Satiromastix – Act One, Scene Two

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HORACE sitting in a study behind a curtain; a candle by his burning, books lying confusedly; to himself.

 HORACE
“To thee whose forehead swells with roses;
Whose most haunted bower
Gives life to every flower,
Whose most adored name encloses
Things abstruse, deep and divine,
Whose yellow tresses shine,
Bright as Eoan fire.
O me thy priest inspire!
For I to thee and thine immortal name,”
In—in—in golden times,
“For I to thee and thine immortal name”
In—sacred raptures swimming,
Immortal name, game, dame, tame, lame, lame, lame,
Pux, ha it, shame, proclaim, oh—
In sacred raptures flowing, will proclaim, not—
“O me thy priest inspire!
For I to thee and thine immortal name,
In flowing numbers fill’d with sprite and flame.”
Good, good, in flowing numbers fill’d with sprite and flame.

Enter ASINIUS BUBO.

 ASINIUS
Horace, Horace, my sweet Ningle, is always in labour when I come; the nine muses be his midwives, I pray Jupiter.  Ningle!

 HORACE
In flowing numbers fill’d with sprite and flame,
To thee.

 ASINIUS
To me?  I pledge thee, sweet ningle, by Bacchus’ quaffing bowl, I thought th’adst drunk to me.

 HORACE
It must have been in the divine liquor of Parnassus, then, in which I know you would scarce have pledg’d me, but some sweet rogue, sit, sit, sit.

 ASINIUS
Over head and ears, i’faith?  I have a sack full of news for thee, thou shalt plague some of them if God send us life and health together.

 HORACE
It’s no matter, empty thy sack anon, but come here first, honest rogue, come.

 ASINIUS
Is’t good, pure Helicon, ha?

 HORACE
Damn me if’t be not the best that ever came from me, if I have any judgement, look sir, ‘tis an Ephitalamium for Sir Walter Terril’s wedding; my brains have given assault to it but this morning.

 ASINIUS
Then I hope to see them fly out like gunpowder ere night.

 HORACE
Nay, good rogue, mark, for they are the best lines that ever I drew.

 ASINIUS
Here’s the best leaf in England, but on, on, I’ll but tune this pipe.

 HORACE
Mark, “to thee whose forehead swells with roses.”

 ASINIUS
Oh sweet, but will there be no exceptions taken, because forehead and swelling

comes together?

 HORACE
Push, away, away, it’s proper; besides ‘tis an elegancy to say the forehead

swells.

 ASINIUS
Nay, an’t be proper, let it stand for God’s love.

 HORACE
“Whose most haunted bower,
Gives life to every flower,
Whose most adored name encloses
Things abstruse, deep and divine,
Whose yellow tresses shine,
Bright as Eoan fire.”

 ASINIUS
Oh pure, rich; there’s heat in this, on, on.

 HORACE
“Bright as Eoan fire,
O me thy priest inspire!
For I to thee and thine immortal name—mark this.
In flowing numbers fill’d with sprite and flame.”

 ASINIUS
Ay, marry, there’s sprite and flame in this.

 HORACE
A pox a this tobacco.                                                           [Breaks his pipe.

 ASINIUS
Would this case were my last, if I did not mark.  Nay, all’s one.  I have always a consort of pipes about me, mine ingle is all fire and water; I mark, by this candle, which is none of God’s angels, I remember, you started back at sprite and flame.

 HORACE
“For I to thee and thine immortal name,
In flowing numbers fill’d with sprite and flame,
To thee, love’s mightiest king,
Hyman, oh Hyman does our chaste muse sing.”

 ASINIUS
There’s music in this.

 HORACE
Mark now, dear Asinius.
“Let these virgins quickly see thee,
Leading out the bride,
Though they’re blushing cheeks they hide,
Yet with kisses will they fee thee,
To untie they’re virgin zone,
They grieve to lie alone.”

 ASINIUS
So do I, by Venus!

 HORACE
“Yet with kisses will they fee thee.”  My muse has march’d, dear rogue, no farder yet; but how is’t?  Nay, prithee, good Asinius, deal plainly.  Do not flatter me, come, how?

 ASINIUS
If I have any judgement—

 HORACE
Nay, look you, sir, and then follow a troop of other rich and labour’d conceits, oh, the end shall be admirable!  But how is’t, sweet Bubo, how, how?

 ASINIUS
If I have any judgement, ‘tis the best stuff that ever dropp’d from thee.

 HORACE
You ha’ seen my acrostics?

 ASINIUS
I’ll put up my pipes and then I’ll see any thing.

