The Alchemist (Jonson)

Act 5, Scene 5.3




LOVE. What do you mean, my masters?

MAM [WITHOUT]. Open your door,

Cheaters, bawds, conjurers.

OFFI [WITHOUT]. Or we will break it open.

LOVE. What warrant have you?

OFFI [WITHOUT]. Warrant enough, sir, doubt not,

If you'll not open it.

LOVE. Is there an officer, there?

OFFI [WITHOUT]. Yes, two or three for failing.

LOVE. Have but patience,

And I will open it straight.


FACE. Sir, have you done?

Is it a marriage? perfect?

LOVE. Yes, my brain.

FACE. Off with your ruff and cloak then; be yourself, sir.

SUR [WITHOUT]. Down with the door.

KAS [WITHOUT]. 'Slight, ding it open.


Hold, gentlemen, what means this violence?



MAM. Where is this collier?

SUR. And my captain Face?

MAM. These day owls.

SUR. That are birding in men's purses.

MAM. Madam suppository.

KAS. Doxy, my suster.

ANA. Locusts

Of the foul pit.

TRI. Profane as Bel and the dragon.

ANA. Worse than the grasshoppers, or the lice of Egypt.

LOVE. Good gentlemen, hear me. Are you officers,

And cannot stay this violence?

1 OFFI. Keep the peace.

LOVE. Gentlemen, what is the matter? whom do you seek?

MAM. The chemical cozener.

SUR. And the captain pander.

KAS. The nun my suster.

MAM. Madam Rabbi.

ANA. Scorpions,

And caterpillars.

LOVE. Fewer at once, I pray you.

2 OFFI. One after another, gentlemen, I charge you,

By virtue of my staff.

ANA. They are the vessels

Of pride, lust, and the cart.

LOVE. Good zeal, lie still

A little while.

TRI. Peace, deacon Ananias.

LOVE. The house is mine here, and the doors are open;

If there be any such persons as you seek for,

Use your authority, search on o' God's name.

I am but newly come to town, and finding

This tumult 'bout my door, to tell you true,

It somewhat mazed me; till my man, here, fearing

My more displeasure, told me he had done

Somewhat an insolent part, let out my house

(Belike, presuming on my known aversion

From any air o' the town while there was sickness,)

To a doctor and a captain: who, what they are

Or where they be, he knows not.

MAM. Are they gone?

LOVE. You may go in and search, sir.


Here, I find

The empty walls worse than I left them, smoak'd,

A few crack'd pots, and glasses, and a furnace:

The ceiling fill'd with poesies of the candle,

And madam with a dildo writ o' the walls:

Only one gentlewoman, I met here,

That is within, that said she was a widow --

KAS. Ay, that's my suster; I'll go thump her. Where is she?


LOVE. And should have married a Spanish count, but he,

When he came to't, neglected her so grossly,

That I, a widower, am gone through with her.

SUR. How! have I lost her then?

LOVE. Were you the don, sir?

Good faith, now, she does blame you extremely, and says

You swore, and told her you had taken the pains

To dye your beard, and umber o'er your face,

Borrowed a suit, and ruff, all for her love;

And then did nothing. What an oversight,

And want of putting forward, sir, was this!

Well fare an old harquebuzier, yet,

Could prime his powder, and give fire, and hit,

All in a twinkling!


MAM. The whole nest are fled!

LOVE. What sort of birds were they?

MAM. A kind of choughs,

Or thievish daws, sir, that have pick'd my purse

Of eight score and ten pounds within these five weeks,

Beside my first materials; and my goods,

That lie in the cellar, which I am glad they have left,

I may have home yet.

LOVE. Think you so, sir?

MAM. Ay.

LOVE. By order of law, sir, but not otherwise.

MAM. Not mine own stuff!

LOVE. Sir, I can take no knowledge

That they are yours, but by public means.

If you can bring certificate that you were gull'd of them,

Or any formal writ out of a court,

That you did cozen your self, I will not hold them.

MAM. I'll rather lose them.

LOVE. That you shall not, sir,

By me, in troth: upon these terms, they are yours.

What! should they have been, sir, turn'd into gold, all?

MAM. No,

I cannot tell -- It may be they should. -- What then?

LOVE. What a great loss in hope have you sustain'd!

MAM. Not I, the commonwealth has.

FACE. Ay, he would have built

The city new; and made a ditch about it

Of silver, should have run with cream from Hogsden;

That every Sunday, in Moorfields, the younkers,

And tits and tom-boys should have fed on, gratis.

