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  • 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] Mariner, Rafe, Robin, and Dick [having been cast ashore in a shipwreck on the coast of Lincolnshire, near the mouth of the Humber River].
    Now, mariner, what callest thou this sport on the sea?
    It is called a wreck.
    I take no pleasure in it. Of all deaths. I would not be drowned. One's clothes will be so wet when he is taken up.
    What call'st thou the thing we were bound to?
    A rafter.
    I will rather hang myself on a rafter in the house than be so haled in the sea; there one may have a leap for his life. But I marvel how our master speeds.
    I'll warrant by this time he is wetshod. Did you ever see water bubble as the sea did? But what shall we do?
    You are now in Lincolnshire, where you can want no fowl, if you can devise means to catch them. There be woods hard by, and at every mile's end, houses, so that if you seek on the land you shall speed better than on the sea.
    Sea? Nay, I will never sail more. I brook not their diet. Their bread is so hard that one must carry a whetstone in his mouth to grind his teeth; 145the meat so salt that one would think after dinner his tongue had been powdered ten days.
    [To the Mariner] Oh, thou hast a sweet life, mariner, to be pinned in a few boards, and to be within an inch of a thing bottomless. I pray thee, how often hast thou been drowned?
    Fool, thou see'st I am yet alive.
    Why, be they dead that be drowned? I had thought they had been with the fish, and so by chance been caught up with them in a net again. It were a shame a little cold water should kill a man of reason, when you shall see a poor minnow lie in it that hath no understanding.
    Thou art wise from the crown of thy head upwards. Seek you new 155fortunes now; I will follow mine old. I can shift the moon and the sun, and know by one card what all you cannot do by a whole pair. The loadstone that always holdeth his nose to the north, the two-and-thirty points for the wind, the wonders I see would make all you blind. You be but boys. I fear the sea no more than a dish of water. Why, fools, it is but a liquid element. Farewell.
    [He turns to leave.]
    It were good we learned his cunning at the cards, for we must live by cozenage. We have neither lands, nor wit, nor masters, nor honesty.
    Nay, I would fain have his thirty-two, that is, his three dozen lacking four points, for you see betwixt us three there is not two good points.
    Dick. Let us call him a little back that we may learn those points. 165[To the Mariner] Sirrah, a word. I pray thee show us thy points.
    Will you learn?
    Then as you like this I will instruct you in all our secrets, for there is not a clout, nor card, nor board, nor post that hath not a special 170name or singular nature.
    Well, begin with your points, for I lack only points in this world.
    North. North and by east. North north-east. North-east and by north. North-east. North-east and by east. East north-east. East and by north. East.
    I'll say it. North. North-east. North-east. Nore-nore and by nore-east. I shall never do it.
    175Mariner. This is but one quarter.
    I shall never learn a quarter of it. I will try. North. North-east, is by the west side. North and by north.
    Passing ill!
    Hast thou no memory?[To Rafe] Try thou.
    North. North and by north. I can go no further.
    O dullard! Is thy head lighter then the wind, and thy tongue so heavy it will not wag? I will once again say it.
    I will never learn this language. It will get but small living, when it will scarce be learned till one be old.
    Nay then, farewell. And if your fortunes exceed not your wits, you shall starve before ye sleep.Exit.
    Rafe. Was there ever such cozening? Come, let us to the woods and see 185what fortune we may have before they be made ships. As for our master, he is drowned.
    I will this way.
    I, this.
    I, this, and this day twelvemonth let us all meet here again. It may be we shall either beg together or hang together.
    It skills not, so we be together. But let us sing now, though we cry hereafter.
    Rocks, shelves, and sands, and seas, farewell!
    Fie! Who would dwell
    195 In such a hell
    As is a ship, which drunk does reel,
    Taking salt healths from deck to keel.
    Up were we swallowed in wet graves,
    All soused in waves,
    200Rafe By Neptune's slaves.
    What shall we do, being tossd to shore?
    Milk some blind tavern, and there roar.
    'Tis brave, my boys, to sail on land,
    For being well manned,
    205 We can cry "Stand!"
    The trade of pursing ne'er shall fail
    Until the hangman cries, "Strike sail"!.
    Rove, then, no matter whither,
    In fair or stormy weather.
    210 And as we live, lets die together.
    One hempen caper cuts a feather.