Sylvia - Act III


Scene I.

The Myrtle Grove: — O gentle Power!
Psyche's aye-blooming bachelor!
Thou in whose curls fell strength abides,
Whose baby hand the lion guides,
I think, with all thy other claims,
Thou'st a sweet choice in very names!
Oft have I dwelt upon thine own;
L OVE ! — 'tis a most Æolian tone!
So soft, the lips will scarcely meet,
Almost afraid to fashion it;
And mark our deepest votaries, — they
Sigh it most silently away!
Was never seen an artless Maid
But smiled to say, or hear it said,
Ev'n though her heart can scarcely tell,
What's in the sound she loves so well:
Was never seen a generous Youth
But vow'd — 'twas a sweet word in sooth!
A simple syllable, 'tis true,
Yet born in Heaven like balm and dew;
In Heaven alone it could have birth,
No child of miserable Earth!
It dropt from the harmonic spheres,
A manna-sound to starving ears.
Name we Love's flowers: The Rose! the Rose!
Sounds it not queenly as it blows?
And Lily! — this is even yet
More inly fine and delicate! —
Thy murmuring bosom-bird, the Dove ,
Chimes not its name to thine, O Love?
And could the wit of wisest man
Find a much statelier name than Swan? —
How many an eye beams slyly coy;
How many a heart trembles with joy;
How many a cheek doth sudden glow;
How many a bosom heaves its snow;
How many a lip, raised in delight,
Just shows the pearl, a line of white;
How many a sigh is breathed, when none
May hear the heart's confession;
How many a throb Hyblaean Love!
Wakes at these words — the Myrtle Grove?
Ay, the pale, wedded, widow'd dame,
Pensive recalls the long-lost name;
A hectic, — one faint wave, — no more! —
Passes her marble beauty o'er;
She smooths the braid upon her brow,
Remembering — Ah! what recks it now?
Within the grove a bower you see
Of this same lover-loving tree;
Veil'd in its dim recess, and warm,
A Youth still gazes on a form
That stands a-tiptoe, plucking there
Boughs, and green leaves, and blossoms fair:
Wreathing them round her veined wrist,
By none but such entwiner kist,
Our S YLVIA binds, with many a gem
And costly spray, her diadem.

S YLVIA [ Singing as she binds ]
Sweet the noise of waters falling,
And of bees among the flowers,
Wild-birds their companions calling,
Summer winds, and summer showers!

This lily! I must puTher next the rose;
They always go together.

R OMANZO [ Aside ].Even in rhyme!
Say, why does that young rose redden?
And why is that lily so pale?
O — she is a new-married maiden,
And she — a maid left to wail!

How " left " ? — did her lover die? — It is a song
I've heard my mother sing. — O me! how soon
This tall Sweet-William faded! — Ay! 'tis the way!
The streams that wind amid the hills,
And lost in pleasure slowly roam,
While their deep joy the valley fills, —
Ev'n these will leave their mountain-home:
So may it, love! with others be,
But I will never wend from thee!

The leaf forsakes the parent spray,
The blossom quits the stem as fast,
The rose-enamoured bird will stray,
And leave his eglantine at last;
So may it, love! with others be,
But I will never wend from thee!

Come! it is done. I never weft before
So beautiful a chaplet.
R OMANZO .It might wreathe
A brow most godlike!
S YLVIA .Ay, and shall do so!
Else I would strew the weeds under my feet,
And break mine heart with weeping!

I've pluck'd the wild woodbine, and lilac so pale,
And the sweetest young cowslips that grew in the dale,
The bud from the flower, and the leaf from the tree,
To bind a rich garland, young Shepherd! for thee.

O look how the rose blushes deeper with pride,
And how pretty forget-me-not peeps by its side;
How the high-crested pink in brave plumage doth fall,
And look how the lily looks sweeter than all!

My beautiful myrtle! — I think thou dost know
Upon whom this rich garland I mean to bestow;
For thou seem'st with a voice full of fragrance to sigh —
" Should I wreath that young Shepherd, how happy were I! "

Come, bend me thy brow, gentle youth! and I'll twine
Round thy temples so pure this rich garland of mine;
O thou look'st such a prince! — from this day, from this hour,
I will call thee nought else but the Lord of my Bower!

