Like Will to Like: The Prologue by Ulpian Fulwell

Cicero in his book De Amicitia these words doth express,
Saying nothing is more desirous than like is unto like;
Whose words are most true and of a certainty doubtless:
For the virtuous do not the virtuous’ company mislike.
But the vicious do the virtuous’ company eschew:
And like will unto like, this is most true.
It is not my meaning your ears for to weary,
With hearkening what is the’ffect of our matter:
But our pretence is to move you to be merry,
Merrily to speak, meaning no man to flatter.
The name of this matter, as I said whilere,
Is, Like will to Like, quoth the Devil to the Collier.
Sith pithy proverbs in our English tongue doth abound,
Our author thought good such a one for to choose,
As may show good example, and mirth may eke be found,
But no lascivious toys he purposeth for to use.
Herein, as it were in a glass, see you may
The advancement of virtue, of vice the decay:
To what ruin ruffians and roisters are brought;
You may here see of them the final end:
Begging is the best, though that end be nought;
But hanging is worse, if they do not amend.
The virtuous life is brought to honour and dignity:
And at the last to everlasting eternity.
And because divers men of divers minds be,
Some do matters of mirth and pastime require:
Other some are delighted with matters of gravity,
To please all men is our author’s chief desire.
Wherefore mirth with measure to sadness is annexed:
Desiring that none here at our matter will be perplexed.
Thus, as I said, I will be short and brief,
Because from this dump you shall relieved be:
And the Devil with the collier, the thief that seeks the thief,
Shall soon make you merry, so shortly you shall see;
And sith mirth for sadness is a sauce most sweet,
Take mirth then with measure, that best sauceth it.

From: Fulwell, Ulpian and Farmer, John S. (ed.), The Dramatic Writings of Ulpian Fulwell: comprising Like Will to Like—Note-Book and Word-List, 1906, Early English Drama Society: London, pp. 3-4.

Date: 1568

By: Ulpian Fulwell (1545/6-1584/5/6)


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