From “Love Sprawl’d Awry, or, The Chamberlain Expos’d”
(Text of the 1604 Quarto)
Actus Secundus. Scena Quarta.
Enter Brandysnatch and Quiver.
Bran. ’Twas never a whore in Halston but a ripe ditty would have her swived aright with tuppence in to chime against her heel!
Quiv. ‘Tis spoke aright, I trow, tho’ John o’ hops be spry upon thee.
Bran. No welkin i’ th’ tide was tossed as she by me, for all her feckless prattle of calm became her. Bless her though: her charms were quaint.
Flourish within. But of this matter, more anon, friend Quiver. His majesty, the King, upon his litter doth approach, serene as Jove pronouncing “gin” at cards, and girt with the kirtle of England’s might.
Quiv. But soft, good Brandysnatch. He speaks.
Ed. Inasmuch as duty doth compel our candour,
And insofar as our late counsellor,
Lord Suffix hath with lothly, dastard spite
Betrayed our bold designs on preening France,
We speak now that which heretofore was heard
But in the glozings of our discrete Court.
Yet ere we pass to these concerns which strike
To England’s heart, and to the hearts of all
Who are as England’s bone, and England’s sinew,
Attend first to a most amusing tale
Borne back to us by memory this day
As we were borne here on our royal way.
Bran. My liege would treat of the Rabbi and the Nun!
Quiv. Or of the mule whose wit did drub a steed! ‘Tis a good fellow, our King Ted, and as I breathe, were it not treason so to fancy, marry, I’d have my King above all other jesters in the land. ’S well, my liege doth deign to speak again.
Ed. Now entertain conjecture of a locust
Which entereth into a publick house.
He beckons forth the goodly, smiling tapster,
Who, feigning to descry an ancient friend,
Bestirs his nod with words that freight good cheer:
“Sir,” quotha, “knowest not a draught we serve,
(A cunning mix of potions various)
Is called—aye, oft!—and by thy very name?”
The locust replieth, with tokens of wonder,
“Thou hast a drink beknownst to all as Clarence?”