R OMANZO . Would I were so, indeed! — Look! I have knelt
That I may feel thy soft hands in my hair,
Like winds in autumn leaves. Around thy form
I'll close my suppliant arms, and like a shrine,
Press it to smile on my devotedness!
A GATHA . [ Behind ] 'Tis as I feared! O these soft myrtle bowers!
S YLVIA . Now, it is trim as may be. I would keep
Thee ever kneeling thus; and still would find
Some flower awry to settle: but yon cushat
'Gins her lone widow-note at evening hour;
That is my warning home!
A GATHA .Still! still my daughter!
Amid the valleys far away,
A mother-bird sits on a tree,
And weeps unto her long-astray —
" O come my little bird to me! "
So " long-astray "
Must now away
Unto its parent tree!
R OMANZO . As light the day,
Or love the May,
Sweet! — I will follow thee!
A GATHA . They are both innocent: Love's taper burns
Brightest in purest bosoms. — Yet I'll task him;
It is a mother's right. — So! I have met ye!
What a wild pair of ramblers ye have been! —
The whole, whole morn away!
R OMANZO . Nay, we were going
Straight to the cottage; and the birds' way too, —
The shortest we could see.
A GATHA . Let go my neck,[ To S YLVIA .
Thou fondler! — murmuring about my lips
With thy bee kisses. What should I care for thee,
A bird that leav'st thy summer-cage, whene'er
The wicket opens?
S YLVIA .Aye, but comes again
To feed upon its mistress' hand, and hide
Its softness in her bosom.
A GATHA .There's no chiding thee!
Hie home; my limbs are weary. It is time
Our guest should taste refreshment: to prepare it
Has been my morning's work, while you were roaming.
Go: all is spread; but still, I think, it wants
Your garnishing: go, deck it with fresh flowers,
As you are wont when we sit all alone.
S YLVIA . Then do not ye stay long! I'll have it deckt
Ere ye could pluck the blossoms.[ Exit
A GATHA .Sir, your crown
Becomes you bravely!
R OMANZO .O it has taken all
Its beauty from the wreather! — her sweet touch
Has lent it a new perfume, and a lustre
It never had before! — Now, she is gone,
I will be king no longer.[ Takes off his crown
A GATHA .O, sir! sir!
If you, who are a stranger, can speak thus,
How should another, who has seen this flower
Bud, bloom, and hallow its wild parent-home
With smiles no garden knows! — Forgive me, Youth,
That I speak thus of her: forgive me, too,
This foolish, beating, mother's heart of mine,
That fain would question him who has reveal'd
So much, and yet no more.
R OMANZO .I have no secret!
None! — What you ask, I'll answer. — Or, perchance,
You'll hear my life's short story? I am a bachelor
The lord of some few acres; whom the love
Of scenes by Nature's wandering pencil drawn,
Has led among these solitudes: with this,
My death, were I to die as I am speaking,
Were all, I ween, that friend or foe could grave
Justly upon my tomb.
A GATHA .'Tis frankly spoken,
And I should mourn to think that Youth had grown
So cunning in the world since I have left it,
To wear a brow so clear as yours, the while
One spot was on the heart.
R OMANZO .I do confess,
If you would have more witness of my truth
I scarce could give it: being come so far
From Padua, where I studied, and am known,
With but one servant. He, poor knave, I lost
In the deep gorges of these purple hills
But yesterday. If we may chance on him,
He will confirm the story you have heard,
And then you must believe.
A GATHA .I do already:
But still — We mothers! — O, we are such cowards!
R OMANZO . Put me to trial: I'll submit myself
To a whole year's probation: I will do
Any thing you can ask, if so I may
Win my sweet mistress. —
A GATHA .Well — well — well

Re-enter S YLVIA in terror .

My child!
What ails my love? my daughter?
S YLVIA .Oh! I have seen
So wild and strange a creature!
R OMANZO .What! a wolf?
S YLVIA . No, some uncouth resemblance of a man,
But not like thee. As I approach'd the cottage,
From a green nook out-started this rough thing,
And brush'd me swiftly by. I could not move,
Or cry, with sudden terror; but stood there
Fixt like a tree, how long I do not know,
Till sense return'd, and scarcely so much strength
As bore me hither.
R OMANZO .Let it be man or beast
I'll scourge it from this vale!
[ Tears down a branch, and exit .
S YLVIA .O ye kind powers!
Save him, Morgana! save him!
[ Exit after R OMANZO .
A GATHA .Sylvia! — rash girl! —
[ Exit after her .

The Scene changes to the front of the Cottage, where a table is laid with refreshments.

Enter A NDREA .

A NDREA . Tin! sin! whee! ree! — Whether I have been sun-stricken or no, I cannot tell; but my head sings, like a boiling kettle. I think — and yet I think I don't think. I remember — and still, I forget what I remember. Now would I give a natural philosopher, Prato the Grig, or Julia Scissars of Rome, a very handsome douser if he would absolve me whether my feet stand under me, or I stand under my feet. — Stay: what was I at the time of the Deluge? — Oh! a mandrake, swimming about merrily, and was drowned like the Dutch-skipper with my hands in my breeches-pockets. After that I had the convoy of a whole fleet of sea-calves, with which we peopled the famous Island of Bulls. I remember it as well as my breakfast to-morrow: we multified prodigiously there, and should have been lords of the creation, only that we had some cannibal qualities about us; great beef-eaters! fast-hating fellows! — Hilloah! what's here to be seen? By the mass here is as soft a carpet of clover as ever I cooled my heels on; good! set that down, commentator! item: " an acre of green baize for a sky-coloured parlour. " Here, too, is a — Bless me! I totally forget the name for a house — good! no matter; call it a pigeon-box. Finally and firstly of all, I see trenchers to be quaffed, and bowls to be muncht: so will proceed no further in the decalogue, but content myself with this humble shoulder of mutton.
[ Sits down and helps himself to fruit .
Admirable! — tastes a little racy or so; it must have had the run of a fruitery. [ Drinking off a bowl of milk .] Nothing like your creaming Champagne, after all! — Comfort thyself, poor G ANDREA ! it is now exactly the best part of a fortnight since thou didst swallow a single granary of nutriment. Thou canst not always, man! live upon air, like a camel-leopard. — Sir, you are welcome to Tartary!

Enter R OMANZO . S YLVIA and A GATHA following .

