Pre-Shakespeare Works: Court Tragi-comedy
Damon and Pithias, 1571
Transcribed by BF. copyright © 2002
Words discussed in the glossary are underlined.
Latin translations also presented in Appendix I.
THE SPEAKERS' NAMES
Aristippus, a Pleasant Gentleman
Carisophus, a Parasite
Two Gentlemen of Greece
STEPHANO, Servant to Damon and Pithias
WILL, Aristippus' Lackey
JACK, Carisophus' Lackey
SNAP, the Porter
DIONYSIUS, the King
EUBULUS, the King's Counselor
GRONNO, the Hangman
GRIM, the Collier
Damon and Pithias
Appendix II: Connections
Appendix III: Vocabulary, Word Formation
On every side whereas I glance my roving eye,
Silence in all ears bent I plainly do espy.
But if your eager looks do long such toys to see
As heretofore in comical wise were wont abroad to be,
Your lust is lost, and all the pleasures that you sought
Is frustrate quite of toying plays. A sudden change is wrought.
For lo, our author's muse, that masked in delight,
Hath forc'd his pen against his kind, no more such sports to write.
Muse he that lust, right worshipful, for chance hath made this change,
For that to some he seemed too much in young desires to range; ... [Pro.10]
In which, right glad to please, seeing that he did offend,
Of all he humbly pardon craves: his pen that shall amend.
And yet, worshipful audience, thus much I dare avouch:
In comedies the greatest skill is this: rightly to touch
All things to the quick, and eke to frame each person so
That by his common talk you may his nature rightly know.
A roister ought not preach -- that were too strange to hear --
But, as from virtue he doth swerve, so ought his words appear.
The old man is sober; the young man rash; the lover triumphing in joys;
The matron grave; the harlot wild, and full of wanton toys: ... [Pro.20]
Which all in one course they no wise do agree,
So correspondent to their kind their speeches ought to be.
Which speeches, well-prounounc'd, with action lively framed --
If this offend the lookers-on, let Horace then be blamed,
Which hath our author taught at school, from whom he doth not swerve,
In all such kind of exercise decorum to observe.
Thus much for his defense (he saith), as poets erst have done,
Which heretofore in comedies the self-same race did run.
But now, for to be brief, the matter to express
Which here we shall present is this: Damon and Pithias, ... [Pro.30]
A rare example of friendship true. It is no legend-lie,
But a thing once done, indeed, as histories do descry;
Which, done of yore in long time past, yet present shall be here
Even as it were in doing now, so lively it shall appear.
Lo, here is Syracuse, th' ancient town which once the Romans won,
Here Dionysius palace, within whose court this thing most strange was done.[Note (lines 35-36): Adams points out that the speaker here probably pointed first to the "city" (with Damon's lodgings) on one side of the stage, next to the palace on the other side.) Players would enter from Damon's lodgings, from the palace, or from the rear of the stage.]
Which matter, mix'd with mirth and care, a just name to apply
As seems most fit, we have termed a "tragical comedy."
Wherein, talking of courtly toys, we do protest this flat:
We talk of Dionysius court; we mean no court but that! ... [Pro.40]
And that we do so mean, who wisely calleth to mind
The time, the place, the author, here most plainly shall it find.
Lo, this I speak for our defense, lest of others we should be shent.
But, worthy audience, we you pray, take things as they be meant.
Whose upright judgment we do crave with heedful ear and eye
To hear the cause and see th' effect of this new tragical comedy.
[One one side, the city of Syracuse, with the lodging of Damon and Pithias
in the foreground; on the other side, the palace of King Dionysius.]
[Here enter Aristippus.]
ARISTIPPUS: Too strange, perhaps, it seems to some
That I, Aristippus, a courtier am become;
A philosopher of late, not of the meanest name,
But now to the courtly behavior my life I frame.
Muse he that list. To you of good skill
I say that I am a philosopher still.
Loving of wisdom is termed philosophy;
Then who is a philosopher so rightly as I?
For in loving of wisdom proof doth this try,
That frustra sapit, qui non sapit sibi. ... 
I am wise for myself: then tell me, of troth,
Is not that great wisdom, as the world go'th?
Some philosophers in the street go ragged and torn,
And feed on vile roots, whom boys laugh to scorn;
But I in fine silks haunt Dionysius' palace,
Wherein with dainty fare myself I do solace.
I can talk philosophy as well as the best,
But the strait kind of life I leave to the rest.
And now I profess the courtly philosophy;
To crouch, to speak fair, myself I apply ... 
To feed the king's humor with pleasant devices;
For which I am called Regius canis.
But wot ye who named me first the king's dog?
It was the rogue Diogenes, that vile grunting hog!
Let him roll in his tub to win a vain praise;
In the court pleasantly I will spend all my days.
Wherein what to do I am not to learn;
What will serve mine own turn I can quickly discern.
All my time at school I have not spent vainly;
I can help one! Is not that a good point of philosophy? ... 
