Satiromastix – Act Five, Scene Two

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Enter an arm’d Sewer, after him the service of a banquet; the KING at another door meets them; they exeunt.

Why so, even thus the mercury of heaven
Ushers th’ambrosiate banquet of the gods,
When a long train of angels in a rank
Serve the first course, and bow their crystal knees
Before the silver table; where loves page,
Sweet Ganymede fills nectar; when the gods
Drink healths to kings, they pledge them; none but kings
Dare pledge the gods; none but gods drink to kings.
Men of our house, are we prepar’d?

Enter Servants.

My liege,
All wait the presence of the bride.

The bride?
Yea, every senseless thing which she beholds
Will look on her again; her eyes’ reflection
Will make the walls all eyes with her perfection.
Observe me now because of masques and revels
And many nuptial ceremonies.  Mark,
This i create the presence, here the state,
Out kingdom’s seat shall sit in honour’s pride
Like pleasure’s queen; there will I place the bride.
Be gone, be speedy, let me see it done.                                                           [Exeunt.
A king in love is steward to himself,
And never scorns the office; myself buy
All glances from the market of her eye.

[Soft music; chair is set under a canopy.

Sound music, thou sweet suitor to the air,
Now woo the air again; this is the hourWrit in the calendar of time, this  hour,
Music shall spend, the next and next the bride.
Her tongue will read the music-lecture.  Wat,
I love thee, Wat, because thou art not wise;
Not deep-read in the volume of a man,
Thou never sawst a thought, pour soul, thou thinkst
The heart and tongue is cut out of one piece,
But th’art deceived; the world hath a false light:
Fools think ‘tis day, when wise men know ‘tis night.


My liege, they’re come.  A masque of gallants.

Now, the spirit of love ushers my blood.

They come.
The watch-word in a masque is the bold drum.

Enter BLUNT, CRISPINUS, DEMETRIUS, PHILOCALIA, PETULA, DICACHE, all mask’d, two and two with lights like masquers;  CÆLESTINE in a chair.

All pleasures guard my king.  I here present
My oath upon the knew of duty; knees
Are made for kings; they are the subject’s fees.

Wat Terill, th’art ill-suited, ill made up,
In sable colours, like a night piece dyed.
Com’st thou the prologue of a masque in black?
Thy body is ill shap’d.  A bridegroom too?
Look how the day is dresss’d in silver cloth
Laud round about with golden sunbeams.  So,
As white as heaven, should a fresh bridegroom go.
What?  Cælestine the bride in the same task?
Nay then i see there’s mystery in this masque.
Prithee, resolve me, Wat.

My gracious lord,
That part is hers, she acts it; only I
Present the prologue, she the mystery.

Come, bride, the scene of blushing enter’d first,
Your cheeks are settled now, and past the worst.                  [Unmasks her.
A mystery?  Oh, none plays here but death!
This is death’s motion, motionless.  Speak you,
Flatter no longer.  Thou, her bridegroom; thou
Her father, speak!





And poison’d?
What villainy dust blaspheme her beauties, or
Profane the clear religion of her eyes?

Now, King, I enter; now the scene is mine.
My tongue is tipp’d with poison.  Know who speaks
And look into my thoughts.  I blush not, King,
To call thee tyrant.  Death hath set my face
And made my blood bold.  Hear me, spirits of men,
And place your ears upon your hearts.  The day,
The fellow to this night, saw her and me
Shake hands together, for the book of heaven
Made us eternal friends; thus, man and wife.
This man of men, the King, what are not kings?
Was my chief guest, my royal guest; his grace
Grac’ed all the table and did well become
The upper end, where say my bride.  In brief,
He tainted her chaste ears; she yet unknown
His breath was treason, though his words were none,
Treason to her and me.  He dar’d me then,
Under the covert of a flattering smile,
To bring her where she is, not as she is,
Alive for lust, not dead for chastity,
The resolution of my soul out-dar’d,
I swore and tax’d my faith with a sad oath,
Which I maintain;  here, take her, she was mine
When she was living, but now dead, she’s thine.

Do not confound me quite, for mine own guilt
Speaks more within me than thy tongue contains.
Thy sorrow is my shame, yet herein springs
Joy out of sorrow, boldness out of shame,
For I by this have found, once in my life
A faithful subject, thou a constant wife.

