The Works of Thomas Nashe
Summers Last Will and Testament

Modern spelling. Transcribed by BF. copyright © 2002

Items discussed in the glossary are underlined.

              A PLEASANT
                 Comedie, called
        Summers last will and Testament.
              Written by Thomas Nash.
Imprinted at London by Simon Stafford,
                    For Water Burre.


WILL SUMMER, with Satyrs and Wood-nymphs.
VER, with his Train.
SOL, with a Noise of Musitians.
SOLSTITIUM, with Shepherds.
ORION, with Huntsmen.
HARVEST, with Reapers.
BACCHUS, with Companions.
Boy with an Epilogue
Morris dancers, with the Hobby-Horse
Three Clowns
Three Maids

Summers Last Will and Testament
Appendix I
   Latin Translations
   Place, Date of Performance
   Suggested Reading
Appendix II: Connections
Appendix III: Language, Vocabulary

[Enter Will Summers in his fool's coat but half on, coming out.]

Noctem peccatis, & fraudibus obiice nubem. There is
no such fine time to play the knave in as the night.
I am a Goose, or a Ghost, at least; for what with
turmoil of getting my fool's apparel, and care of being
perfect, I am sure I have not yet supped tonight. Will
Summer's Ghost I should be, come to present you with
Summer's last will and Testament. Be it so, if my cousin
Ned will lend me his Chain and his Fiddle. Other
stately paced Prologues use to attire themselves within;
I, that have a toy in my head more than ordinary, and use ... [10]
to go without money, without garters, without girdle, without
a hat-band, without points to my hose, without a knife
to my dinner, and make so much use of this word without
in everything, will here dress me without. Dick Huntley
cries, Begin, begin; and all the whole house, For shame,
come away; when I had my things but now brought me
out of the Laundry. God forgive me, I did not see my
Lord before. I'll set a good face on it, as though what
I had talked idly all this while were my part. So it is, boni
viri, that one fool presents another; and I, a fool by ... [20]
nature and by art, do speak to you in the person of
the Idiot, our Playmaker. He, like a Fop & an Ass,
must be making himself a public laughing-stock, & have
no thank for his labor; where other Magisterij, whose
invention is far more exquisite, are content to sit still and
do nothing. I'll show you what a scurvy Prologue he
had made me, in an old vein of similitudes; if you be
good fellows, give it the hearing, that you may judge
of him thereafter.

The Prologue.

At a solemn feast of the Triumviri in Rome, it was ... [30]
seen and observed that the birds ceased to sing,
& sat solitary on the house-tops, by reason of the
sight of a painted Serpent set openly to view. So fares it
with us novices, that here betray our imperfections: we,
afraid to look on the imaginary serpent of Envy, painted
in men's affections, have ceased to tune any music of
mirth to your ears this twelve-month, thinking that, as it is
the nature of the serpent to hiss, so childhood and ignorance
would play the goslings, contemning and condemning what
they understood not. Their censures we weigh not, whose ... [40]
senses are not yet unswaddled. The little minutes will
be continually striking, though no man regard them.
Whelps will bark before they can see, and strive to bite
before they have teeth. Politianus speaketh of a beast
who, while he is cut on the table, drinketh, and represents
the motions & voices of a living creature. Such like
foolish beasts are we, who, whilest we are cut, mocked,
& flouted at, in every man's common talk, will
notwithstanding proceed to shame ourselves, to make sport. No
man pleaseth all; we seek to please one. Didymus wrote ... [50]
four thousand books, or, as some say, six thousand, of
the art of Grammar. Our Author hopes it may be
as lawful for him to write a thousand lines of as light
a subject. Socrates (whom the Oracle pronounced the
wisest man of Greece) sometimes danced. Scipio and
Lelius by the seaside played at pebble-stone. Semel
insanivimus omnes. Every man cannot, with Archimedes,
make a heaven of brass, or dig gold out of the iron mines
of the law. Such odd trifles as Mathematicians' experiments
be, Artificial flies to hang in the air by themselves, ... [60]
dancing balls, an egg shell that shall climb up to the
top of a spear, fiery-breathing gourdes, Poeta noster
professeth not to make. Placeat sibi quisq; licebit. What's
a fool but his babble? Deep-reaching wits, here is no
deep stream for you to angle in. Moralizers, you that
wrest a never-meant meaning of everything, applying
all things to the present time, keep your attention for the
common Stage; for here are no quips in Characters for
you to read. Vain glozers, gather what you will. Spite,
spell backwards what you canst. As the Parthians fight, ... [70]
flying away, so will we prate and talk, but stand to
nothing that we say.

[At this point, Grossart adds "End of Prologue" and inserts a space.]

