Act 3, Scene IV(?)

Scene: A Room in the Mercer's House.

Enter Mercer and a Prentice.

Mercer.
Look to my shop; and if there come ever a scholar in black, let him speak with me. [Exit Boy.] We that are shopkeepers in good trade, are so pestered, that we can scarce pick out an hour for our morning's meditation; and howsoever we are all accounted dull, and common jesting stocks for your gallants, there are some of us do not deserve it; for, for my own part, I do begin to be given to my book. I love a scholar with my heart; for, questionless, there are marvellous things to be done by art: Why, sir, some of them will tell you what is become of horses, and silver spoons, and will make wenches dance naked to their beds. I am yet unmarried, and because some of our neighbours are said to be cuckolds, I will never marry without the consent of some of these scholars, that know what will come of it.

Enter Pandar.

Pandar.
Are you busy, sir?
Mercer.
Never to you, sir, nor to any of your coat. Sir, is there anything to be done by art, concerning the great heir we talk'd on?
Pandar.
Will she, nill she, she shall come running into my house, at the further corner in Saint Mark's street, betwixt three and four.
Mercer.
Betwixt three and four? She's brave in clothes, is she not?
Pandar.
Oh, rich, rich!—[Aside.] Where should I get clothes to dress her in? Help me, invention! —Sir, that her running through the street may be less noted, my art more shown, and your fear to speak with her less, she shall come in a white waistcoat, and—
Mercer.
What! shall she?
Pandar. [Aside.]
And perhaps torn stockings; she hath left her old wont else.

Enter Prentice.

Prentice.
Sir, my lord Gondarino hath sent you a rare fish-head.
Mercer.
It comes right; all things suit right with me since I began to love scholars! You shall have it home with you against she come. Carry it to this gentleman's house.
Pandar.
The fair white house, at the further corner of Saint Mark's street. Make haste!—I must leave you too, sir; I have two hours to study. Buy a new accidence, and ply your book, and you shall want nothing that all the scholars in the town can do for you!
[Exit.
Mercer.
Heaven prosper both our studies! What a dull slave was I before I fell in love with this learning! not worthy to tread upon the earth; and what fresh hopes it hath put into me! I do hope, within this twelvemonth, to be able by art to serve the court with silks, and not undo myself; to trust knights, and yet get in my money again; to keep my wife brave, and yet she keep nobody else so.

Enter VALORE and LAZARILLO.

Your lordship is most honourably welcome, in regard of your nobility; but most especially in regard of your scholarship. Did your lordship come openly?

Valore.
Sir, this cloak keeps me private; besides, no man will suspect me to be in the company of this gentleman; with whom I will desire you to be acquainted: he may prove a good customer to you.
Lazarillo.
For plain silks and velvets.
Mercer.
Are you scholastical?
Lazarillo.
Something addicted to the muses.
Valore.
I hope they will not dispute.
[Aside.
Mercer.
You have no skill in the black art?

Enter Prentice.

Pandar.
Sir, yonder's a gentleman enquires hastily for count Valore.
Valore.
For me? what is he?
Prentice.
One of your followers, my lord, I think.
Valore.
Let him come in.
Mercer.
Shall I talk with you in private, sir?

Enter Messenger, with a Letter.

Valore. [Reads.]
"Count, Come to the court; your business calls you thither:" I will go. Farewell, sir! I'll see your silks some other time. Farewell, Lazarillo!
Mercer.
Will not your lordship take a piece of beef with me?
Valore.
Sir, I have greater business than eating I'll leave this gentleman with you.
[Exeunt VALORE and Messenger.
Lazarillo.
Now, now, now, now! Now do I feel that strange struggling within me, that I think I could prophesy.
Mercer.
The gentleman is meditating.
Lazarillo.
Hunger, Valour, Love, Ambition, are alike pleasing, and, let our philosophers say what they will, are one kind of heat; only Hunger is the safest: Ambition is apt to fall; Love and Valour are not free from dangers: only Hunger, begotten of some old limber courtier, in paned hose, and nursed by an attorney's wife; now so thriven, that he need not fear to be of the Great Turk's guard; is so free from all quarrels and dangers, so full of hopes, joys, and ticklings, that my life is not so dear to me as his acquaintance.

Enter Boy.

Boy.    
Sir, the fish-head is gone.
Lazarillo.
Then be thou henceforth dumb, with thy ill-boding voice!
Farewell, Milan! Farewell, noble duke!
Farewell, my fellow-courtiers all, with whom
I have of yore made many a scrambling meal
In corners, behind arrases, on stairs;
And in the action oftentimes have spoil'd
Our doublets and our hose with liquid stuff!
Farewell, you lusty archers of the guard,
To whom I now do give the bucklers up,
And never more with any of your coat
Will eat for wagers! now you happy be;
When this shall light upon you, think on me!
You sewers, carvers, ushers of the court,
Sirnamed gentle for your fair demean,
Here I do take of you my last farewell:
May you stand stiffly in your proper places,
And execute your offices aright!
Farewell, you maidens, with your mothers eke,
Farewell, you courtly chaplains that be there!
All good attend you! may you never more
Marry your patron's lady's waiting-woman,
But may you raised be by this my fall!
May Lazarillo suffer for you all!
Mercer.
Sir, I was hearkening to you.
Lazarillo.
I will hear nothing! I will break my knife, the ensign of my former happy state, knock out my teeth, have them hung at a barber's, and enter into religion.
Boy.    
Why, sir, I think I know whither it is gone.
Lazarillo.
See the rashness of man in his nature!— Whither, whither? I do unsay all that I have said! Go on, go on, boy! I humble myself, and follow thee.—Farewell, sir!
Mercer.
Not so, sir; you shall take a piece of beef with me.
Lazarillo.
I cannot stay.
Mercer.
By my fay, but you shall, sir, in regard of your love to learning, and your skill in the black art.
Lazarillo.
I do hate learning, and I have no skill in the black art: I would I had!
Mercer.
Why, your desire is sufficient to me; you shall stay.
Lazarillo.
The most horrible and detested curses that can be imagined, light upon all the professors of that art! May they be drunk, and, when they go to conjure, reel in the circle! May the spirits by them raised tear 'em in pieces, and hang their quarters on old broken walls and steeple tops!
Mercer.
This speech of yours shows you to have some skill in the science; wherefore, in civility, I may not suffer you to depart empty.
Lazarillo.
My stomach is up; I cannot endure it! I will fight in this quarrel, as soon as for my prince. Room! make way!
[Draws his rapier.
Hunger commands; my valour must obey!
[Exeunt.