The Alchemist (Jonson)

Act 2, Scene 2.1



MAM. Come on, sir. Now, you set your foot on shore

In Novo Orbe; here's the rich Peru:

And there within, sir, are the golden mines,

Great Solomon's Ophir! he was sailing to't,

Three years, but we have reached it in ten months.

This is the day, wherein, to all my friends,

I will pronounce the happy word, BE RICH;


You shall no more deal with the hollow dye,

Or the frail card. No more be at charge of keeping

The livery-punk for the young heir, that must

Seal, at all hours, in his shirt: no more,

If he deny, have him beaten to't, as he is

That brings him the commodity. No more

Shall thirst of satin, or the covetous hunger

Of velvet entrails for a rude-spun cloke,

To be display'd at madam Augusta's, make

The sons of Sword and Hazard fall before

The golden calf, and on their knees, whole nights

Commit idolatry with wine and trumpets:

Or go a feasting after drum and ensign.

No more of this. You shall start up young viceroys,

And have your punks, and punketees, my Surly.

And unto thee I speak it first, BE RICH.

Where is my Subtle, there? Within, ho!

FACE [WITHIN]. Sir, he'll come to you by and by.

MAM. That is his fire-drake,

His Lungs, his Zephyrus, he that puffs his coals,

Till he firk nature up, in her own centre.

You are not faithful, sir. This night, I'll change

All that is metal, in my house, to gold:

And, early in the morning, will I send

To all the plumbers and the pewterers,

And by their tin and lead up; and to Lothbury

For all the copper.

SUR. What, and turn that too?

MAM. Yes, and I'll purchase Devonshire and Cornwall,

And make them perfect Indies! you admire now?

SUR. No, faith.

MAM. But when you see th' effects of the Great Medicine,

Of which one part projected on a hundred

Of Mercury, or Venus, or the moon,

Shall turn it to as many of the sun;

Nay, to a thousand, so ad infinitum:

You will believe me.

SUR. Yes, when I see't, I will.

But if my eyes do cozen me so, and I

Giving them no occasion, sure I'll have

A whore, shall piss them out next day.

MAM. Ha! why?

Do you think I fable with you? I assure you,

He that has once the flower of the sun,

The perfect ruby, which we call elixir,

Not only can do that, but, by its virtue,

Can confer honour, love, respect, long life;

Give safety, valour, yea, and victory,

To whom he will. In eight and twenty days,

I'll make an old man of fourscore, a child.

SUR. No doubt; he's that already.

MAM. Nay, I mean,

Restore his years, renew him, like an eagle,

To the fifth age; make him get sons and daughters,

Young giants; as our philosophers have done,

The ancient patriarchs, afore the flood,

But taking, once a week, on a knife's point,

The quantity of a grain of mustard of it;

Become stout Marses, and beget young Cupids.

SUR. The decay'd vestals of Pict-hatch would thank you,

That keep the fire alive, there.

MAM. 'Tis the secret

Of nature naturis'd 'gainst all infections,

Cures all diseases coming of all causes;

A month's grief in a day, a year's in twelve;

And, of what age soever, in a month:

Past all the doses of your drugging doctors.

I'll undertake, withal, to fright the plague

Out of the kingdom in three months.

SUR. And I'll

Be bound, the players shall sing your praises, then,

Without their poets.

MAM. Sir, I'll do't. Mean time,

I'll give away so much unto my man,

Shall serve the whole city, with preservative

Weekly; each house his dose, and at the rate --

SUR. As he that built the Water-work, does with water?

MAM. You are incredulous.

SUR. Faith I have a humour,

I would not willingly be gull'd. Your stone

Cannot transmute me.

MAM. Pertinax, [my] Surly,

Will you believe antiquity? records?

I'll shew you a book where Moses and his sister,

And Solomon have written of the art;

Ay, and a treatise penn'd by Adam --

SUR. How!

MAM. Of the philosopher's stone, and in High Dutch.

SUR. Did Adam write, sir, in High Dutch?

MAM. He did;

Which proves it was the primitive tongue.

SUR. What paper?

MAM. On cedar board.

SUR. O that, indeed, they say,

Will last 'gainst worms.

MAM. 'Tis like your Irish wood,

'Gainst cob-webs. I have a piece of Jason's fleece, too,

Which was no other than a book of alchemy,

Writ in large sheep-skin, a good fat ram-vellum.

Such was Pythagoras' thigh, Pandora's tub,

And, all that fable of Medea's charms,

The manner of our work; the bulls, our furnace,

Still breathing fire; our argent-vive, the dragon:

The dragon's teeth, mercury sublimate,

That keeps the whiteness, hardness, and the biting;

And they are gathered into Jason's helm,

The alembic, and then sow'd in Mars his field,

And thence sublimed so often, till they're fixed.

