Page images
PDF
EPUB

I do but tell you, sir. Besides, they are all (But that I would not seern to counsel you) Now striving, who shall first present him. There I should have mention'd to you at the first: fore

And make your count, you have cut all their I could entreat you, briefly, conclude somewhat :

throats. Prevent 'em if you can.

Why! 'tis directly taking a possession! Corv. Death to my hopes !

And, in his next fit, we may let him go. This is my villanous fortune! Best to hire 'Tis but to pull the pillow from his head, Some common courtezan?

And he is throttled : 't had been done before, Mos. Ay, I thought on that, sir.

But for your scrupulous doubts. But they are all so subtle, full of art,

Corv. Ay, a plague on't, And age again doting and flexible,

My conscience fools my wit. Well, I'll be briei, So as I cannot tell ---we may perchance And so be thou, lest they should be before us: Light on a quean may cheat us all.

Go home, prepare him, tell him with what zeal Corv. 'Tis true.

And willingness I do it; swear it was, Mos. No, no; it must be one tliat has no On the first hearing (as thou may'st do truly) tricks, sir,

Mine own free motion.
Some simple thing, a creature made mto it; Mlos. Sir, I warrant you,
Some wench you may command. Ha' you no I'll so possess him with it, that the rest
kinswoman?

Of his starved clients shall be banish'd all; Gad so— Think, think, think, think, think, think, And only you received. But come not, sir, think, sir.

Until I send, for I have something else One o'th' doctors offer'd there his daughter. To ripen for your good-you must not know't. Cory. How!

Corv. But do not you forget to send now. Mos. Yes, Signior Lmpo, the physician

Mos. Fear not.

(Exit Mos. Cory. His daughter ! Mos. And a virgin, sir. Why? Alas!

SCENE VII.
He knows the state of's body, and what it is;
That nought can warm his blood, sir, but a fever;

CORvino and CELIA.
Nor any incantation raise his spirit:

Corv. Where are you, wife? my Celia! wiie! A long forgetfulness hath seized that part.

what, blubbering? Besides, sir, who shall know it? some one or Come, dry those tears. I think, thou thought'st two

me in earnest!
Corv. I pr’ythee, give me leave. If any man Ha! by this light, I talk'd so but to try thee.
But I had had this luck---The thing in't self, Methinks the lightness of the occasion
I know is nothing-Wherefore should not I Should ha' confirm’d thee. Come, I anı not je
As well command my blood and my affections

lous.
As this dull doctor ! In the point of honour, Cel. No!
The cases are all one, of wife and daughter. Corv. Faith, I am not, I, dor never was:
Alos. I hear him coming.

It is a poor, unprofitable biunoar.
Corv. She shall do't: 'Tis done.

Do not I know, if women have a will, Slight, if this doctor, who is not engaged, They'll do 'gainst all the watches of the world? Unless't be for his counsel, which is nothing, And that the fiercest spies are tamed with gold? Offer his daughter, what should I, that am Tut, I am confident in thee, thou shalt set't : So deeply in? I will prevent him, wretch! And see, I'll give thee cause too to believe it. Covetous wretch ! Mosca, I have determined. Come, kiss me. Go and make thee ready straight Mos. How, sir?

In all thy best attire, thy choicest jewels, Coro. We'll make all sure. The party you Put 'em all on, and, with 'ein, the best looks: wot of,

We are invited to a solemn feast, Shall be mine own wife, Mosca.

At old Volpone's, where it shall appear Mos. Sir, the thing

How far I'm free from jealousy or fear. (Eseuul.

ACT III.

Out of my skin now, like a subtle snake,
SCENE I.