 HORACE
Th’ast a copy of mine odes too, hast not, Bubo?

 ASINIUS
Your odes?  Oh, that which you spake by word of mouth at th’ordinary, when Musco the gull cried mew at it?

 HORACE
A pox on him, poor brainless rook!  And you remember, I told him his wit lay pat pawn with his new satin suit, and both would be lost, for not fetching home by a day.

 ASINIUS
At which he would fain ha’ blush’d but that his painted cheeks would not let him.

 HORACE
Nay, sirrah, the palinode, which I mean to stitch to my revels, shall be the best and ingenious piece that ever I sweat for.  Stay, rogue, I’ll fat thy spleen and make it plump with laughter.

 ASINIUS
Shall I?  Faith, ningle, shall I see thy secrets?

 HORACE
Puh, my friends.

 ASINIUS
But what fardle’s that?  What fardle’s that?

 HORACE
Fardle, away, ‘tis my pocket; here’s lies entomb’d the loves of knights and earls; here ‘tis, here ‘tis, here ‘tis; Sir Walter Terill’s letter to me, and my answer to him.  I no sooner opened his letter, but there appeared to me three glorious angels, whom I ador’d, as subjects do their sovereigns.  The honest knight angles for my acquaintance with such golden baits.  But why dost thou laugh, my good rogue?  How is my answer, prithee, how, how?

 ASINIUS
Answer, as God judge me, ningle, for thy wit thou mayst answer any justice of peace in England, I warrant; thou writ’st in a most goodly big hand too; I like that, and readst as legibly as some that have been sav’d by their nect-verse.

 HORACE
But how dost like the knight’s indicting?

 ASINIUS
If I have any judgement; a pox on’t; here’s worshipful lines indeed, here’s stuff; but sirrah Ningle, of what fashion is this knight’s wit, of what block?

 HORACE
Why, you see; well, well, an ordinary ingenuity, a good wit for a knight, you know how, before God I am haunted with some the most pitiful dry gallants.

 ASINIUS
Troth, so I think; good pieces of landskip, show best afar off.

 HORACE
Ay, ay, ay, excellent sumpter horses, carry good clothes.  But, honest rogue, come, what news, what news abroad?  I have heard a the horses walking a’th’top of Paul’s.

 ASINIUS
Ha’ ye?  Why then Captain Tucca rails upon you most preposterously behind your back; did you not hear him?

 HORACE
A pox upon him!  By the white and soft hand of Minerva, I’ll make him the most ridiculous.  Damn me if I bring not’s humour a’th’stage; and—scurvy limping tongu’d captain, poor greasy buff jerkin; hang him!  “Tis out of his element to traduce me; I am too well rank’d, Asinius, to be stabb’d with his dudgeon wit.  Sirrah, I’ll compose an epigram upon him, shall go thus—

 ASINIUS
Nay, I ha’more news:  there’s Crispinus and his journeymen, poet Demetrius Fannius too; they swear they’ll bring your life and death upon the stage like a bricklayer in a play.

 HORACE
Bubo, they must press more valiant wits than their own to do it.  Me a’th’stage?  Ha, ha!  I’ll starve their poor copper-lace workmasters that dare play me.  I can bring, and that they quake at, a prepar’d troop of gallants, who for my saken shall distaste every unsalted line in their fly-blown comedies.

 ASINIUS
Nay, that’s certain.  I’ll bring a hundred gallants of my rank.

 HORACE
That same Crispanus is the silliest dor, and Fannius the slightest cobweb-lawnpiece of a poet.  Oh God!
Why should I care what every dor doth buzz
In credulous ears; it is a crown to me,
That the best judgements can report me wrong’d.

 ASINIUS
I am one of them that can report it.

 HORACE
I think but what they are, and am not mov’d.
The one a light voluptuous reveller,
The other, a strange arrogating puff,
Both impudent, and arrogant enough.

 ASINIUS
S’lid, do not Criticus revel in these lines, ha, Ningle, ha?                     [Knocking.

 HORACE
Yes, they are mine own.

 CRISPINUS
[Within.] Horace!

 DEMETRIUS
[Within.] Flaccus!

 CRISPINUS
[Within.] Horace, not up yet?

 HORACE
Peace; tread softly.  Hide my papers.  Who’s this so early?  Some of my rooks?  Some of my gulls?

 CRISPINUS
[Within.] Horace!  Flaccus!

 HORACE
Who’s there?  Stay, tread softly.  Wat Terill, on my life!  Who’s there?  My

gown, sweet rogue.  So.  Come up, come in.

