The Muse Among the Motors
SWIFTER than aught ’neath the sun the car of Simonides moved him.Two things he could not out-run — Death and a Woman who loved him.
IFROST upon small rain — the ebony-lacquered avenueReflecting lamps as a pool shows goldfish.The sight suddenly emptied out of the young man’s eyesEntering upon it sideways.IIIn youth, by hazard, I killed an old man.In age I maimed a little child.Dead leaves under foot reproach not:But the lop-sided cherry-branch — whenever the sun rises,How black a shadow!
DELLIUS, that car which, night and day,Lightnings and thunders arm and scourge —Tumultuous down the Appian Way —Be slow to urge.Though reckless Lydia bid thee fly,And Telephus o’ertaking jeer,Nay, sit and strongly occupyThe lower gear.They call, the road consenting, “Haste!”—Such as delight in dust collected —Until arrives (I too have raced! )The unexpected.What ox not doomed to die alone,Or inauspicious hound, may bringThee ’twixt two kisses to the throneOf Hades’ King,I cannot tell; the Furies sendNo warning ere their bolts arrive.’Tis best to reach our chosen endLate but alive.
WHETHER to wend through straight streets strictly,Trimly by towns perfectly paved;Or after office, as fitteth thy fancy,Faring with friends far among fields;There is none other equal in action,Sith she is silent, nimble, unnoisome,Lordly of leather, gaudily gilded,Burgeoning brightly in a brass bonnet,Certain to steer well between wains.
WITH them there rode a lustie EngineereWel skilled to handel everich waie her geere,Hee was soe wise ne man colde showe him naughtAnd out of Paris was hys learnynge brought.Frontlings mid brazen wheeles and wandes he sat,And on hys heade he bare an leathern hat.Hee was soe certaine of his governance,That, by the Road, he tooke everie chaunce.For simple people and for lordlings ekeHee wolde not bate a del but onlie squeekeBehinde their backés on an horné hieUntil they crope into a piggestie.He was more wood than bull in china-shoppe,And yet for cowes and doggés wolde hee stop,Not out of Marcie but for Preudence-sake —Than hys dependaunce ever was hys brake.
BLESSÈD was our first age and morning-time. Then were no waies tarren, ne no cars numberen, but each followed his owne playinge-busyness to go about singly or by large interspaces, for to leden his viage after his luste and layen under clene hedge. Jangling there was not, nor the overtaking wheele, and all those now cruel clarions were full-hushed and full-still. Then nobile horses, lest they should make the chariots moveable to run by cause of this new feare, we did not press, and were apayed by sweete thankes of him that drave. There was not cursings ne adventure of death blinded bankes betweene, but good-fellowship of yoke-mates at ignorance equal, and a one pillar of dust covered all exodus . . . . But, see now how the blacke road hath strippen herself of hearte and beauty where the dumbe lampe of Tartarus winketh red, etc.
ERE stopping or turning, to put foorth a handeIs a charm that thy daies may be long in the land.Though seventy-times-seven thee Fortune befriend,O’ertaking at corners is Death in the end.Sith main-roads for side-roads care nothing, have careBoth to slow and to blow when thou enterest there.Drink as thou canst hold it, but after is best;For Drink with men’s Driving makes Crowners to Quest.
LOVE’S fiery chariot, Delia, takeWhich Vulcan wrought for Venus’ sake.Wings shall not waft thee, but a flameHot as my heart — as nobly tame:Lit by a spark, less bright, more wiseThan linked lightnings of thine eyes!Seated and ready to be drawnCome not in muslins, lace or lawn,But, for thy thrice imperial worth,Take all the sables of the North,With frozen diamonds belted on,To face extreme Euroclydon!Thus in our thund’ring toy we’ll proveWhich is more blind, the Law or Love;And may the jealous Gods preventOur fierce and uncontrouled descent!