Both this, the Hesperian garden, Cadmus' story,

Jove's shower, the boon of Midas, Argus' eyes,

Boccace his Demogorgon, thousands more,

All abstract riddles of our stone.


-- How now!

Do we succeed? Is our day come? and holds it?

FACE. The evening will set red upon you, sir;

You have colour for it, crimson: the red ferment

Has done his office; three hours hence prepare you

To see projection.

MAM. Pertinax, my Surly.

Again I say to thee, aloud, Be rich.

This day, thou shalt have ingots; and to-morrow,

Give lords th' affront. -- Is it, my Zephyrus, right?

Blushes the bolt's-head?

FACE. Like a wench with child, sir,

That were but now discover'd to her master.

MAM. Excellent witty Lungs! -- my only care

Where to get stuff enough now, to project on;

This town will not half serve me.

FACE. No, sir! buy

The covering off o' churches.

MAM. That's true.

FACE. Yes.

Let them stand bare, as do their auditory;

Or cap them, new, with shingles.

MAM. No, good thatch:

Thatch will lie light upon the rafters, Lungs. --

Lungs, I will manumit thee from the furnace;

I will restore thee thy complexion, Puffe,

Lost in the embers; and repair this brain,

Hurt with the fume o' the metals.

FACE. I have blown, sir,

Hard for your worship; thrown by many a coal,

When 'twas not beech; weigh'd those I put in, just,

To keep your heat still even; these blear'd eyes

Have wak'd to read your several colours, sir,

Of the pale citron, the green lion, the crow,

The peacock's tail, the plumed swan.

MAM. And, lastly,

Thou hast descry'd the flower, the sanguis agni?

FACE. Yes, sir.

MAM. Where's master?

FACE. At his prayers, sir, he;

Good man, he's doing his devotions

For the success.

MAM. Lungs, I will set a period

To all thy labours; thou shalt be the master

Of my seraglio.

FACE. Good, sir.

MAM. But do you hear?

I'll geld you, Lungs.

FACE. Yes, sir.

MAM. For I do mean

To have a list of wives and concubines,

Equal with Solomon, who had the stone

Alike with me; and I will make me a back

With the elixir, that shall be as tough

As Hercules, to encounter fifty a night. --

Thou'rt sure thou saw'st it blood?

FACE. Both blood and spirit, sir.

MAM. I will have all my beds blown up, not stuft;

Down is too hard: and then, mine oval room

Fill'd with such pictures as Tiberius took

From Elephantis, and dull Aretine

But coldly imitated. Then, my glasses

Cut in more subtle angles, to disperse

And multiply the figures, as I walk

Naked between my succubae. My mists

I'll have of perfume, vapour'd 'bout the room,

To lose ourselves in; and my baths, like pits

To fall into; from whence we will come forth,

And roll us dry in gossamer and roses. --

Is it arrived at ruby? -- Where I spy

A wealthy citizen, or [a] rich lawyer,

Have a sublimed pure wife, unto that fellow

I'll send a thousand pound to be my cuckold.

FACE. And I shall carry it?

MAM. No. I'll have no bawds,

But fathers and mothers: they will do it best,

Best of all others. And my flatterers

Shall be the pure and gravest of divines,

That I can get for money. My mere fools,

Eloquent burgesses, and then my poets

The same that writ so subtly of the fart,

Whom I will entertain still for that subject.

The few that would give out themselves to be

Court and town-stallions, and, each-where, bely

Ladies who are known most innocent for them;

Those will I beg, to make me eunuchs of:

And they shall fan me with ten estrich tails

A-piece, made in a plume to gather wind.

We will be brave, Puffe, now we have the med'cine.

My meat shall all come in, in Indian shells,

Dishes of agat set in gold, and studded

With emeralds, sapphires, hyacinths, and rubies.

The tongues of carps, dormice, and camels' heels,

Boil'd in the spirit of sol, and dissolv'd pearl,

Apicius' diet, 'gainst the epilepsy:

And I will eat these broths with spoons of amber,

Headed with diamond and carbuncle.

My foot-boy shall eat pheasants, calver'd salmons,

Knots, godwits, lampreys: I myself will have

The beards of barbels served, instead of sallads;

Oil'd mushrooms; and the swelling unctuous paps

Of a fat pregnant sow, newly cut off,

Drest with an exquisite, and poignant sauce;

For which, I'll say unto my cook, "There's gold,

Go forth, and be a knight."

FACE. Sir, I'll go look

A little, how it heightens.


MAM. Do. -- My shirts

I'll have of taffeta-sarsnet, soft and light

As cobwebs; and for all my other raiment,

It shall be such as might provoke the Persian,

Were he to teach the world riot anew.