MAM. I will go mount a turnip-cart, and preach

The end of the world, within these two months. Surly,

What! in a dream?

SUR. Must I needs cheat myself,

With that same foolish vice of honesty!

Come, let us go and hearken out the rogues:

That Face I'll mark for mine, if e'er I meet him.

FACE. If I can hear of him, sir, I'll bring you word,

Unto your lodging; for in troth, they were strangers

To me, I thought them honest as my self, sir.



TRI. 'Tis well, the saints shall not lose all yet. Go,

And get some carts --

LOVE. For what, my zealous friends?

ANA. To bear away the portion of the righteous

Out of this den of thieves.

LOVE. What is that portion?

ANA. The goods sometimes the orphan's, that the brethren

Bought with their silver pence.

LOVE. What, those in the cellar,

The knight sir Mammon claims?

ANA. I do defy

The wicked Mammon, so do all the brethren,

Thou profane man! I ask thee with what conscience

Thou canst advance that idol against us,

That have the seal? were not the shillings number'd,

That made the pounds; were not the pounds told out,

Upon the second day of the fourth week,

In the eighth month, upon the table dormant,

The year of the last patience of the saints,

Six hundred and ten?

LOVE. Mine earnest vehement botcher,

And deacon also, I cannot dispute with you:

But if you get you not away the sooner,

I shall confute you with a cudgel.

ANA. Sir!

TRI. Be patient, Ananias.

ANA. I am strong,

And will stand up, well girt, against an host

That threaten Gad in exile.

LOVE. I shall send you

To Amsterdam, to your cellar.

ANA. I will pray there,

Against thy house: may dogs defile thy walls,

And wasps and hornets breed beneath thy roof,

This seat of falsehood, and this cave of cozenage!



LOVE. Another too?

DRUG. Not I, sir, I am no brother.

LOVE [BEATS HIM]. Away, you Harry Nicholas! do you talk?


FACE. No, this was Abel Drugger. Good sir, go,


And satisfy him; tell him all is done:

He staid too long a washing of his face.

The doctor, he shall hear of him at West-chester;

And of the captain, tell him, at Yarmouth, or

Some good port-town else, lying for a wind.


If you can get off the angry child, now, sir --


KAS. Come on, you ewe, you have match'd most sweetly,

have you not?

Did not I say, I would never have you tupp'd

But by a dubb'd boy, to make you a lady-tom?

'Slight, you are a mammet! O, I could touse you, now.

Death, mun' you marry, with a pox!

LOVE. You lie, boy;

As sound as you; and I'm aforehand with you.

KAS. Anon!

LOVE. Come, will you quarrel? I will feize you, sirrah;

Why do you not buckle to your tools?

KAS. Od's light,

This is a fine old boy as e'er I saw!

LOVE. What, do you change your copy now? proceed;

Here stands my dove: stoop at her, if you dare.

KAS. 'Slight, I must love him! I cannot choose, i'faith,

An I should be hang'd for't! Suster, I protest,

I honour thee for this match.

LOVE. O, do you so, sir?

KAS. Yes, an thou canst take tobacco and drink, old boy,

I'll give her five hundred pound more to her marriage,

Than her own state.

LOVE. Fill a pipe full, Jeremy.

FACE. Yes; but go in and take it, sir.

LOVE. We will --

I will be ruled by thee in any thing, Jeremy.

KAS. 'Slight, thou art not hide-bound, thou art a jovy boy!

Come, let us in, I pray thee, and take our whiffs.

LOVE. Whiff in with your sister, brother boy.


That master

That had received such happiness by a servant,

In such a widow, and with so much wealth,

Were very ungrateful, if he would not be

A little indulgent to that servant's wit,

And help his fortune, though with some small strain

Of his own candour.


-- "Therefore, gentlemen,

And kind spectators, if I have outstript

An old man's gravity, or strict canon, think

What a young wife and a good brain may do;

Stretch age's truth sometimes, and crack it too.

Speak for thy self, knave."

FACE. "So I will, sir."



My part a little fell in this last scene,

Yet 'twas decorum. And though I am clean

Got off from Subtle, Surly, Mammon, Dol,

Hot Ananias, Dapper, Drugger, all

With whom I traded: yet I put my self

On you, that are my country: and this pelf

Which I have got, if you do quit me, rests

To feast you often, and invite new guests."