[Here entereth Carisophus.]
CARISOPHUS: I beshrew your fine ears, since you came from school.
In the court you have made many a wise man a fool!
And though you paint out your feigned philosophy,
So God help me, it is but a plain kind of flattery!
Which you use so finely in so pleasant a sort
That none but Aristippus now makes the king sport.
Ere you came hither poor I was somebody;
The king delighted in me. Now I am but a noddy!
ARISTIPPUS: In faith, Carisophus, you know yourself best!
But I will not call you noddy but only in jest. ... 
And thus I assure you: though I came from school
To serve in this court, I came not yet to be the king's fool,
Or to fill his ears with servile squirrility.
That office is yours! You know it right perfectly!
Or parasites and sycophants you are a grave-bencher;
The king feeds you often from his own trencher.
I envy not your state, nor yet your great favor;
Then grudge not at all if in my behavior
I make the king merry with pleasant urbanity,
Whom I never abused to any man's injury. ... 
CARISOPHUS: By Cock, sir, yet in the court you do best thrive --
For you get more in one day than I do in five.
ARISTIPPUS: Why, man, in the court do you not see
Rewards given for virtue to every degree?
To reward the unworthy -- that world is done.
The court is changed. A good thread hath been spun
Of a dog's wool heretofore; and why? Because it was liked,
And not for that it was best trimmed and picked.
But now men's ears are finer, such gross toys are not set by;
Therefore to a trimmer kind of mirth myself I apply: ... 
Wherein, though I please, it cometh not of my desert
But of the king's favor.
CARISOPHUS: It may be so. Yet in your prosperity
Despise not an old courtier. Carisophus is he
Which hath long time fed Dionysius' humor.
Diligently to please, still at hand, there was never rumor
Spread in this town of any small thing but I
Brought it to the king in post by and by.
Yet now I crave your friendship; which if I may attain,
Most sure and unfeigned friendship I promise you again. ... 
So we two, linked in friendship, brother and brother,
Full well in the court may help one another.
ARISTIPPUS: By'r Lady, Carisophus, though you know not philosophy,
Yet surely you are a better courtier than I!
And yet I not so evil a courtier that will seem to despise
Such an old courtier as you, so expert and so wise.
But whereas you crave mine, and offer your friendship so willingly,
With heart I give you thanks for this your great courtesy,
Assuring of friendship both with tooth and nail,
Whiles life lasteth, never to fail. ... 
CARISOPHUS: A thousand thanks I give you. O friend Aristippus!
ARISTIPPUS: O friend Carisophus!
CARISOPHUS: How joyful am I, sith I have to friend Aristippus now!
ARISTIPPUS: None so glad of Carisophus' friendship as I, I make God a vow!
I speak as I think, believe me.
CARISOPHUS: Sith we are now so friendly joined, it seemeth to me
That one of us help each other in every degree.
Prefer you my cause when you are in presence;
To further your matters to the king let me alone in your absence.
ARISTIPPUS: Friend Carisophus, this shall be done as you would wish. ... 
But, I pray you, tell me thus much by the way --
Whither now from this place will you take your journey?
CARISOPHUS: I will not dissemble -- that were against friendship:
I go into the city some knaves to nip
For talk, with their goods to increase the king's treasure.
In such kind of service I set my chief pleasure.
Farewell, friend Aristippus, now, for a time. [Exit.]
ARISTIPPUS: Adieu, friend Carisophus. In good faith now,
Of force I must laugh at this solemn vow!
Is Aristippus link'd in friendship with Carisophus? ... 
Quid cum tanto asino talis philosophus?
They say Morum similitudo consuit amicitias;
Then how can this friendship between us two come to pass?
We are as like in condition as Jack Fletcher and his bolt:
I brought up in learning, but he is a very dolt
As touching good letters; but otherwise such a crafty knave,
If you seek a whole region his like you cannot have;
A villain for his life; a varlet dyed in grain;
You lose money by him if you sell him for one knave, for he serves for twain;
A flattering parasite; a sycophant also; ... 
A common accuser of men; to the good an open foe.
Of half a word he can make a legend of lies,
Which he will avouch with such tragical cries
As though all were true that comes out of his mouth,
Where, indeed, to be hanged by and by,
He cannot tell one tale but twice he must lie.
He spareth no man's life to get the king's favor;
In which kind of service he hath got such a savor
That he will never leave. Methink then that I
Have done very wisely to join in friendship with him, lest perhaps I ... 
Coming in his way might be nipp'd; for such knaves in presence
We see oft times put honest men to silence.
Yet I have played with his beard in knitting this knot;
I promised friendship; but you love few words -- I spake it, but I meant it not.
Who marks this friendship between us two
Shall judge of the worldly friendship without any more ado;
It may be a right pattern thereof. But true friendship, indeed,
Of nought but of virtue doth truly proceed.
But why do I now enter into philosophy
Which do profess the find kind of courtesy? ... 
I will hence to the court with all haste I may
I think the king be stirring, it is now bright day.