My gloves of fishes' and birds' skins, perfumed

With gums of paradise, and eastern air --

SUR. And do you think to have the stone with this?

MAM. No, I do think t' have all this with the stone.

SUR. Why, I have heard he must be homo frugi,

A pious, holy, and religious man,

One free from mortal sin, a very virgin.

MAM. That makes it, sir; he is so: but I buy it;

My venture brings it me. He, honest wretch,

A notable, superstitious, good soul,

Has worn his knees bare, and his slippers bald,

With prayer and fasting for it: and, sir, let him

Do it alone, for me, still. Here he comes.

Not a profane word afore him: 'tis poison. --


Good morrow, father.

SUB. Gentle son, good morrow,

And to your friend there. What is he, is with you?

MAM. An heretic, that I did bring along,

In hope, sir, to convert him.

SUB. Son, I doubt

You are covetous, that thus you meet your time

In the just point: prevent your day at morning.

This argues something, worthy of a fear

Of importune and carnal appetite.

Take heed you do not cause the blessing leave you,

With your ungovern'd haste. I should be sorry

To see my labours, now even at perfection,

Got by long watching and large patience,

Not prosper where my love and zeal hath placed them.

Which (heaven I call to witness, with your self,

To whom I have pour'd my thoughts) in all my ends,

Have look'd no way, but unto public good,

To pious uses, and dear charity

Now grown a prodigy with men. Wherein

If you, my son, should now prevaricate,

And, to your own particular lusts employ

So great and catholic a bliss, be sure

A curse will follow, yea, and overtake

Your subtle and most secret ways.

MAM. I know, sir;

You shall not need to fear me; I but come,

To have you confute this gentleman.

SUR. Who is,

Indeed, sir, somewhat costive of belief

Toward your stone; would not be gull'd.

SUB. Well, son,

All that I can convince him in, is this,

The WORK IS DONE, bright sol is in his robe.

We have a medicine of the triple soul,

The glorified spirit. Thanks be to heaven,

And make us worthy of it! -- Ulen Spiegel!

FACE [WITHIN]. Anon, sir.

SUB. Look well to the register.

And let your heat still lessen by degrees,

To the aludels.

FACE [WITHIN]. Yes, sir.

SUB. Did you look

On the bolt's-head yet?

FACE [WITHIN]. Which? on D, sir?

SUB. Ay;

What's the complexion?

FACE [WITHIN]. Whitish.

SUB. Infuse vinegar,

To draw his volatile substance and his tincture:

And let the water in glass E be filter'd,

And put into the gripe's egg. Lute him well;

And leave him closed in balneo.

FACE [WITHIN]. I will, sir.

SUR. What a brave language here is! next to canting.

SUB. I have another work, you never saw, son,

That three days since past the philosopher's wheel,

In the lent heat of Athanor; and's become

Sulphur of Nature.

MAM. But 'tis for me?

SUB. What need you?

You have enough in that is perfect.

MAM. O but --

SUB. Why, this is covetise!

MAM. No, I assure you,

I shall employ it all in pious uses,

Founding of colleges and grammar schools,

Marrying young virgins, building hospitals,

And now and then a church.


SUB. How now!

FACE. Sir, please you,

Shall I not change the filter?

SUB. Marry, yes;

And bring me the complexion of glass B.


MAM. Have you another?

SUB. Yes, son; were I assured --

Your piety were firm, we would not want

The means to glorify it: but I hope the best. --

I mean to tinct C in sand-heat to-morrow,

And give him imbibition.

MAM. Of white oil?

SUB. No, sir, of red. F is come over the helm too,

I thank my Maker, in S. Mary's bath,

And shews lac virginis. Blessed be heaven!

I sent you of his faeces there calcined:

Out of that calx, I have won the salt of mercury.

MAM. By pouring on your rectified water?

SUB. Yes, and reverberating in Athanor.


How now! what colour says it?

FACE. The ground black, sir.

MAM. That's your crow's head?

SUR. Your cock's-comb's, is it not?

SUB. No, 'tis not perfect. Would it were the crow!

That work wants something.

SUR [ASIDE]. O, I looked for this.

The hay's a pitching.

SUB. Are you sure you loosed them

In their own menstrue?

FACE. Yes, sir, and then married them,

And put them in a bolt's-head nipp'd to digestion,

According as you bade me, when I set

The liquor of Mars to circulation

In the same heat.

SUB. The process then was right.

FACE. Yes, by the token, sir, the retort brake,

And what was saved was put into the pellican,

And sign'd with Hermes' seal.

SUB. I think 'twas so.

We should have a new amalgama.

SUR [ASIDE]. O, this ferret

Is rank as any pole-cat.

SUB. But I care not:

Let him e'en die; we have enough beside,

In embrion. H has his white shirt on?