A constant wife.

Am I confounded twice,
Blasted with wonder?

O, delude me not!
Thou art too true to live again, too fair
To be my Cælestine, too constant far
To be a woman.

Not to be thy wife,
But first I plead my duty, and salute
The world again.

My King, my son, know all.
I am an actor in this mystery,
And bear the chiefest part.  The father I,
‘Twas I that ministered to her chaste blood
A true somniferous potion, which did steal
Her thoughts to sleep, and flattered her with death.
I call’d it a quick poison’d drug, to try
The bridegroom’s hove, and the bride’s constancy.
He in the passion of his love did fight
A combat with affection; so did both;
She for the poison strove, he for his oath.
Thus like a happy father, I have won
A constant daughter and a loving son.

Mirror of maidens, wonder of thy name,
I give thee that art given, pure, chaste, the same.
Here, Wat, I would not part, for the world’s pride,
So true a bridegroom and so chaste a bride.

My liege, to wed a comical event
To presupposed tragic argument,
Vouchsafe to exercise your eyes and see
A humorous dreadful poet take degree.

Dreadful in his proportion or his pen?

In both; he calls himself the whip of men.

If a clear merit stand upon his praise,
Reach him a poet’s crown, the honour’d bays,
But if he claim it, wanting right thereto,
As many bastard sons of poesy do,
Race down his usurpation to the ground.
True poets are with art and nature crown’d.
But in what mold so ere this man be cast,
We make him thine, Crispinus.  Wit and judgement
Shine in thy numbers, and thy soul, I know,
Will not go arm’d in passion ‘gainst my foe.
Therefore be thou ourself, whilst ourself sit
But as spectator of this scene of wit.

Thanks, royal lord, for these high honours done.
To me unworthy, my mind’s brightest fires
Shall all consume themselves in purest flame
On the alter of your dear eternal name.

Not under us, but next us take thy seat.
“Arts nourished by kings make king more great.”
Use thy authority.

Call in that self-creating Horace; bring
Him and his shadow forth.

Both shall appear.
“No black-eyed star must stick in virtue’s sphere”


‘Ounds, did you see him?  I pray let all hismajesty’s most excelend dogs be set at liberties and have their freedoms to smell him out.

Smell whom?

Whom?  The composer, the prince of poets, Horace, Horace, he’s departed.  In God’s name and the King’s, I sarge you to ring it out from all our ears, for Horace’s body is departed.  Master hue and cry shall.  God bless King Williams.  I cry you mercy and ask forgiveness for mind eyes did not find in their hearts to look upon your majesty.

What news with thee, Sir Vaughan?

News?  God, ‘tis as ‘orse news as i can desire to bring about me.  Out unhandsome-fac’d poet does play at bo-peeps with yoru grace and cries all-hilde as boys do.

Stand by, room there, back, room for the poet.

He’s reprehended and taken.  By Sesu, I rejoice very near as much as if I had discover’d a new-found land or the North and East Indies.

Enter TUCCA, his Boy after him with two pictures under his cloak, and a wreath of nettles.  HORACE and ASINIUS pull’d in by th’horns bound, both like satyrs.  SIR ADAM following, MISTRESS MINIVER with him, wearing TUCCA’s chain.

So tug, tug, pull the mad bull in by th’horns.  So, bait one at that stke my place-nouth yelpers and one at that stake gurnet’s head.

What busy fellow’s this?

Save thee, my most gracious King, a heart’s save thee.  All  hats and caps are thine, and therefore I vail; for but to thee great sultan Solomon, I scorn to be thus put off or deliver up this sconce, I would.

Sir Vaughan, what’s this jolly Captain’s name?

Has a very sufficient name, and is am an has done God and his country as good as any hot service, in conquering this vile monster poet, as ever did Saint George his horse hack about the dragon.

I sweat for’t, but tawsoone, hold thy tongue, mon deau, if thou’t praise me, do’t behind my back.  I am, my weighty sovereign, one of thy grains, thy valiant vassal.  Ask not what I am, but read, turn over, unclasp thy chronicles.  There thou shalt find buff-jerkin; there read my points of way.  I am one a’ thy mandilian-leaders; one that enters into thy royal bands for thee.  Pantilius Tucca; one of thy kingdom’s chiefest quarrellers; one a’ thy most faithful—fi—fi—fi—

Drunkard, I hold my life.

