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to the peace.

tence; you send me word, sir, you are a soldier. Dow. Sir, he did not serve it on me. Why, sir, you shall be answered here; here Clem. No, how then? be them have been among soldiers. Sir, your Dow. Marry, sir, he came to me, and said he pleasure?

must serve it, and he would use me kindly, and Bob. Faith, sir, so it is, this gentleman and myself have been most uncivilly wronged and Clem. O, God's pity, was it so, sir? He must beaten by one Downright, a coarse fellow about serve it? Give me a warrant, I must serve one the town here; and, for my own part, I protest, too-you knave, you slave, you rogue, do you say being a man in no sort given to this filthy hu- you must, sirrah? Away with him to the gaol ! mour of quarrelling, he hath assaulted me in the I will teach you a trick for you must, sir. way of my peace; despoiled me of mine honour; Brain. Good sir, I beseech you be good to me. disarmed me of my weapons; and rudely laid Clem. Tell him, he shall go to the gaol; away me along in the open streets; when I not so with him, I say, much as once offered to resist him.

Bruin. Aye, sir, if you will commit me, it shall Clem. O, God's precious ! Is this the soldier be for committing more than this

. I will not Lie there, my sword, 'twill make him swoon, I lose by my travel any grain of my fame, certain. fear; he is not fit to look on't, that will put up

(Throws off his disguise. a blow.

Clem. How is this !
Mat. An't please your worship, he was bound Kno. My man, Brain-worm !

Step. O, yes, uncle, Brain-worm has been with Clem. Why, an' he were, sir, his hands were my cousin Edward and I, all this day: not bound, were they?

Clem. I told you all there was some device. Serv. There's one of the varlets of the city, Bruin. Nay, excellent justice, since I have sir, has brought two gentlemen here, one upon laid myself thus open to you, now stand strong your worship's warrant.

for me, both by your sword and your balance. Clem. My warrant !

Clem. Body o' me, a merry knave! Give me Serv. Yes, sir, the officer says, procured by a bowl of sack. If he belongs to you, Master these two.

Kno'well, I bespeak your patience. Clem. Bid him come in. Set by this picture. Brain. That is it I have most need of. Sir, if What, Mr Downright! are you brought at Mr you will pardon me only, I will glory in all the Freshwater's suit here?

rest of my exploits.

Kno. Šir, you know I love not to have my faEnter DOWNRIGHT, STEPHEN, and BRAIN

vours come hard from me. You have your par

don; though I suspect you shrewdly for being of Dow. I'faith, sir. And here's another, brought counsel with my son against me. at my suit.

Brain. Yes, faith, I have, sir; though you reClem. What are you, sir?

tained me doubly this morning for yourself ; first Step. A gentleman, sir. O, uncle !

as Brain-worm, after, as Fitz-Sword. I was your Clem. Uncle! Who, Master Kno’well ? reformed soldier. 'Twas I sent you to Cob's upkno. Ay, sir, this is a wise kinsman of mine. on the errand without end.

Step. God's my witness, uncle, I am wronger! Kno. Is it possible ? Or that thou should'st here monstrously; he charges me with stealing disguise thyself so as I should not know thee? of his cloak, and would I might never stir, if I Brain. O, sir! this has been the day of my did not find it in the street by chance.

metamorphoses; it is not that shape alone, that Dou. O, did you find it, now? You said you I have run through to-day. I brought Master bought it ere-while.

Kitely a message too, in the form of Master JusStep. And you said I stole it. Nay, now my tice's man here, to draw him out of the way, as uncle is here, I will do well enough with you. well as your worship; while Master Well-bred

Clem. Well, let us breathe a-while. You might make a conveyance of Mrs Bridget to my that have cause to complain there, stand forth. young master. Had you my warrant for this gentleman's appre- Kno. My son is not married, I hope ? hension?

Brain. Faith, sir, they are both as sure as Bob. Aye, an't please your worship.

love, a priest, and three thousand pounds, which Clem. Nay, do not speak in passion so. Where is her portion, can make them; and by this time had you it?"

are ready to bespeak their wedding supper at the Bob. Of your clerk, sir.

