ST. MARK'S PLACE; A RETIRED CORNER BEFORE CORVINO'S HOUSE.
ENTER SIR POLITICK WOULD-BE, AND PEREGRINE.
SIR P: Sir, to a wise man, all the world's his soil:
It is not Italy, nor France, nor Europe,
That must bound me, if my fates call me forth.
Yet, I protest, it is no salt desire
Of seeing countries, shifting a religion,
Nor any disaffection to the state
Where I was bred, and unto which I owe
My dearest plots, hath brought me out; much less,
That idle, antique, stale, gray-headed project
Of knowing men's minds, and manners, with Ulysses!
But a peculiar humour of my wife's
Laid for this height of Venice, to observe,
To quote, to learn the language, and so forth -
I hope you travel, sir, with license?
SIR P: I dare the safelier converse - How long, sir,
Since you left England?
PER: Seven weeks.
SIR P: So lately!
You have not been with my lord ambassador?
PER: Not yet, sir.
SIR P: Pray you, what news, sir, vents our climate?
I heard last night a most strange thing reported
By some of my lord's followers, and I long
To hear how 'twill be seconded.
PER: What was't, sir?
SIR P: Marry, sir, of a raven that should build
In a ship royal of the king's.
PER [ASIDE.]: This fellow,
Does he gull me, trow? or is gull'd?
- Your name, sir.
SIR P: My name is Politick Would-be.
PER [ASIDE.]: O, that speaks him.
- A knight, sir?
SIR P: A poor knight, sir.
PER: Your lady
Lies here in Venice, for intelligence
Of tires, and fashions, and behaviour,
Among the courtezans? the fine lady Would-be?
SIR P: Yes, sir; the spider and the bee, ofttimes,
Suck from one flower.
PER: Good Sir Politick,
I cry you mercy; I have heard much of you:
'Tis true, sir, of your raven.
SIR P: On your knowledge?
PER: Yes, and your lion's whelping, in the Tower.
SIR P: Another whelp!
PER: Another, sir.
SIR P: Now heaven!
What prodigies be these? The fires at Berwick!
And the new star! these things concurring, strange,
And full of omen! Saw you those meteors?
PER: I did, sir.
SIR P: Fearful! Pray you, sir, confirm me,
Were there three porpoises seen above the bridge,
As they give out?
PER: Six, and a sturgeon, sir.
SIR P: I am astonish'd.
PER: Nay, sir, be not so;
I'll tell you a greater prodigy than these.
SIR P: What should these things portend?
PER: The very day
(Let me be sure) that I put forth from London,
There was a whale discover'd in the river,
As high as Woolwich, that had waited there,
Few know how many months, for the subversion
Of the Stode fleet.
SIR P: Is't possible? believe it,
'Twas either sent from Spain, or the archdukes:
Spinola's whale, upon my life, my credit!
Will they not leave these projects? Worthy sir,
Some other news.
PER: Faith, Stone the fool is dead;
And they do lack a tavern fool extremely.
SIR P: Is Mass Stone dead?
PER: He's dead sir; why, I hope
You thought him not immortal?
- O, this knight,
Were he well known, would be a precious thing
To fit our English stage: he that should write
But such a fellow, should be thought to feign
Extremely, if not maliciously.
SIR P: Stone dead!
PER: Dead. - Lord! how deeply sir, you apprehend it?
He was no kinsman to you?
SIR P: That I know of.
Well! that same fellow was an unknown fool.
PER: And yet you knew him, it seems?
SIR P: I did so. Sir,
I knew him one of the most dangerous heads
Living within the state, and so I held him.
PER: Indeed, sir?
SIR P: While he lived, in action.
He has received weekly intelligence,
Upon my knowledge, out of the Low Countries,
For all parts of the world, in cabbages;
And those dispensed again to ambassadors,
In oranges, musk-melons, apricocks,
Lemons, pome-citrons, and such-like: sometimes
In Colchester oysters, and your Selsey cockles.
PER: You make me wonder.
SIR P: Sir, upon my knowledge.
Nay, I've observed him, at your public ordinary,
Take his advertisement from a traveller
A conceal'd statesman, in a trencher of meat;
And instantly, before the meal was done,
Convey an answer in a tooth-pick.
How could this be, sir?
SIR P: Why, the meat was cut
So like his character, and so laid, as he
Must easily read the cipher.
PER: I have heard,
He could not read, sir.
