EVERY MAN OUT OF HIS HUMOUR
By Ben Jonson
EVERY MAN OUT OF HIS HUMOUR
THE greatest of English dramatists except Shakespeare, the first literary dictator and poet-laureate, a writer of verse, prose, satire, and criticism who most potently of all the men of his time affected the subsequent course of English letters: such was Ben Jonson, and as such his strong personality assumes an interest to us almost unparalleled, at least in his age.
Ben Jonson came of the stock that was centuries after to give to the world Thomas Carlyle; for Jonson’s grandfather was of Annandale, over the Solway, whence he migrated to England. Jonson’s father lost his estate under Queen Mary, “having been cast into prison and forfeited.” He entered the church, but died a month before his illustrious son was born, leaving his widow and child in poverty. Jonson’s birthplace was Westminster, and the time of his birth early in 1573. He was thus nearly ten years Shakespeare’s junior, and less well off, if a trifle better born. But Jonson did not profit even by this slight advantage. His mother married beneath her, a wright or bricklayer, and Jonson was for a time apprenticed to the trade. As a youth he attracted the attention of the famous antiquary, William Camden, then usher at Westminster School, and there the poet laid the solid foundations of his classical learning. Jonson always held Camden in veneration, acknowledging that to him he owed,
“All that I am in arts, all that I know;”
and dedicating his first dramatic success, “Every Man in His Humour,” to him. It is doubtful whether Jonson ever went to either university, though Fuller says that he was “statutably admitted into St. John’s College, Cambridge.” He tells us that he took no degree, but was later “Master of Arts in both the universities, by their favour, not his study.” When a mere youth Jonson enlisted as a soldier, trailing his pike in Flanders in the protracted wars of William the Silent against the Spanish. Jonson was a large and raw-boned lad; he became by his own account in time exceedingly bulky. In chat with his friend William Drummond of Hawthornden, Jonson told how “in his service in the Low Countries he had, in the face of both the camps, killed an enemy, and taken opima spolia from him;” and how “since his coming to England, being appealed to the fields, he had killed his adversary which had hurt him in the arm and whose sword was ten inches longer than his.” Jonson’s reach may have made up for the lack of his sword; certainly his prowess lost nothing in the telling. Obviously Jonson was brave, combative, and not averse to talking of himself and his doings.
In 1592, Jonson returned from abroad penniless. Soon after he married, almost as early and quite as imprudently as Shakespeare. He told Drummond curtly that “his wife was a shrew, yet honest”; for some years he lived apart from her in the household of Lord Albany. Yet two touching epitaphs among Jonson’s “Epigrams,” “On my first daughter,” and “On my first son,” attest the warmth of the poet’s family affections. The daughter died in infancy, the son of the plague; another son grew up to manhood little credit to his father whom he survived. We know nothing beyond this of Jonson’s domestic life.
How soon Jonson drifted into what we now call grandly “the theatrical profession” we do not know. In 1593, Marlowe made his tragic exit from life, and Greene, Shakespeare’s other rival on the popular stage, had preceded Marlowe in an equally miserable death the year before. Shakespeare already had the running to himself. Jonson appears first in the employment of Philip Henslowe, the exploiter of several troupes of players, manager, and father-in-law of the famous actor, Edward Alleyn. From entries in “Henslowe’s Diary,” a species of theatrical account book which has been handed down to us, we know that Jonson was connected with the Admiral’s men; for he borrowed 4 pounds of Henslowe, July 28, 1597, paying back 3s. 9d. on the same day on account of his “share” (in what is not altogether clear); while later, on December 3, of the same year, Henslowe advanced 20s. to him “upon a book which he showed the plot unto the company which he promised to deliver unto the company at Christmas next.” In the next August Jonson was in collaboration with Chettle and Porter in a play called “Hot Anger Soon Cold.” All this points to an association with Henslowe of some duration, as no mere tyro would be thus paid in advance upon mere promise. From allusions in Dekker’s play, “Satiromastix,” it appears that Jonson, like Shakespeare, began life as an actor, and that he “ambled in a leather pitch by a play-wagon” taking at one time the part of Hieronimo in Kyd’s famous play, “The Spanish Tragedy.” By the beginning of 1598, Jonson, though still in needy circumstances, had begun to receive recognition. Francis Meres — well known for his “Comparative Discourse of our English Poets with the Greek, Latin, and Italian Poets,” printed in 1598, and for his mention therein of a dozen plays of Shakespeare by title — accords to Ben Jonson a place as one of “our best in tragedy,” a matter of some surprise, as no known tragedy of Jonson from so early a date has come down to us. That Jonson was at work on tragedy, however, is proved by the entries in Henslowe of at least three tragedies, now lost, in which he had a hand. These are “Page of Plymouth,” “King Robert II. of Scotland,” and “Richard Crookback.” But all of these came later, on his return to Henslowe, and range from August 1599 to June 1602.
Returning to the autumn of 1598, an event now happened to sever for a time Jonson’s relations with Henslowe. In a letter to Alleyn, dated September 26 of that year, Henslowe writes: “I have lost one of my company that hurteth me greatly; that is Gabriel [Spencer], for he is slain in Hogsden fields by the hands of Benjamin Jonson, bricklayer.” The last word is perhaps Henslowe’s thrust at Jonson in his displeasure rather than a designation of his actual continuance at his trade up to this time. It is fair to Jonson to remark however, that his adversary appears to have been a notorious fire-eater who had shortly before killed one Feeke in a similar squabble. Duelling was a frequent occurrence of the time among gentlemen and the nobility; it was an impudent breach of the peace on the part of a player. This duel is the one which Jonson described years after to Drummond, and for it Jonson was duly arraigned at Old Bailey, tried, and convicted. He was sent to prison and such goods and chattels as he had “were forfeited.” It is a thought to give one pause that, but for the ancient law permitting convicted felons to plead, as it was called, the benefit of clergy, Jonson might have been hanged for this deed. The circumstance that the poet could read and write saved him; and he received only a brand of the letter “T,” for Tyburn, on his left thumb. While in jail Jonson became a Roman Catholic; but he returned to the faith of the Church of England a dozen years later.
On his release, in disgrace with Henslowe and his former associates, Jonson offered his services as a playwright to Henslowe’s rivals, the Lord Chamberlain’s company, in which Shakespeare was a prominent shareholder. A tradition of long standing, though not susceptible of proof in a court of law, narrates that Jonson had submitted the manuscript of “Every Man in His Humour” to the Chamberlain’s men and had received from the company a refusal; that Shakespeare called him back, read the play himself, and at once accepted it. Whether this story is true or not, certain it is that “Every Man in His Humour” was accepted by Shakespeare’s company and acted for the first time in 1598, with Shakespeare taking a part. The evidence of this is contained in the list of actors prefixed to the comedy in the folio of Jonson’s works, 1616. But it is a mistake to infer, because Shakespeare’s name stands first in the list of actors and the elder Kno’well first in the dramatis personae, that Shakespeare took that particular part. The order of a list of Elizabethan players was generally that of their importance or priority as shareholders in the company and seldom if ever corresponded to the list of characters.
“Every Man in His Humour” was an immediate success, and with it Jonson’s reputation as one of the leading dramatists of his time was established once and for all. This could have been by no means Jonson’s earliest comedy, and we have just learned that he was already reputed one of “our best in tragedy.” Indeed, one of Jonson’s extant comedies, “The Case is Altered,” but one never claimed by him or published as his, must certainly have preceded “Every Man in His Humour” on the stage. The former play may be described as a comedy modelled on the Latin plays of Plautus. (It combines, in fact, situations derived from the “Captivi” and the “Aulularia” of that dramatist). But the pretty story of the beggar-maiden, Rachel, and her suitors, Jonson found, not among the classics, but in the ideals of romantic love which Shakespeare had already popularised on the stage. Jonson never again produced so fresh and lovable a feminine personage as Rachel, although in other respects “The Case is Altered” is not a conspicuous play, and, save for the satirising of Antony Munday in the person of Antonio Balladino and Gabriel Harvey as well, is perhaps the least characteristic of the comedies of Jonson.
“Every Man in His Humour,” probably first acted late in the summer of 1598 and at the Curtain, is commonly regarded as an epoch-making play; and this view is not unjustified. As to plot, it tells little more than how an intercepted letter enabled a father to follow his supposedly studious son to London, and there observe his life with the gallants of the time. The real quality of this comedy is in its personages and in the theory upon which they are conceived. Ben Jonson had theories about poetry and the drama, and he was neither chary in talking of them nor in experimenting with them in his plays. This makes Jonson, like Dryden in his time, and Wordsworth much later, an author to reckon with; particularly when we remember that many of Jonson’s notions came for a time definitely to prevail and to modify the whole trend of English poetry. First of all Jonson was a classicist, that is, he believed in restraint and precedent in art in opposition to the prevalent ungoverned and irresponsible Renaissance spirit. Jonson believed that there was a professional way of doing things which might be reached by a study of the best examples, and he found these examples for the most part among the ancients. To confine our attention to the drama, Jonson objected to the amateurishness and haphazard nature of many contemporary plays, and set himself to do something different; and the first and most striking thing that he evolved was his conception and practice of the comedy of humours.
As Jonson has been much misrepresented in this matter, let us quote his own words as to “humour.” A humour, according to Jonson, was a bias of disposition, a warp, so to speak, in character by which
“Some one peculiar quality
Doth so possess a man, that it doth draw
All his affects, his spirits, and his powers,
In their confluctions, all to run one way.”
But continuing, Jonson is careful to add:
“But that a rook by wearing a pied feather,
The cable hat-band, or the three-piled ruff,
A yard of shoe-tie, or the Switzers knot
On his French garters, should affect a humour!
O, it is more than most ridiculous.”
Jonson’s comedy of humours, in a word, conceived of stage personages on the basis of a ruling trait or passion (a notable simplification of actual life be it observed in passing); and, placing these typified traits in juxtaposition in their conflict and contrast, struck the spark of comedy. Downright, as his name indicates, is “a plain squire”; Bobadill’s humour is that of the braggart who is incidentally, and with delightfully comic effect, a coward; Brainworm’s humour is the finding out of things to the end of fooling everybody: of course he is fooled in the end himself. But it was not Jonson’s theories alone that made the success of “Every Man in His Humour.” The play is admirably written and each character is vividly conceived, and with a firm touch based on observation of the men of the London of the day. Jonson was neither in this, his first great comedy (nor in any other play that he wrote), a supine classicist, urging that English drama return to a slavish adherence to classical conditions. He says as to the laws of the old comedy (meaning by “laws,” such matters as the unities of time and place and the use of chorus): “I see not then, but we should enjoy the same licence, or free power to illustrate and heighten our invention as they [the ancients] did; and not be tied to those strict and regular forms which the niceness of a few, who are nothing but form, would thrust upon us.” “Every Man in His Humour” is written in prose, a novel practice which Jonson had of his predecessor in comedy, John Lyly. Even the word “humour” seems to have been employed in the Jonsonian sense by Chapman before Jonson’s use of it. Indeed, the comedy of humours itself is only a heightened variety of the comedy of manners which represents life, viewed at a satirical angle, and is the oldest and most persistent species of comedy in the language. None the less, Jonson’s comedy merited its immediate success and marked out a definite course in which comedy long continued to run. To mention only Shakespeare’s Falstaff and his rout, Bardolph, Pistol, Dame Quickly, and the rest, whether in “Henry IV.” or in “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” all are conceived in the spirit of humours. So are the captains, Welsh, Scotch, and Irish of “Henry V.,” and Malvolio especially later; though Shakespeare never employed the method of humours for an important personage. It was not Jonson’s fault that many of his successors did precisely the thing that he had reprobated, that is, degrade the humour: into an oddity of speech, an eccentricity of manner, of dress, or cut of beard. There was an anonymous play called “Every Woman in Her Humour.” Chapman wrote “A Humourous Day’s Mirth,” Day, “Humour Out of Breath,” Fletcher later, “The Humourous Lieutenant,” and Jonson, besides “Every Man Out of His Humour,” returned to the title in closing the cycle of his comedies in “The Magnetic Lady or Humours Reconciled.”
With the performance of “Every Man Out of His Humour” in 1599, by Shakespeare’s company once more at the Globe, we turn a new page in Jonson’s career. Despite his many real virtues, if there is one feature more than any other that distinguishes Jonson, it is his arrogance; and to this may be added his self-righteousness, especially under criticism or satire. “Every Man Out of His Humour” is the first of three “comical satires” which Jonson contributed to what Dekker called the poetomachia or war of the theatres as recent critics have named it. This play as a fabric of plot is a very slight affair; but as a satirical picture of the manners of the time, proceeding by means of vivid caricature, couched in witty and brilliant dialogue and sustained by that righteous indignation which must lie at the heart of all true satire — as a realisation, in short, of the classical ideal of comedy — there had been nothing like Jonson’s comedy since the days of Aristophanes. “Every Man in His Humour,” like the two plays that follow it, contains two kinds of attack, the critical or generally satiric, levelled at abuses and corruptions in the abstract; and the personal, in which specific application is made of all this in the lampooning of poets and others, Jonson’s contemporaries. The method of personal attack by actual caricature of a person on the stage is almost as old as the drama. Aristophanes so lampooned Euripides in “The Acharnians” and Socrates in “The Clouds,” to mention no other examples; and in English drama this kind of thing is alluded to again and again. What Jonson really did, was to raise the dramatic lampoon to an art, and make out of a casual burlesque and bit of mimicry a dramatic satire of literary pretensions and permanency. With the arrogant attitude mentioned above and his uncommon eloquence in scorn, vituperation, and invective, it is no wonder that Jonson soon involved himself in literary and even personal quarrels with his fellow-authors. The circumstances of the origin of this ‘poetomachia’ are far from clear, and those who have written on the topic, except of late, have not helped to make them clearer. The origin of the “war” has been referred to satirical references, apparently to Jonson, contained in “The Scourge of Villainy,” a satire in regular form after the manner of the ancients by John Marston, a fellow playwright, subsequent friend and collaborator of Jonson’s. On the other hand, epigrams of Jonson have been discovered (49, 68, and 100) variously charging “playwright” (reasonably identified with Marston) with scurrility, cowardice, and plagiarism; though the dates of the epigrams cannot be ascertained with certainty. Jonson’s own statement of the matter to Drummond runs: “He had many quarrels with Marston, beat him, and took his pistol from him, wrote his “Poetaster” on him; the beginning[s] of them were that Marston represented him on the stage.”*
[footnote] *The best account of this whole subject is to be found in the edition of “Poetaster” and “Satiromastrix” by J. H. Penniman in “Belles Lettres Series” shortly to appear. See also his earlier work, “The War of the Theatres,” 1892, and the excellent contributions to the subject by H. C. Hart in “Notes and Queries,” and in his edition of Jonson, 1906.
Here at least we are on certain ground; and the principals of the quarrel are known. “Histriomastix,” a play revised by Marston in 1598, has been regarded as the one in which Jonson was thus “represented on the stage”; although the personage in question, Chrisogonus, a poet, satirist, and translator, poor but proud, and contemptuous of the common herd, seems rather a complimentary portrait of Jonson than a caricature. As to the personages actually ridiculed in “Every Man Out of His Humour,” Carlo Buffone was formerly thought certainly to be Marston, as he was described as “a public, scurrilous, and profane jester,” and elsewhere as the grand scourge or second untruss [that is, satirist], of the time (Joseph Hall being by his own boast the first, and Marston’s work being entitled “The Scourge of Villainy”). Apparently we must now prefer for Carlo a notorious character named Charles Chester, of whom gossipy and inaccurate Aubrey relates that he was “a bold impertinent fellow…a perpetual talker and made a noise like a drum in a room. So one time at a tavern Sir Walter Raleigh beats him and seals up his mouth (that is his upper and nether beard) with hard wax. From him Ben Jonson takes his Carlo Buffone [‘i.e.’, jester] in “Every Man in His Humour” [‘sic’].” Is it conceivable that after all Jonson was ridiculing Marston, and that the point of the satire consisted in an intentional confusion of “the grand scourge or second untruss” with “the scurrilous and profane” Chester?
We have digressed into detail in this particular case to exemplify the difficulties of criticism in its attempts to identify the allusions in these forgotten quarrels. We are on sounder ground of fact in recording other manifestations of Jonson’s enmity. In “The Case is Altered” there is clear ridicule in the character Antonio Balladino of Anthony Munday, pageant-poet of the city, translator of romances and playwright as well. In “Every Man in His Humour” there is certainly a caricature of Samuel Daniel, accepted poet of the court, sonneteer, and companion of men of fashion. These men held recognised positions to which Jonson felt his talents better entitled him; they were hence to him his natural enemies. It seems almost certain that he pursued both in the personages of his satire through “Every Man Out of His Humour,” and “Cynthia’s Revels,” Daniel under the characters Fastidious Brisk and Hedon, Munday as Puntarvolo and Amorphus; but in these last we venture on quagmire once more. Jonson’s literary rivalry of Daniel is traceable again and again, in the entertainments that welcomed King James on his way to London, in the masques at court, and in the pastoral drama. As to Jonson’s personal ambitions with respect to these two men, it is notable that he became, not pageant-poet, but chronologer to the City of London; and that, on the accession of the new king, he came soon to triumph over Daniel as the accepted entertainer of royalty.
“Cynthia’s Revels,” the second “comical satire,” was acted in 1600, and, as a play, is even more lengthy, elaborate, and impossible than “Every Man Out of His Humour.” Here personal satire seems to have absorbed everything, and while much of the caricature is admirable, especially in the detail of witty and trenchantly satirical dialogue, the central idea of a fountain of self-love is not very well carried out, and the persons revert at times to abstractions, the action to allegory. It adds to our wonder that this difficult drama should have been acted by the Children of Queen Elizabeth’s Chapel, among them Nathaniel Field with whom Jonson read Horace and Martial, and whom he taught later how to make plays. Another of these precocious little actors was Salathiel Pavy, who died before he was thirteen, already famed for taking the parts of old men. Him Jonson immortalised in one of the sweetest of his epitaphs. An interesting sidelight is this on the character of this redoubtable and rugged satirist, that he should thus have befriended and tenderly remembered these little theatrical waifs, some of whom (as we know) had been literally kidnapped to be pressed into the service of the theatre and whipped to the conning of their difficult parts. To the caricature of Daniel and Munday in “Cynthia’s Revels” must be added Anaides (impudence), here assuredly Marston, and Asotus (the prodigal), interpreted as Lodge or, more perilously, Raleigh. Crites, like Asper-Macilente in “Every Man Out of His Humour,” is Jonson’s self-complaisant portrait of himself, the just, wholly admirable, and judicious scholar, holding his head high above the pack of the yelping curs of envy and detraction, but careless of their puny attacks on his perfections with only too mindful a neglect.
The third and last of the “comical satires” is “Poetaster,” acted, once more, by the Children of the Chapel in 1601, and Jonson’s only avowed contribution to the fray. According to the author’s own account, this play was written in fifteen weeks on a report that his enemies had entrusted to Dekker the preparation of “Satiromastix, the Untrussing of the Humorous Poet,” a dramatic attack upon himself. In this attempt to forestall his enemies Jonson succeeded, and “Poetaster” was an immediate and deserved success. While hardly more closely knit in structure than its earlier companion pieces, “Poetaster” is planned to lead up to the ludicrous final scene in which, after a device borrowed from the “Lexiphanes” of Lucian, the offending poetaster, Marston-Crispinus, is made to throw up the difficult words with which he had overburdened his stomach as well as overlarded his vocabulary. In the end Crispinus with his fellow, Dekker-Demetrius, is bound over to keep the peace and never thenceforward “malign, traduce, or detract the person or writings of Quintus Horatius Flaccus [Jonson] or any other eminent man transcending you in merit.” One of the most diverting personages in Jonson’s comedy is Captain Tucca. “His peculiarity” has been well described by Ward as “a buoyant blackguardism which recovers itself instantaneously from the most complete exposure, and a picturesqueness of speech like that of a walking dictionary of slang.”
It was this character, Captain Tucca, that Dekker hit upon in his reply, “Satiromastix,” and he amplified him, turning his abusive vocabulary back upon Jonson and adding “an immodesty to his dialogue that did not enter into Jonson’s conception.” It has been held, altogether plausibly, that when Dekker was engaged professionally, so to speak, to write a dramatic reply to Jonson, he was at work on a species of chronicle history, dealing with the story of Walter Terill in the reign of William Rufus. This he hurriedly adapted to include the satirical characters suggested by “Poetaster,” and fashioned to convey the satire of his reply. The absurdity of placing Horace in the court of a Norman king is the result. But Dekker’s play is not without its palpable hits at the arrogance, the literary pride, and self-righteousness of Jonson-Horace, whose “ningle” or pal, the absurd Asinius Bubo, has recently been shown to figure forth, in all likelihood, Jonson’s friend, the poet Drayton. Slight and hastily adapted as is “Satiromastix,” especially in a comparison with the better wrought and more significant satire of “Poetaster,” the town awarded the palm to Dekker, not to Jonson; and Jonson gave over in consequence his practice of “comical satire.” Though Jonson was cited to appear before the Lord Chief Justice to answer certain charges to the effect that he had attacked lawyers and soldiers in “Poetaster,” nothing came of this complaint. It may be suspected that much of this furious clatter and give-and-take was pure playing to the gallery. The town was agog with the strife, and on no less an authority than Shakespeare (“Hamlet,” ii. 2), we learn that the children’s company (acting the plays of Jonson) did “so berattle the common stages…that many, wearing rapiers, are afraid of goose-quills, and dare scarce come thither.”
Several other plays have been thought to bear a greater or less part in the war of the theatres. Among them the most important is a college play, entitled “The Return from Parnassus,” dating 1601-02. In it a much-quoted passage makes Burbage, as a character, declare: “Why here’s our fellow Shakespeare puts them all down; aye and Ben Jonson, too. O that Ben Jonson is a pestilent fellow; he brought up Horace, giving the poets a pill, but our fellow Shakespeare hath given him a purge that made him bewray his credit.” Was Shakespeare then concerned in this war of the stages? And what could have been the nature of this “purge”? Among several suggestions, “Troilus and Cressida” has been thought by some to be the play in which Shakespeare thus “put down” his friend, Jonson. A wiser interpretation finds the “purge” in “Satiromastix,” which, though not written by Shakespeare, was staged by his company, and therefore with his approval and under his direction as one of the leaders of that company.
The last years of the reign of Elizabeth thus saw Jonson recognised as a dramatist second only to Shakespeare, and not second even to him as a dramatic satirist. But Jonson now turned his talents to new fields. Plays on subjects derived from classical story and myth had held the stage from the beginning of the drama, so that Shakespeare was making no new departure when he wrote his “Julius Caesar” about 1600. Therefore when Jonson staged “Sejanus,” three years later and with Shakespeare’s company once more, he was only following in the elder dramatist’s footsteps. But Jonson’s idea of a play on classical history, on the one hand, and Shakespeare’s and the elder popular dramatists, on the other, were very different. Heywood some years before had put five straggling plays on the stage in quick succession, all derived from stories in Ovid and dramatised with little taste or discrimination. Shakespeare had a finer conception of form, but even he was contented to take all his ancient history from North’s translation of Plutarch and dramatise his subject without further inquiry. Jonson was a scholar and a classical antiquarian. He reprobated this slipshod amateurishness, and wrote his “Sejanus” like a scholar, reading Tacitus, Suetonius, and other authorities, to be certain of his facts, his setting, and his atmosphere, and somewhat pedantically noting his authorities in the margin when he came to print. “Sejanus” is a tragedy of genuine dramatic power in which is told with discriminating taste the story of the haughty favourite of Tiberius with his tragical overthrow. Our drama presents no truer nor more painstaking representation of ancient Roman life than may be found in Jonson’s “Sejanus” and “Catiline his Conspiracy,” which followed in 1611. A passage in the address of the former play to the reader, in which Jonson refers to a collaboration in an earlier version, has led to the surmise that Shakespeare may have been that “worthier pen.” There is no evidence to determine the matter.
In 1605, we find Jonson in active collaboration with Chapman and Marston in the admirable comedy of London life entitled “Eastward Hoe.” In the previous year, Marston had dedicated his “Malcontent,” in terms of fervid admiration, to Jonson; so that the wounds of the war of the theatres must have been long since healed. Between Jonson and Chapman there was the kinship of similar scholarly ideals. The two continued friends throughout life. “Eastward Hoe” achieved the extraordinary popularity represented in a demand for three issues in one year. But this was not due entirely to the merits of the play. In its earliest version a passage which an irritable courtier conceived to be derogatory to his nation, the Scots, sent both Chapman and Jonson to jail; but the matter was soon patched up, for by this time Jonson had influence at court.
With the accession of King James, Jonson began his long and successful career as a writer of masques. He wrote more masques than all his competitors together, and they are of an extraordinary variety and poetic excellence. Jonson did not invent the masque; for such premeditated devices to set and frame, so to speak, a court ball had been known and practised in varying degrees of elaboration long before his time. But Jonson gave dramatic value to the masque, especially in his invention of the antimasque, a comedy or farcical element of relief, entrusted to professional players or dancers. He enhanced, as well, the beauty and dignity of those portions of the masque in which noble lords and ladies took their parts to create, by their gorgeous costumes and artistic grouping and evolutions, a sumptuous show. On the mechanical and scenic side Jonson had an inventive and ingenious partner in Inigo Jones, the royal architect, who more than any one man raised the standard of stage representation in the England of his day. Jonson continued active in the service of the court in the writing of masques and other entertainments far into the reign of King Charles; but, towards the end, a quarrel with Jones embittered his life, and the two testy old men appear to have become not only a constant irritation to each other, but intolerable bores at court. In “Hymenaei,” “The Masque of Queens,” “Love Freed from Ignorance,” “Lovers made Men,” “Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue,” and many more will be found Jonson’s aptitude, his taste, his poetry and inventiveness in these by-forms of the drama; while in “The Masque of Christmas,” and “The Gipsies Metamorphosed” especially, is discoverable that power of broad comedy which, at court as well as in the city, was not the least element of Jonson’s contemporary popularity.
But Jonson had by no means given up the popular stage when he turned to the amusement of King James. In 1605 “Volpone” was produced, “The Silent Woman” in 1609, “The Alchemist” in the following year. These comedies, with “Bartholomew Fair,” 1614, represent Jonson at his height, and for constructive cleverness, character successfully conceived in the manner of caricature, wit and brilliancy of dialogue, they stand alone in English drama. “Volpone, or the Fox,” is, in a sense, a transition play from the dramatic satires of the war of the theatres to the purer comedy represented in the plays named above. Its subject is a struggle of wit applied to chicanery; for among its dramatis personae, from the villainous Fox himself, his rascally servant Mosca, Voltore (the vulture), Corbaccio and Corvino (the big and the little raven), to Sir Politic Would-be and the rest, there is scarcely a virtuous character in the play. Question has been raised as to whether a story so forbidding can be considered a comedy, for, although the plot ends in the discomfiture and imprisonment of the most vicious, it involves no mortal catastrophe. But Jonson was on sound historical ground, for “Volpone” is conceived far more logically on the lines of the ancients’ theory of comedy than was ever the romantic drama of Shakespeare, however repulsive we may find a philosophy of life that facilely divides the world into the rogues and their dupes, and, identifying brains with roguery and innocence with folly, admires the former while inconsistently punishing them.
“The Silent Woman” is a gigantic farce of the most ingenious construction. The whole comedy hinges on a huge joke, played by a heartless nephew on his misanthropic uncle, who is induced to take to himself a wife, young, fair, and warranted silent, but who, in the end, turns out neither silent nor a woman at all. In “The Alchemist,” again, we have the utmost cleverness in construction, the whole fabric building climax on climax, witty, ingenious, and so plausibly presented that we forget its departures from the possibilities of life. In “The Alchemist” Jonson represented, none the less to the life, certain sharpers of the metropolis, revelling in their shrewdness and rascality and in the variety of the stupidity and wickedness of their victims. We may object to the fact that the only person in the play possessed of a scruple of honesty is discomfited, and that the greatest scoundrel of all is approved in the end and rewarded. The comedy is so admirably written and contrived, the personages stand out with such lifelike distinctness in their several kinds, and the whole is animated with such verve and resourcefulness that “The Alchemist” is a new marvel every time it is read. Lastly of this group comes the tremendous comedy, “Bartholomew Fair,” less clear cut, less definite, and less structurally worthy of praise than its three predecessors, but full of the keenest and cleverest of satire and inventive to a degree beyond any English comedy save some other of Jonson’s own. It is in “Bartholomew Fair” that we are presented to the immortal caricature of the Puritan, Zeal-in-the-Land Busy, and the Littlewits that group about him, and it is in this extraordinary comedy that the humour of Jonson, always open to this danger, loosens into the Rabelaisian mode that so delighted King James in “The Gipsies Metamorphosed.” Another comedy of less merit is “The Devil is an Ass,” acted in 1616. It was the failure of this play that caused Jonson to give over writing for the public stage for a period of nearly ten years.
“Volpone” was laid as to scene in Venice. Whether because of the success of “Eastward Hoe” or for other reasons, the other three comedies declare in the words of the prologue to “The Alchemist”:
“Our scene is London, ’cause we would make known No country’s mirth is better than our own.”
Indeed Jonson went further when he came to revise his plays for collected publication in his folio of 1616, he transferred the scene of “Every Man in His Humour” from Florence to London also, converting Signior Lorenzo di Pazzi to Old Kno’well, Prospero to Master Welborn, and Hesperida to Dame Kitely “dwelling i’ the Old Jewry.”
In his comedies of London life, despite his trend towards caricature, Jonson has shown himself a genuine realist, drawing from the life about him with an experience and insight rare in any generation. A happy comparison has been suggested between Ben Jonson and Charles Dickens. Both were men of the people, lowly born and hardly bred. Each knew the London of his time as few men knew it; and each represented it intimately and in elaborate detail. Both men were at heart moralists, seeking the truth by the exaggerated methods of humour and caricature; perverse, even wrong-headed at times, but possessed of a true pathos and largeness of heart, and when all has been said — though the Elizabethan ran to satire, the Victorian to sentimentality — leaving the world better for the art that they practised in it.
In 1616, the year of the death of Shakespeare, Jonson collected his plays, his poetry, and his masques for publication in a collective edition. This was an unusual thing at the time and had been attempted by no dramatist before Jonson. This volume published, in a carefully revised text, all the plays thus far mentioned, excepting “The Case is Altered,” which Jonson did not acknowledge, “Bartholomew Fair,” and “The Devil is an Ass,” which was written too late. It included likewise a book of some hundred and thirty odd “Epigrams,” in which form of brief and pungent writing Jonson was an acknowledged master; “The Forest,” a smaller collection of lyric and occasional verse and some ten “Masques” and “Entertainments.” In this same year Jonson was made poet laureate with a pension of one hundred marks a year. This, with his fees and returns from several noblemen, and the small earnings of his plays must have formed the bulk of his income. The poet appears to have done certain literary hack-work for others, as, for example, parts of the Punic Wars contributed to Raleigh’s “History of the World.” We know from a story, little to the credit of either, that Jonson accompanied Raleigh’s son abroad in the capacity of a tutor. In 1618 Jonson was granted the reversion of the office of Master of the Revels, a post for which he was peculiarly fitted; but he did not live to enjoy its perquisites. Jonson was honoured with degrees by both universities, though when and under what circumstances is not known. It has been said that he narrowly escaped the honour of knighthood, which the satirists of the day averred King James was wont to lavish with an indiscriminate hand. Worse men were made knights in his day than worthy Ben Jonson.
From 1616 to the close of the reign of King James, Jonson produced nothing for the stage. But he “prosecuted” what he calls “his wonted studies” with such assiduity that he became in reality, as by report, one of the most learned men of his time. Jonson’s theory of authorship involved a wide acquaintance with books and “an ability,” as he put it, “to convert the substance or riches of another poet to his own use.” Accordingly Jonson read not only the Greek and Latin classics down to the lesser writers, but he acquainted himself especially with the Latin writings of his learned contemporaries, their prose as well as their poetry, their antiquities and curious lore as well as their more solid learning. Though a poor man, Jonson was an indefatigable collector of books. He told Drummond that “the Earl of Pembroke sent him 20 pounds every first day of the new year to buy new books.” Unhappily, in 1623, his library was destroyed by fire, an accident serio-comically described in his witty poem, “An Execration upon Vulcan.” Yet even now a book turns up from time to time in which is inscribed, in fair large Italian lettering, the name, Ben Jonson. With respect to Jonson’s use of his material, Dryden said memorably of him: “[He] was not only a professed imitator of Horace, but a learned plagiary of all the others; you track him everywhere in their snow….But he has done his robberies so openly that one sees he fears not to be taxed by any law. He invades authors like a monarch, and what would be theft in other poets is only victory in him.” And yet it is but fair to say that Jonson prided himself, and justly, on his originality. In “Catiline,” he not only uses Sallust’s account of the conspiracy, but he models some of the speeches of Cicero on the Roman orator’s actual words. In “Poetaster,” he lifts a whole satire out of Horace and dramatises it effectively for his purposes. The sophist Libanius suggests the situation of “The Silent Woman”; a Latin comedy of Giordano Bruno, “Il Candelaio,” the relation of the dupes and the sharpers in “The Alchemist,” the “Mostellaria” of Plautus, its admirable opening scene. But Jonson commonly bettered his sources, and putting the stamp of his sovereignty on whatever bullion he borrowed made it thenceforward to all time current and his own.
The lyric and especially the occasional poetry of Jonson has a peculiar merit. His theory demanded design and the perfection of literary finish. He was furthest from the rhapsodist and the careless singer of an idle day; and he believed that Apollo could only be worthily served in singing robes and laurel crowned. And yet many of Jonson’s lyrics will live as long as the language. Who does not know “Queen and huntress, chaste and fair.” “Drink to me only with thine eyes,” or “Still to be neat, still to be dressed”? Beautiful in form, deft and graceful in expression, with not a word too much or one that bears not its part in the total effect, there is yet about the lyrics of Jonson a certain stiffness and formality, a suspicion that they were not quite spontaneous and unbidden, but that they were carved, so to speak, with disproportionate labour by a potent man of letters whose habitual thought is on greater things. It is for these reasons that Jonson is even better in the epigram and in occasional verse where rhetorical finish and pointed wit less interfere with the spontaneity and emotion which we usually associate with lyrical poetry. There are no such epitaphs as Ben Jonson’s, witness the charming ones on his own children, on Salathiel Pavy, the child-actor, and many more; and this even though the rigid law of mine and thine must now restore to William Browne of Tavistock the famous lines beginning: “Underneath this sable hearse.” Jonson is unsurpassed, too, in the difficult poetry of compliment, seldom falling into fulsome praise and disproportionate similitude, yet showing again and again a generous appreciation of worth in others, a discriminating taste and a generous personal regard. There was no man in England of his rank so well known and universally beloved as Ben Jonson. The list of his friends, of those to whom he had written verses, and those who had written verses to him, includes the name of every man of prominence in the England of King James. And the tone of many of these productions discloses an affectionate familiarity that speaks for the amiable personality and sound worth of the laureate. In 1619, growing unwieldy through inactivity, Jonson hit upon the heroic remedy of a journey afoot to Scotland. On his way thither and back he was hospitably received at the houses of many friends and by those to whom his friends had recommended him. When he arrived in Edinburgh, the burgesses met to grant him the freedom of the city, and Drummond, foremost of Scottish poets, was proud to entertain him for weeks as his guest at Hawthornden. Some of the noblest of Jonson’s poems were inspired by friendship. Such is the fine “Ode to the memory of Sir Lucius Cary and Sir Henry Moryson,” and that admirable piece of critical insight and filial affection, prefixed to the first Shakespeare folio, “To the memory of my beloved master, William Shakespeare, and what he hath left us,” to mention only these. Nor can the earlier “Epode,” beginning “Not to know vice at all,” be matched in stately gravity and gnomic wisdom in its own wise and stately age.
But if Jonson had deserted the stage after the publication of his folio and up to the end of the reign of King James, he was far from inactive; for year after year his inexhaustible inventiveness continued to contribute to the masquing and entertainment at court. In “The Golden Age Restored,” Pallas turns the Iron Age with its attendant evils into statues which sink out of sight; in “Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue,” Atlas figures represented as an old man, his shoulders covered with snow, and Comus, “the god of cheer or the belly,” is one of the characters, a circumstance which an imaginative boy of ten, named John Milton, was not to forget. “Pan’s Anniversary,” late in the reign of James, proclaimed that Jonson had not yet forgotten how to write exquisite lyrics, and “The Gipsies Metamorphosed” displayed the old drollery and broad humorous stroke still unimpaired and unmatchable. These, too, and the earlier years of Charles were the days of the Apollo Room of the Devil Tavern where Jonson presided, the absolute monarch of English literary Bohemia. We hear of a room blazoned about with Jonson’s own judicious “Leges Convivales” in letters of gold, of a company made up of the choicest spirits of the time, devotedly attached to their veteran dictator, his reminiscences, opinions, affections, and enmities. And we hear, too, of valorous potations; but in the words of Herrick addressed to his master, Jonson, at the Devil Tavern, as at the Dog, the Triple Tun, and at the Mermaid,
“We such clusters had
As made us nobly wild, not mad,
And yet each verse of thine
Outdid the meat, outdid the frolic wine.”
But the patronage of the court failed in the days of King Charles, though Jonson was not without royal favours; and the old poet returned to the stage, producing, between 1625 and 1633, “The Staple of News,” “The New Inn,” “The Magnetic Lady,” and “The Tale of a Tub,” the last doubtless revised from a much earlier comedy. None of these plays met with any marked success, although the scathing generalisation of Dryden that designated them “Jonson’s dotages” is unfair to their genuine merits. Thus the idea of an office for the gathering, proper dressing, and promulgation of news (wild flight of the fancy in its time) was an excellent subject for satire on the existing absurdities among newsmongers; although as much can hardly be said for “The Magnetic Lady,” who, in her bounty, draws to her personages of differing humours to reconcile them in the end according to the alternative title, or “Humours Reconciled.” These last plays of the old dramatist revert to caricature and the hard lines of allegory; the moralist is more than ever present, the satire degenerates into personal lampoon, especially of his sometime friend, Inigo Jones, who appears unworthily to have used his influence at court against the broken-down old poet. And now disease claimed Jonson, and he was bedridden for months. He had succeeded Middleton in 1628 as Chronologer to the City of London, but lost the post for not fulfilling its duties. King Charles befriended him, and even commissioned him to write still for the entertainment of the court; and he was not without the sustaining hand of noble patrons and devoted friends among the younger poets who were proud to be “sealed of the tribe of Ben.”
Jonson died, August 6, 1637, and a second folio of his works, which he had been some time gathering, was printed in 1640, bearing in its various parts dates ranging from 1630 to 1642. It included all the plays mentioned in the foregoing paragraphs, excepting “The Case is Altered;” the masques, some fifteen, that date between 1617 and 1630; another collection of lyrics and occasional poetry called “Underwoods”, including some further entertainments; a translation of “Horace’s Art of Poetry” (also published in a vicesimo quarto in 1640), and certain fragments and ingatherings which the poet would hardly have included himself. These last comprise the fragment (less than seventy lines) of a tragedy called “Mortimer his Fall,” and three acts of a pastoral drama of much beauty and poetic spirit, “The Sad Shepherd.” There is also the exceedingly interesting “English Grammar” “made by Ben Jonson for the benefit of all strangers out of his observation of the English language now spoken and in use,” in Latin and English; and “Timber, or Discoveries” “made upon men and matter as they have flowed out of his daily reading, or had their reflux to his peculiar notion of the times.” The “Discoveries,” as it is usually called, is a commonplace book such as many literary men have kept, in which their reading was chronicled, passages that took their fancy translated or transcribed, and their passing opinions noted. Many passages of Jonson’s “Discoveries” are literal translations from the authors he chanced to be reading, with the reference, noted or not, as the accident of the moment prescribed. At times he follows the line of Macchiavelli’s argument as to the nature and conduct of princes; at others he clarifies his own conception of poetry and poets by recourse to Aristotle. He finds a choice paragraph on eloquence in Seneca the elder and applies it to his own recollection of Bacon’s power as an orator; and another on facile and ready genius, and translates it, adapting it to his recollection of his fellow-playwright, Shakespeare. To call such passages — which Jonson never intended for publication — plagiarism, is to obscure the significance of words. To disparage his memory by citing them is a preposterous use of scholarship. Jonson’s prose, both in his dramas, in the descriptive comments of his masques, and in the “Discoveries,” is characterised by clarity and vigorous directness, nor is it wanting in a fine sense of form or in the subtler graces of diction.