THIS SPARK now set, retarded, yet forbearsTo hold her light however so he swearsThat turns a metalled crank, and leather cloked,With some small hammers tappeth hither an yon;Peering as when she showeth and when is gone;For wait he must till the vext Power’s evokedThat’s one with the lightnings. Wait in the showers soaked;Or by the road-side sunned. She’ll not progress.Poor soul, here taught how great things may by lessBe stayed, to file contacts doth himself address!
PETROLIO, vaunting his Mercedes’ power,Vows she can cover eighty miles an hour.I tried the car of old and know she can.But dare he ever make her? Ask his man!
WHEN that with meat and drink they had fulfilledNot temperately but like him conceivedIn monstrous jest at Meudon, whose regaleStands for exemplar of Gargantuan greed,In his own name supreme, they issued forthBeneath new firmaments and stars astray,Circumvoluminant; nor had they feltNeither the passage nor the sad effectOf many cups partaken, till that frostWrought on them hideous, and their minds deceived.Thus choosing from a progeny of roads,That seemed but were not, one most reasonable,Of purest moonlight fashioned on a wall,Thither they urged their chariot whom that flintBut tressed received, itself unscathed — not they.
SINCE ye distemper and defileSweet Herè by the measured mile,Nor aught on jocund highways heedExcept the evidence of speed;And bear about your dreadful taskFaces beshrouded ’neath a mask;Great goblin eyes and glue handsAnd souls enslaved to gears and bands;Here shall no graver curse be saidThan, though y’are quick, that ye are dead!
THIRTEEN as twelve my Murray always took —He was a publisher. The new PoliceHave neater ways of bringing men to book,So Juan found himself before J.P.’sAccused of storming through that placed nookAt practically any pace you please.The Dogberry, and the Waterbury, madeIt fifty mile — five pounds. And Juan paid!
HE WANDERED down the moutain gradeBeyond the speed assigned —A youth whom Justice often stayedAnd generally fined.He went alone, that none might knowIf he could drive or steer.Now he is in the ditch, and Oh!The differential gear!
THERE was a landau deep and wide,Cushioned for Sleep’s own self to sit on —The glory of the country-sideFrom Tanner’s End to Marlow Ditton.John of the broad and brandied cheek(Well I recall its eau-de-vie hues! )Drove staid Sir Ralph five days a weekAt speeds which we considered Jehu’s. . . .But now’ poor John sleeps very sound,And neither hears nor smells the fussOf the young Squire’s nine-hundred-pound —Er — Mors communis omnibus.And I who in my daily strollObserve the reckless chauffeur crowd her,Laudator temporis, extolThe times before the Act allowed her.
THE DROWSY carrier swaysTo the drowsy horses’ tramp.His axles winnow the spraysOf the hedge where the rabbit playsIn the light of his single lamp.He hears a roar behind,A howl, a hoot, and a yell,A headlight strikes him blindAnd a stench o’erpowers the windLike a blast from the mouth of Hell.He mends his swingle-bar,And loud his curses ring;But a mother watching afarHears the hum of the doctor’s carLike the beat of an angel’s wing!So, to the poet’s mood,Motor or carrier’s van,Properly understood,Are neither evil nor good —Ormuzd not Ahriman!
THIS is the end whereto men toiledBefore thy coachman guessed his fate,—How thou shouldst leave thy, ’scutcheoned gateOn that new wheel which is the oiled —To see the England Shakespeare saw(Oh, Earth, ’tis long since Shallow died!Yet by yon farrowed sow may hideSome blue deep minion of the Law)—To range from Ashby-de-la-ZouchBy Lyonnesse to Locksley Hall,Or haply, nearer home, appalThy father’s sister’s staid barouche.
LO! What is this that I make — sudden, supreme, unrehearsed —This that my clutch in the crowd pressed at a venture has raised?Forward and onward I sprang when I thought (as I ought) I reversed,And a cab like martagon opes and I sit in the wreckage dazed.And someone is taking my name, and the driver is rending the airWith cries for my blood and my gold, and a snickering news-boy bringsMy cap, wheel-pashed from the kerb. I must run her home for repair,Where she leers with her bonnet awry — flat on the nether springs!