SIR P: So 'twas given out,
In policy, by those that did employ him:
But he could read, and had your languages,
And to't, as sound a noddle -
PER: I have heard, sir,
That your baboons were spies, and that they were
A kind of subtle nation near to China:
SIR P: Ay, ay, your Mamuluchi. Faith, they had
Their hand in a French plot or two; but they
Were so extremely given to women, as
They made discovery of all: yet I
Had my advices here, on Wednesday last.
From one of their own coat, they were return'd,
Made their relations, as the fashion is,
And now stand fair for fresh employment.
This sir Pol will be ignorant of nothing.
- It seems, sir, you know all?
SIR P: Not all sir, but
I have some general notions. I do love
To note and to observe: though I live out,
Free from the active torrent, yet I'd mark
The currents and the passages of things,
For mine own private use; and know the ebbs,
And flows of state.
PER: Believe it, sir, I hold
Myself in no small tie unto my fortunes,
For casting me thus luckily upon you,
Whose knowledge, if your bounty equal it,
May do me great assistance, in instruction
For my behaviour, and my bearing, which
Is yet so rude and raw.
SIR P: Why, came you forth
Empty of rules, for travel?
PER: Faith, I had
Some common ones, from out that vulgar grammar,
Which he that cried Italian to me, taught me.
SIR P: Why this it is, that spoils all our brave bloods,
Trusting our hopeful gentry unto pedants,
Fellows of outside, and mere bark. You seem
To be a gentleman, of ingenuous race: -
I not profess it, but my fate hath been
To be, where I have been consulted with,
In this high kind, touching some great men's sons,
Persons of blood, and honour. -
[ENTER MOSCA AND NANO DISGUISED, FOLLOWED BY PERSONS WITH
MATERIALS FOR ERECTING A STAGE.]
PER: Who be these, sir?
MOS: Under that window, there 't must be. The same.
SIR P: Fellows, to mount a bank. Did your instructor
In the dear tongues, never discourse to you
Of the Italian mountebanks?
PER: Yes, sir.
SIR P: Why,
Here shall you see one.
PER: They are quacksalvers;
Fellows, that live by venting oils and drugs.
SIR P: Was that the character he gave you of them?
PER: As I remember.
SIR P: Pity his ignorance.
They are the only knowing men of Europe!
Great general scholars, excellent physicians,
Most admired statesmen, profest favourites,
And cabinet counsellors to the greatest princes;
The only languaged men of all the world!
PER: And, I have heard, they are most lewd impostors;
Made all of terms and shreds; no less beliers
Of great men's favours, than their own vile med'cines;
Which they will utter upon monstrous oaths:
Selling that drug for two-pence, ere they part,
Which they have valued at twelve crowns before.
SIR P: Sir, calumnies are answer'd best with silence.
Yourself shall judge. - Who is it mounts, my friends?
MOS: Scoto of Mantua, sir.
SIR P: Is't he? Nay, then
I'll proudly promise, sir, you shall behold
Another man than has been phant'sied to you.
I wonder yet, that he should mount his bank,
Here in this nook, that has been wont t'appear
In face of the Piazza! - Here, he comes.
[ENTER VOLPONE, DISGUISED AS A MOUNTEBANK DOCTOR, AND
FOLLOWED BY A CROWD OF PEOPLE.]
VOLP [TO NANO.]: Mount zany.
MOB: Follow, follow, follow, follow!
SIR P: See how the people follow him! he's a man
May write ten thousand crowns in bank here. Note,
[VOLPONE MOUNTS THE STAGE.]
Mark but his gesture: - I do use to observe
The state he keeps in getting up.
PER: 'Tis worth it, sir.
VOLP: Most noble gentlemen, and my worthy patrons! It may seem
strange, that I, your Scoto Mantuano, who was ever wont to fix
my bank in face of the public Piazza, near the shelter of the
Portico to the Procuratia, should now, after eight months'
absence from this illustrious city of Venice, humbly retire
myself into an obscure nook of the Piazza.
SIR P: Did not I now object the same?
PER: Peace, sir.