When Jonson died there was a project for a handsome monument to his memory. But the Civil War was at hand, and the project failed. A memorial, not insufficient, was carved on the stone covering his grave in one of the aisles of Westminster Abbey:
“O rare Ben Jonson.”
FELIX E. SCHELLING. THE COLLEGE, PHILADELPHIA, U.S.A.
The following is a complete list of his published works: —
Every Man in his Humour, 4to, 1601;
The Case is Altered, 4to, 1609;
Every Man out of his Humour, 4to, 1600;
Cynthia’s Revels, 4to, 1601;
Poetaster, 4to, 1602;
Sejanus, 4to, 1605;
Eastward Ho (with Chapman and Marston), 4to, 1605;
Volpone, 4to, 1607;
Epicoene, or the Silent Woman, 4to, 1609 (?), fol., 1616;
The Alchemist, 4to, 1612;
Catiline, his Conspiracy, 4to, 1611;
Bartholomew Fayre, 4to, 1614 (?), fol., 1631;
The Divell is an Asse, fol., 1631;
The Staple of Newes, fol., 1631;
The New Sun, 8vo, 1631, fol., 1692;
The Magnetic Lady, or Humours Reconcild, fol., 1640;
A Tale of a Tub, fol., 1640;
The Sad Shepherd, or a Tale of Robin Hood, fol., 1641;
Mortimer his Fall (fragment), fol., 1640.
To Jonson have also been attributed additions to Kyd’s Jeronymo, and collaboration in The Widow with Fletcher and Middleton, and in the Bloody Brother with Fletcher.
Epigrams, The Forrest, Underwoods, published in fols., 1616, 1640; Selections: Execration against Vulcan, and Epigrams, 1640; G. Hor. Flaccus his art of Poetry, Englished by Ben Jonson, 1640; Leges Convivialis, fol., 1692. Other minor poems first appeared in Gifford’s edition of Works.
Timber, or Discoveries made upon Men and Matter, fol., 1641; The English Grammar, made by Ben Jonson for the benefit of Strangers, fol., 1640.
Masques and Entertainments were published in the early folios.
Fol., 1616, volume. 2, 1640 (1631-41);
fol., 1692, 1716-19, 1729;
edited by P. Whalley, 7 volumes., 1756;
by Gifford (with Memoir), 9 volumes., 1816, 1846;
re-edited by F. Cunningham, 3 volumes., 1871;
in 9 volumes., 1875;
by Barry Cornwall (with Memoir), 1838;
by B. Nicholson (Mermaid Series), with Introduction by
C. H. Herford, 1893, etc.;
Nine Plays, 1904;
ed. H. C. Hart (Standard Library), 1906, etc;
Plays and Poems, with Introduction by H. Morley (Universal
Plays (7) and Poems (Newnes), 1905;
Poems, with Memoir by H. Bennett (Carlton Classics), 1907;
Masques and Entertainments, ed. by H. Morley, 1890.
J. A. Symonds, with Biographical and Critical Essay,
(Canterbury Poets), 1886;
Grosart, Brave Translunary Things, 1895;
Arber, Jonson Anthology, 1901;
Underwoods, Cambridge University Press, 1905;
Lyrics (Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher), the Chap Books,
No. 4, 1906;
Songs (from Plays, Masques, etc.), with earliest known
setting, Eragny Press, 1906.
See Memoirs affixed to Works;
J. A. Symonds (English Worthies), 1886;
Notes of Ben Jonson Conversations with Drummond of Hawthornden;
Shakespeare Society, 1842;
ed. with Introduction and Notes by P. Sidney, 1906;
Swinburne, A Study of Ben Jonson, 1889.
EVERY MAN OUT OF HIS HUMOUR
TO THE NOBLEST NURSERIES OF HUMANITY AND LIBERTY IN THE KINGDOM THE INNS OF COURT
I UNDERSTAND you, Gentlemen, not your houses: and a worthy succession of you, to all time, as being born the judges of these studies. When I wrote this poem, I had friendship with divers in your societies; who, as they were great names in learning, so they were no less examples of living. Of them, and then, that I say no more, it was not despised. Now that the printer, by a doubled charge, thinks it worthy a longer life than commonly the air of such things doth promise, I am careful to put it a servant to their pleasures, who are the inheritors of the first favour born it. Yet, I command it lie not in the way of your more noble and useful studies to the public: for so I shall suffer for it. But when the gown and cap is off, and the lord of liberty reigns, then, to take it in your hands, perhaps may make some bencher, tincted with humanity, read and not repent him.
By your true honourer,
BEN JONSON. DRAMATIS PERSONAE
ASPER, the Presenter.
PUNTARVOLO, — his Lady. — Waiting Gent. — Huntsman. —
Servingmen. — Dog and Cat.
FASTIDIOUS BRISK, — Cinedo, his Page.
DELIRO, FALLACE, — Fido, their Servant. — Musicians.
SORDIDO. — His Hind.
FUNGOSO. — Tailor, Haberdasher, Shoemaker
SHIFT. — Rustics.
CLOVE, ORANGE. — A Groom. — Drawers. — Constable, and Officers.
GREX. — CORDATUS — MITIS.
THE CHARACTERS OF THE PERSONS
ASPER, he is of an ingenious and free spirit, eager and constant in reproof, without fear controlling the world’s abuses. One whom no servile hope of gain, or frosty apprehension of danger, can make to be a parasite, either to time, place, or opinion.
MACILENTE, a man well parted, a sufficient scholar, and travail’d; who, wanting that place in the world’s account which he thinks his merit capable of, falls into such an envious apoplexy, with which his judgment is so dazzled and distasted, that he grows violently impatient of any opposite happiness in another.
PUNTARVOLO, a vain-glorious knight, over-englishing his travels, and wholly consecrated to singularity; the very Jacob’s staff of compliment; a sir that hath lived to see the revolution of time in most of his apparel. Of presence good enough, but so palpably affected to his own praise, that for want of flatterers he commends himself, to the floutage of his own family. He deals upon returns, and strange performances, resolving, in despite of public derision, to stick to his own fashion, phrase, and gesture.
CARLO BUFFONE, a public, scurrilous, and profane jester, that more swift than Circe, with absurd similes, will transform any person into deformity. A good feast-hound or banquet-beagle, that will scent you out a supper some three miles off, and swear to his patrons, damn him! he came in oars, when he was but wafted over in a sculler. A slave that hath an extraordinary gift in pleasing his palate, and will swill up more sack at a sitting than would make all the guard a posset. His religion is railing, and his discourse ribaldry.
FASTIDIOUS BRISK, a neat, spruce, affecting courtier, one that wears clothes well, and in fashion; practiseth by his glass how to salute; speaks good remnants, notwithstanding the base viol and tobacco; swears tersely and with variety; cares not what lady’s favour he belies, or great man’s familiarity: a good property to perfume the boot of a coach. He will borrow another man’s horse to praise, and backs him as his own. Or, for a need, on foot can post himself into credit with his merchant, only with the gingle of his spur, and the jerk of his wand.
DELIRO, a good doting citizen, who, it is thought, might be of the common-council for his wealth; a fellow sincerely besotted on his own wife, and so wrapt with a conceit of her perfections, that he simply holds himself unworthy of her. And, in that hood-wink’d humour, lives more like a suitor than a husband; standing in as true dread of her displeasure, as when he first made love to her. He doth sacrifice two-pence in juniper to her every morning before she rises, and wakes her with villainous-out-of-tune music, which she out of her contempt (though not out of her judgment) is sure to dislike.
FALLACE, Deliro’s wife, and idol; a proud mincing peat, and as perverse as he is officious. She dotes as perfectly upon the courtier, as her husband doth on her, and only wants the face to be dishonest.
SAVIOLINA, a court-lady, whose weightiest praise is a light wit, admired by herself, and one more, her servant Brisk.
SORDIDO, a wretched hob-nailed chuff, whose recreation is reading of almanacks; and felicity, foul weather. One that never pray’d but for a lean dearth, and ever wept in a fat harvest.
FUNGOSO, the son of Sordido, and a student; one that has revelled in his time, and follows the fashion afar off, like a spy. He makes it the whole bent of his endeavours to wring sufficient means from his wretched father, to put him in the courtiers’ cut; at which he earnestly aims, but so unluckily, that he still lights short a suit.
SOGLIARDO, an essential clown, brother to Sordido, yet so enamoured of the name of a gentleman, that he will have it, though he buys it. He comes up every term to learn to take tobacco, and see new motions. He is in his kingdom when in company where he may be well laughed at.
SHIFT, a thread-bare shark; one that never was a soldier, yet lives upon lendings. His profession is skeldring and odling, his bank Paul’s, and his warehouse Picthatch. Takes up single testons upon oaths, till doomsday. Falls under executions of three shillings, and enters into five-groat bonds. He way-lays the reports of services, and cons them without book, damning himself he came new from them, when all the while he was taking the diet in the bawdy-house, or lay pawned in his chamber for rent and victuals. He is of that admirable and happy memory, that he will salute one for an old acquaintance that he never saw in his life before. He usurps upon cheats, quarrels, and robberies, which he never did, only to get him a name. His chief exercises are, taking the whiff, squiring a cockatrice, and making privy searches for imparters.
CLOVE and ORANGE, an inseparable case of coxcombs, city born; the Gemini, or twins of foppery; that like a pair of wooden foils, are fit for nothing but to be practised upon. Being well flattered they’ll lend money, and repent when they have done. Their glory is to invite players, and make suppers. And in company of better rank, to avoid the suspect of insufficiency, will inforce their ignorance most desperately, to set upon the understanding of any thing. Orange is the most humorous of the two, (whose small portion of juice being squeezed out,) Clove serves to stick him with commendations.
CORDATUS, the author’s friend; a man inly acquainted with the scope and drift of his plot; of a discreet and understanding judgment; and has the place of a moderator.
MITIS, is a person of no action, and therefore we afford him no character.
THE STAGE. After the second sounding.
ENTER CORDATUS, ASPER, AND MITIS.
COR. Nay, my dear Asper.
MIT. Stay your mind.
Who is so patient of this impious world,
That he can check his spirit, or rein his tongue?
Or who hath such a dead unfeeling sense,
That heaven’s horrid thunders cannot wake?
To see the earth crack’d with the weight of sin,
Hell gaping under us, and o’er our heads
Black, ravenous ruin, with her sail-stretch’d wings,
Ready to sink us down, and cover us.
Who can behold such prodigies as these,
And have his lips seal’d up? Not I: my soul
Was never ground into such oily colours,
To flatter vice, and daub iniquity:
But, with an armed and resolved hand,
I’ll strip the ragged follies of the time
Naked as at their birth —
COR. Be not too bold.
ASP. You trouble me — and with a whip of steel,
Print wounding lashes in their iron ribs.
I fear no mood stamp’d in a private brow,
When I am pleased t’unmask a public vice.
I fear no strumpet’s drugs, nor ruffian’s stab,
Should I detect their hateful luxuries:
No broker’s usurer’s, or lawyer’s gripe,
Were I disposed to say, they are all corrupt.
I fear no courtier’s frown, should I applaud
The easy flexure of his supple hams.
Tut, these are so innate and popular,
That drunken custom would not shame to laugh,
In scorn, at him, that should but dare to tax ’em:
And yet, not one of these, but knows his works,
Knows what damnation is, the devil, and hell;
Yet hourly they persist, grow rank in sin,
Puffing their souls away in perjurous air,
To cherish their extortion, pride, or lusts.
MIT. Forbear, good Asper; be not like your name.
ASP. O, but to such whose faces are all zeal,
And, with the words of Hercules, invade
Such crimes as these! that will not smell of sin,
But seem as they were made of sanctity!
Religion in their garments, and their hair
Cut shorter than their eye-brows! when the conscience
Is vaster than the ocean, and devours
More wretches than the counters.
MIT. Gentle Asper,
Contain our spirits in more stricter bounds,
And be not thus transported with the violence
Of your strong thoughts.
COX. Unless your breath had power,
To melt the world, and mould it new again,
It is in vain to spend it in these moods.
ASP. [TURNING TO THE STAGE.]
I not observed this thronged round till now!
Gracious and kind spectators, you are welcome;
Apollo and Muses feast your eyes
With graceful objects, and may our Minerva
Answer your hopes, unto their largest strain!
Yet here mistake me not, judicious friends;
I do not this, to beg your patience,
Or servilely to fawn on your applause,
Like some dry brain, despairing in his merit.
Let me be censured by the austerest brow,
Where I want art or judgment, tax me freely.
Let envious censors, with their broadest eyes,
Look through and through me, I pursue no favour;
Only vouchsafe me your attentions,
And I will give you music worth your ears.
O, how I hate the monstrousness of time,
Where every servile imitating spirit,
Plagued with an itching leprosy of wit,
In a mere halting fury, strives to fling
His ulcerous body in the Thespian spring,
And straight leaps forth a poet! but as lame
As Vulcan, or the founder of Cripplegate.
MIT. In faith this humour will come ill to some,
You will be thought to be too peremptory.
ASP. This humour? good! and why this humour, Mitis?
Nay, do not turn, but answer.
MIT. Answer, what?
ASP. I will not stir your patience, pardon me,
I urged it for some reasons, and the rather
To give these ignorant well-spoken days
Some taste of their abuse of this word humour.
COR. O, do not let your purpose fall, good Asper;
It cannot but arrive most acceptable,
Chiefly to such as have the happiness
Daily to see how the poor innocent word
Is rack’d and tortured.
MIT. Ay, I pray you proceed.
ASP. Ha, what? what is’t?
COR. For the abuse of humour.
ASP. O, I crave pardon, I had lost my thoughts.
Why humour, as ’tis ‘ens’, we thus define it,
To be a quality of air, or water,
And in itself holds these two properties,
Moisture and fluxure: as, for demonstration,
Pour water on this floor, ’twill wet and run:
Likewise the air, forced through a horn or trumpet,
Flows instantly away, and leaves behind
A kind of dew; and hence we do conclude,
That whatsoe’er hath fluxure and humidity,
As wanting power to contain itself,
Is humour. So in every human body,
The choler, melancholy, phlegm, and blood,
By reason that they flow continually
In some one part, and are not continent,
Receive the name of humours. Now thus far
It may, by metaphor, apply itself
Unto the general disposition:
As when some one peculiar quality
Doth so possess a man, that it doth draw
All his affects, his spirits, and his powers,
In their confluctions, all to run one way,
This may be truly said to be a humour
But that a rook, by wearing a pyed feather,
The cable hat-band, or the three-piled ruff,
A yard of shoe-tye, or the Switzer’s knot
On his French garters, should affect a humour!
O, it is more than most ridiculous.
COR. He speaks pure truth; now if an idiot
Have but an apish or fantastic strain,
It is his humour.
ASP. Well, I will scourge those apes,
And to these courteous eyes oppose a mirror,
As large as is the stage whereon we act;
Where they shall see the time’s deformity
Anatomised in every nerve, and sinew,
With constant courage, and contempt of fear.
MIT. Asper, (I urge it as your friend,) take heed,
The days are dangerous, full of exception,
And men are grown impatient of reproof.
ASP. Ha, ha!
You might as well have told me, yond’ is heaven,
This earth, these men, and all had moved alike. —
Do not I know the time’s condition?
Yes, Mitis, and their souls; and who they be
That either will or can except against me.
None but a sort of fools, so sick in taste,
That they contemn all physic of the mind,
And like gall’d camels, kick at every touch.
Good men, and virtuous spirits, that loath their vices,
Will cherish my free labours, love my lines,
And with the fervour of their shining grace
Make my brain fruitful, to bring forth more objects,
Worthy their serious and intentive eyes.
But why enforce I this? as fainting? no.
If any here chance to behold himself,
Let him not dare to challenge me of wrong;
For, if he shame to have his follies known,
First he should shame to act ’em: my strict hand
Was made to seize on vice, and with a gripe
Squeeze out the humour of such spongy souls,
As lick up every idle vanity.
COR. Why, this is right furor poeticus!
Kind gentlemen, we hope your patience
Will yet conceive the best, or entertain
This supposition, that a madman speaks.
ASP. What, are you ready there? Mitis, sit down,
And my Cordatus. Sound ho! and begin.
I leave you two, as censors, to sit here:
Observe what I present, and liberally
Speak your opinions upon every scene,
As it shall pass the view of these spectators.
Nay, now y’are tedious, sirs; for shame begin.
And, Mitis, note me; if in all this front
You can espy a gallant of this mark,
Who, to be thought one of the judicious,
Sits with his arms thus wreath’d, his hat pull’d here,
Cries mew, and nods, then shakes his empty head,
Will shew more several motions in his face
Than the new London, Rome, or Niniveh,
And, now and then, breaks a dry biscuit jest,
Which, that it may more easily be chew’d,
He steeps in his own laughter.
COR. Why, will that
Make it be sooner swallowed?
ASP. O, assure you.
Or if it did not, yet as Horace sings,
Mean cates are welcome still to hungry guests.
COR. ‘Tis true; but why should we observe them, Asper?
ASP. O, I would know ’em; for in such assemblies
They are more infectious than the pestilence:
And therefore I would give them pills to purge,
And make them fit for fair societies.
How monstrous and detested is’t to see
A fellow that has neither art nor brain,
Sit like an Aristarchus, or start ass,
Taking men’s lines with a tobacco face,
In snuff still spitting, using his wry’d looks,
In nature of a vice, to wrest and turn
The good aspect of those that shall sit near him,
From what they do behold! O, ’tis most vile.
MIT. Nay, Asper.
ASP. Peace, Mitis, I do know your thought;
You’ll say, your guests here will except at this:
Pish! you are too timorous, and full of doubt.
Then he, a patient, shall reject all physic,
‘Cause the physician tells him, you are sick:
Or, if I say, that he is vicious,
You will not hear of virtue. Come, you are fond.
Shall I be so extravagant, to think,
That happy judgments, and composed spirits,
Will challenge me for taxing such as these?
I am ashamed.
COR. Nay, but good, pardon us;
We must not bear this peremptory sail,
But use our best endeavours how to please.
ASP. Why, therein I commend your careful thoughts,
And I will mix with you in industry
To please: but whom? attentive auditors,
Such as will join their profit with their pleasure,
And come to feed their understanding parts:
For these I’ll prodigally spread myself,
And speak away my spirit into air;
For these, I’ll melt my brain into invention,
Coin new conceits, and hang my richest words
As polish’d jewels in their bounteous ears?
But stay, I lose myself, and wrong their patience:
If I dwell here, they’ll not begin, I see.
Friends, sit you still, and entertain this troop
With some familiar and by-conference,
I’ll hast them sound. Now, gentlemen, I go
To turn an actor, and a humorist,
Where, ere I do resume my present person,
We hope to make the circles of your eyes
Flow with distilled laughter: if we fail,
We must impute it to this only chance,
Art hath an enemy call’d ignorance.
COR. How do you like his spirit, Mitis?
MIT. I should like it much better, if he were less confident.
COR. Why, do you suspect his merit?
MIT. No; but I fear this will procure him much envy.
COR. O, that sets the stronger seal on his desert: if he had no enemies,
I should esteem his fortunes most wretched at this instant.
MIT. You have seen his play, Cordatus: pray you, how is it?
COR. Faith, sir, I must refrain to judge; only this I can say of it, ’tis
strange, and of a particular kind by itself, somewhat like ‘Vetus
Comoedia’; a work that hath bounteously pleased me; how it will answer the
general expectation, I know not.
MIT. Does he observe all the laws of comedy in it?
COR. What laws mean you?
MIT. Why, the equal division of it into acts and scenes, according to the
Terentian manner; his true number of actors; the furnishing of the scene
with Grex or Chorus, and that the whole argument fall within compass of a
COR. O no, these are too nice observations.
MIT. They are such as must be received, by your favour, or it cannot be
COR. Troth, I can discern no such necessity.
COR. No, I assure you, signior. If those laws you speak of had been
delivered us ‘ab initio’, and in their present virtue and perfection, there
had been some reason of obeying their powers; but ’tis extant, that that
which we call ‘Comoedia’, was at first nothing but a simple and continued
song, sung by one only person, till Susario invented a second; after him,
Epicharmus a third; Phormus and Chionides devised to have four actors, with
a prologue and chorus; to which Cratinus, long after, added a fifth and
sixth: Eupolis, more; Aristophanes, more than they; every man in the
dignity of his spirit and judgment supplied something. And, though that in
him this kind of poem appeared absolute, and fully perfect, yet how is the
face of it changed since, in Menander, Philemon, Cecilius, Plautus, and the
rest! who have utterly excluded the chorus, altered the property of the
persons, their names, and natures, and augmented it with all liberty,
according to the elegancy and disposition of those times wherein they
wrote. I see not then, but we should enjoy the same license, or free power
to illustrate and heighten our invention, as they did; and not be tied to
those strict and regular forms which the niceness of a few, who are nothing
but form, would thrust upon us.
MIT. Well, we will not dispute of this now; but what’s his scene?
COR. Marry, ‘Insula Fortunata’, sir.
MIT. O, the Fortunate Island: mass, he has bound himself to a strict law
COR. Why so?
MIT. He cannot lightly alter the scene, without crossing the seas.
COR. He needs not, having a whole island to run through, I think.
MIT. No! how comes it then, that in some one play we see so many seas,
countries, and kingdoms, passed over with such admirable dexterity?
COR. O, that but shews how well the authors can travel in their vocation,
and outrun the apprehension of their auditory. But, leaving this, I would
they would begin at once: this protraction is able to sour the
best-settled patience in the theatre.
[THE THIRD SOUNDING.
MIT. They have answered your wish, sir; they sound.
COR. O, here comes the Prologue.
Now, sir, if you had staid a little longer, I meant to have spoke your
prologue for you i’faith.
PROL. Marry, with all my heart, sir, you shall do it yet, and I thank you.
COR. Nay, nay, stay, stay; hear you?
PROL. You could not have studied to have done me a greater benefit at the
instant; for I protest to you, I am unperfect, and, had I spoke it, I must
of necessity have been out.
COR. Why, but do you speak this seriously?
PROL. Seriously! ay, wit’s my help, do I; and esteem myself indebted to
your kindness for it.
COR. For what?
PROL. Why, for undertaking the prologue for me.
COR. How! did I undertake it for you?
PROL. Did you! I appeal to all these gentlemen, whether you did or no.
Come, come, it pleases you to cast a strange look on’t now; but ’twill not
COR. ‘Fore me, but it must serve; and therefore speak your prologue.
PROL. An I do, let me die poisoned with some venomous hiss, and never live
to look as high as the two-penny room again.
MIT. He has put you to it, sir.
COR. ‘Sdeath, what a humorous fellow is this! Gentlemen, good faith I can
speak no prologue, howsoever his weak wit has had the fortune to make this
strong use of me here before you: but I protest —
[ENTER CARLO BUFFONE, FOLLOWED BY A BOY WITH WINE.
CAR. Come, come, leave these fustian protestations; away, come, I cannot
abide these grey-headed ceremonies. Boy, fetch me a glass quickly, I may
bid these gentlemen welcome; give them a health here. [EXIT BOY.] I
mar’le whose wit it was to put a prologue in yond’ sackbut’s mouth; they
might well think he’d be out of tune, and yet you’d play upon him too.
COR. Hang him, dull block!
CAR. O, good words, good words; a well-timber’d fellow, he would have made
a good column, an he had been thought on, when the house was a building —
[RE-ENTER BOY WITH GLASSES..
O, art thou come? Well said; give me, boy; fill so! Here’s a cup of wine
sparkles like a diamond. Gentlewomen (I am sworn to put them in first) and
gentlemen, around, in place of a bad prologue, I drink this good draught to
your health here, Canary, the very elixir and spirit of wine. [DRINKS.]
This is that our poet calls Castalian liquor, when he comes abroad now and
then, once in a fortnight, and makes a good meal among players, where he
has ‘caninum appetitum’; marry, at home he keeps a good philosophical diet,
beans and butter-milk; an honest pure rogue, he will take you off three,
four, five of these, one after another, and look villainously when he has
done, like a one-headed Cerberus. — He does not hear me, I hope. — And
then, when his belly is well ballaced, and his brain rigged a little, he
snails away withal, as though he would work wonders when he comes home. He
has made a play here, and he calls it, ‘Every Man out of his Humour’: but
an he get me out of the humour he has put me in, I’ll trust none of his
tribe again while I live. Gentles, all I can say for him is, you are
welcome. I could wish my bottle here amongst you; but there’s an old rule,
No pledging your own health. Marry, if any here be thirsty for it, their
best way (that I know) is, sit still, seal up their lips, and drink so much
of the play in at their ears.
MIT. What may this fellow be, Cordatus?
COR. Faith, if the time will suffer his description, I’ll give it you. He
is one, the author calls him Carlo Buffone, an impudent common jester, a
violent railer, and an incomprehensible epicure; one whose company is
desired of all men, but beloved of none; he will sooner lose his soul than
a jest, and profane even the most holy things, to excite laughter: no
honourable or reverend personage whatsoever can come within the reach of
his eye, but is turned into all manner of variety, by his adulterate
MIT. You paint forth a monster.
COR. He will prefer all countries before his native, and thinks he can
never sufficiently, or with admiration enough, deliver his affectionate
conceit of foreign atheistical policies. But stay —
Observe these: he’ll appear himself anon.
MIT. O, this is your envious man, Macilente, I think.
COR. The same, sir.
SCENE I. — The Country.
ENTER MACILENTE, WITH A BOOK.
MACI. “Viri est, fortunae caecitatem facile ferre.”
‘Tis true; but, Stoic, where, in the vast world,
Doth that man breathe, that can so much command
His blood and his affection? Well, I see
I strive in vain to cure my wounded soul;
For every cordial that my thoughts apply
Turns to a corsive and doth eat it farther.
There is no taste in this philosophy;
‘Tis like a potion that a man should drink,
But turns his stomach with the sight of it.
I am no such pill’d Cynick to believe,
That beggary is the only happiness;
Or with a number of these patient fools,
To sing: “My mind to me a kingdom is,”
When the lank hungry belly barks for food,
I look into the world, and there I meet
With objects, that do strike my blood-shot eyes
Into my brain: where, when I view myself,
Having before observ’d this man is great,
Mighty and fear’d; that lov’d and highly favour’d:
A third thought wise and learn’d; a fourth rich,
And therefore honour’d; a fifth rarely featur’d;
A sixth admired for his nuptial fortunes:
When I see these, I say, and view myself,
I wish the organs of my sight were crack’d;
And that the engine of my grief could cast
Mine eyeballs, like two globes of wildfire, forth,
To melt this unproportion’d frame of nature.
Oh, they are thoughts that have transfix’d my heart,
And often, in the strength of apprehension,
Made my cold passion stand upon my face,
Like drops of dew on a stiff cake of ice.
COR. This alludes well to that of the poet,
“Invidus suspirat, gemit, incutitque dentes,
Sudat frigidus, intuens quod odit.”
MIT. O, peace, you break the scene.
[ENTER SOGLIARDO AND CARLO BUFFONE.
MACI. Soft, who be these?
I’ll lay me down awhile till they be past.
CAR. Signior, note this gallant, I pray you.
MIT. What is he?
CAR. A tame rook, you’ll take him presently; list.
SOG. Nay, look you, Carlo; this is my humour now! I have land and money,
my friends left me well, and I will be a gentleman whatsoever it cost me.
CAR. A most gentlemanlike resolution.
SOG. Tut! an I take an humour of a thing once, I am like your tailor’s
needle, I go through: but, for my name, signior, how think you? will it
not serve for a gentleman’s name, when the signior is put to it, ha?
CAR. Let me hear; how is it?
SOG. Signior Insulso Sogliardo: methinks it sounds well.
CAR. O excellent! tut! an all fitted to your name, you might very well
stand for a gentleman: I know many Sogliardos gentlemen.
SOG. Why, and for my wealth I might be a justice of peace.
CAR. Ay, and a constable for your wit.
SOG. All this is my lordship you see here, and those farms you came by.
CAR. Good steps to gentility too, marry: but, Sogliardo, if you affect to
be a gentleman indeed, you must observe all the rare qualities, humours,
and compliments of a gentleman.
SOG. I know it, signior, and if you please to instruct, I am not too good
to learn, I’ll assure you.
CAR. Enough, sir. — I’ll make admirable use in the projection of my
medicine upon this lump of copper here. [ASIDE] — I’ll bethink me for
SOG. Signior, I will both pay you, and pray you, and thank you, and think
COR. Is this not purely good?
MACI. S’blood, why should such a prick-ear’d hind as this
Be rich, ha? a fool! such a transparent gull
That may be seen through! wherefore should he have land,
Houses, and lordships? O, I could eat my entrails,
And sink my soul into the earth with sorrow.
CAR. First, to be an accomplished gentleman, that is, a gentleman of the
time, you must give over housekeeping in the country, and live altogether
in the city amongst gallants: where, at your first appearance, ’twere good
you turn’d four or five hundred acres of your best land into two or three
trunks of apparel — you may do it without going to a conjurer — and be
sure you mix yourself still with such as flourish in the spring of the
fashion, and are least popular; study their carriage and behaviour in all;
learn to play at primero and passage, and ever (when you lose) have two or
three peculiar oaths to swear by, that no man else swears: but, above all,
protest in your play, and affirm, “Upon your credit, As you are a true
gentleman”, at every cast; you may do it with a safe conscience, I warrant you.
SOG. O admirable rare! he cannot choose but be a gentleman that has these
excellent gifts: more, more, I beseech you.
CAR. You must endeavour to feed cleanly at your ordinary, sit melancholy,
and pick your teeth when you cannot speak: and
when you come to plays, be humorous, look with a good starch’d face, and
ruffle your brow like a new boot, laugh at nothing but your own jests, or
else as the noblemen laugh. That’s a special grace you must observe.
SAG. I warrant you, sir.
CAR. Ay, and sit on the stage and flout, provided you have a good suit.
SOG. O, I’ll have a suit only for that, sir.
CAR. You must talk much of your kindred and allies.
SOG. Lies! no, signior, I shall not need to do so, I have kindred in the
city to talk of: I have a niece is a merchant’s wife; and a nephew, my
brother Sordido’s son, of the Inns of court.
CAR. O, but you must pretend alliance with courtiers and great persons:
and ever when you are to dine or sup in any strange presence, hire a fellow
with a great chain, (though it be copper, it’s no matter,) to bring you
letters, feign’d from such a nobleman, or such a knight, or such a lady,
“To their worshipful, right rare, and nobly qualified friend and kinsman,
signior Insulso Sogliardo”: give yourself style enough. And there, while
you intend circumstances of news, or enquiry of their health, or so, one of
your familiars whom you must carry about you still, breaks it up, as ’twere
in a jest, and reads it publicly at the table: at which you must seem to
take as unpardonable offence, as if he had torn your mistress’s colours, or
breath’d upon her picture, and pursue it with that hot grace, as if you
would advance a challenge upon it presently.
SOG. Stay, I do not like that humour of challenge, it may be accepted; but
I’ll tell you what’s my humour now, I will do this: I will take occasion
of sending one of my suits to the tailor’s, to have the pocket repaired, or
so; and there such a letter as you talk of, broke open and all shall be
left; O, the tailor will presently give out what I am, upon the reading of
it, worth twenty of your gallants.
CAR. But then you must put on an extreme face of discontentment at your
SOG. O, so I will, and beat him too: I’ll have a man for the purpose.
MAC. You may; you have land and crowns: O partial fate!
CAR. Mass, well remember’d, you must keep your men gallant at the first,
fine pied liveries laid with good gold lace; there’s no loss in it, they
may rip it off and pawn it when they lack victuals.
SOG. By ‘r Lady, that is chargeable, signior, ’twill bring a man in debt.
CAR. Debt! why that’s the more for your credit, sir: it’s an excellent
policy to owe much in these days, if you note it.
SOG. As how, good signior? I would fain be a politician.
CAR. O! look where you are indebted any great sum, your creditor observes
you with no less regard, than if he were bound to you for some huge
benefit, and will quake to give you the least cause of offence, lest he
lose his money. I assure you, in these
times, no man has his servant more obsequious and pliant, than gentlemen
their creditors: to whom, if at any time you pay but a moiety, or a fourth
part, it comes more acceptably than if you gave them a new-year’s gift.
SOG. I perceive you, sir: I will take up, and bring myself in credit, sure.
CAR. Marry this, always beware you commerce not with bankrupts, or poor
needy Ludgathians; they are impudent creatures, turbulent spirits, they
care not what violent tragedies they stir, nor how they play fast and loose
with a poor gentleman’s fortunes, to get their own. Marry, these rich
fellows that have the world, or the better part of it, sleeping in their
counting-houses, they are ten times more placable, they; either fear, hope,
or modesty, restrains them from offering any outrages: but this is nothing
to your followers, you shall not run a penny more in arrearage for them, an
you list, yourself.
SOG. No! how should I keep ’em then?
CAR. Keep ’em! ‘sblood, let them keep themselves, they are no sheep, are
they? what, you shall come in houses, where plate, apparel, jewels, and
divers other pretty commodities lie negligently scattered, and I would have
those Mercuries follow me, I trow, should remember they had not their
fingers for nothing.
SOG. That’s not so good, methinks.
CAR. Why, after you have kept them a fortnight, or so, and shew’d them
enough to the world, you may turn them away, and keep no more but a boy,
SOG. Nay, my humour is not for boys, I’ll keep men, an I keep any; and
I’ll give coats, that’s my humour: but I lack a cullisen.
CAR. Why, now you ride to the city, you may buy one; I’ll bring you where
you shall have your choice for money.
SOG. Can you, sir?
CAR. O, ay: you shall have one take measure of you, and make you a coat
of arms to fit you, of what fashion you will.
SOG. By word of mouth, I thank you, signior; I’ll be once a little
prodigal in a humour, i’faith, and have a most prodigious coat.
MAC. Torment and death! break head and brain at once,
To be deliver’d of your fighting issue.
Who can endure to see blind Fortune dote thus?
To be enamour’d on this dusty turf,
This clod, a whoreson puck-fist! O G——!
I could run wild with grief now, to behold
The rankness of her bounties, that doth breed
Such bulrushes; these mushroom gentlemen,
That shoot up in a night to place and worship.
CAR. [SEEING MACILENTE.] Let him alone; some stray, some stray.
SOG. Nay, I will examine him before I go, sure.
CAR. The lord of the soil has all wefts and strays here, has he not?
SOG. Yes, sir.
CAR. Faith then I pity the poor fellow, he’s fallen into a fool’s hands.
SOG. Sirrah, who gave you a commission to lie in my lordship?
MAC. Your lordship!
SOG. How! my lordship? do you know me, sir?
MAC. I do know you, sir.
CAR. He answers him like an echo.
SOG. Why, Who am I, sir?
MAC. One of those that fortune favours.
CAR. The periphrasis of a fool. I’ll observe this better.
SOG. That fortune favours! how mean you that, friend?
MAC. I mean simply: that you are one that lives not by your wits.
SOG. By my wits! no sir, I scorn to live by my wits, I. I have better
means, I tell thee, than to take such base courses, as to live by my wits.
What, dost thou think I live by my wits?
MAC. Methinks, jester, you should not relish this well.
CAR. Ha! does he know me?
MAC. Though yours be the worst use a man can put his wit to, of thousands,
to prostitute it at every tavern and ordinary; yet, methinks, you should
have turn’d your broadside at this, and have been ready with an apology,
able to sink this hulk of ignorance into the bottom and depth of his
CAR. Oh, ’tis Macilente! Signior, you are well encountered; how is it?
O, we must not regard what he says, man, a trout, a shallow fool, he has no
more brain than a butterfly, a mere stuft suit; he looks like a musty
bottle new wicker’d, his head’s the cork, light, light! [ASIDE TO
MACILENTE.] — I am glad to see you so well return’d, signior.
MAC. You are! gramercy, good Janus.
SOG. Is he one of your acquaintance? I love him the better for that.
CAR. Od’s precious, come away, man, what do you mean? an you knew him as
I do, you’d shun him as you would do the plague.
SOG. Why, sir?
CAR. O, he’s a black fellow, take heed of him.
SOG. Is he a scholar, or a soldier?
CAR. Both, both; a lean mongrel, he looks as if he were chop-fallen, with
barking at other men’s good fortunes: ‘ware how you offend him; he carries
oil and fire in his pen, will scald where it drops: his spirit is like
powder, quick, violent; he’ll blow a man up with a jest: I fear him worse
than a rotten wall does the cannon; shake an hour after at the report.
Away, come not near him.
SOG. For God’s sake let’s be gone; an he be a scholar, you know I cannot
abide him; I had as lieve see a cockatrice, specially as cockatrices go now.
CAR. What, you’ll stay, signior? this gentleman Sogliardo, and I, are to
visit the knight Puntarvolo, and from thence to the city; we shall meet there.
[EXIT WITH SOGLIARDO.
MAC. Ay, when I cannot shun you, we will meet.
‘Tis strange! of all the creatures I have seen,
I envy not this Buffone, for indeed
Neither his fortunes nor his parts deserve it:
But I do hate him, as I hate the devil,
Or that brass-visaged monster Barbarism.
O, ’tis an open-throated, black-mouth’d cur,
That bites at all, but eats on those that feed him.
A slave, that to your face will, serpent-like,
Creep on the ground, as he would eat the dust,
And to your back will turn the tail, and sting
More deadly than the scorpion: stay, who’s this?
Now, for my soul, another minion
Of the old lady Chance’s! I’ll observe him.
[ENTER SORDIDO WITH AN ALMANACK IN HIS HAND.
SORD. O rare! good, good, good, good, good!
I thank my stars, I thank my stars for it.
MAC. Said I not true? doth not his passion speak
Out of my divination? O my senses,
Why lost you not your powers, and become
Dull’d, if not deaded, with this spectacle?
I know him, it is Sordido, the farmer,
A boor, and brother to that swine was here.
SORD. Excellent, excellent, excellent! as I would wish, as I would wish.
MAC. See how the strumpet fortune tickles him,
And makes him swoon with laughter, O, O, O!
SORD. Ha, ha, ha! I will not sow my grounds this year. Let me see, what
harvest shall we have? “June, July?”
MAC. What, is’t a prognostication raps him so?
SORD. “The 20, 21, 22 days, rain and wind.” O good, good! “the 23, and
24, rain and some wind,” good! “the 25, rain,” good still! “26, 27, 28,
wind and some rain”; would it had been rain and some wind! well, ’tis
good, when it can be no better. “29, inclining to rain”: inclining to
rain! that’s not so good now: “30, and 31, wind and no rain”: no rain!
‘slid, stay: this is worse and worse: What says he of St. Swithin’s?
turn back, look, “saint Swithin’s: no rain!”
MAC. O, here’s a precious, dirty, damned rogue,
That fats himself with expectation
Of rotten weather, and unseason’d hours;
And he is rich for it, an elder brother!
His barns are full, his ricks and mows well trod,
His garners crack with store! O, ’tis well; ha, ha, ha!