I TURNED— Heaven knows we women turn too muchTo broken reeds, mistaken so for pineThat shame forbids confession — a handle I turned(The wrong one, said the agent afterwards)And so flung clean across your English streetThrough the shrill-tinkling glass of the shop-front — paused,Artemis mazed ’mid gauds to catch a man,And piteous baby-caps and christening-gowns,The worse for being worn on the radiator.. . . . .My cousin Romney judged me from the bench:Propounding one sleek forty-shillinged lawThat takes no count of the Woman’s oversoul.I should have entered, purred he, by the door —The man’s retort — the open obvious door —And since I chose not, he — not he — could changeThe man’s rule, not the Woman’s, for the case.Ten pounds or seven days. . . Just that. . . I paid!
HASTILY Adam our driver swallowed a curse in the darkness —Petrol nigh at end and something wrong with a sprocketMade him speer for the nearest town, when lo! at the crosswaysFour blank letterless arms the virginal signpost extended.“Look!” thundered Hugh the Radical. “This is the England we boast of —Bland, white-bellied, obese, but utterly useless for business.They are repainting the signs and have left the job in the middle.They are repainting the signs and traffic may stop till they’ve done it,Which is to say: till the son-of-a-gun of a local contractor,Having laboriously wiped out every name forProbably thirty miles round, be minded to finish his labour!Had not the fool the sense to paint out and paint in together?”Thus, not seeing his speech belied his Radical Gospel(Which is to paint out the earth and then write “Damn” on the shutter),Hugh embroidered the theme imperially and stretched itFrom some borough in Wales through our Australian possessions,Making himself, reformer-wise, a bit of a nuisanceTill, with the help of Adam, we cast him out on the landscape.
WHEEL me gently to the garage, since my car and I must part —No more for me the record and the run.That cursèd left-hand cylinder the doctors call my heartIs pinking past redemption — I am done!They’ll never strike a mixture that’ll help me pull my load.My gears are stripped — I cannot set my brakes.I am entered for the finals down the timeless untimed RoadTo the Maker of the makers of all makes!
TIME and Space decreed his lot,But little Man was quick to note:When Time and Space said Man might not,Bravely he answered, “Nay! I mote.”I looked on old New England.Time and Space stood fast.Men built altars to DistanceAt every mile they passed.Yet sleek with oil, a Force was hidMaking mock of all they did,Ready at the appointed hourTo yield up to PrometheusThe secular and well-drilled PowerThe Gods secreted thus.And over high WantastiquerEmulous my lightnings ran,Unregarded but afret,To fall in with my plan.I beheld two ministries,One of air and one of earth —At a thought I married these,And my New Age came to birth!For rarely my purpose errsThough oft it seems to pause,And rods and cylindersObey my planets’ laws.Oil I drew from the well,And Franklin’s spark from its blue;Time and Distance fell,And Man went forth anew.On the prairie and in the streetSo long as my chariots rollI bind wings to Adam’s feet,And, presently, to his soul!