To wait at a pinch still in sight I mean;
For, wot ye what? A new broom sweeps clean.
As to high honor I mind not to climb,
So I mean in the court to lose no time.
Wherein, happy man be his dole, I trust that I
Shall not speed worst, and that very quickly. [Exit.]
[Here entereth Damon and Pithias like mariners.]
DAMON: O Neptune, immortal be thy praise,
For that so safe from Greece we have passed the seas
To this noble city Syracuse, where we ... 
The ancient reign of the Romans may see,
Whose force Greece also heretofore hath known
Whose virtue the shrill trump of fame so far hath blown.
PITHIAS: My Damon, of right high praise we ought to give
To Neptune, and all the gods, that we safely did arrive.
The seas, I think, with contrary winds never raged so!
I am even yet seasick that I faint as I go.
Therefore, let us get some lodging quickly.
But where is Stephano? ... 
[Here entereth Stephano, laden with baggage.]
STEPHANO: Not far hence! a pox take these mariner-knaves!
Not one would help me to carry this stuff. Such drunken slaves
I think be accursed of the gods' own mouths!
DAMON: Stephano, leave thy raging, and let us enter Syracuse.
We will provide lodging, and thou shalt be eased of the burden by and by.
STEPHANO: Good master, make haste! For I tell you plain,
This heavy burden puts poor Stephano to much pain.
PITHIAS: Come on thy ways. Thou shalt be eased, and that anon.
[Exit Pithias, followed by Damon and Stephano.]
[Here entereth Carisophus.]
CARISOPHUS: It is a true saying, that oft hath been spoken:
"The pitcher goeth so long to the water, that he [it] cometh home broken." ... 
My own proof this hath taught me; for truly, sith I
In the city have used to walk very slyly,
Not with one can I meet that will in talk join with me.
And to creep into men's bosoms some talk for to snatch,
By which into one trip or other I might trimly them catch,
And so accuse them -- now not with one can I meet
That will join in talk with me. I am shunn'd like a devil in the street!
My credit is crack'd where I am known. But yet I hear say
Certain strangers are arrived. There were a good prey.
If happily I might meet with them, I fear not, I ... 
But in talk I should trip them, and that very finely.
Which thing I assure you, I do for mine own gain --
Or else I would not plod thus up and down, I tell you plain.
Well, I will for a while to the court to see
What Aristippus doth. I would be loath in favor he should overrun me.
He is a subtle child! He flattereth so finely that I fear me
He will lick all the fat from my lips, and so outwear me.
Therefore I will not be long absent, but at hand.
That all his fine drifts I may understand. [Exit.]
[Here entereth Will and Jack.]
WILL: I wonder what my master Aristippus means now-a-days ... 
That he leaveth philosophy and seeks to please
King Dionysius with such merry toys.
In Dionysius' court now he only joys,
As trim a courtier as the best,
Ready to answer, quick in taunts, pleasant to jest,
A lusty companion to devise with fine dames,
Whose humor to feed his wily wit he frames.
JACK: By Cock, as you say, your master is a minion!
A foul coil he keeps in this court! Aristippus alone
Now rules the roast with his pleasant devices, ... 
That I fear he will put out of conceit my master Carisophus.
WILL: Fear not that, Jack; for like brother and brother,
They are knit in true friendship the one with the other.
They are fellows, you know, and honest men both;
Therefore the one to hinder the other they will be loath.
JACK: Yea, but I have heard say there is falsehood in fellowship.
In the court sometimes one gives another finely the slip;
Which when it is spied, it is laugh'd out with a scoff,
And with sporting and playing quickly shaken off.
In which kind of toying thy master hath such a grace ... 
That he will never blush; he hath a wooden face.
But, Will, my master hath bees in his head;
If he find me here prating, I am but dead.
He is still trotting in the city; there is somewhat in the wind,
His looks bewrays his inward troubled mind.
Therefore I will be packing to the court by and by.
If he be once angry, Jack shall cry, "woe the pie!"
WILL: By'r Lady, if I tarry long here, of the same sauce shall I taste!
For my master sent me on an errand, and bad me make haste.
Therefore we will depart together. [Exit.] ... 
[Here entereth Stephano.]
STEPHANO: Oft times I have heard, before I came hither,
That "no man can serve two masters together";
A sentence so true, as most men do take it,
At any time false that no man can make it.
And yet, by their leave that first have it spoken,
How that may prove false, even here I will open:
For I, Stephano, lo, so named by my father,
At this time serve two masters together,
And love them alike; the one and the other
I duly obey -- I can do no other. ... 
A bondman I am, so nature hath wrought me;
One Damon of Greece, a gentleman, bought me;
To him I stand bound; yet serve I another,
Whom Damon, my master, loves as his own brother,
A gentleman, too, and Pithias he is named,
Fraught with virtue, whom vice never defamed.
These two, since at school they fell acquainted,
In mutual friendship at no time have fainted,
But loved so kindly and friendly each other
As though they were brothers by father and mother. ... 