VOLP: Let me tell you: I am not, as your Lombard proverb saith,
cold on my feet; or content to part with my commodities at a
cheaper rate, than I accustomed: look not for it. Nor that the
calumnious reports of that impudent detractor, and shame to our
profession, (Alessandro Buttone, I mean,) who gave out, in
public, I was condemn'd a sforzato to the galleys, for
poisoning the cardinal Bembo's - cook, hath at all attached,
much less dejected me. No, no, worthy gentlemen; to tell you
true, I cannot endure to see the rabble of these ground
ciarlitani, that spread their cloaks on the pavement, as if
they meant to do feats of activity, and then come in lamely,
with their mouldy tales out of Boccacio, like stale Tabarine,
the fabulist: some of them discoursing their travels, and of
their tedious captivity in the Turks' galleys, when, indeed,
were the truth known, they were the Christians' galleys, where
very temperately they eat bread, and drunk water, as a
wholesome penance, enjoined them by their confessors, for base
SIR P: Note but his bearing, and contempt of these.
VOLP: These turdy-facy-nasty-paty-lousy-fartical rogues, with
one poor groat's-worth of unprepared antimony, finely wrapt up
in several scartoccios, are able, very well, to kill their
twenty a week, and play; yet, these meagre, starved spirits,
who have half stopt the organs of their minds with earthy
oppilations, want not their favourers among your shrivell'd
sallad-eating artizans, who are overjoyed that they may have
their half-pe'rth of physic; though it purge them into another
world, it makes no matter.
SIR P: Excellent! have you heard better language, sir?
VOLP: Well, let them go. And, gentlemen, honourable gentlemen,
know, that for this time, our bank, being thus removed from the
clamours of the canaglia, shall be the scene of pleasure and
delight; for I have nothing to sell, little or nothing to sell.
SIR P: I told you, sir, his end.
PER: You did so, sir.
VOLP: I protest, I, and my six servants, are not able to make
of this precious liquor, so fast as it is fetch'd away from my
lodging by gentlemen of your city; strangers of the Terra-firma;
worshipful merchants; ay, and senators too: who, ever since my
arrival, have detained me to their uses, by their splendidous
liberalities. And worthily; for, what avails your rich man to
have his magazines stuft with moscadelli, or of the purest
grape, when his physicians prescribe him, on pain of death,
to drink nothing but water cocted with aniseeds? O health!
health! the blessing of the rich, the riches of the poor! who
can buy thee at too dear a rate, since there is no enjoying
this world without thee? Be not then so sparing of your purses,
honourable gentlemen, as to abridge the natural course of life -
PER: You see his end.
SIR P: Ay, is't not good?
VOLP: For, when a humid flux, or catarrh, by the mutability of
air, falls from your head into an arm or shoulder, or any other
part; take you a ducat, or your chequin of gold, and apply to
the place affected: see what good effect it can work. No, no,
'tis this blessed unguento, this rare extraction, that hath
only power to disperse all malignant humours, that proceed
either of hot, cold, moist, or windy causes -
PER: I would he had put in dry too.
SIR P: 'Pray you, observe.
VOLP: To fortify the most indigest and crude stomach, ay, were
it of one, that, through extreme weakness, vomited blood,
applying only a warm napkin to the place, after the unction
and fricace; - for the vertigine in the head, putting but a drop
into your nostrils, likewise behind the ears; a most sovereign
and approved remedy. The mal caduco, cramps, convulsions,
paralysies, epilepsies, tremor-cordia, retired nerves, ill
vapours of the spleen, stopping of the liver, the stone, the
strangury, hernia ventosa, iliaca passio; stops a disenteria
immediately; easeth the torsion of the small guts: and cures
melancholia hypocondriaca, being taken and applied according to
my printed receipt.
[POINTING TO HIS BILL AND HIS VIAL.]
For, this is the physician, this the medicine; this counsels,
this cures; this gives the direction, this works the effect;
and, in sum, both together may be termed an abstract of the
theorick and practick in the Aesculapian art. 'Twill cost you
eight crowns. And, - Zan Fritada, prithee sing a verse extempore
in honour of it.
SIR P: How do you like him, sir?
PER: Most strangely, I!
SIR P: Is not his language rare?
PER: But alchemy,
I never heard the like: or Broughton's books.
NANO [SINGS.]: Had old Hippocrates, or Galen,
That to their books put med'cines all in,
But known this secret, they had never
(Of which they will be guilty ever)
Been murderers of so much paper,
Or wasted many a hurtless taper;
No Indian drug had e'er been famed,
Tabacco, sassafras not named;
Ne yet, of guacum one small stick, sir,
Nor Raymund Lully's great elixir.
Ne had been known the Danish Gonswart,
Or Paracelsus, with his long-sword.
