ENTER JAQUES DE BOYS
JAQUES DE BOYS
Let me have audience for a word or two.
Unsquint thine eyes, Audrey. Gape not with wide mouth and
hands on hips at the newcomer— Ah, here comes the Duke's
own raincloud, frowning at sunshine and glad news alike.
Good friend, good wit, a word in your ear. Draw aside, I must
ask a thing of you. How best to become a fool? A fool's fool,
a brave fool, a worthy clown? Motley's the only color.
You would learn the art of the fool and serve your lord thusly?
Were I a fool, I would have license to speak as I please and
serve out the wisdom of my craft to the Duke and his courtiers.
Appear you seriously. I shall impart some of my craft's wisdom,
as you say. You must dedicate your entire self to the art. 'Tis a
journey that consumes the best part of a man's life, exhausts
his brain to the breaking point, demands the full quantity of his
soul, so rocky and be-obstacled is the path. Become yourself
apprenticed to a fool, absorb of his colorful experience all that
you can and more, follow him through city and hinterland,
sequester yourself upon the mountain, surround yourself at the
finest courts, befriend the men, woo the women, laugh, weep,
You're having me on.
You, a fool? The gods themselves do shake the heavens with
laughter at your foolishness.
A man in his life plays many parts, wears many hats, though
some may flatter him not. In truth, friend, I would wear the
Such a cap rests skewed upon your head, and makes a
bird's nest of your hair.
I thought it a rakish angle.
Fools must speak as they think, think as they see, and see
as they will, and so must I, as the motley coat is my habit:
a worse man to play the fool did I never see in all my days
on the green earth. Thou art a melancholy: such a fool is
more inclined to make his lord weep in truth than weep in
Peace, I believe you not. People do laugh at another's
misery, cruel though that may be.
This is true, yet the fiddler must have more than a single
tune in his repertoire, lest his audience grow weary and
demand their coin again.
You answer swiftly and knowledgeably. Speakst thou
from painful experience?
From a general education one acquires through observation
of humanity. It may even come to you in time.
I should only expect mockery from a fool. Your judgment is
faulty; you cannot know how the vocation would suit until
I had tried it on.
'Twould befit you like as the jester's cap: the coat that becomes
me well is too snug on your shoulders, and forever dragging in
the mud and twisting 'round your heels. The heavy cloak of the
melancholy is just your fashion.
Swirls dramatically in the autumn wind, does it?
Still, I say you speak untrue. These senseless words are
more for entertainment than enlightenment.
That is partly the nature of the fool, sir. He speaks true, yet
poses his words in such a way as to amuse; and thus he
avoids a beating, which would be inevitable were he to speak
straight. Your own unbruised appearance quite amazes me.
Here in the wood you live amongst more civil men than yourself
and speak as you do, plainly and graceless, stomping upon men
for sins that you yourself have committed. If you were a fool,
the noble Duke would have cracked your skull long ago.
More civil men, indeed. Courtly manners are not unknown to
No, indeed, they are familiar to you, sir, but not friends. Any fool
worth his sauce knows how to transform the truth into a palatable
meal, and has the wit to serve a different meat if the first was not
so well received. I take it your dinners are most often sent back
to the kitchen?
Go to, Monsieur Clown, take your lies elsewhere. I'll have no
more of you.
Then who would you learn the fool's trade from, if not myself?
The trees? The stream? The stones? Stones are the least
amusing of God's creations. Not a man in the world laughs
at a stone.
Why plague you me with your presence still? God's teeth, your
drivel grates upon my ears. Be off, join the revelers, dance with
your sun-tinted shepherdess, leave me in peace.
To moan and carp upon the weather— "'Tis a pity the day is fine;
the flowers do droop for lack of water," quoth Signior Gloom— and
to sit alone in a cave whilst we carouse? If that is your wish, sir,
then let me grant it.
Stay, good fool, stay. I spoke out of turn, and ask that you
pardon me. Your meaning is well taken. The fool's life is not
for me. If you are so confident in your opinion, then I have
no reason to doubt you.
Why stay you in Arden with the merry Duke? Thou'rt more
miserable than a wet winter, and twice as chilly.
I find the fields and forest, created from the ether and God's
own mind, more fitting to my nature than any venerated structure
formed in stone by human hands. And truly, my lord Duke is a
generous and kindly man. Why stay you with the rustic youth and
his sister? A man such as yourself could do excellent well at court.
Ah, my friend, as you may observe, the rustic youth is no longer.
He is replaced by the Duke's gracious daughter, the common
sister now the precious cousin, and am I off to the court once more
with my Audrey. Take my advice, freely given and well intended:
find another hat to wear. I wish you well.
Sir, by your patience. If I heard you rightly,
The duke hath put on a religious life
And thrown into neglect the pompous court.
JAQUES DE BOYS
To him will I. Out of these convertites
There is much matter to be heard and learned.
[TO DUKE SENIOR]
You to your former honor I bequeath;
Your patience and your virtue well deserves it.
You to a love that your true faith doth merit;
You to your land and love and great allies;
You to a long and well-deserved bed;
And you to wrangling, for thy loving voyage
Is but for two months victualled. So, to your pleasures:
I am for other than for dancing measures.
Stay, Jaques, stay.
To see no pastime I. What you would have
I'll stay to know at your abandoned cave.