EVERY MAN IN HIS HUMOUR
BY BEN JONSON
THE greatest of English dramatists except Shakespeare, the first
literary dictator and poet-laureate, a writer of verse, prose,
satire, and criticism who most potently of all the men of his time
affected the subsequent course of English letters: such was Ben
Jonson, and as such his strong personality assumes an interest to
us almost unparalleled, at least in his age.
Ben Jonson came of the stock that was centuries after to give to
the world Thomas Carlyle; for Jonson's grandfather was of
Annandale, over the Solway, whence he migrated to England.
Jonson's father lost his estate under Queen Mary, "having been cast
into prison and forfeited." He entered the church, but died a
month before his illustrious son was born, leaving his widow and
child in poverty. Jonson's birthplace was Westminster, and the
time of his birth early in 1573. He was thus nearly ten years
Shakespeare's junior, and less well off, if a trifle better born.
But Jonson did not profit even by this slight advantage. His
mother married beneath her, a wright or bricklayer, and Jonson was
for a time apprenticed to the trade. As a youth he attracted the
attention of the famous antiquary, William Camden, then usher at
Westminster School, and there the poet laid the solid foundations
of his classical learning. Jonson always held Camden in
veneration, acknowledging that to him he owed,
"All that I am in arts, all that I know;"
and dedicating his first dramatic success, "Every Man in His
Humour," to him. It is doubtful whether Jonson ever went to either
university, though Fuller says that he was "statutably admitted
into St. John's College, Cambridge." He tells us that he took no
degree, but was later "Master of Arts in both the universities, by
their favour, not his study." When a mere youth Jonson enlisted as
a soldier, trailing his pike in Flanders in the protracted wars of
William the Silent against the Spanish. Jonson was a large and
raw-boned lad; he became by his own account in time exceedingly
- In chat with his friend William Drummond of Hawthornden,
Jonson told how "in his service in the Low Countries he had, in the
face of both the camps, killed an enemy, and taken opima spolia
from him;" and how "since his coming to England, being appealed to
the fields, he had killed his adversary which had hurt him in the
arm and whose sword was ten inches longer than his." Jonson's
reach may have made up for the lack of his sword; certainly his
prowess lost nothing in the telling. Obviously Jonson was brave,
combative, and not averse to talking of himself and his doings.
In 1592, Jonson returned from abroad penniless. Soon after he
married, almost as early and quite as imprudently as Shakespeare.
He told Drummond curtly that "his wife was a shrew, yet honest";
for some years he lived apart from her in the household of Lord
- Yet two touching epitaphs among Jonson's "Epigrams," "On
my first daughter," and "On my first son," attest the warmth of the
poet's family affections. The daughter died in infancy, the son of
the plague; another son grew up to manhood little credit to his
father whom he survived. We know nothing beyond this of Jonson's
How soon Jonson drifted into what we now call grandly "the
theatrical profession" we do not know. In 1593, Marlowe made his
tragic exit from life, and Greene, Shakespeare's other rival on the
popular stage, had preceded Marlowe in an equally miserable death
the year before. Shakespeare already had the running to himself.
Jonson appears first in the employment of Philip Henslowe, the
exploiter of several troupes of players, manager, and father-in-law
of the famous actor, Edward Alleyn. From entries in "Henslowe's
Diary," a species of theatrical account book which has been handed
down to us, we know that Jonson was connected with the Admiral's
men; for he borrowed 4 pounds of Henslowe, July 28, 1597, paying
back 3s. 9d. on the same day on account of his "share" (in what is
not altogether clear); while later, on December 3, of the same
year, Henslowe advanced 20s. to him "upon a book which he showed
the plot unto the company which he promised to deliver unto the
company at Christmas next." In the next August Jonson was in
collaboration with Chettle and Porter in a play called "Hot Anger
Soon Cold." All this points to an association with Henslowe of
some duration, as no mere tyro would be thus paid in advance upon
mere promise. From allusions in Dekker's play, "Satiromastix," it
appears that Jonson, like Shakespeare, began life as an actor, and
that he "ambled in a leather pitch by a play-wagon" taking at one
time the part of Hieronimo in Kyd's famous play, "The Spanish
Tragedy." By the beginning of 1598, Jonson, though still in needy
circumstances, had begun to receive recognition. Francis Meres --
well known for his "Comparative Discourse of our English Poets with
the Greek, Latin, and Italian Poets," printed in 1598, and for his
mention therein of a dozen plays of Shakespeare by title -- accords
to Ben Jonson a place as one of "our best in tragedy," a matter of
some surprise, as no known tragedy of Jonson from so early a date
has come down to us. That Jonson was at work on tragedy, however,
is proved by the entries in Henslowe of at least three tragedies,
now lost, in which he had a hand. These are "Page of Plymouth,"
"King Robert II. of Scotland," and "Richard Crookback." But all of
these came later, on his return to Henslowe, and range from August
1599 to June 1602.
Returning to the autumn of 1598, an event now happened to sever for
a time Jonson's relations with Henslowe. In a letter to Alleyn,
dated September 26 of that year, Henslowe writes: "I have lost one
of my company that hurteth me greatly; that is Gabriel [Spencer],
for he is slain in Hogsden fields by the hands of Benjamin Jonson,
bricklayer." The last word is perhaps Henslowe's thrust at Jonson
in his displeasure rather than a designation of his actual
continuance at his trade up to this time. It is fair to Jonson to
remark however, that his adversary appears to have been a notorious
fire-eater who had shortly before killed one Feeke in a similar
- Duelling was a frequent occurrence of the time among
gentlemen and the nobility; it was an impudent breach of the peace
on the part of a player. This duel is the one which Jonson
described years after to Drummond, and for it Jonson was duly
arraigned at Old Bailey, tried, and convicted. He was sent to
prison and such goods and chattels as he had "were forfeited." It
is a thought to give one pause that, but for the ancient law
permitting convicted felons to plead, as it was called, the benefit
of clergy, Jonson might have been hanged for this deed. The
circumstance that the poet could read and write saved him; and he
received only a brand of the letter "T," for Tyburn, on his left
- While in jail Jonson became a Roman Catholic; but he
returned to the faith of the Church of England a dozen years later.
On his release, in disgrace with Henslowe and his former
associates, Jonson offered his services as a playwright to
Henslowe's rivals, the Lord Chamberlain's company, in which
Shakespeare was a prominent shareholder. A tradition of long
standing, though not susceptible of proof in a court of law,
narrates that Jonson had submitted the manuscript of "Every Man in
His Humour" to the Chamberlain's men and had received from the
company a refusal; that Shakespeare called him back, read the play
himself, and at once accepted it. Whether this story is true or
not, certain it is that "Every Man in His Humour" was accepted by
Shakespeare's company and acted for the first time in 1598, with
Shakespeare taking a part. The evidence of this is contained in
the list of actors prefixed to the comedy in the folio of Jonson's
works, 1616. But it is a mistake to infer, because Shakespeare's
name stands first in the list of actors and the elder Kno'well
first in the dramatis personae, that Shakespeare took that
particular part. The order of a list of Elizabethan players was
generally that of their importance or priority as shareholders in
the company and seldom if ever corresponded to the list of
"Every Man in His Humour" was an immediate success, and with it
Jonson's reputation as one of the leading dramatists of his time
was established once and for all. This could have been by no means
Jonson's earliest comedy, and we have just learned that he was
already reputed one of "our best in tragedy." Indeed, one of
Jonson's extant comedies, "The Case is Altered," but one never
claimed by him or published as his, must certainly have preceded
"Every Man in His Humour" on the stage. The former play may be
described as a comedy modelled on the Latin plays of Plautus. (It
combines, in fact, situations derived from the "Captivi" and the
"Aulularia" of that dramatist). But the pretty story of the
beggar-maiden, Rachel, and her suitors, Jonson found, not among the
classics, but in the ideals of romantic love which Shakespeare had
already popularised on the stage. Jonson never again produced so
fresh and lovable a feminine personage as Rachel, although in other
respects "The Case is Altered" is not a conspicuous play, and, save
for the satirising of Antony Munday in the person of Antonio
Balladino and Gabriel Harvey as well, is perhaps the least
characteristic of the comedies of Jonson.
"Every Man in His Humour," probably first acted late in the summer
of 1598 and at the Curtain, is commonly regarded as an epoch-making
play; and this view is not unjustified. As to plot, it tells
little more than how an intercepted letter enabled a father to
follow his supposedly studious son to London, and there observe his
life with the gallants of the time. The real quality of this
comedy is in its personages and in the theory upon which they are
- Ben Jonson had theories about poetry and the drama, and
he was neither chary in talking of them nor in experimenting with
them in his plays. This makes Jonson, like Dryden in his time, and
Wordsworth much later, an author to reckon with; particularly when
we remember that many of Jonson's notions came for a time
definitely to prevail and to modify the whole trend of English
- First of all Jonson was a classicist, that is, he believed
in restraint and precedent in art in opposition to the prevalent
ungoverned and irresponsible Renaissance spirit. Jonson believed
that there was a professional way of doing things which might be
reached by a study of the best examples, and he found these
examples for the most part among the ancients. To confine our
attention to the drama, Jonson objected to the amateurishness and
haphazard nature of many contemporary plays, and set himself to do
something different; and the first and most striking thing that he
evolved was his conception and practice of the comedy of humours.
As Jonson has been much misrepresented in this matter, let us quote
his own words as to "humour." A humour, according to Jonson, was a
bias of disposition, a warp, so to speak, in character by which
"Some one peculiar quality
Doth so possess a man, that it doth draw
All his affects, his spirits, and his powers,
In their confluctions, all to run one way."
But continuing, Jonson is careful to add:
"But that a rook by wearing a pied feather,
The cable hat-band, or the three-piled ruff,
A yard of shoe-tie, or the Switzers knot
On his French garters, should affect a humour!
O, it is more than most ridiculous."
Jonson's comedy of humours, in a word, conceived of stage
personages on the basis of a ruling trait or passion (a notable
simplification of actual life be it observed in passing); and,
placing these typified traits in juxtaposition in their conflict
and contrast, struck the spark of comedy. Downright, as his name
indicates, is "a plain squire"; Bobadill's humour is that of the
braggart who is incidentally, and with delightfully comic effect, a
coward; Brainworm's humour is the finding out of things to the end
of fooling everybody: of course he is fooled in the end himself.
But it was not Jonson's theories alone that made the success of
"Every Man in His Humour." The play is admirably written and each
character is vividly conceived, and with a firm touch based on
observation of the men of the London of the day. Jonson was
neither in this, his first great comedy (nor in any other play that
he wrote), a supine classicist, urging that English drama return to
a slavish adherence to classical conditions. He says as to the
laws of the old comedy (meaning by "laws," such matters as the
unities of time and place and the use of chorus): "I see not then,
but we should enjoy the same licence, or free power to illustrate
and heighten our invention as they [the ancients] did; and not be
tied to those strict and regular forms which the niceness of a few,
who are nothing but form, would thrust upon us." "Every Man in His
Humour" is written in prose, a novel practice which Jonson had of
his predecessor in comedy, John Lyly. Even the word "humour" seems
to have been employed in the Jonsonian sense by Chapman before
Jonson's use of it. Indeed, the comedy of humours itself is only a
heightened variety of the comedy of manners which represents life,
viewed at a satirical angle, and is the oldest and most persistent
species of comedy in the language. None the less, Jonson's comedy
merited its immediate success and marked out a definite course in
which comedy long continued to run. To mention only Shakespeare's
Falstaff and his rout, Bardolph, Pistol, Dame Quickly, and the
rest, whether in "Henry IV." or in "The Merry Wives of Windsor,"
all are conceived in the spirit of humours. So are the captains,
Welsh, Scotch, and Irish of "Henry V.," and Malvolio especially
later; though Shakespeare never employed the method of humours for
an important personage. It was not Jonson's fault that many of his
successors did precisely the thing that he had reprobated, that is,
degrade "the humour: into an oddity of speech, an eccentricity of
manner, of dress, or cut of beard. There was an anonymous play
called "Every Woman in Her Humour." Chapman wrote "A Humourous
Day's Mirth," Day, "Humour Out of Breath," Fletcher later, "The
Humourous Lieutenant," and Jonson, besides "Every Man Out of His
Humour," returned to the title in closing the cycle of his comedies
in "The Magnetic Lady or Humours Reconciled."
With the performance of "Every Man Out of His Humour" in 1599, by
Shakespeare's company once more at the Globe, we turn a new page in
Jonson's career. Despite his many real virtues, if there is one
feature more than any other that distinguishes Jonson, it is his
arrogance; and to this may be added his self-righteousness,
especially under criticism or satire. "Every Man Out of His
Humour" is the first of three "comical satires" which Jonson
contributed to what Dekker called the poetomachia or war of the
theatres as recent critics have named it. This play as a fabric of
plot is a very slight affair; but as a satirical picture of the
manners of the time, proceeding by means of vivid caricature,
couched in witty and brilliant dialogue and sustained by that
righteous indignation which must lie at the heart of all true
satire -- as a realisation, in short, of the classical ideal of
comedy -- there had been nothing like Jonson's comedy since the
days of Aristophanes. "Every Man in His Humour," like the two
plays that follow it, contains two kinds of attack, the critical or
generally satiric, levelled at abuses and corruptions in the
abstract; and the personal, in which specific application is made
of all this in the lampooning of poets and others, Jonson's
- The method of personal attack by actual caricature
of a person on the stage is almost as old as the drama.
Aristophanes so lampooned Euripides in "The Acharnians" and
Socrates in "The Clouds," to mention no other examples; and in
English drama this kind of thing is alluded to again and again.
What Jonson really did, was to raise the dramatic lampoon to an
art, and make out of a casual burlesque and bit of mimicry a
dramatic satire of literary pretensions and permanency. With the
arrogant attitude mentioned above and his uncommon eloquence in
scorn, vituperation, and invective, it is no wonder that Jonson
soon involved himself in literary and even personal quarrels with
his fellow-authors. The circumstances of the origin of this
'poetomachia' are far from clear, and those who have written on the
topic, except of late, have not helped to make them clearer. The
origin of the "war" has been referred to satirical references,
apparently to Jonson, contained in "The Scourge of Villainy," a
satire in regular form after the manner of the ancients by John
Marston, a fellow playwright, subsequent friend and collaborator of
Jonson's. On the other hand, epigrams of Jonson have been
discovered (49, 68, and 100) variously charging "playwright"
(reasonably identified with Marston) with scurrility, cowardice,
and plagiarism; though the dates of the epigrams cannot be
ascertained with certainty. Jonson's own statement of the matter
to Drummond runs: "He had many quarrels with Marston, beat him,
and took his pistol from him, wrote his "Poetaster" on him; the
beginning[s] of them were that Marston represented him on the
[footnote] *The best account of this whole subject is to be found
in the edition of "Poetaster" and "Satiromastrix" by J. H. Penniman
in "Belles Lettres Series" shortly to appear. See also his earlier
work, "The War of the Theatres," 1892, and the excellent
contributions to the subject by H. C. Hart in "Notes and Queries,"
and in his edition of Jonson, 1906.
Here at least we are on certain ground; and the principals of the
quarrel are known. "Histriomastix," a play revised by Marston in
1598, has been regarded as the one in which Jonson was thus
"represented on the stage"; although the personage in question,
Chrisogonus, a poet, satirist, and translator, poor but proud, and
contemptuous of the common herd, seems rather a complimentary
portrait of Jonson than a caricature. As to the personages
actually ridiculed in "Every Man Out of His Humour," Carlo Buffone
was formerly thought certainly to be Marston, as he was described
as "a public, scurrilous, and profane jester," and elsewhere as the
grand scourge or second untruss [that is, satirist], of the time"
(Joseph Hall being by his own boast the first, and Marston's work
being entitled "The Scourge of Villainy"). Apparently we must now
prefer for Carlo a notorious character named Charles Chester, of
whom gossipy and inaccurate Aubrey relates that he was "a bold
impertinent fellow...a perpetual talker and made a noise like a
drum in a room. So one time at a tavern Sir Walter Raleigh beats
him and seals up his mouth (that is his upper and nether beard)
with hard wax. From him Ben Jonson takes his Carlo Buffone
['i.e.', jester] in "Every Man in His Humour" ['sic']." Is it
conceivable that after all Jonson was ridiculing Marston, and that
the point of the satire consisted in an intentional confusion of
"the grand scourge or second untruss" with "the scurrilous and
We have digressed into detail in this particular case to exemplify
the difficulties of criticism in its attempts to identify the
allusions in these forgotten quarrels. We are on sounder ground of
fact in recording other manifestations of Jonson's enmity. In "The
Case is Altered" there is clear ridicule in the character Antonio
Balladino of Anthony Munday, pageant-poet of the city, translator
of romances and playwright as well. In "Every Man in His Humour"
there is certainly a caricature of Samuel Daniel, accepted poet of
the court, sonneteer, and companion of men of fashion. These men
held recognised positions to which Jonson felt his talents better
entitled him; they were hence to him his natural enemies. It seems
almost certain that he pursued both in the personages of his satire
through "Every Man Out of His Humour," and "Cynthia's Revels,"
Daniel under the characters Fastidious Brisk and Hedon, Munday as
Puntarvolo and Amorphus; but in these last we venture on quagmire
once more. Jonson's literary rivalry of Daniel is traceable again
and again, in the entertainments that welcomed King James on his
way to London, in the masques at court, and in the pastoral drama.
As to Jonson's personal ambitions with respect to these two men, it
is notable that he became, not pageant-poet, but chronologer to the
City of London; and that, on the accession of the new king, he came
soon to triumph over Daniel as the accepted entertainer of royalty.
"Cynthia's Revels," the second "comical satire," was acted in 1600,
and, as a play, is even more lengthy, elaborate, and impossible
than "Every Man Out of His Humour." Here personal satire seems to
have absorbed everything, and while much of the caricature is
admirable, especially in the detail of witty and trenchantly
satirical dialogue, the central idea of a fountain of self-love is
not very well carried out, and the persons revert at times to
abstractions, the action to allegory. It adds to our wonder that
this difficult drama should have been acted by the Children of
Queen Elizabeth's Chapel, among them Nathaniel Field with whom
Jonson read Horace and Martial, and whom he taught later how to
make plays. Another of these precocious little actors was
Salathiel Pavy, who died before he was thirteen, already famed for
taking the parts of old men. Him Jonson immortalised in one of the
sweetest of his epitaphs. An interesting sidelight is this on the
character of this redoubtable and rugged satirist, that he should
thus have befriended and tenderly remembered these little
theatrical waifs, some of whom (as we know) had been literally
kidnapped to be pressed into the service of the theatre and whipped
to the conning of their difficult parts. To the caricature of
Daniel and Munday in "Cynthia's Revels" must be added Anaides
(impudence), here assuredly Marston, and Asotus (the prodigal),
interpreted as Lodge or, more perilously, Raleigh. Crites, like
Asper-Macilente in "Every Man Out of His Humour," is Jonson's
self-complaisant portrait of himself, the just, wholly admirable,
and judicious scholar, holding his head high above the pack of the
yelping curs of envy and detraction, but careless of their puny
attacks on his perfections with only too mindful a neglect.