Pythagoras' learning these two have embraced.
Which both are in virtue so narrowly laced
That all their whole doings do fall to this issue --
To have no respect but only to virtue.
All one in effect, all one in their going.
All one in their study, all one in their doing,
These gentlemen both, being of one condition,
Both alike of my service have all the fruition.
Pithias is joyful if Damon be pleased;
If Pithias be served, then Damon is eased. ... 
Serve one, serve both (so near), who would win them.
I think they have but one heart between them!
In traveling countries we three have contrived
Full many a year; and this day arrived
At Syracuse in Sicilia, that ancient town,
Where my masters are lodged; and I up and down
Go seeking to learn what news here are walking,
To hark of what things the people are talking.
I like not this soil; for as I go plodding
I mark there two, there three, their heads always nodding, ... 
In close-secret wise still whispering together.
If I ask any questions, no man doth answer,
But shaking their heads they go their ways speaking.
I mark how with tears their wet eyes are leaking.
Some strangeness there is that breedeth this musing!
Well, I will to my masters and tell of their using,
That they may learn, and walk wisely together.
I fear we shall curse the time we came hither. [Exit.]
[Here entereth Aristippus and Will.]
ARISTIPPUS: Will, didst thou hear the ladies so talk of me?
What aileth them? From their nips shall I never be free? ... 
WILL: Good faith, sir, all the ladies in the court do plainly report
That without mention of them you can make no sport.
They are your plain-song to sing descant upon;
If they were not, your mirth were gone.
Therefore, master, jest no more with women in any wise.
If you do, by Cock, you are like to know the price!
ARISTIPPUS: By'r Lady, Will, this is good counsel! Plainly to jest
Of women, proof hath taught me, it is not best.
I will change my copy; howbeit I care not a quinch;
I know the gall'd horse will soonest winch. ... 
But learn thou secretly what privily they talk
Of me in the court; among them slyly walk,
And bring me true news thereof.
WILL: I will, sir master, thereof have no doubt; for I,
Where they talk of you, will inform you perfectly.
ARISTIPPUS: Do so, my boy. If thou bring it finely to pass,
For thy good service thou shalt go in thine old coat at Christmas. [Exeunt.]
[Enter Damon, Pithias, Stephano.]
DAMON: Stephano, is all this true that you hast told me?
STEPHANO: Sir, for lies hitherto ye never controll'd me.
O, that we had never set foot on this land, ... 
Where Dionysius reigns with so bloody a hand!
Every day he showeth some token of cruelty;
With blood he hath filled all the streets in the city;
I tremble to hear the people's murmuring;
I lament to see his most cruel dealing;
I think there is no such tyrant under the sun.
O, my dear masters, this morning what hath he done!
DAMON: What is that? Tell us quickly.
STEPHANO: As I this morning passed in the street,
With a woeful man (going to his death) did I meet.
Many people followed; and I of one secretly ... 
Asked the cause why he was condemned to die;
[Who] whispered in mine ear: "Nought hath he done but thus:
In his sleep he dreamed he had killed Dionysius;
Which dream told abroad, was brought to the king in post;
By whom, condemned for suspicion, his life he hath lost."
Marcia was his name, as the people said.
PITHIAS: My dear friend Damon, I blame not Stephano
For wishing we had not come hither, seeing it is so
That for so small cause such cruel death doth ensue. ... 
DAMON: My Pithias, where tyrants reign such cases are not new,
Which fearing their own state for great cruelty,
To sit fast, as they think, do execute speedily
All such as any light suspicion have tainted.
STEPHANO: [Aside.] With such quick carvers I list not to be acquainted!
DAMON: So are they never in quiet, but in suspicion still;
When one is made away, they take occasion another to kill;
Ever in fear, having no trusty friend, void of all peoples' love,
And in their own conscience a continual hell they prove.
PITHIAS: As things by their contraries are always best proved, ... 
How happy then are merciful princes, of their people beloved!
Having sure friends everywhere, no fear doth touch them;
They may safely spend the day pleasantly, at night secure dormiunt in utranque aurem.
O, my Damon, if choice were offered me I would choose to be Pithias
As I am -- Damon's friend -- rather than to be King Dionysius.
STEPHANO: And good cause why: for you are entirely beloved of one,
And, as far as I hear, Dionysius is beloved of none.
DAMON: That state is most miserable! Thrice happy are we,
Whom true love hath joined in perfect amity;
Which amity first sprung -- without vaunting be it spoken, that is true -- ... 
Of likeness of manners, took root by company, and now is conserved by virtue;
Which virtue always, though worldly things do not frame,
Yet doth she achieve to her followers immortal fame.
Whereof if men were careful, for virtue's sake only
They would honor friendship, and not for commodity.
But such as for profit in friendship do link,
When storms come they slide away sooner than a man will think.
My Pithias, the sum of my talk falls to this issue --
To prove no friendship is sure but that which is grounded on virtue.