How say you, my masters, do you not laugh at him
for a Cockscomb? Why, he hath made a Prologue longer
than his Play; nay, 'tis no Play neither, but a show. I'll
be sworn, the Jig of Rowland's God-son is a Giant in
comparison of it. What can be made of Summers last will
& Testament? Such another thing as Gyllian of Braynford's
will, where she bequeathed a score of farts among'st
her friends. Forsooth, because the plague reigns in most ... [80]
places in this latter end of summer, Summer must come in
sick: he must call his officers to account, yield his throne
to Autumn, make Winter his Executor, with tittle-tattle
Tom boy: God give you good night in Watling street.
I care not what I say now, for I play no more than you
hear; & some of that you heard too (by your leave)
was extempore. He were as good have let me had the
best part; for I'll be revenged on him to the uttermost, in
this person of Will Summer, which I have put on to play
the Prologue, and mean not to put off till the play ... [90]
be done. I'll sit as a Chorus, and flout the Actors and
him at the end of every Scene: I know they will not
interrupt me, for fear of marring of all: but look to your
cues, my masters; for I intend to play the knave in cue,
and put you besides all your parts, if you take not the
better heed. Actors, you Rogues, come away, clear your
throats, blow your noses, and wipe your mouths ere you
enter, that you may take no occasion to spit or to cough,
when you are non plus. And this I bar, over and besides:
That none of you stroke your beards to make action, ... [100]
play with your cod-piece points, or stand fumbling on your
buttons, when you know not how to bestow your fingers.
Serve God, and act cleanly; a fit of mirth, and an old song
first, if you will.

[Enter Summer, leaning on Autumn's and Winter's shoulders, and attended on with a train of Satyrs and wood-Nymphs, singing: Vertumnus also following him.]
Fair Summer droops, droop men and beasts therefore:
So fair a summer look for never more.
All good things vanish, less than in a day,
Peace, plenty, pleasure, suddenly decay.
Go not yet away, bright soul of the sad year;
The earth is hell when thou leav'st to appear. ... [110]
What, shall those flowers that decked thy garland erst,
Upon thy grave be wastefully dispersed?
O trees, consume your sap in sorrow's source;
Streams, turn to tears your tributary course.
Go not yet hence, bright soul of the sad year;
The earth is hell, when thou leav'st to appear.

[The Satyrs and wood-Nymphs go out singing, and leaveand Winter and Autumn, with Vertumnus, on the stage.]
WILL SUMMER: A couple of pretty boys, if they would
wash their faces, and were well-breeched an hour or two.
The rest of the green men have reasonable voices, good
to sing catches, or the great Jowben by the fires-side, in a ... [120]
winter's evening. But let us hear what Summer can say
for himself, why he should not be hissed at.

SUMMER: What pleasure always lasts? No joy endures:
Summer I was, I am not as I was;
Harvest and age have whitened my green head;
On Autumn now and Winter must I lean.
Needs must he fall, whom none but foes uphold.
Thus must the happiest man have his black day:
Omnibus una manet nox, & calcanda semel via lethi.
This month have I lain languishing abed, ... [130]
Looking each hour to yield my life and throne;
And died I had indeed unto the earth,
But that Eliza, England's beauteous Queen,
On whom all seasons prosperously attend,
Forbad the execution of my fate,
Until her joyful progress was expired.
For her doth Summer live, and linger here,
And wisheth long to live to her content;
But wishes are not had when they wish well.
I must depart, my death-day is set down; ... [140]
To these two must I leave my wheaten crown.
So unto unthrifts rich men leave their lands,
Who in an hour consume long labor's gains.
True is it that divinest Sidney sung,
O, he is marred, that is for others made.
Come near, my friends, for I am near my end.
In presence of this Honorable train,
Who love me (for I patronize their sports),
Mean I to make my final Testament;
But first I'll call my officers to count, ... [150]
And of the wealth I gave them to dispose,
Known what is left, I may know what to give.
Vertumnus then, that turn'st the year about,
Summon them one-by-one to answer me;
First, Ver, the spring, unto whose custody
I have committed more than to the rest:
The choice of all my fragrant meads and flowers,
And what delights soere nature affords.

VERTUMNUS: I will, my Lord. Ver, lusty Ver, by the name
of lusty Ver, come into the court! Lose a mark in issues. ... [160]

[Enter Ver with his train, over-laid with suits of green moss, representing
short grass, singing.

The Song.
Spring, the sweet spring, is the year's pleasant King,
Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring,
Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing,
Cuckoo, jug, jug, pu wee, to witta woo.
The Palm and May make country houses gay,
Lambs frisk and play, the Shepherds pipe all day,
And we hear aye birds tune this merry lay,
Cuckoo, jug, jug, pu wee, to witta woo.
The fields breathe sweet, the daisies kiss our feet,
Young lovers meet, old wives a sunning sit, ... [170]
In every street, these tunes our ears do greet,
Cuckoo, jug, jug, pu wee, to witta woo.
Spring, the sweet spring.