I am so límber. Oh! your parasite

Is a most precious thing, dropt from above,
MOSCA,

Not bred 'mongst clods and clot-poles here on Nos. I fear I shall begin to grow in love

earth. With my dear self, and my most prosp'rous parts, | I muse, the mystery was not made a science, They do so spring and burgeon; I can feel It is so liberally profest! Almost A whimsie i my blood : (I know not how) All the wise world is little else in nature, Success hath made me wanton. I could skip But parasites, or sub-parasites. And yet,

I mean not those that have your bare town-art, With mine own tender case, but would not raTo know who's fit to feed 'em; lrave no house,

ther No family, no care, and therefore mould Prove the most rugged and laborious course, Tales for men's ears, to bait that sense; or get That might redeem my present estimation; Kitchen-invention, and some stale receipts Let me here perish in all hope of goodness. To please the belly, and the groin; nor those, Bon. This cannot be a personated passion ! With their court-dog tricks, that can fawn and I was to blame, so to mistake thy nature; fleer,

Pri'thee forgive me; and speak out thy business. Make their revenue out of legs and faces,

Mos. Sir, it concerns you; and though I may Echo my lord, and lick away a moth:

seem But your fine, elegant rascal, that can rise,

At first to make a main offence in manners, And stoop, almost together, like an arrow; And in my gratitude unto my master; Shoot through the air as nimbly as a star; Yet, for the pure love which I bear all right, Turn short, as doth a swallow; and be kere And hatred of the wrong, I must reveal it. And there, and here and yonder, all at once; This very hour your father is in purpose Present to any bumour, all occasion;

To disinherit you-
And change a visor, swifter than a thought! Bon. How !
This is the creature, had the art born with him ; Mos. And thrust you forth,
Toils not to learn it, but doth practise it As a mere stranger to his blood; 'tis true, sir:
Out of most excellent nature: And such sparks The work no way engageth me, but, as
Are the true parasites, others but their zanies. I claim an interest in the general state

Of goodness and true virtue, which I hear
SCENE III,

Tabound in you; and, for which mere respect,

Without a second aim, sir, I have done it.
Mosca and BONARIO.

Bon. This tale hath lost thee much of the late Mos. Who's this? Bonario? Old Corbaccio's

trust son !

Thou hadst with me; it is impossible: The person I was bound to seek. Fair sir, I know not how to lend it any thought, You are hap'ly met.

My father should be so unnatural. Bon. That cannot be, by thee.

Mos. It is a confidence that well becomes Mos. Why, sir?

Your picty; and form’d, no doubt, it is Bor. Nay, pr’ythee know thy way, and leave From your own simple innocence; which makes

Your wrong more monstrous and abhorr’d. But, I would be loth to interchange discourse With such a mate as thou art.

I now will tell you more. This very

minute Mos. Courteous sir,

It is, or will be, doing: And, if you Scorn not my poverty.

Shall be but pleased to go with me, I'll bring you Bon. Not I, by Heav'n:

(I dare not say where you shall see, but) where But thou shalt give me leave to hate thy baseness. Your ear shall be a witness of the deed; Mos. Baseness?

Hear yourself written bastard ; and profess'd Bon. Ay, answer me, is not thy sloth

The common issue of the earth. Sufficient argument ? thy flattery?

Bon. I'm 'maz'd! Thy means of feeding?

Mos. Sir, if I do it not, draw your just sword, Mas. Heav'n be good to me!

And score your vengeance on my front and face; These imputations are too common, sir,

Mark me your villain : You have too much And eas'ly stuck on virtue, when she's poor;

wrong, You are unequal to me, and howe'er

And I do suffer for you, sir. My heart
Your sentence may be righteous, yet you are not, Weeps blood, in anguish
That, e'er you know me, thus proceed in censure: Bün. Lead. I follow thee.

(Exeunt. St Mark bear witness 'gainst you, 'tis inhuman. Bor. What? does he weep? the sign is soft

SCENE III. and good! I do repent me, that I was so harsh.

VOLPONE, NANO, ANDROGYNO,and CASTRONE. Jos. 'Tis true, that, sway'd by strong neces Volp. Mosca stays long, methinks. Bring forth sity,

your sports, I am enforced to eat my careful bread

And help to make the wretched tiine more sweet. With too much obsequy; 'tis true, beside,

Nan. Dwarf, fool, and eunuch, well met here That I am fain to spin mine own poor raiment Out of my mere observance, being not born A question it were now, whether of us three, To a free fortune; but that I have done Being all the known delicates of a rich man, Base offices, in rending friends asunder, In pleasing him, claim the precedency can? Dividing families, betraying counsels,

Cas. I claim for myself. Whispering false lies, or mining men with praises, And. And so doth the fool. Train'd thcir credulity with perjuries,

Nan. 'Tis foolish indeed : let me set you both, Cerrupted chastity, or am in love

to school.