PITHIAS: My Damon, of this thing there needs no proof to me. ... 
The gods forbid but that Pithias with Damon in all things should agree.
For why is it said, Amicus alter ipse,
But that true friends should be two in body, but one in mind,
As it were, one transformed into another? Which, against kind
Though it seem, yet in good faith, when I am alone
I forget I am Pithias, methink I am Damon.
STEPHANO: That could I never do, to forget myself! Full well I know,
Wheresoever I go, that I am pauper Stephano?
But I pray you, sir, for all your philosophy,
See that in this court you walk very wisely. ... [340
You are but newly come hither; being strangers, ye know,
Many eyes are bent on you in the streets as ye go.
Many spies are abroad; you can not be too circumspect.
DAMON: Stephano, because thou art careful of me, thy master, I do thee praise.
Yet think this for a surety: no state to displease
By talk or otherwise my friend and I intend; we will here
As men that come to see the soil and manners of all men of every degree.
Pythagoras said that this world was like a stage,
Whereon many play their parts; the lookers-on, the sage
Philosophers are, saith he, whose part is to learn ... 
The manners of all nations, and the good from the bad to discern.
STEPHANO: Good faith, sir, concerning the people -- they are not gay;
And, as far as I see, they be mummers, for nought they say
For the most part, whatsoever you ask them.
The soil is such that to live here I cannot like.
DAMON: Thou speakest according to thy learning; but I say,
Omne solum forti patria, a wise man may live everywhere.
Therefore, my dear friend Pithias,
Let us view this town in every place,
And then consider the people's manners also. ... 
PITHIAS: As you will, my Damon. But how say you, Stephano?
Is it not best, ere we go further, to take some repast?
STEPHANO: In faith, I like well this question, sir! For all your haste,
To eat somewhat I pray you think it no folly.
It is high dinner time, I know by my belly.
DAMON: Then let us to our lodging depart. When dinner is done
We will view this city as we have begun. [Exeunt.]
[Here entereth Carisophus.]
CARISOPHUS: Once again in hope of good wind I hoise up my sail:
I go into the city to find some prey for mine avail.
I hunger while I may see these strangers that lately ... 
Arrived. I were safe if once I might meet them happily.
Let them bark that lust at this kind of gain,
He is a fool that for his profit will not take pain!
Though it be joined with other men's hurt, I care not at all.
For profit I will accuse any man, hap what shall.
But soft, sirs; I pray you hush! What are they that comes here?
By their apparel and countenance some strangers they appear.
I will shroud myself secretly even here for a while,
To hear all their talk, that I may them beguile. [He stands aside.]
[Here entereth Damon and Stephano.]
STEPHANO: A short horse soon curried! My belly waxeth thinner; ... 
I am as hungry now as when I went to dinner.
Your philosophical diet is so fine and small
That you may eat your dinner and supper at once, and not surfeit at all.
DAMON: Stephano, much meat breeds heaviness; thin diet makes thee light.
STEPHANO: I may be lighter thereby, but I shall never run the faster.
DAMON: I have had sufficiently; discourse of amity,
Which I had at dinner with Pithias, and his pleasant company,
Hath fully satisfied me. It doth me good to feed mine eyes on him.
STEPHANO: Course or discourse, your course is very coarse. For all your talk,
You had but one bare course, and that was pick, rise, and walk.
And surely, for all your talk of philosophy, ... 
I never heard that a man with words could fill his belly.
Feed your eyes, quoth you? The reason from my wisdom swerveth;
I stared on you both -- and yet my belly starveth!
DAMON: Ah, Stephano, small diet maketh a fine memory.
STEPHANO: I care not for your crafty sophistry.
You two are fine; let me be fed like a gross knave still.
I pray you license me for a while to have my will
At home to tarry whiles you take view of this city.
To find some odd victuals in a corner I am very witty. ... 
DAMON: At your pleasure, sir; I will wait on myself this day,
Yet attend upon Pithias, which for a purpose tarrieth at home;
So doing, you wait upon me also.
STEPHANO: With wings on my feet I go! [Exit.]
DAMON: Not in vain the poet saith, Naturam furca expellas, tamen usque recurret;
For train up a bondman never to so good a behavior,
Yet in some point of servility he will savor:
As this Stephano, trusty to me his master, loving and kind,
Yet touching his belly a very bondman I him find.
He is to be borne withal, being so just and true.
I assure you, I would not change him for no new. ... 
But methinks this is a pleasant city.
The seat is good, and yet not strong; and that is great pity.
CARISOPHUS: [Aside] I am safe; he is mine own!
DAMON: The air subtle and fine; the people should be witty
That dwell under this climate in so pure a region.
A trimmer plat I have not seen in my peregrination.
Nothing misliketh me in this country
But that I hear such muttering of cruelty.
Fame reporteth strange things of Dionysius. ... 
But kings' matters, passing our reach, pertain not to us.