WILL SUMMER: By my troth, they have voices as clear
as Crystal; this is a pratty thing, if it be for nothing but
to go a begging with.

SUMMER: Believe me, Ver, but thou art pleasant bent;
This humor should import a harmless mind:
Knowest thou the reason why I sent for thee?

VER: No, faith, nor care not whether I do or no. ... [180]
If you will dance a Galliard, so it is; if not,
Falangtado, Falangtado, to wear the black and yellow:
Falangtado, Falangtado, my mates are gone, I'll follow.

SUMMER: Nay, stay a while, we must confer and talk.
Ver, call to mind I am thy sovereign Lord,
And what thou hast, of me thou hast and hold'st.
Unto no other end I sent for thee,
But to demand a reckoning at thy hands,
How well or ill thou hast employed my wealth.

VER: If that be all, we will not disagree: ... [190]
A clean trencher and a napkin you shall have presently.

WILL SUMMER: The truth is, this fellow hath been a tapster
in his days.

[Ver goes in and fetcheth out the Hobby horse & the morris , who dance about.]

SUMMER: How now? Is this the reckoning we shall have?

WINTER: My Lord, he doth abuse you: brook it not.

AUTUMN: Summa totalis, I fear, will prove him but a fool.

VER: About, about, lively, put your horse to it, rein
him harder, jerk him with your wand, sit fast, sit fast, man;
fool, hold up your babble there.

WILL SUMMER: O brave hall! O, well said, butcher. ... [200]
Now for the credit of Worcestershire. The finest set of Morris-
dancers that is between this and Stretham; marry, methinks
there is one of them danceth like a Clothier's horse,
with a wool-pack on his back. You, friend with the
Hobby-horse, go not too fast, for fear of wearing out my
Lord's tile-stones with your hob-nails.

VER: So, so, so; trot the ring twice over, and away.
May it please my Lord, this is the grand capital sum;
but there are certain parcels behind, as you shall see.

SUMMER: Nay, nay, no more; for this is all too much. ... [210]

VER: Content yourself, we'll have variety.

[Here enter 3 Clowns and 3 Maids, singing this song, dancing.]
Trip and go, heave and ho,
Up and down, to and fro,
From the town to the grove,
Two and two let us rove
A Maying, a playing:
Love hath no gainsaying:
So merrily trip and go.

WILL SUMMER: Beshrew my heart, of a number of ill legs
I never saw worse dancers: how blest are you, that the ... [220]
wenches of the parish do not see you!

SUMMER: Presumptuous Ver, uncivil-nurtured boy,
Think'st I will be derided thus of thee?
Is this th' account and reckoning that thou mak'st?

VER: Truth, my Lord, to tell you plain, I can give you
no other account: nam quae habui, perdidi; what I had, I
have spent on good fellows; in these sports you have seen,
which are proper to the Spring, and others of like sort (as
giving wenches green gowns, making garlands for Fencers,
and tricking up children gay) have I bestowed all my flowery ... [230]
treasure, and flower of my youth.

WILL SUMMER: A small matter. I know one spent, in
less than a year, eight and fifty pounds in mustard, and
another that ran in debt, in the space of four or five year,
about fourteen thousand pound in lute-strings and gray

SUMMER: O monstrous unthrift, whoere heard the like?
The sea's vast throat in so short tract of time,
Devoureth nor consumeth half so much.
How well might'st thou have lived within thy bounds! ... [240]

VER: What talk you to me of living within my bounds?
I tell you, none but Asses live within their bounds: the
silly beasts, if they be put in a pasture that is eaten bare to
the very earth, & where there is nothing to be had but thistles,
will rather fall soberly to those thistles, and be hunger-starved,
than they will offer to break their bounds; whereas the
lusty courser, if he be in a barren plot and spy better
grass in some pasture near adjoining, breaks over hedge
and ditch, and to go, e'er he will be pent in, and not have
his belly full. Peradventure the horses lately sworn to be ... [250]
stolen carried that youthful mind who, if they had been
Asses, would have been yet extant.

WILL SUMMER: Thus we may see, the longer we live,
the more we shall learn; I ne'er thought honesty an
ass, till this day.

VER: This world is transitory; it was made of nothing,
and it must to nothing; wherefore, if we will do the will
of our high Creator (whose will it is, that it pass to
nothing), we must help to consume it to nothing. Gold
is more vile than men: Men die in thousands, and ten ... [260]
thousands, yea, many times in hundred thousands, in one
battle. If then the best husband be so liberal of his
best handy-work, to what end should we make much
of a glittering excrement, or doubt to spend at a banquet
as many pounds as he spends men at a battle? Methinks
I honor Geta, the Roman Emperor, for a brave-minded
fellow; for he commanded a banquet to be made him of
all meats under the Sun; which were served in after the
order of the Alphabet; and the Clerk of the kitchen,
following the last dish (which was two mile off from the ... [270]
foremost), brought him an Index of their several names:
Neither did he pingle when it was set on the board,
but for the space of three days and three nights never rose
from the Table.