The third and last of the "comical satires" is "Poetaster," acted,
once more, by the Children of the Chapel in 1601, and Jonson's only
avowed contribution to the fray. According to the author's own
account, this play was written in fifteen weeks on a report that
his enemies had entrusted to Dekker the preparation of
"Satiromastix, the Untrussing of the Humorous Poet," a dramatic
attack upon himself. In this attempt to forestall his enemies
Jonson succeeded, and "Poetaster" was an immediate and deserved
- While hardly more closely knit in structure than its
earlier companion pieces, "Poetaster" is planned to lead up to the
ludicrous final scene in which, after a device borrowed from the
"Lexiphanes" of Lucian, the offending poetaster, Marston-Crispinus,
is made to throw up the difficult words with which he had
overburdened his stomach as well as overlarded his vocabulary. In
the end Crispinus with his fellow, Dekker-Demetrius, is bound over
to keep the peace and never thenceforward "malign, traduce, or
detract the person or writings of Quintus Horatius Flaccus [Jonson]
or any other eminent man transcending you in merit." One of the
most diverting personages in Jonson's comedy is Captain Tucca.
"His peculiarity" has been well described by Ward as "a buoyant
blackguardism which recovers itself instantaneously from the most
complete exposure, and a picturesqueness of speech like that of a
walking dictionary of slang."
It was this character, Captain Tucca, that Dekker hit upon in his
reply, "Satiromastix," and he amplified him, turning his abusive
vocabulary back upon Jonson and adding "an immodesty to his
dialogue that did not enter into Jonson's conception." It has been
held, altogether plausibly, that when Dekker was engaged
professionally, so to speak, to write a dramatic reply to Jonson,
he was at work on a species of chronicle history, dealing with the
story of Walter Terill in the reign of William Rufus. This he
hurriedly adapted to include the satirical characters suggested by
"Poetaster," and fashioned to convey the satire of his reply. The
absurdity of placing Horace in the court of a Norman king is the
result. But Dekker's play is not without its palpable hits at the
arrogance, the literary pride, and self-righteousness of
Jonson-Horace, whose "ningle" or pal, the absurd Asinius Bubo, has
recently been shown to figure forth, in all likelihood, Jonson's
friend, the poet Drayton. Slight and hastily adapted as is
"Satiromastix," especially in a comparison with the better wrought
and more significant satire of "Poetaster," the town awarded the
palm to Dekker, not to Jonson; and Jonson gave over in consequence
his practice of "comical satire." Though Jonson was cited to
appear before the Lord Chief Justice to answer certain charges to
the effect that he had attacked lawyers and soldiers in
"Poetaster," nothing came of this complaint. It may be suspected
that much of this furious clatter and give-and-take was pure
playing to the gallery. The town was agog with the strife, and on
no less an authority than Shakespeare ("Hamlet," ii. 2), we learn
that the children's company (acting the plays of Jonson) did "so
berattle the common stages...that many, wearing rapiers, are afraid
of goose-quills, and dare scarce come thither."
Several other plays have been thought to bear a greater or less
part in the war of the theatres. Among them the most important is
a college play, entitled "The Return from Parnassus," dating
1601-02. In it a much-quoted passage makes Burbage, as a
character, declare: "Why here's our fellow Shakespeare puts them
all down; aye and Ben Jonson, too. O that Ben Jonson is a
pestilent fellow; he brought up Horace, giving the poets a pill,
but our fellow Shakespeare hath given him a purge that made him
bewray his credit." Was Shakespeare then concerned in this war of
the stages? And what could have been the nature of this "purge"?
Among several suggestions, "Troilus and Cressida" has been thought
by some to be the play in which Shakespeare thus "put down" his
friend, Jonson. A wiser interpretation finds the "purge" in
"Satiromastix," which, though not written by Shakespeare, was
staged by his company, and therefore with his approval and under
his direction as one of the leaders of that company.
The last years of the reign of Elizabeth thus saw Jonson recognised
as a dramatist second only to Shakespeare, and not second even to
him as a dramatic satirist. But Jonson now turned his talents to
new fields. Plays on subjects derived from classical story and
myth had held the stage from the beginning of the drama, so that
Shakespeare was making no new departure when he wrote his "Julius
Caesar" about 1600. Therefore when Jonson staged "Sejanus," three
years later and with Shakespeare's company once more, he was only
following in the elder dramatist's footsteps. But Jonson's idea of
a play on classical history, on the one hand, and Shakespeare's and
the elder popular dramatists, on the other, were very different.
Heywood some years before had put five straggling plays on the
stage in quick succession, all derived from stories in Ovid and
dramatised with little taste or discrimination. Shakespeare had a
finer conception of form, but even he was contented to take all his
ancient history from North's translation of Plutarch and dramatise
his subject without further inquiry. Jonson was a scholar and a
classical antiquarian. He reprobated this slipshod amateurishness,
and wrote his "Sejanus" like a scholar, reading Tacitus, Suetonius,
and other authorities, to be certain of his facts, his setting, and
his atmosphere, and somewhat pedantically noting his authorities in
the margin when he came to print. "Sejanus" is a tragedy of
genuine dramatic power in which is told with discriminating taste
the story of the haughty favourite of Tiberius with his tragical
- Our drama presents no truer nor more painstaking
representation of ancient Roman life than may be found in Jonson's
"Sejanus" and "Catiline his Conspiracy," which followed in 1611. A
passage in the address of the former play to the reader, in which
Jonson refers to a collaboration in an earlier version, has led to
the surmise that Shakespeare may have been that "worthier pen."
There is no evidence to determine the matter.
In 1605, we find Jonson in active collaboration with Chapman and
Marston in the admirable comedy of London life entitled "Eastward
Hoe." In the previous year, Marston had dedicated his
"Malcontent," in terms of fervid admiration, to Jonson; so that the
wounds of the war of the theatres must have been long since healed.
Between Jonson and Chapman there was the kinship of similar
scholarly ideals. The two continued friends throughout life.
"Eastward Hoe" achieved the extraordinary popularity represented in
a demand for three issues in one year. But this was not due
entirely to the merits of the play. In its earliest version a
passage which an irritable courtier conceived to be derogatory to
his nation, the Scots, sent both Chapman and Jonson to jail; but
the matter was soon patched up, for by this time Jonson had
influence at court.
With the accession of King James, Jonson began his long and
successful career as a writer of masques. He wrote more masques
than all his competitors together, and they are of an extraordinary
variety and poetic excellence. Jonson did not invent the masque;
for such premeditated devices to set and frame, so to speak, a
court ball had been known and practised in varying degrees of
elaboration long before his time. But Jonson gave dramatic value
to the masque, especially in his invention of the antimasque, a
comedy or farcical element of relief, entrusted to professional
players or dancers. He enhanced, as well, the beauty and dignity
of those portions of the masque in which noble lords and ladies
took their parts to create, by their gorgeous costumes and artistic
grouping and evolutions, a sumptuous show. On the mechanical and
scenic side Jonson had an inventive and ingenious partner in Inigo
Jones, the royal architect, who more than any one man raised the
standard of stage representation in the England of his day. Jonson
continued active in the service of the court in the writing of
masques and other entertainments far into the reign of King
Charles; but, towards the end, a quarrel with Jones embittered his
life, and the two testy old men appear to have become not only a
constant irritation to each other, but intolerable bores at court.
In "Hymenaei," "The Masque of Queens," "Love Freed from Ignorance,"
"Lovers made Men," "Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue," and many more
will be found Jonson's aptitude, his taste, his poetry and
inventiveness in these by-forms of the drama; while in "The Masque
of Christmas," and "The Gipsies Metamorphosed" especially, is
discoverable that power of broad comedy which, at court as well as
in the city, was not the least element of Jonson's contemporary
But Jonson had by no means given up the popular stage when he
turned to the amusement of King James. In 1605 "Volpone" was
produced, "The Silent Woman" in 1609, "The Alchemist" in the
following year. These comedies, with "Bartholomew Fair," 1614,
represent Jonson at his height, and for constructive cleverness,
character successfully conceived in the manner of caricature, wit
and brilliancy of dialogue, they stand alone in English drama.
"Volpone, or the Fox," is, in a sense, a transition play from the
dramatic satires of the war of the theatres to the purer comedy
represented in the plays named above. Its subject is a struggle of
wit applied to chicanery; for among its dramatis personae, from
the villainous Fox himself, his rascally servant Mosca, Voltore
(the vulture), Corbaccio and Corvino (the big and the little
raven), to Sir Politic Would-be and the rest, there is scarcely a
virtuous character in the play. Question has been raised as to
whether a story so forbidding can be considered a comedy, for,
although the plot ends in the discomfiture and imprisonment of the
most vicious, it involves no mortal catastrophe. But Jonson was on
sound historical ground, for "Volpone" is conceived far more
logically on the lines of the ancients' theory of comedy than was
ever the romantic drama of Shakespeare, however repulsive we may
find a philosophy of life that facilely divides the world into the
rogues and their dupes, and, identifying brains with roguery and
innocence with folly, admires the former while inconsistently
"The Silent Woman" is a gigantic farce of the most ingenious
- The whole comedy hinges on a huge joke, played by a
heartless nephew on his misanthropic uncle, who is induced to take
to himself a wife, young, fair, and warranted silent, but who, in
the end, turns out neither silent nor a woman at all. In "The
Alchemist," again, we have the utmost cleverness in construction,
the whole fabric building climax on climax, witty, ingenious, and
so plausibly presented that we forget its departures from the
possibilities of life. In "The Alchemist" Jonson represented, none
the less to the life, certain sharpers of the metropolis, revelling
in their shrewdness and rascality and in the variety of the
stupidity and wickedness of their victims. We may object to the
fact that the only person in the play possessed of a scruple of
honesty is discomfited, and that the greatest scoundrel of all is
approved in the end and rewarded. The comedy is so admirably
written and contrived, the personages stand out with such lifelike
distinctness in their several kinds, and the whole is animated with
such verve and resourcefulness that "The Alchemist" is a new marvel
every time it is read. Lastly of this group comes the tremendous
comedy, "Bartholomew Fair," less clear cut, less definite, and less
structurally worthy of praise than its three predecessors, but full
of the keenest and cleverest of satire and inventive to a degree
beyond any English comedy save some other of Jonson's own. It is
in "Bartholomew Fair" that we are presented to the immortal
caricature of the Puritan, Zeal-in-the-Land Busy, and the
Littlewits that group about him, and it is in this extraordinary
comedy that the humour of Jonson, always open to this danger,
loosens into the Rabelaisian mode that so delighted King James in
"The Gipsies Metamorphosed." Another comedy of less merit is "The
Devil is an Ass," acted in 1616. It was the failure of this play
that caused Jonson to give over writing for the public stage for a
period of nearly ten years.
"Volpone" was laid as to scene in Venice. Whether because of the
success of "Eastward Hoe" or for other reasons, the other three
comedies declare in the words of the prologue to "The Alchemist":
"Our scene is London, 'cause we would make known
No country's mirth is better than our own."
Indeed Jonson went further when he came to revise his plays for
collected publication in his folio of 1616, he transferred the
scene of "Every Man in His Humour" from Florence to London also,
converting Signior Lorenzo di Pazzi to Old Kno'well, Prospero to
Master Welborn, and Hesperida to Dame Kitely "dwelling i' the Old
In his comedies of London life, despite his trend towards
caricature, Jonson has shown himself a genuine realist, drawing
from the life about him with an experience and insight rare in any
- A happy comparison has been suggested between Ben
Jonson and Charles Dickens. Both were men of the people, lowly
born and hardly bred. Each knew the London of his time as few men
knew it; and each represented it intimately and in elaborate
- Both men were at heart moralists, seeking the truth by the
exaggerated methods of humour and caricature; perverse, even
wrong-headed at times, but possessed of a true pathos and largeness
of heart, and when all has been said -- though the Elizabethan ran
to satire, the Victorian to sentimentality -- leaving the world
better for the art that they practised in it.
In 1616, the year of the death of Shakespeare, Jonson collected his
plays, his poetry, and his masques for publication in a collective
- This was an unusual thing at the time and had been
attempted by no dramatist before Jonson. This volume published, in
a carefully revised text, all the plays thus far mentioned,
excepting "The Case is Altered," which Jonson did not acknowledge,
"Bartholomew Fair," and "The Devil is an Ass," which was written
too late. It included likewise a book of some hundred and thirty
odd "Epigrams," in which form of brief and pungent writing Jonson
was an acknowledged master; "The Forest," a smaller collection of
lyric and occasional verse and some ten "Masques" and
"Entertainments." In this same year Jonson was made poet laureate
with a pension of one hundred marks a year. This, with his fees
and returns from several noblemen, and the small earnings of his
plays must have formed the bulk of his income. The poet appears to
have done certain literary hack-work for others, as, for example,
parts of the Punic Wars contributed to Raleigh's "History of the
World." We know from a story, little to the credit of either, that
Jonson accompanied Raleigh's son abroad in the capacity of a tutor.
In 1618 Jonson was granted the reversion of the office of Master of
the Revels, a post for which he was peculiarly fitted; but he did
not live to enjoy its perquisites. Jonson was honoured with
degrees by both universities, though when and under what
circumstances is not known. It has been said that he narrowly
escaped the honour of knighthood, which the satirists of the day
averred King James was wont to lavish with an indiscriminate hand.
Worse men were made knights in his day than worthy Ben Jonson.
From 1616 to the close of the reign of King James, Jonson produced
nothing for the stage. But he "prosecuted" what he calls "his
wonted studies" with such assiduity that he became in reality, as
by report, one of the most learned men of his time. Jonson's
theory of authorship involved a wide acquaintance with books and
"an ability," as he put it, "to convert the substance or riches of
another poet to his own use." Accordingly Jonson read not only the
Greek and Latin classics down to the lesser writers, but he
acquainted himself especially with the Latin writings of his
learned contemporaries, their prose as well as their poetry, their
antiquities and curious lore as well as their more solid learning.
Though a poor man, Jonson was an indefatigable collector of books.
He told Drummond that "the Earl of Pembroke sent him 20 pounds every
first day of the new year to buy new books." Unhappily, in 1623,
his library was destroyed by fire, an accident serio-comically
described in his witty poem, "An Execration upon Vulcan." Yet even
now a book turns up from time to time in which is inscribed, in
fair large Italian lettering, the name, Ben Jonson. With respect
to Jonson's use of his material, Dryden said memorably of him:
"[He] was not only a professed imitator of Horace, but a learned
plagiary of all the others; you track him everywhere in their
snow....But he has done his robberies so openly that one sees he
fears not to be taxed by any law. He invades authors like a
monarch, and what would be theft in other poets is only victory in
him." And yet it is but fair to say that Jonson prided himself,
and justly, on his originality. In "Catiline," he not only uses
Sallust's account of the conspiracy, but he models some of the
speeches of Cicero on the Roman orator's actual words. In
"Poetaster," he lifts a whole satire out of Horace and dramatises
it effectively for his purposes. The sophist Libanius suggests the
situation of "The Silent Woman"; a Latin comedy of Giordano Bruno,
"Il Candelaio," the relation of the dupes and the sharpers in "The
Alchemist," the "Mostellaria" of Plautus, its admirable opening
- But Jonson commonly bettered his sources, and putting the
stamp of his sovereignty on whatever bullion he borrowed made it
thenceforward to all time current and his own.
The lyric and especially the occasional poetry of Jonson has a
peculiar merit. His theory demanded design and the perfection of
literary finish. He was furthest from the rhapsodist and the
careless singer of an idle day; and he believed that Apollo could
only be worthily served in singing robes and laurel crowned. And
yet many of Jonson's lyrics will live as long as the language. Who
does not know "Queen and huntress, chaste and fair." "Drink to me
only with thine eyes," or "Still to be neat, still to be dressed"?
Beautiful in form, deft and graceful in expression, with not a word
too much or one that bears not its part in the total effect, there
is yet about the lyrics of Jonson a certain stiffness and
formality, a suspicion that they were not quite spontaneous and
unbidden, but that they were carved, so to speak, with
disproportionate labour by a potent man of letters whose habitual
thought is on greater things. It is for these reasons that Jonson
is even better in the epigram and in occasional verse where
rhetorical finish and pointed wit less interfere with the
spontaneity and emotion which we usually associate with lyrical
- There are no such epitaphs as Ben Jonson's, witness the
charming ones on his own children, on Salathiel Pavy, the
child-actor, and many more; and this even though the rigid law of
mine and thine must now restore to William Browne of Tavistock the
famous lines beginning: "Underneath this sable hearse." Jonson is
unsurpassed, too, in the difficult poetry of compliment, seldom
falling into fulsome praise and disproportionate similitude, yet
showing again and again a generous appreciation of worth in others,
a discriminating taste and a generous personal regard. There was
no man in England of his rank so well known and universally beloved
as Ben Jonson. The list of his friends, of those to whom he had
written verses, and those who had written verses to him, includes
the name of every man of prominence in the England of King James.
And the tone of many of these productions discloses an affectionate
familiarity that speaks for the amiable personality and sound worth
of the laureate. In 1619, growing unwieldy through inactivity,
Jonson hit upon the heroic remedy of a journey afoot to Scotland.
On his way thither and back he was hospitably received at the
houses of many friends and by those to whom his friends had
recommended him. When he arrived in Edinburgh, the burgesses met
to grant him the freedom of the city, and Drummond, foremost of
Scottish poets, was proud to entertain him for weeks as his guest
at Hawthornden. Some of the noblest of Jonson's poems were
inspired by friendship. Such is the fine "Ode to the memory of Sir
Lucius Cary and Sir Henry Moryson," and that admirable piece of
critical insight and filial affection, prefixed to the first
Shakespeare folio, "To the memory of my beloved master, William
Shakespeare, and what he hath left us," to mention only these. Nor
can the earlier "Epode," beginning "Not to know vice at all," be
matched in stately gravity and gnomic wisdom in its own wise and
But if Jonson had deserted the stage after the publication of his
folio and up to the end of the reign of King James, he was far from
inactive; for year after year his inexhaustible inventiveness
continued to contribute to the masquing and entertainment at court.
In "The Golden Age Restored," Pallas turns the Iron Age with
its attendant evils into statues which sink out of sight; in
"Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue," Atlas figures represented as an
old man, his shoulders covered with snow, and Comus, "the god of
cheer or the belly," is one of the characters, a circumstance which
an imaginative boy of ten, named John Milton, was not to forget.
"Pan's Anniversary," late in the reign of James, proclaimed that
Jonson had not yet forgotten how to write exquisite lyrics, and
"The Gipsies Metamorphosed" displayed the old drollery and broad
humorous stroke still unimpaired and unmatchable. These, too, and
the earlier years of Charles were the days of the Apollo Room of
the Devil Tavern where Jonson presided, the absolute monarch of
English literary Bohemia. We hear of a room blazoned about with
Jonson's own judicious "Leges Convivales" in letters of gold, of a
company made up of the choicest spirits of the time, devotedly
attached to their veteran dictator, his reminiscences, opinions,
affections, and enmities. And we hear, too, of valorous potations;
but in the words of Herrick addressed to his master, Jonson, at the
Devil Tavern, as at the Dog, the Triple Tun, and at the Mermaid,
"We such clusters had
As made us nobly wild, not mad,
And yet each verse of thine
Outdid the meat, outdid the frolic wine."
But the patronage of the court failed in the days of King Charles,
though Jonson was not without royal favours; and the old poet
returned to the stage, producing, between 1625 and 1633, "The
Staple of News," "The New Inn," "The Magnetic Lady," and "The Tale
of a Tub," the last doubtless revised from a much earlier comedy.