R OMANZO . Who — what art thou that dar'st — By all that's strange,
This is my servant, Andrea! but so alter'd
I scarce could know him. Sirrah! where have you been,
That you are thus transform'd?
A NDREA . Indeed I have been spending an hour or two with my old friend, clerk of the kitchen to Ancient Nicolas; so I hope am good company for any one of the cloth, under a Jesuit or Holy Inquisitor.
S YLVIA . It talks strange reason!
A GATHA .Servant! — O we are lost!
What may the master be, if such the man?
Pray Heaven he be no demon in disguise?
R OMANZO . Hast thou left off thy reverence with thy shape?
Why dost thou not rise up and bow to me? Who am I, knave?
A NDREA . You? — The man from the moon, I think, by your crazy appearance. What a magnifico you are! Where's your fur-cloak and your poodle? — You, indeed! — Orson might have been your great-aunt by the mother's-side, for all I know of the matter — Do the people in this quarter dangle such canes at the wrist as that you are switching your boots with? — Oh! lack-a-day! lack-a-day! lack-a-daisy! now I remember you! — Let me hear you grumble.
R OMANZO . Well! art thou still a stranger to this frown?
A NDREA . Verily I do entertain some oblivious recollection that I may have seen such a frizziognomy before: Or is it one from a dream of ugly faces? — Stop: Odso, now I have it! You are the bravo that robbed my unfortunate master, threw him into a mill-dam hard by, and made me hold my nostril over a cauldron of deadly night-shade, till I am grown as dizzy as a beetle. The same! I'll swear it before this Madonna herself! — And these are his very garments, of which, with sacratitious hands, you have stripped and deluded his body. O thief! burglarer! fortune-hunter! kidnapper!
A GATHA . What do I hear?
S YLVIA .There is no truth in him: Believe not that rude thing!
A NDREA . I'll take it on my life he is a capital fellow! — a murderer! a committer of fo-paws , and every other crime that deserves a halter! — He cannot deny it!
R OMANZO . Slave! liar! devil!
My rage unnerves me!
A NDREA . Will you abscond? — or must I have you laid by the heels for a common tax-gatherer?
R OMANZO . Down to the dust, to which I'll crumble thee?
A NDREA . O, fool! fool! fool! — you have demolished at one blow a feast that might have tempted St. Anthony himself! — That pitcher will never recover the thwack you have given it, if it lived to the age of Methusalem! — You have injured, O lamentable! the rotundity of that cheese beyond redemption; spoiled the shape of that pie for ever and long after! — Oons! he will make a whipt-syllabub of me if I stay any longer. Roo-roo-roo!
[ Exit pursued by R OMANZO .

The Scene closes.

Scene II.

Boots it to tell what all have seen?
A Maybush on a village-green!
Its turban'd head with garland wound,
Its rich skirts spreading on the ground;
Like a sultana of the East,
In all her gay apparel drest.
Emerald, turkis, ruby rare,
Beryl, tourmaline are there;
Pearl, and precious chrysolite,
Sapphire blue, and topaz bright;
With every gem that ever shone
A Tartar's belt or bonnet on.
But fresher in their different lustres,
Our dew-besprent-festoons, and clusters;
Purer of tint, and with perfume
Filling wide Nature's boundless room. —
What is a jewel-dropping tree,
O May-bush! when compared to thee?

S TEPHANIA , Roselle , J ACINTHA , G ERONYMO , and Peasants assembled .

Chorus .

O May, thou art a merry time,
Sing hi! the hawthorn pink and pale!
When hedge-pipes they begin to chime,
And summer-flowers to sow the dale.

When lasses and their lovers meet
Beneath the early village thorn,
And to the sound of tabor sweet
Bid welcome to the Maying-morn!
O May, thou art, &c.

When gray beards and their gossips come
With crutch in hand our sports to see,
And both go tottering, tattling home,
Topful of wine as well as glee!
O May, thou art, &c.

But Youth was aye the time for bliss,
So taste it, Shepherds! while ye may:
For who can tell that joy like this
Will come another holiday?
O May, thou art, &c.
First Peasant . Ha! ha! ha! — Now! who's for ninepins?
Second Peasant . Who's for ball?
Third Peasant . I!
Fourth Peasant . And I!
Fifth Peasant . I'm for the bowling green!
Sixth Peasant . For ball! for ball! — Pins are only for women and tailors!
G ERONYMO . Stay your feet, lads! — and your tongues, ladies! — they are both running without reason. Will you hear me?
All . Hear him! hear him! hear him!
G ERONYMO . Plague on't! You make more noise in keeping silence than the town-criers. Will you stop your bawling?
All . Ay, stop your bawling! stop your bawling!
G ERONYMO . Mercy upon me, what a set of peace-makers! — Then you will not listen to me? — You fellow here, with the bull-neck, roar me down these rascals! — only, pray, do not gape so wide, else there is some danger your head may fall off by the ears.
First Peasant . Silence! Let no man say another word, or I'll make him cry peccavi!
G ERONYMO . Well said, Hircoles! — you might play Hircoles, without his club, for your fist falls like a weaver's beam. — Now be quiet! Hear what I have to bring forth! This it is, lads; this it is, fellows: or, as it were, this is the tot of the matter; that is to say, in short and briefly to complain the whole business. — We have forgotten to choose a May Queen! — Shall I be heard in this land hereafter?
All . A May-Queen! a May-Queen! who shall we choose? Who is she to be? Which is the handsomest? And the prettiest? Ay, and the most beautiful too? Which is she?
G ERONYMO . Shall I be heard again, I say?
First Peasant . Silence!
G ERONYMO . Thanks, thou stertorean fellow! — If Wisdom would be heard she must always keep a swaggerer like this aTher elbow. I say, my friends: I humbly repose, that is, I succumb to your better judgments, whether, in this case — mark me! — thus it stands, or, as I may say, here 'tis: There are so many of these lasses who are the handsomest, and prettiest, ay, and most beautiful one of them all, that I think it would go hard with us to choose her who is the most so. Therefore I humbly assent, and maintain, and suspect, that it is better to let it go by straws.
All . Ay! ay! let straws end it!
G ERONYMO . Why come then! see what it is to have a noddle. Here is my hat to hold the lots. Mistress Stephania, a straw for you; another straw for you, Mistress Roselle; another, 'nother, 'nother, — straws apiece for the prettiest six among ye. Now listen to me: this is the case, and thus it stands, or as may be delivered in one word, here 'tis: Whoever of ye pulls the longest straw is to be May-Queen. Do I speak like a wiseacre or no?
All . Like a very Salmon! Spoke like a very Salmon!
Second Peasant . Should we not take the senses of the assembly upon it?
All . No! no! no! — Come, lasses! draw! draw! draw!
S TEPHANIA . Very well. [ Pulls a straw .]
Roselle . Ay, very well. [ Pulls .]
First Girl . [ Pulls .] O lawk! such a pudget of a thing!
Second Girl . Now for me! [ Pulls .]
Third Girl . [ Pulling .] I vow I am the longest of you all! — I vow so it is!

