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  • Title: An Humorous Day's Mirth (Modern)
  • Editor: Eleanor Lowe
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-513-1

    Copyright Digital Renaissance Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: George Chapman
    Editor: Eleanor Lowe
    Peer Reviewed

    An Humorous Day's Mirth (Modern)

    769.1[Scene 7]
    770Enter the King and all the lords [Lemot and Catalian], with the trumpets.
    King
    Why sound these trumpets, in the Devil’s name?
    Catalian
    To show the King comes.
    King
    To show the King comes?
    Go hang the 775trumpeters. They mock me boldly,
    And every other thing that makes me known,
    Not telling what I am, but what I seem:
    A king of clouts, a scarecrow, full of cobwebs,
    Spiders and earwigs, that sets jackdaw’s long tongue
    In my bosom and upon my head.
    And such are all the affections of love
    780Swarming in me, without command or reason.
    Lemot
    How now, my liege! What, quagmired in philosophy,
    Bound with love’s whipcord, and quite robbed of reason?
    And I’ll give you a receipt for this presently.
    785King
    Peace, Lemot. They say the young Lord Dowsecer
    Is rarely learned, and nothing lunatic
    As men suppose,
    But hateth company and worldly trash.
    The judgement and the just contempt of them
    Have in reason arguments that break affection,
    As the most sacred poets write, and 790still the roughest wind.
    And his rare humour come we now to hear.
    Lemot
    Yea, but hark you, my liege, I’ll tell you a better humour than that. Here presently will be your fair love, Martia, to see his humour, and from thence, fair countess 795Florila and she will go unto Verone's ordinary, where none but you and I and Count Moren will be most merry.
    King
    Why, Count Moren, I hope, dares not adventure into any woman’s company but his wife’s.
    Lemot
    Yes, as I will work, my liege, and then let me alone 800to keep him there till his wife comes.
    King
    That will be royal sport.
    Enter Labervele, Labesha, and all the rest [the Countess, Moren, Foyes, Martia and Florila].
    See where all comes. Welcome, fair lords and ladies.
    Labervele
    My liege, you are welcome to my poor house.
    805Lemot
    [Presenting Labesha] I pray, my liege, know this gentleman especially. He is a gentleman born, I can tell you.
    King
    With all my heart. What might I call your name?
    Labesha
    Monsieur Labesha, Seigneur de Foulasa.
    King
    De Foulasa? An ill-sounding baronry, of my word. But 810to the purpose. Lord Labervele, we are come to see the humour of your rare son, which by some means I pray let us partake.
    Labervele
    Your highness shall too unworthily partake the sight which I with grief and tears daily behold, seeing in him 815the end of my poor house.
    King
    You know not that, my lord. Your wife is young, and he perhaps hereafter may be moved to more society.
    Labervele
    Would to God he would, that we might do to your crown of France more worthy and more acceptable820 service.
    King
    Thanks, good my lord. See where he appears.
    Enter Lavel with a picture, and a pair of large hose, and a codpiece, and a sword.
    Say, Lavel, where is your friend, the young Lord Dowsecer?
    825Lavel
    I look, my liege, he will be here anon, but then I must entreat your majesty and all the rest to stand unseen, for he as yet will brook no company.
    King
    We will stand close, Lavel, but wherefore bring you this apparel, that picture, and that sword?
    830Lavel
    To put him, by the sight of them, in mind of their brave states that use them, or that at the least of the true use they should be put unto.
    King
    Indeed, the sense doth still stir up the soul, and though these objects do not work, yet it is very probable 835in time she may. At least, we shall discern his humour of them.
    Enter Dowsecer.
    Lemot
    See where he comes contemplating. Stand close.
    Dowsecer
    Quid ei potest videri magnum in rebus humanis cui aeternitas omnis totiusque nota sit mundi magnitudo.
    ‘What840 can seem strange to him on earthly things
    To whom the whole course of eternity,
    And the round compass of the world is known?’
    A speech divine, but yet I marvel much
    How it should spring from thee, Mark Cicero,
    That sold for glory the sweet peace of life,
    And made a torment of rich 845nature’s work,
    Wearing thyself by watchful candle-light,
    When all the smiths and weavers were at rest,
    And yet was gallant, ere the day bird sung,
    To have a troop of clients at thy gates,
    Armed with religious supplications,
    Such as would make stern Minos laugh to read.
    Look on our lawyers’ bills: not 850one contains
    Virtue or honest drifts, but snares, snares, snares.