None of these plays met with any marked success, although the
scathing generalisation of Dryden that designated them "Jonson's
dotages" is unfair to their genuine merits. Thus the idea of an
office for the gathering, proper dressing, and promulgation of news
(wild flight of the fancy in its time) was an excellent subject for
satire on the existing absurdities among newsmongers; although
as much can hardly be said for "The Magnetic Lady," who, in her
bounty, draws to her personages of differing humours to reconcile
them in the end according to the alternative title, or "Humours
Reconciled." These last plays of the old dramatist revert to
caricature and the hard lines of allegory; the moralist is more
than ever present, the satire degenerates into personal lampoon,
especially of his sometime friend, Inigo Jones, who appears
unworthily to have used his influence at court against the
broken-down old poet. And now disease claimed Jonson, and he was
bedridden for months. He had succeeded Middleton in 1628 as
Chronologer to the City of London, but lost the post for not
fulfilling its duties. King Charles befriended him, and even
commissioned him to write still for the entertainment of the court;
and he was not without the sustaining hand of noble patrons and
devoted friends among the younger poets who were proud to be
"sealed of the tribe of Ben."
Jonson died, August 6, 1637, and a second folio of his works, which
he had been some time gathering, was printed in 1640, bearing in
its various parts dates ranging from 1630 to 1642. It included all
the plays mentioned in the foregoing paragraphs, excepting "The
Case is Altered;" the masques, some fifteen, that date between 1617
and 1630; another collection of lyrics and occasional poetry called
"Underwoods, including some further entertainments; a translation
of "Horace's Art of Poetry" (also published in a vicesimo quarto in
1640), and certain fragments and ingatherings which the poet would
hardly have included himself. These last comprise the fragment
(less than seventy lines) of a tragedy called "Mortimer his Fall,"
and three acts of a pastoral drama of much beauty and poetic
spirit, "The Sad Shepherd." There is also the exceedingly
interesting "English Grammar" "made by Ben Jonson for the benefit
of all strangers out of his observation of the English language now
spoken and in use," in Latin and English; and "Timber, or
Discoveries" "made upon men and matter as they have flowed out of
his daily reading, or had their reflux to his peculiar notion of
the times." The "Discoveries," as it is usually called, is a
commonplace book such as many literary men have kept, in which
their reading was chronicled, passages that took their fancy
translated or transcribed, and their passing opinions noted. Many
passages of Jonson's "Discoveries" are literal translations from the
authors he chanced to be reading, with the reference, noted or not,
as the accident of the moment prescribed. At times he follows the
line of Macchiavelli's argument as to the nature and conduct of
princes; at others he clarifies his own conception of poetry and
poets by recourse to Aristotle. He finds a choice paragraph on
eloquence in Seneca the elder and applies it to his own
recollection of Bacon's power as an orator; and another on facile
and ready genius, and translates it, adapting it to his
recollection of his fellow-playwright, Shakespeare. To call such
passages -- which Jonson never intended for publication --
plagiarism, is to obscure the significance of words. To disparage
his memory by citing them is a preposterous use of scholarship.
Jonson's prose, both in his dramas, in the descriptive comments of
his masques, and in the "Discoveries," is characterised by clarity
and vigorous directness, nor is it wanting in a fine sense of form
or in the subtler graces of diction.
When Jonson died there was a project for a handsome monument to his
memory. But the Civil War was at hand, and the project failed. A
memorial, not insufficient, was carved on the stone covering his
grave in one of the aisles of Westminster Abbey:
"O rare Ben Jonson."
FELIX E. SCHELLING.
The following is a complete list of his published works: --
Every Man in his Humour, 4to, 1601;
The Case is Altered, 4to, 1609;
Every Man out of his Humour, 4to, 1600;
Cynthia's Revels, 4to, 1601;
Poetaster, 4to, 1602;
Sejanus, 4to, 1605;
Eastward Ho (with Chapman and Marston), 4to, 1605;
Volpone, 4to, 1607;
Epicoene, or the Silent Woman, 4to, 1609 (?), fol., 1616;
The Alchemist, 4to, 1612;
Catiline, his Conspiracy, 4to, 1611;
Bartholomew Fayre, 4to, 1614 (?), fol., 1631;
The Divell is an Asse, fol., 1631;
The Staple of Newes, fol., 1631;
The New Sun, 8vo, 1631, fol., 1692;
The Magnetic Lady, or Humours Reconcild, fol., 1640;
A Tale of a Tub, fol., 1640;
The Sad Shepherd, or a Tale of Robin Hood, fol., 1641;
Mortimer his Fall (fragment), fol., 1640.
To Jonson have also been attributed additions to Kyd's Jeronymo,
and collaboration in The Widow with Fletcher and Middleton, and
in the Bloody Brother with Fletcher.
Epigrams, The Forrest, Underwoods, published in fols., 1616, 1640;
Selections: Execration against Vulcan, and Epigrams, 1640;
G. Hor. Flaccus his art of Poetry, Englished by Ben Jonson, 1640;
Leges Convivialis, fol., 1692.
Other minor poems first appeared in Gifford's edition of Works.
Timber, or Discoveries made upon Men and Matter, fol., 1641;
The English Grammar, made by Ben Jonson for the benefit of
Strangers, fol., 1640.
Masques and Entertainments were published in the early folios.
Fol., 1616, volume. 2, 1640 (1631-41);
fol., 1692, 1716-19, 1729;
edited by P. Whalley, 7 volumes., 1756;
by Gifford (with Memoir), 9 volumes., 1816, 1846;
re-edited by F. Cunningham, 3 volumes., 1871;
in 9 volumes., 1875;
by Barry Cornwall (with Memoir), 1838;
by B. Nicholson (Mermaid Series), with Introduction by
C. H. Herford, 1893, etc.;
Nine Plays, 1904;
ed. H. C. Hart (Standard Library), 1906, etc;
Plays and Poems, with Introduction by H. Morley (Universal
Plays (7) and Poems (Newnes), 1905;
Poems, with Memoir by H. Bennett (Carlton Classics), 1907;
Masques and Entertainments, ed. by H. Morley, 1890.
J. A. Symonds, with Biographical and Critical Essay,
(Canterbury Poets), 1886;
Grosart, Brave Translunary Things, 1895;
Arber, Jonson Anthology, 1901;
Underwoods, Cambridge University Press, 1905;
Lyrics (Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher), the Chap Books,
No. 4, 1906;
Songs (from Plays, Masques, etc.), with earliest known
setting, Eragny Press, 1906.
See Memoirs affixed to Works;
J. A. Symonds (English Worthies), 1886;
Notes of Ben Jonson Conversations with Drummond of Hawthornden;
Shakespeare Society, 1842;
ed. with Introduction and Notes by P. Sidney, 1906;
Swinburne, A Study of Ben Jonson, 1889.
BEN JONSON'S PLAYS
EVERY MAN IN HIS HUMOUR*
([footnote] *This is the "Italian Edition" of the comedy.
The later, superior, and more familiar Anglicised version,
will be a separate Project Gutenberg etext.)
ENTER LORENZO DI PAZZI SENIOR, MUSCO.
LOR. SE. Now trust me, here's a goodly day toward.
Musco, call up my son Lorenzo; bid him rise; tell him, I have some
business to employ him in.
- I will, sir, presently.
LOR. SE. But hear you, sirrah;
If he be at study disturb him not.
- Very good, sir. [EXIT MUSCO.]
LOR. SE. How happy would I estimate myself,
Could I by any means retire my son,
From one vain course of study he affects!
He is a scholar (if a man may trust
The liberal voice of double-tongued report)
Of dear account, in all our "Academies."
Yet this position must not breed in me
A fast opinion that he cannot err.
Myself was once a "student," and indeed
Fed with the self-same humour he is now,
Dreaming on nought but idle "Poetry";
But since, Experience hath awaked my spirits,
And reason taught them, how to comprehend
The sovereign use of study. What, cousin Stephano!
What news with you, that you are here so early?
- Nothing: but e'en come to see how you do, uncle.
LOR. SE. That's kindly done; you are welcome, cousin.
- Ay, I know that sir, I would not have come else: how doth
my cousin, uncle?
LOR. SE. Oh, well, well, go in and see; I doubt he's scarce
- Uncle, afore I go in, can you tell me an he have e'er a book
of the sciences of hawking and hunting? I would fain borrow it.
LOR. SE. Why, I hope you will not a hawking now, will you?
- No, wusse; but I'll practise against next year; I have
bought me a hawk, and bells and all; I lack nothing but a book to
keep it by.
LOR. SE. Oh, most ridiculous.
- Nay, look you now, you are angry, uncle, why, you know, an a
man have not skill in hawking and hunting now-a-days, I'll not give
a rush for him; he is for no gentleman's company, and (by God's
will) I scorn it, ay, so I do, to be a consort for every
hum-drum; hang them scroyles, there's nothing in them in the
world, what do you talk on it? a gentleman must shew himself like
a gentleman. Uncle, I pray you be not angry, I know what I have to
do, I trow, I am no novice.
LOR. SE. Go to, you are a prodigal, and self-willed fool.
Nay, never look at me, it's I that speak,
Take't as you will, I'll not flatter you.
What? have you not means enow to waste
That which your friends have left you, but you must
Go cast away your money on a Buzzard,
And know not how to keep it when you have done?
Oh, it's brave, this will make you a gentleman,
Well, cousin, well, I see you are e'en past hope
Of all reclaim; ay, so, now you are told on it, you
look another way.
- What would you have me do, trow?
- What would I have you do? marry,
Learn to be wise, and practise how to thrive,
That I would have you do, and not to spend
Your crowns on every one that humours you:
I would not have you to intrude yourself
In every gentleman's society,
Till their affections or your own dessert,
Do worthily invite you to the place.
For he that's so respectless in his courses,
Oft sells his reputation vile and cheap.
Let not your carriage and behaviour taste
Of affectation, lest while you pretend
To make a blaze of gentry to the world
A little puff of scorn extinguish it,
And you be left like an unsavoury snuff,
Whose property is only to offend.
Cousin, lay by such superficial forms,
And entertain a perfect real substance;
Stand not so much on your gentility,
But moderate your expenses (now at first)
As you may keep the same proportion still:
Bear a low sail. Soft, who's this comes here?
[ENTER A SERVANT.]
- Gentlemen, God save you.
- Welcome, good friend; we do not stand much upon our
gentility, yet I can assure you mine uncle is a man of a thousand
pound land a year; he hath but one son in the world; I am his next
heir, as simple as I stand here, if my cousin die. I have a fair
living of mine own too beside.
- In good time, sir.
- In good time, sir! you do not flout me, do you?
- Not I, sir.
- An you should, here be them can perceive it, and that
quickly too. Go to; and they can give it again soundly, an need be.
- Why, sir, let this satisfy you. Good faith, I had no such
- By God, an I thought you had, sir, I would talk with you.
- So you may, sir, and at your pleasure.
- And so I would, sir, an you were out of mine uncle's ground,
I can tell you.
LOR. SE. Why, how now, cousin, will this ne'er be left?
- Whoreson, base fellow, by God's lid, an 'twere not for
shame, I would --
LOR. SE. What would you do? you peremptory ass,
An you'll not be quiet, get you hence.
You see, the gentleman contains himself
In modest limits, giving no reply
To your unseason'd rude comparatives;
Yet you'll demean yourself without respect
Either of duty or humanity.
Go, get you in: 'fore God, I am asham'd
Thou hast a kinsman's interest in me.
- I pray you, sir, is this Pazzi house?
LOR. SE. Yes, marry is it, sir.
- I should enquire for a gentleman here, one Signior Lorenzo di
Pazzi; do you know any such, sir, I pray you?
LOR. SE. Yes, sir; or else I should forget myself.
- I cry you mercy, sir, I was requested by a gentleman of
Florence (having some occasion to ride this way) to deliver you
LOR. SE. To me, sir? What do you mean? I pray you remember your
"To his dear and most selected friend, Signior Lorenzo di
What might the gentleman's name be, sir, that sent it?
Nay, pray you be covered.
- Signior Prospero.
LOR. SE. Signior Prospero? A young gentleman of the family of
Strozzi, is he not?
- Ay, sir, the same: Signior Thorello, the rich Florentine
merchant married his sister.
LOR. SE. You say very true. -- Musco.
LOR. SE. Make this gentleman drink here.
I pray you go in, sir, an't please you.
Now (without doubt) this letter's to my son.
Well, all is one: I'll be so bold as read it,
Be it but for the style's sake, and the phrase;
Both which (I do presume) are excellent,
And greatly varied from the vulgar form,
If Prospero's invention gave them life.
How now! what stuff is here?
I muse we cannot see thee at Florence: 'Sblood, I doubt,
Apollo hath got thee to be his Ingle, that thou comest
not abroad, to visit thine old friends: well, take heed
of him; he may do somewhat for his household servants, or
so; But for his Retainers, I am sure, I have known some
of them, that have followed him, three, four, five years
together, scorning the world with their bare heels, and
at length been glad for a shift (though no clean shift)
to lie a whole winter, in half a sheet cursing Charles'
wain, and the rest of the stars intolerably. But (quis
contra diuos?) well; Sir, sweet villain, come and see me;
but spend one minute in my company, and 'tis enough: I
think I have a world of good jests for thee: oh, sir, I
can shew thee two of the most perfect, rare and absolute
true Gulls, that ever thou saw'st, if thou wilt come.
'Sblood, invent some famous memorable lie, or other,
to flap thy Father in the mouth withal: thou hast been
father of a thousand, in thy days, thou could'st be no
Poet else: any scurvy roguish excuse will serve; say
thou com'st but to fetch wool for thine Ink-horn. And
then, too, thy Father will say thy wits are a wool-
- But it's no matter; the worse, the better.
Anything is good enough for the old man. Sir, how if thy
Father should see this now? what would he think of me?
Well, (how ever I write to thee) I reverence him in my
soul, for the general good all Florence delivers of him.
Lorenzo, I conjure thee (by what, let me see) by the depth
of our love, by all the strange sights we have seen in
our days, (ay, or nights either), to come to me to
Florence this day. Go to, you shall come, and let your
Muses go spin for once. If thou wilt not, 's hart, what's
your god's name? Apollo? Ay, Apollo. If this melancholy
rogue (Lorenzo here) do not come, grant, that he do turn
Fool presently, and never hereafter be able to make a good
jest, or a blank verse, but live in more penury of wit
and invention, than either the Hall-Beadle, or Poet
Well, it is the strangest letter that ever I read.
Is this the man, my son so oft hath praised
To be the happiest, and most precious wit
That ever was familiar with Art?
Now, by our Lady's blessed son, I swear,
I rather think him most unfortunate
In the possession of such holy gifts,
Being the master of so loose a spirit.
Why, what unhallowed ruffian would have writ
With so profane a pen unto his friend?
The modest paper e'en looks pale for grief,
To feel her virgin-cheek defiled and stained
With such a black and criminal inscription.
Well, I had thought my son could not have strayed
So far from judgment as to mart himself
Thus cheaply in the open trade of scorn
To jeering folly and fantastic humour.
But now I see opinion is a fool,
And hath abused my senses. -- Musco.
LOR. SE. What, is the fellow gone that brought this letter?
- Yes sir, a pretty while since.
LOR. SE. And where's Lorenzo?
- In his chamber, sir.
LOR. SE. He spake not with the fellow, did he?
- No, sir, he saw him not.
LOR. SE. Then, Musco, take this letter, and deliver it unto
Lorenzo: but, sirrah, on your life take you no knowledge I have
- O Lord, sir, that were a jest indeed.
LOR. SE. I am resolv'd I will not cross his journey,
Nor will I practise any violent means
To stay the hot and lusty course of youth.
For youth restrained straight grows impatient,
And, in condition, like an eager dog,
Who, ne'er so little from his game withheld,
Turns head and leaps up at his master's throat.
Therefore I'll study, by some milder drift,
To call my son unto a happier shrift.
ACT I. SCENE II.
ENTER LORENZO JUNIOR, WITH MUSCO.
- Yes, sir, on my word he opened it, and read the contents.
LOR. JU. It scarce contents me that he did so. But, Musco, didst
thou observe his countenance in the reading of it, whether he were
angry or pleased?
- Why, sir, I saw him not read it.
LOR. JU. No? how knowest thou then that he opened it?
- Marry, sir, because he charg'd me on my life to tell nobody
that he opened it, which, unless he had done, he would never fear
to have it revealed.
LOR. JU. That's true: well, Musco, hie thee in again,
Lest thy protracted absence do lend light,
To dark suspicion: Musco, be assured
I'll not forget this thy respective love.
- Oh, Musco, didst thou not see a fellow here in a
what-sha-call-him doublet; he brought mine uncle a letter
- Yes, sir, what of him?
- Where is he, canst thou tell?
- Why, he is gone.
- Gone? which way? when went he? how long since?
- It's almost half an hour ago since he rode hence.
- Whoreson scanderbag rogue; oh that I had a horse; by God's
lid, I'd fetch him back again, with heave and ho.
- Why, you may have my master's bay gelding, an you will.
- But I have no boots, that's the spite on it.
- Then it's no boot to follow him. Let him go and hang, sir.
- Ay, by my troth; Musco, I pray thee help to truss me a
little; nothing angers me, but I have waited such a while for him
all unlac'd and untrussed yonder; and now to see he is gone the
- Nay, I pray you stand still, sir.
- I will, I will: oh, how it vexes me.
- Tut, never vex yourself with the thought of such a base
fellow as he.
- Nay, to see he stood upon points with me too.
- Like enough so; that was because he saw you had so few at
- What! Hast thou done? Godamercy, good Musco.
- I marle, sir, you wear such ill-favoured coarse stockings,
having so good a leg as you have.
- Foh! the stockings be good enough for this time of the
year; but I'll have a pair of silk, e'er it be long: I think my
leg would shew well in a silk hose.
- Ay, afore God, would it, rarely well.
- In sadness I think it would: I have a reasonable good leg?
- You have an excellent good leg, sir: I pray you pardon me.
I have a little haste in, sir.
- A thousand thanks, good Musco.
What, I hope he laughs not at me; an he do --
LOR. JU. Here is a style indeed, for a man's senses to leap over,
e'er they come at it: why, it is able to break the shins of any
old man's patience in the world. My father read this with
patience? Then will I be made an Eunuch, and learn to sing
- I do not deny, but my father may have as much patience as
any other man; for he used to take physic, and oft taking physic
makes a man a very patient creature. But, Signior Prospero, had
your swaggering Epistle here arrived in my father's hands at such
an hour of his patience, I mean, when he had taken physic, it is to
be doubted whether I should have read "sweet villain here." But,
what? My wise cousin; Nay then, I'll furnish our feast with one
Gull more toward a mess; he writes to me of two, and here's one,
that's three, i'faith. Oh for a fourth! now, Fortune, or never,
- Oh, now I see who he laughed at: he laughed at somebody in
that letter. By this good light, an he had laughed at me, I would
have told mine uncle.
LOR. JU. Cousin Stephano: good morrow, good cousin, how fare you?
- The better for your asking, I will assure you. I have been
all about to seek you. Since I came I saw mine uncle; and i'faith
how have you done this great while? Good Lord, by my troth, I am
glad you are well, cousin.
LOR. JU. And I am as glad of your coming, I protest to you, for I
am sent for by a private gentleman, my most special dear friend, to
come to him to Florence this morning, and you shall go with me,
cousin, if it please you, not else, I will enjoin you no further
than stands with your own consent, and the condition of a friend.
- Why, cousin, you shall command me an 'twere twice so far as
Florence, to do you good; what, do you think I will not go with
you? I protest --
LOR. JU. Nay, nay, you shall not protest
- By God, but I will, sir, by your leave I'll protest more to
my friend than I'll speak of at this time.
