Satiromastix – Act Two, Scene Two

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Enter HORACE in his new attire, ASINIUS bearing his cloak.

If you fly out, Ningle, here’s your cloak; I think it rains too.

Hide my shoulders in’t.

Troth, so th’adst need, for now thou art in thy pee and cue.  Thou hast such a villainous broad back that I warrant th’art able to bear away any man’s jests in England.

It’s well, sir, I ha’ strength to bear yours methinks; ‘fore God, you are grown a piece of a critist since you fell into my hands.  Ah, little rogue, your wit has pick’d up her crumbs pretty and well.

Yes, faith, I find my wit a’ the mending hand, Ningle; troth, I do not think but to proceed poetaster next commencement, if I have my grace perfectly.  Every one that confer with me now, stop their nose in merriment, and swear I smell somewhat of Horace; one calls me Horace’s ape, another Horace’s beagle, and such poetical names it passes.  I was but at barber’s last day, and when he was rencing my face did but cry out, “Fellow thou makst me connive to long,” andsays he, says he, “Master Asinius Bubo, you have e’en Horace’s words as right as if he had spit them into your mouth.

Well, away, dear Asinius; deliver this letter to the young gallant Druso, he that fell so strongly in love with me yesternight.

It’s a sweet musk-cod, a pure spic’d-gull; by this feather, I pity his ingenuities.  But hast writ all this since, Ningle?  I know thou hast a good running head and thou listest.

Foh, come!  Your great-belli’d wit must long for every thing too; why, you rook, I have a set of letters ready starch’d to my hands, which to any fresh suited gallant that but newly enters his name into my role, I send the next morning ere his ten a’clock dream has rise from him.  Only with clapping my hand to’t that my novice shall start, ho, and his hair stand on end when he sees the sudden flash of my writing.  What, you pretty diminutive rogue, we must have false fires to amaze these spangle babies; these true heirs of Master Justice Shallow.

I would always have thee sauce a fool thus.

Away and stay; here be epigrams upon Tucca; divulge these among the gallants; as for Crispinus, that Crispin-ass and Fannius, his play-dresser, who, to make the muses believe their subjects’ ears were starv’d, and that there was a dearth of poesy, cut an innocent Moor i’th’middle to serve him in twice, and when he had done, made Paul’s-work of it.  As for these twins, these poet-apes:
Their mimic tricks shall serve
With mirth to feast our muse, whilst their own starve.

Well, Ningle, I’ll trudge, but where’s the rendezvous?

Well thought of.  Marry, at Sir Vaughan’s lodging, the Welsh knight.  I have compos’d a love letter for the gallant’s worship; to his Rosamond, the second, Mistress Miniver, because she does not think so soundly of his lame English as he could wish.  I ha’ gull’d his knightship here to his face, yet have given charge to his winking understanding not to perceive it.  Nay, God’s so, away dear Bubo.

I am gone.                                                                                               [Exit.

The muses’ birds, the bees, were hiv’d and fed
Us in our cradle, thereby prophesying
That we too learned ears should sweetly sing
But to the vulgar and adulterate brain
Should loath to prostitute out virgin strain.
No, our sharp pen shall keep the world in awe.
Horace, thy poesy wormwood wreathes shall wear,
We hunt not for men’s loves, but for their fear.                                [Exit.

Proceed to the next scene


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