’Pluck your apples while they’re ripe, And pull your flowers in May, O!’
Old Woman. ’Till when she grew wizened,
and he grew cold,
The balance lay even ‘twixt young and old.’
Monk. Thus Satan bears witness perforce against the vanities of Venus! But what’s this babbling? Carolationes in the holy place? Tace, vetula! taceas, taceto also, and that forthwith.
Old Woman. Tace in your teeth, and taceas also, begging-box! Who put the halter round his waist to keep it off his neck,—who? Get behind your screen, sirrah! Am I not a burgher’s wife? Am I not in the nave? Am I not on my own ground? Have I brought up eleven children, without nurse wet or dry, to be taced nowadays by friars in the nave? Help! good folks! Where be these rooks a going?
Knight. The monk has vanished.
1st Peas. It’s ill letting out waters, he finds. Who is that old gentleman, sir, holds the Princess so tight by the hand?
Knight. Her uncle, knave, the Bishop.
1st Peas. Very right, he: for she’s almost a born natural, poor soul. It was a temptation to deal with her.
2d Peas. Thou didst cheat her shockingly, Frank, time o’ the famine, on those nine sacks of maslin meal.
Knight. Go tell her of it, rascal, and she’ll thank you for it, and give you a shilling for helping her to a ‘cross.’
Old Woman. Taceing free women in the nave! This comes of your princesses, that turn the world upside down, and demean themselves to hob and nob with these black baldicoots!
Eliz. [in a low voice]. I saw all Israel scattered
on the hills
As sheep that have no shepherd! O my people!
Who crowd with greedy eyes round this my jewel,
Poor ivory, token of his outward beauty—
Oh! had ye known his spirit!—Let his wisdom
Inform your light hearts with that Saviour’s likeness
For whom he died! So had you kept him with you;
And from the coming evils gentle Heaven
Had not withdrawn the righteous: ’tis too late!
1st Lady. There, now, she smiles; do you think she ever loved him?
Knight. Never creature, but mealy-mouthed inquisitors, and shaven singing birds. She looks now as glad to be rid of him as any colt broke loose.
1st Lady. What will she do now, when this farce is over?
2d Lady. Found an abbey, that’s the fashion, and elect herself abbess—tyrannise over hysterical girls, who are forced to thank her for making them miserable, and so die a saint.
Knight. Will you pray to her, my fair queen?
2d Lady. Not I, sir; the old Saints send me lovers enough, and to spare—yourself for one.
1st Lady. There is the giant-killer slain. But see—they have stopped: who is that raising the coffin lid?
2d Lady. Her familiar spirit, Conrad the heretic-catcher.