A scene from 'Parnassus 2' (i.e. The Returne from Parnassus, Part I)

The following modern language version of this scene is my own, based on a version in the original spelling and punctuation, which you can see here. I haven't altered the words in my version, only spelling and punctuation; but I have taken liberties by suggesting stage directions (given in italics and in brackets, like this), to indicate what I think may have been happening during this scene. These are my own ideas, and quite probably wrong.

Act III Scene I

Ingenioso, Gullio

Ingenioso : (to audience)     Now gentlemen you may laugh if you will, for here comes a gull.
Gullio    (comes on practising great sweeps with his sword?) This rapier I bought when I sojourned in the University of Padua. By the heavens, it's a pure toledo. It was the death of a Pollonian, a German and a Dutchman, because they would not pledge the health of England. (lunges dramatically)
Ingenioso : (aside)     He was never any further than Flushing, and then he came home sick of the scurveys. - Surely, sir, a notable exploit, worthy to be chronicled! But had you any witness of your valiancy?
Gullio     Why, I could never abide to fight privately, because I would not have obscurity so familiar with my virtues. Since my arrival in England (which is now six months I take since) I had been the death of one of our puling Littletonians for passing by me in the Moorefields unsaluted, but that there was no historiographer by to have recorded it.
Ingenioso    Please you now, sir, to lay the reins on the neck of your virtuous disposition, you have gotten a suppliant poet that will teach mossy posterity to know how that this earth in such a reign was blessed with a young Jupiter.
Gullio    I'faith I care not for fame, but valour and virtue will be spoken of in spite of oblivion. Had I cared for that prating Echo, fame, my exploits at Cosmopolis, at Cadiz, at Portingale voyage, and now very lately in Ireland had been jetting ere this through every by-street, and talked of as well at the wheel of a country maid as the tilts and tournaments of the court.
Ingenioso    I dare swear your worship escaped knighting very hardly.
Gullio: (tetchily)    That's but a petty requital to good deserts. He that esteems me of less worth than a knight is a peasant, and a gull! Give me a new knight of them all, in fence school at a Nimbrocado or at a Stocado. Sir Oliuer, Sir Randal - base, base chamberterms! I am saluted every morning by the name of, Good morrow captain, my sword is at your service!
Ingenioso    Good faith, an honourable title. - Why, this is the life of a man - to command a quick rapier in a tavern, to blow two or three simple fellows out of a room with a valiant oath, to bestow more smoke on the world with the draught of a pipe of tobacco than proceeds from the chimney of a solitary hall! But say, sir, you were telling me a tale even now of your Helen, your Venus, that better part of your amorous soul...
Gullio    Well remembered. Aetas prima canit venere, postrema tumultus: since soldiery is not regarded I'll make the ladies happy with enjoying my youth, and hang up my sword and buckler to the beholders. Among many dainty court nymphs that with petitioning looks have sued for my love, it pleased me to bestow love, this pleasing fire, upon Lady Lesbia. Many a health have I drunk to her upon my native knees, eating that happy glass in honour of my mistress.
Ingenioso    Valiantly done! Admirable, admirable.
Gullio    And, for matters of wit, oft have I sonneted it in the commendations of her squirrel. And, very lately (I remember that time I had a musk jerkin, laid all with gold lace, and the rest of my furniture answerable - pretty sleighty apparel, stood me in not long past in two hundred pounds) - the froward fates cut her monkey's thread asunder, and I, in the abundance of poetry, bestowed an epitaph upon the deceased little creature!
Ingenioso : (applauding politely)    I'faith, an excellent wit, that can poetize vpon such mean subjects. Every John Dringle can make a book in the commendations of Temperance, against the Seven Deadly Sins; but that's a rare wit that can make something of nothing, that can make an epigram of a mouse, and an epitaph on a monkey. But, love is very costly: for I have heard that you were wont to wear seven sundry suits of apparel in a week - and them no mean ones.
Gullio    (Preening)Tush! man, at the court I think I should grow lousy if I wore less than two a day.
Ingenioso : (aside)     The devil of a suit hath he but this, and that's not paid for yet.
Gullio    I am never seen at the court twice in one suit of apparel! That's base. As for boots, I never wore one pair above two hours; as for bands, stockings, and handkerchiefs - mine hostess, where my trunks lie near the court, hath enough to make her sheets for her household.
Ingenioso    I wonder such a gallant as you are escapes the marriage of some countess!
Gullio    Nay, I cannot abide to be tied to Cleopatra, if she were alive. It's enough for me to crop virginity, and to take heed that no ladies die Vestals and lead apes in hell. But seest thou this? (Takes mysterious object from inside his doublet, close to the heart. When Ingenioso puts a hand towards it Gullio snatches it away) O, touch it not! it is divine. Why man, it was a humble retainer to her busk.(They both gaze on it with silent admiration.) And here is another favour which I snatched from her, as I was in a gentlemanlike courtesy tying of her shoe strings.. It is my nature to be debonair with fair ladies, and vouchsafe to employ this happy hand (flourishes hand, kisses it) in any service, either domestical... or private. ( knowing wink)
Ingenioso : (changing subject rapidly)    Among other of your virtues I do observe your stile to be most pure - your English tongue comes as near Tully's as any man's living.
Gullio :    Oh sir, that was my care, to prove a complete gentleman, to be tam Marti quam Mercurio; insomuch that I am pointed at for a poet in Paul's church yard, and in the tilt yard for a champion, - nay every man enquires after my abode:

