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May bear it through, thus. Sir, a word with you. Mos. What is the injury, lady?
I would be loath to contest publicly

Lady. Why, the callet
With any gentlewoman; or to secm

You told me of, here I have ta'en disguis'd. Froward, or violent (as the courtier says)

Mos. Who 'this ? what means your ladyship? It comes too near rusticity, in a lady,

the creature Which I would shun, by all means: and, how- I mentioned to you, is apprehended, now,

Before the senate; you shall see her I may deserve from Master Would-be, yet, Lady. Where? T'have one fair gentlewoman, thus, be made Mlos. I'll bring you to her. This young gentleTh' unkind instrument to wrong another,

man, And one she knows not, ay, and to persevere; I saw him land, this morning, at the port. In my poor judgment, is not warranted

Lady. Is’t possible ! how has my judgment From being a solecism in our sex,

wandered ! If not in manners.

Sir, I must, blushing, say to you, I have erred; Per. How is this !

And plead your pardon. Pol. Sweet madam, come nearer to your aim.

Per. What! more changes yet? Lady. Marry, and I will, sir,

Lady. I hope you ha' not the malice to reSince you provoke me with your impudence,

member And laughter of your land-syren, here,

A gentlewoman's passion. If you stay Your Sporus, your hermaphrodite -

In Venice, here, please you to use me, sirPer. What's here?

Mos. Will you go, madam ? Poetic fury, and bistoric storms !

Lady. Pray you, sir, use me. In faith, Pol. The gentleman, believe it, is of worth, The more you see me, the more I shall conceive And of our nation.

You have forgot our quarrel. Ludy. Ay, your White-Friars' nation.

Per. This is rare ! Come, I blush for you, Master Would-be, I ; Sir Politic Would-be ? No, sir Politic Bawd! And am ashamed, you should ha' no more fore- To bring me thus acquainted with his wife ! head,

Well, wise sir Pol. since you have practis'd thus Than, thus, to be the patron, or St George, Upon my freshman-ship, I'll try your salt-head, To a lewd harlot, a base fricatrice,

What proof it is against a counter-plot.
A female devil, in a male outside.
Pol. Nay, an' you be such a one, I must bid

SCENE IV. adieu To your delights. The case appears too liquid. VOLTORE, CORBACCIO, CORVINO, and Mosca.

(Erit. Volt. Well, now you know the carriage of the Lady. Ay, you may carry't clear, with your

business, state face;

Your constancy is all that is required But, for your carnival concupiscence,

Unto the safety of it.
Who here is fled for liberty of conscience,

Mos. Is the lie
From furious persecution of the marshal, Safely conveyed amongst us? Is that sure ?
Her will I disciple.

Knows every man his burden ?
Per. This is fine, i'faith!

Cory. Yes. And do you use this often ? is this part

Mos. Then shrink not. Of your wit's exercise,'gainst you have occasion ? Cory. But knows the advocate the truth? Madam

Mos. O, sir, by no means. I devised a formal Lady. Go to, sir.

tale, Per. Do

hear me, lady?

That salved your reputation. But, be valiant, sir. Why, if your knight have set you to beg shirts, Coro. I fear no one, but him ; that this his Or to invite me home, you might have done iť

pleading A nearer way, by far.

Should make him stand for a co-heir
Ludy. This cannot work you out of my snare. Mos. Co-halter!
Per. Why, am I in it, then ?

Hang him ; we will but use his tongue, his noise,
Indeed, your husband told me, you were fair, As we do croakers, here.
And so you are; only your nose inclines

Corv. Ay, what shall he do?
(That side, that's next the sun) to the queen- Mos. When we ha' done, you mean?

Corv. Yes.
Lady. This cannot be endur'd by any patience. Mos. Why, we'll think;

Sell him for mummia, he's half dust already.

Do not you smile, to see this buffalo, [To VOLT.

How he doth sport it with his head ?- I should, MOSCA, LADY, and PEREGRINE.

If all were well, and passed.—Sir, only you Mlos. What's the matter, madam ?

(To COR, Lady. If the senate

Are he, that shall enjoy the crop of all, Right not my quest in this, I will protest 'em, And these not know for whom they toil. To all the world, no aristocracy.

Corb. Ay, peace.