CARISOPHUS: [Advancing] Dionysius, quoth you? Since the world began,
In Sicilia never reigned so cruel a man!
A despiteful tyrant to all men! I marvel, I
That none makes him away, and that suddenly.
DAMON: My friend, the gods forbid so cruel a thing
That any man should lift up his sword against the king,
Or seek other means by death him to prevent,
Whom to rule on earth the mighty gods have sent.
But, my friend, leave off this talk of King Dionysius. ... 
CARISOPHUS: Why, sir? He cannot hear us.
DAMON: What, then? An nescis longas regibus esse manus?
It is no safe talking of them that strikes afar off.
But, leaving kings' matters, I pray you show me this courtesy,
To describe in few words the state of this city.
A traveler I am, desirous to know
The state of each country wherever I go --
Not to the hurt of any state, but to get experience thereby.
It is not for nought that the poet doth cry,
Dic mihi musa virum, captae post tempore Troyae, ... 
Qui mores hominum multorum vidit et urbes.
In which verses, as some writers do scan,
The poet describeth a perfect wise man;
Even so I, being a stranger addicted to philosophy,
To see the state of countries myself I apply.
CARISOPHUS: Sir, I like this intent. But may I ask your name without scorn?
DAMON: My name is Damon, well known in my country, a gentleman born.
CARISOPHUS: You do wisely to search the state of each country
To bear intelligence thereof whither you lust. [Aside] He is a spy.
Sir, I pray you have patience awhile, for I have to do hereby. ... 
View this weak part of this city as you stand, and I very quickly
Will return to you again; and then will I show
The state of all this country, and of the court also. [Exit.]
DAMON: I thank you for your courtesy. This chanceth well, that I
Met with this gentleman so happily;
Which, as it seemeth, misliketh something,
Else he would not talk so boldly of the king,
And that to a stranger. But lo, where he comes in haste.
[Here entereth Carisophus and Snap.]
CARISOPHUS: This is he, fellow Snap. Snap him up! Away with him!
SNAP: Good fellow, thou must go with me to the court. ... 
DAMON: To the court, sir! And why?
CARISOPHUS: Well, we will dispute that before the king. Away with him quickly!
DAMON: Is this the courtesy you promised me, and that very lately?
CARISOPHUS: Away with him, I say!
DAMON: Use no violence; I will go with you quietly. [Exeunt omnes.]
[Here entereth Aristippus.]
ARISTIPPUS: Ah, sirrah, by'r Lady, Aristippus likes Dionysius' court very well,
Which in passing joys and pleasures doth excel,
Where he hath dapsiles caenas, geniales lectos, et auro
Fulgentem tyranni zonam.
I have plied the harvest, and stroke when the iron was hot. ... 
When I spied my time, I was not squeamish to crave, God wot!
But with some pleasant toy I crept into the king's bosom,
For which Dionysius gave me Auri talentum magnum --
A large reward for so simple services.
What, then? The king's praise standeth chiefly in bountifulness;
Which thing, though I told the king very pleasantly,
Yet can I prove it by good writers of great antiquity.
But that shall not need at this time, since that I have abundantly;
When I lack hereafter I will use this point of philosophy.
But now, whereas I have felt the king's liberality, ... 
As princely as it came I will spend it as regally.
Money is current, men say, and current comes of currendo,
Then will I make my money run, as his nature requireth, I trow.
For what becomes a philosopher best
But to despise money above the rest?
And yet not so despise it but to have in store
Enough to serve his own turn, and somewhat more.
With sundry sports and taunts yesternight I delighted the king,
That with his loud laughter the whole court did ring --
And I thought he laugh'd not merrier than I when I got his money! ... 
But, mumbudget! For Carisophus I espy
In haste to come hither. I must handle the knave finely.
O Carisophus! My dearest friend! My trusty companion!
What news with you? Where have you been so long?
[Here entereth Carisophus.]
CARISOPHUS: My best beloved friend Aristippus, I am come at last.
I have not spent all my time in waste;
I have got a prey, and that a good one, I trow.
ARISTIPPUS: What prey is that? Fain would I know.
CARISOPHUS: Such a crafty spy I have caught, I dare say,
As never was in Sicilia before this day! ... 
Such a one as viewed every weak place in the city,
Surviewed the haven, and each bulwark; in talk very witty --
And yet by some words himself he did bewray.
ARISTIPPUS: I think so in good faith -- as you did handle him.
CARISOPHUS: I handled him clerkly. I joined in talk with him courteously;
But when we were entered, I let him speak his will; and I
Suck'd out thus much of his words, that I made him say plainly
He was come hither to know the state of the city;
And not only this, but that he would understand
The state of Dionysius' court and of the whole land. ... 
Which words when I heard, I desired him to stay
Till I had done a little business of the way,
Promising him to return again quickly; and so did convey
Myself to the court for Snap the tipstaff; which came and upsnatched him.
Brought him to the court, and in the porter's lodge dispatched him.
After I ran to Dionysius as fast as I could,
And bewrayed this matter to him which I have you told.