FACE. Yes, sir,

He's ripe for inceration, he stands warm,

In his ash-fire. I would not you should let

Any die now, if I might counsel, sir,

For luck's sake to the rest: it is not good.

MAM. He says right.

SUR [ASIDE]. Ay, are you bolted?

FACE. Nay, I know't, sir,

I have seen the ill fortune. What is some three ounces

Of fresh materials?

MAM. Is't no more?

FACE. No more, sir.

Of gold, t'amalgame with some six of mercury.

MAM. Away, here's money. What will serve?

FACE. Ask him, sir.

MAM. How much?

SUB. Give him nine pound: -- you may give him ten.

SUR. Yes, twenty, and be cozen'd, do.

MAM. There 'tis.


SUB. This needs not; but that you will have it so,

To see conclusions of all: for two

Of our inferior works are at fixation,

A third is in ascension. Go your ways.

Have you set the oil of luna in kemia?

FACE. Yes, sir.

SUB. And the philosopher's vinegar?



SUR. We shall have a sallad!

MAM. When do you make projection?

SUB. Son, be not hasty, I exalt our med'cine,

By hanging him in balneo vaporoso,

And giving him solution; then congeal him;

And then dissolve him; then again congeal him;

For look, how oft I iterate the work,

So many times I add unto his virtue.

As, if at first one ounce convert a hundred,

After his second loose, he'll turn a thousand;

His third solution, ten; his fourth, a hundred:

After his fifth, a thousand thousand ounces

Of any imperfect metal, into pure

Silver or gold, in all examinations,

As good as any of the natural mine.

Get you your stuff here against afternoon,

Your brass, your pewter, and your andirons.

MAM. Not those of iron?

SUB. Yes, you may bring them too:

We'll change all metals.

SUR. I believe you in that.

MAM. Then I may send my spits?

SUB. Yes, and your racks.

SUR. And dripping-pans, and pot-hangers, and hooks?

Shall he not?

SUB. If he please.

SUR. -- To be an ass.

SUB. How, sir!

MAM. This gentleman you must bear withal:

I told you he had no faith.

SUR. And little hope, sir;

But much less charity, should I gull myself.

SUB. Why, what have you observ'd, sir, in our art,

Seems so impossible?

SUR. But your whole work, no more.

That you should hatch gold in a furnace, sir,

As they do eggs in Egypt!

SUB. Sir, do you

Believe that eggs are hatch'd so?

SUR. If I should?

SUB. Why, I think that the greater miracle.

No egg but differs from a chicken more

Than metals in themselves.

SUR. That cannot be.

The egg's ordain'd by nature to that end,

And is a chicken in potentia.

SUB. The same we say of lead and other metals,

Which would be gold, if they had time.

MAM. And that

Our art doth further.

SUB. Ay, for 'twere absurb

To think that nature in the earth bred gold

Perfect in the instant: something went before.

There must be remote matter.

SUR. Ay, what is that?

SUB. Marry, we say --

MAM. Ay, now it heats: stand, father,

Pound him to dust.

SUB. It is, of the one part,

A humid exhalation, which we call

Material liquida, or the unctuous water;

On the other part, a certain crass and vicious

Portion of earth; both which, concorporate,

Do make the elementary matter of gold;

Which is not yet propria materia,

But common to all metals and all stones;

For, where it is forsaken of that moisture,

And hath more driness, it becomes a stone:

Where it retains more of the humid fatness,

It turns to sulphur, or to quicksilver,

Who are the parents of all other metals.

Nor can this remote matter suddenly

Progress so from extreme unto extreme,

As to grow gold, and leap o'er all the means.

Nature doth first beget the imperfect, then

Proceeds she to the perfect. Of that airy

And oily water, mercury is engender'd;

Sulphur of the fat and earthy part; the one,

Which is the last, supplying the place of male,

The other of the female, in all metals.

Some do believe hermaphrodeity,

That both do act and suffer. But these two

Make the rest ductile, malleable, extensive.

And even in gold they are; for we do find

Seeds of them, by our fire, and gold in them;

And can produce the species of each metal

More perfect thence, than nature doth in earth.

Beside, who doth not see in daily practice

Art can beget bees, hornets, beetles, wasps,

Out of the carcases and dung of creatures;

Yea, scorpions of an herb, being rightly placed?

And these are living creatures, far more perfect

And excellent than metals.

MAM. Well said, father!

Nay, if he take you in hand, sir, with an argument,

He'll bray you in a mortar.

SUR. Pray you, sir, stay.

Rather than I'll be brayed, sir, I'll believe

That Alchemy is a pretty kind of game,

Somewhat like tricks o' the cards, to cheat a man

With charming.

SUB. Sir?

SUR. What else are all your terms,

Whereon no one of your writers 'grees with other?