Windmill, except some friend here prevents Clem. That's well, an' my clerk can make war- them, and invite them home. rants, and my hand not at them ! Where is the Clem. Marry, that will I; I thank thee for warrant ? officer, have you it?

putting me in mind on't. Sirrah, go you and Brain. No, sir, your worship’s man, master fetch them hither upon my warrant. Neither's Formal, bid me do it for these gentlemen, and friends have cause to be sorry, if I know the he would be my discharge.

young couple aright. But I pray thee, what hast Clem. Why, Master Downright, are you such a thou done with my man Formal ? novice to be served, and never see the warrant ? Brain. Faith, sir, after some ceremony past,

WORM.

ten.

as making him drunk, first with story, and then with wine, but all in kindness, and stripping him Enter KITELY and DAME KITELY. to his shirt; I left him in that cool vein, depart- Did I not tell you there was a plot against you? ed, sold your worship's warrant to these two, Did I not smell it out, as a wise magistrate pawned his livery for that varlet's gown to serve ought? Have not you traced, have you not found it in; and thus have brought myself, by my acti- it, eh, Master Kitely? vity, to your worship's consideration.

Kite. I have I confess my folly, and own I Clem. And I will consider thee in a cup of have deserved what I have suffered for it. The sack. Here's to thee; which having drank off, trial has been severe, but it is past. All I have this is my sentence, pledge me. Thou hast done, to ask now, is, that, as my folly is cured, and my or assisted to nothing, in my judgment, but de- persecutors forgiven, my shame may be forgotserves to be pardoned for the wit of the offence. Go into the next room; let Master Kitely into Clem. That will depend upon yourself, Master this whimsical business, and, if he does not for- Kitely; do not you yourself create the food for give thee, he has less mirth in him than an ho- mischief, and the mischievous will not prey upon nest man ought to have. How now, who are you. But come, let a general reconciliation go these?

round, and let all discontents be laid aside. You,

Master Downright, put off your anger. You, MasEuter EDWARD KNO'WELL, WELL-BRED, and BRIDGET.

ter Kno’well, your cares. And do you, Master

Kitely, and your wife, put off your jealousies. O, the young company. Welcome, welcome. Kite. Sir, thus they go from me: kiss me, my Give you joy. Nay, Mrs Bridget, blush not ! you wife. are not so fresh a bride, but the news of it has See, what a drove of horns fly in the air, corne hither before you. Master Bridegroom, I Winged with my cleansed and my credulous have made your peace, give me your hand. So breath; wil I for the rest, ere you forsake my roof. Watch them, suspicious eyes, watch where they All We are the more bound to your humani

fall ! ty, sir.

See, see, on heads, that think they have none Cler. Only these two have so little of man in at all. them, they are no part of my care.

O, what a plenteous world of this will come! Step. And what shall I do?

When air rains horns, all may be sure of some. Clem. Oh! I had lost a sheep, an' he had not Clem. 'Tis well, 'tis well. This night we will bleated. Why, sir, you shall give Mr Downright dedicate to friendship, love, and laughter. Mashis cloak; and I will entreat him to take it. A ter Bridegroom, take your bride, and lead every trencher and a napkin you shall have in the but- one a fellow. Here is my mistress, Brain-worm! tery, and keep Cob and his wife company there: to whom all my addresses of courtship shall have whom I will entreat first to be reconciled; and their reference : whose adventures this day, when you to endeavour with your wit to keep them so. our grandchildren shall hear to be made a sable, Step. I will do my best.

I doubt not but it shall find both spectators and Clem. Call Master Kitely, and his wife, there. applause.

[Èreunt omnes.

VOLPONE, OR THE FOX.

ву

BEN JONSON.

PROLOGUE.

Now luck yet send us, and a little wit

Yet, thus much I can give you as a token Will serve to make our play hit ;

Of his plays worth, no eggs are broken; (According to the palates of the season) Nor quaking custards with fierce teeth affrighted, Here is rhime, not empty of reason :

Wherewith your rout are so delighted; This we were bid to credit, from our poet, Nor hales he in a gull, old ends reciting, Whose true scope, if you would know it, To stop gaps in his loose writing; In all his poems, still hath been this measure, With such a deal of monstrous and forc'd action, To mix profit with your pleasure ;

As might make Bet'lem a faction ; And not as some (whose throats their envy ail- Nor made he his play, for jests, stoľn from each ing)

table, Cry hoarsely, all he writes is railing:

