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- The Poetaster - 10/49 -


Alb. How now, wife! would'st thou not have them come?

Chloe. Come! Come, you are a fool, you.--He knows not the trick on't. Call Cytheris, I pray you: and, good master Crispinus, you can observe, you say; let me entreat you for all the ladies' behaviours, jewels, jests, and attires, that you marking, as well as I, we may put both our marks together, when they are gone, and confer of them.

Cris. I warrant you, sweet lady; let me alone to observe till I turn myself to nothing but observation.-- [Enter CYTHERIS. Good morrow, cousin Cytheris.

Cyth. Welcome, kind cousin. What! are they come?

Alb. Ay, your friend Cornelius Gallus, Ovid, Tibullus, Propertius, with Julia, the emperor's daughter, and the lady Plautia, are 'lighted at the door; and with them Hermogenes Tigellius, the excellent musician.

Cyth. Come, let us go meet them, Chloe.

Chloe. Observe, Crispinus.

Crisp. At a hail's breadth, lady, I warrant you.

[As they are going out, enter CORNELIUS GALLUS, OVID, TIBULLUS, PROPERTIUS, HERMOGENES, JULIA, and PLAUTIA.

Gal. Health to the lovely Chloe! you must pardon me, mistress, that I prefer this fair gentlewoman.

Cyth. I pardon and praise you for it, sir; and I beseech your excellence, receive her beauties into your knowledge and favour.

Jul. Cytheris, she hath favour and behaviour, that commands as much of me: and, sweet Chloe, know I do exceedingly love you, and that I will approve in any grace my father the emperor may shew you. Is this your husband?

Alb. For fault of a better, if it please your highness.

Chloe. Gods my life, how he shames me!

Cyth. Not a whit, Chloe, they all think you politic and witty; wise women choose not husbands for the eye, merit, or birth, but wealth and sovereignty.

Ovid. Sir, we all come to gratulate, for the good report of you.

Tib. And would be glad to deserve your love, sir.

Alb. My wife will answer you all, gentlemen; I'll come to you again presently. [Exit. Plau. You have chosen you a most fair companion here, Cytheris, and a very fair house.

Cyth. To both which, you and all my friends are very welcome, Plautia.

Chloe. With all my heart, I assure your ladyship.

Plau. Thanks, sweet mistress Chloe.

Jul. You must needs come to court, lady, i'faith, and there be sure your welcome shall be as great to us.

Ovid. She will deserve it, madam; I see, even in her looks, gentry, and general worthiness.

Tib. I have not seen a more certain character of an excellent disposition.

Alb. [re-entering.] Wife!

Chloe. O, they do so commend me here, the courtiers! what's the matter now?

Alb. For the banquet, sweet wife.

Chloe. Yes; and I must needs come to court, and be welcome, the princess says. [Exit with Albius. Gal. Ovid and Tibullus, you may be bold to welcome your mistress here.

Ovid. We find it so, sir.

Tib. And thank Cornelius Gallus.

Ovid. Nay, my sweet Sextus, in faith thou art not sociable.

Prop. In faith I am not, Publius; nor I cannot. Sick minds are like sick men that burn with fevers, Who when they drink, please but a present taste, And after bear a more impatient fit. Pray let me leave you; I offend you all, And myself most.

Gal. Stay, sweet Propertius.

Tib. You yield too much unto your griefs and fate, Which never hurts, but when we say it hurts us.

Prop. O peace, Tibullus; your philosophy Lends you too rough a hand to search my wounds. Speak they of griefs, that know to sigh and grieve: The free and unconstrained spirit feels No weight of my oppression. [Exil. Ovid. Worthy Roman! Methinks I taste his misery, and could Sit down, and chide at his malignant stars.

Jul. Methinks I love him, that he loves so truly.

Cyth. This is the perfect'st love, lives after death.

Gal. Such is the constant ground of virtue still.

PIau. It puts on an inseparable face. [re-enter CHLOE. Chloe. Have you mark'd every thing, Crispinus?

Cris. Every thing, I warrant you.

Chloe. What gentlemen are these? do you know them?

Cris. Ay, they are poets, lady.

Chloe. Poets! they did not talk of me since I went, did they?

Cris. O yes, and extolled your perfections to the heavens.

Chloe. Now in sincerity they be the finest kind of men that ever I knew: Poets! Could not one get the emperor to make my husband a poet, think you?

Cris. No, lady, 'tis love and beauty make poets: and since you like poets so well, your love and beauties shall make me a poet.

Chloe. What! shall they? and such a one as these?

Cris. Ay, and a better than these: I would be sorry else.

Chloe. And shall your looks change, and your hair change, and all, like these?

Cris. Why, a man may be a poet, and yet not change his hair, lady.

Chloe. Well, we shall see your cunning: yet, if you can change your hair, I pray do. [Re-enter Albius. Alb. Ladies, and lordlings, there's a slight banquet stays within for you; please you draw near, and accost it.

Jul. We thank you, good Albius: but when shall we see those excellent jewels you are commended to have?

Alb. At your ladyship's service.--I got that speech by seeing a play last day, and it did me some grace now: I see, 'tis good to collect sometimes; I'll frequent these plays more than I have done, now I come to be familiar with courtiers. [Aside.

Gal. Why, how now, Hermogenes? what ailest thou, trow?

Her, A little melancholy; let me alone, prithee.

Gal. Melancholy I how so?

Her. With riding: a plague on all coaches for me!

Chloe. Is that hard-favour'd gentleman a poet too, Cytheris?

Cyth. No, this is Hermogenes: as humorous as a poet, though: he is a musician.

Chloe. A musician! then he can sing.

Cyth. That he can, excellently; did you never hear him?

Chloe. O no: will he be entreated, think you?

Cyth. I know not.--Friend, mistress Chloe would fain hear Hermogenes sing: are you interested in him?

Gal. No doubt, his own humanity will command him so far, to the satisfaction of so fair a beauty; but rather than fail, we'll all be suitors to him.

Her. 'Cannot sing.


The Poetaster - 10/49

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