Commentary notes can be accessed by clicking on a blue square. The Latin text can be accessed by clicking on a green square.

ACT V, SCENE i i blue

spacerHalloo, halloo, blow your horns and sound the retreat! Halloo dogs, halloo, halloo, now follow me. Halloo dogs, halloo, follow me, now follow me! Halloo Blackfoot, halloo Tempest. Where’s Woodland, or was she gored by the boar? Where are Eatall, Wingfoot, and Greedygut? Halloo, halloo dogs. I am really exhausted from the hunt. Dromo, you be sure that the nets are folded. Unless you do this exactly as I just ordered, I’ll shorten your head and you’ll spit out your tongue along with your teeth. The rest of you can go along home. But something just occurs to me now. Tomorrow, as soon as the sky begins to grow light, be sure that each one of you does his job in the woods, so that when I go into the forest to hunt while the land is still wet with dew and preserves the tracks impressed on the grass, I will find everything ready at hand. Therefore you peasants take all the nets back into the woods tonight and lay them out. Then see to it that you make the boar-spears gleam, so that I can face the boars and stick them with a blade sharp enough. {Addresses individual peasants.] You will carry the take back in the cart. You be sure to gut the quarry with your knife neatly and cleanly. You, Corydon, lie in ambush and see to it that you fill the role of net-tender. blue You shut in the beasts with fearsome painted images. You will carry the ropes, hunting-nets, snares, props, and pikes. Now do you know what, Tityrus? If you don’t push those boars driven by the dogs into the hunting-nets stretched in their path, and if you don’t drive the deer into the light nets, by the gods and goddesses I’ll pound you with these fists just like a hammer on an anvil. As for the rest of you farmers: if any bunny is rescued from the dog’s jaws tomorrow, or if any boar escapes from the traps, or if any of you timidly flees or climbs into the branches of a tree when the pig comes out of the forest, and does not immediately hurry to plunge the boar-spear into the boar’s side, or does not do everything that I order carefully and soberly, by Faunus, I’ll tie each one of you hand and foot and force you to bark and hunt like a dog, or I’ll sew you up in a bearskin and give you to the dogs to be mauled. That’s my last word for now. Now go home and see that you keep all my commands, so that I don’t have to remind you tomorrow—to your sorrow. [They leave.]
spacer By heaven no one is luckier than me. All the peasants fawn on me; they tremble before me and obviously worship me. My master takes care of me first, and my horse carries me where I wish. For these reasons I love to hear the cries of the hunt, the barking of dogs, and the sounding of horns more than the sweetest music. In fact I far prefer the droppings and the racket of dogs to any of the salves, gums, and potions of the pharmacists. blue Besides, there is no question that my lord spends two, indeed three or four times as much on us huntsmen and on dogs, hunting-nets, light nets, and other equipment than he profits from the take. He piles up the expenses, but we feed on the steaks. Whatever the truth may be of what I just said, one thing rejuvenates me. It is this: all my efforts on behalf of my former master I have now promised to devote to my most wealthy queen as well, whom they call Folly, and whose empire they just told me is very large. A certain old man full of years led me to her. But what is friend Courtier examining so nervously over there?




spacerCOURT.  I wish the Huntsman would show up.
spacerMEN. Here he comes, most conveniently!
spacerCOURT. Where?
spacerMEN. There.
spacerCOURT. Right. Come over here, huntsman, you rabbitcatcher. You catch already caught rabbits and you make sport of me, you jailbird.
spacerHUNT. What are you talking about?
spacerCOURT. Very soon you will find out. Countryman, put on the ground this rabbit, which you caught and which this huntsman falsely said that he caught.
spacerMEN. I will.
spacerHUNT. What does this mean?
spacerCOURT. Hunter, ponder on this rabbit a while.
spacerHUNT. What is going on?
spacerCOURT. You ask? Do you recognize this rabbit? The one you caught, of course? The one Menalcas here gave to you? The one you gave to me? The one you pretended to have caught yourself? The one I gave to the shyster?
spacerMEN. He’s blushing; the crime is obvious.
spacerHUNT. What kind of stories are you telling?
spacerCOURT. You lie down on that rabbit. If he doesn’t, you, countryman, and you, merchant, help him with your fists. Punish this huntsman not just with his hunting knife but soften him up with steady pounding.
spacerHUNT. Alas, alas, I don’t know where to turn!
spacerCOURT. By heaven here comes the philosophaster, most conveniently. He will chant sweet tunes to the beat of the hunting knife, for he said he is not only a philosophaster, but also an extemporaneous singer.