No, whirligig, one of his faithful fighters; thy drawer, O royal Tamer Cham.

Go to, I pray, Captain Tucca, give us all leave to do our business before the King.

With all my heart.  Sh—sh—sh—shake that bear-whelp when thou would.

Horace and Bubo, pray send an answer into his masesty’s ear why you go thus in Ovid’s Mortermorphesis and strange fashions of apparel.

Cur, why?

My lords, I was drawn into this beastly suit by head and shoulders only for love I bare to my Ningle.

Speak, Ningle; thy mouth’s next.  Belch out, belch, why—

I did it to retire me from the world
And turn my muse into a Timonist,
Loathing the general leprosy of sin
Which like a plague runs through the souls of men.
I did it but to—

But to bite every motley-head vice by’th’nose, you did it, Ningle, to play the bugbear satyr and make a camp royal of fashion-mongers quake at your paper bullets; you nasty tortoise, you and your itchy poetry break out like Christmas, but once a year, and then you keep a revelling and arraigning and a scratching of men’s faces as though you were Tiber, the long-tail’d prince of rats, do you?


Silence, pray let all ‘ords be strangles, or held fast between your teeth.

Under control of my dread sovereign,
We are thy judges; thou that didst arraign,
Art now prepar’d for condemnation.
Should I but bid thy muse stand to the bar,
Thyself against her wouldst give evidence.
For flat rebellion ‘gainst the sacred laws
Of divine poesy; herein most she mist,
“Thy pride and scorn made her turn satirist,
And not her love to virtue,” as thou preachest,
Or should we minister strong pills to thee;
What lumps of hard and indigested stuff
Of bitter satirism, or arrogance,
Of self-love, of detraction, of a black
And stinking insolence shold we fetch up?
But none of these; we give thee what’s more fit,
With stinging nettles crown his stinging wit.

Well said, my poetical huckster; now he’s in thy handling, rate him, do, rate him well.

O, I beseech your majesty, rather than thus to be nettled, I’ll ha’ my satyr’s coat pull’d over mine ears and be turn’d out a the nine muses service.

And I too.  Let me be put to my shifts with mine Ningle.

By Sesu, so you shall, Master Bubo.  Flea off this hairy skin, Master Horace, so, so, so, untruss, untruss.

His poetical wreath my dapper punk-fetcher.


Nay, you “oohs,” nor you callinoes cannot serve your turn.  Your tongue, you know, is full of blisters with railing, your face full of pocky-holes and pimples with your fiery inventions; and therefore to preserve your head from aching, this biggin is yours.  Nay, by Sesu, you shall be a poet, though not lorified, yet nettlefied, so—

Sirrah stinker, thou’rt but untruss’d now.  I owe thee a whipping still, and I’ll pay it.  I have laid rods in piss and vinegar for thee.  It shall not be the whipping a’th’satyr, nor the whipping of the blind bear, but of a counterfeit light that steals the name of Horace.

How?  Counterfeit?  Does he usurp that name?

Yes, indeed, an’t please your grace, he does sup up that abominable name.

He does, O King Cambyses, he does.  Thou hast no part of Horace in thee but’s name, and his damnable vices.  Thou hast such a terrible mouth that thy beard’s afraid to peep out.  But, look here, you starving leviathan, here’s the sweet visage of Horace; look perboil’d face, look; Horace had a trim long-beard, and a reasonable good face for a poet, as faces go now-a-days; Horace did not screw and wriggle himself into great men’s familiarity, impudently, as thou dost, nor wear the badge of gentlemen’s company, as thou dost, thy taffety sleeves tack’d too only with some points of profit.  No, Horace had not his face punch’d full of oylet-holes, like the cover of a warming-pan; Horace lov’d poets will and gave coxcombs to none but fools, but thou lov’st none, neither wise men nor fools, but thyself.  Horace was a goodly corpulent gentleman, and not so lean a hollow-cheek’d scrag as thou art.  No, here’s the copy of thy countenance, by this will I learn to make a number of villainous faces more, and to look scurvily upon th’world, as thou dost.

Sir Vaughan, will  you minister their oath?

Master Asinius Bubo,  you shall swear as little as you can; one oath shall damn up your innocent mouth.