PER: All this, yet, will not do, eight crowns is high.
VOLP: No more. - Gentlemen, if I had but time to discourse to you
the miraculous effects of this my oil, surnamed Oglio del Scoto;
with the countless catalogue of those I have cured of the
aforesaid, and many more diseases; the pattents and privileges of
all the princes and commonwealths of Christendom; or but the
depositions of those that appeared on my part, before the signiory
of the Sanita and most learned College of Physicians; where I was
authorised, upon notice taken of the admirable virtues of my
medicaments, and mine own excellency in matter of rare and unknown
secrets, not only to disperse them publicly in this famous city,
but in all the territories, that happily joy under the government
of the most pious and magnificent states of Italy. But may some
other gallant fellow say, O, there be divers that make profession
to have as good, and as experimented receipts as yours: indeed,
very many have assayed, like apes, in imitation of that, which is
really and essentially in me, to make of this oil; bestowed great
cost in furnaces, stills, alembecks, continual fires, and
preparation of the ingredients, (as indeed there goes to it six
hundred several simples, besides some quantity of human fat, for
the conglutination, which we buy of the anatomists,) but, when
these practitioners come to the last decoction, blow, blow, puff,
puff, and all flies in fumo: ha, ha, ha! Poor wretches! I rather
pity their folly and indiscretion, than their loss of time and
money; for these may be recovered by industry: but to be a fool
born, is a disease incurable.
For myself, I always from my youth have endeavoured to get the
rarest secrets, and book them, either in exchange, or for money;
I spared nor cost nor labour, where any thing was worthy to be
learned. And gentlemen, honourable gentlemen, I will undertake,
by virtue of chemical art, out of the honourable hat that covers
your head, to extract the four elements; that is to say, the
fire, air, water, and earth, and return you your felt without
burn or stain. For, whilst others have been at the Balloo, I
have been at my book; and am now past the craggy paths of study,
and come to the flowery plains of honour and reputation.
SIR P: I do assure you, sir, that is his aim.
VOLP: But, to our price -
PER: And that withal, sir Pol.
VOLP: You all know, honourable gentlemen, I never valued this
ampulla, or vial, at less than eight crowns, but for this time,
I am content, to be deprived of it for six; six crowns is the
price; and less, in courtesy I know you cannot offer me; take it,
or leave it, howsoever, both it and I am at your service. I ask
you not as the value of the thing, for then I should demand of
you a thousand crowns, so the cardinals Montalto, Fernese, the
great Duke of Tuscany, my gossip, with divers other princes, have
given me; but I despise money. Only to shew my affection to you,
honourable gentlemen, and your illustrious State here, I have
neglected the messages of these princes, mine own offices,
framed my journey hither, only to present you with the fruits of
my travels. - Tune your voices once more to the touch of your
instruments, and give the honourable assembly some delightful
PER: What monstrous and most painful circumstance
Is here, to get some three or four gazettes,
Some three-pence in the whole! for that 'twill come to.
NANO [SINGS.]: You that would last long, list to my song,
Make no more coil, but buy of this oil.
Would you be ever fair and young?
Stout of teeth, and strong of tongue?
Tart of palate? quick of ear?
Sharp of sight? of nostril clear?
Moist of hand? and light of foot?
Or, I will come nearer to't,
Would you live free from all diseases?
Do the act your mistress pleases;
Yet fright all aches from your bones?
Here's a med'cine, for the nones.
VOLP: Well, I am in a humour at this time to make a present of
the small quantity my coffer contains; to the rich, in
courtesy, and to the poor for God's sake. Wherefore now mark:
I ask'd you six crowns, and six crowns, at other times, you
have paid me; you shall not give me six crowns, nor five, nor
four, nor three, nor two, nor one; nor half a ducat; no, nor a
moccinigo. Sixpence it will cost you, or six hundred pound -
expect no lower price, for, by the banner of my front, I will
not bate a bagatine, that I will have, only, a pledge of your
loves, to carry something from amongst you, to shew I am not
contemn'd by you. Therefore, now, toss your handkerchiefs,
cheerfully, cheerfully; and be advertised, that the first
heroic spirit that deignes to grace me with a handkerchief, I
will give it a little remembrance of something, beside, shall
please it better, than if I had presented it with a double
PER: Will you be that heroic spark, sir Pol?
[CELIA AT A WINDOW ABOVE, THROWS DOWN HER HANDKERCHIEF.]
