Lend thine ear
Lend thine ear.
There! He slaps Curtis on the ear.
This ’tis to feel a tale, not to hear a tale.
And therefore ’tis called a sensible tale. And
this cuff was but to knock at your ear and beseech
list’ning. Now I begin: Imprimis, we came down a
foul hill, my master riding behind my mistress—
Both of one horse?
What’s that to thee?
Why, a horse.
Tell thou the tale! But hadst thou not crossed
me, thou shouldst have heard how her horse fell,
and she under her horse; thou shouldst have heard
in how miry a place, how she was bemoiled, how he
left her with the horse upon her, how he beat me
because her horse stumbled, how she waded
through the dirt to pluck him off me, how he swore,
how she prayed that never prayed before, how I
cried, how the horses ran away, how her bridle was
burst, how I lost my crupper, with many things of
worthy memory which now shall die in oblivion,
and thou return unexperienced to thy grave.
By this reck’ning, he is more shrew than she.
Ay, and that thou and the proudest of you all
shall find when he comes home. But what talk I of
this? Call forth Nathaniel, Joseph, Nicholas, Phillip,
Walter, Sugarsop, and the rest. Let their heads
be slickly combed, their blue coats brushed, and
their garters of an indifferent knit. Let them curtsy
with their left legs, and not presume to touch a hair
of my master’s horse-tail till they kiss their hands.
Are they all ready?
Call them forth.
Curtis, calling out
Do you hear, ho? You must meet
my master to countenance my mistress.
Why, she hath a face of her own.
Who knows not that?
Thou, it seems, that calls for company to
I call them forth to credit her.
Why, she comes to borrow nothing of them.