“NOW this is the price of a stirrup-cup,”The kneeling doctor said.And syne he bade them take him up,For he saw that the man was dead.They took him up, and they laid him down(And, oh, he did not stir ),And they had him into the nearest townTo wait the Coroner.They drew the dead-cloth over the face,They closed the doors upon,And the cars that were parked in the market-placeMade talk of it anon.Then up and spake a Daimler wide,That carries the slatted tank:—“’Tis we must purge the country-sideAnd no man will us thank.“For while they pray at Holy KirkThe souls should turn from sin,We cock our bonnets to the work,And gather the drunken in.—“And if we spare them for the nonce,—Or their comrades jack them free,—They learn more under our dumb-irònsThan they learned at time mother’s knee.”Then up and spake an Armstrong bold,And Siddeley, was his name:—“I saw a man lie stark and coldBy Grantham as I came.“There was a blind turn by a brook,A guard-rail and a fail:But the drunken loon that overtookHe got no hurt at all!“I ha’ trodden the wet road and the dry —But and the shady lane;And why the guiltless soul should die,Good reason find I nane.”Then up and spake the Babe Austin —Had barely room for two —“’Tis time and place that make the sin,And not the deed they do.“For when a man drives with his dear,I ha’ seen it come to passThat an arm too close or a lip too nearHas killed both lad and lass.“There was a car at eventideAnd a sidelings kiss to steal —The God knows how the couple died,But I mind the inquest weel.“I have trodden the black tar and the heath —But and the cobble-stone;And why the young go to their death,Good reason find I none.”Then spake a Morris from Oxenford,(’Was keen to a Cowley Friar ):—“How shall we judge the ways of the LordThat are but steel and fire?“Between the oil-pits under earthAnd the levin-spark from the skies,We but adventure and go forthAs our man shall devise:“And if he have drunken a hoop too deep,No kinship can us moveTo draw him home in his market-sleepOr spare his waiting love.“There is never a lane in all EnglandWhere a mellow man can go,But he must look on either handAnd back and front also.“But he must busk him every tide,At prick of horn, to leapEither to hide in ditch besideOr in the bankès steep.“And whether he walk in drink or muse,Or for his love be bound,We have no wit to mark and chuse,But needs must slay or wound.”. . . . .They drew the dead-cloth from its face.The Crowner looked thereon;And the cars that were parked in the market-placeWent all their ways anon.
NOW there is nothing wrong with meExcept — I think it’s called T.B.And that is why I have to layOut in the garden all the day.Our garden is not very wide,And cars go by on either side,And make an angry-hooty noiseThat rather startles little boys.But worst of all is when they takeMe out in cars that growl and shake,With charabancs so dreadful-nearI have to shut my eyes for fear.But when I’m on my back again,I watch the Croydon aeroplaneThat flies across to France, and singsLike hitting thick piano-strings.When I am strong enough to doThe things I’m truly wishful to,I’ll never use a car or trainBut always have an aeroplane;And just go zooming round and round,And frighten Nursey with the sound,And see the angel-side of clouds,And spit on all those motor-crowds!
YOU mustn’t groom an Arab with a file.You hadn’t ought to tension-spring a mule.You couldn’t push a brumby fifty mileAnd drop him in a boiler-shed to cool.I’ll sling you through six counties in a day.I’ll hike you up a grade of one in ten.I am Duty, Law and Order under way,I’m the Mentor of banana-fingered men!I will make you I know your left hand from your right.I will teach you not to drink about your biz.I’m the only temperance advocate in sight!I am all the Education Act there is!
PREFACE BY SAMUEL JOHNSONIt is to be observed of this play that, though its plan is irregular, it has been made instrumental to the production of many discriminate characters who deliver themselves with candour and propriety, as they approach towards, or recede from, the operations of Justice. The juxtaposition of Hamlet and Falstaff may be questioned by the learned or the delicate, but the conjectural critic of an author neither systematic nor consequential can affirm that those same forces of natural genius, which expatiate in splendour and passion, demand for their refreshment and sanity an abruptness of release and a lawlessness of invention, proportioned to precedent constrictions. He only who hath never toiled in the anfractuous mines of Philosophy or Letters, nor subdued himself to the ignoble needs of the Stage, will dispute the proposition.There is a tradition that this play was composed after a drinking bout. I would prefer to credit that it owed its birth to some such concatenation of circumstances as 1 have adumbrated. The more so since, amid much that is ill-considered, or even depraved, our author has assigned to the crafty and careless Falstaff an awful, if fleeting, visitation of self-knowledge. Let us now be told no more of the illegitimacy of this play
Argument, FALSTAFF, NYM, POINS, BARDOLPH and FLUELLEN having accompanied PRINCE HENRY in a motor drive through the city of London, their car breaks down, and FALSTAFF returns to the Boar’s Head Tavern in Eastcheap, where he is, followed by the PRINCE and FLUELLEN.