Mos. But you shall eat it: muchi! (To Corv.] | That ever vicious nature yet brought forth
Worshipful sir,

[To Volt. To shame the state of Venice. This lewd woman Mercury sit upon your thundering tongue, (That wants no artificial looks, or tears, Or the French Hercules, and make your language To help the vizor she has now put on) As conquering as his club, to beat along, llath long been known a close adulteress, (As with a tempest) fat, our adversaries; To that lascivious youth, there; not suspected, But, reuch more, yours, sir.

I say, but known, and taken in the act D'ou. Here they come, ha' done.

With him; and by this man, the easy husband, Mos. I have another witness, if you need, sir, Pardoned : whose timeless bounty makes him, I can produce.

now, Foli. Who is it?

Stand here, the most unhappy, innocent person, Mos. Sir, I have her.

That ever man's own goodness made accused.

For these, not knowing how to owe a gift

Of that dear grace, but with their shame, being

placed Four Avocatori, BONARIO, CELIA, VOL

So 'bove all powers of their gratitude, TORE, CORBACCIO, Corvino, Mosca, No

Began to hate the benefit; and, in place TARIO, and COMMENDADORI.

Of thanks, devise to extirpe the memory 1 Atoc. The like of this the senate never Of such an act. Wherein, I pray your fatherheard of

hoods 2 Aroc. 'Twill come most strange to them, T' observe the malice, yea, the rage of creatures when we report it.

Discovered in their evils; and what heart 4 Arok. The gentlewoman has been ever held Such take, even from their crimes. But that, Of unreproved name.

anon, 3 Aroc. So, the young man.

Will more appear. This gentleman, the father, 4 Aroc. The more unnatural part, that of his Hearing of this foul act, with many others, father.

Which daily struck at his too tender ears, 2 Avoc. More of the husband.

And, grieved in nothing more than that he could 1 Aroc. I not know to give His act a name, it is so monstrous !

Preserve himself a parent, (his son's ills 4 470c. But the impostor, he is a thing created Growing to that strange flood) at last decreed T'exceed example !

To disinherit him. 1 Avoc. And all after-times.

1 Avoc. These be strange turns ! 2 Aroc. I never heard a true voluptuary 2 Avoc. The young man's fame was ever fair Described, but him.

and honest. 3 Aroc. Appear yet those were cited ?

Volt. So much more full of danger is his vice, Nota. All but the old magnifico, Volpone. That can beguile so, under shade of virtue. 1 Avoc. Why is not he here?

But, as I said, my honoured sirs, his father Mos. Please your fatherhoods,

Having this settled purpose, (by what means Here is his advocate. Himself's so weak, To him betrayed, we know not) and this day So feeble

Appointed for the deed; that parricide, 4 Avoc. What are you?

(I cannot stile him better) by confederacy, Bon. His parasite,

Preparing this his paramour to be there, His knave, his pander : I beseech the court, Entered Volpone's house, (who was the man; He may be forced to come, that your grave eyes Your fatherhoods must understand, designed May bear strong witness of his strange impostures. For the inheritance) there, sought his father : Polt. Upon my faith and credit with your vir- But with what purpose sought he him, my lords? tues,

(I tremble to pronounce it, that a son He is not able to endure the air.

Unto a father, and to such a father, 2 Avoc. Bring him, however.

Should have so foul, felonious intent) S Asoc. We will see him.

It was, to murder him. When, being prevented 4 Aroc. Fetch him.

By his more happy absence, what then did he? Volt. Your fatherhoods' fit pleasure be obeyed. Not check his wicked thoughts ; no, now new Be sure, the sight will rather move your pities,

deeds : Than indignation. May it please the court, (Mischief doth ever end where it begins) In the meantime, he may be heard in me: An act of horror, fathers ! he dragged forth I know this place most void of prejudice, The aged gentleman that had there lain, bed-rid, And therefore crave it, since we have no reason Three years and more, out of his innocent couch, To fear our truth should hurt our cause.

Naked, upon the floor, there left him; wounded 3 Apoc. Speak free.