WILL SUMMER: O intolerable lying villain, that was
never begotten without the consent of a whetstone!

SUMMER: Ungracious man, how fondly he argueth!

VER: Tell me, I pray, wherefore was gold laid under
our feet in the veins of the earth, but that we should
contemn it, and tread upon it, and so consequently tread ... [280]
thrift under our feet? It was not known till the Iron
age, donec facinus invasit mortales, as the Poet says; and
the Scythians always detested it. I will prove it, that an
unthrift, of any, comes nearest a happy man, in so much
as he comes nearest to beggary. Cicero saith, summum
bonum consists in omnium rerum vacatione, that it is the
chiefest felicity that may be, to rest from all labors.
Now, who doth so much vacare a rebus? Who rests so
much? Who hath so little to do, as the beggar?
Who can sing so merry a note, ... [290]
As he that cannot change a groat?
Cui nil est, nil deest; he that hath nothing, wants nothing.
On the other side, it is said of the Carl, Omnio habeo nec
quicquam habeo
: I have all things, yet want everything.
Multi mihi vitio vertunt, quia egeo, saith Marcus Cato
in Aulus Gellius, at ego illis, quia nequent egere: Many
upbraid me, sayeth he, because I am poor, but I upbraid
them, because they cannot live if they were poor.
It is a common proverb, Divesq; miserq; a rich man,
and a miserable; nam natura paucis contenta, none so ... [300]
contented as the poor man. Admit that the chiefest
happiness were not rest or ease, but knowledge, as Herillus,
Alcidamas, & many of Socrates followers affirm; why,
paupertas omnes perdocet artes, poverty instructs a man
in all arts, it makes a man hardy and venturous; and
therefore it is called of the Poets, Paupertas audax, valiant
poverty. It is not so much subject to inordinate desires as
wealth or prosperity. Non habet unde suum paupertas
pascat amorem
: poverty hath not wherewithal to feed
lust. All the Poets were beggars: All Alchemists and all ..[310]
Philosophers are beggars: Omnia mea mecum porto, quoth
Bias, when he had nothing but bread and cheese in a
leathern bag, and two or three books in his bosom.
Saint Francis, a holy Saint, & never had any money.
It is madness to dote upon muck. That young man
of Athens (Aelianus makes mention of) may be an example
to us, who doted so extremely on the image of Fortune
that, when he might not enjoy it, he died for sorrow.
The earth yields all her fruits together, and why should
not we spend them together? I thank heavens on my ... [320]
knees, that have made me an unthrift.

SUMMER: O vanity itself! O wit ill spent!
So study thousands not to mend their lives,
But to maintain the sin they most affect,
To be hell's advocates gainst their own souls.
Ver, since thou giv'st such praise to beggary,
And hast defended it so valiantly,
This be thy penance; Thou shalt nere appear,
Or come abroad, but Lent shall wait on thee;
His scarcity may counter-vail thy waste. ... [330]
Riot may flourish, but finds want at last.
Take him away, that knoweth no good way,
And lead him the next way to woe and want. [Exit Ver.]
Thus in the paths of knowledge many stray,
And from the means of life fetch their decay.

WILL SUMMER: Heigh ho. Here is a coil indeed
to bring beggars to stocks. I promise you truly, I was
almost asleep; I thought I had been at a Sermon. Well,
For this one night's exhortation, I vow (by God's grace)
never to be good husband while I live. But what is this to ... [340]
the purpose? Hur come to Powl (as the Welshman says)
and hur pay an halfpenny for hur seat, and hur heare the

Preacher talge, and a talge very well, by gis; but yet
a cannot make hur laugh: goe a Theater, and heare
a Queenes Fice, and he make hur laugh, and laugh hur

belly-full. So we come hither to laugh and be merry, and
we hear a filthy beggarly Oration in the praise of beggary.
It is a beggarly Poet that writ it; and that makes him so
much to commend it, because he knows not how to mend
himself. Well, rather than he shall have no employment ... [350]
but lick dishes, I will set him a work myself, to write in
praise of the art of stooping, and how there was never
any famous Thresher, Porter, Brewer, Pioneer, or Carpenter,
that had straight back. Repair to my chamber, poor
fellow, when the play is done, and thou shalt see what
I will say to thee.

SUMMER: Vertumnus, call Solstitium.

VERTUMNUS: Solstitium, come into the court.
[Without]: Peace there below! Make room for master Solstitium.