Here’s all at an end between us, or I’ll never taste sack again. Prince or no Prince, I’ll not ride with him to Coventry on the hinder parts of a carbonadoed stink, not though he call her all the car in Christendom. Sack! Sack! Sack!
HOSTESS. I spied her out of the lattice. A’ fizzled and a’ groaned and a’ shook from the bones out, Sir John, and a’ ran on her own impulsidges back and forth o’ Chepe, and I knew that there was but one way to it when I saw them fighting at the handles. She died of a taking of pure wind on the heart, and they be about her body now with tongs. A marvellous searching perfume, Sir John!
FALSTAFF. He hath called me ribs; he hath called me tallow. There is no name in the extremer oiliness of comparisons which I have not borne meekly. But to go masked at midday; to wrap my belly in an horse-hide cloak of ten thousand buttons till I looked like a mushroomed dunghill; to be smoked over burnt oils; to be enseamed, moreover, with intolerable greases; and thus scented, thus habited, thus vizarded, to leap out-for I leaped, mark you . . . Another cup of sack! But there’s vengeance for my case! These eyes have seen the Lord’s Anointed on his knees in Chepe, foining with the key of Shrewsbury Castle, which Poins had bent to the very crook of Nym’s theftuous elbow, to wake the dumb devil in the guts of her. “Sweet Hal,” said I, “are all horses sold out of England, that thou must kneel before the lieges to any petrol-piddling turnspit?” Then he, Poins, and Bardolph whose nose blanched with sheer envy of her bodywork, begged a shoulder of me to thrust her into some alley, the street being full of Ephesians of the old church. Whereat I . . .
FALSTAFF. Heaven forgive thee, Hal! She thundered and lightened a full half-hour, so that Jove Himself could not have bettered the instruction. There’s a pit beneath her now, which she blew out of thy father’s highway the while I watched, where Sackerson could stand to six dogs.
FALSTAFF. Groans, Hal, groans such as Atlas heaved. But she overbore me at. the last. Why hast thou left her?— Faugh, that a King’s son should ever reek like a smutty-wicked lamp upon the wrong side of the morning!
PRINCE. There was Bardolph in the buckbasket behind, nosing fearfully overside like a full-wattled turkey-poult from Norfolk. There was Poins upon his belly beneath her, thrice steeped in pure plumbago, most despairfully clanking of chains like the devil in Brug’s Hall window; and there were some four thousand ’prentices at her tail, crying, “What ho!” and that she bumped. Methought ’twas no place for my father’s son.
FALSTAFF. Dumain? Hang him for a pestilent, poke-eyed, chicken-chopping, hump-backed, leather-hatted, muffle-gloved ape! He hath been fined as often as he hath broken down; and that is at every tavern ’twixt here and York. Dumain! He’s the most notorious widow-maker on the Windsor road. His mother was a corn-cutter at Ypres, and his father a barber at Rouen, by which beastly conjunction he rightly draws every infirmity that damns him in his trade. Item: He cuts corners niggardly and upon the wrong side. Item: He’ll look behind him after a likely wench in the hottest press of Holborn, though he skid into the kennel for it. Item: He depends upon his brake to save him at need — a death-bed repentance, Hal, as hath been proved ere this, since grace is uncertain. Item: He is too proud to clean the body of her, but leaves the care of that which should be the very cote-armour of his mechanic knighthood to an unheedful ostler. Thus, at last, he comes to overlook even the oiling; and so it falls that she’s where she must be, and not where thou wouldst have her. Ay, laugh if thou wilt, Hal, but a round worthy knight need not fire himself through three baronies in eight hours to know the very essence of the petrol 1 that fumes him. Domain will one day clutch thee into Hell upon the first speed.
PRINCE. Strange that clear knowledge should so long outlive mere nerve! I’ll dub Domain knight when I come to the throne, if he be not hanged first for murder on the highway. ’Twill save the state a pension.