Of your elixir, your lac virginis,

Your stone, your med'cine, and your chrysosperm,

Your sal, your sulphur, and your mercury,

Your oil of height, your tree of life, your blood,

Your marchesite, your tutie, your magnesia,

Your toad, your crow, your dragon, and your panther;

Your sun, your moon, your firmament, your adrop,

Your lato, azoch, zernich, chibrit, heautarit,

And then your red man, and your white woman,

With all your broths, your menstrues, and materials,

Of piss and egg-shells, women's terms, man's blood,

Hair o' the head, burnt clouts, chalk, merds, and clay,

Powder of bones, scalings of iron, glass,

And worlds of other strange ingredients,

Would burst a man to name?

SUB. And all these named,

Intending but one thing; which art our writers

Used to obscure their art.

MAM. Sir, so I told him --

Because the simple idiot should not learn it,

And make it vulgar.

SUB. Was not all the knowledge

Of the Aegyptians writ in mystic symbols?

Speak not the scriptures oft in parables?

Are not the choicest fables of the poets,

That were the fountains and first springs of wisdom,

Wrapp'd in perplexed allegories?

MAM. I urg'd that,

And clear'd to him, that Sisyphus was damn'd

To roll the ceaseless stone, only because

He would have made Ours common.


Who is this?

SUB. 'Sprecious! -- What do you mean? go in, good lady,

Let me entreat you.


-- Where's this varlet?


FACE. Sir.

SUB. You very knave! do you use me thus?

FACE. Wherein, sir?

SUB. Go in and see, you traitor. Go!


MAM. Who is it, sir?

SUB. Nothing, sir; nothing.

MAM. What's the matter, good sir?

I have not seen you thus distemper'd: who is't?

SUB. All arts have still had, sir, their adversaries;

But ours the most ignorant. --


What now?

FACE. 'Twas not my fault, sir; she would speak with you.

SUB. Would she, sir! Follow me.


MAM [STOPPING HIM]. Stay, Lungs.

FACE. I dare not, sir.

MAM. Stay, man; what is she?

FACE. A lord's sister, sir.

MAM. How! pray thee, stay.

FACE. She's mad, sir, and sent hither --

He'll be mad too. --

MAM. I warrant thee. --

Why sent hither?

FACE. Sir, to be cured.

SUB [WITHIN]. Why, rascal!

FACE. Lo you! -- Here, sir!


MAM. 'Fore God, a Bradamante, a brave piece.

SUR. Heart, this is a bawdy-house! I will be burnt else.

MAM. O, by this light, no: do not wrong him. He's

Too scrupulous that way: it is his vice.

No, he's a rare physician, do him right,

An excellent Paracelsian, and has done

Strange cures with mineral physic. He deals all

With spirits, he; he will not hear a word

Of Galen; or his tedious recipes. --


How now, Lungs!

FACE. Softly, sir; speak softly. I meant

To have told your worship all. This must not hear.

MAM. No, he will not be "gull'd;" let him alone.

FACE. You are very right, sir, she is a most rare scholar,

And is gone mad with studying Broughton's works.

If you but name a word touching the Hebrew,

She falls into her fit, and will discourse

So learnedly of genealogies,

As you would run mad too, to hear her, sir.

MAM. How might one do t' have conference with her, Lungs?

FACE. O divers have run mad upon the conference:

I do not know, sir. I am sent in haste,

To fetch a vial.

SUR. Be not gull'd, sir Mammon.

MAM. Wherein? pray ye, be patient.

SUR. Yes, as you are,

And trust confederate knaves and bawds and whores.

MAM. You are too foul, believe it. -- Come here, Ulen,

One word.

FACE. I dare not, in good faith.


MAM. Stay, knave.

FACE. He is extreme angry that you saw her, sir.

MAM. Drink that.


What is she when she's out of her fit?

FACE. O, the most affablest creature, sir! so merry!

So pleasant! she'll mount you up, like quicksilver,

Over the helm; and circulate like oil,

A very vegetal: discourse of state,

Of mathematics, bawdry, any thing --

MAM. Is she no way accessible? no means,

No trick to give a man a taste of her -- wit --

Or so?


FACE. I'll come to you again, sir.


MAM. Surly, I did not think one of your breeding

Would traduce personages of worth.

SUR. Sir Epicure,

Your friend to use; yet still loth to be gull'd:

I do not like your philosophical bawds.

Their stone is letchery enough to pay for,

Without this bait.

MAM. 'Heart, you abuse yourself.

I know the lady, and her friends, and means,

The original of this disaster. Her brother

Has told me all.

SUR. And yet you never saw her

Till now!

MAM. O yes, but I forgot. I have, believe it,

One of the treacherousest memories, I do think,

Of all mankind.