But makes jests to fit his fable. And when his plays come forth, think they can And so presents quick comedy refined, flout them,

As best critics have designed; With saying he was a year about them. The laws of time, place, persons he observeth, To these there needs no lie, but this his creature, From no needful rule he swerveth. Which was two months since no feature; All gall and copperas from his ink he draineth, And though he dares give them five lives to Only a little salt remaineth ; mend it,

Wherewith he'll rub your cheeks, 'till (red with 'Tis known five weeks fully pen’d it:

laughter) From his own hand, without a coadjutor, They shall look fresh a week after. Novice, journeyman, or tutor.

THE ARGUMENT.

Volpone, childless, rich, feigns sick, despairs,
Offers his state to hopes of several heirs,
L ies languishing ; his parasite receives
Presents of all, assures, deludes; then weaves
Other cross-plots, which ope themselves, are told.
N ew tricks for safety are sought; they thrive: when, bold,
E ach tempts the other again, and all are sold.

DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

VOLPONE, a Magnifico.
MOSCA, his Parasite.
VOLTORE, an Advocate.
CORBACCIO, an old Gentleman.
CORVINO, a Merchant.
1. Avocatori,
2. Avocatori,

Four Magistrates.
3. Avocatori,
4. Acocatori,
NOTARIO, the Register.
NANO, a Dwarf.

CASTRONE, an Eunuch.
POLITICK WOULD-BE, a Knight.
PEREGRINE, a Gentleman-traveller.
Bonario, a young Gentleman.
Madam WOULD-BE, the Knight's Wife.
CELIA, the Merchant's Wife.
COMMANDADORI, Officers.
MERCATORI, three Merchants.
ANDROGYNO, an Hermaphrodite.
SERVITORE, a Servant,

Women.

SCENE,—Venice.

ACT I.

The price of souls; even hell, with thee to boot, SCENE I.

Is made worth Heav'n! Thou art virtue, fame,

Honour, and all things else! Who can get thee, VOLPONE and Mosca.

He shall be noble, valiant, honest, wise Vol. Good morning to the day; and, next, Mos. And what he will, sir. Riches are in my gold;

fortune Open the shrine, that I may see my saint. A greater good, than wisdom is in nature. Hail, the world's soul, and mine! More glad Volp. True, my beloved Mosca. Yet, I glory than is

More in the cunning purchase of my wealth, The teeming earth to see the long'd-for sun Than in the glad possession, since I gain Peep through the horns of the celestial ram, No common way: I use no trade, no venture; And I, to view thy splendour, dark’ning his : I wound no earth with plow-shares, I fat no beasts That lying here amongst my other hoards, To feed the shambles; have no mills for iron, Shewst like a flame by night; or like the day Oil, corn, or men, to grind 'em into powder ; Struck out of chaos, when all darkness fled I blow no subtle glass, expose no ships Unto the centre. O, thou son of Sol,

To threatnings of the furrow-faced sea; (But brighter than thy father) let me kiss I turn no monies in the public bank, With adoration thee, and every relic

Nor usure private. Of sacred treasure in this blessed room.

Mos. No, sir, nor devour Well did wise poets by thy glorious name Soft prodigals. You shall ha' some will swallow Title that age, which they would have the best, A melting heir, as glibly as your Dutch Thou being the best of things, and far transcend Will pills of butter, and ne'er purge for’t; ing

Tear forth the fathers of poor families All stile of joy in children, parents, friends, Out of their beds, and coffin them alive, or any other waking dream on earth.

In some kind clasping prison, where their bones Thy looks when they to Venus did ascribe, May be forthcoming, when the flesh is rotten : They should have given her twenty thousand But your sweet nature doth abhor these courses ; Cupids;

You loath the widow's or the orphan's tears Such are thy beauties, and our loves ! dear saint, Should wash your pavements; or their piteous Riches, the dumb god, that giv’st all men

cries tongues:

Ring in your roofs, and beat the air for vengeance. That canst do naught, and yet mak’st men do all Volp. Right, Mosca, I do loath it. things;