LOR. JU. You speak very well, sir.
- Nay, not so neither, but I speak to serve my turn.
LOR. JU. Your turn? why, cousin, a gentleman of so fair sort as
you are, of so true carriage, so special good parts; of so dear and
choice estimation; one whose lowest condition bears the stamp of a
great spirit; nay more, a man so graced, gilded, or rather, to use
a more fit metaphor, tinfoiled by nature; not that you have a
leaden constitution, coz, although perhaps a little inclining to
that temper, and so the more apt to melt with pity, when you fall
into the fire of rage, but for your lustre only, which reflects as
bright to the world as an old ale-wife's pewter again a good time;
and will you now, with nice modesty, hide such real ornaments as
these, and shadow their glory as a milliner's wife doth her wrought
stomacher, with a smoky lawn or a black cyprus? Come, come; for
shame do not wrong the quality of your dessert in so poor a kind;
but let the idea of what you are be portrayed in your aspect, that
men may read in your looks: "Here within this place is to be seen
the most admirable, rare, and accomplished work of nature!"
Cousin, what think you of this?
- Marry, I do think of it, and I will be more melancholy and
gentlemanlike than I have been, I do ensure you.
LOR. JU. Why, this is well: now if I can but hold up this humour
in him, as it is begun, Catso for Florence, match him an she can.
- I'll follow you.
LOR. JU. Follow me! you must go before!
- Must I? nay, then I pray you shew me, good cousin.
ACT I. SCENE III.
ENTER SIGNIOR MATHEO, TO HIM COB.
- I think this be the house: what ho!
- Who's there? oh, Signior Matheo. God give you good morrow,
- What? Cob? how doest thou, good Cob? does thou inhabit
- Ay, sir, I and my lineage have kept a poor house in our days.
- Thy lineage, Monsieur Cob! what lineage, what lineage?
- Why, sir, an ancient lineage, and a princely: mine ancestry
came from a king's loins, no worse man; and yet no man neither but
Herring the king of fish, one of the monarchs of the world, I
assure you. I do fetch my pedigree and name from the first red
herring that was eaten in Adam and Eve's kitchen: his Cob was my
great, great, mighty great grandfather.
- Why mighty? why mighty?
- Oh, it's a mighty while ago, sir, and it was a mighty great
- How knowest thou that?
- How know I? why, his ghost comes to me every night.
- Oh, unsavoury jest: the ghost of a herring Cob.
- Ay, why not the ghost of a herring Cob, as well as the ghost
of Rashero Bacono, they were both broiled on the coals? you are a
scholar, upsolve me that now.
- Oh, rude ignorance! Cob, canst thou shew me of a gentleman,
one Signior Bobadilla, where his lodging is?
- Oh, my guest, sir, you mean?
- Thy guest, alas! ha, ha.
- Why do you laugh, sir? do you not mean Signior Bobadilla?
- Cob, I pray thee advise thyself well: do not wrong the
gentleman, and thyself too. I dare be sworn he scorns thy house;
he! he lodge in such a base obscure place as thy house? Tut, I
know his disposition so well, he would not lie in thy bed if
thou'dst give it him.
- I will not give it him. Mass, I thought somewhat was in it,
we could not get him to bed all night. Well sir, though he lie not
on my bed, he lies on my bench, an't please you to go up, sir, you
shall find him with two cushions under his head, and his cloak
wrapt about him, as though he had neither won nor lost, and yet I
warrant he ne'er cast better in his life than he hath done
- Why, was he drunk?
- Drunk, sir? you hear not me say so; perhaps he swallow'd a
tavern token, or some such device, sir; I have nothing to do
withal: I deal with water and not with wine. Give me my tankard
there, ho! God be with you, sir; it's six o'clock: I should have
carried two turns by this, what ho! my stopple, come.
- Lie in a water-bearer's house, a gentleman of his note?
Well, I'll tell him my mind.
- What, Tib, shew this gentleman up to Signior Bobadilla: oh,
an my house were the Brazen head now, faith it would e'en cry moe
fools yet: you should have some now, would take him to be a
gentleman at least; alas, God help the simple, his father's an
honest man, a good fishmonger, and so forth: and now doth he creep
and wriggle into acquaintance with all the brave gallants about
the town, such as my guest is, (oh, my guest is a fine man!) and
they flout him invincibly. He useth every day to a merchant's
house, (where I serve water) one M. Thorello's; and here's the
jest, he is in love with my master's sister, and calls her
mistress: and there he sits a whole afternoon sometimes,
reading of these same abominable, vile, (a pox on them, I cannot
abide them!) rascally verses, Poetry, poetry, and speaking of
Interludes, 'twill make a man burst to hear him: and the wenches,
they do so jeer and tihe at him; well, should they do as much to
me, I'd forswear them all, by the life of Pharaoh, there's an oath:
how many water-bearers shall you hear swear such an oath? oh, I
have a guest, (he teacheth me) he doth swear the best of any man
- By Phoebus, By the life of Pharaoh, By the body of me,
As I am gentleman, and a soldier: such dainty oaths; and withal he
doth take this same filthy roguish tobacco, the finest and
cleanliest; it would do a man good to see the fume come forth at
his nostrils: well, he owes me forty shillings, (my wife lent him
out of her purse; by sixpence a time,) besides his lodging; I would
I had it: I shall have it, he saith, next Action. Helter skelter,
hang sorrow, care will kill a cat, up-tails all, and a pox on the
[BOBADILLA DISCOVERS HIMSELF; ON A BENCH; TO HIM TIB.]
- Hostess, hostess.
- What say you, sir?
- A cup of your small beer, sweet hostess.
- Sir, there's a gentleman below would speak with you.
- A gentleman? (God's so) I am not within.
- My husband told him you were, sir.
- What a plague! what meant he?
- Signior Bobadilla.
- Who's there? (take away the bason, good hostess) come up,
- He would desire you to come up, sir; you come into a cleanly
- God save you, sir, God save you.
- Signior Matheo, is't you, sir? please you sit down.
- I thank you, good Signior, you may see I am somewhat
- Not so, Signior, I was requested to supper yesternight by a
sort of gallants, where you were wished for, and drunk to, I assure
- Vouchsafe me by whom, good Signior.
- Marry, by Signior Prospero, and others; why, hostess, a stool
here for this gentleman.
- No haste, sir, it is very well.
- Body of me, it was so late ere we parted last night, I can
scarce open mine eyes yet; I was but new risen as you came; how
passes the day abroad, sir? you can tell.
- Faith, some half hour to seven: now trust me, you have an
exceeding fine lodging here, very neat, and private.
- Ay, sir, sit down. I pray you, Signior Matheo, in any case
possess no gentlemen of your acquaintance with notice of my
- Who? I, sir? no.
- Not that I need to care who know it, but in regard I would
not be so popular and general as some be.
- True, Signior, I conceive you.
- For do you see, sir, by the heart of myself, (except it be
to some peculiar and choice spirits, to whom I am extraordinarily
engaged, as yourself, or so,) I could not extend thus far.
- O Lord, sir! I resolve so.
- What new book have you there? What? "Go by Hieronymo."
- Ay, did you ever see it acted? is't not well penned?
- Well penned: I would fain see all the Poets of our time pen
such another play as that was; they'll prate and swagger, and keep
a stir of art and devices, when (by God's so) they are the most
shallow, pitiful fellows that live upon the face of the earth
- Indeed, here are a number of fine speeches in this book:
"Oh eyes, no eyes, but fountains fraught with tears;" there's a
conceit: Fountains fraught with tears. "Oh life, no life, but
lively form of death;" is't not excellent? "Oh world, no world,
but mass of public wrongs;" O God's me: "confused and filled with
murder and misdeeds." Is't not simply the best that ever you
Ha, how do you like it?
- 'Tis good.
- "To thee, the purest object to my sense,
The most refined essence heaven covers,
Send I these lines, wherein I do commence
The happy state of true deserving lovers.
If they prove rough, unpolish'd, harsh, and rude,
Haste made that waste; thus mildly I conclude."
- Nay, proceed, proceed, where's this? where's this?
- This, sir, a toy of mine own in my non-age: but when will
you come and see my study? good faith, I can shew you some very
good things I have done of late: that boot becomes your leg
passing well, sir, methinks.
- So, so, it's a fashion gentlemen use.
- Mass, sir, and now you speak of the fashion, Signior
Prospero's elder brother and I are fallen out exceedingly: this
other day I happened to enter into some discourse of a hanger,
which, I assure you, both for fashion and workmanship was most
beautiful and gentlemanlike; yet he condemned it for the most
pied and ridiculous that ever he saw.
- Signior Giuliano, was it not? the elder brother?
- Ay, sir, he.
- Hang him, rook! he! why, he has no more judgment than a
malt-horse. By St. George, I hold him the most peremptory absurd
clown (one a them) in Christendom: I protest to you (as I am a
gentleman and a soldier) I ne'er talk'd with the like of him: he
has not so much as a good word in his belly, all iron, iron, a
good commodity for a smith to make hob-nails on.
- Ay, and he thinks to carry it away with his manhood still
where he comes: he brags he will give me the bastinado, as I hear.
- How, the bastinado? how came he by that word, trow?
- Nay, indeed, he said cudgel me; I termed it so for the
- That may be, for I was sure it was none of his word: but
when, when said he so?
- Faith, yesterday, they say, a young gallant, a friend of
mine, told me so.
- By the life of Pharaoh, an't were my case now, I should send
him a challenge presently: the bastinado! come hither, you shall
challenge him; I'll shew you a trick or two, you shall kill him at
pleasure, the first stoccado if you will, by this air.
- Indeed, you have absolute knowledge in the mystery, I have
- Of whom? of whom, I pray?
- Faith, I have heard it spoken of divers, that you have very
rare skill, sir.
- By heaven, no, not I, no skill in the earth: some small
science, know my time, distance, or so, I have profest it more for
noblemen and gentlemen's use than mine own practise, I assure you.
Hostess, lend us another bed-staff here quickly: look you, sir,
exalt not your point above this state at any hand, and let your
poniard maintain your defence thus: give it the gentleman. So,
sir, come on, oh, twine your body more about, that you may come to
a more sweet comely gentlemanlike guard; so indifferent. Hollow
your body more, sir, thus: now stand fast on your left leg, note
your distance, keep your due proportion of time: oh, you disorder
your point most vilely.
- How is the bearing of it now, sir?
- Oh, out of measure ill, a well-experienced man would pass
upon you at pleasure.
- How mean you pass upon me?
- Why, thus, sir: make a thrust at me; come in upon my time;
control your point, and make a full career at the body: the
best-practis'd gentlemen of the time term it the passado, a most
desperate thrust, believe it.
- Well, come, sir.
- Why, you do not manage your weapons with that facility and
grace that you should do, I have no spirit to play with you, your
dearth of judgment makes you seem tedious.
- But one venue, sir.
- Fie! venue, most gross denomination as ever I heard: oh,
the stoccado while you live, Signior, not that. Come, put on
your cloak, and we'll go to some private place where you are
acquainted, some tavern or so, and we'll send for one of these
fencers, where he shall breathe you at my direction, and then I'll
teach you that trick; you shall kill him with it at the first if
you please: why, I'll learn you by the true judgment of the eye,
hand, and foot, to control any man's point in the world; Should
your adversary confront you with a pistol, 'twere nothing, you
should (by the same rule) control the bullet, most certain, by
Phoebus: unless it were hail-shot: what money have you about
- Faith, I have not past two shillings, or so.
- 'Tis somewhat with the least, but come, when we have done,
we'll call up Signior Prospero; perhaps we shall meet with
Coridon his brother there.
ACT I. SCENE IV.
ENTER THORELLO, GIULIANO, PISO.
- Piso, come hither: there lies a note within, upon my desk;
here, take my key: it's no matter neither, where's the boy?
- Within, sir, in the warehouse.
- Let him tell over that Spanish gold, and weigh it, and do you
see the delivery of those wares to Signior Bentivole: I'll be
there myself at the receipt of the money anon.
- Very good, sir.
- Brother, did you see that same fellow there?
- Ay, what of him?
- He is e'en the honestest, faithful servant that is this day
in Florence; (I speak a proud word now;) and one that I durst trust
my life into his hands, I have so strong opinion of his love, if
- God send me never such need: but you said you had somewhat
to tell me, what is't?
- Faith, brother, I am loath to utter it,
As fearing to abuse your patience,
But that I know your judgment more direct,
Able to sway the nearest of affection.
- Come, come, what needs this circumstance?
- I will not say what honour I ascribe
Unto your friendship, nor in what dear state
I hold your love; let my continued zeal,
The constant and religious regard,
That I have ever carried to your name,
My carriage with your sister, all contest,
How much I stand affected to your house.
- You are too tedious, come to the matter, come to
- Then (without further ceremony) thus.
My brother Prospero (I know not how)
Of late is much declined from what he was,
And greatly alter'd in his disposition.
When he came first to lodge here in my house,
Ne'er trust me, if I was not proud of him:
Methought he bare himself with such observance,
So true election and so fair a form:
And (what was chief) it shew'd not borrow'd in him,
But all he did became him as his own,
And seem'd as perfect, proper, and innate,
Unto the mind, as colour to the blood,
But now, his course is so irregular,
So loose affected, and deprived of grace,
And he himself withal so far fallen off
From his first place, that scarce no note remains,
To tell men's judgments where he lately stood;
He's grown a stranger to all due respect,
Forgetful of his friends, and not content
To stale himself in all societies,
He makes my house as common as a Mart,
A Theatre, a public receptacle
For giddy humour, and diseased riot,
And there, (as in a tavern, or a stews,)
He, and his wild associates, spend their hours,
In repetition of lascivious jests,
Swear, leap, and dance, and revel night by night,
Control my servants: and indeed what not?
- Faith, I know not what I should say to him: so God save me,
I am e'en at my wits' end, I have told him enough, one would think,
if that would serve: well, he knows what to trust to for me: let
him spend, and spend, and domineer till his heart ache: an he get
a penny more of me, I'll give him this ear.
- Nay, good brother, have patience.
- 'Sblood, he mads me, I could eat my very flesh for anger: I
marle you will not tell him of it, how he disquiets your house.
- O, there are divers reasons to dissuade me,
But would yourself vouchsafe to travail in it,
(Though but with plain and easy circumstance,)
It would both come much better to his sense,
And savour less of grief and discontent.
You are his elder brother, and that title
Confirms and warrants your authority:
Which (seconded by your aspect) will breed
A kind of duty in him, and regard.
Whereas, if I should intimate the least,
It would but add contempt to his neglect,
Heap worse on ill, rear a huge pile of hate,
That in the building would come tottering down,
And in her ruins bury all our love.
Nay, more than this, brother; if I should speak,
He would be ready in the heat of passion,
To fill the ears of his familiars,
With oft reporting to them, what disgrace
And gross disparagement I had proposed him.
And then would they straight back him in opinion,
Make some loose comment upon every word,
And out of their distracted phantasies,
Contrive some slander, that should dwell with me.
And what would that be, think you? marry, this,
They would give out, (because my wife is fair,
Myself but lately married, and my sister
Here sojourning a virgin in my house,)
That I were jealous: nay, as sure as death,
Thus they would say: and how that I had wrong'd
My brother purposely, thereby to find
An apt pretext to banish them my house.
- Mass, perhaps so.
- Brother, they would, believe it: so should I
(Like one of these penurious quack-salvers)
But try experiments upon myself,
Open the gates unto mine own disgrace,
Lend bare-ribb'd envy opportunity
To stab my reputation, and good name.
[ENTER BOBA. AND MAT.]
- I will speak to him.
- Speak to him? away, by the life of Pharaoh, you shall not,
you shall not do him that grace: the time of day to you,
gentlemen: is Signior Prospero stirring?
- How then? what should he do?
- Signior Thorello, is he within, sir?
- He came not to his lodging to-night, sir, I assure you.
- Why, do you hear? you.
- This gentleman hath satisfied me, I'll talk to no Scavenger.
- How, Scavenger? stay, sir, stay.
- Nay, brother Giuliano.
- 'Sblood, stand you away, an you love me.
- You shall not follow him now, I pray you,
Good faith, you shall not.
- Ha! Scavenger! well, go to, I say little, but, by this good
day, (God forgive me I should swear) if I put it up so, say I am
the rankest -- that ever pist. 'Sblood, an I swallow this, I'll
ne'er draw my sword in the sight of man again while I live; I'll
sit in a barn with Madge-owlet first. Scavenger! 'Heart, and I'll
go near to fill that huge tumbrel slop of yours with somewhat, as I
have good luck, your Garagantua breech cannot carry it away so.
- Oh, do not fret yourself thus, never think on't.
- These are my brother's consorts, these, these are his
Comrades, his walking mates, he's a gallant, a Cavaliero too, right
hangman cut. God let me not live, an I could not find in my heart
to swinge the whole nest of them, one after another, and begin with
him first, I am grieved it should be said he is my brother, and
take these courses, well, he shall hear on't, and that tightly too,
an I live, i'faith.
- But, brother, let your apprehension (then)
Run in an easy current, not transported
With heady rashness, or devouring choler,
And rather carry a persuading spirit,
Whose powers will pierce more gently; and allure
Th' imperfect thoughts you labour to reclaim,
To a more sudden and resolved assent.
- Ay, ay, let me alone for that, I warrant you.
- How now! oh, the bell rings to breakfast.
Brother Giuliano, I pray you go in and bear my wife company:
I'll but give order to my servants for the dispatch of some
business, and come to you presently.
[EXIT GIU., ENTER COB.]
What, Cob! our maids will have you by the back (i'faith)
For coming so late this morning.
- Perhaps so, sir, take heed somebody have not them
by the belly for walking so late in the evening.
- Now (in good faith) my mind is somewhat eased,
Though not reposed in that security
As I could wish; well, I must be content,
Howe'er I set a face on't to the world,
Would I had lost this finger at a vent,
So Prospero had ne'er lodged in my house,
Why't cannot be, where there is such resort
Of wanton gallants, and young revellers,
That any woman should be honest long.
Is't like, that factious beauty will preserve
The sovereign state of chastity unscarr'd,
When such strong motives muster, and make head
Against her single peace? no, no: beware
When mutual pleasure sways the appetite,
And spirits of one kind and quality,
Do meet to parley in the pride of blood.
Well, (to be plain) if I but thought the time
Had answer'd their affections, all the world
Should not persuade me, but I were a cuckold:
Marry, I hope they have not got that start.
For opportunity hath balk'd them yet,
And shall do still, while I have eyes and ears
To attend the imposition of my heart:
My presence shall be as an iron bar,
'Twixt the conspiring motions of desire,
Yea, every look or glance mine eye objects,
Shall check occasion, as one doth his slave,
When he forgets the limits of prescription.
[ENTER BIANCHA WITH HESPERIDA.]
- Sister Hesperida, I pray you fetch down the rose-water
above in the closet: Sweet-heart, will you come in to breakfast?
- An she have overheard me now?
- I pray thee, (good Muss) we stay for you.
- By Christ, I would not for a thousand crowns.
- What ail you, sweet-heart? are you not well? speak, good
- Troth, my head aches extremely on a sudden.
- Oh Jesu!
- How now! what!
- Good Lord, how it burns! Muss, keep you warm; good truth,
it is this new disease, there's a number are troubled withall for
God's sake, sweet-heart, come in out of the air.
- How simple, and how subtle are her answers!
A new disease, and many troubled with it.
Why true, she heard me all the world to nothing.
- I pray thee, good sweet-heart, come in; the air will do you
harm, in troth.