Enter O SME above, playing on a lyre.

S TEPHANIA . Hark! hark! O hark! what measures play,
So sweet! so clear! yet far away!
Roselle .Whence is the music? who can say?
J ACINTHA .'Tis like the crystal sound of wells,
Betrampled by the sparkling rain!
S TEPHANIA . Or dew-drops fall'n on silver bells
That tingle o'er and o'er again!
First Girl .'Tis in the air!
Second Girl .'Tis underground!
Third Girl .'Tis everywhere!
Fourth Girl .The magic sound!
All .Hush! O hush! and let us hear:
'Tis too beautiful to fear.

O SME sings and plays .

Hither! hither!
O come hither!
Lads and lasses come and see?
Trip it neatly,
Foot it featly,
O'er the grassy turf to me!

Here are bowers
Hung with flowers,
Richly curtain'd halls for you!
Meads for rovers
Shades for lovers,
Violet beds, and pillows too!

Purple heather
You may gather
Sandal-deep in seas of bloom!
Pale-faced lily,
Proud Sweet-Willy,
Gorgeous rose, and golden broom!

Odorous blossoms
For sweet bosoms,
Garlands green to bind the hair;
Crowns and kirtles
Weft of myrtles,
Youth may choose, and Beauty wear!

Brightsome glasses
For bright faces
Shine in ev'ry rill that flows;
Every minute
You look in it
Still more bright your beauty grows!

Banks for sleeping,
Nooks for peeping,
Glades for dancing, smooth and fine!
Fruits delicious
For who wishes,
Nectar, dew, and honey-wine!

Hither! hither!
O come hither!
Lads and lasses come and see!
Trip it neatly,
Foot it featly,
O'er the grassy turf to me!
[ Exeunt Peasants led by the music .

Scene III.

A bosky woodland near the bounds
Of Queen Morgana's sunny grounds.
Under a spreading maple tree
Sits a rude Swain, as rude may be,
With canes, and marsh flags on his knee;
Seven hollow pipes his artless hands
Strive to conjoin with rushy bands;
And with a grave, yet smirking air,
He trolls satyric ditties there,
Forgetful of the form he wore,
And almost all he was before.
A NDREA . I have grown wondrous 'rithmetical of late, being, indeed, most lamentably given to poesy and numbers. But chiefly of all I affect the pastoral, the fal-lal , or as it may be very opprobriously described, — the lambkin style of farcification. Let me see: what can I do in this way?

'Tis sweet among the purling groves
To sit in sunny shade,
And hear the frisky turtle-doves
Skip o'er the 'namelled glade.
The amorous sheep go coo-oo!
The birds go baa-aa too!
And I upon my crook do play
While o'er the fields I take my — steps!

The dappled daisy — No! —
When hairy morn — Pize on't! —
Where meadows full of fishes be,
And streams with daisies dight,
My dappled goats do pipe to me
From Night to hairy Morn.
The fragrant goats sing faa-laa,
The Shepherd he goes maa-aa!
Till both are tired of food and play,
And then he drives his flock astray.

Such is the peaceful Shepherd's strife —

And here be two of his black sheep —

Enter G RUMIEL and M OMIEL .