Enter CRISPINUS and DEMETRIUS.

CRISPINUS
God morrow, Horace.

 HORACE
Oh, God save you, gallants.

 CRISPINUS
Asinius Bubo, well met.

 ASINIUS
Nay, I hope so, Crispinus; yet I was sick a quarter of a year ago of a vehement great tooth-ache.  A pox on’t!  It bit me vile, as God sa’ me la I knew ‘twas you by your knocking so soon as I saw you.  Demetrius Fannius, will you take a whiff this morning?  I have tickling gear now.  Here’s that will play with your nose, and a pipe of mine own scouring too.

 DEMETRIUS
Ay, and a hogshead too of your own, but that will never be scoured clean I fear.

 ASINIUS
I burn’t my pipe yesternight, and ‘twas never used since, if you will,’tis at your service, gallants, and tobacco too; ‘tis right pudding, I tell you.  A lady or two took a pipe-full or two at my hands, and prais’d it for the heavens.  Shall I find Fannius?

 DEMETRIUS
I thank you, good Asinius, for your love.
I seldom take that physic; ‘tis enough
Having so much fool to take him in snuff.

 HORACE
Good Bubo, read some book, and give us leave.

 ASINIUS
Leave here, you dear Ningle; marry for reading any book I’ll take my death upon’t, as my Ningle says, ‘tis out of my element.  No, faith, ever since I felt one hit me i’th’teeth that the greatest clerks are not the wisest men, could I abide to go to school.  I was at as in presenti and left there; yet because I’ll not be counted a worse fool than I am, I’ll turn over a new leaf.

[ASINIUS reads and takes tobacco.

 HORACE
To see my fate, that when I dip my pen
In distill’d roses, and do strive to drain
Out of mine ink all gall; that when I weigh
Each syllable I write or speak, because
Mine enemies with sharp and searching eyes
Look through and through me, carving my poor labours
Like an anotomy.  Oh heavens, to see
That when my lines are measur’d out as straight
As even parallels, ‘tis strange that still,
Still some imagine they are drawn awry.
The error is not mine, but in their eye
That cannot take proportions.

 CRISPINUS
Horace, Horace,
To stand within the shot of galling tongues
Proves not your guilt, for could we write on paper,
Made of these turning leaves of heaven, the clouds,
Or speak with angels tongues; yet wise men know,
That some would shake the head, though saints sound sing,
Some snakes must hiss, because their born with stings.

 HORACE
‘Tis true.

 CRISPINUS
Do we not see fools laugh at heaven and mock
The maker’s workmanship?  Be not you griev’d
If that which you mould fair, upright and smooth,
Be skew’d awry, made crooked, lame and vile,
By racking comments, and calumnious tongues,
So to be bit it rankles not; for innocence
May with a feather brush off the foulest wrongs.
But when your dastard with will strike at men
In corners, and in riddles, you must not take to heart,
If they take off all gilding from their pills
And only offer you the bitter core.

 HORACE
Crispinus—

 CRISPINUS
Say that you have not sworn unto your paper
To blot her white cheeks with the dregs and bottom
Of your friends’ private vices; say that you swear
Your love and your allegiance to bright virtue
Makes you descend so low, as to put on
The office of an executioner,
Only to strike off the swol’n head of sin,
Where else you find it standing; say you swear
And make damnation parcel of your oath
That when your lashing jests make all men bleed;
Yet you whip none.  Court, city, country, friends,
Foes, all must smart alike; yet court, nor city,
Nor foe, nor friend, dare wince at you.  Great pity.

 DEMETRIUS
If you swear, damn me, Fannius, or Crispinus,
Or to the law, our kingdom’s golden chain,
To poets, damn me, or to players, damn me,
If I brand you, or you, tax you, scourge you.
I wonder then, that of five hundred, four,
Should all point with their fingers in one instant
At one and the same man?

 HORACE
Dear, Fannius—

 DEMETRIUS
Come, you cannot excuse it.

 HORACE
Hear me, I can—

 DEMETRIUS
You must daub on thick colours then to hide it.

 CRISPINUS
We come like your physicians, to purge
Your sick and dangerous mind of her disease.

 DEMETRIUS
In troth, we do; out of our loves we come,
And not revenge, but if you strike us still,
We must defend our reputations.
Our pens shall like our swords be always sheath’d
Unless too much provok’d.  Horace, if then
They draw blood of you, blame us not; we are men.
Come, let thy muse bear up a smoother sail;
‘Tis the easiest and the basest art to rail.