[Enter Solstitium like an aged Hermit, carrying a pair of balances, withhour-glass in either of them; one hour-glass white, the other black:is brought in by a number of shepherds, playing upon Recorders.]

SOLSTITIUM: All hail to Summer, my dread sovereign ... [360]

SUMMER: Welcome, Solstitium; thou art one of them,
To whose good husbandry we have referred
Part of those small revenues that we have.
What hast thou gained us? What hast thou brought in?

SOLSTITIUM: Alas, my Lord, what gave you me to keep,
But a few days'-eyes in my prime of youth?
And those I have converted to white hairs;
I never loved ambitiously to climb,
Or thrust my hand too far into the fire. ... [370]
To be in heaven, sure, is a blessed thing;
But, Atlas-like, to prop heaven on one's back
Cannot but be more labor than delight.
Such is the state of men in honor placed;
They are gold vessels made for servile uses,
High trees that keep the weather from low houses,
But cannot shield the tempest from themselves.
I love to dwell betwixt the hills and dales;
Neither to be so great to be envied,
Nor yet so poor the world should pity me. ... [380]
Inter utrumq, tene, medio, tutissimus ibis.

SUMMER: What dost thou with those balances thou bear'st?

SOLSTITIUM: In them I weigh the day and night alike.
This white glass is the hour-glass of the day,
This black one the just measure of the night;
One more than other holdeth not a grain:
Both serve time's just proportion to maintain.

SUMMER: I like thy moderation wondrous well;
And this thy balance, weighing the white glass
And black with equal poise and steadfast hand, ... [390]
A pattern is to Princes and great men,
How to weigh all estates indifferently.
The Spirituality and Temporality alike;
Neither to be too prodigal of smiles,
Nor too severe in frowning without cause.
If you be wise, you Monarchs of the earth,
Have two such glasses still before your eyes;
Think as you have a white glass running on,
Good days, friends' favor, and all things at beck,
So, this white glass run out (as out it will), ... [400]
The black comes next; your downfall is at hand:
Take this of me, for somewhat I have tried;
A mighty ebb follows a mighty tide.
But say, Solstitium, had'st thou nought besides?
Nought but days'-eyes and fair looks gave I thee?

SOLSTITIUM: Nothing, my Lord, nor ought more did I ask.

SUMMER: But had'st thou always kept thee in my sight,
Thy good deserts, though silent, would have asked.

SOLSTITIUM: Deserts, my Lord, of ancient servitors,
Are like old sores, which may not be ripped up: ... [410]
Such use these times have got, that none must beg,
But those that have young limbs to lavish fast.

SUMMER: I grieve no more regard was had of thee:
A little sooner had'st thou spoke to me,
Thou had'st been heard, but now the time is past;
Death waiteth at the door for thee and me;
Let us go measure out our beds in clay;
Nought but good deeds hence shall we bear away.
Be, as thou wert, best steward of my hours,
And so return unto thy country bowers. ... [420]
[Here Solstitium goes out with his music, as he comes in.]

WILL SUMMER: Fie, fie, of honesty, fie: Solstitium
is an ass, perdy; this play is gallimaufry; fetch me
some drink, somebody. What cheer, what cheer, my
hearts? Are you not thirsty with listening to this dry sport?
What have we to do with scales and hour-glasses, except
we were Bakers or Clock-keepers? I cannot tell how other
men are addicted, but it is against my profession to use any
scales but such as we play at with a bowl, or keep any
hours but dinner or supper. It is a pedantical thing to
respect times and seasons; if a man be drinking with good ... [430]
fellows late, he must come home, for fear the gates be shut:
when I am in my warm bed, I must rise to prayers, because
the bell rings. I like no such foolish customs. Actors,
bring now a black jack, and a rundlet of Rhenish wine,
disputing of the antiquity of red noses; let the prodigal child
come out in his doublet and hose all greasy, his shirt hanging
forth, and nere a penny in his purse, and talk what a fine
thing it is to walk summerly, or sit whistling under a hedge
and keep hogs. Go forward in grace and virtue to
proceed; but let us have no more of these grave matters. ... [440]

SUMMER: Vertumnus, will Sol come before us?

VERTUMNUS: Sol, Sol, ut, re, me, fa, sol,
Come to church while the bell toll.
[Enter Sol, very richly attired, with a noise of Musicians before him.]

SUMMER: I, marry, here comes majesty in pomp,
Resplendent Sol, chief planet of the heavens:
He is our servant, looks he nere so big.
SOL: My liege, what crav'st thou at thy vassal's hands?

SUMMER: Hypocrisy, how it can change his shape!
How base is pride from his own dung-hill put!
How I have raised thee, Sol, I list not tell, ... [450]
Out of the Ocean of adversity.
To sit in height of honor's glorious heaven,
To be the eye-sore of aspiring eyes;
To give the day her life from thy bright looks,
And let nought thrive upon the face of earth,
From which thou shalt withdraw thy powerful smiles.
What hast thou done deserving such high grace?
What industry, or meritorious toil,
Can'st thou produce, to prove my gift well-placed?
Some service or some profit I expect: ... [460]
None is promoted but for some respect.

