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A Collection of Old English Plays, Volume 1

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Newly Written.

Imprinted at London by Augustine Mathewes, and John Norton, for Thomas Jones, and are to bee sold at the blacke Raven in the Strand, 1624.

The Tragedie of Nero.

Actus Primus.

Enter Petronius Arbyter, Antonius Honoratus.

Petron. Tush, take the wenchI showed thee now, or else some other seeke.What? can your choler no way be allayedBut with Imperiall tytles?Will you more tytles[1] unto Caesar give?

Anto. Great are thy fortunes Nero, great thy power,Thy Empyre lymited with natures bounds;Upon thy ground the Sunne doth set and ryse;The day and night are thine,Nor can the Planets, wander where they will,See that proud earth that feares not Caesars name.Yet nothing of all this I envy thee;But her, to whom the world unforst obayes,Whose eye's more worth then all it lookes upon;In whom all beautyes Nature hath enclos'dThat through the wide Earth or Heaven are dispos'd.

Petron. Indeed she steales and robs each part o'th worldWith borrowed beauties to enflame thine eye:The Sea, to fetch her Pearle, is div'd into;The Diomond rocks are cut to make her shine;To plume her pryde the Birds do naked sing:When my Enanthe, in a homely gowne—

Anto. Homely, I faith.

Petron. I, homely in her gowne,But looke vpon her face and that's set outWith no small grace; no vayled shadowes helpe.Foole! that hadst rather with false lights and darkeBeguiled be then see the ware thou buyest.

Poppea royally attended, and passe over the Stage in State.

Anto. Great Queene[2], whom Nature made to be her glory,Fortune got eies and came to be thy servant,Honour is proud to be thy tytle; thoughThy beauties doe draw up my soule, yet stillSo bright, so glorious is thy MaiestieThat it beates downe againe my clyming thoughts.

Petron. Why, true;And other of thy blindnesses thou seest[?]Such one to love thou dar'st not speake unto.Give me a wench that will be easily hadNot woed with cost, and being sent for comes:And when I have her foulded in mine armesThen Cleopatra she, or Lucres is;Ile give her any title.

Anto. Yet not so much her greatnesse and estate My hopes disharten as her chastitie.

Petron. Chastitie! foole! a word not knowne in Courts.Well may it lodge in meane and countrey homesWhere povertie and labour keepes them downe,Short sleepes and hands made hard with Thuscan Woll,But never comes to great mens PallacesWhere ease and riches stirring thoughts beget,Provoking meates and surfet wines inflame;Where all there setting forth's but to be wooed,And wooed they would not be but to be wonne.Will one man serve Poppea? nay, thou shaltMake her as soone contented with an [one?] eye.

Nimphidius to them.

Nimph. Whil'st Nero in the streetes his Pageants shewesI to his fair wives chambers sent for am.You gracious Starres that smiled on my birth,And thou bright Starre more powerful then them all,Whose favouring smiles have made me what I am,Thou shalt my God, my Fate and fortune be.                                          [Ex....