| Summer. Vertumnus, call Solstitium|
Vertum. 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, with an hour-glass in either of them ; one
hour-glass white, the other black : he is brought in by
a number of shepherds, playing upon recorders.)
Solstitium. All hail to Summer, my dread sovereign Lord.
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 day's eyes in my prime of youth?
And those I have converted to white hairs.
I neuer loved ambitiously to climb,
Or thrust my hand too far into the fire.
To be in heauen, sure, is a blessed thing ;
But Atlas-like to prop heaven on one's back
Cannot but be more labour than delight.
Such is the state of men in honour 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.
Inter vtrumq[ue], 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 hourglass 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,
A pattern is to Princes and great men
How to weigh all estates indifferently,
The Spiritualty and Temporalty 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' favour, and all things at beck;
So, this white glass run out (as out it will)
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, hadst thou nought besides?
Nought but day's eyes and fair looks gave I thee?
Solstitium: Nothing, my Lord, nor ought more did I ask.
Summer: But hadst 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:
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 hadst thou spoke to me
Thou hadst 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.
(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 a gallymaufry
- Fetch me some drink, somebody! What cheer, what cheer, my hearts? are not you thirsty with listening to this dry sport?What have we to do with scales and hourglasses, 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 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 blackjack and a roundlet 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 ne'er 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 vertue to proceed; but let us have no more of these grave matters.
Next scene: the Sol scene