SOL: My Lord, what needs these terms betwixt us two?
Upbraiding ill beseems your bounteous mind:
I do you honor for advancing me.
Why, 'tis a credit for your excellence,
To have so great a subject as I am:
This is your glory and magnificence,
That, without stooping of your mightiness,
Or taking any whit from your high state,
You can make one as mighty as yourself. ... [470]

AUTUMN: O arrogance exceeding all belief!

SUMMER: My Lord, this saucy upstart Jack,
That now doth rule the chariot of the Sun,
And makes all stars derive their light from him
Is a most base insinuating slave,
The son of parsimony and disdain,
One that will shine on friends and foes alike,
That under brightest smiles hideth black showers,
Whose envious breath doth dry up springs and lakes,
And burns the grass, that beasts can get no food. ... [480]

WINTER: No dung-hill hath so vile an excrement,
But with his beams he will forthwith exhale;
The fens and quagmires tithe to him their filth;
Forth purest mines he sucks a gainful dross;
Green Ivy-bushes at the Vintners' doors
He withers, and devoureth all their sap.

AUTUMN: Lascivious and intemperate he is.
The wrong of Daphne is a well-known tale;
Each evening he descends to Thetis lap,
The while men think he bathes him in the sea. ... [490]
O, but when he returneth whence he came
Down to the West, then dawns his deity,
Then doubled is the swelling of his looks;
He over-loads his car with Orient gems,
And reins his fiery horses with rich pearl;
He terms himself the god of Poetry,
And setteth wanton songs unto the Lute.

WINTER: Let him not talk; for he hath words at will,
And wit to make the baddest matter good.

SUMMER: Bad words, bad wit; oh, where dwells faith or truth? ... [500]
Ill usury my favors reap from thee,
Usurping Sol, the hate of heaven and earth.

SOL: If Envy unconfuted may accuse,
Then Innocence must uncondemned die.
The name of Martyrdom offense hath gained,
When fury stopped a froward Judge's ears.
Much I'll not say (much speech much folly shows),
What I have done, you gave me leave to do.
The excrements you bred, whereon I feed,
To rid the earth of their contagious fumes, ... [510]
With such gross carriage did I load my beams;
I burnt no grass, I dried no springs and lakes,
I sucked no mines, I withered no green boughs,
But when, to ripen harvest, I was forced
To make my rays more fervent than I wont.
For Daphne's wrongs, and scapes in Thetis lap,
All Gods are subject to the like mishap.
Stars daily fall ('tis use is all in all)
And men account the fall but nature's course;
Vaunting my jewels, hasting to the West, ... [520]
Or rising early from the gray-eyed morn,
What do I vaunt but your large bountihood,
And show how liberal a Lord I serve?
Music and poetry, my two last crimes,
Are those two exercises of delight,
Wherewith long labors I do weary out.
The dying Swan is not forbid to sing.
The waves of Heber played on Orpheus' strings,
When he (sweet music's Trophy) was destroyed,
And as for Poetry, woods' eloquence, ... [530]
(Dead Phaeton's three sisters' funeral tears
That by the gods were to Electrum turned),
Not flint, or rocks of Icy cinders framed,
Deny the source of silver-falling streams.
Envy envieth not outcry's unrest:
In vain I plead; well is to me a fault,
And these my words seem the slight web of art,
And not to have the taste of sounder truth.
Let none but fools be cared-for of the wise;
Knowledge own children knowledge most despise. ... [540]

SUMMER: Thou know'st too much to know to keep the mean.
He that sees all things oft sees not himself.
The Thames is witness of thy tyranny,
Whose waves thou hast exhaust for winter showers.
The naked channel plains her of thy spite,
That laid'st her entrails unto open sight.
Unprofitably born to man and beast,
Which like to Nilus yet doth hide his head,
Some few years since thou let'st o'erflow these walks,
And in the horse-race headlong ran at race, ... [550]
While in a cloud thou hid'st thy burning face:
Where was thy care to rid contagious filth,
When some men wet-shod (with his waters) drooped?
Others that ate the Eels his heat cast up
Sickened and died, by them empoisoned.
Sleep'st thou, or keep'st thou then Admetus' sheep,
Thou driv'st not back these flowings to the deep?
SOL: The winds, not I, have floods & tides in chase:
Diana, whom our fables call the moon,
Only commandeth o'er the raging main; ... [560]
She leads his wallowing offspring up and down;
She waning, all streams ebb; in the year
She was eclipsed, when that the Thames was bare.