O see! the window has prevented you.
VOLP: Lady, I kiss your bounty; and for this timely grace you
have done your poor Scoto of Mantua, I will return you, over and
above my oil, a secret of that high and inestimable nature,
shall make you for ever enamour'd on that minute, wherein your
eye first descended on so mean, yet not altogether to be
despised, an object. Here is a powder conceal'd in this paper,
of which, if I should speak to the worth, nine thousand volumes
were but as one page, that page as a line, that line as a word;
so short is this pilgrimage of man (which some call life) to the
expressing of it. Would I reflect on the price? why, the whole
world is but as an empire, that empire as a province, that
province as a bank, that bank as a private purse to the purchase
of it. I will only tell you; it is the powder that made Venus a
goddess (given her by Apollo,) that kept her perpetually young,
clear'd her wrinkles, firm'd her gums, fill'd her skin, colour'd
her hair; from her deriv'd to Helen, and at the sack of Troy
unfortunately lost: till now, in this our age, it was as happily
recovered, by a studious antiquary, out of some ruins of Asia,
who sent a moiety of it to the court of France, (but much
sophisticated,) wherewith the ladies there, now, colour their
hair. The rest, at this present, remains with me; extracted to a
quintessence: so that, whereever it but touches, in youth it
perpetually preserves, in age restores the complexion; seats your
teeth, did they dance like virginal jacks, firm as a wall; makes
them white as ivory, that were black, as -
COR: Spight o' the devil, and my shame! come down here;
Come down; - No house but mine to make your scene?
Signior Flaminio, will you down, sir? down?
What, is my wife your Franciscina, sir?
No windows on the whole Piazza, here,
To make your properties, but mine? but mine?
[BEATS AWAY VOLPONE, NANO, ETC.]
Heart! ere to-morrow, I shall be new-christen'd,
And call'd the Pantalone di Besogniosi,
About the town.
PER: What should this mean, sir Pol?
SIR P: Some trick of state, believe it. I will home.
PER: It may be some design on you:
SIR P: I know not.
I'll stand upon my guard.
PER: It is your best, sir.
SIR P: This three weeks, all my advices, all my letters,
They have been intercepted.
PER: Indeed, sir!
Best have a care.
SIR P: Nay, so I will.
PER: This knight,
I may not lose him, for my mirth, till night.
A ROOM IN VOLPONE'S HOUSE.
ENTER VOLPONE AND MOSCA.
VOLP: O, I am wounded!
MOS: Where, sir?
VOLP: Not without;
Those blows were nothing: I could bear them ever.
But angry Cupid, bolting from her eyes,
Hath shot himself into me like a flame;
Where, now, he flings about his burning heat,
As in a furnace an ambitious fire,
Whose vent is stopt. The fight is all within me.
I cannot live, except thou help me, Mosca;
My liver melts, and I, without the hope
Of some soft air, from her refreshing breath,
Am but a heap of cinders.
MOS: 'Las, good sir,
Would you had never seen her!
VOLP: Nay, would thou
Had'st never told me of her!
MOS: Sir 'tis true;
I do confess I was unfortunate,
And you unhappy: but I'm bound in conscience,
No less than duty, to effect my best
To your release of torment, and I will, sir.
VOLP: Dear Mosca, shall I hope?
MOS: Sir, more than dear,
I will not bid you to dispair of aught
Within a human compass.
VOLP: O, there spoke
My better angel. Mosca, take my keys,
Gold, plate, and jewels, all's at thy devotion;
Employ them how thou wilt; nay, coin me too:
So thou, in this, but crown my longings, Mosca.
MOS: Use but your patience.
VOLP: So I have.
MOS: I doubt not
To bring success to your desires.
VOLP: Nay, then,
I not repent me of my late disguise.
MOS: If you can horn him, sir, you need not.
Besides, I never meant him for my heir. -
Is not the colour of my beard and eyebrows,
To make me known?
MOS: No jot.
VOLP: I did it well.
MOS: So well, would I could follow you in mine,
With half the happiness!
- and yet I would
Escape your Epilogue.
VOLP: But were they gull'd
With a belief that I was Scoto?
Scoto himself could hardly have distinguish'd!
I have not time to flatter you now; we'll part;
And as I prosper, so applaud my art.
A ROOM IN CORVINO'S HOUSE.