SUR. What call you her brother?

MAM. My lord --

He will not have his name known, now I think on't.

SUR. A very treacherous memory!

MAM. On my faith --

SUR. Tut, if you have it not about you, pass it,

Till we meet next.

MAM. Nay, by this hand, 'tis true.

He's one I honour, and my noble friend;

And I respect his house.

SUR. Heart! can it be,

That a grave sir, a rich, that has no need,

A wise sir, too, at other times, should thus,

With his own oaths, and arguments, make hard means

To gull himself? An this be your elixir,

Your lapis mineralis, and your lunary,

Give me your honest trick yet at primero,

Or gleek; and take your lutum sapientis,

Your menstruum simplex! I'll have gold before you,

And with less danger of the quicksilver,

Or the hot sulphur.


FACE. Here's one from Captain Face, sir,


Desires you meet him in the Temple-church,

Some half-hour hence, and upon earnest business.



if you please to quit us, now; and come

Again within two hours, you shall have

My master busy examining o' the works;

And I will steal you in, unto the party,

That you may see her converse. -- Sir, shall I say,

You'll meet the captain's worship?

SUR. Sir, I will. --


But, by attorney, and to a second purpose.

Now, I am sure it is a bawdy-house;

I'll swear it, were the marshal here to thank me:

The naming this commander doth confirm it.

Don Face! why, he's the most authentic dealer

In these commodities, the superintendant

To all the quainter traffickers in town!

He is the visitor, and does appoint,

Who lies with whom, and at what hour; what price;

Which gown, and in what smock; what fall; what tire.

Him will I prove, by a third person, to find

The subtleties of this dark labyrinth:

Which if I do discover, dear sir Mammon,

You'll give your poor friend leave, though no philosopher,

To laugh: for you that are, 'tis thought, shall weep.

FACE. Sir, he does pray, you'll not forget.

SUR. I will not, sir.

Sir Epicure, I shall leave you.


MAM. I follow you, straight.

FACE. But do so, good sir, to avoid suspicion.

This gentleman has a parlous head.

MAM. But wilt thou Ulen,

Be constant to thy promise?

FACE. As my life, sir.

MAM. And wilt thou insinuate what I am, and praise me,

And say, I am a noble fellow?

FACE. O, what else, sir?

And that you'll make her royal with the stone,

An empress; and yourself, King of Bantam.

MAM. Wilt thou do this?

FACE. Will I, sir!

MAM. Lungs, my Lungs!

I love thee.

FACE. Send your stuff, sir, that my master

May busy himself about projection.

MAM. Thou hast witch'd me, rogue: take, go.


FACE. Your jack, and all, sir.

MAM. Thou art a villain -- I will send my jack,

And the weights too. Slave, I could bite thine ear.

Away, thou dost not care for me.

FACE. Not I, sir!

MAM. Come, I was born to make thee, my good weasel,

Set thee on a bench, and have thee twirl a chain

With the best lord's vermin of 'em all.

FACE. Away, sir.

MAM. A count, nay, a count palatine --

FACE. Good, sir, go.

MAM. Shall not advance thee better: no, nor faster.



SUB. Has he bit? has he bit?

FACE. And swallowed, too, my Subtle.

I have given him line, and now he plays, i'faith.

SUB. And shall we twitch him?

FACE. Thorough both the gills.

A wench is a rare bait, with which a man

No sooner's taken, but he straight firks mad.

SUB. Dol, my Lord What'ts'hums sister, you must now

Bear yourself statelich.

DOL. O let me alone.

I'll not forget my race, I warrant you.

I'll keep my distance, laugh and talk aloud;

Have all the tricks of a proud scurvy lady,

And be as rude as her woman.

FACE. Well said, sanguine!

SUB. But will he send his andirons?

FACE. His jack too,

And's iron shoeing-horn; I have spoke to him. Well,

I must not lose my wary gamester yonder.

SUB. O monsieur Caution, that WILL NOT BE GULL'D?


If I can strike a fine hook into him, now!

The Temple-church, there I have cast mine angle.

Well, pray for me. I'll about it.


SUB. What, more gudgeons!

Dol, scout, scout!


Stay, Face, you must go to the door,

'Pray God it be my anabaptist -- Who is't, Dol?

DOL. I know him not: he looks like a gold-endman.

SUB. Ods so! 'tis he, he said he would send what call you him?

The sanctified elder, that should deal

For Mammon's jack and andirons. Let him in.

Stay, help me off, first, with my gown.



Madam, to your withdrawing chamber.



In a new tune, new gesture, but old language. --

This fellow is sent from one negociates with me

About the stone too, for the holy brethren

Of Amsterdam, the exiled saints, that hope

To raise their discipline by it. I must use him

In some strange fashion, now, to make him admire me. --



Where is my drudge?