SUMMER: A bare conjecture, builded on perhaps:
In laying thus the blame upon the moon,
Thou imitat'st subtle Pythagoras,
Who, what he would the people should believe,
The same he wrote with blood upon a glass,
And turned it opposite gainst the new moon;
Whose beams, reflecting on it will full force, ... [570]
Showed all those lines, to them that stood behind,
Most plainly writ in circle of the moon;
And then he said, not I, but the new moon,
Fair Cynthia, persuades you this and that.
With like collusion shalt thou not blind me;
But for abusing both the moon and me,
Long shalt thou be eclipsed by the moon,
And long in darkness live, and see no light.
Away with him, his doom hath no reverse.

SOL: What is eclipsed will one day shine again: ... [580]
Though winter frowns, the Spring will ease my pain.
Time from the brow doth wipe out every stain. [Exit Sol.]

WILL SUMMER: I think the Sun is not so long in
passing through the twelve signs, as the son of a
fool hath been disputing here about had I wist. Out of
doubt, the Poet is bribed of some that have a mess
of cream to eat, before my Lord go to bed yet, to hold
him half the night with riff-raff of the rumming of
Eleanor. If I can tell what it means, pray God I may
never get breakfast more, when I am hungry. Troth, ... [590]
I am of opinion he is one of those Hieroglyphical writers that,
by the figures of beasts, planets, and of stones, express the
mind, as we do in A.B.C.; or one that writes under
hair, as I have heard of a certain Notary Histiaeus, who,
following Darius in the Persian wars, and desirous to
disclose some secrets of import to his friend Aristagoras,
that dwelt afar off, found out this means: He had
a servant that had been long sick of a pain in his
eyes, whom, under pretense of curing his malady, he
shaved from one side of his head to the other, and with ... [600]
a soft pencil wrote upon his scalp (as on parchment) the
discourse of his business, the fellow all the while imagining
his master had done nothing but 'noint his head with
a feather. After this, he kept him secretly in his tent, till
his hair was somewhat grown, and then willed him to go
to Aristagoras into the country, and bid him shave
him, as he had done, and he should have perfect remedy.
He did so; Aristagoras shaved him with his own hands,
read his friend's letter, and when he had done, washed
it out, that no man should perceive it else, and sent ... [610]
him home to buy him a night-cap. If I wist there were
any such knavery, or Peter Bales Brachigraphy, under Sol's
bushy hair, I would have a Barber, my host of the
Murrion's head, to be his Interpreter, who would whet his
razor on his Richmond cap, and give him the terrible cut,
like himself, but he would come as near as a quart-pot to
the construction of it. To be sententious, not superfluous,
Sol should have been beholding to the Barber, and not
the beard-master. Is it pride that is shadowed under this
two-legged Sun, that never came nearer heaven than ... [620]
Dubber's hill? That pride is not my sin, Sloven's Hall,
where I was born, be my record. As for covetousness,
intemperance, and exaction, I meet with nothing in a whole
year but a cup of wine, for such vices to be conversant
in. Pergite porro, my good children, and multiply the
sins of your absurdities, till you come to the full measure
of the grand hiss, and you shall hear how we will purge
rheum with censuring your imperfections.

SUMMER: Vertumnus, call Orion.

VERTUMNUS: Orion, Urion, Arion. ... [630]
My Lord thou must look upon;
Orion, gentleman dog-keeper, huntsman, come into the
court; look you bring all hounds, and no bandogs.
Peace there, that we may hear their horns blow.

[Enter Orion like a hunter, with a horn about his neck, all hisafter the same sort hallowing and blowing their horns.]

ORION: Sirra, wast thou that called us from our game?
How durst thou (being but a petty God)
Disturb me in the entrance of my sports?

SUMMER: 'Twas I, Orion, caused thee to be called.

ORION: 'Tis I, dread Lord, that humbly will obey.

SUMMER: How hap'st thou left'st the heavens, to hunt below? ... [640]
As I remember, thou wert Hireus' son,
Whom of a huntsman Jove chose for a star,
And thou art called the Dog-star, art thou not?

AUTUMN: Pleaseth your honor, heaven's circumference
Is not enough for him to hunt and range,
But with those venom-breathed curs he leads,
He comes to chase health from our earthly bounds:
Each one of those foul-mouthed mangy dogs
Governs a day (no dog but hath his day)
And all the days by them so governed, ... [650]
The Dog-days hight; infectious fosterers
Of meteors from carrion that arise,
And putrefied bodies of dead men,
Are they engendered to that ugly shape,
Being naught else but preserved corruption.
'Tis these that, in the entrance of their reign,
The plague and dangerous agues have brought in.
They arre and bark at night against the Moon,
For fetching in fresh tides to cleanse the streets.
They vomit flames, and blast the ripened fruits; ... [660]
They are death's messengers unto all those
That sicken while their malice beareth sway.