His servant in the face ; and, with this strumpet, Volt. Then know, most honoured fathers, I The stale to his forged practice, who was glad must now

To be so active, (I shall here desire Discover, to your strangely abused ears, Your fatherhoods to note but my collections The most prodigious, and most frontless piece As most remarkable) thought, at once, to stop Of solid impudence and treachery,

His father's ends; discredit his free choice,

In the old gentleman; redeem themselves, Coro. Or if I said, I hoped that she were onward By laying infamy upon this man,

To her damnation, if there be a hell To whom, with blushing, they should owe their Greater than whore and woman; a good catholic lives.

May make the doubt. 1 Avoc. What proofs have we of this?

3 Avoc. His grief hath made him frantic. Bon. Most honoured fathers,

1 Avoc. Remove him hence. I bumbly crave, there be no credit given

2 Avoc. Look to the woman. (CEL. swoons. To this man's mercenary tongue.

('orv. Rare! prettily feigned ! again! 2 Avoc. Forbear.

4 Avoc. Stand from about her. Bon. His soul moves in his fee.

1 Avoc. Give her the air. 3 dvoc. 0, sir.

3 Avoc. What can you say? Bon. This fellow,

Mos. My wound, For six sous more, would plead against his Maker. May't please your wisdoms, speaks for me, rei Aduc. You do forget yourself.

ceived Volt. Nay, nay, grave fathers,

In aid of my good patron, when he missed Let him have scope: can any man imagine His sought-for father, when that well-taught dame That he will spare his accuser, that would not Had her cue given her, to cry out a rape. Have spared his parent?

Bon. O, most laid impudence! Fathers1 Avoc. Well, produce your proofs.

s dvoc. Sir, be silent, Cel. I would I could forget I were a creature! You had your hearing free, so must they theirs. Voit. Signior Corbaccio.

2 Avoc. I do begin to doubt th' imposture here. 4 Adoc. What is he?

4 Aroc. This woman has too many moods. Volt. The father.

Volt. Grave fathers, 2 dvoc. Has he had an oath?

She is a creature of a most professed Notar. Yes.

And prostituted lewdness. Corb. What must I do now?

Coro. Most impetuous ! Notar. Your testimony's craved.

Unsatisfied, grave fathers ! Corb. Speak to the knave?

Volt. May her feignings I'll ha' my mouth, first, stopped with earth ; my Not take your wisdoms; but this day she baited heart

A stranger, a grave knight, with her loose eyes, Abhors his knowledge: I disclaim in him. And more lascivious kisses. This man saw 'em 1 Avoc. But for what cause ?

Together on the water, in a gondola. Corb. The mere portent of nature.

Mos. Here's the lady herself that saw 'em too, He is an utter stranger to my loins.

Without, who then had in the open streets Bon. Have they made you to this !

Pursued them, but for saving her knight's honour, Corb. I will not hear thee,

1 Avor. Produce that lady. Monster of men, swine, goat, wolf, parricide! 2 Avoc. Let her come. Speak not, thou viper.

4 Avoc. These things, Bon. Sir, I will sit down,

They strike with wonder!
And rather wish my innocence should suffer, 3 Acor. I am turned a stone !
Than I resist the authority of a father.
Volt. Signior Corvino.

2 Avoc. This is strange!
1 Avoc. Who's this?

Mosca, Lady, Arocatori, &c. Notar. The husband.

Mos. Be resolute, madam. 4 Avoc. Is he sworn ?

Lady. Ay, this same is she. Notar. He is.

Out, thou cameleon harlot! now thine eyes 3 Avoc. Speak then.

Vie tears with the hyæna : Dar'st thou look Goro. This woman, please your fatherhoods, is Upon my wronged face? I cry your pardons: a whore,

I fear I have (forgettingly) transgressed
Of most hot exercise, more than a partridge, Against the dignity of the court
Upon record

2 Avoc. No, madam. 1 Aroc. No more.

Lady. And been exorbitantCory. Neighs, like a jennet.

4 Avoc. You have not, lady.
Notur. Preserve the honour of the court. These proofs are strong.
Coro. I shall,

Lady. Surely, I had no purpose
And modesty of your most reverend ears. To scandalize your honours, or my sex's.
And yet, I hope that I may say, these eyes

3 Avoc. We do believe it.
Have seen her glued unto that piece of cedar; Lady. Surely you may believe it.
That fine well-timbered gallant; and that, here, 2 Avoc. Madam, we do.
The letters may be read, thorough the horn, Lady. Indeed, you may; my breeding
That make the story perfect.