ACT V, SCENE iii blue


spacerPHIL I will travel to the place where I can join this most magnificent Folly as soon as the bell gives the signal. But who is this here?
spacerCOURT. Hey, Philosophaster, come over here. Come here, Idea-juggler!
spacerPHIL. What do you want?
spacerCOURT. You are to beat this Huntsman’s rump right now in time with your song.
spacerPHIL. Why do you so despise my poetry — as if I were born only for punishing a Huntsman’s rump?
spacerCOURT. But since you are such a great poet, such a great versifier, what else could you do than what you should be doing here right now? Pick up this knife, take it over there, and quickly get the wording of your poem in your ears. Merchant, you and the Countryman hold the huntsman firmly.
spacerMERCH. Very firmly.
spacerHUNT. If you criminals don’t let me go right away, I will sic my dogs onto all of you.
spacerMEN. If you goad even the smallest puppy of all against us, by heaven we will treat you to so many blows, and we will decorate you so well, comb you down so well, that you will remember me and this merchant as long as you live.
spacerCOURT. I have told you your entire job, you crazy poet, always clearing your throat. You, Huntsman, come on now and spread out your rump for him.
spacerHUNT. O woe for my rump!
spacerCOURT. Ha ha.
spacerMERCH. Ha ha.
spacerMEN. Ha ha.
spacerHUNT. Woe for my rump.

The Hunting Knife blue

PHIL [Sings.]

You who often donate hares,
And capture those already captured,
And purchase them with cash put down,
And claim that you did catch them first,
You make your affirmation sure—
Indeed you swear by God Almighty
That you say nothing but the truth,
And you deny that you did buy them—
I beg that you now listen to me,
And put up with me for a while,
While I make verse with this knife’s beat,
And tell all others just the facts.
It’s only right to please Diana,
Whom you today should beg so sore
To free you from the snare of crime.
It’s likewise right for me to hymn you
And praise your virtues in my song.
You cannot ever rise from this,
But must on this hare long recline,
And no man here can e’er assist you.
You cannot wag your little finger
Nor ever bellow “moo” to me.
And so I want to ask you this
And piously to beg you thus
While you continue beaten so,
That you not wish to fold your pants,
Or shit your underwear so foul
Nor make big noise from out your guts,
As if you want to make us merry.
Yesterday I saw you wander
Through the fields and into woodland.
You bore a living rabbit there,
You tied his paws with cord so strong
And bound him to a tree so fast.
Then stood you at a distance far
And filled your cannon full with shot
And took close aim with eyeball sharp
So you could strike the rabbit dead.
What happened? The cannon roared
And blasted flame through forest wide.
I saw you pierce the treetrunk broad.
I saw you split the cord in twain
And let the rabbit run so free
Began he soon his course to run
As fast as wind, and hastened straight
And hurried into forest deep.
Like Pegasus he flew so swift
And now his wont is wandering far
In glades, or nesting down secure
With ears pricked up for foes to hear.
Perhaps he dines on turf so green
And orders you to moan and wail—
But that I cannot recommend.
Now learn this when you hunting go
And rabbits’ flock you do approach:
Don’t dream of these unwholesome lies,
But hate them in your heart of hearts,
Lest once again you feel this knife
And all the pains which follow it.
Don’t praise yourself in such degree
Nor trick yourself with bald-faced lies,
As if you thought yourself so skilled
To track and capture rabbits wild.

spacer COURT. Now, poemster, abbreviate your poem, for the bell is giving the signal and the Parson will soon preach.

PHIL. I wished to tell you now all this,
To inform you now to keep in mind
Something one may close observe
And never should let fall forgot,
But write it in your heart of hearts.
Now rise. We say you now can go.

spacerHUNT. The parson his here and is waiting for us. Be damned to you, philosopher, with your long rants, since you, you rat, have now immersed us in the middle of his sermon.
spacerCOURT. Let’s sit here.
spacerMERCH. As you wish.