Mos. And besides, sir,

You are not like a thresher that doth stand From thence it fled forth, and made quick transWith a huge fail, watching a heap of corn,

migration And, hungry, dares not taste the smallest grain, To godly-lockt Euphorbus, who was kill'd in good But feeds on mallows, and such bitter herbs ;

fashion, Nor like the merchant, who hath fill'd his vaults At the siege of old Troy, by the cuckold of Sparta. With Romagnia, and rich Candian wines, Hermorimus was next (I find it in my charta) Yet drinks the lees of Lombard's vinegar : To whom it did pass, where no sooner it was You will not lie in straw, whilst moths and worms

missing, Feed on your sumptuous hangings and soft beds. But with one Pyrrhus of Delos it learn’d to go You know the use of riches, and dare give now

a-fishing : From that bright heap, to me, your poor observer, And thence did it enter the sophist of Greece. Or to your dwarf, or your hermaphrodite, From Pythagore she went into a beautiful piece, Your eunuch, or what other household-trifle Hight Aspasia, the Meretrix; and the next toss Your pleasure allows maint'nance.

of her Vol. Hold thee, Mosca,

Was, again of a whore she became a philosopher, Take, of my hand; thou strik'st on truth, in all : Crates the Cynic : (as itself doth relate it) And they are envious, term thee parasite.

Since kings, knights, and beggars, knaves, lords Call forth my dwarf, my eunuch, and my fool,

and fools gat it, And let 'em make me sport. What should I do, Besides ox and ass, camel, mule, goat and brock, But cocker up my genius, and live free

In all which it hath spoke, as in the cobler's cock. To all delights, my fortune calls me to?

But I come not here to discourse of that matter, I have no wife, no parent, child, ally,

Or his one, two or three, or his great oath, by To give my substance to; but whom I make,

quater, Must be my heir : And this makes men observe His musics, his trigon, his golden thigh, me.

Or his telling how elements shift; but I This draws new clients daily to my house, Would a k, how of late, thou hast suffer'd transWomen and men of ev'ry sex and age,

lation, That bring me presents, send me plate, coin, And shifted thy coat in these days of reformation ? jewels,

And. Like one of the reformed, a fool, as you With hope, that when I die, (which they expect

see, Each greedy minute) it shall then return Counting all old doctrine heresie. Tenfold upon them ; whilst some, covetous Nan. But not on thine own forbid meats hast Above the rest, seek to engross me whole,

thou ventured ? And counter-work the one unto the other,

And. On fish, when first a Carthusian I enter'd. Contend in gifts, as they would seem in love : Nan. Why, then thy dogmatical silence hath All which I suffer, playing with their hopes,

left thee? And am content to coin them into profit,

And. Of that an obstreperous lawyer bereft me. And look upon their kindness, and take more, Nan. O wonderful change! when sir lawyer And look on that; still bearing them in hand,

forsook thee, Letting the cherry knock against their lips, For Pythagore's sake, what body then took thee? And draw it by their mouths, and back again. And. A good dull moyle. How now!

Nan. And how ! by that means,

Thou wert brought to allow of the eating of SCENE II.

beans

And. Yes. NANO, ANDROGYNO, CASTRONE, VOLPONE,

Nan. But, from the moyle, into whom did'st and Mosca.

thou pass ? Nan. Now room for fresh gamesters, who do And. Into a very strange beast, by some wriwill you to know,

ters call’à an ass; They do bring you neither play, nor university By others, a precise, pure, illuminate brother, show;

Of those devour flesh, and sometimes one anoAnd therefore do intreat you, that whatsoever

ther : they rehearse,

And will drop you forth a libel, or a sanctified lie, May not fare a whit the worse, for the false pace Betwixt every spoonful of a nativity-pie. of the verse.

Nan. Now quit thee, for heav'n, of that proIf you wonder at this, you will wonder at more,

fane nation; e'er we pass,

And gently report thy next transmigration. For know, here is inclosed the soul of Pythagoras, And. To the same that I am. That juggler divine, as hereafter shall follow ; Nan. A creature of delight? Which soul (fast and loose, sir) came first from And (what is more than a fool) an hermaphrodite? Apollo,

Now pri’thee, sweet soul, in all thy variation, And was breath'd into #thalides, Mercurius his which body would'st thou choose, to keep up thy son,

station? Where it had the gift to remember all that ever And. Troth, this I am in, even here would I was done,

tarry.

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