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not enjoy them? Why tarry we here so long? I do think every hour a year until we be gone; my heart is as cold as a stone, and as heavy as lead, God help me. Seeing that we have sent our children forth three weeks past into a good air and a sweet country, let us follow them. We shall be welcome to your brother's house, I dare say; my sister will rejoice in our coming, and so will all our friends there. Let us take leave of our neighbours, and return merely home again when the plague is past, and the dog days ended; and there you may occupy your stock, and have gain thereof.

Civis. Oh, wife, we know not our return, for the Apostle saith to you that will say, "To-day or to-morrow we will go to such a city, and buy and sell, and have gain, and know not what shall happen to-morrow," "What is our life? It is as a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and afterward vanisheth away." For that ye ought to say, "If the Lord will and we live, we will to this or that place; and if it please God we will both depart and return again at His good will and pleasure"; for we are in His hands whither so ever we do go; and I trust it is not against God's commandment or pleasure that we depart from this infected air.

Uxor. I know not what God will in our departing, but my flesh trembles when I do hear the death-bell ring.

Civis. Yes surely, we have the Apostle saying (for our defence in flying), "No man ever yet hath hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it": therefore, who can nourish his flesh in a corrupted air, but rather do kill it? Further, I hear a doctor of physic say that one called Galen, in a book of treacle, [wrote] to one Pison, his friend, that the pestilence was like a monstrous hungry beast, devouring and eating not a few but sometimes whole cities, that by respiration or drawing in their breath do take the poisoned air. He lauded Hippocrates, which saith that to remove from the infected air into a cleaner, thereby, saith he, they did not draw in more foul air, and this was his only remedy for the plague. To them that did remain he commanded not only simple wood to be burned within the city of Athens, but also most sweet flowers and spices, perfumes, as gums and ointments, to purge the air. And, wife, fear of death enforced many holy men to fly as

Jacob from his cruel brother Esau, David from Saul, Elias from Jezebel. The Christian men from fear of death did fly the tyranny of the papists, and although these men did not fly the pestilence, yet they fled all for fear of death; and so will we by God's grace observe such wholesome means, and obey His Divine providence. Also I will leave my house with my faithful friends, and take the keys of my chests with me. Where are our horses?

Uxor. Our things are ready; have you taken your leave of our neighbours, man?

Civis. I have done; so now let us depart, a God's blessing, good wife.

Uxor. Give me my horse, Roger.

Roger. Mistress, he is here ready at your hand, a good gelding. God bless him and sweet Saint Loye.

Civis. Bring forth mine also, and let the servants forget nothing behind them, specially the steel casket. Let us ride fair and softly until we be out of the town.

Uxor. How pleasant are these sweet fields, garnished with fair plants and flowers! the birds do sing sweetly and pitifully in the bushes; here are pleasant woods. Jesus, man, who would be in the city again? Not I, for an hundred pound. Oh, help me! my horse starteth, and had like to have been unsaddled; let me sit faster for falling.

Civis. He is a bird-eyed jade, I warrant you, and you are no good horsewoman, for I did never see you ride before in all my life; but exercise will make you perfect. Your mother was a good horsewoman, and loved riding well as any gentlewoman that ever I knew in my life. Well, she is gone, and we must follow this is the world.

Uxor. I never was so far from London in all my life. How far have we ridden already, sir, I pray you?

Civis. Wife, we have ridden ten miles this morning.
Uxor. What town is this, I pray you, sir?

Civis. This is Barnet, whereas Samuel your son was nursed; and yonder is Richard Higmer's house; we will see him as we do return home again; we will not tarry now, because every inn is pestered with Londoners and carriers, and it is early days. How like you this town, dame ?

Uxor. A pretty street; but methink the people go very plain; it is no city as I do suppose by their manners. What house is this at the town's end, compassed with a moat?

Civis. Here dwelleth a friend of ours; this is called the Fold. And here before is Dancers' Hill, and Rig Hill.

Uxor. What great smoke is in yonder wood? God grant

it be well.

Civis. It is nothing but making of charcoal in that place. Uxor. Why, is charcoal made? I had thought all things had been made at London, yet I did never see no charcoals made there: by my troth, I had thought that they had grown upon trees, and had not been made.

William BulleIN, A Dialogue against the Pestilence 1573 (1st ed. 1564)

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Slender. I had rather than forty shillings I had my Book of Songs and Sonnets here. How now, Simple! where have you been? I must wait on myself, must I? You have not the Book of Riddles about you, have you?

Simple. Book of Riddles ! why, did you not lend it to Alice Shortcake upon All-Hallowmas last, a fortnight afore Michaelmas ?

The Merry Wives of Windsor, 1. i. 205—212


To the right honourable Henry Wriothesly,
Earl of Southampton and Baron of Tichfield.

The love I dedicate to your lordship is without end; whereof this pamphlet, without beginning, is but a superfluous moiety. The warrant I have of your honourable disposition, not the worth of my untutored lines, makes it assured of acceptance. What I have done is yours; what I have to do is yours; being part in all I have, devoted yours. Were my worth greater, my duty would show greater; meantime, as it is, it is bound to your lordship, to whom I wish long life, still lengthened with happiness.

Your lordship's in all duty,

William Shakespeare

Dedication of The Rape of Lucrece 1594

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