrong my soul too much,
Thinking that Studioso would account
That fortune sour which thou accountest sweet;
Not any life to me can sweeter be,
Than happy swains in plain of Arcady.
Why, then, let’s both go spend our little store
In the provision of due furniture,
A shepherd’s hook, a tar-box, and a scrip:
And haste unto those sheep-adorned hills,
Where if not bless our fortunes, we may bless our wills.
True mirth we may enjoy in thacked stall,
Nor hoping higher rise, nor fearing lower fall.
PHILOMUSUS. We’ll therefore discharge these fiddlers. Fellow-musicians, we are sorry that it hath been your ill-hap to have had us in your company, that are nothing but screech-owls and night-ravens, able to mar the purest melody: and, besides, our company is so ominous that, where we are, thence liberality is packing. Our resolution is therefore to wish you well, and to bid you farewell. Come, Studioso, let us haste away, Returning ne’er to this accursed place.
ACTUS V., SCAENA 3.
Enter INGENIOSO, ACADEMICO.
INGENIOSO. Faith, Academico, it’s the fear of that fellow—I mean, the sign of the sergeant’s head—that makes me to be so hasty to be gone. To be brief, Academico, writs are out for me to apprehend me for my plays; and now I am bound for the Isle of Dogs. Furor and Phantasma comes after, removing the camp as fast they can. Farewell, mea si quid vota valebunt.