A plague consume thee, and thy house!
SORD. O here, “St. Swithin’s, the 15 day, variable weather, for the most
part rain”, good! “for the most part rain”: why, it should rain forty
days after, now, more or less, it was a rule held, afore I was able to hold
a plough, and yet here are two days no rain; ha! it makes me muse. We’ll
see how the next month begins, if that be better. “August 1, 2, 3, and 4,
days, rainy and blustering:” this is well now: “5, 6, 7, 8, and 9, rainy,
with some thunder;” Ay marry, this is excellent; the other was false
printed sure: “the 10 and 11, great store of rain”; O good, good, good,
good, good! “the 12, 13, and 14 days, rain”; good still: “15, and 16,
rain”; good still: “17 and 18, rain”, good still: “19 and 20”, good
still, good still, good still, good still, good still! “21, some rain”;
some rain! well, we must be patient, and attend the heaven’s pleasure,
would it were more though: “the 22, 23, great tempests of rain, thunder
O good again, past expectation good!
I thank my blessed angel; never, never
Laid I [a] penny better out than this,
To purchase this dear book: not dear for price,
And yet of me as dearly prized as life,
Since in it is contain’d the very life,
Blood, strength, and sinews, of my happiness.
Blest be the hour wherein I bought this book;
His studies happy that composed the book,
And the man fortunate that sold the book!
Sleep with this charm, and be as true to me,
As I am joy’d and confident in thee
[PUTS IT UP.
[ENTER A HIND, AND GIVES SORDIDO A PAPER TO READ.
MAC. Ha, ha, ha!
Is not this good? Is not pleasing this?
Ha, ha, ha! God pardon me! ha, ha!
Is’t possible that such a spacious villain
Should live, and not be plagued? or lies be hid
Within the wrinkled bosom of the world,
Where Heaven cannot see him? S’blood! methinks
‘Tis rare, and strange, that he should breathe and walk,
Feed with digestion, sleep, enjoy his health,
And, like a boisterous whale swallowing the poor,
Still swim in wealth and pleasure! is’t not strange?
Unless his house and skin were thunder proof,
I wonder at it! Methinks, now, the hectic,
Gout, leprosy, or some such loath’d disease,
Might light upon him; of that fire from heaven
Might fall upon his barns; or mice and rats
Eat up his grain; or else that it might rot
Within the hoary ricks, even as it stands:
Methinks this might be well; and after all
The devil might come and fetch him. Ay, ’tis true!
Meantime he surfeits in prosperity,
And thou, in envy of him, gnaw’st thyself:
Peace, fool, get hence, and tell thy vexed spirit,
Wealth in this age will scarcely look on merit.
[RISES AND EXIT.
SORD. Who brought this same, sirrah?
HIND. Marry, sir, one of the justice’s men; he says ’tis a precept, and
all their hands be at it.
SORD. Ay, and the prints of them stick in my flesh,
Deeper than in their letters: they have sent me
Pills wrapt in paper here, that, should I take them,
Would poison all the sweetness of my book,
And turn my honey into hemlock juice.
But I am wiser than to serve their precepts,
Or follow their prescriptions. Here’s a device,
To charge me bring my grain unto the markets:
Ay, much! when I have neither barn nor garner,
Nor earth to hid it in, I’ll bring ‘t; till then,
Each corn I send shall be as big as Paul’s.
O, but (say some) the poor are like to starve.
Why, let ’em starve, what’s that to me? are bees
Bound to keep life in drones and idle moths? no:
Why such are these that term themselves the poor,
Only because they would be pitied,
But are indeed a sort of lazy beggars,
Licentious rogues, and sturdy vagabonds,
Bred by the sloth of a fat plenteous year,
Like snakes in heat of summer, out of dung;
And this is all that these cheap times are good for:
Whereas a wholesome and penurious dearth
Purges the soil of such vile excrements,
And kills the vipers up.
HIND. O, but master,
Take heed they hear you not.
SORD. Why so?
HIND. They will exclaim against you.
SORD. Ay, their exclaims
Move me as much, as thy breath moves a mountain.
Poor worms, they hiss at me, whilst I at home
Can be contented to applaud myself,
To sit and clap my hands, and laugh, and leap,
Knocking my head against my roof, with joy
To see how plump my bags are, and my barns.
Sirrah, go hie you home, and bid your fellows
Get all their flails ready again I come.
HIND. I will, sir.
SORD. I’ll instantly set all my hinds to thrashing
Of a whole rick of corn, which I will hide
Under the ground; and with the straw thereof
I’ll stuff the outsides of my other mows:
That done, I’ll have them empty all my garners,
And in the friendly earth bury my store,
That, when the searchers come, they may suppose
All’s spent, and that my fortunes were belied.
And to lend more opinion to my want,
And stop that many-mouthed vulgar dog,
Which else would still be baying at my door,
Each market-day I will be seen to buy
Part of the purest wheat, as for my household;
Where when it comes, it shall increase my heaps:
‘Twill yield me treble gain at this dear time,
Promised in this dear book: I have cast all.
Till then I will not sell an ear, I’ll hang first.
O, I shall make my prices as I list;
My house and I can feed on peas and barley.
What though a world of wretches starve the while;
He that will thrive must think no courses vile.
COR. Now, signior, how approve you this? have the humourists exprest
themselves truly or no?
MIT. Yes, if it be well prosecuted, ’tis hitherto happy enough: but
methinks Macilente went hence too soon; he might have been made to stay,
and speak somewhat in reproof of Sordido’s wretchedness now at the last.
COR. O, no, that had been extremely improper; besides, he had continued
the scene too long with him, as ’twas, being in no more action.
MIT. You may inforce the length as a necessary reason; but for propriety,
the scene wou’d very well have borne it, in my judgment.
COR. O, worst of both; why, you mistake his humour utterly then.
MIT. How do I mistake it? Is it not envy?
COR. Yes, but you must understand, signior, he envies him not as he is a
villain, a wolf in the commonwealth, but as he is rich and fortunate; for
the true condition of envy is, ‘dolor alienae felicitatis’, to have our
eyes continually fixed upon another man’s prosperity that is, his chief
happiness, and to grieve at that. Whereas, if we make his monstrous and
abhorr’d actions our object, the grief we take then comes nearer the nature
of hate than envy, as being bred out of a kind of contempt and loathing in
MIT. So you’ll infer it had been hate, not envy in him, to reprehend the
humour of Sordido?
COR. Right, for what a man truly envies in another, he could always love
and cherish in himself; but no man truly reprehends in another, what he
loves in himself; therefore reprehension is out of his hate. And this
distinction hath he himself made in a speech there, if you marked it, where
he says, “I envy not this Buffone, but I hate him.” Why might he not as
well have hated Sordido as him?
COR. No, sir, there was subject for his envy in Sordido, his wealth: so
was there not in the other. He stood possest of no one eminent gift, but a
most odious and fiend-like disposition, that would turn charity itself into
hate, much more envy, for the present.
MIT. You have satisfied me, sir. O, here comes the fool, and the jester
COR. ‘Twere pity they should be parted, sir.
MIT. What bright-shining gallant’s that with them? the knight they went to?
COR. No, sir, this is one monsieur Fastidious Brisk, otherwise called the
fresh Frenchified courtier.
MIT. A humourist too?
COR. As humorous as quicksilver; do but observe him; the scene is the
country still, remember.
SCENE I. — THE COUNTRY; BEFORE PUNTARVOLO’S HOUSE.
ENTER FASTIDIOUS BRISK, CINEDO, CARLO BUFFONE, AND SOGLIARDO.
FAST. Cinedo, watch when the knight comes, and give us word.
CIN. I will, sir.
FAST. How lik’st thou my boy, Carlo?
CAR. O, well, well. He looks like a colonel of the Pigmies horse, or one
of these motions in a great antique clock; he would shew well upon a
haberdasher’s stall, at a corner shop, rarely.
FAST. ‘Sheart, what a damn’d witty rogue’s this! How he confounds with
CAR. Better with similes than smiles: and whither were you riding now,
FAST. Who, I? What a silly jest’s that! Whither should I ride but to the
CAR. O, pardon me, sir, twenty places more; your hot-house, or your
FAST. By the virtue of my soul, this knight dwells in Elysium here.
CAR. He’s gone now, I thought he would fly out presently. These be our
nimble-spirited catsos, that have their evasions at pleasure, will run over
a bog like your wild Irish; no sooner started, but they’ll leap from one
thing to another, like a squirrel, heigh! dance and do tricks in their
discourse, from fire to water, from water to air, from air to earth, as if
their tongues did but e’en lick the four elements over, and away.
FAST. Sirrah, Carlo, thou never saw’st my gray hobby yet, didst thou?
CAR. No; have you such a one?
FAST. The best in Europe, my good villain, thou’lt say when thou seest him.
CAR. But when shall I see him?
FAST. There was a nobleman in the court offered me a hundred pound for
him, by this light: a fine little fiery slave, he runs like a — oh,
excellent, excellent! — with the very sound of the spur.
CAR. How! the sound of the spur?
FAST. O, it’s your only humour now extant, sir; a good gingle, a good gingle.
CAR. S’blood! you shall see him turn morrice-dancer, he has got him
bells, a good suit, and a hobby-horse.
SIG. Signior, now you talk of a hobby-horse, I know where one is will not
be given for a brace of angels.
FAST. How is that, sir?
SOG. Marry, sir, I am telling this gentleman of a hobby-horse; it was my
father’s indeed, and though I say it —
CAR. That should not say it — on, on.
SOG. He did dance in it, with as good humour and as good regard as any man
of his degree whatsoever, being no gentleman: I have danc’d in it myself
CAR. Not since the humour of gentility was upon you, did you?
SOG. Yes, once; marry, that was but to shew what a gentleman might do in a
CAR. O, very good.
MIT. Why, this fellow’s discourse were nothing but for the word humour.
COR. O bear with him; an he should lack matter and words too, ’twere pitiful.
SOG. Nay, look you, sir, there’s ne’er a gentleman in the country has the
like humours, for the hobby-horse, as I have; I have the method for the
threading of the needle and all, the —
CAR. How, the method?
SOG. Ay, the leigerity for that, and the whighhie, and the daggers in the
nose, and the travels of the egg from finger to finger, and all the humours
incident to the quality. The horse hangs at home in my parlour. I’ll keep
it for a monument as long as I live, sure.
CAR. Do so; and when you die, ’twill be an excellent trophy to hang over
SOG. Mass, and I’ll have a tomb, now I think on’t; ’tis but so much charges.
CAR. Best build it in your lifetime then, your heirs may hap to forget it
SOG. Nay, I mean so, I’ll not trust to them.
CAR. No, for heirs and executors are grown damnable careless, ‘specially
since the ghosts of testators left walking. — How like you him, signior?
FAST. ‘Fore heavens, his humour arrides me exceedingly.
CAR. Arrides you!
FAST. Ay, pleases me: a pox on’t! I am so haunted at the court, and at
my lodging, with your refined choice spirits, that it makes me clean of
another garb, another sheaf, I know not how! I cannot frame me to your
harsh vulgar phrase, ’tis against my genius.
Sog. Signior Carlo!
[TAKES HIM ASIDE.
COR. This is right to that of Horace, “Dum vitant stulti vitia, in
contraria currunt”; so this gallant labouring to avoid popularity, falls
into a habit of affectation, ten thousand times hatefuller than the former.
CAR. [POINTING TO FASTIDIOUS.] Who, he? a gull, a fool, no salt in him
i’ the earth, man; he looks like a fresh salmon kept in a tub; he’ll be
spent shortly. His brain’s lighter than his feather already, and his
tongue more subject to lye, than that is to wag; he sleeps with a musk-cat
every night, and walks all day hang’d in pomander chains for penance; he
has his skin tann’d in civet, to make his complexion strong, and the
sweetness of his youth lasting in the sense of his sweet lady; a good empty
puff, he loves you well, signior.
SOG. There shall be no love lost, sir, I’ll assure you.
FAST. [ADVANCING TO THEM.] Nay, Carlo, I am not happy in thy love, I see:
pray thee suffer me to enjoy thy company a little, sweet mischief: by this
air, I shall envy this gentleman’s place in thy affections, if you be thus
How now! Is the knight arrived?
CIN. No, sir, but ’tis guess’d he will arrive presently, by his fore-runners.
FAST. His hounds! by Minerva, an excellent figure; a good boy.
CAR. You should give him a French crown for it; the boy would find two
better figures in that, and a good figure of your bounty beside.
FAST. Tut, the boy wants no crowns.
CAR. No crown; speak in the singular number, and we’ll believe you.
FAST. Nay, thou are so capriciously conceited now. Sirrah damnation, I
have heard this knight Puntarvolo reported to be a gentleman of exceeding
good humour, thou know’st him; prithee, how is his disposition? I never
was so favoured of my stars, as to see him yet. Boy, do you look to the
CIN. Ay, sir, the groom has set him up.
[AS CINEDO IS GOING OUT, SOGLIARDO TAKES HIM ASIDE.
FAST. ‘Tis well: I rid out of my way of intent to visit him, and take
knowledge of his — Nay, good Wickedness, his humour, his humour.
CAR. Why, he loves dogs, and hawks, and his wife well; he has a good
riding face, and he can sit a great horse; he will taint a staff well at
tile; when he is mounted he looks like the sign of the George, that’s all I
know; save, that instead of a dragon, he will brandish against a tree, and
break his sword as confidently upon the knotty bark, as the other did upon
the scales of the beast.
FAST. O, but this is nothing to that’s delivered of him. They say he has
dialogues and discourses between his horse, himself, and his dog; and that
he will court his own lady, as she were a stranger never encounter’d before.
CAR. Ay, that he will, and make fresh love to her every morning; this
gentleman has been a spectator of it, Signior Insulso.
SOG. I am resolute to keep a page. — Say you, sir?
[LEAPS FROM WHISPERING WITH CINEDO.
CAR. You have seen Signior Puntarvolo accost his lady?
SOG. O, ay, sir.
FAST. And how is the manner of it, prithee, good signior?
SOG. Faith, sir, in very good sort; he has his humours for it, sir;
at first, (suppose he were now to come from riding or hunting, or so,) he
has his trumpet to sound, and then the waiting-gentlewoman she looks out,
and then he speaks, and then she speaks, — very pretty, i’faith, gentlemen.
FAST. Why, but do you remember no particulars, signior?
SOG. O, yes, sir, first, the gentlewoman, she looks out at the window.
CAR. After the trumpet has summon’d a parle, not before?
SOG. No, sir, not before; and then says he, — ha, ha, ha, ha!
CAR. What says he? be not rapt so.
SOG. Says he, — ha, ha, ha, ha!
FAST. Nay, speak, speak.
SOG. Ha, ha, ha! — says he, God save you, says he; — ha, ha!
CAR. Was this the ridiculous motive to all this passion?
SOG. Nay, that that comes after is, — ha, ha, ha, ha!
CAR. Doubtless he apprehends more than he utters, this fellow; or else —
[A CRY OF HOUNDS WITHIN.
SOG. List, list, they are come from hunting; stand by, close under this
terras, and you shall see it done better than I can show it.
CAR. So it had need, ’twill scarce poise the observation else.
SOG. Faith, I remember all, but the manner of it is quite out of my head.
FAST. O, withdraw, withdraw, it cannot be but a most pleasing object.
[THEY STAND ASIDE.
ENTER PUNTARVOLO, FOLLOWED BY HIS HUNTSMAN LEADING A GREYHOUND.
PUNT. Forester, give wind to thy horn. — Enough; by this the sound hath
touch’d the ears of the inclos’d: depart, leave the dog, and take with
thee what thou has deserved, the horn and thanks.
CAR. Ay, marry, there is some taste in this.
FAST. Is’t not good?
SOG. Ah, peace; now above, now above!
[A WAITING-GENTLEWOMAN APPEARS AT THE WINDOW.
PUNT. Stay; mine eye hath, on the instant, through the bounty of the
window, received the form of a nymph. I will step forward three paces; of
the which, I will barely retire one; and, after some little flexure of the
knee, with an erected grace salute her; one, two, and three! Sweet lady,
God save you!
GENT. [ABOVE.] No, forsooth; I am but the waiting-gentlewoman.
CAR. He knew that before.
PUNT. Pardon me: ‘humanum est errare’.
CAR. He learn’d that of his chaplain.
PUNT. To the perfection of compliment (which is the dial of the thought,
and guided by the sun of your beauties,) are required these three specials;
the gnomon, the puntilios, and the superficies: the superficies is that we
call place; the puntilios, circumstance; and the gnomon, ceremony; in
either of which, for a stranger to err, ’tis easy and facile; and such am I.
CAR. True, not knowing her horizon, he must needs err; which I fear he
knows too well.
PUNT. What call you the lord of the castle, sweet face?
GENT. [ABOVE.] The lord of the castle is a knight, sir; signior Puntarvolo.
PUNT. Puntarvolo! O —
CAR. Now must he ruminate.
FAST. Does the wench know him all this while, then?
CAR. O, do you know me, man? why, therein lies the syrup of the jest;
it’s a project, a designment of his own, a thing studied, and rehearst as
ordinarily at his coming from hawking or hunting, as a jig after a play.
SOG. Ay, e’en like your jig, sir.
PUNT. ‘Tis a most sumptuous and stately edifice! Of what years is the
knight, fair damsel?
GENT. Faith, much about your years, sir.
PUNT. What complexion, or what stature bears he?
GENT. Of your stature, and very near upon your complexion.
PUNT. Mine is melancholy, —
CAR. So is the dog’s, just.
PUNT. And doth argue constancy, chiefly in love. What are his endowments?
is he courteous?
GENT. O, the most courteous knight in Christian land, sir.
PUNT. Is he magnanimous?
GENT. As the skin between your brows, sir.
PUNT. Is he bountiful?
CAR. ‘Slud, he takes an inventory of his own good parts.
GENT. Bountiful! ay, sir, I would you should know it; the poor are served
at his gate, early and late, sir.
PUNT. Is he learned?
GENT. O, ay, sir, he can speak the French and Italian.
PUNT. Then he has travelled?
GENT. Ay, forsooth, he hath been beyond seas once or twice.
CAR. As far as Paris, to fetch over a fashion, and come back again.
PUNT. Is he religious?
GENT. Religious! I know not what you call religious, but he goes to
church, I am sure.
FAST. ‘Slid, methinks these answers should offend him.
CAR. Tut, no; he knows they are excellent, and to her capacity that speaks
PUNT. Would I might but see his face!
CAR. She should let down a glass from the window at that word, and request
him to look in’t.
PUNT. Doubtless the gentleman is most exact, and absolutely qualified;
doth the castle contain him?
GENT. No, sir, he is from home, but his lady is within.
PUNT. His lady! what, is she fair, splendidious, and amiable?
GENT. O, Lord, sir.
PUNT. Prithee, dear nymph, intreat her beauties to shine on this side of
[EXIT WAITING-GENTLEWOMAN FROM THE WINDOW.
CAR. That he may erect a new dial of compliment, with his gnomons and his
FAST. Nay, thou art such another cynic now, a man had need walk uprightly
CAR. Heart, can any man walk more upright than he does? Look, look; as if
he went in a frame, or had a suit of wainscot on: and the dog watching
him, lest he should leap out on’t.
FAST. O, villain!
CAR. Well, an e’er I meet him in the city, I’ll have him jointed, I’ll
pawn him in Eastcheap, among the butchers, else.
FAST. Peace; who be these, Carlo?
ENTER SORDIDO AND FUNGOSO.
SORD. Yonder’s your godfather; do your duty to him, son.
SOG. This, sir? a poor elder brother of mine, sir, a yeoman, may dispend
some seven or eight hundred a year; that’s his son, my nephew, there.
PUNT. You are not ill come, neighbour Sordido, though I have not yet said,
well-come; what, my godson is grown a great proficient by this.
SORD. I hope he will grow great one day, sir.
FAST. What does he study? the law?
SOG. Ay, sir, he is a gentleman, though his father be but a yeoman.
CAR. What call you your nephew, signior?
SOG. Marry, his name is Fungoso.
CAR. Fungoso! O, he look’d somewhat like a sponge in that pink’d yellow
doublet, methought; well, make much of him; I see he was never born to ride
upon a mule.
GENT. [REAPPEARS AT THE WINDOW.] My lady will come presently, sir.
SOG. O, now, now!
PUNT. Stand by, retire yourselves a space; nay, pray you, forget not the
use of your hat; the air is piercing.
[SORDIDO AND FUNGOSO WITHDRAW.
FAST. What! will not their presence prevail against the current of his
CAR. O, no; it’s a mere flood, a torrent carries all afore it.
[LADY PUNTARVOLO APPEARS AT THE WINDOW.
PUNT. What more than heavenly pulchritude is this.
What magazine, or treasury of bliss?
Dazzle, you organs to my optic sense,
To view a creature of such eminence:
O, I am planet-struck, and in yon sphere
A brighter star than Venus doth appear!
FAST. How! in verse!
CAR. An extacy, an extacy, man.
LADY P. [ABOVE] is your desire to speak with me, sir knight?
CAR. He will tell you that anon; neither his brain nor his body are yet
moulded for an answer.
PUNT. Most debonair, and luculent lady, I decline me as low as the basis
of your altitude.
COR. He makes congies to his wife in geometrical proportions.
MIT. Is it possible there should be any such humorist?
COR. Very easily possible, sir, you see there is.
PUNT. I have scarce collected my spirits, but lately scattered in the
administration of your form; to which, if the bounties of your mind be any
way responsible, I doubt not but my desires shall find a smooth and secure
passage. I am a poor knight-errant, lady, that hunting in the adjacent
forest, was, by adventure, in the pursuit of a hart, brought to this place;
which hart, dear madam, escaped by enchantment: the evening approaching
myself and servant wearied, my suit is, to enter your fair castle and
LADY. Sir knight, albeit it be not usual with me, chiefly in the absence
of a husband, to admit any entrance to strangers, yet in the true regard of
those innated virtues, and fair parts, which so strive to express
themselves, in you; I am resolved to entertain you to the best of my
unworthy power; which I acknowledge to be nothing, valued with what so
worthy a person may deserve. Please you but stay while I descend.
[EXIT FROM THE WINDOW.
PUNT. Most admired lady, you astonish me.
[WALKS ASIDE WITH SORDIDO AND HIS SON.
CAR. What! with speaking a speech of your own penning?
FAST. Nay, look: prithee, peace.
CAR. Pox on’t! I am impatient of such foppery.
FAST. O let us hear the rest.
CAR. What! a tedious chapter of courtship, after sir Lancelot and queen
Guenever? Away! I marle in what dull cold nook he found this lady out;
that, being a woman, she was blest with no more copy of wit but to serve
his humour thus. ‘Slud, I think he feeds her with porridge, I: she could
never have such a thick brain else.
SOG. Why, is porridge so hurtful, signior?
CAR. O, nothing under heaven more prejudicial to those ascending subtle
powers, or doth sooner abate that which we call ‘acumen ingenii’, than your
gross fare: Why, I’ll make you an instance; your city-wives, but observe
’em, you have not more perfect true fools in the world bred than they are
generally; and yet you see, by the fineness and delicacy of their diet,
diving into the fat capons, drinking your rich wines, feeding on larks,
sparrows, potato-pies, and such good unctuous meats, how their wits are
refined and rarified; and sometimes a very quintessence of conceit flows
from them, able to drown a weak apprehension.
ENTER LADY PUNTARVOLO AND HER WAITING-WOMAN.
FAST. Peace, here comes the lady..
LADY. Gad’s me, here’s company! turn in again.
[EXIT WITH HER WOMAN.
FAST. ‘Slight, our presence has cut off the convoy of the jest.
CAR. All the better, I am glad on’t; for the issue was very perspicuous.
Come let’s discover, and salute the knight.
[THEY COME FORWARD.
PUNT. Stay; who be these that address themselves towards us? What Carlo!
Now by the sincerity of my soul, welcome; welcome, gentlemen: and how dost
thou, thou ‘Grand Scourge’, or ‘Second Untruss of the time’?
CAR. Faith, spending my metal in this reeling world (here and there), as
the sway of my affection carries me, and perhaps stumble upon a
yeoman-feuterer, as I do now; or one of fortune’s mules, laden with
treasure, and an empty cloak-bag, following him, gaping when a gab will
PUNT. Peace, you bandog, peace! What brisk Nymphadoro is that in the
white virgin-boot there?
CAR. Marry, sir, one that I must interest you to take a very particular
knowledge of, and with more than ordinary respect; monsieur Fastidious.
PUNT. Sir, I could wish, that for the time of your vouchsafed abiding
here, and more real entertainment, this is my house stood on the Muses
hill, and these my orchards were those of the Hesperides.
FAST. I possess as much in your wish, sir, as if I were made lord of the
Indies; and I pray you believe it.
CAR. I have a better opinion of his faith, than to think it will be so
SOG. Come, brother, I’ll bring you acquainted with gentlemen, and good
fellows, such as shall do you more grace than —
SORD. Brother, I hunger not for such acquaintance: Do you take heed, lest —
[CARLO COMES TOWARD THEM.
SOG. Husht! My brother, sir, for want of education, sir, somewhat nodding
to the boor, the clown; but I request you in private, sir.
FUNG. [LOOKING AT FASTIDIOUS BRISK.] By heaven, it is a very fine suit of
COR. Do you observe that signior? There’s another humour has new-crack’d
MIT. What! he is enamour’d of the fashion, is he?
COR. O, you forestall the jest.
FUNG. I marle what it might stand him in.
FUNG. ‘Fore me, it’s an excellent suit, and as neatly becomes him.
[ASIDE.] — What said you, uncle?
SOG. When saw you my niece?
FUNG. Marry, yesternight I supp’d there. — That kind of boot does very
SOG. And what news hear you?
FUNG. The gilt spur and all! Would I were hang’d, but ’tis exceeding
good. [ASIDE.] — Say you, uncle?
SOG. Your mind is carried away with somewhat else: I ask what news you hear?
FUNG. Troth, we hear none. — In good faith [LOOKING AT FASTIDIOUS BRISK]
I was never so pleased with a fashion, days of my life. O an I might have
but my wish, I’d ask no more of heaven now, but such a suit, such a hat,
such a band, such a doublet, such a hose, such a boot, and such a —
SOG. They say, there’s a new motion of the city of Nineveh, with Jonas and
the whale, to be seen at Fleet-bridge. You can tell, cousin?
FUNG. Here’s such a world of questions with him now! — Yes, I think there
be such a thing, I saw the picture. — Would he would once be satisfied!
Let me see, the doublet, say fifty shillings the doublet, and between three
or four pound the hose; then boots, hat, and band: some ten or eleven
pound will do it all, and suit me for the heavens!
SOG. I’ll see all those devices an I come to London once.
FUNG. Ods ‘slid, an I could compass it, ’twere rare [ASIDE.] — Hark you,
SOG. What says my nephew?
FUNG. Faith, uncle, I would have desired you to have made a motion for me
to my father, in a thing that — Walk aside, and I’ll tell you, sir; no
more but this: there’s a parcel of law books (some twenty pounds worth)
that lie in a place for a little more than half the money they cost; and I
think, for some twelve pound, or twenty mark, I could go near to redeem
them; there’s Plowden, Dyar, Brooke, and Fitz-Herbert, divers such as I
must have ere long; and you know, I were as good save five or six pound, as
not, uncle. I pray you, move it for me.
SOG. That I will: when would you have me do it? presently?
FUNG. O, ay, I pray you, good uncle: [SOGLIARDO TAKES SORDIDO ASIDE.] —
send me good luck, Lord, an’t be thy will, prosper it! O my stars, now,
now, if it take now, I am made for ever.
FAST. Shall I tell you, sir? by this air, I am the most beholden to that
lord, of any gentleman living; he does use me the most honourably, and with
the greatest respect, more indeed than can be utter’d with any opinion of
PUNT. Then have you the count Gratiato?
FAST. As true noble a gentleman too as any breathes; I am exceedingly
endear’d to his love: By this hand, I protest to you, signior, I speak it
not gloriously, nor out of affectation, but there’s he and the count
Frugale, signior Illustre, signior Luculento, and a sort of ’em, that when
I am at court, they do share me amongst them; happy is he can enjoy me most
private. I do wish myself sometime an ubiquitary for their love, in good
CAR. There’s ne’er a one of them but might lie a week on the rack, ere
they could bring forth his name; and yet he pours them out as familiarly,
as if he had seen them stand by the fire in the presence, or ta’en tobacco
with them over the stage, in the lord’s room.
PUNT. Then you must of necessity know our court-star there, that planet of
wit, madona Saviolina?
FAST. O Lord, sir, my mistress.
PUNT. Is she your mistress?
FAST. Faith, here be some slight favours of hers, sir, that do speak it,
she is; as this scarf, sir, or this ribbon in my ear, or so; this feather
grew in her sweet fan sometimes, though now it be my poor fortune to wear
it, as you see, sir: slight, slight, a foolish toy.
PUNT. Well, she is the lady of a most exalted and ingenious spirit.
FAST. Did you ever hear any woman speak like her? or enriched with a more
CAR. O villainous! nothing but sound, sound, a mere echo; she speaks as
she goes tired, in cobweb-lawn, light, thin; good enough to catch flies
PUNT. O manage your affections.
FAST. Well, if thou be’st not plagued for this blasphemy one day —
PUNT. Come, regard not a jester: It is in the power of my purse to make
him speak well or ill of me.
FAST. Sir, I affirm it to you upon my credit and judgment, she has the
most harmonious and musical strain of wit that ever tempted a true ear; and
yet to see! — a rude tongue would profane heaven, if it could.
PUNT. I am not ignorant of it, sir.
FAST. Oh, it flows from her like nectar, and she doth give it that sweet
quick grace, and exornation in the composure that by this good air, as I am
an honest man, would I might never stir, sir, but — she does observe as
pure a phrase, and use as choice figures in her ordinary conferences, as
any be in the ‘Arcadia’.
CAR. Or rather in Green’s works, whence she may steal with more security.
SORD. Well, if ten pound will fetch ’em, you shall have it; but I’ll part
with no more.
FUNG. I’ll try what that will do, if you please.
SORD. Do so; and when you have them, study hard.
FUNG. Yes, sir. An I could study to get forty shillings more now! Well,
I will put myself into the fashion, as far as this will go, presently.
SORD. I wonder it rains not: the almanack says, we should have a store of
PUNT. Why, sir, to-morrow I will associate you to court myself, and from
thence to the city about a business, a project I have; I will expose it to
you sir; Carlo, I am sure has heard of it.
CAR. What’s that, sir?
PUNT. I do intend, this year of jubilee coming on, to travel: and because
I will not altogether go upon expense, I am determined to put forth some
five thousand pound, to be paid me five for one, upon the return of myself,
my wife, and my dog from the Turk’s court in Constantinople. If all or
either of us miscarry in the journey, ’tis gone: if we be successful, why,
there will be five and twenty thousand pound to entertain time withal.
Nay, go not, neighbour Sordido; stay to-night, and help to make our society
the fuller. Gentlemen, frolic: Carlo! what! dull now?
CAR. I was thinking on your project, sir, an you call it so. Is this the
dog goes with you?
PUNT. This is the dog, sir.
CAR. He does not go barefoot, does he?
PUNT. Away, you traitor, away!
CAR. Nay, afore God, I speak simply; he may prick his foot with a thorn,
and be as much as the whole venture is worth. Besides, for a dog that
never travell’d before, it’s a huge journey to Constantinople. I’ll tell
you now, an he were mine, I’d have some present conference with a
physician, what antidotes were good to give him, preservatives against
poison; for assure you, if once your money be out, there’ll be divers
attempts made against the life of the poor animal.
PUNT. Thou art still dangerous.
FAST. Is signior Deliro’s wife your kinswoman?
SOG. Ay, sir, she is my niece, my brother’s daughter here, and my nephew’s
SORD. Do you know her, sir?
FAST. O Lord, sir! signior Deliro, her husband, is my merchant.
FUNG. Ay, I have seen this gentleman there often.
FAST. I cry you mercy, sir; let me crave your name, pray you.
FUNG. Fungoso, sir.
FAST. Good signior Fungoso, I shall request to know you better, sir.
FUNG. I am her brother, sir.
FAST. In fair time, sir.
PUNT. Come, gentlemen, I will be your conduct.
FAST. Nay, pray you sir; we shall meet at signior Deliro’s often.
SOG. You shall have me at the herald’s office, sir, for some week or so at
my first coming up. Come, Carlo.
MIT. Methinks, Cordatus, he dwelt somewhat too long on this scene; it hung
in the hand.
COR. I see not where he could have insisted less, and to have made the
humours perspicuous enough.
MIT. True, as his subject lies; but he might have altered the shape of his
argument, and explicated them better in single scenes.
COR. That had been single indeed. Why, be they not the same persons in
this, as they would have been in those? and is it not an object of more
state, to behold the scene full, and relieved with variety of speakers to
the end, than to see a vast empty stage, and the actors come in one by one,
as if they were dropt down with a feather into the eye of the spectators?
MIT. Nay, you are better traded with these things than I, and therefore
I’ll subscribe to your judgment; marry, you shall give me leave to make
COR. O, what else? it is the special intent of the author you should do
so; for thereby others, that are present, may as well be satisfied, who
haply would object the same you would do.
MIT. So, sir; but when appears Macilente again?
COR. Marry, he stays but till our silence give him leave: here he comes,
and with him signior Deliro, a merchant at whose house he is come to
sojourn: make your own observation now, only transfer your thoughts to the
city, with the scene: where suppose they speak.
SCENE II. A ROOM IN DELIRO’S HOUSE.
ENTER DELIRO, MACILENTE, AND FIDO WITH FLOWERS AND PERFUMES.
DELI. I’ll tell you by and by, sir, —
Welcome good Macilente, to my house,
To sojourn even for ever; if my best
in cates, and every sort of good entreaty,
May move you stay with me.
[HE CENSETH: THE BOY STREWS FLOWERS.
MACI. I thank you, sir. —
And yet the muffled Fates, had it pleased them,
Might have supplied me from their own full store.
Without this word, ‘I thank you’, to a fool.
I see no reason why that dog call’d Chance,
Should fawn upon this fellow more than me;
I am a man, and I have limbs, flesh, blood,
Bones, sinews, and a soul, as well as he:
My parts are every way as good as his;
If I said better, why, I did not lie.
Nath’less, his wealth, but nodding on my wants,
Must make me bow, and cry, ‘I thank you, sir’.
DELI. Dispatch! take heed your mistress see you not.
FIDO. I warrant you, sir, I’ll steal by her softly.
DELI. Nay, gentle friend, be merry; raise your looks
Out of your bosom: I protest, by heaven,
You are the man most welcome in the world.
MACI. I thank you, sir. — I know my cue, I think.
RE-ENTER FIDO, WITH MORE PERFUMES AND FLOWERS.
FIDO. Where will you have them burn, sir?
DELI. Here, good Fido.
What, she did not see thee?
FIDO. No, sir.
DELI. That is well
Strew, strew, good Fido, the freshest flowers; so!
MACI. What means this, signior Deliro? all this censing?
DELI. Cast in more frankincense, yet more; well said. —
O Macilente, I have such a wife!
So passing fair! so passing-fair-unkind!
But of such worth, and right to be unkind,
Since no man can be worthy of her kindness —
MACI. What, can there not?
DELI. No, that is as sure as death,
No man alive. I do not say, is not,
But cannot possibly be worth her kindness,
Nay, it is certain, let me do her right.
How, said I? do her right! as though I could,
As though this dull, gross tongue of mine could utter
The rare, the true, the pure, the infinite rights.
That sit, as high as I can look, within her!
MACI. This is such dotage as was never heard.
DELI. Well, this must needs be granted.
MACI. Granted, quoth you?
DELI. Nay, Macilente, do not so discredit
The goodness of your judgment to deny it.
For I do speak the very least of her:
And I would crave, and beg no more of Heaven,
For all my fortunes here, but to be able
To utter first in fit terms, what she is,
And then the true joys I conceive in her.
MACI. Is’t possible she should deserve so well,
As you pretend?
DELI. Ay, and she knows so well
Her own deserts, that, when I strive t’enjoy them,
She weighs the things I do, with what she merits;
And, seeing my worth out-weigh’d so in her graces,
She is so solemn, so precise, so froward,
That no observance I can do to her
Can make her kind to me: if she find fault,
I mend that fault; and then she says, I faulted,
That I did mend it. Now, good friend, advise me,
How I may temper this strange spleen in her.
MACI. You are too amorous, too obsequious,
And make her too assured she may command you.
When women doubt most of their husbands’ loves,
They are most loving. Husbands must take heed
They give no gluts of kindness to their wives,
But use them like their horses; whom they feed
But half a peck at once; and keep them so
Still with an appetite to that they give them.
He that desires to have a loving wife,
Must bridle all the show of that desire:
Be kind, not amorous; nor bewraying kindness,
As if love wrought it, but considerate duty.
Offer no love rites, but let wives still seek them,
For when they come unsought, they seldom like them.
DELI. Believe me, Macilente, this is gospel.
O, that a man were his own man so much,
To rule himself thus. I will strive, i’faith,
To be more strange and careless; yet I hope
I have now taken such a perfect course,
To make her kind to me, and live contented,
That I shall find my kindness well return’d,
And have no need to fight with my affections.
She late hath found much fault with every room
Within my house; one was too big, she said,
Another was not furnish’d to her mind,
And so through all; all which, now, I have alter’d.
Then here, she hath a place, on my back-side,
Wherein she loves to walk; and that, she said,
Had some ill smells about it: now, this walk
Have I before she knows it, thus perfumed
With herbs, and flowers; and laid in divers places,
As ’twere on altars consecrate to her,
Perfumed gloves, and delicate chains of amber,
To keep the air in awe of her sweet nostrils:
This have I done, and this I think will please her.
Behold, she comes.
FAL. Here’s a sweet stink indeed!
What, shall I ever be thus crost and plagued,
And sick of husband? O, my head doth ache,
As it would cleave asunder, with these savours!
All my rooms alter’d, and but one poor walk
That I delighted in, and that is made
So fulsome with perfumes, that I am fear’d,
My brain doth sweat so, I have caught the plague!
DELI. Why, gentle wife, is now thy walk too sweet?
Thou said’st of late, it had sour airs about it,
And found’st much fault that I did not correct it.
FAL. Why, an I did find fault, sir?
DELI. Nay, dear wife,
I know thou hast said thou has loved perfumes,
No woman better.
FAL. Ay, long since, perhaps;
But now that sense is alter’d: you would have me,
Like to a puddle, or a standing pool,
To have no motion nor no spirit within me.
No. I am like a pure and sprightly river,
That moves for ever, and yet still the same;
Or fire, that burns much wood, yet still one flame.
DELI. But yesterday, I saw thee at our garden,
Smelling on roses, and on purple flowers;
And since, I hope, the humour of thy sense
Is nothing changed.
FAL. Why, those were growing flowers,
And these within my walk are cut and strewed.
DELI. But yet they have one scent.
FAL. Ay! have they so?
In your gross judgment. If you make no difference
Betwixt the scent of growing flowers and cut ones,
You have a sense to taste lamp oil, i’faith:
And with such judgment have you changed the chambers,
Leaving no room, that I can joy to be in,
In all your house; and now my walk, and all,
You smoke me from, as if I were a fox,
And long, belike, to drive me quite away:
Well, walk you there, and I’ll walk where I list.
DELI. What shall I do? O, I shall never please her.
MACI. Out on thee, dotard! what star ruled his birth,
That brought him such a Star? blind Fortune still
Bestows her gifts on such as cannot use them:
How long shall I live, ere I be so happy
To have a wife of this exceeding form?
DELI. Away with ’em! would I had broke a joint
When I devised this, that should so dislike her.
Away, bear all away.
[EXIT FIDO, WITH FLOWERS, ETC.