FLUELLEN. Riots, look you, by my vizaments, make one noise, but murders another. There’s riots in Monmouth; but, by my vizaments, look you, there’s murders in Chepe. Pabes and old ’oomen — they howl so tamnably.
FALSTAFF. Rebellion rather! Half London’s calling on thy name, Hal, and half on thy father’s. Well, if it be successful, forget not who was promised the reversion of the Chief Justice-ship. Ha! Unquestioned rebellion, if broken crowns signify aught.
PRINCE. This it is to be a King’s son! That a pitiful twelve horse touring-car 2 cannot jar off her brakes but they must rehearse it me in damnable heroics. Your pleasure, gentlemen?
HERALDS. The blood upon our boltered brow attests
’Twas Bardolph’s art that waked her, whereat she
Skipped thunderously before our mazèd eyes,
Drew out o’er several lieges (all with God!),
Battered a house or so to lathes, and now
Fumes on her side in Holborn. Please you, come!
PRINCE. Anon! Seek each a physician according to his needs and revenues. I’ll be with you anon. (To FALSTAFF.) The third in three weeks! These whoreson German clockcases no sooner dint honest English paving-stone than they incontinent lay their entrails on the street. Five hundred and seventy pounds! I’ll out and pawn the Duchy!
Argument. PRINCE HENRY, POINS, FLUELLEN, NYM, and SIR JOHN FALSTAFF (BARDOLPH having escaped) are charged, on DOGBERRY’S evidence, before the LORD CHIEF JUSTICE at Westminster, with exceeding the speed-limit and leaving their car unattended in the street. PORTIA defends them. JUSTICE SHALLOW has been accommodated with a seat on the Bench.
SHALLOW (to CH. JUSTICE). My lord, my lord, if you suffer yon fat knight to talk, he’ll cozen the teeth out of your lord-ship’s head, while his serving-man steals the steeped crust you’d mumble to. I lent him a thousand pounds, my lord.
CH. JUSTICE. Sir John! Sir John! The licence of inveterate humour overstretched rends like an outworn garment — with like shame to the enduer. Answer me roundly, what defence make you to the charge you have run through Chepe at ten leagues the hour?
PRINCE (to CH. JUSTICE). We knights of the road have ever been fair quarry for your knights of the post to bind to, but this passes endurance. We left our car, my lord, extinct and combust in the kennel, while we sought an engineer to hoist her. In which stay she would have continued, but for the prying vulgar who found on her some handle to their curiosity, which, doubtless, they turned. For in such a car as this ——
PORTIA. In such a car as this,
The lean chirurgeon burns the midnight oil
Impetuous over England. Where his lamp
Strikes pale the hedgerow, all the affrighted fays,
Their misty revels in the dew divulged,
Flee to the coney’s burrow, or divide
His antre with the squirrel — whom that ministrant
Marks not, his eyes being bent to thrid the dark,
Indifferent beneath the morning star,
To the poor cot that summoned him, and the life —
Some hour-old, mother-naked life, scarce held
By the drowsy midwife but it yarks and squeaks
Batlike, and batlike, would to the void again.
This he forbids, and yet not he, whose art,
His car unaiding, else had ne’er o’erleaped
The largess of a county in an hour.
PORTIA. And I charge you, my lord, if ever need,
Extreme and urgent need, hath visited you,
Or, in the unprobeable decree of Time,
May visit and masterfully constrain, think well
Ere your abhorrence of new enginery
Seal up the avenues of mercy here!
CH. JUSTICE. I sealed no avenues. They sealed the King’s
(Albeit it was called Northumberland)
With hellish engines drawn across the street
In an opposed and desperate barrier
Unto the lieges’ progress.
PORTIA. If the deep-brooding vault of Heaven retain
Memory and record of miracle
Vouchsafed, like this your prayed-for mercy, once,
And, in default of quail, rain from her gate
Heaven’s sweetest choristers — then it may fall,
But not till then!