ACT V, SCENE iv blue


Note that I have put nothing in this sermon except what I found in the joke books of von Keysersberg,  Adelphus, and  Bebel, or in Melander’s Book of Jests and Serious Matters or in other writers. I say this so that you do not think I am inventing anything.

spacerPARS. I pray for as many blessings for you as there are Halleluias between Easter and Pentecost. Let us pray: “We give thanks to you, God, because you have filled us with good things taken from the peasants against their own wishes.” O brothers, this pulpit made of pine should be fashioned from oak like the rest, so that it can steadfastly bear my powerful words. When will my books be brought to me, my  Sermons from Gritsch, my sermons from Sleep Securely, or my Sermons of the Disciples? blue But why should I speak to you at such length? Why should I preach at all, since everything, by heaven, is vanity — for I am now addressing you peasants. ’Pon my oath, you all are servants of the Devil. We just had the Feast of the Circumcision of Mary, and practically all of you were led by the Devil into the tavern, and barely one or two of you into the Church. blue Peasants, do you not know what a monster the Devil is? “Devil” is derived from “do” and “evil”, because he wishes to “do evil” to two parts of a man, his body and his soul. Therefore I tell you again to beware of the Devil because he is the worst of all men, and instead to cling to Love, which is as sweet as a sauce of poached pears.Beside that, how sleepily did all you peasants sit in church this past Feast of Epiphany? And who is Epiphany? She is, of course, the woman who was Christ’s nurse. There are even some of you who dare to say that masses for the dead are of no use at all. All right, they may not help the dead, but they are of great value to us the living. There are even those who cannot pray [the Lord’s Prayer], and who do not want to forgive their debtors. But although no one may forgive your debts, nevertheless you should always forgive your debtors. The reason for all this trouble is because you are entirely too familiar with heretics, but I will demonstrate that all heretics should be killed. Paul the Apostle said: “As for a heretical man, after admonishing him once or twice, avoid him” [Titus 3:10], i.e. send the heretic into the void. blue Pay attention to the facts.“You shall not permit a witch to live” [Exod. 22:18] — and every heretic is a witch. Q.E.D. There is another matter about which I want to warn you: you peasants always coddle your small children with dainty food and soft comforters, even though Joseph fed his child when still very small on oat porridge and laid him in a manger. There are those of you who say that I talk a lot every day, while doing nothing, but I say to you that I was hired to preach for only one hundred gold pieces per year, but I would not take even four hundred gold pieces to actually do what I teach. But how much are we suffered on behalf of the Church of God? blue
spacerDEM. Ha ha ha!
spacer PAR. Why are you laughing, you jailbird? Whether I say “suffered” or “suffering,” aren’t both words in the genitive case? Both the Old and the New Testaments are incumbent on us, and for that reason the bishop has two points on his stole. One, of course, is the New Testament, the other indicates the Old Testament. But you look down on all of us as if we were your servants or your clowns. You say that the Church is my spouse, and you bring into it and set down (as is your custom) your trunks, great sides of bacon, shoulders of pork, and all your goods. But if I bring to your women, your spouses, even a tiny portion of the meat of my body, even one sausage, just as you bring your goods into my spouse, i.e. this sanctuary, this Church, then (woe betide me!) I am driven out by everyone. So you must clear out of my wife if you want your spouses to be clear of me. Now I see three things on which you place all your burdens: the head of a woman, the back of a donkey, and finally the conscience of the crowd. Now what should the subject of my sermon be? Should I speak about the squaring of the circle? But you all are too thick-headed to understand this. Should I speak about Noah’s ark, into which animals of all kinds, flying, creeping, and fish, entered? But you peasants would be unwilling to hear this. Should I speak about the Pope [Papa], whose name is derived from papilli (’nipple’), the most noble, the most delicate part of the body? But you are not worthy to hear even this. I will speak the truth in three words: you are worthless, no-good men, just as it says in Proverbs: the Bohemian Bridge, a Polish monk, a Swabian nun, an Austrian soldier, Italian piety, Prussian religion, French constancy, and German fasting — none of these are worth anything. blue In the same way you are worth nothing. But one thing does occur to me: I will speak about the character of Peter. Peter was an apostle of more fervor and enthusiasm than one hundred, indeed one thousand apostles. He wanted to know who was the betrayer of our Lord, and if he discovered this, he would have immediately torn him with his teeth. Because of this our Lord did not want to name his betrayer, since if he had named him, Peter would have arisen right away and killed him. Now be content with this sermon. In tomorrow’s sermon I will expound amazing things about Theodore of Verona, about the leprosy of Constantine the Great, about the legend of Brandon, and at the same time about St. Patrick’s Purgatory, about the Sibyl’s conversation with Augustus, and about the treatise Where the Angels, six hundred of whom can sit on the head of a pin and one of whom can be in Rome and in Athens at the same time. I will also begin to speak of the many lines of descent in Christ, and about individuations, about formalities, about whatnesses. Then I will explain about the formal, material, efficient, and final causes of sanctifying grace. In fact, tomorrow I will explain in detail all the extreme subtleties — which are by heaven most subtle — of the Scotists, the Albertists, the Occamists, the Realists, the Nominalists, and the Thomists. This will be sufficient for now.
spacer HER. Woe and alas, alas and alack!
spacerDEM. Ha ha ha!
spacerPARS. What’s the matter with you, that you mock me with your laughing and weeping?
spacerDEM. Ha ha ha. I never have seen anyone give a more eloquent sermon.
spacerHER. But I never have heard anything so stupid.
spacerPARS.. But I can shake sermons like this from my sleeve.
spacerHER. Woe, alas, why did nobody shake the dullness out of your brain?
spacerPARS. What is this old man mumbling about?
spacerHER. Forget him. Follow me, follow me.
spacerPARS. Why are you pulling me?
spacerHERv. Follow me this way.
spacerPARS. Why?
spacerHER. Just follow me this way.
spacerPARS. Where to?
spacerHER. Follow me to our queen whom you see coming to meet us. Hey, Merchant, hey, Courtier, come here a moment. Hey, Alchemist, you come too. Everyone come along and bring this Parson, if he doesn’t follow.
spacerHER. Hey, Menalcas. Hey, Shyster. You too, Huntsman, and you, Philosophaster. All of you now follow me to Folly, your ruler and most revered queen, who is seated there on the throne. But who is making such a racket?