me:

sir,

we be,

First, for your dwarf, he's little and witty, Read you the principles, argued all the grounds,
And every thing, as it is little, is pretty; Disputed every fitness, every grace,
Else, why do men say to a creature of my shape, Called you to counsel of so frequent dressings
So soon as they see him, it's a pretty little ape? Nun. More carefully, than of your fame or
And why a pretty ape? but for pleasing imitation

honour. Of greater men's actions, in a ridiculous fashion. Lady. Made you acquainted, what an ample Beside, this feat body of mine doth not crave

dowry Half the meat, drink, and cloth, one of your bulk The knowledge of these things would be unto you, will have.

Able, alone, to get you noble husbands
Admit your fool's face be the mother of laughter, At your return: and you thus to neglect it!
Yet, for his brain, it must always come after : Besides, you seeing what a curious nation
And though that do feed him, it's a pitiful case, Th' Italians are, what will they say of me?
His body is beholding to such a bad face. The English lady cannot dress herself;
Volp. Who's there? my couch, away, look, Here's a fine imputation to our country!
Nano, see:

[One knocks. Well, go your ways, and stay i’the next room. Give me my caps, first-go, enquire. Now, Cu- This fucus was too coarse too, it's no matter. pid,

Good sir, you'll give 'em entertainment? Send it be Mosca, and with fair return.

Volp. The storm comes toward me. Nan. It is the beauteous madam

Lady. How does my Volp? Volp. Would-be-is it?

Volp. Troubled with noise, I cannot sleep: 1 Nan. The same.

dream'd Volp. Now, torment on me! 'squire her in, That a strange fury enter'd, now, my house, For she will enter, or dwell here for ever. And, with the dreadful tempest of her breath, Nay, quickly, that my fit were past. I fear Did cleave my roof asunder. A second hell too, that my loathing this

Lady. Believe me, and I Will quite expel my appetite to the other : Had the most fearful dream, could I rememWould she were taking, now, her tedious leave.

bertLord, how it threats me, what I am to suffer! Volp. Out on my fate! I ha' given her the oce

casion SCENE IV.

How to torment me: she will tell me hers.

Lady. Methought, the golden mediocrity Lady, VOLPONE, NANO, and two Women.

Polite and delicateLady. I thank you, good sir. Pray you signify Volp. O, if you do love me, Unto your patron I am here. This band No more; I sweat, and suffer, at the mention Shews not my neck enough (I trouble you, sir, Of any dream; feel, how I tremble yet. Let me request you bid one of my women

Lady. Alas, good soul! the passion of the Come hither to me;) in good faith, I am drest

heart! Most favourably to-day; it is no matter, Seed-pearl were good now, boild with

syrup

of 'Tis well enough. Look, see, these petulant

apples, things!

Tincture of gold, and coral, citron-pills, How they have done this !

Your elicampane root, myrobalanesVolp. I do feel the fever

Volp. Ah me, I have ta'en a grasshopper by the Entering in at mine cars ; 0, for a charnı

wing. To fright it hence.

Lady. Burnt silk and amber, you have musLady. Come nearer : is this curl

cadel In his right place? or this? why is this liglier Good i'the houseThan all the rest? you ha' not wash'd your eyes Volp. You will not drink, and part ?

Lady. No, fear not that. I doubt we shall not Or do they not stand even i’your head ?

get Where's your fellow? call her.

Some English saffron (half a drachm would serve) Nan. Now, St Mark

Your sixteen cloves, a little musk, dried mints, Deliver us; anon she'll beat her women,

Bugloss, and barley-mealBecause her nose is red.

Volp. She's in again; Lady. I pray you, view

Before I feign’d diseases, now I have one. This tire, forsooth: are all things apt, or no? Lady. And these applied, with a right scarlet Wom. One hair a little, here, sticks out, for

cloth sooth.

Volp. Another flood of words ! a very torrent! Lady. Does't so, forsooth? and where was Lady. Shall I, sir, make you a poultice? your dear sight

Volp. No, no, no; When it did so, forsooth? what now? bird-ey'd? I'm very well : you need prescribe no more. And you too? pray you both approach, and Lady. I have a little studied physic; but now mend it.

