A Bookish Interlude with…Wit in a Constable

Actus primus, Scena prima.

Enter Holdfast, Tristram.

Holdfast.

Did you ere we departed from the Colledge
Orelooke my library?

Trist. Yes sir, I spent two dayes in sorting Poets from Historians,
As many nights in placing the divines
On their owne chayres, I meane their shelves, and then
I
n separating Philosophers from those people
That kill men with a license: your Physitians
Cost me a whole dayes labour, and I find sir,
Although you tell me learning is immortall,
The paper and the parchment, tis contayn’d in,
Savors of much mortality.

Hold. I hope my bookes are all in health.
Trict.  In the same case the Mothes have left them, who have eaten more
Authenticke learning then would richly furnish
A hundred country pedants; yet the wormes
Are not one letter wiser.

Hold I have beene idle
Since I came back from Cambridge, goe to my stationer
And bid him send me Swarez Metaphysickes,
Tolet de anima
is new forth,
So are Granadas commentaries on
Primum secundae Thomae Aquinatis
,
Get me the Lyricke Poets.  And—
Trist
. I admire
How he retaines these Authors names, of which
He understands no sillable, ’twere better
I bought the Authenticke Legend of Sir Bevis,
Some six new Ballads and the famous Poems
Writ by the learned waterman.
Hold. Iohn Taylor, get me his nonsense.
Trist.  You mean all his workes sir.

Hold.  And a hundred of Bookers new Almanacks.
Trist. And the divell to boot,
Your fathers bookes in which he keeps th accounts
Of all his coyne will scarce yield crowns to afford
Your fancy volums : why you have already
Enough to furnish a new Vatican,
A hundred country pedants can read dictats
To their young pupills out of Setons logicke,
Or Golius Ethicks, and make them arrive,
Proficients learn’d enough in one bare twelmonth
To instruct the parish they were borne in : you
Out of an itch to this same foolish learning
Bestow more money yearely upon books:
Then would for convent sisters build an almes-house.
Hold.  You displease my patience Tristram.


Henry Glapthorne, Wit in a constable. A comedy written 1639. The author Henry Glapthorne. And now printed as it was lately acted at the Cock-pit in Drury lane, by their Majesties servants, with good allowance.  London, Printed by Io. Okes, for F.C. and are to be sold at his shops in Kings-street at the signe of the Goat, and in Westminster-Hall, 1640.  Beinecke call number: Z77 91k.

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