ACT V, SCENE v blue


spacerSOLD. Salute, salute, allegramente! blue
spacerBARB. What! Cretin, why are you singing for joy?
spacerSOLD. Salute, allegramente!
spacerHER. Woe, alas!
spacerDEM. Ha ha ha.
spacerBARB. May Jupiter strike me dead if I ever again give you a single lead penny from the jurist’s strongbox for you to drink up.
spacerSOLD. Salute, eh! Diavolo morto!
spacerBARB. Watch out that you don’t fall down. Stand up!
spacerSOLD. Salute, salute.
spacerBARB. You jailbird, stand up.
spacerSOLD. Let me go. Come on, hand me the pitcher.
spacerBARB. Look, here are the parson, the alchemist, and the jurist! What comes next? Since I changed myself so much, who could recognize me?
spacerDEM. By heaven, I have to get hold of that drunken man who is coming towards us.
spacerSOLD. Salute, eh!
spacerBARB. Why are you shouting, you idiot? You drank barely six pints and you are this drunk?
spacerSOLD. Why are you holding me back, you slut? Let me go.
spacerBARB. Where should I let you go to?
spacerSOLD. To the inn, so that we can lie down together.
spacerBARB. Just be careful that you don’t lie down here in the street, before you get to the inn.
spacerSOLD. Let me fall down.
spacerBARB. I will, but if you fall down, by heaven you won’t fall unless I fall down with you, until someone picks us both up.
spacerDEM. I will go and lure both of them in, the woman and the soldier.
spacerBARB. How drunk he is!
spacerSOLD. Give me something to drink. You, give me the pitcher.
spacerDEM. Hey, you all come to us, come on.
spacerBARB. What do you want, toothless old man?
spacerDEM. Come approach my queen, who is seated on her throne.
spacerBARB. What queen?
spacerDEM. The one who will make you both lucky and so rich that you will measure your cash by the bushel.
spacerBARB. That sounds good. I will see what she is like.
spacerDEM. Take your drunken soldier along with you, or rather grab him with both hands so that he doesn’t fall down.
spacerBARB. I will try to see if I can be a porter for this worthless jerk.
spacerSOLD . Where are you carrying me, Barbara? Where are you taking me? Where are you transporting me? From head to toe you are a vicious slut!
spacerBARB. You bum, why are you fighting back? Take this! [Slaps him]
spacerSOLD. O woe is me. I will follow wherever you want.
spacerBARB. If you don’t follow, I’ll slap your face again with the flat of my hand, or I’ll roll you over in the horseshit here.
spacerSOLD. Oh, keep quiet now. I’ll do what you tell me.