FAL. Ay, do; for fear
Aught that is there should like her. O, this man,
How cunningly he can conceal himself,
As though he loved, nay, honour’d and ador’d! —
DELI. Why, my sweet heart?
FAL. Sweet heart! O, better still!
And asking, why? wherefore? and looking strangely,
As if he were as white as innocence!
Alas, you’re simple, you: you cannot change,
Look pale at pleasure, and then red with wonder;
No, no, not you! ’tis pity o’ your naturals.
I did but cast an amorous eye, e’en now,
Upon a pair of gloves that somewhat liked me,
And straight he noted it, and gave command
All should be ta’en away.
DELI. Be they my bane then!
What, sirrah, Fido, bring in those gloves again
You took from hence.
FAL. ‘Sbody, sir, but do not:
Bring in no gloves to spite me; if you do —
DELI. Ay me, most wretched; how am I misconstrued!
MACI. O, how she tempts my heart-strings with her eye,
To knit them to her beauties, or to break!
What mov’d the heavens, that they could not make
Me such a woman! but a man, a beast,
That hath no bliss like others? Would to heaven,
In wreak of my misfortunes, I were turn’d
To some fair water-nymph, that set upon
The deepest whirl-pit of the rav’nous seas,
My adamantine eyes might headlong hale
This iron world to me, and drown it all.
COR. Behold, behold, the translated gallant.
MIT. O, he is welcome.
ENTER FUNGOSO, APPARELLED LIKE FASTIDIOUS BRISK.
FUNG. Save you, brother and sister; save you, sir! I have commendations
for you out o’ the country. I wonder they take no knowledge of my suit:
[ASIDE.] — Mine uncle Sogliardo is in town. Sister methinks you are
melancholy; why are you so sad? I think you took me for Master Fastidious
Brisk, sister, did you not?
FAL. Why should I take you for him?
FUNG. Nay, nothing. — I was lately in Master Fastidious’s company, and
methinks we are very like.
DELI. You have a fair suit, brother, ‘give you joy on’t.
FUNG. Faith, good enough to ride in, brother; I made it to ride in.
FAL. O, now I see the cause of his idle demand was his new suit.
DELI. Pray you, good brother, try if you can change her mood.
FUNG. I warrant you, let me alone: I’ll put her out of her dumps.
Sister, how like you my suit!
FAL. O, you are a gallant in print now, brother.
FUNG. Faith, how like you the fashion? it is the last edition, I assure you.
FAL. I cannot but like it to the desert.
FUNG. Troth, sister, I was fain to borrow these spurs, I have left my gown
in the gage for them, pray you lend me an angel.
FAL. Now, beshrew my heart then.
FUNG. Good truth, I’ll pay you again at my next exhibition. I had but
bare ten pound of my father, and it would not reach to put me wholly into
FAL. I care not.
FUNG. I had spurs of mine own before, but they were not ginglers.
Monsieur Fastidious will be here anon, sister.
FAL. You jest!
FUNG. Never lend me penny more while you live then; and that I’d be loth
to say, in truth.
FAL. When did you see him?
FUNG. Yesterday; I came acquainted with him at Sir Puntarvolo’s: nay,
MACI. I fain would know of heaven now, why yond fool
Should wear a suit of satin? he? that rook,
That painted jay, with such a deal of outside:
What is his inside, trow? ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!
Good heavens, give me patience, patience, patience.
A number of these popinjays there are,
Whom, if a man confer, and but examine
Their inward merit, with such men as want;
Lord, lord, what things they are!
FAL. [GIVES HIM MONEY.] Come, when will you pay me again, now?
FUNG. O lord, sister!
MACI. Here comes another.
ENTER FASTIDIOUS BRISK, IN A NEW SUIT.
FAST. Save you, signior Deliro! How dost thou, sweet lady? let me kiss thee.
FUNG. How! a new suit? ah me!
DELI. And how does master Fastidious Brisk?
FAST. Faith, live in court, signior Deliro; in grace, I thank God, both of
the noble masculine and feminine. I muse speak with you in private by and
DELI. When you please, sir.
FAL. Why look you so pale, brother?
FUNG. ‘Slid, all this money is cast away now.
MACI. Ay, there’s a newer edition come forth.
FUNG. ‘Tis but my hard fortune! well, I’ll have my suit changed. I’ll go
fetch my tailor presently but first, I’ll devise a letter to my father.
Have you any pen and ink, sister?
FAL. What would you do withal?
FUNG. I would use it. ‘Slight, an it had come but four days sooner, the
FAST. There was a countess gave me her hand to kiss to-day, i’ the
presence: did me more good by that light than — and yesternight sent her
coach twice to my lodging, to intreat me accompany her, and my sweet
mistress, with some two or three nameless ladies more: O, I have been
graced by them beyond all aim of affection: this is her garter my dagger
hangs in: and they do so commend and approve my apparel, with my judicious
wearing of it, it’s above wonder.
FAL. Indeed, sir, ’tis a most excellent suit, and you do wear it as
FAST. Why, I’ll tell you now, in good faith, and by this chair, which, by
the grace of God, I intend presently to sit in, I had three suits in one
year made three great ladies in love with me: I had other three, undid
three gentlemen in imitation: and other three gat three other gentlemen
widows of three thousand pound a year.
DELI. Is’t possible?
FAST. O, believe it, sir; your good face is the witch, and your apparel
the spells, that bring all the pleasures of the world into their circle.
FAL. Ah, the sweet grace of a courtier!
MACI. Well, would my father had left me but a good face for my portion
yet! though I had shared the unfortunate with that goes with it, I had not
cared; I might have passed for somewhat in the world then.
FAST. Why, assure you, signior, rich apparel has strange virtues: it
makes him that hath it without means, esteemed for an excellent wit: he
that enjoys it with means, puts the world in remembrance of his means: it
helps the deformities of nature, and gives lustre to her beauties; makes
continual holiday where it shines; sets the wits of ladies at work, that
otherwise would be idle; furnisheth your two-shilling ordinary; takes
possession of your stage at your new play; and enricheth your oars, as
scorning to go with your scull.
MACI. Pray you, sir, add this; it gives respect to your fools, makes many
thieves, as many strumpets, and no fewer bankrupts.
FAL. Out, out! unworthy to speak where he breatheth.
FAST. What’s he, signior?
DELI. A friend of mine, sir.
FAST. By heaven I wonder at you citizens, what kind of creatures you are!
DELI. Why, sir?
FAST. That you can consort yourselves with such poor seam-rent fellows.
FAL. He says true.
DELI. Sir, I will assure you, however you esteem of him, he’s a man worthy
FAST. Why, what has he in him of such virtue to be regarded, ha?
DELI. Marry, he is a scholar, sir.
FAST. Nothing else!
DELI. And he is well travell’d.
FAST. He should get him clothes; I would cherish those good parts of
travel in him, and prefer him to some nobleman of good place.
DELI. Sir, such a benefit should bine me to you for ever, in my friend’s
right; and I doubt not, but his desert shall more than answer my praise.
FAST. Why, an he had good clothes, I’d carry him to court with me to-morrow.
DELI. He shall not want for those, sir, if gold and the whole city will
FAST. You say well, sir: faith, signior Deliro, I am come to have you
play the alchemist with me, and change the species of my land into that
metal you talk of.
DELI. With all my heart, sir; what sum will serve you?
FAST. Faith, some three or four hundred.
DELI. Troth, sir, I have promised to meet a gentleman this morning in
Paul’s, but upon my return I’ll dispatch you.
FAST. I’ll accompany you thither.
DELI. As you please, sir; but I go not thither directly.
FAST. ‘Tis no matter, I have no other designment in hand, and therefore as
good go along.
DELI. I were as good have a quartain fever follow me now, for I shall
ne’er be rid of him. Bring me a cloak there, one. Still, upon his grace
at court, I am sure to be visited; I was a beast to give him any hope.
Well, would I were in, that I am out with him once, and — Come, signior
Macilente, I must confer with you, as we go. Nay, dear wife, I beseech
thee, forsake these moods: look not like winter thus. Here, take my keys,
open my counting-houses, spread all my wealth before thee, choose any
object that delights thee: if thou wilt eat the spirit of gold, and drink
dissolved pearl in wine, ’tis for thee.
FAL. So, sir!
DELI. Nay, my sweet wife.
FAL. Good lord, how you are perfumed in your terms and all! pray you
DELI. Come, gentlemen.
FAST. Adieu, sweet lady.
[EXEUNT ALL BUT FALLACE.
FAL. Ay, ay! let thy words ever sound in mine ears, and thy graces
disperse contentment through all my senses! O, how happy is that lady
above other ladies, that enjoys so absolute a gentleman to her servant! “A
countess gives him her hand to kiss”: ah, foolish countess! he’s a man
worthy, if a woman may speak of a man’s worth, to kiss the lips of an
RE-ENTER FUNGOSO, WITH HIS TAILOR.
FUNG. What’s master Fastidious gone, sister?
FAL. Ay, brother. — He has a face like a cherubin!
FUNG. ‘Ods me, what luck’s this? I have fetch’d my tailor and all: which
way went he, sister, can you tell?
FAL. Not I, in good faith — and he has a body like an angel!
FUNG. How long is’t since he went?
FAL. Why, but e’en now; did you not meet him? — and a tongue able to
ravish any woman in the earth.
FUNG. O, for God’s sake — I’ll please you for your pains, [TO HIS
TAILOR.] — But e’en now, say you? Come, good sir: ‘slid, I had forgot it
too: if any body ask for mine uncle Sogliardo, they shall have him at the
herald’s office yonder, by Paul’s
[EXIT WITH HIS TAILOR.
FAL. Well, I will not altogether despair: I have heard of a citizen’s
wife has been beloved of a courtier; and why not I? heigh, ho! well, I
will into my private chamber, lock the door to me, and think over all his
good parts one after another.
MIT. Well, I doubt, this last scene will endure some grievous torture.
COR. How? you fear ’twill be rack’d by some hard construction?
MIT. Do not you?
COR. No, in good faith: unless mine eyes could light me beyond sense. I
see no reason why this should be more liable to the rack than the rest:
you’ll say, perhaps, the city will not take it well that the merchant is
made here to doat so perfectly upon his wife; and she again to be so
‘Fastidiously’ affected as she is.
MIT. You have utter’d my thought, sir, indeed.
COR. Why, by that proportion, the court might as well take offence at him
we call the courtier, and with much more pretext, by how much the place
transcends, and goes before in dignity and virtue: but can you imagine
that any noble or true spirit in court, whose sinewy and altogether
unaffected graces, very worthily express him a courtier, will make any
exception at the opening of such as empty trunk as this Brisk is? or think
his own worth impeached, by beholding his motley inside?
MIT. No, sir, I do not.
COR. No more, assure you, will any grave, wise citizen, or modest matron,
take the object of this folly in Deliro and his wife; but rather apply it
as the foil to their own virtues. For that were to affirm, that a man
writing of Nero, should mean all emperors; or speaking of Machiavel,
comprehend all statesmen; or in our Sordido, all farmers; and so of the
rest: than which nothing can be uttered more malicious or absurd. Indeed
there are a sort of these narrow-eyed decypherers, I confess, that will
extort strange and abstruse meanings out of any subject, be it never so
conspicuous and innocently delivered. But to such, where’er they sit
concealed, let them know, the author defies them and their writing-tables;
and hopes no sound or safe judgment will infect itself with their
contagious comments, who, indeed, come here only to pervert and poison the
sense of what they hear, and for nought else.
ENTER CAVALIER SHIFT, WITH TWO SI-QUISSES (BILLS) IN HIS HAND.
MIT. Stay, what new mute is this, that walks so suspiciously?
COR. O, marry, this is one, for whose better illustration, we must desire
you to presuppose the stage, the middle aisle in Paul’s, and that, the west
end of it.
MIT. So, sir, and what follows?
COR. Faith, a whole volume of humour, and worthy the unclasping.
MIT. As how? What name do you give him first?
COR. He hath shift of names, sir: some call him Apple-John, some signior
Whiffe; marry, his main standing name is cavalier Shirt: the rest are but
as clean shirts to his natures.
MIT. And what makes he in Paul’s now?
COR. Troth, as you see, for the advancement of a ‘si quis’, or two;
wherein he has so varied himself, that if any of ’em take, he may hull up
and down in the humorous world a little longer.
MIT. It seems then he bears a very changing sail?
COR. O, as the wind, sir: here comes more.
SCENE I. — THE MIDDLE AISLE OF ST. PAUL’S.
SHIFT. [COMING FORWARD.] This is rare, I have set up my bills without
ORANGE. What, signior Whiffe! what fortune has brought you into these
SHIFT. Troth, signior, nothing but your rheum; I have been taking an ounce
of tobacco hard by here, with a gentleman, and I am come to spit private in
Paul’s. ‘Save you, sir.
ORANGE. Adieu, good signior Whiffe.
CLOVE. Master Apple-John! you are well met; when shall we sup together,
and laugh, and be fat with those good wenches, ha?
SHIFT. Faith, sir, I must now leave you, upon a few humours and occasions;
but when you please, sir.
CLOVE. Farewell, sweet Apple-John! I wonder there are no more store of
MIT. What be these two, signior?
COR. Marry, a couple, sir, that are mere strangers to the whole scope of
our play; only come to walk a turn or two in this scene of Paul’s, by
ORANGE. Save you, good master Clove!
CLOVE. Sweet master Orange.
MIT. How! Clove and Orange?
COR. Ay, and they are well met, for ’tis as dry an Orange as ever grew:
nothing but salutation, and “O lord, sir!” and “It pleases you to say so,
sir!” one that can laugh at a jest for company with a most plausible and
extemporal grade; and some hour after in private ask you what it was. The
other monsieur, Clove, is a more spiced youth; he will sit you a whole
afternoon sometimes in a bookseller’s shop, reading the Greek, Italian, and
Spanish, when he understands not a word of either; if he had the tongues to
his suits, he were an excellent linguist.
CLOVE. Do you hear this reported for certainty?
ORANGE. O lord, sir.
[ENTER PUNTARVOLO AND CARLO, FOLLOWED BY TWO SERVING-MEN, ONE LEADING A
DOG, THE OTHER BEARING A BAG.
PUNT. Sirrah, take my cloak; and you, sir knave, follow me closer. If
thou losest my dog, thou shalt die a dog’s death; I will hang thee.
CAR. Tut, fear him not, he’s a good lean slave; he loves a dog well, I
warrant him; I see by his looks, I: — Mass, he’s somewhat like him. ‘Slud
[TO THE SERVANT.] poison him, make him away with a crooked pin, or
somewhat, man; thou may’st have more security of thy life; and — So sir;
what! you have not put out your whole venture yet, have you?
PUNT. No, I do want yet some fifteen or sixteen hundred pounds; but my
lady, my wife, is ‘Out of her Humour’, she does not now go.
CAR. No! how then?
PUNT. Marry, I am now enforced to give it out, upon the return of myself,
my dog, and my cat.
CAR. Your cat! where is she?
PUNT. My squire has her there, in the bag; sirrah, look to her. How
lik’st thou my change, Carlo?
CAR. Oh, for the better, sir; your cat has nine lives, and your wife has
PUNT. Besides, she will never be sea-sick, which will save me so much in
conserves. When saw you signior Sogliardo?
CAR. I came from him but now; he is at the herald’s office yonder; he
requested me to go afore, and take up a man or two for him in Paul’s,
against his cognisance was ready.
PUNT. What, has he purchased arms, then?
CAR. Ay, and rare ones too; of as many colours as e’er you saw any fool’s
coat in your life. I’ll go look among yond’ bills, an I can fit him with
legs to his arms.
PUNT. With legs to his arms! Good! I will go with you, sir.
[THEY GO TO READ THE BILLS.
ENTER FASTIDIOUS, DELIRO, AND MACILENTE.
FAST. Come, let’s walk in Mediterraneo: I assure you, sir, I am not the
least respected among ladies; but let that pass: do you know how to go
into the presence, sir?
MACI. Why, on my feet, sir.
FAST. No, on your head, sir; for ’tis that must bear you out, I assure
you; as thus, sir. You must first have an especial care so to wear your
hat, that it oppress not confusedly this your predominant, or foretop;
because, when you come at the presence-door, you may with once or twice
stroking up your forehead, thus, enter with your predominant perfect; that
is, standing up stiff.
MACI. As if one were frighted?
FAST. Ay, sir.
MACI. Which, indeed, a true fear of your mistress should do, rather than
gum-water, or whites of eggs; is’t not so, sir?
FAST. An ingenious observation. Give me leave to crave your name, sir?
DELI. His name is Macilente, sir.
FAST. Good signior Macilente, if this gentleman, signior Deliro, furnish
you, as he says he will, with clothes, I will bring you, to-morrow by this
time, into the presence of the most divine and acute lady in court; you
shall see sweet silent rhetorick, and dumb eloquence speaking in her eye,
but when she speaks herself, such an anatomy of wit, so sinewised and
arterised, that ’tis the goodliest model of pleasure that ever was to
behold. Oh! she strikes the world into admiration of her; O, O, O! I
cannot express them, believe me.
MACI. O, your only admiration is your silence, sir.
PUNT. ‘Fore God, Carlo, this is good! let’s read them again.
[READS THE BILL.
“If there be any lady or gentlewoman of good carriage that is desirous to
entertain to her private uses, a young, straight, and upright gentleman, of
the age of five or six and twenty at the most; who can serve in the nature
of a gentleman-usher, and hath little legs of purpose, and a black satin
suit of his own, to go before her in; which suit, for the more sweetening,
now lies in lavender; and can hide his face with her fan, if need require;
or sit in the cold at the stair foot for her, as well as another gentleman:
let her subscribe her name and place, and diligent respect shall be given.”
PUNT. This is above measure excellent, ha!
CAR. No, this, this! here’s a fine slave.
“If this city, or the suburbs of the same, do afford any young gentleman of
the first, second, or third head, more or less, whose friends are but
lately deceased, and whose lands are but new come into his hands, that, to
be as exactly qualified as the best of our ordinary gallants are, is
affected to entertain the most gentleman-like use of tobacco; as first, to
give it the most exquisite perfume; then, to know all the delicate sweet
forms for the assumption of it; as also the rare corollary and practice of
the Cuban ebolition, euripus and whiff, which he shall receive or take in
here at London, and evaporate at Uxbridge, or farther, if it please him.
If there be any such generous spirit, that is truly enamoured of these good
faculties; may it please him, but by a note of his hand to specify the
place or ordinary where he uses to eat and lie; and most sweet attendance,
with tobacco and pipes of the best sort, shall be ministered. ‘Stet,
quaeso, candide Lector.'”
PUNT. Why, this is without parallel, this.
CAR. Well, I’ll mark this fellow for Sogliardo’s use presently.
PUNT. Or rather, Sogliardo, for his use.
CAR. Faith, either of them will serve, they are both good properties:
I’ll design the other a place too, that we may see him.
PUNT. No better place than the Mitre, that we may be spectators with you,
Carlo. Soft, behold who enters here:
Signior Sogliardo! save you.
SOG. Save you, good sir Puntarvolo; your dog’s in health, sir, I see: How
CAR. We have ta’en simple pains, to choose you out followers here.
[SHOWS HIM THE BILLS.
PUNT. Come hither, signior.
CLOVE. Monsieur Orange, yon gallants observe us; prithee let’s talk
fustian a little, and gull them; make them believe we are great scholars.
ORANGE. O lord, sir!
CLOVE. Nay, prithee let us, believe me, — you have an excellent habit in
ORANGE. It pleases you to say so, sir.
CLOVE. By this church, you have, la; nay, come, begin — Aristotle, in his
daemonologia, approves Scaliger for the best navigator in his time; and in
his hypercritics, he reports him to be Heautontimorumenos: — you
understand the Greek, sir?
ORANGE. O, good sir!
MACI. For society’s sake he does. O, here be a couple of fine tame parrots!
CLOVE. Now, sir, whereas the ingenuity of the time and the soul’s
synderisis are but embrions in nature, added to the panch of Esquiline, and
the inter-vallum of the zodiac, besides the ecliptic line being optic, and
not mental, but by the contemplative and theoric part thereof, doth
demonstrate to us the vegetable circumference, and the ventosity of the
tropics, and whereas our intellectual, or mincing capreal (according to the
metaphysicks) as you may read in Plato’s Histriomastix — You conceive me
ORANGE. O lord, sir!
CLOVE. Then coming to the pretty animal, as reason long since is fled to
animals, you know, or indeed for the more modelising, or enamelling, or
rather diamondising of your subject, you shall perceive the hypothesis, or
galaxia, (whereof the meteors long since had their initial inceptions and
notions,) to be merely Pythagorical, mathematical, and aristocratical —
For, look you, sir, there is ever a kind of concinnity and species — Let
us turn to our former discourse, for they mark us not.
FAST. Mass, yonder’s the knight Puntarvolo.
DELI. And my cousin Sogliardo, methinks.
MACI. Ay, and his familiar that haunts him, the devil with the shining face.
DELI. Let ’em alone, observe ’em not.
[SOGLIARDO, PUNTARVOLO, AND CARLO, WALK TOGETHER.
SOG. Nay, I will have him, I am resolute for that. By this parchment,
gentlemen, I have been so toiled among the harrots yonder, you will not
believe! they do speak in the strangest language, and give a man the
hardest terms for his money, that ever you knew.
CAR. But have you arms, have you arms?
SOG. I’faith, I thank them; I can write myself gentleman now; here’s my
patent, it cost me thirty pound, by this breath.
PUNT. A very fair coat, well charged, and full of armory.
SOG. Nay, it has as much variety of colours in it, as you have seen a coat
have; how like you the crest, sir?
PUNT. I understand it not well, what is’t?
SOG. Marry, sir, it is your boar without a head, rampant. A boar without
a head, that’s very rare!
CAR. Ay, and rampant too! troth, I commend the herald’s wit, he has
decyphered him well: a swine without a head, without brain, wit, anything
indeed, ramping to gentility. You can blazon the rest, signior, can you
SOG. O, ay, I have it in writing here of purpose; it cost me two shilling
CAR. Let’s hear, let’s hear.
PUNT. It is the most vile, foolish, absurd, palpable, and ridiculous
escutcheon that ever this eye survised. — Save you, good monsieur
[THEY SALUTE AS THEY MEET IN THE WALK.
COR. Silence, good knight; on, on.
SOG. [READS.] “Gyrony of eight pieces; azure and gules; between three
plates, a chevron engrailed checquy, or, vert, and ermins; on a chief
argent, between two ann’lets sable, a boar’s head, proper.”
CAR. How’s that! on a chief argent?
SOG. [READS.] “On a chief argent, a boar’s head proper, between two
CAR. ‘Slud, it’s a hog’s cheek and puddings in a pewter field, this.
[HERE THEY SHIFT. FASTIDIOUS MIXES WITH PUNTARVOLO; CARLO AND SOGLIARDO;
DELIRO AND MACILENTE; CLOVE AND ORANGE; FOUR COUPLE.
SOG. How like you them, signior?
PUNT. Let the word be, ‘Not without mustard’: your crest is very rare, sir.
CAR. A frying-pan to the crest, had had no fellow.
FAST. Intreat your poor friend to walk off a little, signior, I will
salute the knight.
CAR. Come, lap it up, lap it up.
FAST. You are right well encounter’d, sir; how does your fair dog?
PUNT. In reasonable state, sir; what citizen is that you were consorted
with? A merchant of any worth?
FAST. ‘Tis signior Deliro, sir.
PUNT. Is it he? — Save you, sir!
DELI. Good sir Puntarvolo!
MACI. O what copy of fool would this place minister, to one endued with
patience to observe it!
CAR. Nay, look you, sir, now you are a gentleman, you must carry a more
exalted presence, change your mood and habit to a more austere form; be
exceeding proud, stand upon your gentility, and scorn every man; speak
nothing humbly, never discourse under a nobleman, though you never saw him
but riding to the star-chamber, it’s all one. Love no man: trust no man:
speak ill of no man to his face; nor well of any man behind his back.
Salute fairly on the front, and wish them hanged upon the turn. Spread
yourself upon his bosom publicly, whose heart you would eat in private.
These be principles, think on them; I’ll come to you again presently.
PUNT. [TO HIS SERVANT.] Sirrah, keep close; yet not so close: thy breath
will thaw my ruff.
SOG. O, good cousin, I am a little busy, how does my niece? I am to walk
with a knight, here.
ENTER FUNGOSO WITH HIS TAILOR.
FUNG. O, he is here; look you, sir, that’s the gentleman.
TAI. What, he in the blush-coloured satin?
FUNG. Ay, he, sir; though his suit blush, he blushes not, look you, that’s
the suit, sir: I would have mine such a suit without difference, such
stuff, such a wing, such a sleeve, such a skirt, belly and all; therefore,
pray you observe it. Have you a pair of tables?
FAST. Why, do you see, sir, they say I am fantastical; why, true, I know
it, and I pursue my humour still, in contempt of this censorious age.
‘Slight, an a man should do nothing but what a sort of stale judgments
about him this town will approve in him, he were a sweet ass: I’d beg him,
i’faith. I ne’er knew any more find fault with a fashion, than they that
knew not how to put themselves into it. For mine own part, so I please
mine own appetite, I am careless what the fusty world speaks of me. Puh!
FUNG. Do you mark, how it hangs at the knee there?
TAI. I warrant you, sir.
FUNG. For God’s sake do, not all; do you see the collar, sir?
TAI. Fear nothing, it shall not differ in a stitch, sir.
FUNG. Pray heaven it do not! you’ll make these linings serve, and help me
to a chapman for the outside, will you?
TAI. I’ll do my best, sir: you’ll put it off presently.
FUNG. Ay, go with me to my chamber you shall have it — but make haste of
it, for the love of a customer; for I’ll sit in my old suit, or else lie a
bed, and read the ‘Arcadia’ till you have done.
[EXIT WITH HIS TAILOR.
CAR. O, if ever you were struck with a jest, gallants, now, now, now, I do
usher the most strange piece of military profession that ever was
discovered in ‘Insula Paulina’.
FAST. Where? where?
PUNT. What is he for a creature?
CAR. A pimp, a pimp, that I have observed yonder, the rarest superficies
of a humour; he comes every morning to empty his lungs in Paul’s here; and
offers up some five or six hecatombs of faces and sighs, and away again.
Here he comes; nay, walk, walk, be not seen to note him, and we shall have
ENTER SHIFT; AND WALKS BY, USING ACTION TO HIS RAPIER.
PUNT. ‘Slid, he vented a sigh e’en now, I thought he would have blown up
CAR. O, you shall have him give a number of those false fires ere he depart.
FAST. See, now he is expostulating with his rapier: look, look!
CAR. Did you ever in your days observe better passion over a hilt?
PUNT. Except it were in the person of a cutlet’s boy, or that the fellow
were nothing but vapour, I should think it impossible.
CAR. See again, he claps his sword o’ the head, as who should say, well,
FAST. O violence! I wonder the blade can contain itself, being so provoked.
CAR. “With that the moody squire thumpt his breast,
And rear’d his eyen to heaven for revenge.”
SOG. Troth, an you be good gentlemen, let’s make them friends, and take up
the matter between his rapier and him.
CAR. Nay, if you intend that, you must lay down the matter; for this
rapier, it seems, is in the nature of a hanger-on, and the good gentleman
would happily be rid of him.
FAST. By my faith, and ’tis to be suspected; I’ll ask him.
MACI. O, here’s rich stuff! for life’s sake, let us go:
A man would wish himself a senseless pillar,
Rather than view these monstrous prodigies:
“Nil habet infelix paupertas durius in se,
Quam quod ridiculos homines facit —”
[EXIT WITH DELIRO.
SHIFT. At your service.
FAST. Will you sell your rapier?
CAR. He is turn’d wild upon the question; he looks as he had seen a serjeant.
SHIFT. Sell my rapier! now fate bless me!
SHIFT. You ask’d me if I would sell my rapier, sir?
FAST. I did indeed.
SHIFT. Now, lord have mercy upon me!
PUNT. Amen, I say still.
SHIFT. ‘Slid, sir, what should you behold in my face, sir, that should
move you, as they say, sir, to ask me, sir, if I would sell my rapier?
FAST. Nay, let me pray you sir, be not moved: I protest, I would rather
have been silent, than any way offensive, had I known your nature.
SHIFT. Sell my rapier? ‘ods lid! — Nay, sir, for mine own part, as I am
a man that has serv’d in causes, or so, so I am not apt to injure any
gentleman in the degree of falling foul, but — sell my rapier! I will
tell you, sir, I have served with this foolish rapier, where some of us
dare not appear in haste; I name no man; but let that pass. Sell my
rapier! — death to my lungs! This rapier, sir, has travell’d by my side,
sir, the best part of France, and the Low Country: I have seen Flushing,
Brill, and the Hague, with this rapier, sir, in my Lord of Leicester’s
time; and by God’s will, he that should offer to disrapier me now, I would
— Look you, sir, you presume to be a gentleman of sort, and so likewise
your friends here; if you have any disposition to travel for the sight of
service, or so, one, two, or all of you, I can lend you letters to divers
officers and commanders in the Low Countries, that shall for my cause do
you all the good offices, that shall pertain or belong to gentleman of your
—— [LOWERING HIS VOICE.] Please you to shew the bounty of your mind,
sir, to impart some ten groats, or half a crown to our use, till our
ability be of growth to return it, and we shall think oneself —— ‘Sblood!
sell my rapier!
SOG. I pray you, what said he, signior? he’s a proper man.
FAST. Marry, he tells me, if I please to shew the bounty of my mind, to
impart some ten groats to his use, or so —
PUNT. Break his head, and give it him.
CAR. I thought he had been playing o’ the Jew’s trump, I.
SHIFT. My rapier! no, sir; my rapier is my guard, my defence, my revenue,
my honour; — if you cannot impart, be secret, I beseech you — and I will
maintain it, where there is a grain of dust, or a drop of water. [SIGHS.]
Hard is the choice when the valiant must eat their arms, or clem. Sell my
rapier! no, my dear, I will not be divorced from thee, yet; I have ever
found thee true as steel, and — You cannot impart, sir? — Save you,
gentlemen; — nevertheless, if you have a fancy to it, sir —
FAST. Prithee away: Is signior Deliro departed?
CAR. Have you seen a pimp outface his own wants better?
SOG. I commend him that can dissemble them so well.
PUNT. True, and having no better a cloak for it than he has neither.
FAST. Od’s precious, what mischievous luck is this! adieu, gentlemen.
PUNT. Whither in such haste, monsieur Fastidious?
FAST. After my merchant, signior Deliro, sir.
CAR. O hinder him not, he may hap lose his title; a good flounder, i’faith.
[ORANGE AND CLOVE CALL SHIFT ASIDE.
CAR. How! signior Whiffe?
ORANGE. What was the difference between that gallant that’s gone and you, sir?
SHIFT. No difference; he would have given me five pound for my rapier, and
I refused it; that’s all.
CLOVE. O, was it no otherwise? we thought you had been upon some terms.
SHIFT. No other than you saw, sir.
CLOVE. Adieu, good master Apple-John.
[EXIT WITH ORANGE.
CAR. How! Whiffe, and Apple-John too? Heart, what will you say if this
be the appendix or label to both you indentures?
PUNT. It may be.
CAR. Resolve us of it, Janus, thou that look’st every way; or thou,
Hercules, that has travelled all countries.
PUNT. Nay, Carlo, spend not time in invocations now, ’tis late.
CAR. Signior, here’s a gentleman desirous of your name, sir.
SHIFT. Sir, my name is cavalier Shift: I am known sufficiently in this
CAR. Shift! I heard your name varied even now, as I take it.
SHIFT. True, sir, it pleases the world, as I am her excellent tobacconist,
to give me the style of signior Whiffe; as I am a poor esquire about the
town here, they call me master Apple-John. Variety of good names does
CAR. Ay, and good parts, to make those good names; out of which I imagine
yon bills to be yours.
SHIFT. Sir, if I should deny the manuscripts, I were worthy to be banish’d
the middle aisle for ever.
CAR. I take your word, sir: this gentleman has subscribed to them, and is
most desirous to become your pupil. Marry, you must use expedition.
Signior Insulso Sogliardo, this is the professor.
SOG. In good time, sir: nay, good sir, house your head; do you profess
these sleights in tobacco?
SHIFT. I do more than profess, sir, and, if you please to be a
practitioner, I will undertake in one fortnight to bring you, that you
shall take it plausibly in any ordinary, theatre, or the Tilt-yard, if need
be, in the most popular assembly that is.
PUNT. But you cannot bring him to the whiffe so soon?
SHIFT. Yes, as soon, sir; he shall receive the first, second, and third
whiffe, if it please him, and, upon the receipt, take his horse, drink his
three cups of canary, and expose one at Hounslow, a second at Stains, and a
third at Bagshot.
SOG. You will not serve me, sir, will you? I’ll give you more than
SHIFT. Pardon me, sir, I do scorn to serve any man.
CAR. Who! he serve? ‘sblood, he keeps high men, and low men, he! he has
a fair living at Fullam.
SHIFT. But in the nature of a fellow, I’ll be your follower, if you please.
SOG. Sir, you shall stay, and dine with me, and if we can agree, we’ll not
part in haste: I am very bountiful to men of quality. Where shall we go,
PUNT. Your Mitre is your best house.
SHIFT. I can make this dog take as many whiffes as I list, and he shall
retain, or effume them, at my pleasure.
PUNT. By your patience, follow me, fellows.
SOG. Sir Puntarvolo!
PUNT. Pardon me, my dog shall not eat in his company for a million.
[EXIT WITH HIS SERVANTS.
CAR. Nay, be not you amazed, signior Whiffe, whatever that stiff-necked
SOG. No, for you do not know the humour of the dog, as we do: Where shall
we dine, Carlo? I would fain go to one of these ordinaries, now I am a
CAR. So you may; were you never at any yet?
SOG. No, faith; but they say there resorts your most choice gallants.
CAR. True, and the fashion is, when any stranger comes in amongst ’em,
they all stand up and stare at him, as he were some unknown beast, brought
out of Africk; but that will be helped with a good adventurous face. You
must be impudent enough, sit down, and use no respect: when anything’s
propounded above your capacity smile at it, make two or three faces, and
’tis excellent; they’ll think you have travell’d; though you argue, a whole
day, in silence thus, and discourse in nothing but laughter, ’twill pass.
Only, now and then, give fire, discharge a good full oath, and offer a
great wager; ’twill be admirable.
SOG. I warrant you, I am resolute; come, good signior, there’s a poor
French crown for your ordinary.
SHIFT. It comes well, for I had not so much as the least portcullis of
MIT. I travail with another objection, signior, which I fear will be
enforced against the author, ere I can be deliver’d of it.
COR. What’s that sir?
MIT. That the argument of his comedy might have been of some other nature,
as of a duke to be in love with a countess, and that countess to be in love
with the duke’s son, and the son to love the lady’s waiting maid; some such
cross wooing, with a clown to their servingman, better than to be thus
near, and familiarly allied to the time.
COR. You say well, but I would fain hear one of these autumn-judgments
define once, “Quid sit comoedia?” if he cannot, let him content himself
with Cicero’s definition, till he have strength to propose to himself a
better, who would have a comedy to be ‘imitatio vitae, speculum
consuetudinis, imago veritatis’; a thing throughout pleasant and
ridiculous, and accommodated to the correction of manners: if the maker
have fail’d in any particle of this, they may worthily tax him; but if not,
why — be you, that are for them, silent, as I will be for him; and give
way to the actors.
SCENE II. — THE COUNTRY.
ENTER SORDIDO, WITH A HALTER ABOUT HIS NECK.
SORD. Nay, God’s precious, if the weather and season be so respectless,
that beggars shall live as well as their betters; and that my hunger and
thirst for riches shall not make them hunger and thirst with poverty; that
my sleep shall be broken, and their hearts not broken; that my coffers
shall be full, and yet care; their’s empty, and yet merry; — ’tis time
that a cross should bear flesh and blood, since flesh and blood cannot bear
MIT. What, will he hang himself?
COR. Faith, ay; it seems his prognostication has not kept touch with him,
and that makes him despair.
MIT. Beshrew me, he will be ‘out of his humour’ then indeed.
SORD. Tut, these star-monger knaves, who would trust them? One says dark
and rainy, when ’tis as clear as chrystal; another says, tempestuous blasts
and storms, and ’twas as calm as a milk-bowl; here be sweet rascals for a
man to credit his whole fortunes with! You sky-staring coxcombs you, you
fat-brains, out upon you; you are good for nothing but to sweat night-caps,
and make rug-gowns dear! you learned men, and have not a legion of devils
‘a votre service! a votre service!’ by heaven, I think I shall die a
better scholar than they: but soft —
ENTER A HIND, WITH A LETTER.
How now, sirrah?
HIND. Here’s a letter come from your son, sir.
SORD. From my son, sir! what would my son, sir? some good news, no doubt.
“Sweet and dear father, desiring you first to send me your blessing, which
is more worth to me than gold or silver, I desire you likewise to be
advertised, that this Shrove-tide, contrary to custom, we use always to
have revels; which is indeed dancing, and makes an excellent shew in truth;
especially if we gentlemen be well attired, which our seniors note, and
think the better of our fathers, the better we are maintained, and that
they shall know if they come up, and have anything to do in the law;
therefore, good father, these are, for your own sake as well as mine, to
re-desire you, that you let me not want that which is fit for the setting
up of our name, in the honourable volume of gentility, that I may say to
our calumniators, with Tully, ‘Ego sum ortus domus meae, tu occasus tuae.’
And thus, not doubting of your fatherly benevolence, I humbly ask your
blessing, and pray God to bless you.
Yours, if his own,” [FUNGOSO.]
How’s this! “Yours, if his own!” Is he not my son, except he be his own
son? belike this is some new kind of subscription the gallants use. Well!
wherefore dost thou stay, knave? away; go.
Here’s a letter, indeed! revels? and benevolence? is this a weather to
send benevolence? or is this a season to revel in? ‘Slid, the devil and
all takes part to vex me, I think! this letter would never have come now
else, now, now, when the sun shines, and the air thus clear. Soul! If
this hold, se shall shortly have an excellent crop of corn spring out of
the high ways: the streets and houses of the town will be hid with the
rankness of the fruits, that grow there in spite of good husbandry. Go to,
I’ll prevent the sight of it, come as quickly as it can, I will prevent the
sight of it. I have this remedy, heaven.
[CLAMBERS UP, AND SUSPENDS THE HALTER TO A TREE.]
Stay; I’ll try the pain thus a little. O, nothing, nothing. Well now!
shall my son gain a benevolence by my death? or anybody be the better for
my gold, or so forth? no; alive I kept it from them, and dead, my ghost
shall walk about it, and preserve it. My son and daughter shall starve ere
they touch it; I have hid it as deep as hell from the sight of heaven, and
to it I go now.
[FLINGS HIMSELF OFF.
ENTER FIVE OR SIX RUSTICS, ONE AFTER ANOTHER.
1 RUST. Ah me, what pitiful sight is this! help, help, help!
2 RUST. How now! what’s the matter?
1 RUST. O, here’s a man has hang’d himself, help to get him again.
2 RUST. Hang’d himself! ‘Slid, carry him afore a justice, ’tis
chance-medley, o’ my word.
3 RUST. How now, what’s here to do?
4 RUST. How comes this?
2 RUST. One has executed himself, contrary to order of law, and by my
consent he shall answer it.
[THEY CUT HIM DOWN.
5 RUST. Would he were in case to answer it!
1 RUST. Stand by, he recovers, give him breath.
5 RUST. Mass, ’twas well you went the footway, neighbour.
1 RUST. Ay, an I had not cut the halter —
SORD. How! cut the halter! ah me, I am undone, I am undone!