ENTER CORVINO, WITH HIS SWORD IN HIS HAND, DRAGGING
CORV: Death of mine honour, with the city's fool!
A juggling, tooth-drawing, prating mountebank!
And at a public window! where, whilst he,
With his strain'd action, and his dole of faces,
To his drug-lecture draws your itching ears,
A crew of old, unmarried, noted letchers,
Stood leering up like satyrs; and you smile
Most graciously, and fan your favours forth,
To give your hot spectators satisfaction!
What; was your mountebank their call? their whistle?
Or were you enamour'd on his copper rings,
His saffron jewel, with the toad-stone in't,
Or his embroider'd suit, with the cope-stitch,
Made of a herse-cloth? or his old tilt-feather?
Or his starch'd beard? Well; you shall have him, yes!
He shall come home, and minister unto you
The fricace for the mother. Or, let me see,
I think you'd rather mount; would you not mount?
Why, if you'll mount, you may; yes truly, you may:
And so you may be seen, down to the foot.
Get you a cittern, lady Vanity,
And be a dealer with the virtuous man;
Make one: I'll but protest myself a cuckold,
And save your dowry. I'm a Dutchman, I!
For, if you thought me an Italian,
You would be damn'd, ere you did this, you whore!
Thou'dst tremble, to imagine, that the murder
Of father, mother, brother, all thy race,
Should follow, as the subject of my justice.
CEL: Good sir, have pacience.
CORV: What couldst thou propose
Less to thyself, than in this heat of wrath
And stung with my dishonour, I should strike
This steel into thee, with as many stabs,
As thou wert gaz'd upon with goatish eyes?
CEL: Alas, sir, be appeas'd! I could not think
My being at the window should more now
Move your impatience, than at other times.
CORV: No! not to seek and entertain a parley
With a known knave, before a multitude!
You were an actor with your handkerchief;
Which he most sweetly kist in the receipt,
And might, no doubt, return it with a letter,
And point the place where you might meet: your sister's,
Your mother's, or your aunt's might serve the turn.
CEL: Why, dear sir, when do I make these excuses,
Or ever stir abroad, but to the church?
And that so seldom -
CORV: Well, it shall be less;
And thy restraint before was liberty,
To what I now decree: and therefore mark me.
First, I will have this bawdy light damm'd up;
And till't be done, some two or three yards off,
I'll chalk a line: o'er which if thou but chance
To set thy desperate foot; more hell, more horror
More wild remorseless rage shall seize on thee,
Than on a conjurer, that had heedless left
His circle's safety ere his devil was laid.
Then here's a lock which I will hang upon thee;
And, now I think on't, I will keep thee backwards;
Thy lodging shall be backwards; thy walks backwards;
Thy prospect, all be backwards; and no pleasure,
That thou shalt know but backwards: nay, since you force
My honest nature, know, it is your own,
Being too open, makes me use you thus:
Since you will not contain your subtle nostrils
In a sweet room, but they must snuff the air
Of rank and sweaty passengers.
- One knocks.
Away, and be not seen, pain of thy life;
Nor look toward the window: if thou dost -
Nay, stay, hear this - let me not prosper, whore,
But I will make thee an anatomy,
Dissect thee mine own self, and read a lecture
Upon thee to the city, and in public.
SERV: 'Tis signior Mosca, sir.
CORV: Let him come in.
His master's dead: There's yet
Some good to help the bad. -
My Mosca, welcome!
I guess your news.
MOS: I fear you cannot, sir.
CORV: Is't not his death?
MOS: Rather the contrary.
CORV: Not his recovery?
MOS: Yes, sir,
CORV: I am curs'd,
I am bewitch'd, my crosses meet to vex me.
How? how? how? how?
MOS: Why, sir, with Scoto's oil;
Corbaccio and Voltore brought of it,
Whilst I was busy in an inner room -
CORV: Death! that damn'd mountebank; but for the law
Now, I could kill the rascal: it cannot be,
His oil should have that virtue. Have not I
Known him a common rogue, come fidling in
To the osteria, with a tumbling whore,
And, when he has done all his forced tricks, been glad
Of a poor spoonful of dead wine, with flies in't?
It cannot be. All his ingredients
Are a sheep's gall, a roasted bitch's marrow,
Some few sod earwigs pounded caterpillars,
A little capon's grease, and fasting spittle:
I know them to a dram.
MOS: I know not, sir,
But some on't, there, they pour'd into his ears,
Some in his nostrils, and recover'd him;
Applying but the fricace.