 HORACE
Deliver me your hands; I love you both
As dear as my own soul; prove me, and when
I shall traduce you, make me the scorn of men.

 BOTH
Enough.  We are friends.

 CRISPINUS
What reads Asinius?

 ASINIUS
By my troth, here’s an excellent comfortable book; it’s most sweet reading in it.

 DEMETRIUS
Why, does it smell of Bubo?

 ASINIUS
Mass, it smells of rose-leaves a little too.

 HORACE
Then it must needs be a sweet book; he would fain perfume his ignorance.

 ASINIUS
I warrant he had wit in him that penn’d it.

 CRISPINUS
‘Tis good, yet a fool will confess truth.

 ASINIUS
The whoreson made me meet with a hard stile in two or three places as I went over him.

 DEMETRIUS
I believe thee, for they had need to be very low and easy stiles of wit that thy brains go over.

Enter BLUNT and TUCCA.

 BLUNT
Where’s this gallant?  Morrow, gentlemen.  What’s this device done yet, Horace?

 HORACE
Gods so, what mean you to let this fellow dog you into my chamber?

 BLUNT
Oh, our honest captain, come, prithee, let us see.

 TUCCA
Why you bastards of nine whores, the Muses, why do you walk here in this gorgeous gallery of gallant inventions, with that whoreson poor lime and hair rascal?  Why—

 CRISPINUS
Oh, peace, good Tucca, we are all sworn friends.

 TUCCA
Sworn!  That Judas yonder that walk’d in rug, will dub you knights a’th’post if you serve under his band of oaths; the copper-fac’d rascal will for a good supper out-swear twelve dozen of grand juries.

 BLUNT
A pox on’t!  Not done yet, and been about it three days?

 HORACE
By Jesu, within this hour, save you, Captain Tucca.

 TUCCA
Damn thee, thou thin-bearded hermaphrodite, damn thee!  I’ll save myself for one, I warrant thee.  Is this thy tub, Diogenes?

 HORACE
Yes, Captain, this is my poor lodging.

 ASINIUS
Morrow, Captain Tucca.  Will you whiff this morning?

 TUCCA
Art thou there, goat’s pizzel?  No, godamercy Cain, I am for no whiffs, I.  Come hither, sheep-skin weaver.  S’foot, thou lookst as though th’adst begg’d out of a jail.  I mean not thy face, for ‘tis not worth drawing, but draw near.  This way, march; follow your commander, you scoundrel.  So, thou must run of an errand for me, Mephostopiles?

 HORACE
To do you pleasure, Captain, I will, but whither?

 TUCCA
To hell; thou knowest the way, to hell, my fire and brimstone, to hell.  Dost stare my Sarsen’s head at Newgate?  Dost gloat?  I’ll march through thy dunkirk’s guts for shooting jests at me.

 HORACE
Dear Captain, but one word.

 TUCCA
Out, bench-whistler, out!  I’ll not take thy word for a dagger pie.  You brown-bread-mouth stinker, I’ll teach thee to turn me into Banks, his horse, and to tell gentlemen I am a juggler, and can show tricks.

 HORACE
Captain Tucca, but half a word in your ear.

 TUCCA
No, you starv’d rascal, thou’t bite off mine ears then; you must have three or four suits of names, when like a lousy pediculous vermin th’ast but one suit to thy back; you must be call’d Asper, and Criticus, and Horace; they title’s longer a reading then the stile a’ the big Turks.  Asper, Criticus, Quintus, Horatius, Flaccus.

 HORACE
Captain, I know upon what even bases I stand, and therefore—

 TUCCA
Bases?  Would the rogue were but ready for me!

 BLUNT
Nay, prithee, dear Tucca, come you shall shake—

 TUCCA
Not hands with great Hunks there, nor hands, but I’ll shake the gull-groper out of his tan’d skin.

 CRISPINUS & DEMETRIUS
For our sake, Captain, nay, prithee hold!

 TUCCA
Thou wrongst here a good honest rascal, Crispinus, and a poor varlet, Demetrius Fannius, brethren in thine own trade of poetry, thou sayst Crispinus’ satin doublet is reveal’d out here, and that this penurious sneaker is out at elbows!  Go to, my good full-mouth’d ban-dog.  I’ll ha’ thee friends with both.

 HORACE
With all my heart, Captain Tucca, and with you too; I’ll lay my hands under your feet to keep them from aching.

 OMNES
Can you have any more?

