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 too.
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 humour.
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 your tomb.
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 else.
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 private, i’faith.
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 hobby?
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. [EXIT HUNTSMAN.
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 them.
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 the building.
[EXIT WAITING-GENTLEWOMAN FROM THE WINDOW.
CAR. That he may erect a new dial of compliment, with his gnomons and his puntilios.
FAST. Nay, thou art such another cynic now, a man had need walk uprightly before thee.
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 humour?
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 refresh me.
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 untie.
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 corrupted.
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 clothes.
COR. Do you observe that signior? There’s another humour has new-crack’d the shell.
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. [ASIDE.
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 rare too.
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 — [ASIDE.
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! [ASIDE.
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, uncle.
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 truth.
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 faith.
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 plentiful discourse?
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 withal.
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 rain to-day.
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 sister.
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 objections.
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’. [ASIDE.
DELI. Dispatch! take heed your mistress see you not.
FIDO. I warrant you, sir, I’ll steal by her softly. [EXIT.
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. [ASIDE.
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 the fashion.
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, sweet sister.
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 by.
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 fashion.
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 extraordinary.
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 of regard.
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 furnish him.
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 leave us.
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 empress.
RE-ENTER FUNGOSO, WITH HIS TAILOR.
FUNG. What’s master Fastidious gone, sister?
FAL. Ay, brother. — He has a face like a cherubin! [ASIDE.
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! [ASIDE.
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 discovery.
ORANGE. What, signior Whiffe! what fortune has brought you into these west parts?
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 gallants here.
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 chance.
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 but one.
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. [READS.
“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 now, Carlo?
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 discourse.
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 sir?
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 not?
SOG. O, ay, I have it in writing here of purpose; it cost me two shilling the tricking.
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 Fastidious.
[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 ann’lets sable.”
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. [EXIT.
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 excellent sport.
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 the church.
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, go to.
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. [EXIT.
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 walk, sir.
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 well, sir.
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 countenance.
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, signior?
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 gentleman says.
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 gentleman.
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 coin before.
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 this cross.
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. [READS.
“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. [EXIT HIND.]
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?