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Chron. And I am for matter of state, gentlemen, by consequence, story, (my Chronicle,) to fill up my great book, which must be three ream of paper at least; I have agreed with my stationer aforehand to make it so big, and I want for ten quire yet. I have been here ever since seven a clock in the morning to get matter for one page, and I think I have it complete; for I have both noted the number, and the capacity of the degrees here; and told twice over how many candles there are in the room lighted, which I will set you down to a snuff precisely, because I love to give light to posterity in the truth of things.
I Her. This is a finer youth!
Fac. Gentlemen, I am neither printer nor chronologer, but one that otherwise take pleasure in my pen: a factor of news for all the shires of England; I do write my thousand letters a week ordinary, sometimes twelve hundred, and maintain the business at some charge both to hold up my reputation with mine own ministers in town, and my friends of correspondence in the country; I have friends of all ranks, and of all religions, for which I keep an answering catalogue of dispatch; wherein I have my puritan news, my protestant news, and my pontificial news.
2 Her. A superlative this!
Fac. And I have hope to erect a Staple for News ere long, whither all shall be brought, and thence again vented under the name of Staple-news, and not trusted to your printed conundrums of the serpent in Sussex, or the witches bidding the devil to
1 And I have hope to erect a Staple for News ere long, &c.] The comedy of the Staple of News is formed upon the hint here given. WHAL.
2 And not trusted to your printed conundrums of the serpent in Sussex.] In 1614, there was a discourse published of a strange
dinner at Derby news, that when a man sends them down to the shires where they are said to be done, were never there to be found!
Print. Sir, that's all one, they were made for the common people; and why should not they have their pleasure in believing of lies are made for them, as you have in Paul's, that make them for your selves. 1 Her. There he speaks reason to you, sir.
Fact. I confess it; but it is the printing I am offended at, I would have no news printed; for when they are printed they leave to be news; while they are written, though they be false, they remain news still.
Print. See men's divers opinions! It is the printing of them makes them news to a great many who will indeed believe nothing but what's in print. For
monstrous Serpent in St. Leonard's forest, in Sussex, which was discovered there in the month of August in the same year. The relation is set forth with an air of great sincerity, and attested by eye witnesses living on the place. But from the description, we are to suppose something further intended by it, or that some conundrum or other, as the poet styles it, was couched under the account. "This serpent or dragon, as some call it, is reputed to be nine feet, or rather more in length, and shaped almost in the form of an axle-tree of a cart, a quantity of thickness in the middle, and somewhat smaller at both ends. The former part, which he shoots forth as a neck, is supposed to be an ell long with a white ring as it were of scales about it. The scales along his back seem to be blackish, and so much as is discovered under his belly appeareth to be red; for I speak of no nearer description, than of a reasonable ocular distance. There are likewise on either side of him discovered two great bunches so big as a large foot-ball: and, as some think, will in time grow to wings," &c. More to the same purpose may be found in the account, which is reprinted in the 3rd vol. of the Harleian Miscellany. There is an allusion to this same dragon in Fletcher's Wit without Money:
The world's a fine believing world, write news.
those I do keep my presses, and so many pens going to bring forth wholsome relations, which once in half a score years, as the age grows forgetful, I print over again with a new date, and they are of excellent use.
Chro. Excellent abuse rather.
Print. Master Chronicler, do not you talk, I shall
1 Her. Nay, gentlemen, be at peace one with another, we have enough for you all three, if you dare take upon trust.
Print. I dare, I assure you.
Fact. And I, as much as comes.
Chro. I dare too, but nothing so much as I have done I have been so cheated with false relations in my time, as I have found it a far harder thing to correct my book, than collect it.
Fact. Like enough: but to your news, gentlemen, whence come they?
I Her. From the MOON, ours, sir.
Fact. From the Moon! which way? by sea or by land?
1 Her. By moon-shine; a nearer way, I take it. Print. Oh, by a trunk! I know it, a thing no bigger than a flute-case: a neighbour of mine, a spectacle-maker, has drawn the moon through it at the bore of a whistle, and made it as great as a drumhead twenty times, and brought it within the length of this room to me, I know not how often.
Chro. Tut, that's no news: your perplexive glasses are common. No, it will fall out to be Pythagoras's way, I warrant you, by writing and reading in the
3 Oh, by a trunk.] It has been already observed that the word trunk is used by our old writers for a tube. I know not when the well-chosen term telescope first came into use.
4 Pythagoras's way, &c.] See p. 14.
Print. Right, and as well read of you, i' faith: for Cornelius Agrippa has it, in disco luna, there 'tis found.
1 Her. Sir, you are lost, I assure you: for ours came to you neither by the way of Cornelius Agrippa, nor Cornelius Drible.
2 Her. Nor any glass of
I Her. No philosopher's phant'sie.
2 Her. Mathematician's perspicil.
I Her. Or brother of the Rosie Cross's intelligence, no forced way, but by the neat and clean power of poetry.
2 Her. The mistress of all discovery.
1. Her. Who after a world of these curious uncertainties, hath employed thither a servant of her's in search of truth: who has been there-
2 Her. In the moon.
1 Her. In person.
2 Her. And is this night return'd.
Fact. Where? which is he? I must see his dog at his girdle, and the bush of thorns at his back, ere I believe it.
I Her. Do not trouble your faith then, for if that bush of thorns should prove a goodly grove of oaks, in what case were you and your expectation?
2 Her. These are stale ensigns of the stage's man in the moon, delivered down to you by musty antiquity, and are of as doubtful credit as the makers.
Chro. Sir, nothing again antiquity, I pray you, I must not hear ill of antiquity.
1 Her. Oh! you have an old wife, belike, or your venerable jerkin there,-make much of them. Our relation, I tell you still, is news.
2 Her. Certain and sure news.
I Her. Of a new world.
2 Her. And new creatures in that world.
I Her. In the orb of the moon.
2 Her. Which is now found to be an earth inhabited.
1 Her. With navigable seas and rivers.
2 Her. Variety of nations, policies, laws.
1 Her. With havens in't, castles, and port-towns. 2 Her. Inland cities, boroughs, hamlets, fairs, and markets.
I Her. Hundreds and wapentakes! forests, parks, coney-ground, meadow-pasture, what not? 2 Her. But differing from ours.
Fact. And has your poet brought all this? Chro. Troth, here was enough: 'tis a pretty piece of poetry as 'tis.
i Her. Would you could hear on, though!
2 Her. Give your minds to't a little.
Fact. What inns or ale-houses are there there? does he tell you?
1 Her. Truly, I have not ask'd him that.
2 Her. Nor were you best, I believe.
Fact. Why in travel a man knows these things without offence; I am sure if he be a good poet he has discovered a good tavern in his time.
1 Her. That he has, I should think the worse of his verse else.
Print. And his prose too, i' faith.
Chro. Is he a man's poet, or a woman's poet, I pray you?
2 Her. Is there any such difference?
Fact. Many, as betwixt your man's tailor, and your woman's tailor.
1 Her. How, may we beseech you?
Fact. I'll shew you; your man's poet may break out strong and deep i' the mouth, as he said of Pindar, Monte decurrens velut amnis: but your woman's poet must flow, and stroke the ear, and, as one of them said of himself sweetly,