 TUCCA
Say’st thou me so, old coal?  Come, do’t then; yet ‘tis no matter neither; I’ll have thee in league first with these two rowle powlies; they shall be they Damons and thou their Pythiases; Crispinus shall give thee an old cast satin suit, and Demetrius shall write thee a scene or two in one of thy strong garlic comedies; and thou shalt take the guilt of conscience for’t, and swear ‘tis thine own, old lad; ‘tis thine own.  Thou never yet fell’st into the hands of satin, didst?

 HORACE
Never, Captain, I thank God.

 TUCCA
Go to; thou shalt now, King Gorboduc, thou shalt, because I’ll ha’ thee damn’d; I’ll ha’ thee all in satin: Asper, Criticus, Quintus, Horatius, Flaccus, Crispinus shall do’t, thou shall do’t, heir apparent of Helicon, thou shalt do’t.

 ASINIUS
Mine Ingle wear an old cast satin suit?

 TUCCA
I wafer-face your Ningle!

 ASINIUS
If he carry the mind of a gentleman, he’ll scorn it at’s heels.

 TUCCA
Mary muff, my man a ginger-bread, wilt eat any small coal?

 ASINIUS
No, Captain, would you should well know it, great coal shall not fill my belly.

 TUCCA
Scorn it; dost scorn to be arrested at one of his old suits?

 ASINIUS
No, Captain, I’ll wear any thing.

 TUCCA
I know thou wilt; I know th’art an honest low minded Pigmy, for I ha’ seen thy shoulders lapp’d in a player’s old cast cloak like a sly knave as thou art, and when thou ranst mad for the death of Horatio, thou borrowed a gown of Roscius the stager, that honest Nicodemus, and sentst it home lousy, didn’t not?  Respond, didst not?

 BLUNT
So, so, no more of this.  Within the hour—

 HORACE
If I can sound retreat to my wits, with whom this leader is in skirmish. I’ll end within this hour.

 TUCCA
What would end?  What, hand thyself now?  Has he not writ “Finis” yet, Jack?  What will he be fifteen weeks about this cockatrice’s egg too?  Has he not cackl’d yet?  Not laid yet?

 BLUNT
Not yet, he swears he will within the hour.

TUCCA
His wits are somewhat hard bound; the punk, his muse, has sore labour ere the whore be deliver’d; the poor saffron-cheek sun-burnt gypsy wants physic; give the hungry-face pudding-pie-eater ten pills; ten shillings my fair Angelica; they’ll make his muse as yare as a tumbler.

 BLUNT
He shall not want for money if he’ll write.

 TUCCA
Go, by Jeronimo, go by; and here, drop the ten shillings into this bason; do, drop, when Jack?  He shall call me his Macaenas; besides, I’ll dam up’s oven-mouth for rallying at’s.  So, is’t right, Jack?  Is’t sterling?  Fall off not to the vaward of yonder four stinkers, and ask aloud if we shall go.  The knight shall defray Jack, the knight when it comes to summa totalis, the knight, the knight.

 BLUNT
Well, gentlemen, we’ll leave you.  Shall we go, Captain?  Good Horace makes some haste.

 HORACE
I’ll put on wings.

 ASINIUS
I never saw mind Ingle so dash’d in my life before.

 CRISPINUS
Yes, once, Asinius.

 ASINIUS
Mass, you say true; he was dash’d worse once going, in a rainy day, with a speech to’th’tilt-yard, by God’s lid, has call’d him names, a dog would not put up with that had any discretion.

 TUCCA
Hold, hold up thy hand; I ha’ seen the day thou didst not scorn to hold up thy golls; there’s a soldier’s spur-royal twelve pence.  Stay, because I know thou canst not write without quicksilver; up again, this goll again; I give thee double press-money.  Stay, because I know thou hast a noble head; I’ll divide my crown, O royal Porrex; there’s a teston more.  Go, thou and thy muse munch, do, munch.  Come, my dear mandrake, if skeldring fall not to decay, thou shalt flourish.  Farewell, my sweet Amadis de Gaul, farewell.

 HORACE
Dear Captain—

 TUCCA
Come, Jack.

 DEMETRIUS
Nay, Captain, stay.  We are of your band.

 TUCCA
Much fair, then.

 CRISPINUS
Horace, farewell, adieu, Aspinus.                                                                      [Exeunt.

 ASINIUS
Ningle, let’s go to some tavern and dine together, for my stomach rises at this scurvy leather captain.

 HORACE
No, they have chok’d me with mine own disgrace,
Which, fools, I’ll spit again even in your face.                                 [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene

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