M OMIEL . Didst thou not mark them winding down the glen,
Flaunting their quickset crowns?
G RUMIEL .Ay, what of that?
M OMIEL . What of it? humph! — this fellow hunts as keen
As a blind greyhound; cannot scent his prey
Though rubb'd to 's nose.
G RUMIEL .What's to be made of clowns
And country-queans?
M OMIEL .Ingenious Mischief turns
The clumsiest tools into brave instruments
When work is to be done. Leave all to me:
I'll save thy back a drubbing. — Ho! thou knave!
A NDREA . The same to you, sir; and may you long deserve the title!
M OMIEL . Put on this ivy skirt, this gown of leaves
To hide thy shaggy limbs: and here! — this too —
This bulrush bonnet, that thy horns and ears
May perk not out.
A NDREA . It fits me like a bee hive, or an old hat on a broomstick, to fright crows in a corn-field. What a farthingale too! — Now if I were only simple enough, I might pass for a wild Indianness, and exhibit myself as a pattern of unsophisticated nature.
M OMIEL . Listen to me, dull beast! — Thou hast but smell'd
The oblivious liquor, yet art drunk as though
Thou hadst been soak'd in it. Hear what I say,
And what thou hast to do. If thou forget'st it,
I'll bend four pines to earth, whose strong recoil
Shall fling thee piece-meal o'er their whistling backs
To where the great winds rise!
A NDREA . Sir, I will not regret a tittle of it, if it! were even as long and tedious as a curtain-lecture to a tired courier.
M OMIEL . Thou wert best not. Come hither to this knoll;
See'st thou yon troop of villagers?
A NDREA .I do.
M OMIEL . They're seeking a May-Queen: dosThear?
A NDREA .Why, ay,
Catching May-flies, you say.
M OMIEL .A May-Queen, fool!
[ Strikes him .
G RUMIEL . Good! rap it into his skull!
M OMIEL .What was 't I said?
A NDREA . Eh? — Oh! — Ay! catching a May-Queen.
M OMIEL .So! — well! —
Thou hast no more to do, but take this wreath
And cast it in their path. DosThear me, idiot?
A NDREA . With my two eyes.
M OMIEL .Begone then, to thy service!
Look thou perform it, or I'll strangle thee!
[ Exeunt G RUMIEL and M OMIEL .
A NDREA . Fear not; I will do it most ingenuously.

The Scene changes to another part of the Glen.

Enter the Peasants.

Roselle . This will-o'-the-wisp of a musician hath stopt in time; I am weary almost to fainting. Proceed, neighbours; I must sit down a moment on this bank.
S TEPHANIA . Nay, I will bear you company. Go on, friends; we 'll follow you towards the cottage, when my sister is able to walk.
Peasants . Very well. Trudge on, Geronymo. You are the head gander in this wild goose exhibition.
[ Exeunt Peasants .

The Scene changes again.

Enter the Peasants.

G ERONYMO . Where are we now, can any body tell?
Second Peasant . In a maze, that 's certain.
G ERONYMO . Thank ye, for the discovery: What a treasure thou would'st be to a map-maker!
Third Peasant . We are all astray, like the Babes in the Wood, and therefore I see nothing better we can do but innocently sit down upon the ground, and kiss one-another.
G ERONYMO . Stay; who 's there? — Hollo! neighbour in the green petticoat; a word with ye!

Enter A NDREA .

First Girl . Lawk! such a fright!
Second Girl . Prithee, good woman, from what pedlar do you buy your millinery?
G ERONYMO . I remember seeing such another face upon a city-fountain, with a cap of reeds like a floating island.
First Peasant . Haw! haw! haw! haw! — 'A look as if 'a was carrying off a bed of turnips! — haw! haw! haw! haw!
Third Peasant . Excellent! — Or crying jonquils by the hundred!
Fourth Peasant . Who are you! — Whence come you? — What 's your business?
A NDREA . 'T is more easily told than yours to ask it. But no matter: Stand round, and I will unlighten you with a clear exploration.
Fifth Peasant . I 'll warrant you she 's a basket-maker, by these rushes.
All . Well? — What is't? — Speak! — Now! — Begin! — Out with 't!
A NDREA . Why then, if you will know, the long and the short of the matter is this, videlicet : I am come to elect myself unanimously your May-Queen!
All . A May-Queen! ha! ha! ha! — You a May-Queen! — O good! — O the monster! —
A NDREA . Monster! — do ye select me for a monster? — Perchance there are others in the company who have as good a right to the honour, if there were a fair show of horns for it. BuThere! ye ungrateful plebeians! take this halter — [ throwing down the wreath ] and hang yourselves in it, verbatim et literatim every one of ye! I have done with such vagabonds![ Exit, but returns .
Fifth Peasant . I knew she was a weaver of some sort or other, by her pestilent tongue?
First Girl . Lawk! what is this?
[ Taking up the wreath .
Second Girl . O beautiful!
Third Girl . Let me see it!
Fourth Girl . We'll all see it? — let it go round!
Fifth Girl . What a precious — Lo! here's a scroll, too, stuck in the middle! — Where is Jacintha? — She is a scholar — LeTher read the intents of it. She can say her a, b, ab, as quick as nobody.
J ACINTH . [ Reads .]

This wreath by fairy fingers twined,
One brow, and one alone, will bind:
Her whom it suits let all obey,
And choose her as their Queen of May.
First Girl . Lawk! I'm sure it will just fit me: it is just my size —
[ Puts on the wreath, which enlarges, and falls abouTher to the ground.
A NDREA . By Saint Bridget, then, you must be just the cut of a landlady!
Second Girl . Let me try it!
[ It contracts to a single tuft on her head.
A NDREA . She wears it as a hen sparrow does her topping. It will come to me after all!
[ The girls all try it, but without success .
All . Nay, we must look farther. Where is Stephania? Where is Roselle? — Here they come! Show it! give it them!

Enter S TEPHANIA , and Roselle .