Which thing when he heard, being very merry before,
He suddenly fell in dump, and foaming like a boar,
At last he swore in great rage that he should die ... 
By the sword or the wheel, and that very shortly.
I am too shamefast; for my travail and toil
I crave nothing of Dionysius but only his spoil.
Little hath he about him but a few moth-eaten crowns of gold.
Cha pouch'd them up already -- they are sure in hold.
And now I go into the city, to say sooth,
To see what he hath at his lodging to make up my mouth.
ARISTIPPUS: My Carisophus, you have done good service. But what is the spy's name?
CARISOPHUS: He is called Damon, born in Greece, from whence lately he came.
ARISTIPPUS: By my troth, I will go see him, and speak with him too, if I may. ... 
CARISOPHUS: Do so, I pray you. But yet, by the way,
As occasion serveth, commend my service to the king.
ARISTIPPUS: Dictum sapienti sat est: friend Carisophus, shall I forget that thing?
No, I warrant you! Though I say little to your face,
I will lay on with my mouth for you to Dionysius, when I am in place.
[Aside.] If I speak one word for such a knave, hang me! [Exit.]
CARISOPHUS: Our fine philosopher, our trim learned elf,
Is gone to see as false a spy as himself!
Damon smatters as well as he of crafty philosophy,
And can turn cat in the pan very prettily; ... 
But Carisophus hath given him such a mighty check
As, I think, in the end will break his neck.
What care I for that? Why would he then pry,
And learn the secret estate of our country and city?
He is but a stranger! By his fall let others be wise.
I care not who fall, so that I may rise!
As for fine Aristippus, I will keep in with him;
He is a shrewd fool to deal withal; he can swim.
And yet, by my troth, to speak my conscience plainly,
I will use his friendship to mine own commodity. ... 
While Dionysius favoreth him, Aristippus shall be mine;
But if the king once frown on him, then good night, Tomalin!
He shall be as strange as though I never saw him before.
But I tarry too long; I will prate no more.
Jack, come away!
JACK: At hand, sir.
CARISOPHUS: At Damon's lodging if that you see
Any stir to arise, be still at hand by me;
Rather than I will lose the spoil I will blade it out.
[Exeunt Carisophus and Jack.]
[Here entereth Pithias and Stephano.]
PITHIAS: What strange news are these! Ah, my Stephano, ... 
Is my Damon in prison, as the voice doth go?
STEPHANO: It is true. O cruel hap! He is taken for a spy,
And, as they say, by Dionysius' own mouth condemned to die.
PITHIAS: To die! Alas, for what cause?
STEPHANO: A sycophant falsely accused him; other cause there is none.
But, O Jupiter, of all wrongs the revenger,
Seest thou this unjustice, and wilt thou stay any longer
From heaven to send down thy hot consuming fire
To destroy the workers of wrong, which provoke thy just ire?
Alas, Master Pithias, what shall we do, ... 
Being in a strange country, void of friends and acquaintance too?
Ah, poor Stephano, hast thou lived to see this day,
To see thy true master unjustly made away?
PITHIAS: Stephano, seeing the matter is come to this extremity,
Let us make virtue our friend of mere necessity.
Run thou to the court, and understand secretly
As much as thou canst of Damon's cause; and I
Will make some means to entreat Aristippus.
He can do much, as I hear, with King Dionysius.
STEPHANO: I am gone, sir. Ah, I would to God my travail and pain ... 
Might restore my master to his liberty again!
PITHIAS: Ah, woeful Pithias, sith now I am alone,
What way shall I first begin to make my moan?
What words shall I find apt for my complaint?
Damon, my friend, my joy, my life, is in peril! Of force I must now faint.
But, O music, as in joyful times thy merry notes I did borrow,
So now lend me thy yearnful tunes to utter my sorrow.
[Here Pithias sings, and the regals play.]
Awake, ye woeful wights
That long have wept in woe!
Resign to me your plaints and tears, ... 
My hapless hap to show.
My woe no tongue can tell,
Ne pen can well descry.
O, what a death is this to hear,
Damon my friend must die!
The loss of worldly wealth
Man's wisdom may restore;
And physic hath provided too
A salve for every sore:
But my true friend once lost, ... 
No art can well supply.
Then, what a death is this to hear,
Damon my friend must die!
My mouth, refuse the food
That should my limbs sustain.
Let sorrow sink into my breast
And ransack every vein.
You Furies, all at once
On me your torments try.
Why should I live, since that I hear ... 
Damon my friend must die?
Gripe me, you greedy grief,
And present pangs of death!
You sisters three with cruel hands,
With speed now stop my breath!
Shrine me in clay alive.
Some good man stop mine eye.
O death, come now, seeing I hear
Damon my friend must die.
[He speaketh this after the song.]
In vain I call for death, which heareth not my complaint. ... 
But what wisdom is this, in such extremity to faint?
Multum juva[t] in re mala annimus bonus.