Gnats are unnoted where so ere they fly,
But Eagles waited on with every eye.

I had in my days not unfitly been likened to Sir Philip Sidney, only with this difference - that I had the better leg and more amiable face. His Arcadia was pretty, so are my sonnets; he had been at Paris, I at Padua; he fought, and so dare I; he died in the low countries, and so I think shall I; he loved a scholar, I maintain them - witness thyself, now: because I saw thee have the wit to acknowledge those virtues to be mine, which indeed are, I have restored thy dylaniated back and ruinous estate to those pretty clothes wherein thou now walkest.
Ingenioso (aside)    Oh! it is a most lousy cast suit of his, that he before bought of an Irish soldier. - (To Gullio)Durst envy otherwise report of your excellency than I have done, I would bob him on the pate, and make forlorn malice recant. If I live, I will limn out your virtues, in such rude colours as I have, that your late nephews may know what good wits were. (does Gullio ostentatiously tip him here?) - Your worship's most bounden!
Gullio    Nay, I have not only recreated thy cold state with the warmth of my bounty, but also maintain other poetical spirits, that live upon my trenchers; insomuch that I cannot come to my Inn in Oxford without a dozen congratulatory orations, made by 'Genus-and-Species'(University scholars) and his ragged companions. I reward the poor 'ergos' most bountifully, and send them away. I am very lately registered in the rolls of fame in an Epigram made by a Cambridge man, one Weever - fellow, I warrant him, else could he never have had such a quick sight into my virtues. Howsoever, I merit his praise. If I meet with him I will vouchsafe to give him condign thanks.
Ingenioso :    (Fulsomely) Great reason the Muses should flutter about your immortal head, since your body is nothing but a fair inn of fairer guests, that dwell therein. But you have digressed from your Mistress, for whose sake you and I began this parley.
Gullio    Marry, well remembered. I'll repeat unto you an enthusiastical oration wherewith my new mistress's ears were made happy. The carriage of my body, by the report of my mistress, was excellent. (Strikes a pose) I stood stroking up my hair, which became me very admirably, gave a low conge at the beginning of each period, made every sentence end sweetly, with an oath.(Ingenioso starts with surprise at the thought of Gullio swearing oaths in front of his mistress: Gullio smiles patronisingly) It is the part of an orator to persuade! and I know not how better, than to conclude with such earnest protestations. (He decides to convince Ingenioso with a demo.)Suppose also that thou wert my Mistress, as sometimes wooden statues represent the goddesses; thus I would look amorously, (ogles horribly) thus I would pace, (strides manfully about the stage) thus I would salute thee.(sweeps into deep bow.)
Ingenioso : (groaning, aside)    It will be my luck to die no other death than by hearing of his follies. I fear this speech that's a-coming will breed a deadly disease in my ears.
Gullio    (beaming a 100-megawatt smile) Pardon fair lady, though sick- thoughted Gullio makes amain unto thee, and like a bold-faced suitor 'gins to woo thee!
Ingenioso :(puking)    We shall have nothing but pure Shakspeare, and shreds of poetry that he hath gathered at the theatres.
Gullio    Pardon mee moy mittressa,(is he trying to impress 'her' with some French?) ast am a gentleman the moon in comparison of thy bright hue a mere slut, Anthony's Cleopatra a black-browed milkmaid, Helen a dowdie.
Ingenioso    Mark - Romeo and Juliet: o monstrous theft! I think he will run through a whole book of Samuel Daniel's.