CORV: Pox o' that fricace.
MOS: And since, to seem the more officious
And flatt'ring of his health, there, they have had,
At extreme fees, the college of physicians
Consulting on him, how they might restore him;
Where one would have a cataplasm of spices,
Another a flay'd ape clapp'd to his breast,
A third would have it a dog, a fourth an oil,
With wild cats' skins: at last, they all resolved
That, to preserve him, was no other means,
But some young woman must be straight sought out,
Lusty, and full of juice, to sleep by him;
And to this service, most unhappily,
And most unwillingly, am I now employ'd,
Which here I thought to pre-acquaint you with,
For your advice, since it concerns you most;
Because, I would not do that thing might cross
Your ends, on whom I have my whole dependance, sir:
Yet, if I do it not, they may delate
My slackness to my patron, work me out
Of his opinion; and there all your hopes,
Ventures, or whatsoever, are all frustrate!
I do but tell you, sir. Besides, they are all
Now striving, who shall first present him; therefore -
I could entreat you, briefly conclude somewhat;
Prevent them if you can.
CORV: Death to my hopes,
This is my villainous fortune! Best to hire
Some common courtezan.
MOS: Ay, I thought on that, sir;
But they are all so subtle, full of art -
And age again doting and flexible,
So as - I cannot tell - we may, perchance,
Light on a quean may cheat us all.
CORV: 'Tis true.
MOS: No, no: it must be one that has no tricks, sir,
Some simple thing, a creature made unto it;
Some wench you may command. Have you no kinswoman?
Odso - Think, think, think, think, think, think, think, sir.
One o' the doctors offer'd there his daughter.
MOS: Yes, signior Lupo, the physician.
CORV: His daughter!
MOS: And a virgin, sir. Why? alas,
He knows the state of's body, what it is;
That nought can warm his blood sir, but a fever;
Nor any incantation raise his spirit:
A long forgetfulness hath seized that part.
Besides sir, who shall know it? some one or two -
CORV: I prithee give me leave.
If any man
But I had had this luck - The thing in't self,
I know, is nothing - Wherefore should not I
As well command my blood and my affections,
As this dull doctor? In the point of honour,
The cases are all one of wife and daughter.
MOS [ASIDE.]: I hear him coming.
CORV: She shall do't: 'tis done.
Slight! if this doctor, who is not engaged,
Unless 't be for his counsel, which is nothing,
Offer his daughter, what should I, that am
So deeply in? I will prevent him: Wretch!
Covetous wretch! - Mosca, I have determined.
MOS: How, sir?
CORV: We'll make all sure. The party you wot of
Shall be mine own wife, Mosca.
MOS: Sir, the thing,
But that I would not seem to counsel you,
I should have motion'd to you, at the first:
And make your count, you have cut all their throats.
Why! 'tis directly taking a possession!
And in his next fit, we may let him go.
'Tis but to pull the pillow from his head,
And he is throttled: it had been done before,
But for your scrupulous doubts.
CORV: Ay, a plague on't,
My conscience fools my wit! Well, I'll be brief,
And so be thou, lest they should be before us:
Go home, prepare him, tell him with what zeal
And willingness I do it; swear it was
On the first hearing, as thou mayst do, truly,
Mine own free motion.
MOS: Sir, I warrant you,
I'll so possess him with it, that the rest
Of his starv'd clients shall be banish'd all;
And only you received. But come not, sir,
Until I send, for I have something else
To ripen for your good, you must not know't.
CORV: But do not you forget to send now.
MOS: Fear not.
CORV: Where are you, wife? my Celia? wife?
- What, blubbering?
Come, dry those tears. I think thou thought'st me in earnest;
Ha! by this light I talk'd so but to try thee:
Methinks the lightness of the occasion
Should have confirm'd thee. Come, I am not jealous.
CORV: Faith I am not I, nor never was;
It is a poor unprofitable humour.
Do not I know, if women have a will,
They'll do 'gainst all the watches of the world,
And that the feircest spies are tamed with gold?
Tut, I am confident in thee, thou shalt see't;
And see I'll give thee cause too, to believe it.
Come kiss me. Go, and make thee ready, straight,
In all thy best attire, thy choicest jewels,
Put them all on, and, with them, thy best looks:
We are invited to a solemn feast,
At old Volpone's, where it shall appear
How far I am free from jealousy or fear.