Characters in order of appearance: Master of Ceremonies on Hobby-horse. Annie, Queen in disguise. Fool, King, also in disguise. Prince, their son, seeking opportunity to kill his father. Doctor. Villagers. Enter Master of Ceremonies on Hobby-horse. As he prances around, he sings: Aloft, bold tods of curding cloud Annie’s hair and all cuddle and clod with padded tread, but Annie’s best of all. Below, tree-rods, thick budded, beaded, Annie’s breasts and all dot their shadowed undershed, but Annie’s best of all. Coddy seedlings sud and fidget, Annie’s hair and all blade their biddings, drive their blood, but Annie’s best of all. Dodgy tadpoles thread and paddle, Annie’s hair and all nudge the weedings in their flood, but Annie’s best of all. Cadgy spiders tread and trundle, Annie’s hair and all bind their bundles in their snoods, but Annie’s best of all. Giddy woods and heady maidens Annie’s hair and all braid their bodies, breed their moods, but Annie’s best of all. Enter Fool and Annie, hand in hand. Fool: I take love in, so to give more out. Annie: I give love out, so to take more in. F: When she turns away, I follow her: A: When he turns away, I follow him. Together: Sing, hey diddle-diddle! When we turn from each other we meet in the middle! F: She holds me in that I might forget, A: I let him go that I might know more: F: but when I awake I remember again, A: while I have forgotten, like an open door. Together: Sing, hey diddle-diddle! When we turn to each other we split in the middle. F: When I go, she knows that I’ll soon be back: A: when he comes, I know that I’ll lose him soon. F: And so it goes on, as day follows night, A: as heat follows cold, as night follows noon. Together: Sing, hey diddle diddle! -- This is love’s riddle. Annie retires. Fool advances. Fool: When I was born and opened by eyes, dumb as a pot, I was yet all-wise. To cry and speak became my bent as I grew older. So wisdom went. Then, full of words, what had I left? Of wisdom I was now bereft. Now the greatest wisdom in the land only a Fool can understand. Enter Prince with Dog, his hand on his sword-hilt. All watch the Dog as it wanders, sniffing the vegetation. Fool: A nosing dog that wets a flower reminds me of a wasted hour. Prince: A dog found bedded in the hay reminds me of a wasted day. F: A dog that howls in ghostly fear reminds me of a wasted year. P: A barking dog without a tooth reminds me of a wasted youth. F: A drooling dog that licks a knife reminds me of a wasted life. P: A buried dog beneath the floor reminds me -- I can bide no more! Prince draws sword and makes sudden attach on Fool who tries vainly to defend himself and falls dead. Consternation. Master of Ceremonies gallops to and fro calling for Doctor. Enter Doctor, who stands over corpse muttering incantations and making grotesque gestures. Doctor (examining mouth): Whose tongue was sharper than the brier, his words are licked away by fire. (thumping chest): Whose lungs, twin bellows, pumped the mind, his breath is swallowed by the wind. (peering into eyes): Whose eyes drew in as they fell on, his sight is sucked up by the sun. (tapping skull): Whose thoughts were neither late nor soon, his mind is taken by the moon (examining ears): Whose ears were true, or they were sly, his hearing floats along the sky. (feeling pulse): Whose runnels throbbed within their dreams, his blood goes mingling with the streams. (examining limbs): Whose bones were clothed in comely worth, his flesh shall rot within the earth. (standing up): All this I see on a Monday morn while two babes a second are being born! (giving vent to a piercing scream): RISE UP FOOL, AND LIVE AGAIN! Fool rises. Enter Villagers, two of them bearing a rustic throne.