Thrice fairer than my self, thus I began,
The gods fair riches, sweet above compare,
Stain to all nymphs, more lovely than a man,
More white and red than doves and roses are:
Nature that made thee, with herself at strife,
Saith that the world hath ending with thy life.

Ingenioso :   (rapturously, playing the mistress) Sweet Mr Shakespeare!
Gullio    As I am a scholar,
these arms of mine are long and strong withall:(suddenly clasps startled Ingenioso in passionate embrace)
Thus elms by vines are compast ere they falle.

Ingenioso : (still squeaking coquettishly)    Faith, gentleman, your reading is wonderful in our English poets!
Gullio    Sweet mistress, I vouchsafe to take some of their words and apply them to mine own matters by a scholastical imitation.(Coming abruptly out of character and addressing Ingenioso man-to-man.) Report thou upon thy credit - is not my vein in courting gallant and honourable?
Ingenioso : (mopping sweat from brow)    Admirable sans compare. Never was so mellifluous a wit joined to so pure a phrase, such comely gesture, such - gentleman-like behaviour!
Gullio    But stay, it's very true - good wits have bad memories: I had almost forgotten the chief point I called thee out for! New Year's Day approacheth, and whereas other gallants bestow jewels upon their mistresses (as I have done whilom), I now count it base to do as the common people do. I will bestow upon them the precious stones of my wit, a diamond of Invention, that shall be above all value and esteem!... Therefore, since I am employed in some weighty affairs of the court, I will have thee, Ingenioso, to make them: and when thou hast done, I will peruse, polish, and correct them.
Ingenioso    My pen is your bounden vassal to command; but what vein would it please you to have them in?
Gullio    Not in a vain vein (titters at own joke; Ingenioso feebly joins in) Pretty, i'faith! - make me them in two or three diverse veins,(Ingenioso scribbles notes frantically) in Chaucer's, Gower's and Spencer's, and - (Ingenioso shudders, knowing what's coming) Mr Shakespeare's. Marry, I think I shall entertain those verses which run like these:

Euen as the sun with purple-coloured face
Had ta'en his last leave on the weeping morn, etc.

O sweet Mr Shakspeare! I'll have his picture in my study at the court.
Ingenioso : (aside, to audience)    Take heed, my masters, he'll kill you with tediousness ere I can rid him of the stage.
Gullio    Come, let us in. I'll eat a bite of pheasant, and drink a cup of wine in my cellar, and straight to the court I'll go. A countess and two lords expect me today at dinner, they are my very honourable friends, I must not disappoint them.


Littletonian: Law student

Rape of Lucrece, ll 1014-15:

Gnats are vnnoted wheresoere they flie,
But Eagles gaz'd vppon with euerie eye.

Venus and Adonis, lines 5-6:

Sick-thoughted Venus makes amaine vnto him,
And like a bold fac'd suter ginnes to woo him.

Romeo and Juliet, II, iv:

" Laura to his Lady, was a kitchen wench...Dido a dowdie, Cleopatra a Gipsie, Hellen and Hero, hildings and harlots..."

Venus and Adonis, lines 7-12:

Thrise fairer than my selfe, (thus she began)
The fields chiefe flower, sweet aboue compare, etc (thereafter Gullio quotes accurately)

Spanish Tragedy II, iv, 44-5:

Nay then, my armes are large and stronge withall:
Thus Elmes by vines are compast till they fall.

Venus and Adonis, lines 1 - 2, except that "on" in Gullio's quote should be "of".