FACE. Sir!

SUB. Take away the recipient,

And rectify your menstrue from the phlegma.

Then pour it on the Sol, in the cucurbite,

And let them macerate together.

FACE. Yes, sir.

And save the ground?

SUB. No: terra damnata

Must not have entrance in the work. -- Who are you?

ANA. A faithful brother, if it please you.

SUB. What's that?

A Lullianist? a Ripley? Filius artis?

Can you sublime and dulcify? calcine?

Know you the sapor pontic? sapor stiptic?

Or what is homogene, or heterogene?

ANA. I understand no heathen language, truly.

SUB. Heathen! you Knipper-doling? is Ars sacra,

Or chrysopoeia, or spagyrica,

Or the pamphysic, or panarchic knowledge,

A heathen language?

ANA. Heathen Greek, I take it.

SUB. How! heathen Greek?

ANA. All's heathen but the Hebrew.

SUB. Sirrah, my varlet, stand you forth and speak to him,

Like a philosopher: answer in the language.

Name the vexations, and the martyrisations

Of metals in the work.

FACE. Sir, putrefaction,

Solution, ablution, sublimation,

Cohobation, calcination, ceration, and


SUB. This is heathen Greek to you, now! --

And when comes vivification?

FACE. After mortification.

SUB. What's cohobation?

FACE. 'Tis the pouring on

Your aqua regis, and then drawing him off,

To the trine circle of the seven spheres.

SUB. What's the proper passion of metals?

FACE. Malleation.

SUB. What's your ultimum supplicium auri?

FACE. Antimonium.

SUB. This is heathen Greek to you! -- And what's your mercury?

FACE. A very fugitive, he will be gone, sir.

SUB. How know you him?

FACE. By his viscosity,

His oleosity, and his suscitability.

SUB. How do you sublime him?

FACE. With the calce of egg-shells,

White marble, talc.

SUB. Your magisterium now,

What's that?

FACE. Shifting, sir, your elements,

Dry into cold, cold into moist, moist into hot,

Hot into dry.

SUB. This is heathen Greek to you still!

Your lapis philosophicus?

FACE. 'Tis a stone,

And not a stone; a spirit, a soul, and a body:

Which if you do dissolve, it is dissolved;

If you coagulate, it is coagulated;

If you make it to fly, it flieth.

SUB. Enough.


This is heathen Greek to you! What are you, sir?

ANA. Please you, a servant of the exiled brethren,

That deal with widows' and with orphans' goods,

And make a just account unto the saints:

A deacon.

SUB. O, you are sent from master Wholesome,

Your teacher?

ANA. From Tribulation Wholesome,

Our very zealous pastor.

SUB. Good! I have

Some orphans' goods to come here.

ANA. Of what kind, sir?

SUB. Pewter and brass, andirons and kitchen-ware,

Metals, that we must use our medicine on:

Wherein the brethren may have a pennyworth

For ready money.

ANA. Were the orphans' parents

Sincere professors?

SUB. Why do you ask?

ANA. Because

We then are to deal justly, and give, in truth,

Their utmost value.

SUB. 'Slid, you'd cozen else,

And if their parents were not of the faithful! --

I will not trust you, now I think on it,

'Till I have talked with your pastor. Have you brought money

To buy more coals?

ANA. No, surely.

SUB. No! how so?

ANA. The brethren bid me say unto you, sir,

Surely, they will not venture any more,

Till they may see projection.

SUB. How!

ANA. You have had,

For the instruments, as bricks, and lome, and glasses,

Already thirty pound; and for materials,

They say, some ninety more: and they have heard since,

That one at Heidelberg, made it of an egg,

And a small paper of pin-dust.

SUB. What's your name?

ANA. My name is Ananias.

SUB. Out, the varlet

That cozen'd the apostles! Hence, away!

Flee, mischief! had your holy consistory

No name to send me, of another sound,

Than wicked Ananias? send your elders

Hither to make atonement for you quickly,

And give me satisfaction; or out goes

The fire; and down th' alembics, and the furnace,

Piger Henricus, or what not. Thou wretch!

Both sericon and bufo shall be lost,

Tell them. All hope of rooting out the bishops,

Or the antichristian hierarchy, shall perish,

If they stay threescore minutes: the aqueity,

Terreity, and sulphureity

Shall run together again, and all be annull'd,

Thou wicked Ananias!


This will fetch 'em,

And make them haste towards their gulling more.

A man must deal like a rough nurse, and fright

Those that are froward, to an appetite.


FACE. He is busy with his spirits, but we'll upon him.

SUB. How now! what mates, what Baiards have we here?

FACE. I told you, he would be furious. -- Sir, here's Nab,

Has brought you another piece of gold to look on:

-- We must appease him. Give it me, -- and prays you,

You would devise -- what is it, Nab?

