The Goodman of the Court
The Earl of Parter (Queen's Minister)
The Earl of Dubuque (King's Minister)
Elmo, the Glass-Eyed Man
Parter: The post, man, art blind? The post!
Goodman: I hear thee.
Parter: Hear me less well
What care I for your hearing?
Your ears are kin to your eyes
Blind guides and lame twin lies.
Goodman: Thou overspeaks, good Earl.
Parter: Then, both hear and see and blow thy whistle,
The behemoth in the paint flieth at my four,
All vengeance and vigor, then thorn and thistle.
Whilst, thou, great lump, like rose petal in the pistil,
Waits for the spring to act a'tall,
When the rest must play this game for the fall.
Goodman: Thou oversteps, Good Minister (Places Whistle in his Mouth to signify end of conversation)
Parter: Close then, thy mouth to flap,
Mayhap use the breath and offer a call,
Mind the post and then the ball.
There, there, again,her tabernacle in the paint,
Is it thou canst not see,
Or is it too much trouble to count all up to three?
Goodman: (Spitting out whistle)
First I felt thee on my shadow, a stalk down to the baseline,
Second, thou laid upon my feet, dancing thy jagged whine,
I displayed all courtesy of demeanor,
Now in repayment of my long-suffering,
Thou climbest up between thigh and lower back
There to continue this buffering.
Give a heed to this adage, tis wisdom to set thee free,
"Good coaches coach, while bad coaches referee."
Parter: Then thou art the foulest coach I know.
Goodman: (Blows whistle and signals a T)
This is the spot, you hear no counsel,
The word becomes the act
And so the whistle blow.
Parter: The best call of thy night, thus far.
Goodman: And another, then, since thou likest the first so well,
To the locker with you, for your trouble,
Let your youngman answer the bell.
Parter departs, taciturn and sulking.
Goodman: Now, Earl Dubuque, I require a shooter for four shots
and then the ball to your keeping.
Dubuque: What did he say? The Earl of Prater,
The Queeen's own minister,
What did he say to receive his brisk commupance?
Goodman: I weary of the talk,
Name thy shooter, or study for the bar,
Dubuque: Haply, thou spoke with him for some time,
Why is my question so despised to seem a crime?
Goodman: Sawest thou the Earl d'prater depart for the nether regions?
I'll send you with him and these howling legions,
If needs a guide to the locker, e's your man,
Sooth, the dead ball time's a turn,
We have not another five turns to burn,
His speech is not your concern,
Name thy star and send her to the line,
Her, or three of her mates, or kine,
To shoot the shots and kill the time,
Send her out and let's have done with you.
Dubuque: Verily, I send twenty-three,
She carries a heavy number
But she is fleet to set
And, then, soft of touch around the net.
Goodman: I need no recommendation, for she would not be a'court without her talent,
Send her out, let her speak her office and be not so latent.
The hour grows late and the crowd restless a'howling.
Dubuque: Wise, oh, goodman, to fear the mob,
Here one approaches now, too close, too close.
Hark, I know him, he is a one-eyed man,
His right is real, his left is glass,
160; In youthful indiscretion lost the real
and then the marble made to pass.
Elmo: (Rushes to the Goodman)
Goodman: Off my floor and off my back, One-Eyed Man,
Out of the gym and to thy homeland.
Elmo: Tossest thou me?
I spoke only straight to thee,
To repeat the line I heard all the way up the aisle,
Sitting amidst the rabble in row three.
Goodman: Thy parrotry seals thy fate,
My humor is now foul
While the hour grows late.
You have been here too long for any good you might do.
Depart, Elmo, and let us have done with you.
Elmo: 'Ere I go,let me make a gift,
I can buy another, I practice thrift,
It's my glass eye, I pluck it out now
And offer it to thee, and here and how.
(Plucks out glass eye and holds it to the Goodman)
Elmo: Here, I go, you have greater need of this than me.
He hurls the glass eye at the goodman and departs in a huff, to the huge roaring approval of the crowd.
Dubuqe: I never saw it so.
He plucks his eye,
hurls it here,
And then he turns to go.
Goodman: I never saw it in such a rhythm,
When I send them they go,
Their best parts home with 'em.
The Goodman returns to the court. Dubuque gapes at him.
Dubuque: Stoniest man,
coldest one I ever saw,
He's a man, sure enough,
A man whose stony calm
is his chiefest virture,
and his greatest flaw.
End of Act One