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THE

AL CHEMIST.

THE ARGUMENT.

.

T be fickness bot, a master quit, for fear,
H is bouse in town, and left one servant there,
E ase him corrupted, and gave means to know
A Cheater, and bis punk; who now brought low,
L eaving their narrow practice, were become
Cos'ners at large; and only wanting some
House to set up, with him they bere contract,
Each for a mare, and all begin to a£t.
M ucb company they draw, and much abuse,
I n casting figures, telling fortunes, news,
Selling of flies, flat bawdory with the stone ;
Till it, and they, and all in fume are gone.

F

PROLOG U E.
Ortune, that favours fools, these two short hours

We wish away, both for your fakes and ours,

Judging spectators; and desire in place,
To th' author justice, to our selves but grace.
Our scene is London, 'cause we would make known,
No countries mirth is better than our own:

No 1 The ALCHEMIST.] By this expression is here meant, one who pretends to the knowledge of what is called the philosophers stone, A 3

which

No clime breeds better matter for your whore,

Bawd, squire, impoftor, many persons more, Whose manners, now call'd humours, feed the stage ;

And which have still been subject for the rage Or spleen of comic writers. Tho' this pen

Did never aim to grieve, but better men; Howe'er the age he lives in doth endure

The vices that she breeds, above their cure. But when the wholsome remedies are sweet,

And in their working gain and profit meet, He hopes to find no spirit so much diseas'd,

But will with such fair correctives be pleas'd :
For here he doth not fear who can apply.

If there be any that will sit so nigh
Unto the stream, to look what it doth run,

They shall find things, they'ld think, or wish, were
They are so natural follies, but so shown,

done; As even the doers may fee, and yet not own.

which had the faculty of transmuting baser metals into gold. The professors of the art of chemistry are themselves (as well as the critics) not entirely agreed about the meaning and etymology of the word : Menage, who assents to Bochart, derives it from an Arabic term, fignifying the occult science; and Julius Firmicus, who lived in the time of Constantine, is said to be the first writer who uses the word Alchymia. But if the curious reader would be more fully informed of the origin and progress of chemistry, I refer him to the history of it, prefixed to Boerhaave's Chemistry, published by Dr Shaw. But with regard to our poet, in the choice of his subject he was hapPy; for the age was then extremely addicted to the study of chemistry, and favourable to the profeffors of it. The following comedy was therefore no unseasonable satire upon the reigning foible; since among the few real artists. there was undoubtedly a far greater number of impostors. There was also at this time a particular controversy on foot, with the famous Ds. Anthony, about his Aurum totabile, which was warmly agitated by the members of the faculty; and we fall find that our poet alludes to this dispute in fome paffages of the play.

S

ACT

ACT Í.

SCENE I.

Face, Subtle, Dol Common.
Elieve't, I will.

Sub. Thy worst. I fart at thee.
Dol. Ha' you your wits? why gentlemen! for love
Fac. Sirrah, I'll strip you-

Sub. What to do ? lick figs
Out at my-

Fac. Rogue, rogue, out of all your Neights'.
Dol. Nay, look ye, sovereign, general, are you mad-

[men?
Sub. O, let the wild sheep loose. I'll gum your silks
With good strong water, an' you come.
Dol. Will

you

have The neighbours hear you? will you betray all ? Heark, I hear some body.

Fac. Sirrah

· Fac. Sirrah, 1 11 strip sou-Sub. What to do ? lick figs

Out at my Fac. Rogue, rogue, out of all your feighes.] Our poet could not possibly have chosen a happier incident to open his play with. Instead of opening with a dull narration, you have action ; and such action too, as cannot poflibly be supposed to happen at any other time, than this very present time. Two rogues with their punk, are introduced quarrelling, and just so much of their secrets is discovered to the audience, as is sufficient for the audience at present to know. The reader, perhaps, too is to be informed, thac our learned comedian does not deal in vulgar English expressions, but in vulgar Attic or Roman expressions. I fart at thee, the Wivias xala magdev, paupertati oppedere. Aristophanes in Plut. v. 618. and Horace, the polite Horace, did not think himself too delicate for this phrase: Vin' tu Judæis onpedere curtis. Lib. I. S. 9. ver. 70. What to do? lick figs out at my

The allusion here will be very obvious to those who have read the story of the punishment inficted on the inhabitants of Milan by the emperor Frederic Barbarossa. The facetious Rabelais relates it, B. IV. chap. 45.

Mr. Upton, A 4

Sub.

Sub. I shall mar
All that the taylor has made, if you approach.

Fac. You most notorious whelp, you insolent Nave,
Dare you do this?

Sub. Yes faith, yes faith.

Fac. Why, who
Am I, my mungril? who am I?

Sub. I'll tell you,
Since you know not your self-

Fac. Speak lower, rogue.
Sub. Yes, you were once (time's not long past) the

(good,
Honest, plain, livery-three-pound-thrum, that kept
Your master's worship’s house here in the friers,
For the vacations

Fac. Will you be so loud ?
Sub. Since, by my means, translated suburb-captain.
Fac. By your means, doctor dog?

Sub. Within man's menory,
All this I speak of.

Fac. Why, I pray you, have I
Been countenanc'à by you, or you by me?
Do but collect, sir, where I met you first.

Sub. I do not hear well.

Fac. Not of this, I think it.
But I shall put you in mind, fir; at Pie corner,
Taking your meal of steam in, from cooks stalls ;!
Where, like the father of hunger, you did walk
Piteously costive, with your pinch’d-horn-nose,
And your complexion of the roman wash,
Scuck full of black and melancholick worms,
Like powder-corns shot at th' artillery-yard.

Sub. I wish you could advance your voice a little.

Fac. When you went pinn'd up in the several rags
Yo' had rak'd and pick'd from dunghills, before day;
Your feet in mouldy Nippers, for your kibes
A felt of rug, and a thin thredden cloke,

That

1

That scarce would cover your no-buttocks

Sub. So, fir !

Fac. When all your alchemy, and your algebra, Your minerals, vegetals, and animals, Your conjuring, coz’ning, and your dozen of trades, Could not relieve your corps with so much linen Would make you tinder, but to see a fire ; I ga’ you count'nance, credit for your coals, Your stills, your glasses, your materials ; Built you a fornace, drew you customers, Advanc'd all your black arts ; lent you, beside, A house to practise in

Sub. Your master's house?

Fac. Where you have studied the more thriving skill Of bawd'ry since.

Sub. Yes, in your master's house. You and the rats here kept poffeffion. Make it not strange. I know yo'were one could keep The buttry-hatch still lock’d, and save the chippings, Sell the dole beer to aqua-vitæ men, The which, together with your christmass vails At poft and pair, your letting out of counters, Made you a pretty stock, some twenty marks, And gave you credit to converse with cobwebs, Here, since your mistress' death hath broke

up

house. Fac. You might talk softlier, rascal.

Sub. No, you scarabe,
I'll thunder you in pieces: I will teach you
How to beware to tempt a fury again,
That carries tempeft in his hand and voice.
Fac. The place has made you

valiant.
Sub. No, your clothes./
Thou vermin, have I ta'en thee out of dung,

No, you SCARABE, I'll thunder you in fieces.) You scarabe -the beetle bred in dung, and corrupted filch : io a little lower he explains the phrale, " Thou vermin, have I ta en thee out of dung :"

So

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