2 RUST. Marry, if you had not been undone, you had been hang’d. I can
SORD. You thread-bare, horse-bread-eating rascals, if you would needs have
been meddling, could you not have untied it, but you must cut it; and in
the midst too! ah me!
1 RUST. Out on me, ’tis the caterpillar Sordido! how curst are the poor,
that the viper was blest with this good fortune!
2 RUST. Nay, how accurst art thou, that art cause to the curse of the poor?
3 RUST. Ay, and to save so wretched a caitiff?
4 RUST. Curst be thy fingers that loos’d him!
2 RUST. Some desperate fury possess thee, that thou may’st hang thyself too!
5 RUST. Never may’st thou be saved, that saved so damn’d a monster!
SORD. What curses breathe these men! how have my deeds
Made my looks differ from another man’s,
That they should thus detest and loath my life!
Out on my wretched humour! it is that
Makes me thus monstrous in true humane eyes.
Pardon me, gentle friends, I’ll make fair ‘mends
For my foul errors past, and twenty-fold
Restore to all men, what with wrong I robb’d them:
My barns and garners shall stand open still
To all the poor that come, and my best grain
Be made alms-bread, to feed half-famish’d mouths.
Though hitherto amongst you I have lived,
Like an unsavoury muck-hill to myself,
Yet now my gather’d heaps being spread abroad,
Shall turn to better and more fruitful uses.
Bless then this man, curse him no more for the saving
My life and soul together. O how deeply
The bitter curses of the poor do pierce!
I am by wonder changed; come in with me
And witness my repentance: now I prove,
No life is blest, that is not graced with love.
2 RUST. O miracle! see when a man has grace!
3 RUST. Had it not been pity so good a man should have been cast away?
2 RUST. Well, I’ll get our clerk put his conversion in the ‘Acts and
4 RUST. Do, for I warrant him he’s a martyr.
2 RUST. O God, how he wept, if you mark’d it! did you see how the tears
5 RUST. Yes, believe me, like master vicar’s bowls upon the green, for all
3 RUST. O neighbour, God’s blessing o’ your heart, neighbour, ’twas a good
COR. How now, Mitis! what’s that you consider so seriously?
MIT. Troth, that which doth essentially please me, the warping condition
of this green and soggy multitude; but in good faith, signior, your author
hath largely outstript my expectation in this scene, I will liberally
confess it. For when I saw Sordido so desperately intended, I thought I
had had a hand of him, then.
COR. What! you supposed he should have hung himself indeed?
MIT. I did, and had framed my objection to it ready, which may yet be
very fitly urged, and with some necessity; for though his purposed violence
lost the effect, and extended not to death, yet the intent and horror of
the object was more than the nature of a comedy will in any sort admit.
COR. Ay! what think you of Plautus, in his comedy called ‘Cistellaria’?
there, where he brings in Alcesimarchus with a drum sword ready to kill
himself, and as he is e’en fixing his breast upon it, to be restrained from
his resolved outrage, by Silenium and the bawd? Is not his authority of
power to give our scene approbation?
MIT. Sir, I have this only evasion left me, to say, I think it be so
indeed; your memory is happier than mine: but I wonder, what engine he
will use to bring the rest out of their humours!
COR. That will appear anon, never pre-occupy your imagination withal. Let
your mind keep company with the scene still, which now removes itself from
the country to the court. Here comes Macilente, and signior Brisk freshly
suited; lose not yourself, for now the epitasis, or busy part of our
subject, is an act.
SCENE III. — AN APARTMENT AT THE COURT
ENTER MACILENTE, FASTIDIOUS, BOTH IN A NEW SUIT, AND CINEDO, WITH TOBACCO.
FAST. Well, now signior Macilente, you are not only welcome to the court,
but also to my mistress’s withdrawing chamber — Boy, get me some tobacco.
I’ll but go in, and shew I am here, and come to you presently, sir.
MACI. What’s that he said? by heaven, I mark’d him not:
My thoughts and I were of another world.
I was admiring mine own outside here,
To think what privilege and palm it bears
Here, in the court! be a man ne’er so vile,
In wit, in judgment, manners, or what else;
If he can purchase but a silken cover,
He shall not only pass, but pass regarded:
Whereas, let him be poor, and meanly clad,
Though ne’er so richly parted, you shall have
A fellow that knows nothing but his beef,
Or how to rince his clammy guts in beer,
Will take him by the shoulders, or the throat,
And kick him down the stairs. Such is the state
Of virtue in bad clothes! — ha, ha, ha, ha!
That raiment should be in such high request!
How long should I be, ere I should put off
To the lord chancellor’s tomb, or the shrives’ poste?
By heav’n, I think, a thousand, thousand year.
His gravity, his wisdom, and his faith
To my dread sovereign, graces that survive him,
These I could well endure to reverence,
But not his tomb; no more than I’d commend
The chapel organ for the gilt without,
Or this base-viol, for the varnish’d face.
FAST. I fear I have made you stay somewhat long, sir; but is my tobacco
CIN. Ay, sir.
FAST. Give me; my mistress is upon coming, you shall see her presently,
sir. [PUFFS.] You’ll say you never accosted a more piercing wit. — This
tobacco is not dried, boy, or else the pipe is defective. — Oh, your wits
of Italy are nothing comparable to her: her brain’s a very quiver of
jests, and she does dart them abroad with that sweet, loose, and judicial
aim, that you would — here she comes, sir.
[SAVIOLINA LOOKS IN, AND DRAWS BACK AGAIN.
MACI. ‘Twas time, his invention had been bogged else.
SAV. [WITHIN.] Give me my fan there.
MACI. How now, monsieur Brisk?
FAST. A kind of affectionate reverence strikes me with a cold shivering,
MACI. I like such tempers well, as stand before their mistresses with fear
and trembling; and before their Maker, like impudent mountains!
FAST. By this hand, I’d spend twenty pound my vaulting horse stood here
now, she might see do but one trick.
MACI. Why, does she love activity?
CIN. Or, if you had but your long stockings on, to be dancing a galliard
as she comes by.
FAST. Ay, either. O, these stirring humours make ladies mad with desire;
she comes. My good genius embolden me: boy, the pipe quickly.
MACI. What! will he give her music?
FAST. A second good morrow to my fair mistress.
SAV. Fair servant, I’ll thank you a day hence, when the date of your
salutation comes forth.
FAST. How like you that answer? is’t not admirable?
MACI. I were a simple courtier, if I could not admire trifles, sir.
FAST. [TALKS AND TAKES TOBACCO BETWEEN THE BREAKS.] Troth, sweet lady, I
shall [PUFFS] — be prepared to give you thanks for those thanks, and —
study more officious, and obsequious regards — to your fair beauties. —
Mend the pipe, boy.
MACI. I never knew tobacco taken as a parenthesis before.
FAST. ‘Fore God, sweet lady, believe it, I do honour the meanest rush in
this chamber for your love.
SAV. Ay, you need not tell me that, sir; I do think you do prize a rush
before my love.
MACI. Is this the wonder of nations!
FAST. O, by this air, pardon me, I said ‘for’ your love, by this light:
but it is the accustomed sharpness of your ingenuity, sweet mistress, to
[TAKES DOWNTHE VIOL, AND PLAYS] — mass, your viol’s new strung, methinks.
MACI. Ingenuity! I see his ignorance will not suffer him to slander her,
which he had done notably, if he had said wit for ingenuity, as he meant it.
FAST. By the soul of music, lady — HUM, HUM.
SAV. Would we might hear it once.
FAST. I do more adore and admire your — HUM, HUM — predominant
perfections, than — HUM, HUM — ever I shall have power and faculty to
express — HUM.
SAV. Upon the viol de gambo, you mean?
FAST. It’s miserably out of tune, by this hand.
SAV. Nay, rather by the fingers.
MACI. It makes good harmony with her wit.
FAST. Sweet lady, tune it. [SAVIOLINA TUNES THE VIOL.] — Boy, some tobacco.
MACI. Tobacco again! he does court his mistress with very exceeding good
FAST. Signior Macilente, you take none, sir?
MACI. No, unless I had a mistress, signior, it were a great indecorum for
me to take tobacco.
FAST. How like you her wit?
[TALKS AND TAKES TOBACCO BETWEEN AGAIN.
MACI. Her ingenuity is excellent, sir.
FAST. You see the subject of her sweet fingers there — Oh, she tickles it
so, that — She makes it laugh most divinely; — I’ll tell you a good jest
now, and yourself shall say it’s a good one: I have wished myself to be
that instrument, I think, a thousand times, and not so few, by heaven! —
MACI. Not unlike, sir; but how? to be cased up and hung by on the wall?
FAST. O, no, sir, to be in use, I assure you; as your judicious eyes may
SAV. Here, servant, if you will play, come.
FAST. Instantly, sweet lady. — In good faith, here’s most divine tobacco!
SAV. Nay, I cannot stay to dance after your pipe.
FAST. Good! Nay, dear lady, stay; by this sweet smoke, I think your wit
be all fire. —
MACI. And he’s the salamander belongs to it.
SAV. Is your tobacco perfumed, servant, that you swear by the sweet smoke?
FAST. Still more excellent! Before heaven, and these bright lights, I
think — you are made of ingenuity, I —
MACI. True, as your discourse is. O abominable!
FAST. Will your ladyship take any?
SAV. O peace, I pray you; I love not the breath of a woodcock’s head.
FAST. Meaning my head, lady?
SAV. Not altogether so, sir; but, as it were fatal to their follies that
think to grace themselves with taking tobacco, when they want better
entertainment, you see your pipe bears the true form of a woodcock’s head.
FAST. O admirable simile!
AV. ‘Tis best leaving of you in admiration, sir.
MACI. Are these the admired lady-wits, that having so good a plain song,
can run no better division upon it? All her jests are of the stamp March
was fifteen years ago. Is this the comet, monsieur Fastidious, that your
gallants wonder at so?
FAST. Heart of a gentleman, to neglect me afore the presence thus! Sweet
sir, I beseech you be silent in my disgrace. By the muses, I was never in
so vile a humour in my life, and her wit was at the flood too! Report it
not for a million, good sir: let me be so far endeared to your love.
MIT. What follows next, signior Cordatus? this gallant’s humour is almost
spent; methinks it ebbs apace, with this contrary breath of his mistress.
COR. O, but it will flow again for all this, till there come a general
drought of humour among our actors, and then I fear not but his will fall
as low as any. See who presents himself here!
MIT. What, in the old case?
COR. Ay, faith, which makes it the more pitiful; you understand where the
SCENE I. — A ROOM IN DELIRO’S HOUSE.
ENTER FUNGOSO, FALLACE FOLLOWING HIM.
FAL. Why are you so melancholy, brother?
FUNG. I am not melancholy, I thank you, sister.
FAL. Why are you not merry then? there are but two of us in all the
world, and if we should not be comforts one to another, God help us!
FUNG. Faith, I cannot tell, sister; but if a man had any true melancholy
in him, it would make him melancholy to see his yeomanly father cut his
neighbours’ throats, to make his son a gentleman; and yet, when he has cut
them, he will see his son’s throat cut too, ere he make him a true
gentleman indeed, before death cut his own throat. I must be the first
head of our house, and yet he will not give me the head till I be made so.
Is any man termed a gentleman, that is not always in the fashion? I would
know but that.
FAL. If you be melancholy for that, brother, I think I have as much cause
to be melancholy as any one: for I’ll be sworn, I live as little in the
fashion as any woman in London. By the faith of a gentlewoman, beast that
I am to say it! I have not one friend in the world besides my husband.
When saw you master Fastidious Brisk, brother?
FUNG. But a while since, sister, I think: I know not well in truth. By
this hand I could fight with all my heart, methinks.
FAL. Nay, good brother, be not resolute.
FUNG. I sent him a letter, and he writes me no answer neither.
FAL. Oh, sweet Fastidious Brisk! O fine courtier! thou are he makest me
sigh, and say, how blessed is that woman that hath a courtier to her
husband, and how miserable a dame she is, that hath neither husband, nor
friend in the court! O sweet Fastidious! O fine courtier! How comely he
bows him in his court’sy! how full he hits a woman between the lips when
he kisses! how upright he sits at the table! how daintily he carves! how
sweetly he talks, and tells news of this lord and of that lady! how
cleanly he wipes his spoon at every spoonful of any whitemeat he eats! and
what a neat case of pick-tooths he carries about him still! O sweet
Fastidious! O fine courtier!
ENTER DELIRO AT A DISTANCE, WITH MUSICIANS.
DELI. See, yonder she is, gentlemen. Now, as ever you’ll bear the name of
musicians, touch your instruments sweetly; she has a delicate ear, I tell
you: play not a false note, I beseech you.
MUSI. Fear not, signior Deliro.
DELI. O, begin, begin, some sprightly thing: lord, how my imagination
labours with the success of it! [THEY STRIKE UP A LIVELY TUNE.] Well
said, good i’faith! Heaven grant it please her. I’ll not be seen, for
then she’ll be sure to dislike it.
FAL. Hey — da! this is excellent! I’ll lay my life this is my husband’s
dotage. I thought so; nay, never play bo-peep with me; I know you do
nothing but study how to anger me, sir.
DELI. [COMING FORWARD.] Anger thee, sweet wife! why, didst thou not send
for musicians at supper last night thyself?
FAL. To supper, sir! now, come up to supper, I beseech you: as though
there were no difference between supper-time, when folks should be merry,
and this time when they should be melancholy. I would never take upon me
to take a wife, if I had no more judgment to please her.
DELI. Be pleased, sweet wife, and they shall have done; and would to fate
my life were done, if I can never please thee!
MACI. Save you lady; where is master Deliro?
DELI. Here, master Macilente: you are welcome from court, sir; no doubt
you have been graced exceedingly of master Brisk’s mistress, and the rest
of the ladies for his sake.
MACI. Alas, the poor fantastic! he’s scarce known
To any lady there; and those that know him,
Know him the simplest man of all they know:
Deride, and play upon his amorous humours,
Though he but apishly doth imitate
The gallant’st courtiers, kissing ladies’ pumps,
Holding the cloth for them, praising their wits,
And servilely observing every one
May do them pleasure: fearful to be seen
With any man, though he be ne’er so worthy,
That’s not in grace with some that are the greatest.
Thus courtiers do, and these he counterfeits,
But sets no such a sightly carriage
Upon their vanities, as they themselves;
And therefore they despise him: for indeed
He’s like the zany to a tumbler,
That tries tricks after him, to make men laugh.
FAL. Here’s an unthankful spiteful wretch! the good gentleman vouchsafed
to make him his companion, because my husband put him into a few rags, and
now see how the unrude rascal backbites him!
DELI. Is he no more graced amongst them then, say you?
MACI. Faith, like a pawn at chess: fills up a room, that’s all.
FAL. O monster of men! can the earth bear such an envious caitiff?
DELI. Well, I repent me I ever credited him so much: but now I see what
he is, and that his masking vizor is off, I’ll forbear him no longer. All
his lands are mortgaged to me, and forfeited; besides, I have bonds of his
in my hand, for the receipt of now fifty pounds now a hundred, now two
hundred; still, as he has had a fan but wagged at him, he would be in a new
suit. Well, I’ll salute him by a serjeant, the next time I see him
i’faith, I’ll suit him.
MACI. Why, you may soon see him sir, for he is to meet signior Puntarvolo
at a notary’s by the Exchange, presently; where he meant to take up, upon
FAL. Now, out upon thee, Judas! canst thou not be content to backbite thy
friend, but thou must betray him! Wilt thou seek the undoing of any man?
and of such a man too? and will you, sir, get your living by the counsel
DELI. Dear wife, have patience.
FAL. The house will fall, the ground will open and swallow us: I’ll not
bide here for all the gold and silver in heaven.
[EXIT WITH FUNGOSO.
DELI. O, good Macilente, let’s follow and appease her, or the peace of my
life is at an end.
MACI. Now pease, and not peace, feed that life, whose head hangs so
heavily over a woman’s manger!
SCENE II. — ANOTHER ROOM IN THE SAME.
ENTER FALLACE AND FUNGOSO RUNNING; SHE CLAPS TO THE DOOR.
FAL. Help me, brother! Ods body, an you come here I’ll do myself a mischief.
DELI. [WITHIN.] Nay, hear me, sweet wife; unless thou wilt have me go, I
will not go.
FAL. Tut, you shall never have that vantage of me, to say, you are undone
by me. I’ll not bid you stay, I. Brother, sweet brother, here’s four
angels, I’ll give you towards your suit: for the love of gentry, and as
ever you came of Christian creature, make haste to the water side, (you
know where master Fastidious uses to land,) and give him warning of my
husband’s malicious intent; and tell him of that lean rascal’s treachery.
O heavens, how my flesh rises at him! Nay, sweet brother, make haste: you
may say, I would have writ to him, but that the necessity of the time would
not permit. He cannot choose but take it extraordinarily from me: and
commend me to him, good brother; say, I sent you.
FUNG. Let me see, these four angels, and then forty shillings more I can
borrow on my gown in Fetter Lane. — Well, I will go presently, say on my
suit, pay as much money as I have, and swear myself into credit with my
tailor for the rest.
SCENE III. — ANOTHER ROOM IN THE SAME.
ENTER DELIRO AND MACILENTE.
DELI. O, on my soul you wrong her, Macilente. Though she be froward, yet
I know she is honest.
MACI. Well, then have I no judgment. Would any woman, but one that were
wild in her affections, have broke out into that immodest and violent
passion against her husband? or is’t possible —
DELI. If you love me, forbear; all the arguments i’ the world shall never
wrest my heart to believe it.
COR. How like you the deciphering of his dotage?
MIT. O, strangely: an of the other’s envy too, that labours so seriously
to set debate betwixt a man and his wife. Stay, here comes the knight
COR. Ay, and his scrivener with him.
SCENE IV. — PUNTARVOLO’S LODGINGS.
ENTER PUNTARVOLO, NOTARY, AND SERVANTS WITH THE DOG AND CAT.
PUNT. I wonder monsieur Fastidious comes not! But, notary, if thou please
to draw the indentures the while, I will give thee thy instructions.
NOT. With all my heart, sir; and I’ll fall in hand with them presently.
PUNT. Well then, first the sum is to be understood.
NOT. [WRITES.] Good, sir.
PUNT. Next, our several appellations, and character of my dog and cat,
must be known. Shew him the cat, sirrah.
NOT. So, sir.
PUNT. Then, that the intended bound is the Turk’s court in Constantinople;
the time limited for our return, a year; and that if either of us miscarry,
the whole venture is lost. These are general, conceiv’st thou? or if
either of us turn Turk.
NOT. Ay, sir.
PUNT. Now, for particulars: that I may make my travels by sea or land, to
my best liking; and that hiring a coach for myself, it shall be lawful for
my dog or cat, or both, to ride with me in the said coach.
NOT. Very good, sir.
PUNT. That I may choose to give my dog or cat, fish, for fear of bones; or
any other nutriment that, by the judgment of the most authentical
physicians where I travel, shall be thought dangerous.
NOT. Well, sir.
PUNT. That, after the receipt of his money, he shall neither, in his own
person, nor any other, either by direct or indirect means, as magic,
witchcraft, or other such exotic arts, attempt, practise, or complot any
thing to the prejudice of me, my dog, or my cat: neither shall I use the
help of any such sorceries or enchantments, as unctions to make our skins
impenetrable, or to travel invisible by virtue of a powder, or a ring, or
to hang any three-forked charm about my dog’s neck, secretly conveyed into
his collar; (understand you?) but that all be performed sincerely, without
fraud or imposture.
NOT. So, sir.
PUNT. That, for testimony of the performance, myself am to bring thence a
Turk’s mustachio, my dog a Grecian hare’s lips, and my cat the train or
tail of a Thracian rat.
NOT. [WRITES.] ‘Tis done, sir.
PUNT. ‘Tis said, sir; not done, sir. But forward; that, upon my return,
and landing on the Tower-wharf, with the aforesaid testimony, I am to
receive five for one, according to the proportion of the sums put forth.
NOT. Well, sir.
PUNT. Provided, that if before our departure, or setting forth, either
myself or these be visited with sickness, or any other casual event, so
that the whole course of the adventure be hindered thereby, that then he is
to return, and I am to receive the prenominated proportion upon fair and
NOT. Very good, sir; is this all?
PUNT. It is all, sir; and dispatch them, good notary.
NOT. As fast as is possible, sir.
PUNT. O Carlo! welcome: saw you monsieur Brisk?
CAR. Not I: did he appoint you to meet here?
PUNT. Ay, and I muse he should be so tardy; he is to take an hundred
pounds of me in venture, if he maintain his promise.
CAR. Is his hour past?
PUNT. Not yet, but it comes on apace.
CAR. Tut, be not jealous of him; he will sooner break all the
commandments, than his hour; upon my life, in such a case trust him.
PUNT. Methinks, Carlo, you look very smooth, ha!
CAR. Why, I came but now from a hot-house; I must needs look smooth.
PUNT. From a hot-house!
CAR. Ay, do you make a wonder on’t? why, it is your only physic. Let a
man sweat once a week in a hot-house, and be well rubb’d, and froted, with
a good plump juicy wench, and sweet linen, he shall ne’er have the pox.
PUNT. What, the French pox?
CAR. The French pox! out pox: we have them in as good a form as they,
PUNT. Let me perish, but thou art a salt one! was your new-created
gallant there with you, Sogliardo?
CAR. O porpoise! hang him, no: he’s a leiger at Horn’s ordinary, yonder;
his villainous Ganymede and he have been droning a tobacco-pipe there ever
since yesterday noon.
PUNT. Who? signior Tripartite, that would give my dog the whiffe?
CAR. Ay, he. They have hired a chamber and all, private, to practise in,
for the making of the patoun, the receipt reciprocal, and a number of other
mysteries not yet extant. I brought some dozen or twenty gallants this
morning to view them, as you’d do a piece of perspective, in at a key-hole;
and there we might see Sogliardo sit in a chair, holding his snout up like
a sow under an apple-tree, while the other open’d his nostrils with a
poking-stick, to give the smoke a more free delivery. They had spit some
three or fourscore ounces between ’em, afore we came away.
PUNT. How! spit three or fourscore ounces?
CAR. Ay, and preserv’d it in porrengers, as a barber does his blood, when
he opens a vein.
PUNT. Out, pagan! how dost thou open the vein of thy friend?
CAR. Friend! is there any such foolish thing in the world, ha? ‘slid I
never relished it yet.
PUNT. Thy humour is the more dangerous.
CAR. No, not a whit, signior. Tut, a man must keep time in all; I can oil
my tongue when I meet him next, and look with a good sleek forehead; ’twill
take away all soil of suspicion, and that’s enough: what Lynceus can see
my heart? Pish, the title of a friend! it’s a vain, idle thing, only
venerable among fools; you shall not have one that has any opinion of wit
ENTER DELIRO AND MACILENTE.
DELI. Save you, good sir Puntarvolo.
PUNT. Signior Deliro! welcome.
DELI. Pray you, sir, did you see master Fastidious Brisk? I heard he was
to meet your worship here.
PUNT. You heard no figment, sir; I do expect him at every pulse of my watch.
DELI. In good time, sir.
CAR. There’s a fellow now looks like one of the patricians of Sparta;
marry, his wit’s after ten i’ the hundred: a good bloodhound, a
close-mouthed dog, he follows the scent well; marry, he’s at fault now,
PUNT. I should wonder at that creature is free from the danger of thy tongue.
CAR. O, I cannot abide these limbs of satin, or rather Satan indeed, that
will walk, like the children of darkness, all day in a melancholy shop,
with their pockets full of blanks, ready to swallow up as many poor
unthrifts as come within the verge.
PUNT. So! and what hast thou for him that is with him, now?
CAR. O, d—n me! immortality! I’ll not meddle with him; the pure element
of fire, all spirit, extraction.
PUNT. How, Carlo! ha, what is he, man?
CAR. A scholar, Macilente; do you not know him? a rank, raw-boned
anatomy, he walks up and down like a charged musket, no man dares encounter
him: that’s his rest there.
PUNT. His rest! why, has he a forked head?
CAR. Pardon me, that’s to be suspended; you are too quick, too apprehensive.
DELI. Troth, now I think on’t, I’ll defer it till some other time.
MACI. Not by any means, signior, you shall not lose this opportunity, he
will be here presently now.
DELI. Yes, faith, Macilente, ’tis best. For, look you, sir, I shall so
exceedingly offend my wife in’t, that —
MACI. Your wife! now for shame lose these thoughts, and become the master
of your own spirits. Should I, if I had a wife, suffer myself to be thus
passionately carried to and fro with the stream of her humour, and neglect
my deepest affairs, to serve her affections? ‘Slight, I would geld myself
DELI. O, but signior, had you such a wife as mine is, you would —
MACI. Such a wife! Now hate me, sir, if ever I discern’d any wonder in
your wife yet, with all the speculation I have: I have seen some that have
been thought fairer than she, in my time; and I have seen those, have not
been altogether so tall, esteem’d properer women; and I have seen less
noses grow upon sweeter faces, that have done very well too, in my
judgment. But in good faith, signior, for all this, the gentlewoman is a
good, pretty, proud, hard-favour’d thing, marry not so peerlessly to be
doted upon, I must confess: nay, be not angry.
DELI. Well, sir, however you please to forget yourself, I have not
deserv’d to be thus played upon; but henceforth, pray you forbear my house,
for I can but faintly endure the savour of his breath, at my table, that
shall thus jade me for my courtesies.
MACI. Nay, then, signior, let me tell you, your wife is no proper woman,
and by my life, I suspect her honesty, that’s more, which you may likewise
suspect, if you please, do you see? I’ll urge you to nothing against your
appetite, but if you please, you may suspect it.
DELI. Good sir.
MACI. Good, sir! now horn upon horn pursue thee, thou blind, egregious
CAR. O, you shall hear him speak like envy. — Signior Macilente, you saw
monsieur Brisk lately: I heard you were with him at court.
MACI. Ay, Buffone, I was with him.
CAR. And how is he respected there? I know you’ll deal ingenuously with
us; is he made much of amongst the sweeter sort of gallants?
MACI. Faith, ay; his civet and his casting-glass
Have helpt him to a place amongst the rest:
And there, his seniors give him good slight looks,
After their garb, smile, and salute in French
With some new compliment.
CAR. What, is this all?
MACI. Why say, that they should shew the frothy fool
Such grace as they pretend comes from the heart,
He had a mighty windfall out of doubt!
Why, all their graces are not to do grace
To virtue or desert; but to ride both
With their gilt spurs quite breathless, from themselves.
‘Tis now esteem’d precisianism in wit,
And a disease in nature, to be kind
Toward desert, to love or seek good names.
Who feeds with a good name? who thrives with loving?
Who can provide feast for his own desires,
With serving others? — ha, ha, ha!
‘Tis folly, by our wisest worldlings proved,
If not to gain by love, to be beloved.
CAR. How like you him? is’t not a good spiteful slave, ha?
PUNT. Shrewd, shrewd.
CAR. D—n me! I could eat his flesh now; divine sweet villain!
MACI. Nay, prithee leave: What’s he there?
CAR. Who? this in the starched beard? it’s the dull stiff knight
Puntarvolo, man; he’s to travel now presently: he has a good knotty wit;
marry, he carries little on’t out of the land with him.
MACI. How then?
CAR. He puts it forth in venture, as he does his money upon the return of
a dog and cat.
MACI. Is this he?
CAR. Ay, this is he; a good tough gentleman: he looks like a shield of
brawn at Shrove-tide, out of date, and ready to take his leave; or a dry
pole of ling upon Easter-eve, that has furnish’d the table all Lent, as he
has done the city this last vacation.
MACI. Come, you’ll never leave your stabbing similes: I shall have you
aiming at me with ’em by and by; but —
CAR. O, renounce me then! pure, honest, good devil, I love thee above the
love of women: I could e’en melt in admiration of thee, now. Ods so, look
here, man; Sir Dagonet and his squire!
ENTER SOGLIARDO AND SHIFT.
SOG. Save you, my dear gallantos: nay, come, approach, good cavalier:
prithee, sweet knight, know this gentleman, he’s one that it pleases me to
use as my good friend and companion; and therefore do him good offices: I
beseech you, gentles, know him, I know him all over.
PUNT. Sir, for signior Sogliardo’s sake, let it suffice, I know you.
SOG. Why, as I am a gentleman, I thank you, knight, and it shall suffice.
Hark you, sir Puntarvolo, you’d little think it; he’s as resolute a piece
of flesh as any in the world.
PUNT. Indeed, sir!
SOG. Upon my gentility, sir: Carlo, a word with you; do you see that same
CAR. What, cavalier Shirt?
SOG. O, you know him; cry you mercy: before me, I think him the tallest
man living within the walls of Europe.
CAR. The walls of Europe! take heed what you say, signior, Europe’s a
huge thing within the walls.
SOG. ‘Tut, an ’twere as huge again, I’d justify what I speak. ‘Slid, he
swagger’d even now in a place where we were — I never saw a man do it more
CAR. Nay, indeed, swaggering is a good argument of resolution. Do you
hear this, signior?
MACI. Ay, to my grief. O, that such muddy flags,
For every drunken flourish should achieve
The name of manhood, whilst true perfect valour,
Hating to shew itself, goes by despised!
Heart! I do know now, in a fair just cause,
I dare do more than he, a thousand times;
Why should not they take knowledge of this, ha!
And give my worth allowance before his?
Because I cannot swagger. — Now, the pox
Light on your Pickt-hatch prowess!
SOG. Why, I tell you, sir; he has been the only ‘Bid-stand’ that ever kept
New-market, Salisbury-plain, Hockley i’ the Hole, Gadshill, and all the
high places of any request: he has had his mares and his geldings, he,
have been worth forty, threescore, a hundred pound a horse, would ha’
sprung you over the hedge and ditch like your greyhound: he has done five
hundred robberies in his time, more or less, I assure you.
PUNT. What, and scaped?
SOG. Scaped! i’faith, ay: he has broken the gaol when he has been in
irons and irons; and been out and in again; and out, and in; forty times,
and not so few, he.
MACI. A fit trumpet, to proclaim such a person.
CAR. But can this be possible?
SHIFT. Pardon me, my dear Orestes; causes have their quiddits, and ’tis
ill jesting with bell-ropes.
CAR. How! Pylades and Orestes?
SOG. Ay, he is my Pylades, and I am his Orestes: how like you the conceit?
CAR. O, ’tis an old stale interlude device; no, I’ll give you names
myself, look you; he shall be your Judas, and you shall be his elder-tree
to hang on.
MACI. Nay, rather let him be captain Pod, and this his motion: for he
does nothing but shew him.
CAR. Excellent: or thus; you shall be Holden, and he your camel.
SHIFT. You do not mean to ride, gentlemen?
PUNT. Faith, let me end it for you, gallants: you shall be his
Countenance, and he your Resolution.
SOG. Troth, that’s pretty: how say you, cavalier, shall it be so?
CAR. Ay, ay, most voices.
SHIFT. Faith, I am easily yielding to any good impressions.
SOG. Then give hands, good Resolution.
CAR. Mass, he cannot say, good Countenance, now, properly, to him again.
PUNT. Yes, by an irony.
MACI. O, sir, the countenance of Resolution should, as he is, be
altogether grim and unpleasant.
ENTER FASTIDIOUS BRISK.
FAST. Good hours make music with your mirth, gentlemen, and keep time to
your humours! — How now, Carlo?
PUNT. Monsieur Brisk? many a long look have I extended for you, sir.
FAST. Good faith, I must crave pardon: I was invited this morning, ere I
was out of my bed, by a bevy of ladies, to a banquet: whence it was almost
one of Hercules’s labours for me to come away,
but that the respect of my promise did so prevail with me. I know they’ll
take it very ill, especially one, that gave me this bracelet of her hair
but over night, and this pearl another gave me from her forehead, marry she
— what! are the writings ready?
PUNT. I will send my man to know. Sirrah, go you to the notary’s, and
learn if he be ready: leave the dog, sir.
FAST. And how does my rare qualified friend, Sogliardo? Oh, signior
Macilente! by these eyes, I saw you not; I had saluted you sooner else, o’
my troth. I hope, sir, I may presume upon you, that you will not divulge
my late check, or disgrace, indeed, sir.
MACI. You may, sir.
CAR. He knows some notorious jest by this gull, that he hath him so
SOG. Monsieur Fastidious, do you see this fellow there? does he not look
like a clown? would you think there were any thing in him?
FAST. Any thing in him! beshrew me, ay; the fellow hath a good ingenious
SOG. By this element he is as ingenious a tall man as ever swagger’d about
London: he, and I, call Countenance and Resolution; but his name is
PUNT. Cavalier, you knew signior Clog, that was hang’d for the robbery at
Harrow on the hill?
SOG. Knew him, sir! why, ’twas he gave all the directions for the action.
PUNT. How! was it your project, sir?
SHIFT. Pardon me, Countenance, you do me some wrong to make occasions
public, which I imparted to you in private.
SOG. God’s will! here are none but friends, Resolution.
SHIFT. That’s all one; things of consequence must have their respects;
where, how, and to whom. — Yes, sir, he shewed himself a true Clog in the
coherence of that affair, sir; for, if he had managed matters as they were
corroborated to him, it had been better for him by a forty or fifty score
of pounds, sir; and he himself might have lived, in despight of fates, to
have fed on woodcocks, with the rest: but it was his heavy fortune to
sink, poor Clog! and therefore talk no more of him.
PUNT. Why, had he more aiders then?
SOG. O lord, sir! ay, there were some present there, that were the Nine
Worthies to him, i’faith.
SHIFT. Ay, sir, I can satisfy you at more convenient conference: but, for
mine own part, I have now reconciled myself to other courses, and profess a
living out of my other qualities.
SOG. Nay, he has left all now, I assure you, and is able to live like a
gentleman, by his qualities. By this dog, he has the most rare gift in
tobacco that ever you knew.
CAR. He keeps more ado with this monster, than ever Banks did with his
horse, or the fellow with the elephant.
MACI. He will hang out his picture shortly, in a cloth, you shall see.
SOG. O, he does manage a quarrel the best that ever you saw, for terms and
FAST. Good faith, signior, now you speak of a quarrel, I’ll acquaint you
with a difference that happened between a gallant and myself; sir
Puntarvolo, you know him if I should name him signior Luculento.
PUNT. Luculento! what inauspicious chance interposed itself to your two
FAST. Faith, sir, the same that sundered Agamemnon and great Thetis’ son;
but let the cause escape, sir: he sent me a challenge, mixt with some few
braves, which I restored, and in fine we met. Now, indeed, sir, I must
tell you, he did offer at first very desperately, but without judgment:
for, look you, sir, I cast myself into this figure; now he comes violently
on, and withal advancing his rapier to strike, I thought to have took his
arm, for he had left his whole body to my election, and I was sure he could
not recover his guard. Sir, I mist my purpose in his arm, rash’d his
doublet-sleeve, ran him close by the left cheek, and through his hair. He
again lights me here, — I had on a gold cable hatband, then new come up,
which I wore about a murey French hat I had, — cuts my hatband, and yet it
was massy goldsmith’s work, cuts my brims, which by good fortune, being
thick embroidered with gold twist and spangles, disappointed the force of
the blow: nevertheless, it grazed on my shoulder, takes me away six purls
of an Italian cut-work band I wore, cost me three pound in the Exchange but
three days before.
PUNT. This was a strange encounter.
FAST. Nay, you shall hear, sir: with this we both fell out, and breath’d.
Now, upon the second sign of his assault, I betook me to the former manner
of my defence; he, on the other side, abandon’d his body to the same danger
as before, and follows me still with blows: but I being loth to take the
deadly advantage that lay before me of his left side, made a kind of
stramazoun, ran him up to the hilts through the doublet, through the shirt,
and yet miss’d the skin. He, making a reverse blow, — falls upon my
emboss’d girdle, I had thrown off the hangers a little before — strikes
off a skirt of a thick-laced satin doublet I had, lined with four taffatas,
cuts off two panes embroidered with pearl, rends through the drawings-out
of tissue, enters the linings, and skips the flesh.
CAR. I wonder he speaks not of his wrought shirt.
FAST. Here, in the opinion of mutual damage, we paused; but, ere I
proceed, I must tell you, signior, that, in this last encounter, not having
leisure to put off my silver spurs, one of the rowels catch’d hold of the
ruffle of my boot, and, being Spanish leather, and subject to tear,
overthrows me, rends me two pair of silk stockings, that I put on, being
somewhat a raw morning, a peach colour and another, and strikes me some
half inch deep into the side of the calf: he, seeing the blood come,
presently takes horse, and away: I, having bound up my wound with a piece
of my wrought shirt —
CAR. O! comes it in there?
FAST. Rid after him, and, lighting at the court gate both together,
embraced, and march’dhand in hand up into the presence. Was not this
business well carried?
MACI. Well! yes, and by this we can guess what apparel the gentleman wore.
PUNT. ‘Fore valour, it was a designment begun with much resolution,
maintain’d with as much prowess, and ended with more humanity. —
How now, what says the notary?
SERV. He says, he is ready, sir; he stays but your worship’s pleasure.
PUNT. Come, we will go to him, monsieur. Gentlemen, shall we entreat you
to be witnesses?
SOG. You shall entreat me, sir. — Come, Resolution.
SHIFT. I follow you, good Countenance.
CAR. Come, signior, come, come.
[EXEUNT ALL BUT MACILENTE.
MACI. O, that there should be fortune
To clothe these men, so naked in desert!
And that the just storm of a wretched life
Beats them not ragged for their wretched souls,
And, since as fruitless, even as black, as coals!
MIT. Why, but signior, how comes it that Fungoso appeared not with his
sister’s intelligence to Brisk?
COR. Marry, long of the evil angels that she gave him, who have indeed
tempted the good simple youth to follow the tail of the fashion, and
neglect the imposition of his friends. Behold, here he comes, very
worshipfully attended, and with good variety.
SCENE V. — A ROOM IN DELIRO’S HOUSE
ENTER FUNGOSO IN A NEW SUIT, FOLLOWED BY HIS TAILOR, SHOEMAKER, AND
FUNG. Gramercy, good shoemaker, I’ll put to strings myself..
[EXIT SHOEMAKER.] — Now, sir, let me see, what must you have for this hat?
HABE. Here’s the bill, sir.
FUNG. How does it become me, well?
TAI. Excellent, sir, as ever you had any hat in your life.
FUNG. Nay, you’ll say so all.
HABE. In faith, sir, the hat’s as good as any man in this town can serve
you, and will maintain fashion as long; never trust me for a groat else.
FUNG. Does it apply well to my suit?
TAI. Exceeding well, sir.
FUNG. How lik’st thou my suit, haberdasher?
HABE. By my troth, sir, ’tis very rarely well made; I never saw a suit sit
better, I can tell on.
TAI. Nay, we have no art to please our friends, we!
FUNG. Here, haberdasher, tell this same.
[GIVES HIM MONEY.
HABE. Good faith, sir, it makes you have an excellent body.
FUNG. Nay, believe me, I think I have as good a body in clothes as another.
TAI. You lack points to bring your apparel together, sir.
FUNG. I’ll have points anon. How now! Is’t right?
HABE. Faith, sir, ’tis too little’ but upon farther hopes — Good morrow
to you, sir.
FUNG. Farewell, good haberdasher. Well now, master Snip, let me see your
MIT. Me thinks he discharges his followers too thick.
COR. O, therein he saucily imitates some great man. I warrant you, though
he turns off them, he keeps this tailor, in place of a page, to follow him
FUNG. This bill is very reasonable, in faith: hark you, master Snip —
Troth, sir, I am not altogether so well furnished at this present, as I
could wish I were; but — if you’ll do me the favour to take part in hand,
you shall have all I have, by this hand.