ACT V, SCENE vi blue


spacerFOL. Now that I have taken my seat on my throne, you, Democritus and Heraclitus, bring before me in order every candidate whom you found.
spacerHER. Behold, O Folly, we present to you the human beings which we have discovered with most diligent inquiry, just as you ordered.
spacerDEM. Now, O Folly, you will be able to found here this Miscellany, this Metropolis of Morons.
spacerFOL. May all fortune and happiness come to you and to all whom you present here! Now, my agents, name those whom you acquired and have brought here.
spacerDEM. O Folly, I have six here: this Alchemist, this Merchant, this Parson, this Soldier, a Courtier, and this camp-following prostitute.
spacerHER. Ah, I have only four!
spacerFOL. Who?
spacerHER. A Shyster, a Philosophaster, a Huntsman, and a Peasant.
spacerFOL. That’s enough. Now you, Democritus, move to my right side with your six candidates.
spacerDEM. I will do it. You all follow me.
spacerFOL. Heraclitus, since you found only four candidates, you will take the left side.
spacerHER. Woe, alas! I will. You all stand with me.
spacerFOL. Very well. Now you attendants, carry my strongbox from inside so that I can give suitable rewards to each person. In the meantime, Democritus, while they are bringing my strongbox, using this document, lead our subjects in the recitation of the oath.
spacerDEM. You are correct in reminding me. I will recite in a ringing voice. You all follow me as I say the words. We are swearing with a very legal formula.
spacerOTHERS We are swearing with a very legal formula.
spacerHER. Woe alas!
spacerDEM. Ha ha ha!
spacerFOL. Keep going. Why are you standing there with mouths agape?
spacerDEM. We will serve Folly in her capacious kingdom.
spacerOTHERS We will serve Folly in her capacious kingdom.
spacerDEM. We will do whatever she orders.
spacerHER. Woe alas!
spacerOTHERS We will do whatever she orders.
spacerDEM. We will avoid whatever she forbids.
spacerHER. Woe alas!
spacerOTHERS We will avoid whatever she forbids.
spacer DEM. At all times we will promote..
spacerOTHERS At all times we will promote..
spacerDEM. ..the interests of our queen.
spacerOTHERS ..the interests of our queen.
spacerDEM. Ha ha ha.
spacerOTHERS Ha ha ha.
spacerFOL. Now attendants, with this key unlock the chest which you just carried out.
spacerDEM. Ha ha ha.
spacerHER. Woe alas, what cornucopia of fools lies hidden within?
spacerFOL. Democritus, you bring your clients to me, naming each one in order, so that they may receive their special symbol and their position.
spacerDEM. Ha ha, o Folly, I will do as you order. Parson, come here.
spacerFOL. You will be named temple attendant in my kingdom. Take this staff in your hand; with it you will drive off the dogs. On your cap you will have this jackdaw as a symbol. blue spacerFOL. Moreover in your right hand you will carry a fox’s tail, and with this you will continually remind our servants of their duties in the palace.
spacerHER. Woe alas.
spacerDEM. Ha ha ha. Step forward, Alchemist.
spacerFOL. Come here to me, you charcoal-burner. You will be our bagpiper and our furnace tender.
spacerDEM. Why, pray tell, do you connect these two positions?
spacerFOL. Why? Since he knows how to blow on a fire.
spacerDEM. He can drink, too. blue
spacerFOL. You will wear a broad-brimmed hat embroidered with fake gold, with many thousands of disks and foils sewn on it, and you will shake this bag with both hands.
spacerDEM. Now, Merchant, approach.
spacerFOL. On your head you will bear the wings of a vulture which preys on everything. In addition you will keep this scraper and this broom in your hand; with these you will skillfully sweep together riches. For this reason you will be our sweeper and our used-clothing dealer, as well as our money-changer. You will sit in the marketplace at your bench and will exchange bad coins for good.
spacerDEM. I will also make a yellow circle for him, just like a rabbi. .blue
spacerHER. Woe alas!
spacerDEM. Now you, loose woman, take this drunken Soldier to the queen.