ORION: A tedious discourse, built on no ground;
A silly fancy, Autumn, hast thou told,
Which no Philosophy doth warrantize,
No old received poetry confirms.
I will not grace thee by confuting thee;
Yet in a jest (since thou railest so gainst dogs)
I'll speak a word or two in their defense;
That creature's best that comes most near to men; ... [670]
That dogs of all come nearest, thus I prove;
First, they excel us in all outward sense,
Which no one of experience will deny;
They hear, they smell, they see better than we.
To come to speech, they have it questionless,
Although we understand them not so well:
They bark as good old Saxon as may be,
And that in more variety than we:
For they have one voice when they are in chase,
Another, when they wrangle for their meat, ... [680]
Another, when we beat them out of doors.
That they have reason, this I will allege,
They choose those things that are most fit for them,
And shun the contrary all that they may;
They know what is for their own diet best,
And seek about for't very carefully;
At sight of any whip they run away,
As runs a thief from noise of hue and cry;
Nor live they on the sweat of others' brows,
But have their trades to get their living with, ... [690]
Hunting and cony-catching, two fine arts:
Yea, there be of them, as there be of men,
Of every occupation more or less;
Some carriers, and they fetch; some watermen,
And they will dive and swim when you bid them;
Some butchers, and they worry sheep by night;
Some cooks, and they do nothing but turn spits.
Chrisippus holds dogs are Logicians,
In that, by study and by canvassing,
They can distinguish twixt three several things: ... [700]
As when he cometh where three broad ways meet,
And of those three hath stayed at two of them,
By which he guesseth that the game went not,
Without more pause he runneth on the third;
Which, as Chrisippus saith, insinuates
As if he reasoned thus within himself:
Either he went this, that, or yonder way,
But neither that, nor yonder, therefore this.
But whether they Logicians be or no,
Cynics they are, for they will snarl and bite; ... [710]
Right courtiers to flatter and to fawn;
Valiant to set upon the enemies,
Most faithful and most constant to their friends;
Nay, they are wise, as Homer witnesseth,
Who, talking of Ulysses' coming home,
Saith all his household but Argus, his Dog,
Had quite forgotten him; aye, and his deep insight,
Nor Pallas' Art in altering of his shape,
Nor his base weeds, nor absence twenty years,
Could go beyond, or any way delude. ... [720]
That Dogs Physicians are, thus I infer;
They are nere sick, but they know their disease,
And find out means to ease them of their grief;
Special good Surgeons to cure dangerous wounds;
For stricken with a stake into the flesh,
This policy they use to get it out:
They trail one of their feet upon the ground,
And gnaw the flesh about, where the wound is,
Till it be clean drawn out; and then, because
Ulcers and sores kept foul are hardly cured, ... [730]
They lick and purify it with their tongue;
And well observe Hippocrates old rule,
The only medicine for the foot is rest,
For if they have the least hurt in their feet,
They bear them up, and look they be not stirred:
When humors rise, they eat a sovereign herb,
Whereby what cloys their stomachs they cast up;
And as some writers of experience tell,
They were the first invented vomiting.
Sham'st thou not, Autumn, unadvisedly ... [740]
To slander such rare creatures as they be?

SUMMER: We called thee not, Orion, to this end,
To tell a story of dogs' qualities.
With all thy hunting, how are we enriched?
What tribute payest thou us for thy high place?

ORION: What tribute should I pay you out of nought?
Hunters do hunt for pleasure, not for gain.
While Dog-days last, the harvest safety thrives;
The sun burns hot, to finish up fruits' growth;
There is no blood-letting, to make men weak; ... [750]
Physicians with their Cataposia,
Recipe Elinctoria
Masticatorum and Cataplasmata;
Their Gargarismes, Clysters, and pitched clothes,
Their perfumes, syrups, and their treacles,
Refrain to poison the sick patients,
And dare not minister till I be out.
Then none will bathe, and so are fewer drowned;
All lust is perilsome, therefore less used.
In brief, the year without me cannot stand, ... [760]
Summer, I am thy staff and thy right hand.

SUMMER: A broken staff, a lame right hand I had,
If thou wert all the stay that held me up.
Nihil violentum perpetuum,
No violence that liveth to old age,
Ill-governed star, that never bod'st good luck,
I banish thee a twelve-month and a day,
Forth of my presence; come not in my sight,
Nor show thy head, so much as in the night.

ORION: I am content, though hunting be not out, ... [770]
We will go hunt in hell for better hap.
One parting blow, my hearts, unto our friends,
To bid the fields and huntsmen all farewell:
Toss up your bugle horns unto the stars.
Toil findeth ease, peace follows after wars. [Exit.]

[Here they go out, blowing their horns, and hallowing, as they came in.]

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