    For acorns now no more are in request;
    But when the oak’s poor fruit did nourish men,
    Men were like oaks of body, tough, and strong.
    Men were like giants then, but pygmies now,
    Yet full of villainies as their skin can hold.
    855Lemot
    How like you this humour, my liege?
    King
    This is no humour; this is but perfect judgement.
    Countess
    Is this a frenzy?
    Martia
    Oh were all men such,
    Men were no men but gods, this earth a heaven.
    860Dowsecer
    [Noticing the sword] See, see, the shameless world,
    That dares present her mortal enemy
    With these gross ensigns of her lenity,
    Iron and steel, uncharitable stuff,
    Good spital-founders, enemies to whole skins,
    As if there were not ways enough to die
    By natural and casual accidents,
    Diseases, surfeits, brave 865carouses,
    Old aqua-vitae, and too base wines,
    And thousands more. Hence with this art of murder!
    [Noticing the hose and codpiece]
    But here is goodly gear, the soul of man,
    For ’tis his better part. Take away this,
    And take away their merits and their spirits.
    Scarce dare they come in any public view
    Without this countenance870-giver,
    And some dares not come, because they have it, too,
    For they may sing, in written books they find it.
    What is it then, the fashion or the cost?
    The cost doth match, but yet the fashion more,
    For let it be but mean, so in the fashion,
    And ’tis most gentleman-like. Is it so?
    Make a hand in the margin875, and burn the book,
    A large hose and a codpiece makes a man.
    A codpiece, nay indeed, but hose must down.
    Well for your gentle forgers of men,
    And for you come to wrest me into fashion,
    I’ll wear you thus, and sit upon the matter.
    880Labervele
    And so he doth despise our purposes.
    Catalian
    Bear with him yet, my lord, he is not resolved.
    Lavel
    I would not have my friend mock worthy men,
    For the vain pride of some that are not so.
    885Dowsecer
    I do not here deride difference of states,
    No, not in show, but wish that such as want show
    Might not be scorned with ignorant Turkish pride,
    Being pompous in apparel and in mind
    Nor would I have with imitated shapes
    Men make their native land the land of apes,
    Living like 890strangers when they be at home,
    And so perhaps bear strange hearts to their home;
    Nor look a-snuff like a piannet’s tail,
    For nothing but their curls and formal locks,
    When, like to cream bowls, all their virtues swim
    In their set faces, all their in-parts then
    Fit to serve peasants or make 895curds for daws.
    [Noticing the picture] But what a stock am I thus to neglect
    This figure of man’s comfort, this rare piece?
    Labervele
    Heavens grant that make him more humane, and sociable.
    Nay, he’s more humane than all we are.
    900Labervele
    I fear he will be too sharp to that sweet sex.
    Dowsecer
    She is very fair. I think that she be painted.
    An if she be, sir, she might ask of me,
    ‘How many is there of our sex that are not?’
    ’Tis a sharp question. Marry and I think
    They have small skill. If they were all of painting,
    905’Twere safer dealing with them. And indeed.
    Were their minds strong enough to guide their bodies,
    Their beauteous deeds should match with their heavenly looks,
    ’Twere necessary they should wear them.
    An would they vouchsafe it, even I
    Would joy in their society.
    910Martia
    And who would not die with such a man?
    Dowsecer
    But to admire them as our gallants do,
    ‘Oh, what an eye she hath! Oh, dainty hand!
    Rare foot and leg!’ and leave the mind respectless.
    This is a plague that, in both men and women,
    Make such pollution of our earthly being.
    Well, I 915will practise yet to court this piece.
    Labervele
    Oh, happy man, now have I hope in her.
    Methinks I could endure him days and nights.
    Dowsecer
    Well, sir, now thus must I do, sir, ere it come towomen. ‘Now, sir’ — a plague upon it, ’tis so ridiculous I can no 920further. What poor ass was it that set this in my way? Now if my father should be the man — [Sees Labervele] God’s precious coals, ’tis he!
    Labervele
    Good son, go forward in this gentle humour.
    Observe this picture. It presents a maid
    Of noble birth and 925excellent of parts,
    Whom for our house and honour sake, I wish
    Thou wouldst confess to marry.
    Dowsecer
    To marry father? Why, we shall have children.
    Labervele
    Why, that’s the end of marriage, and the joy of men.
    930Dowsecer
    Oh, how you are deceived. You have but me,
    And what a trouble am I to your joy!