TAI. Sir —
FUNG. And but give me credit for the rest, till the beginning of the next
TAI. O lord, sir —
FUNG. ‘Fore God, and by this light, I’ll pay you to the utmost, and
acknowledge myself very deeply engaged to you by the courtesy.
TAI. Why, how much have you there, sir?
FUNG. Marry, I have here four angels, and fifteen shillings of white
money: it’s all I have, as I hope to be blest
TAI. You will not fail me at the next term with the rest?
FUNG. No, an I do, pray heaven I be hang’d. Let me never breathe again
upon this mortal stage, as the philosopher calls it! By this air, and as I
am a gentleman, I’ll hold.
COR. He were an iron-hearted fellow, in my judgment, that would not credit
him upon this volley of oaths.
TAI. Well, sir, I’ll not stick with any gentleman for a trifle: you know
what ’tis remains?
FUNG. Ay, sir, and I give you thanks in good faith. O fate, how happy I
am made in this good fortune! Well, now I’ll go seek out monsieur Brisk.
‘Ods so, I have forgot riband for my shoes, and points. ‘Slid, what luck’s
this! how shall I do? Master Snip, pray let me reduct some two or three
shillings for points and ribands: as I am an honest man, I have utterly
disfurnished myself, in the default of memory; pray let me be beholding to
you; it shall come home in the bill, believe me.
TAI. Faith, sir, I can hardly depart with ready money; but I’ll take up,
and send you some by my boy presently. What coloured riband would you have?
FUNG. What you shall think meet in your judgment, sir, to my suit.
TAI. Well, I’ll send you some presently.
FUNG. And points too, sir?
TAI. And points too, sir.
FUNG. Good lord, how shall I study to deserve this kindness of you sir!
Pray let your youth make haste, for I should have done a business an hour
since, that I doubt I shall come too late.
Now, in good faith, I am exceeding proud of my suit.
COR. Do you observe the plunges that this poor gallant is put to, signior,
to purchase the fashion?
MIT. Ay, and to be still a fashion behind with the world, that’s the sport.
COR. Stay: O, here they come from seal’d and deliver’d.
SCENE VI. — PUNTARVOLO’S LODGINGS.
ENTER PUNTARVOLO, FASTIDIOUS BRISK IN A NEW SUIT, AND SERVANTS WITH THE DOG.
PUNT. Well, now my whole venture is forth, I will resolve to depart shortly.
FAST. Faith, sir Puntarvolo, go to the court, and take leave of the ladies
PUNT. I care not, if it be this afternoon’s labour. Where is Carlo?
FAST. Here he comes.
ENTER CARLO, SOGLIARDO, SHIFT, AND MACILENTE.
CAR. Faith, gallants, I am persuading this gentleman [POINTS TO SOGLIARDO]
to turn courtier. He is a man of fair revenue, and his estate will bear
the charge well. Besides, for his other gifts of the mind, or so, why they
are as nature lent him them, pure, simple, without any artificial drug or
mixture of these two threadbare beggarly qualities, learning and knowledge,
and therefore the more accommodate and genuine. Now, for the life itself —
FAST. O, the most celestial, and full of wonder and delight, that can be
imagined, signior, beyond thought and apprehension of pleasure! A man
lives there in that divine rapture, that he will think himself i’ the ninth
heaven for the time, and lose all sense of mortality whatsoever, when he
shall behold such glorious, and almost immortal beauties; hear such
angelical and harmonious voices, discourse with such flowing and ambrosial
spirits, whose wits are as sudden as lightning, and humorous as nectar; oh,
it makes a man all quintessence and flame, and lifts him up, in a moment,
to the very crystal crown of the sky, where, hovering in the strength of
his imagination, he shall behold all the delights of the Hesperides, the
Insulae Fortunatae, Adonis’ Gardens, Tempe, or what else, confined within
the amplest verge of poesy, to be mere umbrae, and imperfect figures,
conferred with the most essential felicity of your court.
MACI. Well, this ecomium was not extemporal, it came too perfectly off.
CAR. Besides, sir, you shall never need to go to a hot-house, you shall
sweat there with courting your mistress, or losing your money at primero,
as well as in all the stoves in Sweden. Marry, this, sir, you must ever be
sure to carry a good strong perfume about you, that your mistress’s dog may
smell you out amongst the rest; and, in making love to her, never fear to
be out; for you may have a pipe of tobacco, or a bass viol shall hang o’
the wall, of purpose, will put you in presently. The tricks your
Resolution has taught you in tobacco, the whiffe, and those sleights, will
stand you in very good ornament there.
FAST. Ay, to some, perhaps; but, an he should come to my mistress with
tobacco (this gentleman knows) she’d reply upon him, i’faith. O, by this
bright sun, she has the most acute, ready, and facetious wit that — tut,
there’s no spirit able to stand her. You can report it, signior, you have
PUNT. Then can he report no less, out of his judgment, I assure him.
MACI. Troth, I like her well enough, but she’s too self-conceited, methinks.
FAST. Ay, indeed, she’s a little too self-conceited; an ’twere not for
that humour, she were the most-to-be-admired lady in the world.
PUNT. Indeed, it is a humour that takes from her other excellences.
MACI. Why, it may easily be made to forsake her, in my thought.
FAST. Easily, sir! then are all impossibilities easy.
MACI. You conclude too quick upon me, signior. What will you say, if I
make it so perspicuously appear now, that yourself shall confess nothing
FAST. Marry, I will say, I will both applaud and admire you for it.
PUNT. And I will second him in the admiration.
MACI. Why, I’ll show you, gentlemen. — Carlo, come hither.
[MACI., CAR., PUNT., AND FAST. WHISPER TOGETHER.
SOG. Good faith, I have a great humour to the court. What thinks my
Resolution? shall I adventure?
SHIFT. Troth, Countenance, as you please; the place is a place of good
reputation and capacity.
SOG. O, my tricks in tobacco, as Carlo says, will show excellent there.
SHIFT. Why, you may go with these gentlemen now, and see fashions; and
after, as you shall see correspondence.
SOG. You say true. You will go with me, Resolution?
SHIFT. I will meet you, Countenance, about three or four o’clock; but, to
say to go with you, I cannot; for, as I am Apple-John, I am to go before
the cockatrice you saw this morning, and therefore pray, present me
excused, good Countenance.
SOG. Farewell, good Resolution, but fail not to meet.
SHIFT. As I live.
PUNT. Admirably excellent!
MACI. If you can but persuade Sogliardo to court, there’s all now.
CAR. O, let me alone, that’s my task.
[GOES TO SOGLIARDO.
FAST. Now, by wit, Macilente, it’s above measure excellent; ’twill be the
only court-exploit that ever proved courtier ingenious.
PUNT. Upon my soul, it puts the lady quite out of her humour, and we shall
laugh with judgment.
CAR. Come, the gentleman was of himself resolved to go with you, afore I
MACI. Why, then, gallants, you two and Carlo go afore to prepare the jest;
Sogliardo and I will come some while after you.
CAR. Pardon me, I am not for the court.
PUNT. That’s true; Carlo comes not at court, indeed. Well, you shall
leave it to the faculty of monsieur Brisk, and myself; upon our lives, we
will manage it happily. Carlo shall bespeak supper at the Mitre, against
we come back: where we will meet and dimple our cheeks with laughter at
CAR. Ay, but will you promise to come?
PUNT. Myself shall undertake for them; he that fails, let his reputation
lie under the lash of thy tongue.
CAR. Ods so, look who comes here!
SOG. What, nephew!
FUNG. Uncle, God save you; did you see a gentleman, one monsieur Brisk, a
courtier? he goes in such a suit as I do.
SOG. Here is the gentleman, nephew, but not in such a suit.
FUNG. Another suit!
SOG. How now, nephew?
FAST. Would you speak with me, sir?
CAR. Ay, when he has recovered himself, poor Poll!
PUNT. Some rosa-solis.
MACI. How now, signior?
FUNG. I am not well, sir.
MACI. Why, this it is to dog the fashion.
CAR. Nay, come, gentlemen, remember your affairs; his disease is nothing
but the flux of apparel.
PUNT. Sirs, return to the lodging, keep the cat safe; I’ll be the dog’s
SOG. Nephew, will you go to court with us? these gentlemen and I are for
the court; nay, be not so melancholy.
FUNG. ‘Slid, I think no man in Christendom has that rascally fortune that
MACI. Faith, you suit is well enough, signior.
FUNG. Nay, not for that, I protest; but I had an errand to monsieur
Fastidious, and I have forgot it.
MACI. Why, go along to court with us, and remember it; come, gentlemen,
you three take one boat, and Sogliardo and I will take another; we shall be
FAST. Content: good sir, vouchsafe us your pleasance.
PUNT. Farewell, Carlo: remember.
CAR. I warrant you: would I had one of Kemp’s shoes to throw after you.
PUNT. Good fortune will close the eyes of our jest, fear not; and we shall
MIT. This Macilente, signior, begins to be more sociable on a sudden,
methinks, than he was before: there’s some portent in it, I believe.
COR. O, he’s a fellow of a strange nature. Now does he, in this calm of
his humour, plot, and store up a world of malicious thoughts in his brain,
till he is so full with them, that you shall see the very torrent of his
envy break forth like a land-flood: and, against the course of all their
affections, oppose itself so violently, that you will almost have wonder to
think, how ’tis possible the current of their dispositions shall receive so
quick and strong an alteration.
MIT. Ay, marry, sir, this is that, on which my expectation has dwelt all
this while; for I must tell you, signior, though I was loth to interrupt
the scene, yet I made it a question in mine own private discourse, how he
should properly call it “Every Man out of his Humour”, when I saw all his
actors so strongly pursue, and continue their humours?
COR. Why, therein his art appears most full of lustre, and approacheth
nearest the life; especially when in the flame and height of their humours,
they are laid flat, it fills the eye better, and with more contentment.
How tedious a sight were it to behold a proud exalted tree kept and cut
down by degrees, when it might be fell’d in a moment! and to set the axe
to it before it came to that pride and fulness, were, as not to have it
MIT. Well, I shall long till I see this fall, you talk of.
COR. To help your longing, signior, let your imagination be swifter than a
pair of oars: and by this, suppose Puntarvolo, Brisk, Fungoso, and the
dog, arrived at the court-gate, and going up to the great chamber.
Macilente and Sogliardo, we’ll leave them on the water, till possibility
and natural means may land them. Here come the gallants, now prepare your
SCENE I. — THE PALACE STAIRS.
ENTER PUNTARVOLO, WITH HIS DOG, FOLLOWED BY FASTIDIOUS
BRISK AND FUNGOSO.
PUNT. Come, gentles, Signior, you are sufficiently instructed.
FAST. Who, I, sir?
PUNT. No, this gentleman. But stay, I take thought how to bestow my dog;
he is no competent attendant for the presence.
FAST. Mass, that’s true, indeed, knight; you must not carry him into the
PUNT. I know it, and I, like a dull beast, forgot to bring one of my
cormorants to attend me.
FAST. Why, you were best leave him at the porter’s lodge.
PUNT. Not so; his worth is too well known amongst them, to be forth-coming.
FAST. ‘Slight, how will you do then?
PUNT. I must leave him with one that is ignorant of his quality, if I will
have him to be safe. And see! here comes one that will carry coals, ergo,
will hold my dog.
ENTER A GROOM, WITH A BASKET.
My honest friend, may I commit the tuition of this dog to thy prudent care?
GROOM. You may, if you please, sir.
PUNT. Pray thee let me find thee here at my return; it shall not be long,
till I will ease thee of thy employment, and please thee. Forth, gentles.
FAST. Why, but will you leave him with so slight command, and infuse no
more charge upon the fellow?
PUNT. Charge! no; there were no policy in that; that were to let him know
the value of the gem he holds, and so to tempt frail nature against her
disposition. No, pray thee let thy honesty be sweet, as it shall be short.
GROOM. Yes, sir.
PUNT. But hark you, gallants, and chiefly monsieur Brisk: when we come in
eye-shot, or presence of this lady, let not other matters carry us from our
project; but, if we can, single her forth to some place —
FAST. I warrant you.
PUNT. And be not too sudden, but let the device induce itself with good
FUNG. Is this the way? good truth, here be fine hangings.
[EXEUNT PUNT., FAST., AND FUNGOSO.
GROOM. Honesty! sweet, and short! Marry, it shall, sir, doubt you not;
for even at this instant if one would give me twenty pounds, I would not
deliver him; there’s for the sweet: but now, if any man come offer me but
two-pence, he shall have him; there’s for the short now. ‘Slid, what a mad
humorous gentleman is this to leave his dog with me! I could run away with
him now, an he were worth any thing.
ENTER MACILENTE AND SOGLIARDO.
MACI. Come on, signior, now prepare to court this all-witted lady, most
naturally, and like yourself.
SOG. Faith, an you say the word, I’ll begin to her in tobacco.
MACI. O, fie on’t! no; you shall begin with, “How does my sweet lady”,
or, “Why are you so melancholy, madam?” though she be very merry, it’s all
one. Be sure to kiss your hand often enough; pray for her health, and tell
her, how “More than most fair she is”. Screw your face at one side thus,
and protest: let her fleer, and look askance, and hide her teeth with her
fan, when she laughs a fit, to bring her into more matter, that’s nothing:
you must talk forward, (though it be without sense, so it be without
blushing,) ’tis most court-like and well.
SOG. But shall I not use tobacco at all?
MACI. O, by no means; ’twill but make your breath suspected, and that you
use it only to confound the rankness of that.
SOG. Nay, I’ll be advised, sir, by my friends.
MACI. Od’s my life, see where sir Puntarvolo’s dog is.
GROOM. I would the gentleman would return for his follower here, I’ll
leave him to his fortunes else.
MACI. ‘Twere the only true jest in the world to poison him now; ha! by
this hand I’ll do it, if I could but get him of the fellow. [ASIDE.]
Signior Sogliardo, walk aside, and think upon some device to entertain the
SOG. So I do, sir.
[WALKS OFF IN A MEDITATING POSTURE.
MACI. How now, mine honest friend! whose dog-keeper art thou?
GROOM. Dog-keeper, sir! I hope I scorn that, i’faith.
MACI. Why, dost thou not keep a dog?
GROOM. Sir, now I do, and now I do not: [THROWS OFF THE DOG.] I think
this be sweet and short. Make me his dog-keeper!
MACI. This is excellent, above expectation! nay, stay, sir; [SEIZING THE
DOG.] you’d be travelling; but I’ll give you a dram shall shorten your
voyage, here. [GIVES HIM POISON.] So, sir, I’ll be bold to take my leave
of you. Now to the Turk’s court in the devil’s name, for you shall never
go o’ God’s name. [KICKS HIM OUT.] — Sogliardo, come.
SOG. I have it i’faith now, will sting it.
MACI. Take heed you leese it not signior, ere you come there; preserve it.
COR. How like you this first exploit of his?
MIT. O, a piece of true envy; but I expect the issue of the other device.
COR. Here they come will make it appear.
SCENE II. — AN APARTMENT IN THE PALACE.
ENTER SAVIOLINA, PUNTARVOLO, FASTIDIOUS BRISK, AND FUNGOSO.
SAV. Why, I thought, sir Puntarvolo, you had been gone your voyage?
PUNT. Dear and most amiable lady, your divine beauties do bind me to those
offices, that I cannot depart when I would.
SAV. ‘Tis most court-like spoken, sir; but how might we do to have a sight
of your dog and cat?
FAST. His dog is in the court, lady.
SAV. And not your cat? how dare you trust her behind you, sir.
PUNT. Troth, madam, she hath sore eyes, and she doth keep her chamber;
marry, I have left her under sufficient guard there are two of my followers
to attend her.
SAV. I’ll give you some water for her eyes. When do you go, sir?
PUNT. Certes, sweet lady, I know not.
FAST. He doth stay the rather, madam, to present your acute judgment with
so courtly and well parted a gentleman as yet your ladyship hath never seen.
SAV. What is he, gentle monsieur Brisk? not that gentleman?
[POINTS TO FUNGOSO.
FAST. No, lady, this is a kinsman to justice Silence.
PUNT. Pray, sir, give me leave to report him. He’s a gentleman, lady, of
that rare and admirable faculty, as, I protest, I know not his like in
Europe; he is exceedingly valiant, an excellent scholar, and so exactly
travelled, that he is able, in discourse, to deliver you a model of any
prince’s court in the world; speaks the languages with that purity of
phrase, and facility of accent, that it breeds astonishment; his wit, the
most exuberant, and, above wonder, pleasant, of all that ever entered the
concave of this ear.
FAST. ‘Tis most true, lady; marry, he is no such excellent proper man.
PUNT. His travels have changed his complexion, madam.
SAV. O, sir Puntarvolo, you must think every man was not born to have my
servant Brisk’s feature.
PUNT. But that which transcends all, lady; he doth so peerlessly imitate
any manner of person for gesture, action, passion, or whatever —
FAST. Ay, especially a rustic or a clown, madam, that it is not possible
for the sharpest-sighted wit in the world to discern any sparks of the
gentleman in him, when he does it.
SAV. O, monsieur Brisk, be not so tyrannous to confine all wits within the
compass of your own; not find the sparks of a gentleman in him, if he be a
FUNG. No, in truth, sweet lady, I believe you cannot.
SAV. Do you believe so? why, I can find sparks of a gentleman in you, sir.
PUNT. Ay, he is a gentleman, madam, and a reveller.
FUNG. Indeed, I think I have seen your ladyship at our revels.
SAV. Like enough, sir; but would I might see this wonder you talk of; may
one have a sight of him for any reasonable sum?
PUNT. Yes, madam, he will arrive presently.
SAV. What, and shall we see him clown it?
FAST. I’faith, sweet lady, that you shall; see, here he comes.
ENTER MACILENTE AND SOGLIARDO.
PUNT. This is he! pray observe him, lady.
SAV. Beshrew me, he clowns it properly indeed.
PUNT. Nay, mark his courtship.
SOG. How does my sweet lady? hot and moist? beautiful and lusty? ha!
SAV. Beautiful, an it please you, sir, but not lusty.
SOG. O ho, lady, it pleases you to say so, in truth: And how does my
sweet lady? in health? ‘Bonaroba, quaeso, que novelles? que novelles?’
SAV. O excellent! why, gallants, is this he that cannot be deciphered?
they were very blear-witted, i’faith, that could not discern the gentleman
PUNT. But you do, in earnest, lady?
SAV. Do I sir! why, if you had any true court-judgment in the carriage of
his eye, and that inward power that forms his countenance, you might
perceive his counterfeiting as clear as the noon-day; alas — nay, if you
would have tried my wit, indeed, you should never have told me he was a
gentleman, but presented him for a true clown indeed; and then have seen if
I could have deciphered him.
FAST. ‘Fore God, her ladyship says true, knight: but does he not affect
the clown most naturally, mistress?
PUNT. O, she cannot but affirm that, out of the bounty of her judgment.
SAV. Nay, out of doubt he does well, for a gentleman to imitate: but I
warrant you, he becomes his natural carriage of the gentleman, much better
than his clownery.
FAST. ‘Tis strange, in truth, her ladyship should see so far into him!
PUNT. Ay, is it not?
SAV. Faith, as easily as may be; not decipher him, quoth you!
FUNG. Good sadness, I wonder at it
MACI. Why, has she deciphered him, gentlemen?
PUNT. O, most miraculously, and beyond admiration.
MACI. Is it possible?
FAST. She hath gather’d most infallible signs of the gentleman in him,
SAV. Why, gallants, let me laugh at you a little: was this your device,
to try my judgment in a gentleman?
MACI. Nay, lady, do not scorn us, though you have this gift of perspicacy
above others. What if he should be no gentleman now, but a clown indeed,
PUNT. How think you of that? would not your ladyship be Out of your Humour?
FAST. O, but she knows it is not so.
SAV. What if he were not a man, ye may as well say? Nay, if your worships
could gull me so, indeed, you were wiser than you are taken for.
MACI. In good faith, lady, he is a very perfect clown, both by father and
mother; that I’ll assure you.
SAV. O, sir, you are very pleasurable.
MACI. Nay, do but look on his hand, and that shall resolve you; look you,
lady, what a palm here is.
SOG. Tut, that was with holding the plough.
MACI. The plough! did you discern any such thing in him, madam?
FAST. Faith no, she saw the gentleman as bright as noon-day, she; she
deciphered him at first.
MACI. Troth, I am sorry your ladyship’s sight should be so suddenly struck.
SAV. O, you are goodly beagles!
FAST. What, is she gone?
SOG. Nay, stay, sweet lady: ‘que novelles? que novelles?’
SAV. Out, you fool, you!
[EXIT IN ANGER.
FUNG. She’s Out of her Humour, i’faith.
FAST. Nay, let’s follow it while ’tis hot, gentlemen.
PUNT. Come, on mine honour we shall make her blush in the presence; my
spleen is great with laughter.
MACI. Your laughter will be a child of a feeble life, I believe, sir.
[ASIDE.] — Come, signior, your looks are too dejected, methinks; why mix
you not mirth with the rest?
FUNG. Od’s will, this suit frets me at the soul. I’ll have it alter’d
SCENE III. — THE PALACE STAIRS.
SHIFT. I am come to the court, to meet with my Countenance, Sogliardo;
poor men must be glad of such countenance, when they can get no better.
Well, need may insult upon a man, but it shall never make him despair of
consequence. The world will say, ’tis base: tush, base! ’tis base to
live under the earth, not base to live above it by any means.
ENTER FASTIDIOUS, PUNTARVOLO, SOGLIARDO, FUNGOSO, AND MACILENTE.
FAST. The poor lady is most miserably out of her humour, i’faith.
PUNT. There was never so witty a jest broken, at the tilt of all the court
MACI. O, this applause taints it foully.
SOG. I think I did my part in courting. — O, Resolution!
PUNT. Ay me, my dog!
MACI. Where is he?
FAST. ‘Sprecious, go seek for the fellow, good signior
PUNT. Here, here I left him.
MACI. Why, none was here when we came in now, but cavalier Shirt; enquire
FAST. Did you see sir Puntarvolo’s dog here, cavalier, since you came?
SHIFT. His dog, sir! he may look his dog, sir; I saw none of his dog, sir.
MACI. Upon my life, he has stolen your dog, sir, and been hired to it by
some that have ventured with you; you may guess by his peremptory answers.
PUNT. Not unlike; for he hath been a notorious thief by his own
confession. Sirrah, where is my dog?
SHIFT. Charge me with your dog, sir! I have none of your dog, sir.
PUNT. Villain, thou liest.
SHIFT. Lie, sir! s’blood, — you are but a man, sir.
PUNT. Rogue and thief, restore him.
SOG. Take heed, sir Puntarvolo, what you do; he’ll bear no coals, I can
tell you, o’ my word.
MACI. This is rare.
SOG. It’s marle he stabs you not: By this light, he hath stabbed forty,
for forty times less matter, I can tell you of my knowledge.
PUNT. I will make thee stoop, thou abject.
SOG. Make him stoop, sir! Gentlemen, pacify him, or he’ll be kill’d.
MACI. Is he so tall a man?
SOG. Tall a man! if you love his life, stand betwixt them. Make him stoop!
PUNT. My dog, villain, or I will hang thee; thou hast confest robberies,
and other felonious acts, to this gentleman, thy Countenance —
SOG. I’ll bear no witness.
PUNT. And without my dog, I will hang thee, for them.
SOG. What! kneel to thine enemies!
SHIFT. Pardon me, good sir; God is my witness, I never did robbery in all
FUNG. O, sir Puntarvolo, your dog lies giving up the ghost in the wood-yard.
MACI. Heart, is he not dead yet!
PUNT. O, my dog, born to disastrous fortune! pray you conduct me, sir.
[EXIT WITH FUNGOSO.
SOG. How! did you never do any robbery in your life?
MACI. O, this is good! so he swore, sir.
SOG. Ay, I heard him: and did you swear true, sir?
SHIFT. Ay, as I hope to be forgiven, sir, I never robbed any man; I never
stood by the highwayside, sir, but only said so, because I would get myself
a name, and be counted a tall man.
SOG. Now out, base viliaco! thou my Resolution! I thy Countenance! By
this light, gentlemen, he hath confest to me the most inexorable company of
robberies, and damn’d himself that he did ’em: you never heard the like.
Out, scoundrel, out! follow me no more, I command thee; out of my sight,
go, hence, speak not; I will not hear thee: away, camouccio!
MACI. O, how I do feed upon this now, and fat myself! here were a couple
unexpectedly dishumour’d. Well, by this time, I hope, sir Puntarvolo and
his dog are both out of humour to travel. [ASIDE.] — Nay, gentlemen, why
do you not seek out the knight, and comfort him? our supper at the Mitre
must of necessity hold to-night, if you love your reputations.
FAST. ‘Fore God, I am so melancholy for his dog’s disaster — but I’ll go.
SOG. Faith, and I may go too, but I know I shall be so melancholy.
MACI. Tush, melancholy! you must forget that now, and remember you lie at
the mercy of a fury: Carlo will rack your sinews asunder, and rail you to
dust, if you come not.
MIT. O, then their fear of Carlo, belike, makes them hold their meeting.
COR. Ay, here he comes; conceive him but to be enter’d the Mitre, and ’tis
SCENE IV. — A ROOM AT THE MITRE.
CAR. Holla! where be these shot-sharks?
DRAW. By and by; you are welcome, good master Buffone.
CAR. Where’s George? call me George hither, quickly.
DRAW. What wine please you have, sir? I’ll draw you that’s neat, master
CAR. Away, neophite, do as I bid thee, bring my dear George to me: —
Mass, here he comes.
GEORGE. Welcome, master Carlo.
CAR. What, is supper ready, George?
GEORGE. Ay, sir, almost: Will you have the cloth laid, master Carlo?
CAR. O, what else? Are none of the gallants come yet?
GEORGE. None yet, sir.
CAR. Stay, take me with you, George; let me have a good fat loin of pork
laid to the fire, presently.
GEORGE. It shall, sir.
CAR. And withal, hear you, draw me the biggest shaft you have out of the
butt you wot of; away, you know my meaning, George; quick!
GEORGE. Done, sir.
CAR. I never hungered so much for anything in my life, as I do to know our
gallants’ success at court; now is that lean, bald-rib Macilente, that salt
villain, plotting some mischievous device, and lies a soaking in their
frothy humours like a dry crust, till he has drunk ’em all up: Could the
pummice but hold up his eyes at other men’s happiness, in any reasonable
proportion, ‘slid, the slave were to be loved next heaven, above honour,
wealth, rich fare, apparel, wenches, all the delights of the belly and the
RE-ENTER GEORGE WITH TWO JUGS OF WINE.
GEORGE. Here, master Carlo.
CAR. Is it right, boy?
GEORGE. Ay, sir, I assure you ’tis right.
CAR. Well said, my dear George, depart: [EXIT GEORGE.] — Come, my small
gimblet, you in the false scabbard, away, so! [PUTS FORTH THE DRAWER, AND
SHUTS THE DOOR.] Now to you, sir Burgomaster, let’s taste of your bounty.
MIT. What, will he deal upon such quantities of wine, alone?
COR. You will perceive that, sir.
CAR. [DRINKS.] Ay, marry, sir, here’s purity; O, George — I could bite
off his nose for this now, sweet rogue, he has drawn nectar, the very soul
of the grape! I’ll wash my temples with some on’t presently, and drink
some half a score draughts; ’twill heat the brain, kindle my imagination, I
shall talk nothing but crackers and fire-works to-night. So, sir! please
you to be here, sir, and I here: so.
[SETS THE TWO CUPS ASUNDER, DRINKS WITH THE ONE, AND PLEDGES WITH THE
OTHER, SPEAKING FOR EACH OF THE CUPS, AND DRINKING ALTERNATELY.
COR. This is worth the observation, signior.
CAR. 1 CUP. Now, sir, here’s to you; and I present you with so much of my
2 CUP. I take it kindly from you, sir. [DRINKS], and will return you the
like proportion; but withal, sir, remembering the merry night we had at the
countess’s, you know where, sir.
1 CUP. By heaven, you put me in mind now of a very necessary office, which
I will propose in your pledge, sir; the health of that honourable countess,
and the sweet lady that sat by her, sir.
2 CUP. I do vail to it with reverence [DRINKS]. And now, signior, with
these ladies, I’ll be bold to mix the health of your divine mistress.
1 CUP. Do you know her, sir?
2 CUP. O lord, sir, ay; and in the respectful memory and mention of her, I
could wish this wine were the most precious drug in the world.
1 CUP. Good faith, sir, you do honour me in’t exceedingly. [DRINKS.]
MIT. Whom should he personate in this, signior?
COR. Faith, I know not, sir; observe, observe him.
2 CUP. If it were the basest filth, or mud that runs in the channel, I am
bound to pledge it respectively, sir. [DRINKS.] And now, sir, here is a
replenish’d bowl, which I will reciprocally turn upon you, to the health of
the count Frugale.
1 CUP. The count Frugale’s health, sir? I’ll pledge it on my knees, by
2 CUP. Nay, do me right, sir.
1 CUP. So I do, in faith.
2 CUP. Good faith you do not; mine was fuller.
1 CUP. Why, believe me, it was not.
2 CUP. Believe me it was; and you do lie.
1 CUP. Lie, sir!
2 CUP. Ay, sir.
1 CUP. ‘Swounds! you rascal!
2 CUP. O, come, stab if you have a mind to it.
1 CUP. Stab! dost thou think I dare not?
CAR. [SPEAKS IN HIS OWN PERSON.] Nay, I beseech you, gentlemen, what
means this? nay, look, for shame respect your reputations.
[OVERTURNS WINE, POT, CUPS, AND ALL.
MACI. Why, how now, Carlo! what humour’s this?
CAR. O, my good mischief! art thou come? where are the rest, where are
MACI. Faith, three of our ordnance are burst.
CAR. Burst! how comes that?
MACI. Faith, overcharged, overcharged.
CAR. But did not the train hold?
MACI. O, yes, and the poor lady is irrecoverably blown up.
CAR. Why, but which of the munition is miscarried, ha?
MACI. Imprimis, sir Puntarvolo; next, the Countenance and Resolution.
CAR. How, how, for the love of wit?
MACI. Troth, the Resolution is proved recreant; the Countenance hath
changed his copy; and the passionate knight is shedding funeral tears over
his departed dog.
CAR. What! is his dog dead?
MACI. Poison’d, ’tis thought; marry, how, or by whom, that’s left for some
cunning woman here o’ the Bank-side to resolve. For my part, I know
nothing more than that we are like to have an exceeding melancholy supper
CAR. ‘Slife, and I had purposed to be extraordinarily merry, I had drunk
off a good preparative of old sack here; but will they come, will they come?
MACI. They will assuredly come; marry, Carlo, as thou lov’st me, run over
’em all freely to-night, and especially the knight; spare no sulphurous
jest that may come out of that sweaty forge of thine; but ply them with all
manner of shot, minion, saker, culverin, or anything, what thou wilt.
CAR. I warrant thee, my dear case of petrionels; so I stand not in dread
of thee, but that thou’lt second me.
MACI. Why, my good German tapster, I will.
CAR. What George! Lomtero, Lomtero, etc.
[SINGS AND DANCES.
GEORGE. Did you call, master Carlo?
CAR. More nectar, George: Lomtero, etc.
GEORGE. Your meat’s ready, sir, an your company were come.
CAR. Is the loin pork enough?
GEORGE. Ay, sir, it is enough.
MACI. Pork! heart, what dost thou with such a greasy dish? I think thou
dost varnish thy face with the fat on’t, it looks so like a glue-pot.
CAR. True, my raw-boned rogue, and if thou wouldst farce thy lean ribs
with it too, they would not, like ragged laths, rub out so many doublets as
they do; but thou know’st not a good dish, thou. O, it’s the only
nourishing meat in the world. No marvel though that saucy, stubborn
generation, the Jews, were forbidden it; for what would they have done,
well pamper’d with fat pork, that durst murmur at their Maker out of
garlick and onions? ‘Slight! fed with it, the whoreson strummel-patch’d,
goggle-eyed grumble-dories, would have gigantomachised —
RE-ENTER GEORGE WITH WINE.
Well said, my sweet George, fill, fill.
MIT. This savours too much of profanation.
COR. O — — Servetur ad imum,
Qualis ab incoepto processerit, et sibi constet.
“The necessity of his vein compels a toleration, for; bar this, and dash
him out of humour before his time.”
CAR. “‘Tis an axiom in natural philosophy, what comes nearest the nature
of that it feeds, converts quicker to nourishment, and doth sooner
essentiate.” Now nothing in flesh and entrails assimilates or resembles
man more than a hog or swine.
MACI. True; and he, to requite their courtesy, oftentimes doffeth his own
nature, and puts on theirs; as when he becomes as churlish as a hog, or as
drunk as a sow; but to your conclusion.
CAR. Marry, I say, nothing resembling man more than a swine, it follows,
nothing can be more nourishing; for indeed (but that it abhors from our
nice nature) if we fed upon one another, we should shoot up a great deal
faster, and thrive much better; I refer me to your usurous cannibals, or
such like; but since it is so contrary, pork, pork, is your only feed.
MACI. I take it, your devil be of the same diet; he would never have
desired to have been incorporated into swine else. — O, here comes the
melancholy mess; upon ’em, Carlo, charge, charge!
ENTER PUNTARVOLO, FASTIDIOUS BRISK, SOGLIARDO, AND FUNGOSO.
CAR. ‘Fore God, sir Puntarvolo, I am sorry for your heaviness: body o’
me, a shrew’d mischance! why, had you no unicorn’s horn, nor bezoar’s
stone about you, ha?
PUNT. Sir, I would request you be silent.
MACI. Nay, to him again.
CAR. Take comfort, good knight, if your cat have recovered her catarrh,
fear nothing; your dog’s mischance may be holpen.
FAST. Say how, sweet Carlo; for, so God mend me, the poor knight’s moans
draw me into fellowship of his misfortunes. But be not discouraged, good
sir Puntarvolo, I am content your adventure shall be performed upon your
MACI. I believe you, musk-cod, I believe you; for rather than thou
would’st make present repayment, thou would’st take it upon his own bare
return from Calais
CAR. Nay, ‘slife, he’d be content, so he were well rid out of his company,
to pay him five for one, at his next meeting him in Paul’s. [ASIDE TO
MACILENTE.] — But for your dog, sir Puntarvolo, if he be not out-right
dead, there is a friend of mine, a quack-salver, shall put life in him
again, that’s certain.
FUNG. O, no, that comes too late.
MACI. ‘Sprecious! knight, will you suffer this?
PUNT. Drawer, get me a candle and hard wax presently.
SOG. Ay, and bring up supper; for I am so melancholy.
CAR. O, signior, where’s your Resolution?
SOG. Resolution! hang him, rascal: O, Carlo, if you love me, do not
CAR. Why, how so?
SOG. O, the arrantest crocodile that ever Christian was acquainted with.
By my gentry, I shall think the worse of tobacco while I live, for his
sake: I did think him to be as tall a man —
MACI. Nay, Buffone, the knight, the knight
[ASIDE TO CARLO.
CAR. ‘Slud, he looks like an image carved out of box, full of knots; his
face is, for all the world, like a Dutch purse, with the mouth downward,
his beard the tassels; and he walks — let me see — as melancholy as one
o’ the master’s side in the Counter. — Do you hear, sir Puntarvolo?
PUNT. Sir, I do entreat you, no more, but enjoin you to silence, as you
affect your peace.
CAR. Nay, but dear knight, understand here are none but friends, and such
as wish you well, I would have you do this now; flay me your dog presently
(but in any case keep the head) and stuff his skin well with straw, as you
see these dead monsters at Bartholomew fair.
PUNT. I shall be sudden, I tell you.
CAR. O, if you like not that, sir, get me somewhat a less dog, and clap
into the skin; here’s a slave about the town here, a Jew, one Yohan: or a
fellow that makes perukes will glue it on artificially, it shall never be
discern’d; besides, ’twill be so much the warmer for the hound to travel
in, you know.
MACI. Sir Puntarvolo, death, can you be so patient!
CAR. Or thus, sir; you may have, as you come through Germany, a familiar
for little or nothing, shall turn itself into the shape of your dog, or any
thing, what you will, for certain hours — [PUNTARVOLO STRIKES HIM] — Ods
my life, knight, what do you mean? you’ll offer no violence, will you?
RE-ENTER GEORGE, WITH WAX, AND A LIGHTED CANDLE.
PUNT. ‘Sdeath, you slave, you ban-dog, you!
CAR. As you love wit, stay the enraged knight, gentlemen.
PUNT. By my knighthood, he that stirs in his rescue, dies. — Drawer, begone!
CAR. Murder, murder, murder!
PUNT. Ay, are you howling, you wolf? — Gentlemen, as you tender your
lives, suffer no man to enter till my revenge be perfect. Sirrah, Buffone,
lie down; make no exclamations, but down; down, you cur, or I will make thy
blood flow on my rapier hilts.
CAR. Sweet knight, hold in thy fury, and ‘fore heaven I’ll honour thee
more than the Turk does Mahomet.
PUNT. Down, I say! [CARLO LIES DOWN.] — Who’s there?
CONS. [WITHIN.] Here’s the constable, open the doors.
CAR. Good Macilente —
PUNT. Open no door; if the Adalantado of Spain were here he should not
enter: one help me with the light, gentlemen; you knock in vain, sir
CAR. ‘Et tu, Brute!’
PUNT. Sirrah, close your lips, or I will drop it in thine eyes, by heaven.
CAR. O! O!
CONS. [WITHIN] Open the door, or I will break it open.
MACI. Nay, good constable, have patience a little; you shall come in
presently; we have almost done.
[PUNTARVOLO SEALS UP CARLO’S LIPS.
PUNT. So, now, are you Out of your Humour, sir? Shift, gentlemen
[THEY ALL DRAW, AND RUN OUT, EXCEPT FUNGOSO, WHO CONCEALS HIMSELF BENEATH
ENTER CONSTABLE AND OFFICERS, AND SEIZE FASTIDIOUS AS HE IS RUSHING BY.
CONS. Lay hold upon this gallant, and pursue the rest.
FAST. Lay hold on me, sir, for what?
CONS. Marry, for your riot here, sir, with the rest of your companions.
FAST. My riot! master constable, take heed what you do. Carlo, did I
offer any violence?
CONS. O, sir, you see he is not in case to answer you, and that makes you
RE-ENTER GEORGE AND DRAWER.
FAST. Peremptory! ‘Slife, I appeal to the drawers, if I did him any hard
GEORGE. They are all gone, there’s none of them will be laid any hold on.
CONS. Well, sir, you are like to answer till the rest can be found out.
FAST. ‘Slid, I appeal to George here.
CONS. Tut, George was not here: away with him to the Counter, sirs. —
Come, sir, you were best get yourself drest somewhere.
[EXEUNT CONST. AND OFFICERS, WITH FAST. AND CAR.
GEORGE. Good lord, that master Carlo could not take heed, and knowing what
a gentleman the knight is, if he be angry.
DRAWER. A pox on ’em, they have left all the meat on our hands; would they
were choaked with it for me!
MACI. What, are they gone, sirs?
GEORGE. O, here’s master Macilente.
MACI. [POINTING TO FUNGOSO.] Sirrah, George, do you see that concealment
there, that napkin under the table?
GEORGE. ‘Ods so, signior Fungoso!
MACI. He’s good pawn for the reckoning; be sure you keep him here, and let
him not go away till I come again, though he offer to discharge all; I’ll
GEORGE. Sirrah, we have a pawn for the reckoning.
DRAW. What, of Macilente?
GEORGE. No; look under the table.
FUNG. [CREEPING OUT.] I hope all be quiet now; if I can get but forth of
this street, I care not: masters, I pray you tell me, is the constable
GEORGE. What, master Fungoso!
FUNG. Was’t not a good device this same of me, sirs?
GEORGE. Yes, faith; have you been here all this while?