DRUG. A sign, sir.

FACE. Ay, a good lucky one, a thriving sign, doctor.

SUB. I was devising now.

FACE. 'Slight, do not say so,

He will repent he gave you any more --

What say you to his constellation, doctor,

The Balance?

SUB. No, that way is stale, and common.

A townsman born in Taurus, gives the bull,

Or the bull's-head: in Aries, the ram,

A poor device! No, I will have his name

Form'd in some mystic character; whose radii,

Striking the senses of the passers by,

Shall, by a virtual influence, breed affections,

That may result upon the party owns it:

As thus --

FACE. Nab!

SUB. He shall have "a bell," that's "Abel;"

And by it standing one whose name is "Dee,"

In a "rug" gown, there's "D," and "Rug," that's "drug:"

And right anenst him a dog snarling "er;"

There's "Drugger," Abel Drugger. That's his sign.

And here's now mystery and hieroglyphic!

FACE. Abel, thou art made.

DRUG. Sir, I do thank his worship.

FACE. Six o' thy legs more will not do it, Nab.

He has brought you a pipe of tobacco, doctor.

DRUG. Yes, sir;

I have another thing I would impart --

FACE. Out with it, Nab.

DRUG. Sir, there is lodged, hard by me,

A rich young widow --

FACE. Good! a bona roba?

DRUG. But nineteen, at the most.

FACE. Very good, Abel.

DRUG. Marry, she's not in fashion yet; she wears

A hood, but it stands a cop.

FACE. No matter, Abel.

DRUG. And I do now and then give her a fucus --

FACE. What! dost thou deal, Nab?

SUB. I did tell you, captain.

DRUG. And physic too, sometime, sir; for which she trusts me

With all her mind. She's come up here of purpose

To learn the fashion.

FACE. Good (his match too!) -- On, Nab.

DRUG. And she does strangely long to know her fortune.

FACE. Ods lid, Nab, send her to the doctor, hither.

DRUG. Yes, I have spoke to her of his worship already;

But she's afraid it will be blown abroad,

And hurt her marriage.

FACE. Hurt it! 'tis the way

To heal it, if 'twere hurt; to make it more

Follow'd and sought: Nab, thou shalt tell her this.

She'll be more known, more talk'd of; and your widows

Are ne'er of any price till they be famous;

Their honour is their multitude of suitors.

Send her, it may be thy good fortune. What!

Thou dost not know.

DRUG. No, sir, she'll never marry

Under a knight: her brother has made a vow.

FACE. What! and dost thou despair, my little Nab,

Knowing what the doctor has set down for thee,

And seeing so many of the city dubb'd?

One glass o' thy water, with a madam I know,

Will have it done, Nab: what's her brother, a knight?

DRUG. No, sir, a gentleman newly warm in his land, sir,

Scarce cold in his one and twenty, that does govern

His sister here; and is a man himself

Of some three thousand a year, and is come up

To learn to quarrel, and to live by his wits,

And will go down again, and die in the country.

FACE. How! to quarrel?

DRUG. Yes, sir, to carry quarrels,

As gallants do; to manage them by line.

FACE. 'Slid, Nab, the doctor is the only man

In Christendom for him. He has made a table,

With mathematical demonstrations,

Touching the art of quarrels: he will give him

An instrument to quarrel by. Go, bring them both,

Him and his sister. And, for thee, with her

The doctor happ'ly may persuade. Go to:

'Shalt give his worship a new damask suit

Upon the premises.

SUB. O, good captain!

FACE. He shall;

He is the honestest fellow, doctor. -- Stay not,

No offers; bring the damask, and the parties.

DRUG. I'll try my power, sir.

FACE. And thy will too, Nab.

SUB. 'Tis good tobacco, this! What is't an ounce?

FACE. He'll send you a pound, doctor.

SUB. O no.

FACE. He will do't.

It is the goodest soul! -- Abel, about it.

Thou shalt know more anon. Away, be gone.


A miserable rogue, and lives with cheese,

And has the worms. That was the cause, indeed,

Why he came now: he dealt with me in private,

To get a med'cine for them.

SUB. And shall, sir. This works.

FACE. A wife, a wife for one on us, my dear Subtle!

We'll e'en draw lots, and he that fails, shall have

The more in goods, the other has in tail.

SUB. Rather the less: for she may be so light

She may want grains.

FACE. Ay, or be such a burden,

A man would scarce endure her for the whole.

SUB. Faith, best let's see her first, and then determine.

FACE. Content: but Dol must have no breath on't.

SUB. Mum.

Away you, to your Surly yonder, catch him.

FACE. 'Pray God I have not staid too long.

SUB. I fear it.