    But, father, if you long to have some fruit of me,
    See, father, I will creep into this stubborn earth
    And mix my flesh with it, and they shall breed grass
    To fat oxen, asses and such-like,
    And when they in the 935grass the spring converts
    Into beasts’ nourishment,
    Then comes the fruit of this my body forth.
    Then may you well say,
    Seeing my race is so profitably increased,
    That good fat ox and that same large-eared ass
    Are my son’s sons, that calf with a white face
    Is his fair daughter, with which, 940when your fields
    Are richly filled, then will my race content you.
    But for the joys of children, tush, ’tis gone.
    Children will not deserve, nor parents take it.
    Wealth is the only father and the child,
    And but in wealth no man hath any joy.
    Labervele
    Some course, dear son, take for thy honour sake.
    945Dowsecer
    Then, father, here’s a most excellent corse.
    Labervele
    This is some comfort yet.
    Dowsecer
    If you will straight be gone and leave me here,
    I’ll stand as quietly as any lamb,
    And trouble none of you.
    [Sees Martia]
    Labervele
    An hapless man.
    950Lemot
    How like you this humour yet, my liege?
    As of a holy fury, not a frenzy.
    Moren
    See, see, my liege, he hath seen us sure.
    Nay, look how he views Martia and makes him fine.
    Lemot
    Yea, my liege, and she, as I hope well observed, hath uttered many kind conceits of hers.
    Well, I’ll be gone, and when she comes to Verone’s ordinary, I’ll have her taken to my custody.
    960Lemot
    I’ll stay, my liege, and see the event of this.
    Do so, Lemot.
    Exit the King.
    Dowsecer
    What have I seen? How am I burnt to dust
    With a new sun, and made a novel phoenix!
    Is she a woman that objects this sight,
    Able to work the chaos of the 965world
    Into gestion? O divine aspect,
    The excellent disposer of the mind
    Shines in thy beauty, and thou hast not changed
    My soul to sense, but sense unto my soul,
    And I desire thy pure society,
    But even as angels do to angels fly.
    Exit.
    Martia
    Fly soul and follow him.
    970Labervele
    I marvel much at my son’s sudden strange behaviour.
    Lemot
    Bear with him yet, my lord, ’tis but his humour. Come. What, shall we go to Verone’s ordinary?
    Labesha
    Yea, for God’s sake, for I am passing hungry.
    975Moren
    Yea, come, Monsieur Lemot, will you walk?
    Countess
    What, will you go?
    Moren
    Yea, sweet bird, I have promised so.
    Countess
    Go to, you shall not go and leave me alone.
    Moren
    For one meal, gentle bird. Verone invites us to buy 980some jewels he hath brought of late from Italy. I’ll buy the best and bring it thee, so thou wilt let me go.
    Countess
    Well said, flattering Fabian. But tell me, then, what ladies will be there?
    Moren
    Ladies? Why, none.
    985Lemot
    No ladies use to come to ordinaries, madam.
    Countess
    Go to, bird, tell me now the very truth.
    Moren
    None of mine honour, bird. You never heard that ladies came to ordinaries.
    Countess
    Oh, that’s because I should not go with you.
    990Moren
    Why, ’tis not fit you should.
    Countess
    Well, hark you, bird, of my word you shall not go, unless you will swear to me, you will neither court nor kiss a dame in any sort, till you come home again.
    995Moren
    Why, I swear I will not.
    Countess
    Go to, by this kiss.
    Moren
    Yea, by this kiss.
    Foyes
    Martia, learn by this when you are a wife.
    Labesha
    I like the kissing well.
    1000Florila
    My lord, I’ll leave you. Your son Dowsecer hath made me melancholy with his humour, and I’ll go lock myself in my close walk till supper-time.
    Labervele
    What, and not dine today?
    Florila
    No, my good head. Come, Martia, you and I will 1005fast together.
    Martia
    With all my heart, madam.
    Exit [with Florila].
    Labervele
    Well, gentlemen, I’ll go see my son.
    Exit.
    Foyes
    By’rlady, gentlemen, I’ll go home to dinner.
    Labesha
    Home to dinner? By’rlord, but you shall not. You 1010shall go with us to the ordinary, where you shall meet gentlemen of so good carriage and passing complements it will do your heart good to see them. Why, you never saw the
    best sort of gentlemen if not at ordinaries.
    Foyes
    I promise you that’s rare, my lord. And, Monsieur 1015Lemot, I’ll meet you there presently.
    Lemot
    We’ll expect your coming.
    Exeunt all.