Fourth Girl . Whoever this fits is to be May-Queen. 'T is a fairy garland. Read here!
S TEPHANIA . [ Trying it .] Pooh! it has slipt off me —
A NDREA . Like a cat down a cottage-eave!
Roselle . Then it must be mine! — Come! I'll be chaired! [ Trying it on .] Plague on't! 't is bewitched! I'll none of it.
A NDREA . Well said, Mistress Magnanimity!
S TEPHANIA . Where did ye get it?
Roselle . How did you come by it?
G ERONYMO . Why, let me speak — here 't is: From this smooth cheeked damsel before ye; this Water-goddess!
S TEPHANIA . As sure as sure, I see our friend Andrea in disguise! hid beneath these flags and rushes, like Love amongst the Roses! 'T is he! What say you, Roselle?
Roselle . I would almost swear to that leering eye of his, with the crow's-foot stepping into it! BuThe has grown as barbarous as an ape since we last saw him. It is! it is the self-same gentleman! Does he come in this habit to frighten us? Hang him, scarecrow!
G ERONYMO . An imposthume! An imposthume! He is an imposthume, neighbours!
All . Ho! a wolf in sheep's clothing! — Tear off his rushy cap there! Off with it![ They pull off his cap .
S TEPHANIA and Roselle . Ah! — Save us! — deliver us!
A NDREA . What is the matter with the gipsies? — Do they take me for the ghost of some young man whom they have seduced to commit homicide?
Roselle . O now indeed unhappy Signior Pimplenose!
S TEPHANIA . Miserable Ribobolo! Mercy upon us! what a pair of ears he has got!
A NDREA . Why, what fault have you with my ears, little Mistress Red Riding-Hood? — Am I going to swallow you?
S TEPHANIA . What new mishap has overtaken you? — Have you been in the pillory since we saw you, that your ears are stretched to such a size? Have you been hectoring in a tap-room, and been pulled out by the ears, that they are lengthened so prodigiously?
A NDREA . Prodigiously! — Why, what would you have of them? — I'm sure they are better than those half-crown pieces of yours with holes punched i' the middle! You have no more ears than a fish! Methinks it is ye who have been in the pillory, and have had your ears cropt for perjury, like a holly-bush Show me any beast upon earth but yourselves with such apologies for sound-catchers, and I'll pare mine down to the heel like an old cheese. — No! these, indeed, are something like ears! these are respectable hearing-leathers! But yours! — I would as soon think of listening through a couple of penny whistles! — Perchance you will say my horns, too, are a little branchy or so?
S TEPHANIA . Horrible! horrible!
Roselle . Ave Maria! santa purissima!
G ERONYMO . Et secula seculorum! — O for a priest to conjure him!
A NDREA . Well, come, this is good now! as if they never saw horns before!
S TEPHANIA . Never on you! never on you! D'ye think I 'd keep company with a rhinoceros?
Roselle . Some wicked fairy has charmed him into this shape! he is enchanted!
A NDREA . Charming and enchanting! — Why ay, they always said these ornaments became me.
Roselle . O dreadful! — had you these budders when we knew you at the mill?
A NDREA . These? — Bless you, I should take cold without them! — I never was without horns in my life! I was born with them, like a young snail. My horns and ears grew together, one behind the other, like mushrooms.
Roselle . Nay, 'tis false! you had them not! — we should have seen them!
A NDREA . O effrontery! what will the world come to at last? — They will begin to persuade me just now that I never wore hooves either; but that these feet are no better than theirs, letter L's turned under them. —
[ Showing his feet
Peasants . The devil! the devil in a bottle-green petticoat! — Fly, neighbours! run for it, countrymen! — Off! off! — Let us break our own necks rather than be eaten alive by this goat-footed heretic![ They run away .
A NDREA . As I'm a person, I never saw such ill-bred people in my life! — They were never at court, as I was, that 's plain as the face upon my nose! — Let them die in their simplicity, ignorants! — I wash their hands of me for ever![ Exit .

Scene IV.

Lost in a fit of meditation
R OMANZO takes his sullen station
Fast by a rock, from which a stream
Tumbles its little waves of cream
Into a basin, whence it wells
Clearly and calmly through the dells.
The spot is lone, I grant, but then
So is the whole Enchanted Glen;
And though our Youth would seem to roam, —
'T is not ten steps from Sylvia's home.

R OMANZO . Her mother shuns me, and with eyes averse,
Hardly endures my sight. What she may think,
I cannot tell; but that denial strange
Of my fool servant, gave her cautious nature
Reason to doubt I am not what I say.
Yet I will not forsake them: — Some dark storm
Seems to make heavy the dull air about us,
Although the sky is clear. I 'll see it down;
Perchance I may have leave, if it do come,
To stand between the thunder-bolt and them:
This is a hope! — My Sylvia, too, is kind,
Still kind! and with yet dearer, sweeter smiles,
Endeavours to repair her mother's frowns. —
What noise is here?

Enter the Peasants.

Some villagers a-maying: Who are ye?
G ERONYMO . Why here 't is, your worship: We are the most harmful people in the world; and indeed would not tread upon a worm if it sought our mercy. Yet have we been assailed here in this wood, by — saving your worship's worship! — no less a personage than Satan himself, in the form of a mountain-goat, only thaThe stood on 's hind legs, bolt upright; with eyes like two red-hot warming-pans, ten horns, each as tall as a young oak-tree, and whisking a long tail over his head as if he was going to thrash us with it. — In short —
R OMANZO . Be you at peace! — I have expell'd him hence.
It is no devil, but a mortal wretch
Whom the elves sport with, and have thus transform'd,
To make them merriment.
G ERONYMO . We humbly thank your worship for exercising him from this place. Can your worship detect us to a little green cottage, that bubbles over the stream somewhere here about?
R OMANZO . Here come the owners; they will best direct you.[ Retires .
G ERONYMO . A very personable sort of person, I 'll assure ye, for a person of these parts! — O lud! here is a most preternatural creature!