- I'll come to you presently, it will away, I hope.
- Pray God it do.
- A new disease! I know not, new or old,
But it may well be call'd poor mortals' Plague;
For like a pestilence it doth infect
The houses of the brain: first it begins
Solely to work upon the phantasy,
Filling her seat with such pestiferous air,
As soon corrupts the judgment, and from thence,
Sends like contagion to the memory,
Still each of other catching the infection,
Which as a searching vapour spreads itself
Confusedly through every sensive part,
Till not a thought or motion in the mind
Be free from the black poison of suspect.
Ah, but what error is it to know this,
And want the free election of the soul
In such extremes! well, I will once more strive
(Even in despite of hell) myself to be,
And shake this fever off that thus shakes me.
ACT II. SCENE I.
ENTER MUSCO, DISGUISED LIKE A SOLDIER.
- 'Sblood, I cannot choose but laugh to see myself translated
thus, from a poor creature to a creator; for now must I create an
intolerable sort of lies, or else my profession loses his grace,
and yet the lie to a man of my coat is as ominous as the Fico, oh,
sir, it holds for good policy to have that outwardly in vilest
estimation, that inwardly is most dear to us: So much for my
borrowed shape. Well, the troth is, my master intends to follow
his son dry-foot to Florence, this morning: now I, knowing of this
conspiracy, and the rather to insinuate with my young master, (for
so must we that are blue waiters, or men of service do, or else
perhaps we may wear motley at the year's end, and who wears motley
you know:) I have got me afore in this disguise, determining here
to lie in ambuscado, and intercept him in the midway; if I can but
get his cloak, his purse, his hat, nay, any thing so I can stay his
journey, Rex Regum, I am made for ever, i'faith: well, now must
I practise to get the true garb of one of these Lance-knights; my
arm here, and my -- God's so, young master and his cousin.
LOR. JU. So, sir, and how then?
[ENTER LOR. JU. AND STEP.]
- God's foot, I have lost my purse, I think.
LOR. JU. How? lost your purse? where? when had you it?
- I cannot tell, stay.
- 'Slid, I am afraid they will know me, would I could get by
LOR. JU. What! have you it?
- No, I think I was bewitched, I.
LOR. JU. Nay, do not weep, a pox on it, hang it, let it go.
- Oh, it's here; nay, an it had been lost, I had not cared but
for a jet ring Marina sent me.
LOR. JU. A jet ring! oh, the poesie, the poesie!
- Fine, i'faith: "Though fancy sleep, my love is deep":
meaning that though I did not fancy her, yet she loved me dearly.
LOR. JU. Most excellent.
- And then I sent her another, and my poesie was:
"The deeper the sweeter, I'll be judged by Saint Peter."
LOR. JU. How, by St. Peter? I do not conceive that.
- Marry, St. Peter to make up the metre.
LOR JU. Well, you are beholding to that Saint, he help'd you at
your need; thank him, thank him.
- I will venture, come what will: Gentlemen, please you change
a few crowns for a very excellent good blade here; I am a poor
gentleman, a soldier, one that (in the better state of my fortunes)
scorned so mean a refuge, but now it's the humour of necessity to
have it so: you seem to be, gentlemen, well affected to martial
men, else I should rather die with silence, than live with shame:
howe'er, vouchsafe to remember it is my want speaks, not myself:
this condition agrees not with my spirit.
LOR. JU. Where hast thou served?
- May it please you, Signior, in all the provinces of Bohemia,
Hungaria, Dalmatia, Poland, where not? I have been a poor servitor
by sea and land, any time this xiiij. years, and follow'd the
fortunes of the best Commanders in Christendom. I was twice shot
at the taking of Aleppo, once at the relief of Vienna; I have been
at America in the galleys thrice, where I was most dangerously shot
in the head, through both the thighs, and yet, being thus maim'd,
I am void of maintenance, nothing left me but my scars, the noted
marks of my resolution.
- How will you sell this rapier, friend?
- Faith, Signior, I refer it to your own judgment; you are a
gentleman, give me what you please.
- True, I am a gentleman, I know that; but what though, I pray
you say, what would you ask?
- I assure you the blade may become the side of the best prince
LOR. JU. Ay, with a velvet scabbard.
- Nay, an't be mine it shall have a velvet scabbard, that is
flat, I'd not wear it as 'tis an you would give me an angel.
- At your pleasure, Signior, nay, it's a most pure Toledo.
- I had rather it were a Spaniard: but tell me, what shall I
give you for it? an it had a silver hilt --
LOR. JU. Come, come, you shall not buy it; hold, there's a
shilling, friend, take thy rapier.
- Why, but I will buy it now, because you say so: what, shall
I go without a rapier?
LOR. JU. You may buy one in the city.
- Tut, I'll buy this, so I will; tell me your lowest price.
LOR. JU. You shall not, I say.
- By God's lid, but I will, though I give more than 'tis
LOR. JU. Come away, you are a fool.
- Friend, I'll have it for that word: follow me.
- At your service, Signior.
ACT II. SCENE II.
ENTER LORENZO SENIOR.
LOR. SE. My labouring spirit being late opprest
With my son's folly, can embrace no rest
Till it hath plotted by advice and skill,
How to reduce him from affected will
To reason's manage; which while I intend,
My troubled soul begins to apprehend
A farther secret, and to meditate
Upon the difference of man's estate:
Where is decipher'd to true judgment's eye
A deep, conceal'd, and precious mystery.
Yet can I not but worthily admire
At nature's art: who (when she did inspire
This heat of life) placed Reason (as a king)
Here in the head, to have the marshalling
Of our affections: and with sovereignty
To sway the state of our weak empery.
But as in divers commonwealths we see,
The form of government to disagree:
Even so in man, who searcheth soon shall find
As much or more variety of mind.
Some men's affections like a sullen wife,
Is with her husband reason still at strife.
Others (like proud arch-traitors that rebel
Against their sovereign) practise to expel
Their liege Lord Reason, and not shame to tread
Upon his holy and anointed head.
But as that land or nation best doth thrive,
Which to smooth-fronted peace is most proclive,
So doth that mind, whose fair affections ranged
By reason's rules, stand constant and unchanged,
Else, if the power of reason be not such,
Why do we attribute to him so much?
Or why are we obsequious to his law,
If he want spirit our affects to awe?
Oh no, I argue weakly, he is strong,
Albeit my son have done him too much wrong.
- My master: nay, faith, have at you: I am flesh'd now
I have sped so well: Gentleman, I beseech you respect the
estate of a poor soldier; I am ashamed of this base course of
life, (God's my comfort) but extremity provokes me to't; what
LOR. SE. I have not for you now.
- By the faith I bear unto God, gentleman, it is no ordinary
custom, but only to preserve manhood. I protest to you, a man I
have been, a man I may be, by your sweet bounty.
LOR. SE. I pray thee, good friend, be satisfied.
- Good Signior: by Jesu, you may do the part of a kind
gentleman, in lending a poor soldier the price of two cans of beer,
a matter of small value, the King of heaven shall pay you, and I
shall rest thankful: sweet Signior --
LOR. SE. Nay, an you be so importunate --
- O Lord, sir, need will have his course: I was not made to
this vile use; well, the edge of the enemy could not have abated me
so much: it's hard when a man hath served in his Prince's cause
and be thus. Signior, let me derive a small piece of silver from
you, it shall not be given in the course of time, by this good
ground, I was fain to pawn my rapier last night for a poor supper,
I am a Pagan else: sweet Signior --
LOR. SE. Believe me, I am rapt with admiration,
To think a man of thy exterior presence
Should (in the constitution of the mind)
Be so degenerate, infirm, and base.
Art thou a man? and sham'st thou not to beg?
To practise such a servile kind of life?
Why, were thy education ne'er so mean,
Having thy limbs: a thousand fairer courses
Offer themselves to thy election.
Nay, there the wars might still supply thy wants,
Or service of some virtuous gentleman,
Or honest labour; nay, what can I name,
But would become thee better than to beg?
But men of your condition feed on sloth,
As doth the Scarab on the dung she breeds in,
Not caring how the temper of your spirits
Is eaten with the rust of idleness.
Now, afore God, whate'er he be that should
Relieve a person of thy quality,
While you insist in this loose desperate course,
I would esteem the sin not thine, but his.
- Faith, Signior, I would gladly find some other course,
LOR. SE. Ay, you'd gladly find it, but you will not seek it.
- Alas, sir, where should a man seek? in the wars, there's
no ascent by desert in these days, but -- and for service,
would it were as soon purchased as wish'd for, (God's my
comfort) I know what I would say.
LOR. SE. What's thy name?
- Please you: Portensio.
LOR. SE. Portensio?
Say that a man should entertain thee now,
Would thou be honest, humble, just, and true?
- Signior: by the place and honour of a soldier --
LOR. SE. Nay, nay, I like not these affected oaths;
Speak plainly, man: what thinkst thou of my words?
- Nothing, Signior, but wish my fortunes were as happy as
my service should be honest.
LOR. SE. Well, follow me, I'll prove thee, if thy deeds
Will carry a proportion to thy words.
[EXIT LOR. SE.]
- Yes, sir, straight, I'll but garter my hose; oh, that
my belly were hoop'd now, for I am ready to burst with
- 'Slid, was there ever seen a fox in years to
betray himself thus? now shall I be possest of all his
determinations, and consequently my young master; well, he
is resolved to prove my honesty: faith, and I am resolved
to prove his patience: oh, I shall abuse him intolerably:
this small piece of service will bring him clean out of
love with the soldier for ever. It's no matter, let the
world think me a bad counterfeit, if I cannot give him the
slip at an instant; why, this is better than to have stayed
his journey by half: well, I'll follow him. Oh, how I long
to be employed.
ACT II. SCENE III.
ENTER PROSPERO, BOBADILLA, AND MATHEO.
- Yes, faith, sir, we were at your lodging to seek
- Oh, I came not there to-night.
- Your brother delivered us as much.
- Who, Giuliano?
- Giuliano. Signior Prospero, I know not in what kind
you value me, but let me tell you this: as sure as God, I
do hold it so much out of mine honour and reputation, if I
should but cast the least regard upon such a dunghill of
flesh; I protest to you (as I have a soul to be saved) I
ne'er saw any gentlemanlike part in him: an there were no
more men living upon the face of the earth, I should not
fancy him, by Phoebus.
- Troth, nor I, he is of a rustical cut, I know not how:
he doth not carry himself like a gentleman.
- Oh, Signior Matheo, that's a grace peculiar but to a
few; "quos aequus amavit Jupiter."
- I understand you, sir.
[ENTER LOR. JU. AND STEP.]
- No question you do, sir: Lorenzo! now on my soul,
welcome; how dost thou, sweet rascal? my Genius! 'Sblood,
I shall love Apollo and the mad Thespian girls the better
while I live for this; my dear villain, now I see there's
some spirit in thee: Sirrah, these be they two I writ to
thee of, nay, what a drowsy humour is this now? why dost
thou not speak?
LOR. JU. Oh, you are a fine gallant, you sent me a rare
- Why, was't not rare?
LOR. JU. Yes, I'll be sworn I was ne'er guilty of reading
the like, match it in all Pliny's familiar Epistles, and
I'll have my judgment burn'd in the ear for a rogue, make
much of thy vein, for it is inimitable. But I marle what
camel it was, that had the carriage of it? for doubtless
he was no ordinary beast that brought it.
LOR. JU. Why, sayest thou? why, dost thou think that any
reasonable creature, especially in the morning, (the sober
time of the day too) would have ta'en my father for me?
- 'Sblood, you jest, I hope?
LOR. JU. Indeed, the best use we can turn it to, is
to make a jest on't now: but I'll assure you, my father
had the proving of your copy some hour before I saw it.
- What a dull slave was this! But, sirrah, what
said he to it, i'faith?
LOR. JU. Nay, I know not what he said. But I have a
shrewd guess what he thought.
- What? what?
LOR. JU. Marry, that thou are a damn'd dissolute villain,
And I some grain or two better, in keeping thee company.
- Tut, that thought is like the moon in the last
quarter, 'twill change shortly: but, sirrah, I pray thee
be acquainted with my two Zanies here, thou wilt take
exceeding pleasure in them if thou hear'st them once, but
what strange piece of silence is this? the sign of the
LOR. JU. Oh, sir, a kinsman of mine, one that may
make our music the fuller, an he please, he hath his
- Oh, what is't? what is't?
LOR. JU. Nay, I'll neither do thy judgment nor his
folly that wrong, as to prepare thy apprehension: I'll
leave him to the mercy of the time, if you can take him:
- Well, Signior Bobadilla, Signior Matheo: I pray
you know this gentleman here, he is a friend of mine, and
one that will well deserve your affection, I know not
your name, Signior, but I shall be glad of any good
occasion to be more familiar with you.
- My name is Signior Stephano, sir, I am this
gentleman's cousin, sir, his father is mine uncle; sir,
I am somewhat melancholy, but you shall command me, sir,
in whatsoever is incident to a gentleman.
- Signior, I must tell you this, I am no general
man, embrace it as a most high favour, for (by the
host of Egypt) but that I conceive you to be a gentleman
of some parts, I love few words: you have wit: imagine.
- Ay, truly, sir, I am mightily given to melancholy.
- O Lord, sir, it's your only best humour, sir,
your true melancholy breeds your perfect fine wit, sir:
I am melancholy myself divers times, sir, and then do I
no more but take your pen and paper presently, and write
you your half score or your dozen of sonnets at a sitting.
LOR. JU. Mass, then he utters them by the gross.
- Truly, sir, and I love such things out of measure.
LOR. JU. I'faith, as well as in measure.
- Why, I pray you, Signior, make use of my study,
it's at your service.
- I thank you, sir, I shall be bold, I warrant
you, have you a close stool there?
- Faith, sir, I have some papers there, toys of
mine own doing at idle hours, that you'll say there's
some sparks of wit in them, when you shall see them.
- Would they were kindled once, and a good fire
made, I might see self-love burn'd for her heresy.
- Cousin, is it well? am I melancholy enough?
LOR. JU. Oh, ay, excellent.
- Signior Bobadilla, why muse you so?
LOR. JU. He is melancholy too.
- Faith, sir, I was thinking of a most honourable
piece of service was perform'd to-morrow, being St.
Mark's day, shall be some ten years.
LOR. JU. In what place was that service, I pray you,
- Why, at the beleaguering of Ghibelletto, where,
in less than two hours, seven hundred resolute gentlemen,
as any were in Europe, lost their lives upon the breach:
I'll tell you, gentlemen, it was the first, but the best
leaguer that ever I beheld with these eyes, except the
taking in of Tortosa last year by the Genoways, but that
(of all other) was the most fatal and dangerous exploit
that ever I was ranged in, since I first bore arms before
the face of the enemy, as I am a gentleman and a soldier.
- So, I had as lief as an angel I could swear as
well as that gentleman.
LOR. JU. Then you were a servitor at both, it seems.
- O Lord, sir: by Phaeton, I was the first man that
entered the breach, and had I not effected it with
resolution, I had been slain if I had had a million of
LOR. JU. Indeed, sir?
- Nay, an you heard him discourse you would
say so: how like you him?
- I assure you (upon my salvation) 'tis true,
and yourself shall confess.
- You must bring him to the rack first.
- Observe me judicially, sweet Signior: they had
planted me a demi-culverin just in the mouth of the
breach; now, sir, (as we were to ascend), their master
gunner (a man of no mean skill and courage, you must
think,) confronts me with his linstock ready to give
fire; I spying his intendment, discharged my petronel
in his bosom, and with this instrument, my poor rapier,
ran violently upon the Moors that guarded the ordnance,
and put them pell-mell to the sword.
- To the sword? to the rapier, Signior.
LOR. JU. Oh, it was a good figure observed, sir: but
did you all this, Signior, without hurting your blade?
- Without any impeach on the earth: you shall
perceive, sir, it is the most fortunate weapon that
ever rid on a poor gentleman's thigh: shall I tell you,
sir? you talk of Morglay, Excalibur, Durindana, or so:
tut, I lend no credit to that is reported of them, I
know the virtue of mine own, and therefore I dare the
boldlier maintain it.
- I marle whether it be a Toledo or no?
- A most perfect Toledo, I assure you, Signior.
- I have a countryman of his here.
- Pray you let's see, sir: yes, faith, it is.
- This a Toledo? pish!
- Why do you pish, Signior?
- A Fleming, by Phoebus! I'll buy them for a
guilder a piece, an I'll have a thousand of them.
LOR. JU. How say you, cousin? I told you thus much.
- Where bought you it, Signior?
- Of a scurvy rogue soldier, a pox of God on
him, he swore it was a Toledo.
- A provant rapier, no better.
- Mass, I think it be indeed.
LOR. JU. Tut, now it's too late to look on it, put it
up, put it up.
- Well, I will not put it up, but by God's foot,
an ever I meet him --
- Oh, it is past remedy now, sir, you must have
- Whoreson, coney-catching rascal; oh, I could
eat the very hilts for anger.
LOR. JU. A sign you have a good ostrich stomach, cousin.
- A stomach? would I had him here, you should see
an I had a stomach.
- It's better as 'tis: come, gentlemen, shall we go?
LOR. JU. A miracle, cousin, look here, look here.
- Oh, God's lid, by your leave, do you know me, sir?
- Ay, sir, I know you by sight.
- You sold me a rapier, did you not?
- Yes, marry did I, sir.
- You said it was a Toledo, ha?
- True, I did so.
- But it is none.
- No, sir, I confess it, it is none.
- Gentlemen, bear witness, he has confest it.
By God's lid, an you had not confest it --
LOR. JU. Oh, cousin, forbear, forbear.
- Nay, I have done, cousin.
- Why, you have done like a gentleman, he has
confest it, what would you more?
LOR. JU. Sirrah, how dost thou like him?
- Oh, it's a precious good fool, make much on him:
I can compare him to nothing more happily than a barber's
virginals; for every one may play upon him.
- Gentleman, shall I intreat a word with you?
LOR. JU. With all my heart, sir, you have not another
Toledo to sell, have you?
- You are pleasant, your name is Signior Lorenzo,
as I take it?
LOR. JU. You are in the right: 'Sblood, he means to
catechise me, I think.
- No, sir, I leave that to the Curate, I am none of
LOR. JU. And yet of as bare a coat; well, say, sir.
- Faith, Signior, I am but servant to God Mars
extraordinary, and indeed (this brass varnish being
washed off, and three or four other tricks sublated)
I appear yours in reversion, after the decease of
your good father, Musco.
LOR. JU. Musco, 'sblood, what wind hath blown thee
hither in this shape?
- Your easterly wind, sir, the same that blew
your father hither.
LOR. JU. My father?
- Nay, never start, it's true, he is come to town
of purpose to seek you.
LOR. JU. Sirrah Prospero, what shall we do, sirrah?
my father is come to the city.
- Thy father: where is he?
- At a gentleman's house yonder by St. Anthony's,
where he but stays my return; and then --
- Who's this? Musco?
- The same, sir.
- Why, how com'st thou transmuted thus?
- Faith, a device, a device, nay, for the love of God,
stand not here, gentlemen, house yourselves, and I'll tell
LOR. JU. But art thou sure he will stay thy return?
- Do I live, sir? what a question is that!
- Well, we'll prorogue his expectation a little:
Musco, thou shalt go with us: Come on, gentlemen: nay,
I pray thee, (good rascal) droop not, 'sheart, an our
wits be so gouty, that one old plodding brain can outstrip
us all. Lord, I beseech thee, may they lie and starve
in some miserable spittle, where they may never see the
face of any true spirit again, but be perpetually haunted
with some church-yard hobgoblin in seculo seculorum.
