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MELIBUS. Shepherd, what's love, I pray thee tell?

FAUSTUS. It is that fountain and that well Where pleasure and repentance dwell;

MELI. FAUST.

MELI.

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FAUST.

PHYL. Sure methinks my true love doth

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It is perhaps that sauncing bell 1

That tolls all in to heaven or hell: And this is Love, as I hear tell. 6 Yet what is Love, I prithee say? It is a work on holiday, It is December match'd with May, When lusty bloods in fresh array

Hear ten months after of the play: And this is Love, as I hear say. 12 Yet what is Love, good shepherd, sain 2?

It is a sunshine mix'd with rain,

It is a tooth-ache, or like 3 pain,
It is a game, where none doth gain;
The lass saith no, and would full
fain:

And this is Love, as I hear sain. 18 Yet, shepherd, what is Love, I pray?

It is a yea, it is a nay,

A pretty kind of sporting fray,
It is a thing will soon away,

Then, nymphs, take vantage while

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8

FROM PATIENT GRISSILL

CONTENT

Art thou poor, yet hast thou golden slumbers?
O sweet content!

Art thou rich, yet is thy mind perplexed?
O punishment !

Dost laugh to see how fools are vexed
To add to golden numbers golden numbers?1
O sweet content, O sweet, O sweet content!

Work apace! apace! apace! apace!
Honest labour bears a lovely face.

Then hey noney, noney; hey noney, noney!

12

Canst drink the waters of the crispèd spring?
O sweet content!
Swim'st thou in wealth, yet sink'st in thine

own tears?

O punishment !
Then he that patiently want's burden bears 15
No burden bears, but is a king, a king.
O sweet content, O sweet, O sweet content!
Work apace, apace, etc.

THE GULL'S HORNBOOK

CHAPTER VI

HOW A GALLANT SHOULD BEHAVE HIMSELF IN
A PLAY-HOUSE

The theatre is your poets' royal exchange,
upon which their muses (that are now turned
to merchants) meeting, barter away that light
commodity of words for a lighter ware than
words, plaudities,2 and the breath of the great
beast; which (like the threatenings of two
cowards) vanish all into air. Players and
their factors, who put away the stuff, and
make the best of it they possibly can (as in-
deed 'tis their parts so to do), your gallant,
your courtier, and your captain, had wont to
1 trouble themselves to heap up gold 2 applause
3 the public adherents

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be the soundest paymasters; and I think are still the surest chapmen;1 and these, by means that their heads are well stocked, deal upon this comical freight by the gross: when your groundling,2 and gallery-commoner2 buys his sport by the penny, and, like a haggler,3 is glad to utter it again by retailing.

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Since then the place is so free in entertainment, allowing a stool as well to the farmer's son as to your templer: that your stinkard has the selfsame liberty to be there in his tobacco fumes, which your sweet courtier hath: and that your carman and tinker claim as strong a voice in their suffrage, and sit to give judgment on the play's life and death, as well as the proudest momus among the tribes of critic: it is fit that he, whom the most tailors' bills do make room for, when he comes, should not be basely (like a viol) cased up in a corner. Whether therefore the gatherers 7 of the public or private playhouse stand to receive the afternoon's rent, let our gallant (having paid it) presently advance himself up to the throne of the stage. I mean not into the lord's room (which is now but the stage's suburbs): no, those boxes, by the iniquity of custom, conspiracy of waiting women and gentlemen ushers, that there sweat together, and the covetousness of sharers, are contemptibly thrust into the rear, and much new satin is there damned, by being smothered to death in darkness. But on the very rushes where the comedy is to dance, yea, and under the state of Cambises himself must our feathered estridge, 10 like a piece of ordnance, be planted, valiantly (because impudently) beating down the mews and hisses of the opposed rascality.

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For do but cast up a reckoning, what large comings-in are pursed up by sitting on the stage. First a conspicuous eminence is got; by which means, the best and most essential parts of a gallant (good clothes, a proportionable leg, white hand, the Persian lock, and a tolerable beard) are perfectly revealed.

By sitting on the stage, you have a signed patent to engross the whole commodity of censure; may lawfully presume to be a girder; and stand at the helm to steer the passage of scenes; yet no man shall once offer to hinder

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you from obtaining the title of an insolent, overweening coxcomb.

By sitting on the stage, you may (without travelling for it) at the very next door ask whose play it is: and, by that quest of inquiry, the law warrants you to avoid much mistaking if you know not the author, you may rail against him: and peradventure so behave yourself, that you may enforce the author to know you.

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By sitting on the stage, if you be a knight, you may happily get you a mistress: if a mere Fleet-street gentleman, a wife: but assure yourself, by continual residence, you are the first and principal man in election to begin the number of We Three.2

By spreading your body on the stage, and by being a justice in examining of plays, you shall put yourself into such true scenical authority, that some poet shall not dare to present his muse rudely upon your eyes, without having first unmasked her, rifled her, and discovered all her bare and most mystical parts before you at a tavern, when you most knightly shall, for his pains, pay for both their suppers.

By sitting on the stage, you may (with small cost) purchase the dear acquaintance of the boys have a good stool for sixpence: 3 at any time know what particular part any of the infants present: get your match lighted, examine the play-suits' lace, and perhaps win wagers upon laying 'tis copper, etc. And to conclude, whether you be a fool or a justice of peace, a cuckold, or a captain, a lordmayor's son, or a dawcock, a knave, or an under-sheriff; of what stamp soever you be, current, or counterfeit, the stage, like time, will bring you to most perfect light and lay you open: neither are you to be hunted from thence, though the scarecrows in the yard hoot at you, hiss at you, spit at you, yea, throw dirt even in your teeth: 'tis most gentlemanlike patience to endure all this, and to laugh at the silly animals: but if the rabble, with a full throat, cry, "Away with the fool," you were worse than a madman to tarry by it: for the gentleman and the fool should never sit on the stage together.

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