I'm all for music; savc, i'the forenoons, Now (by that light) I muse, you're not asham'd! An hour or two, for painting. I would have 1, that have preach'd these things so oft unto you, | A lady, indeed, t'have all, letters and arts,

yet ?

Like
you,
and

you are like him, just. I'll disa

course,
And't be but only, sir, to bring you asleep,
How we did spend our time and loves together
For some six years.

Volp. Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh!
Lady. For we were Coætanei, and brought up-
Volp. Some power, some fate, some fortune

rescue me!

SCENE V.

me.

Be able to discourse, to write, to paint,
But principal (as Plato holds) your music
(And so does wise Pythagoras, I take it)
Is your true rapture; when there is consent
In face, in voice, and clothes; and is indeed,
Our sex's chiefest ornament.

Volp. The poet,
As old in time as Plato, and as knowing,
Says, that your highest female grace is silence.
Ludy. Which o' your poets? Petrarch? or

Tasso? or Dante?
Guarini? Ariosto? Aretine?
Cievo di Hadria? I have read them all.

Polp. Is every thing a cause to my destruction?
Lady. I think I ha' two or three of 'em about

Volp. The sun, the sea, will sooner both stand Than her eternal tongue ! nothing can 'scape it.

Ludy. Here's Pastor Fido.
Volp. Profess obstinate silence;
That's now my safest.

Lody. All our English writers,
I mean such as are happy in th' Italian,
Will deign to steal out of this author mainly;
Almost as much, as from Montaigne,
He has so modern and facile a vein,
Fitting the time, and catching the court-ear;
Your Petrarch is inore passionate, yet he,
In days of sonnetting, trusting 'em, with much :
Dante is hard, and few can understand him.
But, for a desperate wit, there's Aretine !
Only, his pictures are a little obscene-
You mark' me not?

Volp. Alas, my mind's perturb'd.
Lady. Why, in such cases, we must cure our.

selves,
Make use of our philosophy,

Volp. Oh me!

lady. And, as we find our passions do rebel, Encounter 'em with reason, or divert 'em, By giving scope unto some other humour Of lesser danger; as in politic bodies, There's nothing more doth overwhelm the judg

ment, And clouds the understanding, than too much Settling and fixing, and (as 'twere) subsiding Upon one object. For the incorporating of these same outward things, into that part, Which we call mental, leaves some certain fæces That stop the organs, and, as Plato says, Assassinates our knowledge.

Voip. Now, the spirit
Of patience help me!

Ledy. Come, in faith I must
Visit you more a-days, and make you well :
Laugh, and be lusty.

Volp. My good angels save me!
Ludy. There was but one sole man in all the

world,
Vith whom I e'er could sympathise; and he
Would lie you often three or four hours together
To bear me speak; and be sometime so rapp'd,
As he would answer me quite from the purpose

Mosca, Lady, and VOLPONE..
Mos. God save you, madam.
Lady. Good sir.

Volp. Mosca! Welcome,
Welcome to my redemption.

Mos. Why, sir? Volp. Ok, Rid me of this my torture, quickly, there ; My madam, with the everlasting voice: The bells, in time of pestilence, ne'er made Like noise, or were in that perpetual motion ! The cock-pit comes not near it. All my house, But now, steam'd like a bath with her thick breath. A lawyer could not have been heard ; nor scarce Another woman,

such a hail of words She has let fall. For hell's sake rid her hence.

Mos. Has she presented ?

Volp. O, I do not care,
I'll take her absence upon any price,
With any loss.

Mos. Madam

Ludy. I ha' brought your patron
A toy, a cap here, of mine own work

Mos. 'Tis well.
I had forgot to tell you, I saw your knight
Where you'd little think it-

Lady. Where?
Mos. Marry,
Where yet, if you make haste, you may appre

hend him, Rowing upon the water in a gondola, With the most cunning courtezan of Venice.

Lady. Is't true?

Mos. Pursue 'em, and believe your eyes : Leave me to make your gift. I knew ’twould

take. For lightly they that use themselves most licence, Are still most jealous.

Volp. Mosca, hearty thanks,
For thy quick fiction, and delivery of me.
Now to my hopes, what say'st thou?

