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1 - Shakespeare in private: domestic performance

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 December 2011

Michael Dobson
Affiliation:
Birkbeck College, University of London
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Summary

sir john … Hostess, clap to the doors. – Watch tonight, pray tomorrow. Gallants, lads, boys, hearts of gold, all the titles of good fellowship come to you! What, shall we be merry, shall we have a play extempore? … Well, thou wilt be horribly chid tomorrow when thou comest to thy father. If thou love me, practise an answer.

prince harry Do thou stand for my father, and examine me upon the particulars of my life.

sir john Shall I? Content. This chair shall be my state, this dagger my sceptre, and this cushion my crown.

prince harry Thy state is taken for a joint-stool, thy golden sceptre for a leaden dagger, and thy precious rich crown for a pitiful bald crown.

sir john Well, an the fire of grace be not quite out of thee, now shalt thou be moved. Give me a cup of sack to make my eyes look red, that it may be thought I have wept; for I must speak in passion, and I will do it in King Cambyses' vein.

prince harry Well, here is my leg.

sir john And here is my speech. Stand aside, nobility.

hostess O Jesu, this is excellent sport, i' faith.

sir john Weep not, sweet queen; for trickling tears are vain.

hostess O the Father, how he holds his countenance!

sir john For God's sake, lords, convey my tristful Queen,

For tears do stop the floodgates of her eyes.

hostess O Jesu, he doth it as like one of these harlotry players as ever I see!

(Henry IV part 1, 2.5, 282–3, 376–400).
Type
Chapter
Information
Shakespeare and Amateur Performance
A Cultural History
, pp. 22 - 64
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2011

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