FUNG. O lord, ay; good sir, look an the coast be clear, I’d fain be going.
GEORGE. All’s clear, sir, but the reckoning; and that you must clear and
pay before you go, I assure you.
FUNG. I pay! ‘Slight, I eat not a bit since I came into the house, yet.
DRAW. Why, you may when you please, ’tis all ready below that was bespoken.
FUNG. Bespoken! not by me, I hope?
GEORGE. By you, sir! I know not that; but ’twas for you and your company,
I am sure.
FUNG. My company! ‘Slid, I was an invited guest, so I was.
DRAW. Faith we have nothing to do with that, sir: they are all gone but
you, and we must be answered; that’s the short and the long on’t.
FUNG. Nay, if you will grow to extremities, my masters, then would this
pot, cup, and all were in my belly, if I have a cross about me.
GEORGE. What, and have such apparel! do not say so, signior; that
mightily discredits your clothes.
FUNG. As I am an honest man, my tailor had all my money this morning, and
yet I must be fain to alter my suit too. Good sirs, let me go, ’tis Friday
night, and in good truth I have no stomach in the world to eat any thing.
DRAW. That’s no matter, so you pay, sir.
FUNG. ‘Slight, with what conscience can you ask me to pay that I never
GEORGE. Yes, sir, I did see you drink once.
FUNG. By this cup, which is silver, but you did not; you do me infinite
wrong: I looked in the pot once, indeed, but I did not drink.
DRAW. Well, sir, if you can satisfy our master, it shall be all one to us.
GEORGE. By and by.
COR. Lose not yourself now, signior
SCENE V. — A ROOM IN DELIRO’S HOUSE.
ENTER MACILENTE AND DELIRO.
MACI. Tut, sir, you did bear too hard a conceit of me in that; but I will
not make my love to you most transparent, in spite of any dust of suspicion
that may be raised to cloud it; and henceforth, since I see it is so
against your humour, I will never labour to persuade you.
DELI. Why, I thank you, signior; but what is that you tell me may concern
my peace so much?
MACI. Faith, sir, ’tist hus. Your wife’s brother, signior Fungoso, being
at supper to-night at a tavern, with a sort of gallants, there happened
some division amongst them, and he is left in pawn for the reckoning. Now,
if ever you look that time shall present you with an happy occasion to do
your wife some gracious and acceptable service, take hold of this
opportunity, and presently go and redeem him; for, being her brother, and
his credit so amply engaged as now it is, when she shall hear, (as he
cannot himself, but he must out of extremity report it,) that you came, and
offered y ourself so kindly, and with that respect of his reputation; why, the
benefit cannot but make her dote, and grow mad of your affections.
DELI. Now, by heaven, Macilente, I acknowledge myself exceedingly indebted
to you, by this kind tender of your love; and I am sorry to remember that I
was ever so rude, to neglect a friend of your importance. — Bring me shoes
and a cloak here. — I was going to bed, if you had not come. What tavern
MACI. The Mitre, sir.
DELI. O! Why, Fido! my shoes. — Good faith, it cannot but please her
FAL. Come, I marle what piece of night-work you have in hand now, that you
call for a cloak, and your shoes: What, is this your pander?
DELI. O, sweet wife, speak lower, I would not he should hear thee for a
FAL. Hang him, rascal, I cannot abide him for his treachery, with his wild
quick-set beard there. Whither go you now with him?
DELI. No, whither with him, dear wife; I go alone to a place, from whence
I will return instantly. — Good Macilente, acquaint not her with it by any
means, it may come so much the more accepted; frame some other answer. —
I’ll come back immediately.
FAL. Nay, an I be not worthy to know whither you go, stay till I take
knowledge of your coming back.
MACI. Hear you, mistress Deliro.
FAL. So, sir, and what say you?
MACI. Faith, lady, my intents will not deserve this slight respect, when
you shall know them.
FAL. Your intents! why, what may your intents be, for God’s sake?
MACI. Troth, the time allows no circumstance, lady, therefore know this
was but a device to remove your husband hence, and bestow him securely,
whilst, with more conveniency, I might report to you a misfortune that hath
happened to monsieur Brisk — Nay, comfort, sweet lady. This night, being
at supper, a sort of young gallants committed a riot, for the which he only
is apprehended and carried to the Counter, where, if your husband, and
other creditors, should but have knowledge of him, the poor gentleman were
undone for ever.
FAL. Ah me! that he were.
MACI. Now, therefore, if you can think upon any present means for his
delivery, do not foreslow it. A bribe to the officer that committed him
will do it.
FAL. O lord, sir! he shall not want for a bribe; pray you, will you
commend me to him, and say I’ll visit him presently.
MACI. No, lady, I shall do you better service, in protracting your
husband’s return, that you may go with more safety.
FAL. Good truth, so you may; farewell, good sir. [EXIT MACI.] — Lord,
how a woman may be mistaken in a man! I would have sworn upon all the
Testaments in the world he had not loved master Brisk. Bring me my keys
there, maid. Alas, good gentleman, if all I have in this earthly world
will pleasure him, it shall be at his service.
MIT. How Macilente sweats in this business, if you mark him!
COR. Ay, you shall see the true picture of spite, anon: here comes the
pawn and his redeemer.
SCENE VI. — A ROOM AT THE MITRE.
ENTER DELIRO, FUNGOSO, AND GEORGE.
DELI. Come, brother, be not discouraged for this, man; what!
FUNG. No, truly, I am not discouraged; but I protest to you, brother, I
have done imitating any more gallants either in purse or apparel, but as
shall become a gentleman, for good carriage, or so.
DELI. You say well. — This is all in the bill here, is it not?
GEORGE. Ay, sir.
DELI. There’s your money, tell it: and, brother, I am glad I met with so
good occasion to shew my love to you.
FUNG. I will study to deserve it in good truth an I live.
DELI. What, is it right?
GEORGE. Ay, sir, and I thank you.
FUNG. Let me have a capon’s leg saved, now the reckoning is paid.
GEORGE. You shall, sir
MACI. Where’s signior Deliro?
DELI. Here, Macilente.
MACI. Hark you, sir, have you dispatch’d this same?
DELI. Ay, marry have I.
MACI. Well then, I can tell you news; Brisk is in the Counter.
DELI. In the Counter!
MACI. ‘Tis true, sir, committed for the stir here to-night. Now would I
have you send your brother home afore him, with the report of this your
kindness done him, to his sister, which will so pleasingly possess her, and
out of his mouth too, that in the meantime you may clap your action on
Brisk, and your wife, being in so happy a mood, cannot entertain it ill, by
DELI. ‘Tis very true, she cannot, indeed, I think.
MACI. Think! why ’tis past thought; you shall never meet the like
opportunity, I assure you.
DELI. I will do it. — Brother, pray you go home afore (this gentleman and
I have some private business), and tell my sweet wife I’ll come presently.
FUNG. I will, brother.
MACI. And, signior, acquaint your sister, how liberally, and out of his
bounty, your brother has used you (do you see?), made you a man of good
reckoning; redeem’d that you never were possest of, credit; gave you as
gentlemanlike terms as might be; found no fault with your coming behind the
fashion; nor nothing.
FUNG. Nay, I am out of those humours now.
MACI. Well, if you be out, keep your distance, and be not made a shot-clog
any more. — Come, signior, let’s make haste.
SCENE VII. — THE COUNTER.
ENTER FALLACE AND FASTIDIOUS BRISK.
FAL. O, master Fastidious, what pity is it to see so sweet a man as you
are, in so sour a place!
COR. As upon her lips, does she mean?
MIT. O, this is to be imagined the Counter, belike.
FAST. Troth, fair lady, ’tis first the pleasure of the fates, and next of
the constable, to have it so: but I am patient, and indeed comforted the
more in your kind visit.
FAL. Nay, you shall be comforted in me more than this, if you please, sir.
I sent you word by my brother, sir, that my husband laid to ‘rest you this
morning; I know now whether you received it or no.
FAST. No, believe it, sweet creature, your brother gave me no such
FAL. O, the lord!
FAST. But has your husband any such purpose?
FAL. O, sweet master Brisk, yes: and therefore be presently discharged,
for if he come with his actions upon you, Lord deliver you! you are in for
one half-a-score year; he kept a poor man in Ludgate once twelve year for
sixteen shillings. Where’s your keeper? for love’s sake call him, let him
take a bribe, and despatch you. Lord, how my heart trembles! here are no
spies, are there?
FAST. No, sweet mistress. Why are you in this passion?
FAL. O lord, master Fastidious, if you knew how I took up my husband
to-day, when he said he would arrest you; and how I railed at him that
persuaded him to it, the scholar there (who, on my conscience, loves you
now), and what care I took to send you intelligence by my brother; and how
I gave him four sovereigns for his pains: and now, how I came running out
hither without man or boy with me, so soon as I heard on’t; you’d say I
were in a passion indeed. Your keeper, for God’s sake! O, master Brisk,
as ’tis in ‘Euphues’, ‘Hard is the choice, when one is compelled either by
silence to die with grief, or by speaking to live with shame’.
FAST. Fair lady, I conceive you, and may this kiss assure you, that where
adversity hath, as it were, contracted, prosperity shall not — Od’s me!
ENTER DELIRO AND MACILENTE.
FAL. O me!
DELI. Ay! Is it thus?
MACI. Why, how now, signior Deliro! has the wolf seen you, ha? Hath
Gorgon’s head made marble of you?
DELI. Some planet strike me dead!
MACI. Why, look you, sir, I told you, you might have suspected this long
afore, had you pleased, and have saved this labour of admiration now, and
passion, and such extremities as this frail lump of flesh is subject unto.
Nay, why do you not doat now, signior? methinks you should say it were
some enchantment, ‘deceptio visus’, or so, ha! If you could persuade
yourself it were a dream now, ’twere excellent: faith, try what you can
do, signior: it may be your imagination will be brought to it in time;
there’s nothing impossible.
FAL. Sweet husband!
DELI. Out, lascivious strumpet!
MACI. What! did you see how ill that stale vein became him afore, of
‘sweet wife’, and ‘dear heart’; and are you fallen just into the same now,
with ‘sweet husband’! Away, follow him, go, keep state: what! remember
you are a woman, turn impudent; give him not the head, though you give him
the horns. Away. And yet, methinks, you should take your leave of ‘enfant
perdu’ here, your forlorn hope. [EXIT FAL.] — How now, monsieur Brisk?
what! Friday night, and in affliction too, and yet your pulpamenta, your
delicate morsels! I perceive the affection of ladies and gentlewomen
pursues you wheresoever you go, monsieur.
FAST. Now, in good faith, and as I am gentle, there could not have come a
thing in this world to have distracted me more, than the wrinkled fortunes
of this poor dame.
MACI. O yes, sir; I can tell you a think will distract you much better,
believe it: Signior Deliro has entered three actions against you, three
actions, monsieur! marry, one of them (I’ll put you in comfort) is but
three thousand, and the other two, some five thousand pound together:
FAST. O, I am undone.
MACI. Nay, not altogether so, sir; the knight must have his hundred pound
repaid, that will help too; and then six score pounds for a diamond, you
know where. These be things will weigh, monsieur, they will weigh.
FAST. O heaven!
MACI. What! do you sigh? this is to ‘kiss the hand of a countess’, to
‘have her coach sent for you’, to ‘hang poniards in ladies’ garters’, to
‘wear bracelets of their hair’, and for every one of these great favours to
‘give some slight jewel of five hundred crowns, or so’; why, ’tis nothing.
Now, monsieur, you see the plague that treads on the heels o’ your foppery:
well, go your ways in, remove yourself to the two-penny ward quickly, to
save charges, and there set up your rest to spend sir Puntarvolo’s hundred
pound for him. Away, good pomander, go!
Why here’s a change! now is my soul at peace:
I am as empty of all envy now,
As they of merit to be envied at.
My humour, like a flame, no longer lasts
Than it hath stuff to feed it; and their folly
Being now raked up in their repentant ashes,
Affords no ampler subject to my spleen.
I am so far from malicing their states,
That I begin to pity them. It grieves me
To think they have a being. I could wish
They might turn wise upon it, and be saved now,
So heaven were pleased; but let them vanish, vapours! —
Gentlemen, how like you it? has’t not been tedious?
COR. Nay, we have done censuring now.
MIT. Yes, faith.
MACI. How so?
COR. Marry, because we’ll imitate your actors, and be out of our humours.
Besides, here are those round about you of more ability in censure than we,
whose judgments can give it a more satisfying allowance; we’ll refer you to
[EXEUNT CORDATUS AND MITIS.
MACI. [COMING FORWARD.] Ay, is it even so? — Well, gentlemen, I should
have gone in, and return’d to you as I was Asper at the first; but by
reason the shift would have been somewhat long, and we are loth to draw
your patience farther, we’ll entreat you to imagine it. And now, that you
may see I will be out of humour for company, I stand wholly to your kind
approbation, and indeed am nothing so peremptory as I was in the beginning:
marry, I will not do as Plautus in his ‘Amphytrio’, for all this, ‘summi
Jovis causa plaudite’; beg a plaudite for God’s sake; but if you, out of
the bounty of your good-liking, will bestow it, why, you may in time make
lean Macilente as fat as sir John Falstaff.
PRESENTATION BEFORE QUEEN ELIZABETH
Never till now did object greet mine eyes
With any light content: but in her graces
All my malicious powers have lost their stings.
Envy is fled from my soul at sight of her,
And she hath chased all black thoughts from my bosom,
Like as the sun doth darkness from the world,
My stream of humour is run out of me,
And as our city’s torrent, bent t’infect
The hallow’d bowels of the silver Thames,
Is check’d by strength and clearness of the river,
Till it hath spent itself even at the shore;
So in the ample and unmeasured flood
Of her perfections, are my passions drown’d;
And I have now a spirit as sweet and clear
As the more rarefied and subtle air: —
With which, and with a heart as pure as fire,
Yet humble as the earth, do I implore
O heaven, that She, whose presence hath effected
This change in me, may suffer most late change
In her admired and happy government:
May still this Island be call’d Fortunate,
And rugged Treason tremble at the sound,
When Fame shall speak it with an emphasis.
Let foreign polity be dull as lead,
And pale Invasion come with half a heart,
When he but looks upon her blessed soil.
The throat of War be stopt within her land,
And turtle-footed Peace dance fairy rings
About her court; where never may there come
Suspect or danger, but all trust and safety.
Let Flattery be dumb, and Envy blind
In her dread presence; Death himself admire her;
And may her virtues make him to forget
The use of his inevitable hand.
Fly from her, Age; sleep, Time, before her throne;
Our strongest wall falls down, when she is gone.
ABATE, cast down, subdue
ABHORRING, repugnant (to), at variance
ABJECT, base, degraded thing, outcast
ABRASE, smooth, blank
ABSTRACTED, abstract, abstruse
ABUSE, deceive, insult, dishonour, make ill use of
ACCEPTIVE, willing, ready to accept, receive
ACCOMMODATE, fit, befitting. (The word was a fashionable one and used on
all occasions. See “Henry IV.,” pt. 2, iii.4)
ACCOST, draw near, approach
ACKNOWN, confessedly acquainted with
ACME, full maturity
ADALANTADO, lord deputy or governor of a Spanish province
ADMIRE, wonder, wonder at
ADROP, philosopher’s stone, or substance from which obtained
ADULTERATE, spurious, counterfeit
ADVERTISE, inform, give intelligence
ADVERTISED, “be —,” be it known to you
ADVISE, consider, bethink oneself, deliberate
ADVISED, informed, aware; “are you —?” have you found that out?
AFFECT, love, like; aim at; move
AFFECTED, disposed; beloved
AFFECTIONATE, obstinate; prejudiced
AFFRONT, “give the —,” face
AFFY, have confidence in; betroth
AFTER, after the manner of
AGAIN, AGAINST, in anticipation of
AGGRAVATE, increase, magnify, enlarge upon
AGNOMINATION. See Paranomasie
AIERY, nest, brood
ALL HID, children’s cry at hide-and-seek
ALL-TO, completely, entirely (“all-to-be-laden”)
ALLOWANCE, approbation, recognition
ALMA-CANTARAS (astron.), parallels of altitude
ALMAIN, name of a dance
ALMUTEN, planet of chief influence in the horoscope
ALONE, unequalled, without peer
ALUDELS, subliming pots
AMAZED, confused, perplexed
AMBER, AMBRE, ambergris
AMBREE, MARY, a woman noted for her valour at the siege of Ghent, 1458
AMES-ACE, lowest throw at dice
AMUSED, bewildered, amazed
ANATOMY, skeleton, or dissected body
ANGEL, gold coin worth 10s., stamped with the figure of the archangel Michael
ANNESH CLEARE, spring known as Agnes le Clare
ANSWER, return hit in fencing
ANTIC, ANTIQUE, clown, buffoon
ANTIC, like a buffoon
ANTIPERISTASIS, an opposition which enhances the quality it opposes
APPLE-JOHN, APPLE-SQUIRE, pimp, pander
APPREHEND, take into custody
APPREHENSIVE, quick of perception; able to perceive and appreciate
APPROVE, prove, confirm
APT, suit, adapt; train, prepare; dispose, incline
APT(LY), suitable(y), opportune(ly)
ARBOR, “make the —,” cut up the game (Gifford)
ARCHES, Court of Arches
ARCHIE, Archibald Armstrong, jester to James I. and Charles I.
ARGAILE, argol, crust or sediment in wine casks
ARGUMENT, plot of a drama; theme, subject; matter in question; token, proof
ARSEDINE, mixture of copper and zinc, used as an imitation of gold-leaf
ARTHUR, PRINCE, reference to an archery show by a society who assumed arms,
etc., of Arthur’s knights
ASCENSION, evaporation, distillation
ASPIRE, try to reach, obtain, long for
ASSALTO (Ital.), assault
ASSAY, draw a knife along the belly of the deer, a ceremony of the
ASSURE, secure possession or reversion of
ATHANOR, a digesting furnace, calculated to keep up a constant heat
ATTACH, attack, seize
AUDACIOUS, having spirit and confidence
AUTHENTIC(AL), of authority, authorised, trustworthy, genuine
AVISEMENT, reflection, consideration
AVOID, begone! get rid of
AWAY WITH, endure
AZOCH, Mercurius Philosophorum
BACK-SIDE, back premises
BAFFLE, treat with contempt
BAGATINE, Italian coin, worth about the third of a farthing
BALARD, horse of magic powers known to old romance
BALDRICK, belt worn across the breast to support bugle, etc.
BALE (of dice), pair
BALK, overlook, pass by, avoid
BALLOO, game at ball
BALNEUM (BAIN MARIE), a vessel for holding hot water in which other vessels
are stood for heating
BANBURY, “brother of __,” Puritan
BANDOG, dog tied or chained up
BANE, woe, ruin
BANQUET, a light repast; dessert
BARB, to clip gold
BARBEL, fresh-water fish
BARE, meer; bareheaded; it was “a particular mark of state and grandeur for
the coachman to be uncovered” (Gifford)
BARLEY-GREAK, game somewhat similar to base
BASE, game of prisoner’s base
BASES, richly embroidered skirt reaching to the knees, or lower
BASILISK, fabulous reptile, believed to slay with its eye
BASKET, used for the broken provision collected for prisoners
BASON, basons, etc., were beaten by the attendant mob when bad characters
BATE, be reduced; abate, reduce
BATOON, baton, stick
BATTEN, feed, grow fat
BEADSMAN, PRAYER-MAN, one engaged to pray for another
BEAGLE, small hound; fig. spy
BEAR IN HAND, keep in suspense, deceive with false hopes
BEARWARD, bear leader
BEDPHERE See Phere
BEDSTAFF, (?) wooden pin in the side of the bedstead for supporting the
bedclothes (Johnson); one of the sticks of “laths”; a stick used in making
BEETLE, heavy mallet
BEG, “I’d — him,” the custody of minors and idiots was begged for;
likewise property fallen forfeit to the Crown (“your house had been begged”)
BELL-MAN, night watchman
BENJAMIN, an aromatic gum
BETHLEHEM GABOR, Transylvanian hero, proclaimed King of Hungary
BEVIS, SIR, knight of romance whose horse was equally celebrated
BEWAY, reveal, make known
BEZANT, heraldic term: small gold circle
BEZOAR’S STONE, a remedy known by this name was a supposed antidote to poison
BIGGIN, cap, similar to that worn by the Beguines; nightcap
BILIVE (belive), with haste
BILE, nothing, empty talk
BILL, kind of pike
BILLET, wood cut for fuel, stick
BLACK SANCTUS, burlesque hymn, any unholy riot
BLANK, originally a small French coin
BLANKET, toss in a blanket
BLAZE, outburst of violence
BLAZE, (her.) blazon; publish abroad
BLAZON, armorial bearings; fig. all that pertains to good birth and breeding
BLIN, “withouten —,” without ceasing
BLOW, puff up
BLUE, colour of servants’ livery, hence “— order,” “— waiters”
BLUSHET, blushing one
BOB, jest, taunt
BOB, beat, thump
BODKIN, dagger, or other short, pointed weapon; long pin with which the
women fastened up their hair
BOLT, roll (of material)
BOLT, dislodge, rout out; sift (boulting-tub)
BOLT’S-HEAD, long, straight-necked vessel for distillation.
BOMBARD SLOPS, padded, puffed-out breeches
BONA ROBA, “good, wholesome, plum-cheeked wench” (Johnson) — not always
used in compliment
BONNY-CLABBER, sour butter-milk
BOOT, “to —,” into the bargain; “no —,” of no avail
BORACHIO, bottle made of skin
BORNE IT, conducted, carried it through
BOTTLE (of han), bundle, truss
BOTTOM, skein or ball of thread; vessel
BOVOLI, snails or cockles dressed in the Italian manner (Gifford)
BOW-POT, flower vase or pot
BOYE, “terrible —,” “angry —,” roystering young bucks. (See Nares)
BRABBLES (BRABBLESH), brawls
BRADAMANTE, a heroine in ‘Orlando Furioso’
BRADLEY, ARTHUR OF, a lively character commemorated in ballads
BRAKE, frame for confining a norse’s feet while being shod, or strong curb
or bridle; trap
BRANCHED, with “detached sleeve ornaments, projecting from the shoulders of
the gown” (Gifford)
BRANDISH, flourish of weapon
BRAVE, bravado, braggart speech
BRAVE (adv.), gaily, finely (apparelled)
BRAVERY, extravagant gaiety of apparel
BRAVO, bravado, swaggerer
BRAZEN-HEAD, speaking head made by Roger Bacon
BREATHE, pause for relaxation; exercise
BREATH UPON, speak dispraisingly of
BRIDE-ALE, wedding feast
BRIEF, abstract; (mus.) breve
BRISK, smartly dressed
BRIZE, breese, gadfly
BROAD-SEAL, state seal
BROCK, badger (term of contempt)
BROKE, transact business as a broker
BROOK, endure, put up with
BROUGHTON, HUGH, an English divine and Hebrew scholar
BUFF, leather made of buffalo skin, used for military and serjeants’ coats,
BUFO, black tincture
BUGLE, long-shaped bead
BULLED, (?) boiled, swelled
BULLIONS, trunk hose
BULLY, term of familiar endearment
BUNGY, Friar Bungay, who had a familiar in the shape of a dog
BURDEN, refrain, chorus
BURGONET, closely-fitting helmet with visor
BURN, mark wooden measures (” —ing of cans”)
BURROUGH, pledge, security
BUSKIN, half-boot, foot gear reaching high up the leg
BUTT-SHAFT, barbless arrow for shooting at butts
BUTTER, NATHANIEL. (“Staple of News”), a compiler of general news. (See
BUTTERY-HATCH, half-door shutting off the buttery, where provisions and
liquors were stored
BUY, “he bought me,” formerly the guardianship of wards could be bought
BUZ, exclamation to enjoin silence
BY AND BY, at once
BY(E), “on the __,” incidentally, as of minor or secondary importance; at
BY-CHOP, by-blow, bastard
CADUCEUS, Mercury’s wand
CALIVER, light kind of musket
CALLET, woman of ill repute
CALLOT, coif worn on the wigs of our judges or serjeants-at-law (Gifford)
CALVERED, crimped, or sliced and pickled. (See Nares)
CAMOUCCIO, wretch, knave
CANDLE-RENT, rent from house property
CANDLE-WASTER, one who studies late
CANTER, sturdy beggar
CAP OF MAINTENCE, an insignia of dignity, a cap of state borne before kings
at their coronation; also an heraldic term
CAPABLE, able to comprehend, fit to receive instruction, impression
CAPANEUS, one of the “Seven against Thebes”
CARACT, carat, unit of weight for precious stones, etc.; value, worth
CARANZA, Spanish author of a book on duelling
CARCANET, jewelled ornament for the neck
CARE, take care; object
CAROSH, coach, carriage
CARRIAGE, bearing, behaviour
CARWHITCHET, quip, pun
CASAMATE, casemate, fortress
CASE, a pair
CASE, “in —,” in condition
CASSOCK, soldier’s loose overcoat
CAST, flight of hawks, couple
CAST, throw dice; vomit; forecast, calculate
CASTING-GLASS, bottle for sprinkling perfume
CASTRIL, kestrel, falcon
CAT, structure used in sieges
CATAMITE, old form of “ganymede”
CATCHPOLE, sheriff’s officer
CATES, dainties, provisions
CATSO, rogue, cheat
CAUTELOUS, crafty, artful
CENSURE, criticism; sentence
CENSURE, criticise; pass sentence, doom
CERUSE, cosmetic containing white lead
CHANGE, “hunt —,” follow a fresh scent
CHAPMAN, retail dealer
CHARM, subdue with magic, lay a spell on, silence
CHARMING, exercising magic power
CHEAP, bargain, market
CHEAR, CHEER, comfort, encouragement; food, entertainment
CHECK AT, aim reproof at
CHEQUIN, gold Italian coin
CHEVEIL, from kidskin, which is elastic and pliable
CHIAUS, Turkish envoy; used for a cheat, swindler
CHILDERMASS DAY, Innocents’ Day
CHOKE-BAIL, action which does not allow of bail
CHRYSOSPERM, ways of producing gold
CIBATION, adding fresh substances to supply the waste of evaporation
CIOPPINI, chopine, lady’s high shoe
CIRCLING BOY, “a species of roarer; one who in some way drew a man into a
snare, to cheat or rob him” (Nares)
CIRCUMSTANCE, circumlocution, beating about the bush; ceremony, everything
pertaining to a certain condition; detail, particular
CITRONISE, turn citron colour
CITTERN, kind of guitar
CITY-WIRES, woman of fashion, who made use of wires for hair and dress
CLAP, clack, chatter
CLAPPER-DUDGEON, downright beggar
CLAPS HIS DISH, a clap, or clack, dish (dish with a movable lid) was
carried by beggars and lepers to show that the vessel was empty, and to
give sound of their approach
CLARIDIANA, heroine of an old romance
CLARISSIMO, Venetian noble
CLIM O’ THE CLOUGHS, etc., wordy heroes of romance
CLOSE, secret, private; secretive
CLOTH, arras, hangings
CLOUT, mark shot at, bull’s eye
CLOWN, countryman, clodhopper
COACH-LEAVES, folding blinds
COALS, “bear no —,” submit to no affront
COAT-ARMOUR, coat of arms
COB-HERRING, HERRING-COB, a young herring
COB-SWAN, male swan
COCK-A-HOOP, denoting unstinted jollity; thought to be derived from turning
on the tap that all might drink to the full of the flowing liquor
COCKATRICE, reptile supposed to be produced from a cock’s egg and to kill
by its eye — used as a term of reproach for a woman
COCK-BRAINED, giddy, wild
COCKSCOMB, fool’s cap
COCKSTONE, stone said to be found in a cock’s gizzard, and to possess
CODLING, softening by boiling
COFFIN, raised crust of a pie
COG, cheat, wheedle
COIL, turmoil, confusion, ado
COKELY, master of a puppet-show (Whalley)
COKES, fool, gull
COLD-CONCEITED, having cold opinion of, coldly affected towards
COLE-HARBOUR, a retreat for people of all sorts
COLLECTION, composure; deduction
COLLOP, small slice, piece of flesh
COLOURS, “fear no —,” no enemy (quibble)
COLSTAFF, cowlstaff, pole for carrying a cowl=tub
COME ABOUT, charge, turn round
COMFORTABLE BREAD, spiced gingerbread
COMING, forward, ready to respond, complaisant
COMMENT, commentary; “sometime it is taken for a lie or fayned tale”
COMMODITY, “current for —,” allusion to practice of money-lenders, who
forced the borrower to take part of the loan in the shape of worthless
goods on which the latter had to make money if he could
COMPASS, “in —,” within the range, sphere
COMPLEMENT, completion, completement; anything required for the perfecting
or carrying out of a person or affair; accomplishment
COMPLEXION, natural disposition, constitution
COMPLIMENT, See Complement
COMPLIMENTARIES, masters of accomplishments
COMPOSITION, constitution; agreement, contract
COMPTER, COUNTER, debtors’ prison
CONCEALMENT, a certain amount of church property had been retained at the
dissolution of the monasteries; Elizabeth sent commissioners to search it
out, and the courtiers begged for it
CONCEIT, idea, fancy, witty invention, conception, opinion
CONCEITED, fancifully, ingeniously devised or conceived; possessed of
intelligence, witty, ingenious (hence well conceited, etc.); disposed to
joke; of opinion, possessed of an idea
CONCENT, harmony, agreement
CONCLUDE, infer, prove
CONCOCT, assimilate, digest
CONDEN’T, probably conducted
CONDUCT, escort, conductor
CONNIVE, give a look, wink, of secret intelligence
CONSORT, company, concert
CONSTANCY, fidelity, ardour, persistence
CONSTANT, confirmed, persistent, faithful
CONSTANTLY, firmly, persistently
CONTINENT, holding together
CONTROL (the point), bear or beat down
CONVENT, assembly, meeting
CONVERT, turn (oneself)
CONVEY, transmit from one to another
CONVINCE, evince, prove; overcome, overpower; convict
COP, head, top; tuft on head of birds; “a cop” may have reference to one or
other meaning; Gifford and others interpret as “conical, terminating in a
CORV (Lat. Copia), abundance, copiousness
CORN (“powder – “), grain
COROLLARY, finishing part or touch
CORTINE, curtain, (arch.) wall between two towers, etc.
CORYAT, famous for his travels, published as ‘Coryat’s Crudities’
COSSET, pet lamb, pet
COSTARD-MONGER, apple-seller, coster-monger
COTHURNAL, from “cothurnus,” a particular boot worn by actors in Greek tragedy
COUNTENANCE, means necessary for support; credit, standing
COUNTER. See Compter
COUNTER, pieces of metal or ivory for calculating at play
COUNTER, “hunt —,” follow scent in reverse direction
COUNTERFEIT, false coin
COUNTERPANE, one part or counterpart of a deed or indenture
COUNTERPOINT, opposite, contrary point
COURT-DISH, a kind of drinking-cup (Halliwell); N.E.D. quotes from Bp.
Goodman’s ‘Court of James I.: “The king…caused his carver to cut him out
a court-dish, that is, something of every dish, which he sent him as part
of his reversion,” but this does not sound like short allowance or small
COURTEAU, curtal, small horse with docked tail
COWSHARD, cow dung
COXCOMB, fool’s cap, fool
COY, shrink; disdain
COYSTREL, low varlet
CRACK, lively young rogue, wag
CRACK, crack up, boast; come to grief
CRAMBE, game of crambo, in which the players find rhymes for a given word
CRANTON, spider-like; also fairy appellation for a fly (Gifford, who refers
to lines in Drayton’s “Nimphidia”)
CRIMP, game at cards
CRINCLE, draw back, turn aside
CRISPED, with curled or waved hair
CROP, gather, reap
CROPSHIRE, a kind of herring. (See N.E.D.)
CROSS, any piece of money, many coins being stamped with a cross
CROSS AND FILE, heads and tails
CRUDITIES, undigested matter
CRUMP, curl up
CRUSADO, Portuguese gold coin, marked with a cross
CRY (“he that cried Italian):, “speak in a musical cadence,” intone, or
declaim(?); cry up
CUCKING-STOOL, used for the ducking of scolds, etc.
CUCURBITE, a gourd-shaped vessel used for distillation
CUERPO, “in —,” in undress
CULLION, base fellow, coward
CULLISEN, badge worn on their arm by servants
CULVERIN, kind of cannon
CURE, care for
CURIOUS(LY), scrupulous, particular; elaborate, elegant(ly), dainty(ly)
(hence “in curious”)
CURST, shrewish, mischievous
CURTAL, dog with docked tail, of inferior sort
CUSTARD, “quaking —,” ” — politic,” reference to a large custard which
formed part of a city feast and afforded huge entertainment, for the fool
jumped into it, and other like tricks were played. (See “All’s Well, etc.”
ii. 5, 40)
CUTWORK, embroidery, open-work
CYPRES (CYPRUS) (quibble), cypress (or cyprus) being a transparent
material, and when black used for mourning
DAGGER (” — frumety”), name of tavern
DARGISON, apparently some person known in ballad or tale
DAUPHIN MY BOY, refrain of old comic song
DEAD LIFT, desperate emergency
DEAR, applied to that which in any way touches us nearly
DECLINE, turn off from; turn away, aside
DEFALK, deduct, abate
DEMI-CULVERIN, cannon carrying a ball of about ten pounds
DENIER, the smallest possible coin, being the twelfth part of a sou
DEPART, part with
DEPENDANCE, ground of quarrel in duello language
DESPERATE, rash, reckless
DETECT, allow to be detected, betray, inform against
DETRACT, draw back, refuse
DEVICE, masque, show; a thing moved by wires, etc., puppet
DEVISE, exact in every particular
DIAPASM, powdered aromatic herbs, made into balls of perfumed paste. (See
DIBBLE, (?) moustache (N.E.D.); (?) dagger (Cunningham)
DIFFUSED, disordered, scattered, irregular
DILDO, refrain of popular songs; vague term of low meaning
DIMBLE, dingle, ravine
DIMENSUM, stated allowance
DISCERN, distinguish, show a difference between
DISCHARGE, settle for
DISCIPLINE, reformation; ecclesiastical system
DISCLAIM, renounce all part in
DISCOURSE, process of reasoning, reasoning faculty
DISCOVER, betray, reveal; display
DISPARGEMENT, legal term supplied to the unfitness in any way of a marriage
arranged for in the case of wards
DISPENSE WITH, grant dispensation for
DIS’PLE, discipline, teach by the whip
DISPOSED, inclined to merriment
DISPUNCT, not punctilious
DISSOLVED, enervated by grief
DISTANCE, (?) proper measure
DISTASTE, offence, cause of offence
DISTASTE, render distasteful
DISTEMPERED, upset, out of humour
DIVISION (mus.), variation, modulation
DOG-BOLT, term of contempt
DOLE, given in dole, charity
DOLE OF FACES, distribution of grimaces
DOOM, verdict, sentence
DOP, dip, low bow
DOR, beetle, buzzing insect, drone, idler
DOR, (?) buzz; “give the —,” make a fool of
DOSSER, pannier, basket
DOTES, endowments, qualities
DOTTEREL, plover; gull, fool
DOUBLE, behave deceitfully
DOXY, wench, mistress
DRACHM, Greek silver coin
DRESS, groom, curry
DRYFOOT, track by mere scent of foot
DUCKING, punishment for minor offences
DUMPS, melancholy, originally a mournful melody
DURINDANA, Orlando’s sword
DWINDLE, shrink away, be overawed
EAN, yean, bring forth young
EGREGIOUS, eminently excellent
EKE, also, moreover
E-LA, highest note in the scale
EGGS ON THE SPIT, important business on hand
ELF-LOCK, tangled hair, supposed to be the work of elves
ENGHLE. See Ingle
ENGHLE, cajole; fondle
ENGIN(E), device, contrivance; agent; ingenuity, wit
ENGINER, engineer, deviser, plotter
ENGINOUS, crafty, full of devices; witty, ingenious
ENS, an existing thing, a substance
ENSIGNS, tokens, wounds
ENTERTAIN, take into service
ENTRY, place where a deer has lately passed
ENVOY, denouement, conclusion
ENVY, spite, calumny, dislike, odium
EQUAL, just, impartial
ERECTION, elevation in esteem
ERINGO, candied root of the sea-holly, formerly used as a sweetmeat and
ESSENTIATE, become assimilated
EURIPUS, flux and reflux
EVEN, just equable
EVENT, fate, issue
EXAMPLESS, without example or parallel
EXCALIBUR, King Arthur’s sword
EXEMPLIFY, make an example of
EXEMPT, separate, exclude
EXHALE, drag out
EXHIBITION, allowance for keep, pocket-money
EXORBITANT, exceeding limits of propriety or law, inordinate
EXPLICATE, explain, unfold
EXTEMPORAL, extempore, unpremediated
EXTRAORDINARY, employed for a special or temporary purpose
EYE, “in —,” in view
EYEBRIGHT, (?) a malt liquor in which the herb of this name was infused, or
a person who sold the same (Gifford)
EYE-TINGE, least shade or gleam
FACES ABOUT, military word of command
FACINOROUS, extremely wicked
FACT, deed, act, crime
FACTIOUS, seditious, belonging to a party, given to party feeling
FAGIOLI, French beans
FAIN, forced, necessitated
FALL, ruff or band turned back on the shoulders; or, veil
FALSIFY, feign (fencing term)
FAMILIAR, attendant spirit
FANTASTICAL, capricious, whimsical
FAR-FET. See Fet
FARTHINGAL, hooped petticoat
FAULT, lack; loss, break in line of scent; “for —,” in default of
FAYLES, old table game similar to backgammon
FEAT, activity, operation; deed, action
FEAT, elegant, trim
FEE, “in —” by feudal obligation
FEIZE, beat, belabour
FELLOW, term of contempt
FENNEL, emblem of flattery
FERE, companion, fellow
FERN-SEED, supposed to have power of rendering invisible
FEUTERER (Fr. vautrier), dog-keeper
FIGGUM, (?) jugglery
FIGMENT, fiction, invention
FIRK, frisk, move suddenly, or in jerks; “— up,” stir up, rouse; “firks
mad,” suddenly behaves like a madman
FIT, pay one out, punish
FITTON (FITTEN), lie, invention
FIVE-AND-FIFTY, “highest number to stand on at primero” (Gifford)
FLAG, to fly low and waveringly
FLAGON CHAIN, for hanging a smelling-bottle (Fr. flacon) round the neck
(?). (See N.E.D.)
FLAP-DRAGON, game similar to snap-dragon
FLASKET, some kind of basket
FLAW, sudden gust or squall of wind
FLEA, catch fleas
FLEER, sneer, laugh derisively
FLESH, feed a hawk or dog with flesh to incite it to the chase; initiate in
FLIGHT, light arrow
FLOUT, mock, speak and act contemptuously
FLOWERS, pulverised substance
FLY, familiar spirit
FOIL, weapon used in fencing; that which sets anything off to advantage
FOIST, cut-purse, sharper
FOOT-CLOTH, housings of ornamental cloth which hung down on either side a
horse to the ground
FOOTING, foothold; footstep; dancing
FOR, “— failing,” for fear of failing
FORBEAR, bear with; abstain from
FORCE, “hunt at —,” run the game down with dogs
FOREHEAD, modesty; face, assurance, effrontery
FORESPEAK, bewitch; foretell
FORETOP, front lock of hair which fashion required to be worn upright
FORM, state formally
FORMAL, shapely; normal; conventional
FORTHCOMING, produced when required
FOUNDER, disable with over-riding
FOURM, form, lair
FRAIL, rush basket in which figs or raisins were packed
FRAMFULL, peevish, sour-tempered
FRAPLER, blusterer, wrangler
FRAYING, “a stag is said to fray his head when he rubs it against a tree
to…cause the outward coat of the new horns to fall off” (Gifford)
FREIGHT (of the gazetti), burden (of the newspapers)
FRICATRICE, woman of low character
FRIPPERY, old clothes shop
FROLICS, (?) humorous verses circulated at least (N.E.D.); couplets wrapped
round sweetmeats (Cunningham)
FRUMETY, hulled wheat boiled in milk and spiced
FRUMP, flout, sneer
FUGEAND, (?) figment: flighty, restless (N.E.D.)