I will to the court myself to make friends, and that presently.
I will never forsake my friend in time of misery.
Do I see Stephano amazed hither to run?
STEPHANO: O Pithias! Pithias! We are all undone!
Mine own ears have sucked in mine own sorrow!
I heard Dionysius swear that Damon should die tomorrow.
PITHIAS: How camest thou so near the presence of the king
That thou mightest hear Dionysius speak this thing? ... 
STEPHANO: By friendship I gat into the court, where in great audience
I heard Dionysius with how own mouth give this cruel sentence
By these express words: that Damon the Greek, that crafty spy,
Without further judgment tomorrow should die.
Believe me, Pithias, with these ears I heard it myself.
PITHIAS: Then how near is my death also! Ah, woe is me!
Ah my Damon, another myself, shall I forego thee?
STEPHANO: Sir, there is no time or lamenting now. It behoveth us
To make means to them which can do much with Dionysius,
That he be not made away ere his cause be fully heard; for we see ... 
By evil report things be made to princes far worse than they be.
But lo, yonder cometh Aristippus, in great favor with king Dionysius.
Entreat him to speak a good word to the king for us,
And in the mean season I will to your lodging to see all things safe there.
PITHIAS: To that I agree. But let us slip aside his talk to hear.
[He stands aside.]
[Here entereth Aristippus.]
ARISTIPPUS: Here is a sudden change, indeed! A strange metamorphosis!
This court is clean altered. Who would have thought this?
Dionysius, of late so pleasant and merry,
Is quite changed now into such melancholy
That nothing can please him. He walketh up and down ... 
Fretting and chaffing; on every man he doth frown.
In so much that when I in pleasant words began to play,
So sternly he frowned on me, and knit me up so short,
I perceive it is no safe playing with lions but when it please them;
If you claw where it itch not, you shall disease them --
And so perhaps get a clap. Mine own proof taught me this --
That it is very good to be merry and wise.
The only cause of this hurly-burly is Carisophus, that wicked man,
Which lately took Damon for a spy, a poor gentleman,
And hath incensed the king against him so despitefully ... 
That Dionysius hath judged him tomorrow to die.
I have talk'd with Damon, whom though in words I found very witty,
Yet was he more curious than wise in viewing this city.
But truly, for aught I can learn, there is no cause why
So suddenly and cruelly he should be condemned to die.
Howsoever it be, this is the short and long --
I dare not gainsay the king, be it right or wrong.
I am sorry; and that is all I may or can do in this case.
Nought availeth persuasion where froward opinion taketh place.
PITHIAS: Sir, if humble suits you would not despise, ... 
Then bow on he your pitiful eyes.
My name is Pithias, in Greece well known,
A perfect friend to that woeful Damon
Which now a poor captive in this court doth lie,
By the king's own mouth, as I hear, condemned to die;
For whom I crave your mastership's goodness,
To stand his friend in this his great distress.
Nought hath he done worthy of death; but very fondly,
Being a stranger, he viewed this city,
For no evil practices, but to feed his eyes. ... 
But seeing Dionysius is informed otherwise,
My suit is to you, when you see time and place,
To assuage the king's anger, and to purchase his grace.
In which doing you shall not do good to one only,
But you shall further two, and that fully.
ARISTIPPUS: My friend, in this case I can do you no pleasure.
PITHIAS: Sir, you serve in the court, as fame doth tell.
ARISTIPPUS: I am of the court, indeed, but none of the Council.
PITHIAS: As I hear, none is in greater favor with the king than you at this day.
ARISTIPPUS: The more in favor, the less I dare say. ... 
PITHIAS: It is a courtier's praise to help strangers in misery.
ARISTIPPUS: To help another, and hurt myself, it is an evil point of courtesy.
PITHIAS: You shall not hurt yourself to speak for the innocent.
ARISTIPPUS: He is not innocent whom the king judgeth nocent.
PITHIAS: Why, sir, do you think this matter past all remedy?
ARISTIPPUS: So far past that Dionysius hath sworn Damon tomorrow shall die.
PITHIAS: This word my trembling heart cutteth in two.
Ah, sir, in this woeful case what wist [ye] I best to do?
ARISTIPPUS: Best to content yourself when there is no remedy.
He is well relieved that foreknoweth his misery. ... 
Yet, if any comfort be, it resteth in Eubulus,
The chiefest counselor about King Dionysius,
Which pitieth Damon's case in this great extremity,
Persuading the king from all kind of cruelty.
PITHIAS: The mighty gods preserve you for this word of comfort!
Taking my leave of your goodness, I will now resort
To Eubulus, that good counselor.
But hark! Methink I hear a trumpet blow.
ARISTIPPUS: The king is at hand. Stand close in the prease. Beware! If he know
You are friend to Damon, he will take you for a spy also. ... 
Farewell; I dare not be seen with you.
[Here entereth King Dionysius, Eubulus the Counselor, and Gronno the Hangman.]
Go to Damon & Pithias Part 2
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