- Amen, Amen.
ACT III. SCENE I.
ENTER THORELLO, AND PISO.
- He will expect you, sir, within this half hour.
- Why, what's a clock?
- New stricken ten.
- Hath he the money ready, can you tell?
- Yes, sir, Baptista brought it yesternight.
- Oh, that's well: fetch me my cloak.
Stay, let me see; an hour to go and come,
Ay, that will be the least: and then 'twill be
An hour before I can dispatch with him;
Or very near: well, I will say two hours;
Two hours? ha! things never dreamt of yet
May be contrived, ay, and effected too,
In two hours' absence: well, I will not go.
Two hours; no, fleering opportunity,
I will not give your treachery that scope.
Who will not judge him worthy to be robb'd,
That sets his doors wide open to a thief,
And shews the felon where his treasure lies?
Again, what earthy spirit but will attempt
To taste the fruit of beauty's golden tree,
When leaden sleep seals up the dragon's eyes?
Oh, beauty is a project of some power,
Chiefly when opportunity attends her:
She will infuse true motion in a stone,
Put glowing fire in an icy soul,
Stuff peasants' bosoms with proud Caesar's spleen,
Pour rich device into an empty brain:
Bring youth to folly's gate: there train him in,
And after all, extenuate his sin.
Well, I will not go, I am resolved for that.
Go, carry it again: yet stay: yet do too,
I will defer it till some other time.
- Sir, Signior Platano will meet you there with
- That's true: by Jesu, I had clean forgot it.
I must go, what's a clock?
- Past ten, sir.
- 'Heart, then will Prospero presently be here too,
With one or other of his loose consorts.
I am a Jew if I know what to say,
What course to take, or which way to resolve.
My brain (methinks) is like an hour-glass,
And my imaginations like the sands
Run dribbling forth to fill the mouth of time,
Still changed with turning in the ventricle.
What were I best to do? it shall be so.
Nay, I dare build upon his secrecy. Piso.
- Yet now I have bethought me too, I will not.
Is Cob within?
- I think he be, sir.
- But he'll prate too, there's no talk of him.
No, there were no course upon the earth to this,
If I durst trust him; tut, I were secure,
But there's the question now, if he should prove,
Rimarum plenus, then, 'sblood, I were rook'd.
The state that he hath stood in till this present
Doth promise no such change: what should I fear then?
Well, come what will, I'll tempt my fortune once.
Piso, thou mayest deceive me, but I think thou lovest
- Sir, if a servant's zeal and humble duty may
be term'd love, you are possest of it.
- I have a matter to impart to thee, but thou must
be secret, Piso.
- Sir, for that --
- Nay, hear me, man; think I esteem thee well,
To let thee in thus to my private thoughts;
Piso, it is a thing sits nearer to my crest,
Than thou art 'ware of; if thou should'st reveal it --
- Reveal it, sir?
- Nay, I do not think thou would'st, but if thou
- Sir, then I were a villain:
Disclaim in me for ever if I do.
- He will not swear: he has some meaning, sure,
Else (being urged so much) how should he choose,
But lend an oath to all this protestation?
He is no puritan, that I am certain of.
What should I think of it? urge him again,
And in some other form: I will do so.
Well, Piso, thou has sworn not to disclose; ay, you
- Not yet, sir, but I will, so please you.
- Nay, I dare take thy word.
But if thou wilt swear, do as you think good,
I am resolved without such circumstance.
- By my soul's safety, sir, I here protest,
My tongue shall ne'er take knowledge of a word
Deliver'd me in compass of your trust.
- Enough, enough, these ceremonies need not,
I know thy faith to be as firm as brass.
Piso, come hither: nay, we must be close
In managing these actions: So it is,
(Now he has sworn I dare the safelier speak;)
I have of late by divers observations --
But, whether his oath be lawful, yea, or no? ha!
I will ask counsel ere I do proceed:
Piso, it will be now too long to stay,
We'll spy some fitter time soon, or to-morrow.
- At your pleasure, sir.
- I pray you search the books 'gainst I return
For the receipts 'twixt me and Platano.
- I will, sir.
- And hear you: if my brother Prospero
Chance to bring hither any gentlemen
Ere I come back, let one straight bring me word.
- Very well, sir.
- Forget it not, nor be not you out of the way.
- I will not, sir.
- Or whether he come or no, if any other,
Stranger or else: fail not to send me word.
- Yes, sir.
- Have care, I pray you, and remember it.
- I warrant you, sir.
- But, Piso, this is not the secret I told thee of.
- No, sir, I suppose so.
- Nay, believe me, it is not.
- I do believe you, sir.
- By heaven it is not, that's enough.
Marry, I would not thou should'st utter it to any
Yet I care not.
Well, I must hence: Piso, conceive thus much,
No ordinary person could have drawn
So deep a secret from me; I mean not this,
But that I have to tell thee: this is nothing, this.
Piso, remember, silence, buried here:
No greater hell than to be slave to fear.
- Piso, remember, silence, buried here:
When should this flow of passion (trow) take head? ha!
Faith, I'll dream no longer of this running humour,
For fear I sink, the violence of the stream
Already hath transported me so far
That I can feel no ground at all: but soft,
Oh, it's our water-bearer: somewhat has crost him now.
- Fasting days: what tell you me of your fasting days?
would they were all on a light fire for me: they say the
world shall be consumed with fire and brimstone in the
latter day: but I would we had these ember weeks and these
villainous Fridays burnt in the mean time, and then --
- Why, how now, Cob! what moves thee to this choler, ha?
- Collar, sir? 'swounds, I scorn your collar, I, sir,
am no collier's horse, sir, never ride me with your collar,
an you do, I'll shew you a jade's trick.
- Oh, you'll slip your head out of the collar: why, Cob,
you mistake me.
- Nay, I have my rheum, and I be angry as well as
- Thy rheum? thy humour, man, thou mistakest.
- Humour? mack, I think it be so indeed: what is
this humour? it's some rare thing, I warrant.
- Marry, I'll tell thee what it is (as 'tis generally
received in these days): it is a monster bred in a man by
self-love and affectation, and fed by folly.
- How? must it be fed?
- Oh ay, humour is nothing if it be not fed, why,
didst thou never hear of that? it's a common phrase,
"Feed my humour."
- I'll none on it: humour, avaunt, I know you not,
be gone. Let who will make hungry meals for you, it shall
not be I: Feed you, quoth he? 'sblood, I have much ado to
feed myself, especially on these lean rascal days too,
an't had been any other day but a fasting day: a plague on
them all for me: by this light, one might have done God
good service and have drown'd them all in the flood two or
three hundred thousand years ago, oh, I do stomach them
hugely: I have a maw now, an't were for Sir Bevis's horse.
- Nay, but I pray thee, Cob, what makes thee so out of
love with fasting days?
- Marry, that that will make any man out of love with
them, I think: their bad conditions, an you will needs know:
First, they are of a Flemish breed, I am sure on't, for
they raven up more butter than all the days of the week
beside: next, they stink of fish miserably: thirdly, they'll
keep a man devoutly hungry all day, and at night send him
supperless to bed.
- Indeed, these are faults, Cob.
- Nay, an this were all, 'twere something, but they
are the only known enemies to my generation. A fasting
day no sooner comes, but my lineage goes to rack, poor
Cobs, they smoke for it, they melt in passion, and your
maids too know this, and yet would have me turn Hannibal,
and eat my own fish and blood: my princely coz,
[PULLS OUT A RED HERRING.] fear nothing;
I have not the heart to devour you, an I might be made
as rich as Golias: oh, that I had room for my tears, I
could weep salt water enough now to preserve the lives
of ten thousand of my kin: but I may curse none but
these filthy Almanacks, for an 'twere not for them, these
days of persecution would ne'er be known. I'll be hang'd
an some fishmonger's son do not make on them, and puts in
more fasting days than he should do, because he would
utter his father's dried stockfish.
- 'Soul, peace, thou'lt be beaten like a stockfish
else: here is Signior Matheo.
[ENTER MATHEO, PROSPERO, LORENZO JUNIOR, BOBADILLA,
Now must I look out for a messenger to my master.
[EXEUNT COB AND PISO.]
ACT III. SCENE II.
- Beshrew me, but it was an absolute good jest, and
exceedingly well carried.
LOR. JU. Ay, and our ignorance maintain'd it as well,
did it not?
- Yes, faith, but was't possible thou should'st not
LOR. JU. 'Fore God, not I, an I might have been join'd
patten with one of the nine worthies for knowing him.
'Sblood, man, he had so writhen himself into the habit of
one of your poor Disparview's here, your decayed, ruinous,
worm-eaten gentlemen of the round: such as have vowed to
sit on the skirts of the city, let your Provost and his
half dozen of halberdiers do what they can; and have
translated begging out of the old hackney pace, to a fine
easy amble, and made it run as smooth off the tongue as a
shove-groat shilling, into the likeness of one of these
lean Pirgo's, had he moulded himself so perfectly, observing
every trick of their action, as varying the accent: swearing
with an emphasis. Indeed, all with so special and exquisite
a grace, that (hadst thou seen him) thou would'st have sworn
he might have been the Tamberlane, or the Agamemnon on the
- Why, Musco, who would have thought thou hadst been
such a gallant?
LOR. JU. I cannot tell, but (unless a man had juggled
begging all his life time, and been a weaver of phrases
from his infancy, for the apparelling of it) I think
the world cannot produce his rival.
- Where got'st thou this coat, I marle?
- Faith, sir, I had it of one of the devil's near
kinsmen, a broker.
- That cannot be, if the proverb hold, a crafty
knave needs no broker.
- True, sir, but I need a broker, ergo, no crafty
- Well put off, well put off.
LOR. JU. Tut, he has more of these shifts.
- And yet where I have one, the broker has ten, sir.
- Francisco, Martino, ne'er a one to be found now:
what a spite's this?
- How now, Piso? is my brother within?
- No, sir, my master went forth e'en now, but Signior
Giuliano is within. Cob, what, Cob! Is he gone too?
- Whither went thy master? Piso, canst thou tell?
- I know not, to Doctor Clement's, I think, sir. Cob.
LOR. JU. Doctor Clement, what's he? I have heard much
speech of him.
- Why, dost thou not know him? he is the Gonfaloniere
of the state here, an excellent rare civilian, and a great
scholar, but the only mad merry old fellow in Europe: I
shewed him you the other day.
LOR. JU. Oh, I remember him now; Good faith, and he hath
a very strange presence, methinks, it shews as if he stood
out of the rank from other men. I have heard many of his
jests in Padua; they say he will commit a man for taking
the wall of his horse.
- Ay, or wearing his cloak on one shoulder, or any
thing indeed, if it come in the way of his humour.
- Gaspar, Martino, Cob: 'Sheart, where should they be,
- Signior Thorello's man, I pray thee vouchsafe
us the lighting of this match.
- A pox on your match, no time but now to vouchsafe?
- Body of me: here's the remainder of seven pound,
since yesterday was sevennight. It's your right Trinidado:
did you never take any, signior?
- No, truly, sir; but I'll learn to take it now, since
you commend it so.
- Signior, believe me (upon my relation) for what I
tell you, the world shall not improve. I have been in the
Indies, (where this herb grows) where neither myself nor a
dozen gentlemen more (of my knowledge) have received the
taste of any other nutriment in the world, for the space
of one and twenty weeks, but tobacco only. Therefore it
cannot be but 'tis most divine. Further, take it in the
nature, in the true kind, so, it makes an antidote, that had
you taken the most deadly poisonous simple in all Florence it
should expel it, and clarify you with as much ease as I speak.
And for your green wound, your Balsamum, and your -- are all
mere gulleries, and trash to it, especially your Trinidado:
your Nicotian is good too: I could say what I know of the
virtue of it, for the exposing of rheums, raw humours,
crudities, obstructions, with a thousand of this kind; but I
profess myself no quack-salver. Only thus much; by Hercules,
I do hold it, and will affirm it (before any Prince in
Europe) to be the most sovereign and precious herb that ever
the earth tendered to the use of man.
LOR. JU. Oh, this speech would have done rare in an
[ENTER PISO AND COB.]
- Ay; close by Saint Anthony's: Doctor Clement's.
- Oh, oh.
- Where's the match I gave thee?
- 'Sblood, would his match, and he, and pipe, and
all, were at Sancto Domingo.
- By God's deins, I marle what pleasure or felicity
they have in taking this roguish tobacco; it's good for
nothing but to choke a man, and fill him full of smoke
and embers: there were four died out of one house last
week with taking of it, and two more the bell went for
yesternight, one of them (they say) will ne'er escape it,
he voided a bushel of soot yesterday, upward and downward.
By the stocks, an there were no wiser men than I, I'd
have it present death, man or woman, that should but deal
with a tobacco pipe; why, it will stifle them all in the
end as many as use it; it's little better than rat's-bane.
- Oh, good Signior; hold, hold.
- You base cullion, you.
- Sir, here's your match; come, thou must needs be
- Nay, he will not meddle with his match, I warrant
you; well, it shall be a dear beating, an I live.
- Do you prate?
LOR. JU. Nay, good Signior, will you regard the humour
of a fool? Away, knave.
- Piso, get him away.
[EXIT PISO AND COB.]
- A whoreson filthy slave, a turd, an excrement.
Body of Caesar, but that I scorn to let forth so mean a
spirit, I'd have stabb'd him to the earth.
- Marry, God forbid, sir.
- By this fair heaven, I would have done it.
- Oh, he swears admirably; (by this fair heaven!)
Body of Caesar: I shall never do it, sure (upon my salvation).
No, I have not the right grace.
- Signior, will you any? By this air, the most divine
tobacco as ever I drunk.
LOR. JU. I thank you, sir.
- Oh, this gentleman doth it rarely too, but nothing
like the other. By this air, as I am a gentleman: By Phoebus.
[EXIT BOB. AND MAT.]
- Master, glance, glance: Signior Prospero.
- As I have a soul to be saved, I do protest --
- That you are a fool.
LOR. JU. Cousin, will you any tobacco?
- Ay, sir: upon my salvation.
LOR. JU. How now, cousin?
- I protest, as I am a gentleman, but no soldier indeed.
- No, Signior, as I remember, you served on a great horse,
last general muster.
- Ay, sir, that's true, cousin, may I swear as I am a
soldier, by that?
LOR. JU. Oh yes, that you may.
- Then as I am a gentleman, and a soldier, it is divine
- But soft, where's Signior Matheo? gone?
- No, sir, they went in here.
- Oh, let's follow them: Signior Matheo is gone to
salute his mistress, sirrah, now thou shalt hear some of
his verses, for he never comes hither without some shreds
of poetry: Come, Signior Stephano. Musco.
- Musco? where? Is this Musco?
LOR. JU. Ay; but peace, cousin, no words of it at any hand.
- Not I, by this fair heaven, as I have a soul to be
saved, by Phoebus.
- Oh rare! your cousin's discourse is simply suited,
all in oaths.
LOR. JU. Ay, he lacks nothing but a little light stuff,
to draw them out withal, and he were rarely fitted to the
ACT III. SCENE III.
ENTER THORELLO WITH COB.
- Ha, how many are there, sayest thou?
- Marry, sir, your brother, Signior Prospero.
- Tut, beside him: what strangers are there, man?
- Strangers? let me see, one, two; mass, I know not well,
there's so many.
- How? so many?
- Ay, there's some five or six of them at the most.
- A swarm, a swarm?
Spite of the devil, how they sting my heart!
How long hast thou been coming hither, Cob?
- But a little while, sir.
- Didst thou come running?
- No, sir.
- Tut, then I am familiar with thy haste.
Ban to my fortunes: what meant I to marry?
I that before was rank'd in such content,
My mind attired in smooth silken peace,
Being free master of mine own free thoughts,
And now become a slave? what, never sigh,
Be of good cheer, man: for thou art a cuckold,
'Tis done, 'tis done: nay, when such flowing store,
Plenty itself falls in my wife's lap,
The Cornucopiae will be mine, I know. But, Cob,
What entertainment had they? I am sure
My sister and my wife would bid them welcome, ha?
- Like enough: yet I heard not a word of welcome.
- No, their lips were seal'd with kisses, and the voice
Drown'd in a flood of joy at their arrival,
Had lost her motion, state, and faculty.
Cob, which of them was't that first kiss'd my wife?
(My sister, I should say,) my wife, alas,
I fear not her: ha? who was it, say'st thou?
- By my troth, sir, will you have the truth of it?
- Oh ay, good Cob: I pray thee.
- God's my judge, I saw nobody to be kiss'd, unless
they would have kiss'd the post in the middle of the
warehouse; for there I left them all, at their tobacco,
with a pox.
- How? were they not gone in then ere thou cam'st?
- Oh no, sir.
- Spite of the devil, what do I stay here then?
Cob, follow me.
- Nay, soft and fair, I have eggs on the spit; I cannot
go yet sir: now am I for some divers reasons hammering,
hammering revenge: oh, for three or four gallons of vinegar,
to sharpen my wits: Revenge, vinegar revenge, russet revenge;
nay, an he had not lien in my house, 'twould never have
grieved me; but being my guest, one that I'll be sworn my
wife has lent him her smock off her back, while his own shirt
has been at washing: pawned her neckerchers for clean bands
for him: sold almost all my platters to buy him tobacco;
and yet to see an ingratitude wretch strike his host;
well, I hope to raise up an host of furies for't: here
comes M. Doctor.
[ENTER DOCTOR CLEMENT, LORENZO SENIOR, PETO.]
- What's Signior Thorello gone?
- Ay, sir.
- Heart of me, what made him leave us so abruptly?
How now, sirrah; what make you here? what would you
- An't please your worship, I am a poor neighbour of
- A neighbour of mine, knave?
- Ay, sir, at the sign of the Water-tankard, hard by
the Green Lattice: I have paid scot and lot there any
time this eighteen years.
- What, at the Green Lattice?
- No sir: to the parish: marry, I have seldom scaped
scot-free at the Lattice.
- So: but what business hath my neighbour?
- An't like your worship, I am come to crave the
peace of your worship.
- Of me, knave? peace of me, knave? did I e'er
hurt thee? did I ever threaten thee? or wrong thee? ha?
- No, God's my comfort, I mean your worship's warrant,
for one that hath wrong'd me, sir: his arms are at too much
liberty, I would fain have them bound to a treaty of peace,
an I could by any means compass it.
- Why, dost thou go in danger of thy life for him?
- No, sir; but I go in danger of my death every hour by
his means; an I die within a twelve-month and a day, I may
swear, by the laws of the land, that he kill'd me.
- How? how, knave? swear he kill'd thee? what pretext?
what colour hast thou for that?
- Marry, sir, both black and blue, colour enough, I
warrant you, I have it here to shew your worship.
- What is he that gave you this, sirrah?
- A gentleman in the city, sir.
- A gentleman? what call you him?
- Signior Bobadilla.
- Good: But wherefore did he beat you, sirrah?
how began the quarrel 'twixt you? ha: speak truly,
knave, I advise you.
- Marry, sir, because I spake against their vagrant
tobacco, as I came by them: for nothing else.
- Ha, you speak against tobacco? Peto, his name.
- What's your name, sirrah?
- Oliver Cob, sir, set Oliver Cob, sir.
- Tell Oliver Cob he shall go to the jail.
- Oliver Cob, master Doctor says you shall go to the jail.