Enter S YLVIA and A GATHA .

Peasants . Huzza! huzza! — This is she! This is she whom we have been looking for! — Not such a beauty in all the Earth, nor in the New World either! — Welcome to our Queen! welcome! welcome! — Huzza!

S YLVIA . Good people! wherefore do ye come with shouts
To break the holy silence of this vale?
Would ye aught with us?
Peasants .To it, Geronymo!
S YLVIA . Why do you call me " Queen " ? and throw your wreaths
At my unworthy feet? — By my simplicity!
I do not love the title!
Peasants . Plague on 't! will nobody out with a speech? — I could as soon look at the sun in his brightness! — My tongue cleaves to the roof of my mouth, like the hammer to an old bell! — She 's a rare pretty one, that's certain! — Geronymo! where is thy 'ration? — Where have we lived that we have never seen her before? — Geronymo! plague take him, where is his speech? where is his 'ration? — Begin! I 'll second thee, man! I 'll stand behind thee!
G ERONYMO . Most mightiful! and most beautiful! and most dutiful princess! We do most passionately design and request that — And — so — hum! — that — hem! — In a word, and as I may say, thus it stands, or here 't is, most lovely flower of this flowery loveliness! We have been tickled hither in the ear by an indivisible singing-bird, through dangers and demons, over precipices and watercresses, in spite of quagmires and quicksands, by numberless out-of-the-way short-cuts, and straight-forward roundabouts, from our village to this place —
Peasants . Bravo! bravo!
G ERONYMO . Mar me not! I am in the very passion of it! — And so, to include my narration, thou paradox of beauty? thou superlatively super-excellent and most sweet creature! we come in a body to offer you our loves and submissions; for 't is only looking at your pretty face for one moment to see that you, and none but you, are she whom Destiny has cut out with her shears for our May-Queen!
Peasants . Huzza! — the wreath! — the wreath! — Crown her! — Huzza!

S YLVIA is crowned as May-Queen .

S YLVIA . 'T is all so sudden that I cannot strive —
Nay choose some other — it will not become —
A GATHA . Would every crown were worn as peacefully!

S YLVIA is carried by the Peasants to a flowery bank where she is installed as May-Queen .

Peasants . The song! the song that our pastor taught us for the 'casion! — Come! — the roundel! the roundel! — Take hands, and sing it as we dance about and abouTher.
Here 's a bank with rich cowslips, and cuckoo-buds strewn,
To exalt your bright looks, gentle Queen of the May;
Here 's a cushion of moss for your delicate shoon,
And a woodbine to weave you a canopy gay!

Here 's a garland of red maiden-roses for you,
Such a beautiful wreath is for beauty alone!
Here 's a golden king-cup, brimming over with dew,
To be kiss'd by a lip just as sweet as its own!

Here are bracelets of pearl from the fount in the dale,
That the Nymph of the wave on your wrists doth bestow;
Here 's a lily-wrought scarf, your sweet blushes to veil,
Or to lie on that bosom like snow upon snow!

Here 's a myrtle enwreath'd with a jessamine band,
To express the fond twining of Beauty and Youth:
Take this emblem of love in thy exquisite hand,
And do THOU sway the evergreen sceptre of Truth!

Then around you we 'll dance, and around you we 'll sing!
To soft pipe, and sweet tabor we 'll foot it away!
And the hills, and the vales, and the forests shall ring
While we hail you our lovely young Queen of the May!
G ERONYMO . I am taken! I am quite taken! — Venus, the God of Love, has shot me through the breast with his quiver! My heart falls asunder like a cleft apple! — Madam Agatha, I would have some words with you.
A GATHA . With me, friend?
G ERONYMO . Ay, Madam. — Now to break the ice in delicate manner! — You must know, Madam; the case is thus, or thus it stands, or in other terms and insinuations, here 't is, and this is the tot of the matter: I am over head and ears with Mistress Sylvia, your daughter — in short, I love her to destruction — and so, if our politics happen to suit, I hope we shall have your dissent to our marriage:
A GATHA . ( Aside ). What should I say now? — My mind misgives me about this Traveller, as he calls himself: and even were he whaThe pretends, is he a fit husband for my lowly daughter? This honest villager would make my Sylvia a homelier, but perchance a happier mate.
G ERONYMO . Well? — What say you, Madam Quietly?
A GATHA . How now? What is the matter?
S YLVIA . O me! a heavy slumber seals mine eyes!
Vapours as thick as Night curtain me round
With herse-like folds; and the moist hand of Death
Laid coldly on my brow presses me down
Upon the dreary pillow of Oblivion.
Mother! — where art thou? Fare thee well, my love!
Good-night for ever! — ever! —
A GATHA . Alas! what strange disorder? — These changes and surprises have wrought too much upon her tenderness. Bear her within, my friends, to her green chamber. This way — gently — so — [ She is borne in .
Second Peasant . This joy hath a sorrowful ending. Let us go home, and return to-morrow by daylight to inquire after her.

Peasants . Let us do so. Alas! poor maiden!

