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About this text

  • Title: Galathea (Modern)
  • Editor: David Bevington

  • Copyright David Bevington. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: John Lyly
    Editor: David Bevington
    Peer Reviewed

    Galathea (Modern)

    [Enter Rafe alone.
    No more masters now, but a mistress, if I can light on her. An astronomer! Of all occupations that's the worst. Yet well fare the Alchemist, for he keeps good fires though he gets no gold; the other stands warming himself by staring on the stars, which 875I think he can as soon number as know their virtues. He told me a long tale of octogessimus octavus, and the meeting of the conjunctions and planets, and in the meantime he fell backward himself into a pond. I asked him why he foresaw not that by the stars. He said he knew it but contemned it. But soft, is not this my brother Robin?
    [Enter Robin.
    880Robin
    Yes, as sure as thou art Rafe.
    What, Robin? What news? What fortune?
    Robin
    Faith, I have had but bad fortune, but I prithee tell me thine.
    I have had two masters, not by art but by nature. One said that by multiplying he would make of a penny ten pound.
    Robin
    Ay, but could he do it?
    Could he do it, quoth you? Why, man, I saw a pretty wench come to his shop, where with puffing, blowing, and sweating, he so plied her that he multipled her.
    Robin
    How?
    Why he made her of one, two.
    Robin
    What, by fire?
    No, by the philosopher's stone.
    Robin
    Why, have philosopher's such stones?
    Ay, but they lie in a privy cupboard.
    Robin
    Why then thou art rich if thou have learned this cunning.
    Tush, this was nothing. He would of a little fasting spittle make a 895hose and doublet of cloth of silver.
    Robin. Would I had been with him! For I have had almost no meat but spittle since I came to the woods.
    How then didst thou live?
    Robin
    Why, man, I served a fortune-teller, who said I should live to see my father hanged and both my brothers beg. So I conclude the mill shall be mine, and 900I live by imagination still.
    Thy master was an ass, and looked on the lines of thy hands. But my other master was an astronomer, which could pick my nativity out of the stars. I should have half a dozen stars in my pocket if I have not lost them, but here they be: Sol, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus.
    [He shows Robin a list of astrological names]
    905Robin
    Why, these be but names.
    Rafe. Ay, but by these he gathereth that I was a Jovalist born of a Thursday, and that I should be a brave Venerian and get all my good luck on a Friday.
    Robin
    'Tis strange that a fish day should be a flesh-day.
    Robin, Venus orta mari: Venus was born of the sea, the sea will have fish, fish must have wine, wine will have flesh, for caro carnis genus est muliebre. But soft, here cometh that notable villain that once preferred me to the Alchemist.
    [Enter Peter [not seeing the other two at first].
    Peter
    [To himself] So I had a master, I would not care what became of me.
    [Aside to Robin] Robin, thou shalt see me fit him. So I had a servant, I care neither for his conditions, his qualities, nor his person.
    Peter
    [Seeing them] What, Rafe? well met. No doubt you had a warm service of my master the alchemist?
    'Twas warm indeed, for the fire had almost burnt out mine eyes, and yet my teeth still watered with hunger, so that my service was both too hot and too cold. I melted all my meat and made only my slumber thoughts, and so had a full 920head and an empty belly. But where hast thou been since?
    Peter
    With a brother of thine, I think, for he hath such a coat, and two brothers (as he saith) seeking of fortunes.
    Robin
    'Tis my brother Dick. I prithee, let's go to him.
    Sirrah, what was he doing that he came not with thee?
    925Peter
    He hath gotten a master now, that will teach him to make you both his younger brothers.
    Ay, thou passest for devising impossibilities. That's as true as thy master could make silver pots of tags of points.
    Peter
    Nay, he will teach him to cozen you both, and so get the mill to himself.
    Nay, if he be both our cozens, I will be his great grandfather, and Robin shall be his uncle. But, I pray thee, bring us to him quickly, for I am great-bellied with conceit till I see him.
    Peter
    Come then and go with me, and I will bring ye to him straight.
    Exeunt.