Is not so coarse
Mos. Excellent ! sir.

4 Avoc. We know it. Corv. There is no shame in this, now, is there? Lady. To offend with pertinacy Mos. None.

3 Avoc. Lady

have you,

you it?

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Lady. Such a presence :

4 Adoc. You've done a worthy service to the No, surely.

state, sir, Atoc, We will think it.

In their discovery. Lady. You may think it.

1 Ado. You shall hear, ere night, i Avoc. Let her o'ercome. What witnesses What punishment the court decrees upon 'em.

(Exeunt four dvocutori. To make good your report?

Volt. We thank your fatherhoods.—How like Bon. Our consciences. Cel. And Heaven, that never fails the in- Mos. Rare. nocent.

I'd ha' your tongue, sir, tipt with gold, for this ; 4 Avoc. These are no testimonies.

I'd ha' you be the heir to the whole city. Bon. Not in your courts,

The earth I'd have want men, e'er you want Where multitude and clamours overcome.

living: Atoc. Nay, then do you wax insolent. They're bound to erect your statue in St Mark's. Volt, Here, here,

Signior Corvino, I would have you go, The testimony comes, that will convince, And shew yourself, that you have conquer’d.

(VOLPONE is brought in as impotent. Cory. Yes. And put to utter dumbness their bold tongues. Mos. It was much better that you should proSee here, grave fathers, here's the ravisher,

fess The rider on men's wives, the great impostor, Yourself a cuckold, thus, than that the other The grand voluptuary! Do you not think, Should have been prov'd. These limbs should affect venery? or these eyes Coro. Nay, I consider'd that: Covet a concubine? 'Pray you mark these hands, Now it is her fault. Are they not fit to stroke a lady's breasts ? Mos. Then it had been yours. Perhaps, he doth dissemble !

Coro. True. I do doubt this advocate still. Bon. So he does.

Mos. I'faith, Voit. Would you ha' him tortur'd?

You need not, I dare ease you of that care. Bon. I would have him proved.

Corv. I trust thee, Mosca. Volt. Best try him, then, with goads or burn- Mos. As your own soul, sir. ing irons;

Corb. Mosca. Put him to the strappado: I have heard,

Mos. Now for your business, sir. The rack bath cured the gout; 'faith, give it him, Corb. How ! ha' you business? And help him of a malady, be courteous.

Mos. Yes, your's, sir. I'll undertake, before these honour'd fathers, Corb. O, none else? He shall have, yet, as many left diseases,

Mos. None else, not I. As she has known adulterers, or thou strumpets. Corb. Be careful then. 0, my most equal hearers, if these deeds, Mos. Rest you with both your eyes, sir. Acts of this bold and most exorbitant strain, Corb. Dispatch it. May pass with sofferance, what one citizen, Mos. Instantly. But owes the forfeit of his life, yea fame, Corb. And look, that all, To him that dares traduce him? Which of you Whatever, be put in, jewels, plate, moneys, Are safe, my honour'd fathers? I would ask Household-stuff

, bedding, curtains. (With leave of your grave fatherhoods) if their Mos. Curtain-rings, sir. plot

Only, the advocate's fee must be deducted. Have any face, or colour, like to truth?

Corb. I'll pay him, now: You'll be too prodigal. Or if, unto the dullest nostril here,

Mos. Sir, I must tender it.
It smell not rank, and most abhorred slander? Corb. Two cecchines is well ?
I crave your care of this good gentleman,

Mus. No, six, sir.
Whose life is much endanger'd by their fable; Corb. 'Tis too much.
And, as for them, I will conclude with this, Mos. He talk'd a great while ;
That vicious persons when they are hot, and You must consider that, sir.

Corb. Well, there's threeIn impious acts, their constancy abounds : Mos. I'll give it him. Damn'd deeds are done with greatest confidence. Corb. Do so, and there's for thee. 1 dvoc. Take 'em to custody, and sever them. Mos. Bountiful bones ! What horrid strange (Ereunt BONARIO and Celia.

offence 2 Atoc. 'Tis pity two such prodigies should live. Did he commit ’gainst nature, in his youth, 1 Atoc. Let the old gentleman be return's Worthy this age? You see, sir, how I work with care:

Unto your ends; take you no notice. I'm sorry our credulity wrong'd him.