- Oh, I beseech your worship, for God's love, dear master
- Nay, God's precious! an such drunken knaves as you are
come to dispute of tobacco once, I have done: away with him.
- Oh, good master Doctor, sweet gentleman.
LOR. SE. Sweet Oliver, would I could do thee any good; master
Doctor, let me intreat, sir.
- What? a tankard-bearer, a thread-bare rascal, a beggar,
a slave that never drunk out of better than piss-pot metal in
his life, and he to deprave and abuse the virtue of an herb so
generally received in the courts of princes, the chambers of
nobles, the bowers of sweet ladies, the cabins of soldiers:
Peto, away with him, by God's passion, I say, go to.
- Dear master Doctor.
LOR. SE. Alas, poor Oliver.
- Peto: ay: and make him a warrant, he shall not go,
I but fear the knave.
- O divine Doctor, thanks, noble Doctor, most dainty
Doctor, delicious Doctor.
[EXEUNT PETO WITH COB.]
- Signior Lorenzo: God's pity, man,
Be merry, be merry, leave these dumps.
LOR. SE. Troth, would I could, sir: but enforced mirth
(In my weak judgment) has no happy birth.
The mind, being once a prisoner unto cares,
The more it dreams on joy, the worse it fares.
A smiling look is to a heavy soul
As a gilt bias to a leaden bowl,
Which (in itself) appears most vile, being spent
To no true use; but only for ostent.
- Nay, but, good Signior, hear me a word, hear me a word,
your cares are nothing; they are like my cap, soon put on,
and as soon put off. What? your son is old enough to govern
himself; let him run his course, it's the only way to make
him a staid man: if he were an unthrift, a ruffian, a
drunkard, or a licentious liver, then you had reason: you had
reason to take care: but being none of these, God's passion,
an I had twice so many cares as you have, I'd drown them all
in a cup of sack: come, come, I muse your parcel of a soldier
returns not all this while.
ACT III. SCENE IV.
ENTER GIULIANO, WITH BIANCHA.
- Well, sister, I tell you true: and you'll find
it so in the end.
- Alas, brother, what would you have me to do?
I cannot help it; you see, my brother Prospero he brings
them in here, they are his friends.
- His friends? his friends? 'sblood, they do nothing
but haunt him up and down like a sort of unlucky sprites,
and tempt him to all manner of villainy that can be thought
of; well, by this light, a little thing would make me play
the devil with some of them; an't were not more for your
husband's sake than any thing else, I'd make the house too
hot for them; they should say and swear, hell were broken
loose, ere they went. But by God's bread, 'tis nobody's
fault but yours; for an you had done as you might have done,
they should have been damn'd ere they should have come
in, e'er a one of them.
- God's my life; did you ever hear the like? what a
strange man is this! could I keep out all them, think you?
I should put myself against half a dozen men, should I?
Good faith, you'd mad the patient'st body in the world,
to hear you talk so, without any sense or reason.
[ENTER MATHEO WITH HESPERIDA, BOBADILLA, STEPHANO,
LORENZO JUNIOR, PROSPERO, MUSCO.]
- Servant, (in troth) you are too prodigal of your
wits' treasure, thus to pour it forth upon so mean a
subject as my worth.
- You say well, you say well.
- Hoyday, here is stuff.
LOR. JU. Oh now stand close; pray God she can get
him to read it.
- Tut, fear not: I warrant thee he will do it of
himself with much impudency.
- Servant, what is that same, I pray you?
- Marry, an Elegy, an Elegy, an odd toy.
- Ay, to mock an ape withal. O Jesu.
- Sister, I pray you let's hear it.
- Mistress, I'll read it, if you please.
- I pray you do, servant.
- Oh, here's no foppery. 'Sblood, it frets me to the
gall to think on it.
- Oh ay, it is his condition, peace: we are fairly
rid of him.
- Faith, I did it in an humour: I know not how it is,
but please you come near, signior: this gentleman hath
judgment, he knows how to censure of a -- I pray you, sir,
you can judge.
- Not I, sir: as I have a soul to be saved, as I am a
LOR. JU. Nay, it's well; so long as he doth not forswear
- Signior, you abuse the excellency of your mistress and
her fair sister. Fie, while you live avoid this prolixity.
- I shall, sir; well, incipere dulce.
LOR. JU. How, incipere dulce? a sweet thing to be a fool
- What, do you take incipere in that sense?
LOR. JU. You do not, you? 'Sblood, this was your villainy
to gull him with a motte.
- Oh, the benchers' phrase: pauca verba, pauca verba.
- "Rare creature, let me speak without offence,
Would God my rude words had the influence
To rule thy thoughts, as thy fair looks do mine,
Then shouldst thou be his prisoner, who is thine."
LOR. JU. 'Sheart, this is in Hero and Leander!
- Oh ay: peace, we shall have more of this.
- "Be not unkind and fair: misshapen stuff
Is of behaviour boisterous and rough":
How like you that, Signior? 'sblood, he shakes his head
like a bottle, to feel an there be any brain in it.
- But observe the catastrophe now,
"And I in duty will exceed all other,
As you in beauty do excel love's mother."
LOR. JU. Well, I'll have him free of the brokers, for
he utters nothing but stolen remnants.
- Nay, good critic, forbear.
LOR. JU. A pox on him, hang him, filching rogue, steal
from the dead? it's worse than sacrilege.
- Sister, what have you here? verses? I pray you
- Do you let them go so lightly, sister?
- Yes, faith, when they come lightly.
- Ay, but if your servant should hear you, he would
take it heavily.
- No matter, he is able to bear.
- So are asses.
- So is he.
- Signior Matheo, who made these verses? they are
- O God, sir, it's your pleasure to say so, sir.
Faith, I made them extempore this morning.
- How extempore?
- Ay, would I might be damn'd else; ask Signior Bobadilla.
He saw me write them, at the -- (pox on it) the Mitre yonder.
- Well, an the Pope knew he cursed the Mitre it were
enough to have him excommunicated all the taverns in the town.
- Cousin, how do you like this gentleman's verses?
LOR. JU. Oh, admirable, the best that ever I heard.
- By this fair heavens, they are admirable,
The best that ever I heard.
- I am vext I can hold never a bone of me still,
'Sblood, I think they mean to build a Tabernacle here, well?
- Sister, you have a simple servant here, that crowns
your beauty with such encomiums and devices, you may see what
it is to be the mistress of a wit that can make your
perfections so transparent, that every blear eye may look
through them, and see him drowned over head and ears in the
deep well of desire. Sister Biancha, I marvel you get you
not a servant that can rhyme and do tricks too.
- O monster! impudence itself! tricks!
- Tricks, brother? what tricks?
- Nay, speak, I pray you, what tricks?
- Ay, never spare any body here: but say, what tricks?
- Passion of my heart! do tricks?
- 'Sblood, here's a trick vied, and revied: why, you
monkeys, you! what a cater-wauling do you keep! has he not
given you rhymes, and verses, and tricks?
- Oh, see the devil!
PROS. Nay, you lamp of virginity, that take it in snuff so:
come and cherish this tame poetical fury in your servant,
you'll be begg'd else shortly for a concealment: go to,
reward his muse, you cannot give him less than a shilling in
conscience, for the book he had it out of cost him a teston
at the least. How now gallants, Lorenzo, Signior Bobadilla!
what, all sons of silence? no spirit.
- Come, you might practise your ruffian tricks somewhere
else, and not here, I wiss: this is no tavern, nor no place
for such exploits.
- 'Sheart, how now!
- Nay, boy, never look askance at me for the matter;
I'll tell you of it, by God's bread, ay, and you and your
companions mend yourselves when I have done.
- My companions?
- Ay, your companions, sir, so I say! 'Sblood, I am not
afraid of you nor them neither, you must have your poets,
and your cavaliers, and your fools follow you up and down
the city, and here they must come to domineer and swagger?
sirrah, you ballad-singer, and slops, your fellow there,
get you out; get you out: or (by the will of God) I'll cut
off your ears, go to.
- 'Sblood, stay, let's see what he dare do: cut off his
ears; you are an ass, touch any man here, and by the Lord
I'll run my rapier to the hilts in thee.
- Yea, that would I fain see, boy.
- O Jesu! Piso! Matheo! murder!
- Help, help, Piso!
[THEY ALL DRAW, ENTER PISO AND SOME MORE OF THE HOUSE
TO PART THEM, THE WOMEN MAKE A GREAT CRY.]
LOR. JU. Gentlemen, Prospero, forbear, I pray you.
- Well, sirrah, you Holofernes: by my hand, I will pink
thy flesh full of holes with my rapier for this, I will, by
this good heaven: nay, let him come, let him come,
gentlemen, by the body of St. George, I'll not kill him.
[THEY OFFER TO FIGHT AGAIN, AND ARE PARTED.]
- Hold, hold, forbear.
- You whoreson, bragging coistril.
- Why, how now? what's the matter? what stir is here?
Whence springs this quarrel? Piso, where is he?
Put up your weapons, and put off this rage.
My wife and sister, they are cause of this.
What, Piso? where is this knave?
- Here, sir.
- Come, let's go: this is one of my brother's ancient
- I am glad nobody was hurt by this ancient humour.
[EXIT PROSPERO, LORENZO JU., MUSCO, STEPHANO, BOBADILLA,
- Why, how now, brother, who enforced this brawl?
- A sort of lewd rake-hells, that care neither for God
nor the devil. And they must come here to read ballads and
roguery, and trash. I'll mar the knot of them ere I sleep,
perhaps; especially Signior Pithagoras, he that's all
manner of shapes: and songs and sonnets, his fellow there.
- Brother, indeed you are too violent,
Too sudden in your courses, and you know
My brother Prospero's temper will not bear
Any reproof, chiefly in such a presence,
Where every slight disgrace he should receive,
Would wound him in opinion and respect.
- Respect? what talk you of respect 'mongst such
As had neither spark of manhood nor good manners?
By God I am ashamed to hear you: respect?
- Yes, there was one a civil gentleman,
And very worthily demeaned himself.
- Oh, that was some love of yours, sister.
- A love of mine? i'faith, I would he were
No other's love but mine.
- Indeed, he seem'd to be a gentleman of an exceeding
fair disposition, and of very excellent good parts.
[EXIT HESPERIDA, BIANCHA.]
- Her love, by Jesu: my wife's minion,
Fair disposition? excellent good parts?
'Sheart, these phrases are intolerable,
Good parts? how should she know his parts? well, well,
It is too plain, too clear: Piso, come hither.
What, are they gone?
- Ay, sir, they went in.
- Are any of the gallants within?
- No sir, they are all gone.
- Art thou sure of it?
- Ay, sir, I can assure you.
- Piso, what gentleman was that they praised so?
- One they call him Signior Lorenzo, a fair young
- Ay, I thought so: my mind gave me as much:
'Sblood, I'll be hang'd if they have not hid him in the house,
Some where, I'll go search, Piso, go with me,
Be true to me and thou shalt find me bountiful.
ACT III. SCENE V.
ENTER COB, TO HIM TIB.
- What, Tib, Tib, I say.
- How now, what cuckold is that knocks so hard?
Oh, husband, is't you? What's the news?
- Nay, you have stunn'd me, i'faith; you have given me
a knock on the forehead will stick by me: cuckold?
- Away, you fool, did I know it was you that knock'd?
Come, come, you may call me as bad when you list.
- May I? 'swounds, Tib, you are a whore.
- 'Sheart, you lie in your throat.
- How, the lie? and in my throat too? do you long to
be stabb'd, ha?
- Why, you are no soldier?
- Mass, that's true, when was Bobadilla here? that
rogue, that slave, that fencing Burgullion? I'll tickle
- Why, what's the matter?
- Oh, he hath basted me rarely, sumptuously: but I have
it here will sauce him, oh, the doctor, the honestest old
Trojan in all Italy, I do honour the very flea of his dog:
a plague on him, he put me once in a villainous filthy fear:
marry, it vanish'd away like the smoke of tobacco: but I was
smok'd soundly first, I thank the devil, and his good angel
my guest: well, wife, or Tib, (which you will) get you in,
and lock the door, I charge you; let nobody into you, not
Bobadilla himself, nor the devil in his likeness; you are a
woman; you have flesh and blood enough in you; therefore be
not tempted; keep the door shut upon all comers.
- I warrant you there shall nobody enter here without my
- Nor with your consent, sweet Tib, and so I leave you.
- It's more than you know, whether you leave me so.
- Why, sweet.
- Tut, sweet or sour, thou art a flower.
Keep close thy door, I ask no more.
ACT III. SCENE VI.
ENTER LORENZO JUN., PROSPERO, STEPHANO, MUSCO.
LOR JU. Well, Musco, perform this business happily,
And thou makest a conquest of my love for ever.
- I'faith, now let thy spirits put on their best habit,
But at any hand remember thy message to my brother,
For there's no other means to start him.
- I warrant you, sir, fear nothing; I have a nimble soul
that hath waked all my imaginative forces by this time, and
put them in true motion: what you have possest me withal,
I'll discharge it amply, sir. Make no question.
- That's well said, Musco: faith, sirrah, how dost thou
approve my wit in this device?
LOR JU. Troth, well, howsoever; but excellent if it take.
- Take, man: why, it cannot choose but take, if the
circumstances miscarry not, but tell me zealously: dost thou
affect my sister Hesperida, as thou pretendest?
LOR JU. Prospero, by Jesu.
- Come, do not protest, I believe thee: i'faith, she is
a virgin of good ornament, and much modesty, unless I
conceived very worthily of her, thou shouldest not have her.
LOR JU. Nay, I think it a question whether I shall have her
for all that.
- 'Sblood, thou shalt have her, by this light, thou shalt!
LOR JU. Nay, do not swear.
- By St. Mark, thou shalt have her: I'll go fetch her
presently, 'point but where to meet, and by this hand,
I'll bring her!
LOR JU. Hold, hold, what, all policy dead? no prevention of
- Why, by -- what shall I swear by? thou shalt have her,
by my soul.
LOR. JU. I pray thee have patience, I am satisfied: Prospero,
omit no offered occasion that may make my desires complete, I
- I warrant thee.
ACT IV. SCENE I.
ENTER LORENZO SEN., PETO, MEETING MUSCO.
- Was your man a soldier, sir?
LOR. SE. Ay, a knave, I took him up begging upon the way,
This morning as I was coming to the city.
Oh! here he is; come on, you make fair speed:
Why, where in God's name have you been so long?
- Marry, (God's my comfort) where I thought I should
have had little comfort of your worship's service.
LOR. SE. How so?
- O God, sir! your coming to the city, and your
entertainment of men, and your sending me to watch;
indeed, all the circumstances are as open to your son as
LOR. SE. How should that be? Unless that villain Musco
Have told him of the letter, and discovered
All that I strictly charged him to conceal? 'tis so.
- I'faith, you have hit it: 'tis so indeed.
LOR. SE. But how should he know thee to be my man?
- Nay, sir, I cannot tell; unless it were by the
black art? is not your son a scholar, sir?
LOR. SE. Yes; but I hope his soul is not allied
To such a devilish practice: if it were,
I had just cause to weep my part in him.
And curse the time of his creation.
But where didst thou find them, Portensio?
- Nay, sir, rather you should ask where they found me?
for I'll be sworn I was going along in the street,
thinking nothing, when (of a sudden) one calls, "Signior
Lorenzo's man": another, he cries "soldier": and thus half
a dozen of them, till they had got me within doors, where
I no sooner came, but out flies their rapiers and all bent
against my breast, they swore some two or three hundred
oaths, and all to tell me I was but a dead man, if I did
not confess where you were, and how I was employed, and
about what; which, when they could not get out of me, (as
God's my judge, they should have kill'd me first,) they
lock'd me up into a room in the top of a house, where, by
great miracle, (having a light heart) I slid down by a
bottom of packthread into the street, and so scaped: but,
master, thus much I can assure you, for I heard it while I
was lock'd up: there were a great many merchants and rich
citizens' wives with them at a banquet, and your son,
Signior Lorenzo, has 'pointed one of them to meet anon at
one Cob's house, a water-bearer's, that dwells by the wall:
now there you shall be sure to take him: for fail he will not.
LOR. SE. Nor will I fail to break this match, I doubt not;
Well, go thou along with master Doctor's man,
And stay there for me; at one Cob's house, say'st thou?
- Ay, sir, there you shall have him: when can you tell?
Much wench, or much son: 'sblood, when he has stay'd there
three or four hours, travelling with the expectation of
somewhat; and at the length be delivered of nothing: oh,
the sport that I should then take to look on him if I durst;
but now I mean to appear no more afore him in this shape:
I have another trick to act yet; oh, that I were so happy
as to light upon an ounce now of this Doctor's clerk:
God save you, sir.
- I thank you, good sir.
- I have made you stay somewhat long, sir.
- Not a whit, sir, I pray you what, sir, do you mean?
you have been lately in the wars, sir, it seems.
- Ay, marry have I, sir.
- Troth, sir, I would be glad to bestow a bottle of
wine on you, if it please you to accept it.
- O Lord, sir.
- But to hear the manner of your services, and your
devices in the wars, they say they be very strange, and
not like those a man reads in the Roman histories.
- O God, no, sir, why, at any time when it please you,
I shall be ready to discourse to you what I know: and more
- No better time than now, sir, we'll go to the
Mermaid: there we shall have a cup of neat wine,
I pray you, sir, let me request you.
- I'll follow you, sir, he is mine own, i'faith.
ENTER BOBADILLA, LORENZO JUN., MATHEO, STEPHANO.
- Signior, did you ever see the like clown of him where
we were to-day: Signior Prospero's brother?
I think the whole earth cannot shew his like, by Jesu.
LOR. JU. We were now speaking of him, Signior Bobadillo
tells me he is fallen foul of you too.
- Oh ay, sir, he threatened me with the bastinado.
- Ay, but I think I taught you a trick this morning for
- You shall kill him without all question, if you be
- Indeed, it is a most excellent trick.
- Oh, you do not give spirit enough to your motion; you
are too dull, too tardy: oh, it must be done like lightning,
- Oh, rare.
- Tut, 'tis nothing an't be not done in a --
LOR. JU. Signior, did you never play with any of our
- Oh, good sir.
- Nay, for a more instance of their preposterous humour,
there came three or four of them to me, at a gentleman's house,
where it was my chance to be resident at that time, to intreat
my presence at their schools, and withal so much importuned me,
that (I protest to you as I am a gentleman) I was ashamed of
their rude demeanour out of all measure: well, I told them
that to come to a public school they should pardon me, it was
opposite to my humour, but if so they would attend me at my
lodging, I protested to do them what right or favour I could,
as I was a gentleman, etc.
LOR. JU. So sir, then you tried their skill.
- Alas, soon tried: you shall hear, sir, within two
or three days after they came, and by Jesu, good Signior,
believe me, I graced them exceedingly, shewed them some
two or three tricks of prevention hath got them since
admirable credit, they cannot deny this; and yet now
they hate me, and why? because I am excellent, and for
no other reason on the earth.
LOR. JU. This is strange and vile as ever I heard.
- I will tell you, sir, upon my first coming to the city,
they assaulted me some three, four, five, six of them
together, as I have walk'd alone in divers places of the
city; as upon the Exchange, at my lodging, and at my
ordinary, where I have driven them afore me the whole length
of a street, in the open view of all our gallants, pitying
to hurt them, believe me; yet all this lenity will not
depress their spleen; they will be doing with the pismire,
raising a hill a man may spurn abroad with his foot at
pleasure: by my soul, I could have slain them all, but I
delight not in murder: I am loth to bear any other but a
bastinado for them, and yet I hold it good policy not to go
disarm'd, for though I be skilful, I may be suppressed with
LOR. JU. Ay, by Jesu, may you, sir, and (in my conceit) our
whole nation should sustain the loss by it, if it were so.