[ Exeunt .
G ERONYMO . Marry! I 'll not stir a foot! I 'll wait, Heaven willing! though 't were a thousand years: that I'm dissolved upon!
S TEPHANIA . Ho! ho! my weathercock is inconstant, I see. BuThe shall not shift his tail without a breeze, or I 'm no daughter of a true woman! So, Mister Geronymo! you are going to — —
G ERONYMO . I am, incontinently.[ Exit .
Roselle . Follow him, sister; follow him. We 'll give him no more peace than a kettle at a dog's tail. We 'll make him wish himself deaf and us dumb; we 'll speak knitting-needles into his ear, till his head grows all miz-miz and infusion.
S TEPHANIA . The ungrateful fellow! — After all my pains to tangle him!
Roselle . The saucy jacknapes, rather! Come! he shall neither eat, drink, nor be merry, with any comfort, till he gives us satisfaction: We too can be dissolved upon this matter. Follow me![ Exeunt .

Scene V.

Within the Sorcerer's dread domain
Behold poor A NDREA again!
Hither the wily fiends decoyed him;
Being too simple to avoid 'em.
Whatever more beseems ye know,
The characters themselves will show.


G RUMIEL . Well, brain-spinner!
What fly is this fine web of thine to catch?
Plague on thy sleights and stratagems! ne'er used
But when the arm lacks power. — Deeds! deeds! deeds!
'T is sleight of hand that suits me best!
M OMIEL .Tall soul! —
Where'er he comes are blows, and blows enough; —
But then he gets them; thaThe calls his courage!
If courage were esteemed by what it bears
No Pantaloon were ever half so valiant,
For he stands kicks like compliments; and bangs
Too hard for Punchinello's wooden cheek,
He takes like fan-taps, ladies' punishment! —
I 'll no such courage!
G RUMIEL .Well? what mutter'st thou?
M OMIEL . Let me work on, I tell thee or thou'lt rue it:
Spoil me this scheme and I 'll undo thy doings! —
Come hither, block! To A NDREA .
Stoop down, and hold thy head
Under this weed I wring: the juice of it
Dropt in the winding channel of thine ear
Will reach the brain, and like a chymic drug
Precipitate the thick and muddy film
That now hangs dully, as a cloud in air,
Between the light and sense. Be thou again
The natural fool we found thee, but no more!
A NDREA . Thank ye, most considerate gentlemen! — ye do not pinch my collar so wofully as at first. As I'm a person! it shall do ye no disservice. Come! speak the word; if ye are ambitious for office, say it! I will recommend ye as the most tender-hearted catchpolls: the most worthy to be thief-catchers and bumbailiffs, that any honest man would like to have to do withal.
M OMIEL . Peace, gabbler! — Look at thy feet!
A NDREA . O marvellous!
M OMIEL . Stoop o'er this green reflector, and behold
Within its shivering mirror, what thou art.
Wilt bend, and kiss thine image?
A NDREA . That is not me!
Eh? — let me feel! — 'Tis true! — O lack! O transmigration! Why my own father, wise as he is, would not know me again! — When did these sprouts put forth? — I am furnished like a two-year-old buffalo! — they will slay me shortly for my hide and horns! — There is enough upon my head to set up a dozen dealers in tortoise-shell combs and knife-handles: — Ears too, into which you might thrust your hands like hedging-gloves! — O lamentable! lamentable!
G RUMIEL . Knock him o' the head!
M OMIEL . No! — Listen, thou wretch:
Our art which has deformed thee, can re-form
As easily. But thou must earn with pains
Thy disenthralment from this bestial shape
Wilt thou, on promise to be re-made man —
A NDREA . I will! — Turn out your Ogres and your Green Dragons; I 'll put them to flight like crows! — Where be these Anthropophagi? — Show 'em to me! — Anything but the old Lady of Babylon herself, I'll undertake for; and even with her too, I would venture to cross a horn! — Give me a cudgel, if you love me! and let me be doing —
G RUMIEL . ( Strikes him ). There! — is 't not a tough one? eh?
A NDREA . This is giving me the cudgel with a vengeance! — He is an orator, I suppose, and speaks to the feelings! an indelible-impression-leaver, hang him!
M OMIEL . Wilt not have done?
I'll crack thy neck if thou speak'st one more word! —
List what I say: Follow this creeping stream
And it will lead thee to a hut, where live
An old dame and her daughter. Live, I say,
Though now I guess thou'lt find the younger one
Laid on a flowery bier, with doleful clowns
Trooping around it. Her thou must contrive
To bear off hitherward; and fetch her safe
To where I will appoint. Do this but featly
And thou shalt be restored by our great Art,
To thy old shape. What answer? Is 't agreed?
A NDREA . Say no more! — I will carry her off as a lion does a lamb. What! did I not belong to the honourable fraternity of conveyancers? — Did I not lie for a whole summer, among the Lazzaroni, on the steps of the Transport Office, at Naples? She shall be translated hither as softly as a bishop to a new benefice; as dexterously as if I had served an apprenticeship to an undertaker, or been purveyor to an anatomist. There are, to be sure, sweeter occupations under the moon than body-snatching; but the old proverb sanctifies it, on this occasion, for " Needs must " — the rest might be personal — Mum!
M OMIEL . Come, we will show thee where we 'll take our stand,
To watch thy enterprise, and see the issue,
That we may give, receiving; or perchance,
If need be, to rush out and help thy weakness.
Follow the clue I gave thee: we 'll be near.[ Exeunt .
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