Nought doing, saying little, thinking less,
To view the leaves, thin dancers upon air,
Go eddying round; and small birds, how they fare,
When mother Autumn fills their beaks with corn,
Filch’d from the careless Amalthea’s horn;
And how the woods berries and worms provide
Without their pains, when earth has nought beside
To answer their small wants.
To view the graceful deer come tripping by,
Then stop, and gaze, then turn, they know not why,
Like bashful younkers in society.
To mark the structure of a plant or tree,
And all fair things of earth, how fair they be.
And, afterwards them paint in simile.
Mistress Margaret will have need of some refreshment.
Please you, we have some poor viands within.
Indeed I stand in need of them.
Under the shade of a thick-spreading tree,
Upon the grass, no better carpeting,
We’ll eat our noon-tide meal; and, dinner done,
One of us shall repair to Nottingham,
To seek some safe night-lodging in the town,
Where you may sleep, while here with us you dwell,
By day, in the forest, expecting better times,
And gentler habitations, noble Margaret.
Allons, young Frenchman—
MARGARET Allons, Sir Englishman. The time has been, I’ve studied love-lays in the English tongue, And been enamour’d of rare poesy: Which now I must unlearn. Henceforth, Sweet mother-tongue, old English speech, adieu; For Margaret has got new name and language new.
SCENE.—An Apartment of State in Woodvil Hall—Cavaliers drinking.
JOHN WOODVIL, LOVEL, GRAY, and four more.
More mirth, I beseech you, gentlemen—Mr. Gray, you are not merry.—
GRAY More wine, say I, and mirth shall ensue in course. What! we have not yet above three half-pints a man to answer for. Brevity is the soul of drinking, as of wit. Despatch, I say. More wine. (Fills.)
FIRST GENTLEMAN I entreat you, let there be some order, some method, in our drinkings. I love to lose my reason with my eyes open, to commit the deed of drunkenness with forethought and deliberation. I love to feel the fumes of the liquor gathering here, like clouds.
SECOND GENTLEMAN And I am for plunging into madness at once. Damn order, and method, and steps, and degrees, that he speaks of. Let confusion have her legitimate work.
LOVEL I marvel why the poets, who, of all men, methinks, should possess the hottest livers, and most empyreal fancies, should affect to see such virtues in cold water.