spacerFOL. Look, you will wear this cock-feather crest on your cap, and a rabbit on your chest, but in your hand you will have a glass, instead of a spear, and you will be a bodyguard or attendant in my kingdom. [To Barbara.] And now, woman, you must receive a gift from our right hand. In one hand you will carry this inflated bladder full of dried peas and make a noise with it, and in the other you will shake this rattle and make a great clattering. And on the top of your head you will wear a honking goose.
spacer DEM. But what duties will you give her?
spacerFOL. I will make her embody all the Latin nouns ending in X, blue for example: meretrix, netrix, lotrix, nutrix, coctrix, pistrix, obstetrix, bellatrix, famulatrix, praeceptrix, mercatrix, debitrix, potatrix, portatrix, sarcinatrix, textrix, creditrix, palpatrix, comptrix, saltatrix, ambulatrix, ianitrix, copulatrix, clamatrix, tractatrix.
spacerDEM. Ha ha ha.
spacerHER. Woe alas.
spacerDEM. Folly, you have now furnished all my candidates with honors.
spacerFOL. Now bring yours, Heraclitus.
spacerHER. You go first, shyster.
spacerFOL. Now, you lawcourt brawler, you legal Cerberus, why are you hanging back? Straightway put this owl on your head, a bird which lures the other birds, and carry this hook in your hand, for you will lay out our snares, and you will play tunefully on this panpipe while you are fishing. blue
spacerDEM. Now Philosophaster, receive your present as well.
spacerFOL. Now as for you, idea-juggler, what will I give you, seeing that you professed many skills, but have not completely mastered any? I know. You will fill several positions: as my clothes-mender you will repair my breeches, and as my shoe-mender, you will be my old-fashioned cobbler, sitting at home like the proverbial lame cobbler sewing shoes. You will also stuff sausages as my sausage-maker. Then you will sit and clean peas and barley into a wooden tray. Then you will blow water-bubbles coated with soap. For the present, be content with this crown of straw, which you will fit to your head like a laurel wreath. In your hand you will shake this cow’s tail, which will stir up a breeze for us when we are hot.
spacerDEM. Ha ha ha.
spacerHER. Alas, alas! Now go forward, Huntsman.
spacerFOL. Hunter, you will have these horns like Actaeon’s, and you will be our butcher and carry a long knife.
spacern HER. Now you go too, Peasant.
spacerFOL. You will be our groom, or mule-driver, and you will have these donkey ears on your cap as your symbol. With these you will transport like a pack mule everything that is placed on you, to wit, on your back will be a basket full of bread and cheese, and in one hand you will carry a pitcher so that you can refresh everyone who wants either food or drink.
spacerThe only thing remaining, now that I have presented all my courtiers with suitable rewards, is to determine what I should do with you two philosophers, Heraclitus and Democritus, who have sought out and brought to me such excellent subjects. I really do not know what I should give you.
spacerHER. Oh, oh, there is no need for you to grace us with your gifts, since it is enough for us that we have seen such a great queen.
spacerDEM. Ha ha, I pride myself that I have been able to see you, even if I receive no favor from you.
spacerFOL. Why don’t you instead come inside with me, and bring the servants of my court into my palace with you. There I will present you with your reward.
spacerDEM. Thus it will be. Heraclitus, go on ahead, for I must make a proclamation here on stage before I enter.
spacerHER. So I will go inside. Woe, woe, alas alas!
spacerDEM. Listen, townsmen and nations, however many of you walk the earth, you who have convinced yourselves to attend to and serve Folly, whether you are old or young, rich or poor, whether girls, boys, men, women, whether educated or uneducated, whether clever or stupid, of whatever nation, of whatever rank, all of you, if you please and if it is convenient, today you will be able to come here and enter into the presence of our most generous Folly. But if this doesn’t please you, then come along and wail with Heraclitus. But if it does, send me a clear signal by laughing at Folly: Ha ha ha!