CH. JUSTICE. Yet, bating miracle, how if mercy breed
Not gratitude, but livelier insolence,
And through my softened verdict after years
Grow bold to break the law? How if our England —
Loverly, temperate, the midmost close of peace —
Dissolve in smoke and oils along the green,
Till sickened memory conceive no minute
Unharried, unpollutable, unhooted?
If I loose these, what do I loose on England?
ARIEL (invisible) sings:
Where the car slips there slip I—
In a sunbeam’s path I lie!
There I crouch while crowds do cry,
After somersaults muddily!
Where I lie, where I lie, shall I live now
Under the bonnet that bangs on my brow?
CH. JUSTICE. Ourselves have snuffed some savour of these changes,
And more our horses who, poor winkered fools,
Hearing their dooms outstrip them, cast aside
And pole the all-shattered house-fronts.
Of purpose to repair to Westminster,
Infirmity and age consenting, signalled
From her hot lair an horseless chariot
Which, in the recorded twelfth part of an hour,
Bore our inviolate ermines half a league.
It is, and woe it is, the chill refuge,
The lean, unenvied privilege of Age,
To meet new changes with old courtesy,
Not as averting change but sparing souls
Worn weak, and bodies extenuate with the years
That heed nor never heeded! Set them free.
What has been was, and what will be, must be!
Argument. A room in the Boar’s Head Tavern set for a banquet to celebrate the discharge of the motorists from the King’s justice. Enter PRINCE HENRY with PORTIA and several others. Also FALSTAFF drunk.
FALSTAFF. I’ll be the wise child. Have him in! (Enter HAMLET drunk.) Ha! ’Begot a night’s ride the cooler side o’ the blanket! But if I be knight,. he’s Blood-Royal. (To PRINCE HENRY) Here’s thy meat, Hal. I stay by our commons.
HAMLET. Prince. Hamlet of Denmark. Your pardon too. ’Tis the Rhenish . . . But conceive, sirrah, how it comes about ’neath the unjust stars, that by a few ink-spirts and frail pretences of the plays, a bald-paced ostler to Pegasus conjures life into such as we. In which continuance, mark you, we live and inextinguishably shake spheres: he having left the globe — how long? But I’ll go find my double. 3
PRINCE. Rumour wrongs not the Danes. They drink too deep.
He is full proof. (To HAMLET) Welcome, distracted Sir.
We have a foolish feast in hand, whereat,
Wine and our near escapes making familiar,
You shall be richer by a score of brothers
Before the score is paid. Seek and make merry.
(To NYM) When the fat gentleman stumbles, lay him against the arras, head highest. There’s a crown waiting.
PORTIA. I here confess I never owned a car;
Never, in all my life, have driven car;
And, touching any uses of a car,
From airiest hearsays 4 were my pleadings drawn.
Therefore, I ask no guerdon but a car,
To experience on the heels of phantasy.
PRINCE (to PORTIA). Nay, entertain conjecture of a time
When, horses fed to hounds, the thrice-stuffed streets
Ring, reek and rumble with opprobrious wains
Inveterately unheedful. Straw between
Their bulks the rash and pillioned amorists
Whose so mis-timed embracernents on the wood 5
Sling hose and cap 6 to inquest.
BEATRICE. Signor Prince, spare thyself a dry mouth and us drier discourse. The world moves, for all man’s owlings, and we women in the va’ward 7 .
BENEDICK. To have at a man sideways out of a blind lane, and if he give natural vent on some broken head, arm, or running board 8 , her husband or lover must challenge him as though he were Claudio.
SHYLOCK. I have a bond! I have a bond in my office,
Whose virtue is — for every pound of flesh,
Or drop of blood, on such mistakings drawn,
Or push of market-bestial — being signed
(And some poor ducats paid) assures the holder
’Gainst every act and charge of law or leech.
PORTIA. We made sweet composition long ago,
Shylock and I. He pays upon such bonds,
As, in mine office, I can well avouch;
Having prepared the like for Jessica
Whose paths are wayward. Let them see it, Jew.