Volt. No, I'll leave you. (VOLPONE is carried out. Mos. All is yours ;-the devil, and all, 4 Aroc. These are two creatures !

Good advocate. Madam, I'll bring you home. 9 Aroc. I have an earthquake in me !

Lady. No, I'll go see your patron. 2 Avoc. Their shame (even in their cradles) Mos. That you shall not : fled their faces.

I'll tell you why. My purpose is, to urge

My patron to reform his will; and, for

Put in the first; which would appear as begg’d, The zeal you have shewn to-day, whereas before if you were present. ThereforeYou were but third, or fourth, you shall be now Lady. You shall sway me. (Ereunt.


Mos. Yes, and to make

So rare a music out of discords

Volp. Right.

That, yet, to me's the strangest ! How th' hast Volp. Well, I am here; and all this brunt is born it ! past :

That these, being so divided 'mongst themselves, I ne'er was in dislike with my disguise,

Should not scent somewhat, or in me or thee, 'Till this fled moment; here 'twas good, in pri- | Or doubt their own side. vate;

Mos. True, they will not see't. But, in your public, cave, whilst I breathe. Too much light blinds 'em, I think. Each of 'em 'Fore God, my left leg 'gan to have the cramp; Is so possessed, and stuff'd with his own hopes, And I apprehended, strait, some power had That any thing unto the contrary, struck me

Never so true, or never so apparent, With a dead palsy : Well, I must be merry Never so palpable, they will resist it !And shake it off. A many of these fears

Volp. Like a temptation of the devil. Would put me into some villanous disease, Mos. Right, sir. Should they come thick upon me: I'll prevent Merchants may talk of trade, and your great sig'em.

niors Give me a bowl of lusty wine, to fright

Of land that yields well; but if Italy This humour from my heart ; (hum, hum, hum,) Have any glebe more fruitful than these fellows,

[He drinks. I am deceiv'd. Did not your advocate rare? 'Tis almost gone already: I shall conquer. Volp. O,(my most honour'd fathers, my grare Any device, now, of rare, ingenious knavery,

fathers, That would possess me with a violent laughter, Under correction of your fatherhoods, Would make me up, again ! So, so, so, so.

What face of truth is here? If these strange [Drinks again.

deeds This heat is life; 'tis blood, by this time: Mosca ! May pass, most honour'd fathers

-) I had

much ado SCENE II.

To forbear laughing.

Mos. 'T scem’d to me you sweat, sir.

Volp. In troth, I did a little.
Mos. How now, sir ? does the day look clear Mos. But confess, sir,

Were you not daunted ?
Are we recover'd ? And wrought out of error, Volp. In good faith I was
Into our way? To see our path before us? A little in a mist, but not dejected :
Is our trade free once more?

Never, but still myself.
Volp. Exquisite Mosca !

Mos. I think it, sir. Mós. Was it not carried learnedly?

Now, so truth help me, I must needs say this, Volp. And stoutly.

sir, Good wits are greatest in extremities.

And, out of conscience, for your advocate: Mos. It were a folly, beyond thought, to trust He has taken pains in faith, sir, and deserved Any grand act unto a cowardly spirit:

(In my poor judgment, I speak it, under favour, You are not taken with it enough, methinks? Not to contrary you, sir,) very richly

Volp. O more than if I had enjoy'd the wench. Well to be cozen'd.
The pleasure of all womankind's not like it. Volp. Troth, and I think so too,
Mos. Why, now you speak, sir. We must By that I heard him, in the latter end.
here be fix'd;

Mos. O, but before, sir ; had you heard him, Here we must rest; this is our master-piece:

first, We cannot think to go beyond this.

Draw it to certain heads, then aggravate, Volp. True,

Then use his vehement figures- I look'd still, Thou hast play'd this prize, my precious Mosca. When he would shift a shirt; and doing this Mos. Nay, sir,

Out of pure love, no hope of gain To gull the court

Volp. 'Tis right. Volp. And quite divert thc torrent,

I cannot answer him, Mosca, as I would, Upon the innocent.

Not yet; but for thy sake, at thy entreaty,


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