FULLAM, false dice
FULSOME, foul, offensive
FURIBUND, raging, furious
GALLEY-FOIST, city-barge, used on Lord Mayor’s Day, when he was sworn into
his office at Westminster (Whalley)
GALLIARD, lively dance in triple time
GAPE, be eager after
GARAGANTUA, Rabelais’ giant
GARB, sheaf (Fr. Gerbe); manner, fashion, behaviour
BARD, guard, trimming, gold or silver lace, or other ornament
GARDED, faced or trimmed
GAVEL-KIND, name of a land-tenure existing chiefly in Kent; from 16th
century often used to denote custom of dividing a deceased man’s property
equally among his sons (N.E.D.)
GAZETTE, small Venetian coin worth about three-farthings
GEANCE, jaunt, errand
GEAR (GEER), stuff, matter, affair
GEMONIES, steps from which the bodies of criminals were thrown into the river
GENERAL, free, affable
GENIUS, attendant spirit
GENTRY, gentlemen; manners characteristic of gentry, good breeding
GIGANTOMACHIZE, start a giants’ war
GLASS (“taking in of shadows, etc.”), crystal or beryl
GLEEK, card game played by three; party of three, trio; side glance
GLICK (GLEEK), jest, gibe
GLORIOUSLY, of vain glory
GODWIT, bird of the snipe family
GOLD-END-MAN, a buyer of broken gold and silver
GONFALIONIER, standard-bearer, chief magistrate, etc.
GOOD, sound in credit
GOOD-Year, good luck
GOOSE-TURD, colour of. (See Turd)
GORCROW, carrion crow
GORGET, neck armour
GOWKED, from “gowk,” to stand staring and gaping like a fool
GRASS, (?) grease, fat
GRATEFUL, agreeable, welcome
GRATIFY, give thanks to
GRATULATE, welcome, congratulate
GRIPE, vulture, griffin
GRIPE’S EGG, vessel in shape of
GROGRAN, coarse stuff made of silk and mohair, or of coarse silk
GROOM-PORTER, officer in the royal household
GROPE, handle, probe
GROUND, pit (hence “grounded judgments”)
GUARD, caution, heed
GUARDANT, heraldic term: turning the head only
GUILDER, Dutch coin worth about 4d.
GULES, gullet, throat; heraldic term for red
GULL, simpleton, dupe
HAB NAB, by, on, chance
HABERGEON, coat of mail
HAGGARD, wild female hawk; hence coy, wild
HALBERD, combination of lance and battle-axe
HALL, “a —!” a cry to clear the room for the dancers
HANDSEL, first money taken
HANGER, loop or strap on a sword-belt from which the sword was suspended
HAP, fortune, luck
HAPPINESS, appropriateness, fitness
HARBOUR, track, trace (an animal) to its shelter
HARPOCRATES, Horus the child, son of Osiris, figured with a finger pointing
to his mouth, indicative of silence
HARRINGTON, a patent was granted to Lord H. for the coinage of tokens (q.v.)
HARRY NICHOLAS, founder of a community called the “Family of Love”
HAY, net for catching rabbits, etc.
HAY! (Ital. hai!), you have it (a fencing term)
HAY IN HIS HORN, ill-tempered person
HAZARD, game at dice; that which is staked
HEAD, “first —,” young deer with antlers first sprouting; fig. a
HEARKEN AFTER, inquire; “hearken out,” find, search out
HEAVEN AND HELL (“Alchemist”), names of taverns
HEDGE IN, include
HELM, upper part of a retort
HER’NSEW, hernshaw, heron
HIERONIMO (JERONIMO), hero of Kyd’s “Spanish Tragedy”
HOBBY-HORSE, imitation horse of some light material, fastened round the
waist of the morrice-dancer, who imitated the movements of a skittish horse
HOIDEN, hoyden, formerly applied to both sexes (ancient term for leveret?
HOLLAND, name of two famous chemists
HONE AND HONERO, wailing expressions of lament or discontent
HORN-MAD, stark mad (quibble)
HORN-THUMB, cut-purses were in the habit of wearing a horn shield on the thumb
HORSE-BREAD-EATING, horses were often fed on coarse bread
HOSPITAL, Christ’s Hospital
HOWLEGLAS, Eulenspiegel, the hero of a popular German tale which related
his buffooneries and knavish tricks
HUFF, hectoring, arrogance
HUFF IT, swagger
HUISHER (Fr. huissier), usher
HUM, beer and spirits mixed together
HUMANITIAN, humanist, scholar
HUMOROUS, capricious, moody, out of humour; moist
HUMOUR, a word used in and out of season in the time of Shakespeare and Ben
Jonson, and ridiculed by both
HUMPHREY, DUKE, those who were dinnerless spent the dinner-hour in a part
of St. Paul’s where stood a monument said to be that of the duke’s; hence
“dine with Duke Humphrey,” to go hungry
IDLE, useless, unprofitable
IMBIBITION, saturation, steeping
IMBROCATA, fencing term: a thrust in tierce
IMPART, give money
IMPARTER, any one ready to be cheated and to part with his money
IMPERTINENT(LY), irrelevant(ly), without reason or purpose
IMPOSITION, duty imposed by
IMPOTENTLY, beyond power of control
IMPRESS, money in advance
IN AND IN, a game played by two or three persons with four dice
INCENSE, incite, stir up
INCERATION, act of covering with wax; or reducing a substance to softness
INCH, “to their —es,” according to their stature, capabilities
INCONVENIENCE, inconsistency, absurdity
INCONY, delicate, rare (used as a term of affection)
INCUBUS, evil spirit that oppresses us in sleep, nightmare
INCURIOUS, unfastidious, uncritical
INDENT, enter into engagement
INDIFFERENT, tolerable, passable
INDIGESTED, shapeless, chaotic
INFANTED, born, produced
INFLAME, augment charge
INGENIOUS, used indiscriminantly for ingenuous; intelligent, talented
INGINE. See Engin
INGINER, engineer. (See Enginer)
INGLE, OR ENGHLE, bosom friend, intimate, minion
INJURY, insult, affront
IN-MATE, resident, indwelling
INQUEST, jury, or other official body of inquiry
INSTRUMENT, legal document
INTEGRATE, complete, perfect
INTELLIGENCE, secret information, news
INTEND, note carefully, attend, give ear to, be occupied with
INTENT, intention, wish
INTENTION, concentration of attention or gaze
INTRUDE, bring in forcibly or without leave
IRPE (uncertain), “a fantastic grimace, or contortion of the body: (Gifford)
JACE, Jack o’ the clock, automaton figure that strikes the hour;
Jack-a-lent, puppet thrown at in Lent
JACK, key of a virginal
JACOB’S STAFF, an instrument for taking altitudes and distances
JEALOUSY, JEALOUS, suspicion, suspicious
JEW’S TRUMP, Jew’s harp
JIG, merry ballad or tune; a fanciful dialogue or light comic act
introduced at the end or during an interlude of a play
JOINED (JOINT)-STOOL, folding stool
JUMP, agree, tally
JUST YEAR, no one was capable of the consulship until he was forty-three
KELLY, an alchemist
KEMIA, vessel for distillation
KIBE, chap, sore
KILDERKIN, small barrel
KIND, nature; species; “do one’s —,” act according to one’s nature
KIRTLE, woman’s gown of jacket and petticoat
KISS OR DRINK AFORE ME, “this is a familiar expression, employed when what
the speaker is just about to say is anticipated by another” (Gifford)
KNACK, snap, click
KNIPPER-DOLING, a well-known Anabaptist
KNITTING CUP, marriage cup
KNOCKING, striking, weighty
KNOT, company, band; a sandpiper or robin snipe (Tringa canulus);
flower-bed laid out in fanciful design
KURSINED, KYRSIN, christened
LABOURED, wrought with labour and care
LANCE-KNIGHT (Lanzknecht), a German mercenary foot-soldier
LAR, household god
LARUM, alarum, call to arms
LATTICE, tavern windows were furnished with lattices of various colours
LAUNDER, to wash gold in aqua regia, so as imperceptibly to extract some of it.
LAVE, ladle, bale
LAW, “give —,” give a start (term of chase)
LAY ABOARD, run alongside generally with intent to board
LEAGUER, siege, or camp of besieging army
LEAVE, leave off, desist
LEER, leering or “empty, hence, perhaps leer horse without a rider; leer is
an adjective meaning uncontrolled, hence ‘leer drunkards'” (Halliwell);
according to Nares, a leer (empty) horse meant also a led horse; leeward,
LEGS, “make —,” do obeisance
LEIGEP, resident representative
LEMMA, subject proposed, or title of the epigram
LEVEL COIL, a rough game…in which one hunted another from his seat.
Hence used for any noisy riot (Halliwell)
LEYSTALLS, receptacles of filth
LIEGER, ledger, register
LIGHTLY, commonly, usually, often
LIKELY, agreeable, pleasing
LIME-HOUND, leash-, blood-hound
LIMMER, vile, worthless
LIN, leave off
Line, “by —,” by rule
LINSTOCK, staff to stick in the ground, with forked head to hold a lighted
match for firing cannon
LIST, listen, hard; like, please
LIVERY, legal term, delivery of the possession, etc.
LOGGET, small log, stick
LOOSE, solution; upshot, issue; release of an arrow
LOSE, give over, desist from; waste
LOUTING, bowing, cringing
LUCULENT, bright of beauty
LUDGATHIANS, dealers on Ludgate Hill
LURCH, rob, cheat
LUTE, to close a vessel with some kind of cement
MACK, unmeaning expletive
MADGE HOWLET or own, barn-owl
MAIM, hurt, injury
MAIN, chief concern (used as a quibble on heraldic term for “hand”)
MAINPRISE, becoming surety for a prisoner so as to procure his release
MAINTENANCE, giving aid, or abetting
MAKE, MADE, acquaint with business, prepare(d), instruct(ed)
MALLANDERS, disease of horses
MALT HORSE, dray horse
MAMMOTHREPT, spoiled child
MANAGE, control (term used for breaking-in horses); handling, administration
MANGONISE, polish up for sale
MANIPLES, bundles, handfuls
MANKIND, masculine, like a virago
MAPLE FACE, spotted face (N.E.D.)
MARCH PANE, a confection of almonds, sugar, etc.
MARK, “fly to the —,” “generally said of a goshawk when, having ‘put in’ a
covey of partridges, she takes stand, making the spot where they
disappeared from view until the falconer arrives to put them out to her”
(Harting, Bibl. Accip. Gloss. 226)
MARROW-BONE MAN, one often on his knees for prayer
MARRY! exclamation derived from the Virgin’s name
MARRY GIP, “probably originated from By Mary Gipcy = St. Mary of Egypt,
MARTAGAN, Turk’s cap lily
MASORETH, Masora, correct form of the scriptural text according to Hebrew
Mass, abb. for master
MAUTHER, girl, maid
MEASURE, dance, more especially a stately one
MEAT, “carry — in one’s mouth,” be a source of money or entertainment
MECHANICAL, belonging to mechanics, mean, vulgar
MEDITERRANEO, middle aisle of St. Paul’s, a general resort for business and
MEET WITH, even with
MELICOTTON, a late kind of peach
MERE, undiluted; absolute, unmitigated
MESS, party of four
METHEGLIN, fermented liquor, of which one ingredient was honey
METOPOSCOPY, study of physiognomy
MIDDLING GOSSIP, go-between
MIGNIARD, dainty, delicate
MILE-END, training-ground of the city
MINION, form of cannon
MINSITIVE, (?) mincing, affected (N.E.D.)
MISCELLANY MADAM, “a female trader in miscellaneous articles; a dealer in
trinkets or ornaments of various kinds, such as kept shops in the New
MISCELLINE, mixed grain; medley
MISPRISE, MISPRISION, mistake, misunderstanding
MISTAKE AWAY, carry away as if by mistake
MITHRIDATE, an antidote against poison
MOCCINIGO, small Venetian coin, worth about ninepence
MODERN, in the mode; ordinary, common-place
MOMENT, force or influence of value
MONTANTO, upward stroke
MONTH’S MIND, violent desire
MOORISH, like a moor or waste
MORGLAY, sword of Bevis of Southampton
MORRICe-DANCE, dance on May Day, etc., in which certain personages were
MORT-MAL, old score, gangrene
MOSCADINO, confection flavoured with musk
MOTHER, Hysterica passio
MOTION, proposal, request; puppet, puppet-show; “one of the small figures
on the face of a large clock which was moved by the vibration of the
MOTION, suggest, propose
MOTLEY, parti-coloured dress of a fool; hence used to signify pertaining
to, or like, a fool
MOURNIVAL, set of four aces or court cards in a hand; a quartette
MOW, setord hay or sheaves of grain
MUCH! expressive of irony and incredulity
MULE, “born to ride on —,” judges or serjeants-at-law formerly rode on
mules when going in state to Westminster (Whally)
MULLETS, small pincers
MUM-CHANCE, game of chance, played in silence
MUREY, dark crimson red
MUSICAL, in harmony
MUSS, mouse; scramble
MYROBOLANE, foreign conserve, “a dried plum, brought from the Indies”
MYSTERY, art, trade, profession.
NAIL, “to the —” (ad unguem), to perfection, to the very utmost
NEAT, smartly apparelled; unmixed; dainty
NEATLY, neatly finished
NEIS, nose, scent
NEUF (NEAF, NEIF), fist
NIAISE, foolish, inexperienced person
NICE, fastidious, trivial, finical, scrupulous
NICK, exact amount; right moment; “set in the —” meaning uncertain
NICE, suit, fit’ hit, seize the right moment, etc., exactly hit on, hit off
NOBLE, gold coin worth 6s.8d.
NIL, not will
NOISE, company of musicians
NOMENTACK, an Indian chief from Virginia
NOTE, sign, token
NOUGHT, “be —,” go to the devil, be hanged, etc.
NUPSON, oaf, simpleton
OBARNI, preparation of mead
OBJECT, oppose; expose; interpose
OBLATRANT, barking, railing
OBNOXIOUS, liable, exposed; offensive
OBSERVANCE, homage, devoted service
OBSERVANT, attentive, obsequious
OBSERVE, show deference, respect
OBSERVER, one who shows deference, or waits upon another
OBSTANCY, legal phrase, “juridical opposition”
OBSTREPEROUS, clamorous, vociferous
ODLING, (?) “must have some relation to tricking and cheating” (Nares)
OMINOUS, deadly, fatal
ONCE, at once; for good and all; used also for additional emphasis
ONLY, pre-eminent, special
OPEN, make public; expound
ORT, remnant, scrap
OUT, “to be —.” to have forgotten one’s part; not at one with each other
OUTCRY, sale by auction
OUTREGUIDANCE, arrogance, presumption
OUTSPEAK, speak more than
OVERPARTED, given too difficult a part to play
OWLSPIEGEL. See Howleglass
OYEZ! (O YES!), hear ye! call of the public crier when about to make a
PACKING PENNY, “give a —,” dismiss, send packing
PAINED (PANED) SLOPS, full breeches made of strips of different colour and
PAINFUL, diligent, painstaking
PALINODE, ode of recantation
PALL, weaken, dim, make stale
PAN, skirt of dress or coat
PANNEL, pad, or rough kind of saddle
PANNIER-ALLY, inhabited by tripe-sellers
PANNIER-MAN, hawker; a man employed about the inns of court to bring in
provisions, set the table, etc.
PANTOFLE, indoor shoe, slipper
PARAMENTOS, fine trappings
PARANOMASIE, a play upon words
PARANTORY, (?) peremptory
PARCEL, particle, fragment (used contemptuously); article
PARCEL, part, partly
PARERGA, subordinate matters
PARGET, to paint or plaster the face
PARLOUS, clever, shrewd
PARTAKE, participate in
PARTED, endowed, talented
PARTICULAR, individual person
PARTIZAN, kind of halberd
PARTS, qualities endowments
PASH, dash, smash
PASS, care, trouble oneself
PASSADO, fending term: a thrust
PASSAGE, game at dice
PASSION, effect caused by external agency
PASSION, “in —,” in so melancholy a tone, so pathetically
PATOUN, (?) Fr. Paton, pellet of dough; perhaps the “moulding of the
tobacco…for the pipe” (Gifford); (?) variant of Petun, South American
name of tobacco
PATRICO, the recorder, priest, orator of strolling beggars or gipsies
PATTEN, shoe with wooden sole; “go —,” keep step with, accompany
PAUCA VERBA, few words
PAVIN, a stately dance
PEACE, “with my master’s —,” by leave, favour
PECULIAR, individual, single
PEDANT, teacher of the languages
PEEL, baker’s shovel
PEEP, speak in a small or shrill voice
PEEVISH(LY), foolish(ly), capricious(ly); childish(ly)
PELICAN, a retort fitted with tube or tubes, for continuous distillation
PENCIL, small tuft of hair
PERDUE, soldier accustomed to hazardous service
PEREMPTORY, resolute, bold; imperious; thorough, utter, absolute(ly)
PERIMETER, circumference of a figure
PERIOD, limit, end
PERK, perk up
PERPETUANA, “this seems to be that glossy kind of stuff now called
everlasting, and anciently worn by serjeants and other city officers”
PERSPICIL, optic glass
PERSTRINGE, criticise, censure
PERSUADE, inculcate, commend
PESTLING, pounding, pulverising, like a pestle
PETASUS, broad-brimmed hat or winged cap worn by Mercury
PETRONEL, a kind of carbine or light gas carried by horsemen
PETULANT, pert, insolent
PHERE. See Fere
PHLEGMA, watery distilled liquor (old chem. “water”)
PICARDIL, still upright collar fastened on to the coat (Whalley)
PICT-HATCH, disreputable quarter of London
PIECE, person, used for woman or girl; a gold coin worth in Jonson’s time
20s. or 22s.
PIECES OF EIGHT, Spanish coin: piastre equal to eight reals
PIE-POUDRES (Fr. pied-poudreux, dusty-foot), court held at fairs to
administer justice to itinerant vendors and buyers
PILCHER, term of contempt; one who wore a buff or leather jerkin, as did
the serjeants of the counter; a pilferer
PILED, pilled, peeled, bald
PILL’D, polled, fleeced
PIMLICO, “sometimes spoken of as a person — perhaps master of a house
famous for a particular ale” (Gifford)
PINE, afflict, distress
PINK, stab with a weapon; pierce or cut in scallops for ornament
PINNACE, a go-between in infamous sense
PISTOLET, gold coin, worth about 6s.
PITCH, height of a bird of prey’s flight
PLAGUE, punishment, torment
PLAIN SONG, simple melody
PLANET, “struck with a —,” planets were supposed to have powers of
blasting or exercising secret influences
PLY, apply oneself to
POESIE, posy, motto inside a ring
POINT IN HIS DEVICE, exact in every particular
POINTE, tabbed laces or cords for fastening the breeches to the doublet
POINT-TRUSSER, one who trussed (tied) his master’s points (q.v.)
POISE, weigh, balance
POKING-STICK, stick used for setting the plaits of ruffs
POLITIC, judicious, prudent, political
POLITICIAN, plotter, intriguer
POLL, strip, plunder, gain by extortion
POMMANDER, ball of perfume, worn or hung about the person to prevent
infection, or for foppery
POMMADO, vaulting on a horse without the aid of stirrups
POPULAR, vulgar, of the populace
PORT, gate; print of a deer’s foot
PORTAGUE, Portuguese gold coin, worth over £3 or f4
PORTCULLIS, “— of coin,” some old coins have a portcullis stamped on their
PORTENT, marvel, prodigy; sinister omen
PORTENTOUS, prophesying evil, threatening
PORTER, references appear “to allude to Parsons, the king’s porter, who
was… near seven feet high” (Whalley)
POSSESS, inform, acquaint
POST AND PAIR, a game at cards
POSY, motto. (See Poesie)
POUNCE, claw, talon
PRACTICE, intrigue, concerted plot
PRACTISE, plot, conspire
PRAGMATIC, an expert, agent
PRAGMATIC, officious, conceited, meddling
PRECEDENT, record of proceedings
PRECEPT, warrant, summons
PRECISIAN(ISM), Puritan(ism), preciseness
PRESENCE, presence chamber
PRESENT(LY), immediate(ly), without delay; at the present time; actually
PRESS, force into service
PRETEND, assert, allege
PRICE, worth, excellence
PRICK, point, dot used in the writing of Hebrew and other languages
PRICK, prick out, mark off, select; trace, track; “— away,” make off with
PRIMERO, game of cards
PRINCOX, pert boy
PRINT, “in —,” to the letter, exactly
PRIVATE, private interests
PRIVATE, privy, intimate
PROCLIVE, prone to
PRODIGIOUS, monstrous, unnatural
PROJECTION, the throwing of the “powder of projection” into the crucible to
turn the melted metal into gold or silver
PROLATE, pronounce drawlingly
PROPER, of good appearance, handsome; own, particular
PROPERTIES, state necessaries
PROPERTY, duty; tool
PRORUMPED, burst out
PROTEST, vow, proclaim (an affected word of that time); formally declare
non-payment, etc., of bill of exchange; fig. failure of personal credit,
PROVANT, soldier’s allowance — hence, of common make
PROVIDENCE, foresight, prudence
PUBLICATION, making a thing public of common property (N.E.D.)
PUCKFIST, puff-ball; insipid, insignificant, boasting fellow
PUFF-WING, shoulder puff
PUISNE, judge of inferior rank, a junior
PUNTO, point, hit
PURCEPT, precept, warrant
PURE, fine, capital, excellent
PURELY, perfectly, utterly
PURL, pleat or fold of a ruff
PURSE-NET, net of which the mouth is drawn together with a string
PURSUIVANT, state messenger who summoned the persecuted seminaries; warrant
PURSY, PURSINESS, shortwinded(ness)
PUT, make a push, exert yourself (N.E.D.)
PUT OFF, excuse, shift
PUT ON, incite, encourage; proceed with, take in hand, try
QUAINT, elegant, elaborated, ingenious, clever
QUARRIED, seized, or fed upon, as prey
QUEAN, hussy, jade
QUEASY, hazardous, delicate
QUELL, kill, destroy
QUEST, request; inquiry
QUESTION, decision by force of arms
QUESTMAN, one appointed to make official inquiry
QUIB, QUIBLIN, quibble, quip
QUICK, the living
QUIDDIT, quiddity, legal subtlety
QUIRK, clever turn or trick
QUIT, requite, repay; acquit, absolve; rid; forsake, leave
QUITTER-BONE, disease of horses
QUOIT, throw like a quoit, chuck
QUOTE, take note, observe, write down
RACK, neck of mutton or pork (Halliwell)
RAKE UP, cover over
RAMP, rear, as a lion, etc.
RAPT, carry away
RASCAL, young or inferior deer
RASH, strike with a glancing oblique blow, as a boar with its tusk
RATSEY, GOMALIEL, a famous highwayman
REBATU, ruff, turned-down collar
RECTOR, RECTRESS, director, governor
REDUCE, bring back
REED, rede, counsel, advice
REEL, run riot
REFORMADOES, disgraced or disbanded soldiers
REGULAR (“Tale of a Tub”), regular noun (quibble) (N.E.D.)
RELIGION, “make — of,” make a point of, scruple of
REMNANT, scrap of quotation
REMORA, species of fish
RENDER, depict, exhibit, show
REPETITION, recital, narration
RESOLUTION, judgment, decision
RESOLVE, inform; assure; prepare, make up one’s mind; dissolve; come to a
decision, be convinced; relax, set at ease
RESPECTIVE, worthy of respect; regardful, discriminative
RESPECTIVELY, with reverence
RESPIRE, exhale; inhale
REST, “set up one’s —,” venture one’s all, one’s last stake (from game of
RESTIVE, RESTY, dull, inactive
RETIRE, cause to retire
RETRICATO, fencing term
RETRIEVE, rediscovery of game once sprung
RETURNS, ventures sent abroad, for the safe return of which so much money
REVERBERATE, dissolve or blend by reflected heat
REVERSE, REVERSO, back-handed thrust, etc., in fencing
REVISE, reconsider a sentence
RHEUM, spleen, caprice
RIBIBE, abusive term for an old woman
RID, destroy, do away with
RIFLING, raffling, dicing
RING, “cracked within the —,” coins so cracked were unfit for currency
RISSE, risen, rose
ROCHET, fish of the gurnet kind
ROGUE, vagrant, vagabond
RONDEL, “a round mark in the score of a public-house” (Nares); roundel
ROOK, sharper; fool, dupe
ROSAKER, similar to ratsbane
ROSA-SOLIS, a spiced spirituous liquor
ROUND, “gentlemen of the —,” officers of inferior rank
ROUND TRUNKS, trunk hose, short loose breeches reaching almost or quite to
ROUSE, carouse, bumper
ROVER, arrow used for shooting at a random mark at uncertain distance
RUDE, RUDENESS, unpolished, rough(ness), coarse(ness)
RUFFLE, flaunt, swagger
RUG, coarse frieze
RUG-GOWNS, gown made of rug
RUSH, reference to rushes with which the floors were then strewn
RUSHER, one who strewed the floor with rushes
RUSSET, homespun cloth of neutral or reddish-brown colour
SACK, loose, flowing gown
SADLY, seriously, with gravity
SAD(NESS), sober, serious(ness)
ST. THOMAS A WATERINGS, place in Surrey where criminals were executed
SAKER, small piece of ordnance
SAMPSUCHINE, sweet marjoram
SARABAND, a slow dance
SATURNALS, began December 17
SAUCINESS, presumption, insolence
SAUCY, bold, impudent, wanton
SAUNA (Lat.), a gesture of contempt
SAVOUR, perceive; gratify, please; to partake of the nature
SAY, assay, try
SCALD, word of contempt, implying dirt and disease
SCALLION, shalot, small onion
SCANDERBAG, “name which the Turks (in allusion to Alexander the Great) gave
to the brave Castriot, chief of Albania, with whom they had continual wars.
His romantic life had just been translated” (Gifford)
SCARTOCCIO, fold of paper, cover, cartouch, cartridge
SCOT AND LOT, tax, contribution (formerly a parish assessment)
SCOTOMY, dizziness in the head
SCOURSE, deal, swap
SCRATCHES, disease of horses
SCROYLE, mean, rascally fellow
SEAL, put hand to the giving up of property or rights
SEALED, stamped as genuine
SEAMING LACES, insertion or edging
SEAR UP, close by searing, burning
SECRETARY, able to keep a secret
SECULAR, worldly, ordinary, commonplace
SEELIE, happy, blest
SEISIN, legal term: possession
SELLARY, lewd person
SEMINARY, a Romish priest educated in a foreign seminary
SENSELESS, insensible, without sense or feeling
SENSUAL, pertaining to the physical or material
SERENE, harmful dew of evening
SERICON, red tincture
SERVICES, doughty deeds of arms
SESTERCE, Roman copper coin
SET, stake, wager
SET UP, drill
SETS, deep plaits of the ruff
SEWER, officer who served up the feast, and brought water for the hands of
SHAPE, a suit by way of disguise
SHIFT, fraud, dodge
SHITTLE, shuttle; “shittle-cock,” shuttlecock
SHOT, tavern reckoning
SHOT-CLOG, one only tolerated because he paid the shot (reckoning) for the rest
SHOT-FREE, scot-free, not having to pay
SHOVE-GROAT, low kind of gambling amusement, perhaps somewhat of the nature
of pitch and toss
SHREWD, mischievous, malicious, curst
SHREWDLY, keenly, in a high degree
SHRIVE, sheriff; posts were set up before his door for proclamations, or to
indicate his residence
SHROVING, Shrovetide, season of merriment
SIGILLA, seal, mark
SILENCED BRETHERN, MINISTERS, those of the Church or Nonconformists who had
been silenced, deprived, etc.
SILLY, simple, harmless
SIMPLE, silly, witless; plain, true
SINGLE, term of chase, signifying when the hunted stag is separated from
the herd, or forced to break covert
SINGLE, weak, silly
SINGLE-MONEY, small change
SINGULAR, unique, supreme
SI-QUIS, bill, advertisement
SKELDRING, getting money under false pretences; swindlilng
SKILL, “it — a not,” matters not
SEINK(ER), pour, draw(er), tapster
SLICE, fire shovel or pan (dial.)
SLICK, sleek, smooth
‘SLID, ‘SLIGHT, ‘SPRECIOUS, irreverent oaths
SLIGHT, sleight, cunning, cleverness; trick
SLIP, counterfeit coin, bastard
SLIPPERY, polished and shining
SLOPS, large loose breeches
SLOT, print of a stag’s foot
SLUR, put a slur on; chear (by sliding a die in some way)
SMELT, gull, simpleton
SNORLE, “perhaps snarl as Puppy is addressed” (Cunningham)
SNUFF, anger, resentment; “take in —,” take offence at
SNUFFERS, small open silver dishes for holding snuff, or receptacle for
placing snuffers in (Halliwell)
SOCK, shoe worn by comic actors
SOGGY, soaked, sodden
SOIL, “take —,” said of a hunted stag when he takes to the water for safety
SOLICIT, rouse, excite to action
SOOTH, flattery, cajolery
SOOTHE, flatter, humour
SORT, company, party; rank, degree
SORT, suit, fit; select
SOUSED (“Devil is an Ass”), fol. read “sou’t,” which Dyce interprets as “a
variety of the spelling of ‘shu’d’: to shu is to scare a bird away.” (See
his Webster, p. 350)
SPAGYRICA, chemistry according to the teachings of Paracelsus
SPEAK, make known, proclaim
SPECULATION, power of sight
SPED, to have fared well, prospered
SPIGHT, anger, rancour
SPINSTRY, lewd person
SPITTLE, hospital, lazar-house
SPLEEN, considered the seat of the emotions
SPLEEN, caprice, humour, mood
SPUR-RYAL, gold coin worth 15s.
SQUIRE, square, measure; “by the —,” exactly.
STAGGERING, wavering, hesitating
STAIN, disparagement, disgrace
STALE, decoy, or cover, stalking-horse
STALE, make cheap, common
STALE, approach stealthily or under cover
STAPLE, market emporium
STARTING-HOLES, loopholes of escape
STATE, dignity; canopied chair of state; estate
STATUMINATE, support vines by poles or stakes; used by Pliny (Gifford)
STAY, await; detain
STICKLER, second or umpire
STIGMATISE, mark, brand
STILL, continual(ly), constant(ly)
STINKARD, stinking fellow
STOCCATA, thrust in fencing
STOCK-FISH, salted and dried fish
STOMACH, pride, valour
STOOP, swoop down as a hawk
STOP, fill, stuff
STOTE, stoat, weasel
STOUP, stoop, swoop=bow
STRAMAZOUN (Ital. stramazzone), a down blow, as opposed to the thrust
STRANGE, like a stranger, unfamiliar
STRANGENESS, distance of behaviour
STREIGHTS, OR BERMUDAS, labyrinth of alleys and courts in the Strand
STRIGONIUM, Grau in Hungary, taken from the Turks in 1597
STRIKE, balance (accounts)
STRINGHALT, disease of horses
STROKER, smoother, flatterer
STROOK, p.p. of “strike”
STRUMMEL-PATCHED, strummed is glossed in dialect dicts. as “a long, loose
and dishevelled head of hair”
STUDIES, studious efforts
STYLE, title; pointed instrument used for writing on wax tablets
SUBTLE, fine, delicate, thin; smooth, soft
SUBTLETY (SUBTILITY), subtle device
SUBURB, connected with loose living
SUCCUBAE, demons in form of women
SUCK, extract money from
SUMMED, term of falconry: with full-grown plumage
SUPER-NEGULUM, topers turned the cup bottom up when it was empty
SUPPLE, to make pliant
SURBATE, make sore with walking
SUR-REVERENCE, save your reverence
SUSPENDED, held over for the present
SWAD, clown, boor
SWATH BANDS, swaddling clothes
TABERD, emblazoned mantle or tunic worn by knights and heralds
TABLE(S), “pair of —,” tablets, note-book
TABOR, small drum
TAFFETA, silk; “tuft-taffeta,” a more costly silken fabric
TAINT, “— a staff,” break a lance at tilting in an unscientific or
TAKE IN, capture, subdue
TAKE ME WITH YOU, let me understand you
TAKE UP, obtain on credit, borrow
TALENT, sum or weight of Greek currency
TALL, stout, brave
TANKARD-BEARERS, men employed to fetch water from the conduits
TARLETON, celebrated comedian and jester
TARTAROUS, like a Tartar
TAVERN-TOKEN, “to swallow a —,” get drunk
TEMPER, modify, soften
TENDER, show regard, care for cherish; manifest
TENT, “take —,” take heed
TERSE, swept and polished
TERTIA, “that portion of an army levied out of one particular district or
division of a country” (Gifford)
TESTON, tester, coin worth 6d.
THREE-FARTHINGS, piece of silver current under Elizabeth
THREE-PILED, of finest quality, exaggerated
THRUMS, ends of the weaver’s warp; coarse yarn made from
THUMB-RING, familiar spirits were supposed capable of being carried about
in various ornaments or parts of dress
TIBICINE, player on the tibia, or pipe
TICK-TACK, game similar to backgammon
TIM, (?) expressive of a climax of nonentity
TIMELESS, untimely, unseasonable
TINCTURE, an essential or spiritual principle supposed by alchemists to be
transfusible into material things; an imparted characteristic or tendency
TIPPET, “turn —,” change behaviour or way of life
TIPSTAFF, staff tipped with metal
TIRE, feed ravenously, like a bird of prey
TITILLATION, that which tickles the senses, as a perfume
TOILED, worn out, harassed
TOKEN, piece of base metal used in place of very small coin, when this was
TOP, “parish —,” large top kept in villages for amusement and exercise in
frosty weather when people were out of work
TOTER, tooter, player on a wind instrument
TOUSE, pull, read
TOWARD, docile, apt; on the way to; as regards; present, at hand
TOY, whim; trick; term of contempt
TRAIN, allure, entice
TRAY-TRIP, game at dice (success depended on throwing a three) (Nares)
TREACHOUR (TRECHER), traitor
TRENCHER, serving-man who carved or served food
TRENDLE-TAIL, trundle-tail, curly-tailed
TRICK (TRICKING), term of heraldry: to draw outline of coat of arms, etc.,
TRIG, a spruce, dandified man
TRILLIBUB, tripe, any worthless, trifling thing
TRIPOLY, “come from —,” able to perform feats of agility, a “jest
nominal,” depending on the first part of the word (Gifford)
TRITE, worn, shabby
TRIVIA, three-faced goddess (Hecate)
TROJAN, familiar term for an equal or inferior; thief
TROLL, sing loudly
TROMP, trump, deceive
TROPE, figure of speech
TROW, think, believe, wonder
TROWSES, breeches, drawers
TRUNDLE, JOHN, well-known printer
TRUNDLE, roll, go rolling along
TRUNDLING CHEATS, term among gipsies and beggars for carts or coaches (Gifford)
TRUSS, tie the tagged laces that fastened the breeches to the doublet
TUCKET (Ital. toccato), introductory flourish on the trumpet
TUMBLE, a particular kind of dog so called from the mode of his hunting
TUMBREL-SLOP, loose, baggy breeches
TUSK, gnash the teeth (Century Dict.)
TWIRE, peep, twinkle
TWOPENNY ROOM, gallery
ULENSPIEGEL. See Howleglass
UMBRATILE, like or pertaining to a shadow
UMBRE, brown dye
UNBORED, (?) excessively bored
UNCARNATE, not fleshly, or of flesh
UNCOUTH, strange, unusual
UNDERTAKER, “one who undertook by his influence in the House of Commons to
carry things agreeably to his Majesty’s wishes” (Whalley); one who becomes
UNEXCEPTED, no objection taken at
UNICORN’S HORN, supposed antidote to poison
UNMANNED, untamed (term in falconry)
UNRUDE, rude to an extreme
UNSEASONED, unseasonable, unripe
UNSEELED, a hawk’s eyes were “seeled” by sewing the eyelids together with
UPBRAID, make a matter of reproach
UPSEE, heavy kind of Dutch beer (Halliwell); “— Dutch,” in the Dutch fashion
UPTAILS ALL, refrain of a popular song
URGE, allege as accomplice, instigator
URSHIN, URCHIN, hedgehog
USE, interest on money; part of sermon dealing with the practical
application of doctrine
USE, be in the habit of, accustomed to; put out to interest
UTTER, put in circulation, make to pass current; put forth for sale
VAIL, bow, do homage
VAILS, tips, gratuities
VALL. See Vail
VALLIES (Fr. valise), portmanteau, bag
VAPOUR(S) (n. and v.), used affectedly, like “humour,” in many senses,
often very vaguely and freely ridiculed by Jonson; humour, disposition,
whims, brag(ging), hector(ing), etc.
VARLET, bailiff, or serjeant-at-mace
VEER (naut.), pay out
VEGETAL, vegetable; person full of life and vigour
VELVET CUSTARD. Cf. “Taming of the Shrew,” iv. 3, 82, “custard coffin,”
coffin being the raised crust over a pie
VENT, vend, sell; give outlet to; scent snuff up
VENUE, bout (fencing term)
VERDUGO (Span.), hangman, executioner
VERGE, “in the —,” within a certain distance of the court
VEX, agitate, torment
VICE, the buffoon of old moralities; some kind of machinery for moving a
VIE AND REVIE, to hazard a certain sum, and to cover it with a larger one.
VINCENT AGAINST YORK, two heralds-at-arms
VIRGE, wand, rod
VIRGINAL, old form of piano
VIVELY, in lifelike manner, livelily
VOGUE, rumour, gossip
VOID, leave, quit
VOLARY, cage, aviary
VOLLEY, “at —,” “o’ the volee,” at random (from a term of tennis)
WADLOE, keeper of the Devil Tavern, where Jonson and his friends met in the
‘Apollo’ room (Whalley)
WAIGHTS, waits, night musicians, “band of musical watchmen” (Webster), or
old form of “hautboys”
WANNION, “vengeance,” “plague” (Nares)
WARD, a famous pirate
WARD, guard in fencing
WATCHET, pale, sky blue
WEIGHTS, “to the gold —,” to every minute particular
WELL-SPOKEN, of fair speech
WELL-TORNED, turned and polished, as on a wheel
WELT, hem, border of fur
WHETSTONE, GEORGE, an author who lived 1544(?) to 1587(?)
WHIFF, a smoke, or drink; “taking the —,” inhaling the tobacco smoke or
some such accomplishment
WHIGH-HIES, neighings, whinnyings
WHIMSY, whim, “humour”
WHINILING, (?) whining, weakly
WHIT, (?) a mere jot
WHITEMEAT, food made of milk or eggs
WICKED, bad, clumsy
WICKER, pliant, agile
WILDING, esp. fruit of wild apple or crab tree (Webster)
WINE, “I have the — for you,” Prov.: I have the perquisites (of the
office) which you are to share (Cunningham)
WINNY, “same as old word ‘wonne’, to stay, etc.” (Whalley)
WISS (WUSSE), “I —,” certainly, of a truth
WITTY, cunning, ingenious, clever
WOOD, collection, lot
WOODCOCK, term of contempt
WOOLSACK (“— pies”), name of tavern
WORT, unfermented beer
WOUNDY, great, extreme
WROUGHT, wrought upon
WUSSE, interjection. (See Wiss)
YEANLING, lamb, kid
ZANY, an inferior clown, who attended upon the chief fool and mimicked his