HAMLET. ’Serves me not. There’s a mad woman whom I drowned floats in my every cup, like borage 9 . But I am not brave.
HAMLET. Shake to thy core, contemplating what vasts
Unlawful, and what darkness, whereto ours
Is the sun’s targe, had he adventured down
(Holding the poised brain ice) till he arraigned 10
A murderess, a Moor, a mad King — me!
For ensample of all uttermosts of woe
Man bears or shall be designate to suffer
Inly or of the Gods!
PRINCE (taking Insurance Policy from SHYLOCK).
Thus furnished, and with knowledge of the wealth
Behind the bond, are all my doubts resolved.
My fears? (To PORTIA) Fair lady, warn me of thy comings
When that car rolls its fifty roystering steeds
Which is our instant, grateful, deadly gift!
PRINCE. To-morrow be his own klaxon
. Till he
Put cars away, and revel comrades all!
FESTE. When all about the joiners thrive —
And coffins quick as man can saw;—
When learning lady-owners drive,
And beaks sit brooding on the Law;
When roasting cabs hiss on the grass,
Then lightly brays the headlong ass:—
“Where to? To Hell!” Oh, word of fear,
Unpleasing to the charioteer!
1. Petard, which is almost synonymous. HORNE TOOKE: First Folio: private notes upon. [back]2. Touraine-cart (conjectural).— WARBURTON. [back]3. . . . After the transparent reference to “the unjust stars,” the word “inkspirts” leaps to the eye of the initiated as the simplest anagram of “scripsit” (the “k” being used, of course, for the desiderated “c,” and the apparently superfluous “n,” for the initial of Nicholas, Bacon’s father). “Frail pretences” (taking the first three letters of the first, and the last four of the second, word) reveals, beyond negation, the same “Frances” who wrote to his King (Mar. 25, 1631) that he might be “frail and partake, etc.” The “bald-pated ostler” who “conjures life into, etc.,” is even more palpable and needs not the addi tional “continuance” which follows. Nor does this exhaust the category. Miss Nessa Droenbergh acutely explains Hamlet’s opening remark to Prince Henry as a well-bred man’s apology for phenomena due to liquor-excess — briefly a hiccough. But we must remember that Bacon, where possible, always “doubles his clues,” on the principle of the British railroads’ “distant” and “home” signals. Thus after “Your pardon too,” comes “’Tis the Rhenish,” a German wine long traded into Britain and the Baltic, and later known as “hoc(k).” So we have, all but en clair, the author of “Shakespeare’s” plays proclaiming, “Hoc scripsit Frances Bacon.” (Francis Bacon wrote this.) What more, in the name of sanity, is needed to convince anyone who is not delivered over to the “man of Stratford” complex?— From PROFESSOR 0. P. CALLOWITZ’S William the World-Impostor. [back]4. Hearses.— WARBURTON (conjectural). [back]5. The text is corrupt. It is impossible to imagine a street paved with wood. But mis-timed embracements might well be “untoward.”— JOHNSON. [back]6. At this epoch the London ’prentices wore cloth caps, and their female companions stockings, which had then been largely discovered by the vulgar.— THEOBALD. [back]7. ”Ford” (conjectural).— STEEVENS. [back]8. ‘Running aboard — in the sense of vessels falling “foul” of each other at sea, (Conjectural.)— JOHNSON. [back]“I, Borage,Give courage.”The herb is not included in the Queen’s category of those used by Ophelia previous to her suicide, nor does Ophelia herself mention it. (Conjectural.)— STEEVENS. [back]10. Mr. Malone says that this word should be “arrayed,” in the sense of displaying before the public; but considering that each one of the characters enumerated is, in various forms, arraigned by Conscience, that most dreadful of judges, I incline towards the former reading.— M. MASON. [back]11. “Sexton.” This word, through corruption, has been lost, and is now restored to its original meaning.— SIR T. HANMER. [back]