Any oath, sir, I’ll swear any thing.

You shall swear by Phœbus, who is your poets’ good lord and master, that hereafter you will not hire Horace to give you poesies for rings or handkerchiefs or knives which you understand not, nor to write you love letters which you, in turning of a hand, set your marks upon, as your own, nor you shall not carry Latin poets about you, till you can write and read English at most, and lastly, that you shall  not call Horace your Ningle.

By Phœbus, I swear all this, and as many others as you will, so I may trudge.

Trudge then, pay your legs for fees, and be dissarg’d.

‘Tprooth, run red-cap, wear horns there.                                  [Exit ASINIUS.

Now, Master Horace, you must be a more horrible swearer, for your oath must be, like your wits, of many colours, and like a broker’s book of many parcels.

Read, read, th’inventory of his oath.

I’ll swear till my hair stands up an end, to be rid of this sting, oh this sting.

‘Tis not your sting of conscience, is it?

Upon him.  Imprimus.

Imprimus, you shall swear by Phœbus and the half a score muses lacking one, not to swear to hang yourself, if you thought any man, ‘oman or sild could write plays and rhymes as well-favour’d ones as yourself.

Well said.  Hast brought him to’th’gallows already?

You shall swear not to bombast out a new play with the old lining of jests stoln from the Temples Revels.

To him, old Tango!

Besides, you must forswear to enter on the stage when your play is ended and to exchange curtizies, and complements with gallants in the lords rooms, to make all the house rise up in arms and to cry, “That’s Horace, that’s he, that’s he, that’s he,” that pens and purges humours and diseases.

There boy, again!

Secondly, when you bid all your friends to the marriage of a poor couple, that is to say, your wits and necessities, alias dictus, to the rifling of yoru must, alias your muses upsetting; alias a poet’s Whitson ale; you shall swear that within three days after you shall not abroad, in book-binder’s shops, brag that your vizeroys or tributary kings have doen homage to you, or paid quarterage.

I’ll buss thy head, Holifernes!

Moreover, and Imprimus, when a knight or sentleman or ‘orship does give you his passport to travail in and out to his company and gives you money for God’s sake, I trust in Sesu, you will swear, tooth and nail, not to make scald and wry-mouth jests upon his knighthood, will you not?

I never did it, by Parnassus!

Would swear by Parcassus and lie too, Doctor Doddypol?

Thirdly, and last of all saving one, when your plays are mislikes at court, you shall not cry “mew” like a puss-cat and say you are glad you write out of the courtier’s element.

Let the element alone, ‘tis out a’ thy reach.

In brieflyness, when you sup in taverns amongst your betters, you shall swear not to dip your manners in too much sauce, not at table to fling epigrams, emblems or play speeches about you, like hailstones, to keep you out of the terrible danger of the shot, upon pain to sit at the upper end of the table a’th’left hand of Carlo Buffoon.  Swear all this, by Apollo, and the eight or nine muses.

By Apollo, Helicon, the muses, who march three and three in a rank, and by all that belongs to Parnassus, I swear all this.

Bear witness.

That fearful wreath, this honour is your due,
“All poets shall be poet-apes but you.”
Thanks, learning true Mecænas, poesy’s king,
Thanks for that gracious ear, which you have lent
To this most tedious, most rude argument.

Our spirits have well been feasted; he whose pen
Sraws both corrupt and clear blood from all men,
Careless what vein he pricks, let him not rave,
When his own sides are struck, blows, blows, do crave.

King’s truce, my noble herb-a-grace, my princely sweet William, a boon.  Stay first, i’st a match or no, match, Lady Funival, is’t?

A match?

Ay, a match, since he hath hit the mistress so often i’th’foregame, we’ll e’en play out a rubbers.

Take her for me.

Take her for thyself, not for me.

Play out your rubbers in God’s name, by Sesu, I’ll never bowl more in your alley, ‘idow.

My chain!

My purse!

I’ll chain thee presently and give thee ten pount and a purse.  A boon, my liege, dance, O my delicate Rufus, at my wedding with this verent antiquary.  Is’t done?  Would thou?

I’ll give thee kingly honour; night and sleep
With silken ribands would tie up our eyes.
But Mistress bride, one measure shall be led
In scorne of midnight’s hast, and then to bed.              [Exeunt.

Proceed to the Epilogue


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