The Alchemist (Jonson)

Act 4, Scene 4.3



DOL. "For after Alexander's death" --

MAM. Good lady --

DOL. "That Perdiccas and Antigonus, were slain,

The two that stood, Seleuc', and Ptolomee" --

MAM. Madam --

DOL. "Made up the two legs, and the fourth beast,

That was Gog-north, and Egypt-south: which after

Was call'd Gog-iron-leg and South-iron-leg" --

MAM. Lady --

DOL. "And then Gog-horned. So was Egypt, too:

Then Egypt-clay-leg, and Gog-clay-leg" --

MAM. Sweet madam --

DOL. "And last Gog-dust, and Egypt-dust, which fall

In the last link of the fourth chain. And these

Be stars in story, which none see, or look at" --

MAM. What shall I do?

DOL. "For," as he says, "except

We call the rabbins, and the heathen Greeks" --

MAM. Dear lady --

DOL. "To come from Salem, and from Athens,

And teach the people of Great Britain" --


FACE. What's the matter, sir?

DOL. "To speak the tongue of Eber, and Javan" --


She's in her fit.

DOL. "We shall know nothing" --

FACE. Death, sir,

We are undone!

DOL. "Where then a learned linguist

Shall see the ancient used communion

Of vowels and consonants" --

FACE. My master will hear!

DOL. "A wisdom, which Pythagoras held most high" --

MAM. Sweet honourable lady!

DOL. "To comprise

All sounds of voices, in few marks of letters" --

FACE. Nay, you must never hope to lay her now.


DOL. "And so we may arrive by Talmud skill,

And profane Greek, to raise the building up

Of Helen's house against the Ismaelite,

King of Thogarma, and his habergions

Brimstony, blue, and fiery; and the force

Of king Abaddon, and the beast of Cittim:

Which rabbi David Kimchi, Onkelos,

And Aben Ezra do interpret Rome."

FACE. How did you put her into't?

MAM. Alas, I talk'd

Of a fifth monarchy I would erect,

With the philosopher's stone, by chance, and she

Falls on the other four straight.

FACE. Out of Broughton!

I told you so. 'Slid, stop her mouth.

MAM. Is't best?

FACE. She'll never leave else. If the old man hear her,

We are but faeces, ashes.

SUB [WITHIN]. What's to do there?

FACE. O, we are lost! Now she hears him, she is quiet.


MAM. Where shall I hide me!

SUB. How! what sight is here?

Close deeds of darkness, and that shun the light!

Bring him again. Who is he? What, my son!

O, I have lived too long.

MAM. Nay, good, dear father,

There was no unchaste purpose.

SUB. Not? and flee me

When I come in?

MAM. That was my error.

SUB. Error?

Guilt, guilt, my son: give it the right name. No marvel,

If I found check in our great work within,

When such affairs as these were managing!

MAM. Why, have you so?

SUB. It has stood still this half hour:

And all the rest of our less works gone back.

Where is the instrument of wickedness,

My lewd false drudge?

MAM. Nay, good sir, blame not him;

Believe me, 'twas against his will or knowledge:

I saw her by chance.

SUB. Will you commit more sin,

To excuse a varlet?

MAM. By my hope, 'tis true, sir.

SUB. Nay, then I wonder less, if you, for whom

The blessing was prepared, would so tempt heaven,

And lose your fortunes.

MAM. Why, sir?

SUB. This will retard

The work a month at least.

MAM. Why, if it do,

What remedy? But think it not, good father:

Our purposes were honest.

SUB. As they were,

So the reward will prove.


-- How now! ah me!

God, and all saints be good to us. --


What's that?

FACE. O, sir, we are defeated! all the works

Are flown in fumo, every glass is burst;

Furnace, and all rent down, as if a bolt

Of thunder had been driven through the house.

Retorts, receivers, pelicans, bolt-heads,

All struck in shivers!


Help, good sir! alas,

Coldness and death invades him. Nay, sir Mammon,

Do the fair offices of a man! you stand,

As you were readier to depart than he.


Who's there? my lord her brother is come.

MAM. Ha, Lungs!

FACE. His coach is at the door. Avoid his sight,

For he's as furious as his sister's mad.

MAM. Alas!

FACE. My brain is quite undone with the fume, sir,

I ne'er must hope to be mine own man again.

MAM. Is all lost, Lungs? will nothing be preserv'd

Of all our cost?

FACE. Faith, very little, sir;

A peck of coals or so, which is cold comfort, sir.

MAM. O, my voluptuous mind! I am justly punish'd.

FACE. And so am I, sir.

MAM. Cast from all my hopes --

FACE. Nay, certainties, sir.

MAM. By mine own base affections.


O, the curst fruits of vice and lust!

MAM. Good father,

It was my sin. Forgive it.

SUB. Hangs my roof

Over us still, and will not fall, O justice,

Upon us, for this wicked man!

FACE. Nay, look, sir,

You grieve him now with staying in his sight:

Good sir, the nobleman will come too, and take you,

And that may breed a tragedy.

MAM. I'll go.

FACE. Ay, and repent at home, sir. It may be,

For some good penance you may have it yet;

A hundred pound to the box at Bethlem --

MAM. Yes.

FACE. For the restoring such as -- have their wits.

MAM. I'll do't.

FACE. I'll send one to you to receive it.

MAM. Do.

Is no projection left?

FACE. All flown, or stinks, sir.

MAM. Will nought be sav'd that's good for med'cine,

think'st thou?

FACE. I cannot tell, sir. There will be perhaps,

Something about the scraping of the shards,

Will cure the itch, -- though not your itch of mind, sir.


It shall be saved for you, and sent home. Good sir,

This way, for fear the lord should meet you.




SUB. Is he gone?

FACE. Yes, and as heavily

As all the gold he hoped for were in's blood.

Let us be light though.

SUB [LEAPING UP]. Ay, as balls, and bound

And hit our heads against the roof for joy:

There's so much of our care now cast away.

FACE. Now to our don.

SUB. Yes, your young widow by this time

Is made a countess, Face; she has been in travail

Of a young heir for you.

FACE. Good sir.

SUB. Off with your case,

And greet her kindly, as a bridegroom should,

After these common hazards.

FACE. Very well, sir.

Will you go fetch Don Diego off, the while?

SUB. And fetch him over too, if you'll be pleased, sir:

Would Dol were in her place, to pick his pockets now!

FACE. Why, you can do't as well, if you would set to't.

I pray you prove your virtue.

SUB. For your sake sir.