Bishop. Oh! I forgot.—A pail of water and a peck of beans for the holy man!—Order up my equerry, and bid my armourer—vestryman, I mean—look out my newest robes.—Plague on this gout.
[Exeunt, following the Bishop.]
The Nave of Bamberg Cathedral. A procession entering the West Door, headed by Elizabeth and the Bishop, Nobles, etc. Religious bearing the coffin which encloses Lewis’s bones.
1st Lady. See! the procession comes—the mob streams in At every door. Hark! how the steeples thunder Their solemn bass above the wailing choir.
2d Lady. They will stop at the screen.
Knight. And there, as I hear, open the coffin. Push forward, ladies, to that pillar: thence you will see all.
1st Peas. Oh dear! oh dear! If any man had told me that I should ride forty miles on this errand, to see him that went out flesh come home grass, like the flower of the field!
2d Peas. We have changed him, but not mended him, say I, friend.
1st Peas. Never we. He knew where a yeoman’s heart lay! One that would clap a man on the back when his cow died, and behave like a gentleman to him—that never met you after a hailstorm without lightening himself of a few pocket-burners.
2d Peas. Ay, that’s your poor-man’s plaster: that’s your right grease for this world’s creaking wheels.
1st Peas. Nay, that’s your rich man’s plaster too, and covers the multitude of sins. That’s your big pike’s swimming-bladder, that keeps him atop and feeding: that’s his calling and election, his oil of anointing, his salvum fac regem, his yeoman of the wardrobe, who keeps the velvet-piled side of this world uppermost, lest his delicate eyes should see the warp that holds it.
2d Peas. Who’s the warp, then?
1st Peas. We, man, the friezes and fustians, that rub on till we get frayed through with overwork, and then all’s abroad, and the nakedness of Babylon is discovered, and catch who catch can.
Old Woman. Pity they only brought his bones home! He would have made a lovely corpse, surely. He was a proper man!
1st Lady. Oh the mincing step he had with him! and the delicate hand on a horse, fingering the reins as St. Cicely does the organ-keys!
2d Lady. And for hunting, another Siegfried.
Knight. If he was Siegfried the gay, she was Chriemhild the grim; and as likely to prove a firebrand as the girl in the ballad.
1st Lady. Gay, indeed! His smiles were like plumcake, the sweeter the deeper iced. I never saw him speak civil word to woman, but to her.
2d Lady. O ye Saints! There was honey spilt on the ground! If I had such a knight, I’d never freeze alone on the chamber-floor, like some that never knew when they were well off. I’d never elbow him off to crusades with my pruderies.