Lady. But do you hear, sir?-
Volp. Again! I fear a paroxysm,

Lady. Which way
Row'd they together?

Mos. Toward the Rialto.
Lady. I pray you lend me your dwarf,

Mos. I pray you take him.
Your hopes, sir, are like happy blossoms fair,
And promise timely fruit, if you will stay
But the maturing; keep you at your coucha

[blocks in formation]

MOSCA, CORVINO, CELIA, BONARIO, and

VOLPONE. Mos. Death on me! you are come too soon!

what meant you ? Did not I say I would send ?

Corv. Yes, but I fear'd
You might forget it, and then they prevent us.
Mos. Prevent? Did e'er man haste so for his

horns?
A courtier would not ply it so for a place.
Well, now there's no helping it, stay here,
I'll presently return.

Corv. Where are you, Celia ?
You know not wherefore I have brought you hi-

ther?
Cel. Not well, except you told me.

Cory. Now I will:
Hark hither.
Mos. Sir, your father hath sent word,

(To BONARIO.
It will be half an hour ere he come;
And therefore, if you please to walk the while
Into that gallery-at the upper end,
There are some books to entertain the time:
And I'll take care no man shall come unto you,

sir. Bon. Yes, I will stay there. I do doubt this fellow.

(Exit. Mos. There, he is far enough; he can hear

nothing: And for his father, I can keep him off. Corv. Nay, now, there is no starting back,

and therefore
Resolve upon it: I have so decreed.
It must be done. Nor would I move't afore,
Because I would avoid all shifts and tricks
That might deny me.

Cel. Sir, let me beseech you,
Affect not these strange trials; if you doubt
My chastity, why lock me up for ever :
Make me the heir, of darkness. Let me live
Where I may please your fears, if not your trust.

Corv. Believe it, I have no such humour, I. All that I speak I mean, yet I am not mad;

Not horn-mad, see you. Go too, shew yourself
Obedient, and a wife.

Cel. O Heaven !
Coro. I say it, do so.
Cel. Was this the train ?

Cory. I have told you reasons ;
What the physicians have set down ; how much
It may concern me; what my engagements are ;
My means; and the necessity of those means
For my recovery: Wherefore, if you be
Loyal, and mine, be won, respect my venture.
Cel. Before

your

honour ?
Coro. Honour? Tut, a breath ;
There's no such thing in nature: A mere terin
Invented to awe fools. What is my gold
The worse, for touching ? Cloths, for being

look'd on?
Why, this's no more. An old decrepit wretch,
That has no sense, or sinew; takes his meat
With others fingers; only knows to gape
When you do scald his gums; a voice; a shadow;
And what can this man hurt you ?
Cel. Lord! what spirit is this hath enter's

him?
Corv. And for your fame,
That's such a jig; as if I would go tell it,
Cry it, on the piazza ! Who shall know it,
But he, that cannot speak it; and this fellow,
Whose lips are in my pocket ? Save yourself,
If you'll proclaim 't you may. I know no other,
Should come to know it.

Cel. Are Heav'n and saints then nothing?
Will they be blind or stupid ?

Corv. How?

Cel. Good sir,
Be jealous still, emulate them; and think
What hate they burn with toward every sin.

Coro. I grant you; if I thought it were a sin,
I would not urge you. Should I offer this
To some young Frenchman, or hot Tuscan blood,
That had read Aretine, conn'd all his prints,
Knew every quirk within lust's labyrinth,
And were profess'd critic in letchery ;
And I would look upon him, and applaud him,
This were a sin: But here, 'tis contrary;
A pious work, mere charity, for physic,
An honest polity, to assure mine own.
Cel. 0 Heav'n! canst thou suffer such a

change? Volp. Thou art mine honour, Mosca, and my

pride, My joy, my tickling, my delight! go, bring 'em Mos. use

you

draw near, sir. Coro. Coine on, whatYou will not be rebellious ? by that light

Mos. Sir, Signior Corvino here is come te

see you.

Volp. Oh!

Mos. And hearing of the consultation had,
So lately, for your health, is come to offer,
Or rather, sir, to prostitute-

Corv. Thanks, sweet Mosca.
Mos. Freely, unask'd, or unintreated
Coro. Well.
Alos. (As the true, fervent instance of his love

4

« PreviousContinue »