- Alas, no: what's a peculiar man to a nation? not seen.
LOR. JU. Ay, but your skill, sir.
- Indeed, that might be some loss, but who respects it?
I will tell you, Signior, (in private) I am a gentleman,
and live here obscure, and to myself; but were I known to
the Duke (observe me) I would undertake (upon my head and
life) for the public benefit of the state, not only to
spare the entire lives of his subjects in general, but to
save the one half, nay, three parts of his yearly charges,
in holding wars generally against all his enemies; and how
will I do it, think you?
LOR. JU. Nay, I know not, nor can I conceive.
- Marry, thus, I would select nineteen more to myself,
throughout the land, gentlemen they should be of good spirit;
strong and able constitution, I would choose them by an
instinct, a trick that I have, and I would teach these
nineteen the special tricks, as your punto, your reverso,
your stoccato, your imbroccato, your passado, your montanto,
till they could all play very near or altogether as well as
- This done, say the enemy were forty thousand strong:
we twenty would come into the field the tenth of March, or
thereabouts, and would challenge twenty of the enemy; they
could not in their honour refuse the combat: well, we would
kill them: challenge twenty more, kill them; twenty more,
kill them; twenty more, kill them too; and thus would we kill
every man his twenty a day, that's twenty score; twenty
score, that's two hundred; two hundred a day, five days a
thousand: forty thousand; forty times five, five times forty,
two hundred days kills them all, by computation, and this
will I venture my life to perform: provided there be no
treason practised upon us.
LOR. JU. Why, are you so sure of your hand at all times?
- Tut, never mistrust, upon my soul.
LOR. JU. Mass, I would not stand in Signior Giuliano's state,
then, an you meet him, for the wealth of Florence.
- Why Signior, by Jesu, if he were here now, I would not
draw my weapon on him, let this gentleman do his mind, but I
will bastinado him (by heaven) an ever I meet him.
[ENTER GIULIANO AND GOES OUT AGAIN.]
- Faith, and I'll have a fling at him.
LOR. JU. Look, yonder he goes, I think.
- 'Sblood, what luck have I, I cannot meet with these
- It's not he: is it?
LOR. JU. Yes, faith, it is he.
- I'll be hang'd then if that were he.
LOR. JU. Before God, it was he: you make me swear.
- Upon my salvation, it was he.
- Well, had I thought it had been he, he could not have
gone so, but I cannot be induced to believe it was he yet.
- Oh, gallant, have I found you? draw to your tools;
draw, or by God's will I'll thrash you.
- Signior, hear me.
- Draw your weapons then.
- Signior, I never thought it till now: body of St.
George, I have a warrant of the peace served on me even
now, as I came along, by a water-bearer, this gentleman
saw it, Signior Matheo.
- The peace! 'Sblood, you will not draw?
[MATHEO RUNS AWAY. HE BEATS HIM AND DISARMS HIM.]
LOR. JU. Hold, Signior, hold, under thy favour forbear.
- Prate again as you like this, you whoreson cowardly
rascal, you'll control the point, you? your consort he is
gone; had he staid he had shared with you, in faith.
- Well, gentlemen, bear witness, I was bound to the
peace, by Jesu.
LOR. JU. Why, and though you were, sir, the law allows
you to defend yourself; that's but a poor excuse.
- I cannot tell; I never sustained the like disgrace
(by heaven); sure I was struck with a planet then, for I
had no power to touch my weapon.
LOR. JU. Ay, like enough; I have heard of many that have
been beaten under a planet; go, get you to the surgeon's,
'sblood, an these be your tricks, your passados, and your
montantos, I'll none of them: O God, that this age should
bring forth such creatures! come, cousin.
- Mass, I'll have this cloak.
LOR. JU. God's will: it's Giuliano's.
- Nay, but 'tis mine now, another might have ta'en it
up as well as I, I'll wear it, so I will.
LOR. JU. How an he see it? he'll challenge it, assure yourself.
- Ay, but he shall not have it; I'll say I bought it.
LOR. JU. Advise you, cousin, take heed he give not you as much.
ENTER THORELLO, PROSPERO, BIANCHA, HESPERIDA.
- Now trust me, Prospero, you were much to blame,
T' incense your brother and disturb the peace
Of my poor house, for there be sentinels,
That every minute watch to give alarms
Of civil war, without adjection
Of your assistance and occasion.
- No harm done, brother, I warrant you: since there is no
harm done, anger costs a man nothing: and a tall man is never his
own man till he be angry, to keep his valour in obscurity, is to
keep himself as it were in a cloak-bag: what's a musician unless
he play? what's a tall man unless he fight? for indeed, all this
my brother stands upon absolutely, and that made me fall in
with him so resolutely.
- Ay, but what harm might have come of it?
- Might? so might the good warm clothes your husband
wears be poison'd for any thing he knows, or the wholesome
wine he drunk even now at the table.
- Now, God forbid: O me! now I remember,
My wife drunk to me last; and changed the cup,
And bade me wear this cursed suit to-day,
See if God suffer murder undiscover'd!
I feel me ill; give me some mithridate,
Some mithridate and oil; good sister, fetch me,
Oh, I am sick at heart: I burn, I burn;
If you will save my life, go fetch it me.
- Oh, strange humour, my very breath hath poison'd him.
- Good brother, be content, what do you mean?
The strength of these extreme conceits will kill you.
- Beshrew your heart-blood, brother Prospero,
For putting such a toy into his head.
- Is a fit simile a toy? will he be poison'd with a simile?
Brother Thorello, what a strange and vain imagination is this?
For shame be wiser, on my soul there's no such matter.
- Am I not sick? how am I then not poison'd?
Am I not poison'd? how am I then so sick?
- If you be sick, your own thoughts make you sick.
- His jealousy is the poison he hath taken.
[ENTER MUSCO LIKE THE DOCTOR'S MAN.]
- Signior Thorello, my master, Doctor Clement, salutes you,
and desires to speak with you, with all speed possible.
- No time but now? Well, I'll wait upon his worship,
Piso, Cob, I'll seek them out, and set them sentinels till
I return. Piso, Cob, Piso.
- Musco, this is rare, but how got'st thou this apparel of
the Doctor's man?
- Marry sir. My youth would needs bestow the wine on me to
hear some martial discourse; where I so marshall'd him, that I made
him monstrous drunk, and because too much heat was the cause of his
distemper, I stript him stark naked as he lay along asleep, and
borrowed his suit to deliver this counterfeit message in, leaving a
rusty armour and an old brown bill to watch him till my return:
which shall be when I have pawn'd his apparel, and spent the money
- Well, thou art a mad knave, Musco, his absence will be a
good subject for more mirth: I pray thee return to thy young
master Lorenzo, and will him to meet me and Hesperida at the
Friary presently: for here, tell him, the house is so stored with
jealousy, that there is no room for love to stand upright in: but
I'll use such means she shall come thither, and that I think will
meet best with his desires: Hie thee, good Musco.
- I go, sir.
[ENTER THORELLO, TO HIM PISO.]
- Ho, Piso, Cob, where are these villains, trow?
Oh, art thou there? Piso, hark thee here:
Mark what I say to thee, I must go forth;
Be careful of thy promise, keep good watch,
Note every gallant and observe him well,
That enters in my absence to thy mistress;
If she would shew him rooms, the jest is stale,
Follow them, Piso, or else hang on him,
And let him not go after, mark their looks;
Note if she offer but to see his band,
Or any other amorous toy about him,
But praise his leg, or foot, or if she say,
The day is hot, and bid him feel her hand,
How hot it is, oh, that's a monstrous thing:
Note me all this, sweet Piso; mark their sighs,
And if they do but whisper, break them off,
I'll bear thee out in it: wilt thou do this?
Wilt thou be true, sweet Piso?
- Most true, sir.
- Thanks, gentle Piso: where is Cob? now: Cob?
- He's ever calling for Cob, I wonder how he employs Cob so.
- Indeed, sister, to ask how he employs Cob is a necessary
question for you that are his wife, and a thing not very easy for
you to be satisfied in: but this I'll assure you, Cob's wife is
an excellent bawd indeed, and oftentimes your husband haunts her
house, marry, to what end I cannot altogether accuse him, imagine
you what you think convenient: but I have known fair hides have
foul hearts ere now, I can tell you.
- Never said you truer than that, brother! Piso, fetch
your cloke, and go with me, I'll after him presently: I would
to Christ I could take him there, i'faith.
[EXEUNT PISO AND BIANCHA.]
- So let them go: this may make sport anon, now, my fair
sister Hesperida: ah, that you knew how happy a thing it were
to be fair and beautiful!
- That toucheth not me, brother.
- That's true: that's even the fault of it, for indeed
beauty stands a woman in no stead, unless it procure her
touching: but, sister, whether it touch you or no, it touches
your beauties, and I am sure they will abide the touch, as
they do not, a plague of all ceruse, say I! and it touches me
too in part, though not in thee. Well, there's a dear and
respected friend of mine, sister, stands very strongly
affected towards you, and hath vowed to inflame whole bonfires
of zeal in his heart, in honour of your perfections. I have
already engaged my promise to bring you where you shall hear
him confirm much more than I am able to lay down for him:
Signior Lorenzo is the man: what say you, sister; shall I
intreat so much favour of you for my friend, as to direct and
attend you to his meeting? upon my soul, he loves you
extremely, approve it, sweet Hesperida, will you?
- Faith, I had very little confidence in mine own constancy,
if I durst not meet a man: but, brother Prospero, this motion of
yours savours of an old knight adventurer's servant, methinks.
- What's that, sister?
- Marry, of the squire.
- No matter, Hesperida, if it did, I would be such an one
for my friend, but say, will you go?
- Brother, I will, and bless my happy stars.
[ENTER CLEMENT AND THORELLO.]
- Why, what villainy is this? my man gone on a false
message, and run away when he has done, why, what trick is
there in it, trow! 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
- How! is my wife gone forth, where is she, sister!
- She's gone abroad with Piso.
- Abroad with Piso? Oh, that villain dors me,
He hath discovered all unto my wife,
Beast that I was to trust him: whither went she?
- I know not, sir.
- I'll tell you, brother, whither I suspect she's gone.
- Whither, for God's sake!
- To Cob's house, I believe: but keep my counsel.
- I will, I will, to Cob's house! doth she haunt Cob's?
She's gone a purpose now to cuckold me,
With that lewd rascal, who to win her favour,
Hath told her all.
- But did your mistress see my man bring him a message?
- That we did, master Doctor.
- And whither went the knave?
- To the tavern, I think, sir.
- What, did Thorello give him any thing to spend for the
message he brought him? if he did I should commend my man's wit
exceedingly if he would make himself drunk with the joy of it,
farewell, lady, keep good rule, you two, I beseech you now: by
God's --; marry, my man makes me laugh.
- What a mad doctor is this! come, sister, let's away.
[ENTER MATHEO AND BOBADILLA.]
- I wonder, Signior, what they will say of my going away, ha?
- Why, what should they say? but as of a discreet gentleman.
Quick, wary, respectful of natures,
Fair lineaments, and that's all.
- Why so, but what can they say of your beating?
- A rude part, a touch with soft wood, a kind of gross
battery used, laid on strongly: borne most patiently, and
- Ay, but would any man have offered it in Venice?
- Tut, I assure you no: you shall have there your Nobilis,
your Gentilezza, come in bravely upon your reverse, stand you
close, stand you firm, stand you fair, save your retricato with
his left leg, come to the assaulto with the right, thrust with
brave steel, defy your base wood. But wherefore do I awake this
remembrance? I was bewitch'd, by Jesu: but I will be revenged.
- Do you hear, is't not best to get a warrant and have him
arrested, and brought before Doctor Clement?
- It were not amiss, would we had it.
- Why, here comes his man, let's speak to him.
- Agreed, do you speak.
- God save you, sir.
- With all my heart, sir.
- Sir, there is one Giuliano hath abused this gentleman and me,
and we determine to make our amends by law, now if you would do us
the favour to procure us a warrant, for his arrest, of your master,
you shall be well considered, I assure i'faith, sir.
- Sir, you know my service is my living, such favours as these
gotten of my master is his only preferment, and therefore you must
consider me as I may make benefit of my place.
- How is that?
- Faith, sir, the thing is extraordinary, and the gentleman
may be of great account: yet be what he will, if you will lay me
down five crowns in my hand, you shall have it, otherwise not.
- How shall we do, Signior? you have no money.
- Not a cross, by Jesu.
- Nor I, before God, but two pence, left of my two shillings
in the morning for wine and cakes, let's give him some pawn.
- Pawn? we have none to the value of his demand.
- O Lord, man, I'll pawn this jewel in my ear, and you may
pawn your silk stockings, and pull up your boots, they will
ne'er be mist.
- Well, an there be no remedy, I'll step aside and put them
- Do you hear, sir? we have no store of money at this time,
but you shall have good pawns, look you, sir, this jewel and this
gentleman's silk stockings, because we would have it dispatch'd
ere we went to our chambers.
- I am content, sir, I will get you the warrant presently.
What's his name, say you, Giuliano?
- Ay, ay, Giuliano.
- What manner of man is he?
- A tall, big man, sir; he goes in a cloak most commonly
of silk russet, laid about with russet lace.
- 'Tis very good, sir.
- Here, sir, here's my jewel.
- And here are stockings.
- Well, gentlemen, I'll procure this warrant presently, and
appoint you a varlet of the city to serve it, if you'll be upon
the Realto anon, the varlet shall meet you there.
MAT. Very good, sir, I wish no better.
[EXEUNT BOBA. AND MAT.]
- This is rare, now will I go pawn this cloak of the
doctor's man's at the broker's for a varlet's suit, and be
the varlet myself, and get either more pawns, or more money
of Giuliano for my arrest.
ACT V. SCENE I.
ENTER LORENZO SENIOR.
LOR. SE. Oh, here it is, I am glad I have found it now.
Ho! who is within here?
- I am within, sir, what's your pleasure?
LOR. SE. To know who is within besides yourself.
- Why, sir, you are no constable, I hope?
LOR. SE. Oh, fear you the constable? then I doubt not,
You have some guests within deserve that fear;
I'll fetch him straight.
- O' God's name, sir.
LOR. SE. Go to, tell me is not the young Lorenzo here?
- Young Lorenzo, I saw none such, sir, of mine honesty.
LOR. SE. Go to, your honesty flies too lightly from you:
There's no way but fetch the constable.
- The constable, the man is mad, I think.
[CLAPS TO THE DOOR.]
[ENTER PISO AND BIANCHA.]
- Ho, who keeps house here?
LOR. SE. Oh, this is the female copes-mate of my son.
Now shall I meet him straight.
- Knock, Piso, pray thee.
- Ho, good wife.
- Why, what's the matter with you?
- Why, woman, grieves it you to ope your door?
Belike you get something to keep it shut.
- What mean these questions, pray ye?
- So strange you make it! is not Thorello, my tried
LOR. SE. Her husband?
- I hope he needs not be tried here.
- No, dame: he doth it not for need but pleasure.
- Neither for need nor pleasure is he here.
LOR. SE. This is but a device to balk me withal;
Soft, who's this?
- Oh, sir, have I forestall'd your honest market?
Found your close walks? you stand amazed now, do you?
I'faith (I am glad) I have smoked you yet at last;
What's your jewel, trow? In: come, let's see her;
Fetch forth your housewife, dame; if she be fairer
In any honest judgment than myself,
I'll be content with it: but she is change,
She feeds you fat; she soothes your appetite,
And you are well: your wife, an honest woman,
Is meat twice sod to you, sir; Oh, you treachour.
LOR. SE. She cannot counterfeit this palpably.
- Out on thee, more than strumpet's impudency,
Steal'st thou thus to thy haunts? and have I taken
Thy bawd and thee, and thy companion,
This hoary-headed letcher, this old goat,
Close at your villainy, and would'st thou 'scuse it,
With this stale harlot's jest, accusing me?
Oh, old incontinent, dost thou not shame,
When all thy powers in chastity are spent,
To have a mind so hot? and to entice
And feed the enticements of a lustful woman?
- Out, I defy thee, I, dissembling wretch?
- Defy me, strumpet? ask thy pander here,
Can he deny it? or that wicked elder.
LOR. SE. Why, hear you, Signior?
- Tut, tut, never speak,
Thy guilty conscience will discover thee.
LOR. SE. What lunacy is this that haunts this man?
- Oh, sister, did you see my cloak?
- Not I, I see none.
- God's life, I have lost it then, saw you Hesperida?
- Hesperida? Is she not at home?
- No, she is gone abroad, and nobody can tell me of it
- O heaven! abroad? what light! a harlot too!
Why? why? hark you, hath she, hath she not a brother?
A brother's house to keep, to look unto?
But she must fling abroad, my wife hath spoil'd her,
She takes right after her, she does, she does,
Well, you goody bawd and --
That make your husband such a hoddy-doddy;
And you, young apple squire, and old cuckold-maker,
I'll have you every one before the Doctor,
Nay, you shall answer it, I charge you go.
LOR. SE. Marry, with all my heart, I'll go willingly:
how have I wrong'd myself in coming here.
- Go with thee? I'll go with thee to thy shame,
I warrant thee.
- Why, what's the matter? what's here to do?
- What, Cob, art thou here? oh, I am abused,
And in thy house, was never man so wrong'd.
- 'Slid, in my house? who wrong'd you in my house?
- Marry, young lust in old, and old in young here,
Thy wife's their bawd, here have I taken them.
- Do you hear? did I not charge you keep your doors shut
here, and do you let them lie open for all comers, do you
[COB BEATS HIS WIFE.]
LOR. SE. Friend, have patience; if she have done wrong in
this, let her answer it afore the Magistrate.
- Ay, come, you shall go afore the Doctor.
- Nay, I will go, I'll see an you may be allowed to beat
your poor wife thus at every cuckoldly knave's pleasure, the
devil and the pox take you all for me: why do you not go now?
- A bitter quean, come, we'll have you tamed.
[ENTER MUSCO ALONE.]
- Well, of all my disguises yet, now am I most like myself,
being in this varlet's suit, a man of my present profession
never counterfeits till he lay hold upon a debtor, and says he
rests him, for then he brings him to all manner of unrest.
A kind of little kings we are, bearing the diminutive of a
mace, made like a young artichoke, that always carries pepper
and salt in itself, well, I know not what danger I undergo by
this exploit, pray God I come well off.
[ENTER BOBADILLA AND MATHEO.]
- See, I think yonder is the varlet.
- Let's go in quest of him.
- God save you, friend, are not you here by the appointment
of Doctor Clement's man?
- Yes, an't please you, sir; he told me two gentlemen had
will'd him to procure an arrest upon one Signior Giuliano by a
warrant from his master, which I have about me.
- It is honestly done of you both; and see where he comes
you must arrest; upon him, for God's sake, before he be 'ware.
- Bear back, Matheo!
- Signior Giuliano, I arrest you, sir, in the Duke's name.
- Signior Giuliano! am I Signior Giuliano? I am one Signior
Stephano, I tell you, and you do not well, by God's lid, to arrest
me, I tell you truly; I am not in your master's books, I would you
should well know; ay, and a plague of God on you for making me
- Why, how are you deceived, gentlemen?
- He wears such a cloak, and that deceived us,
But see, here a comes, officer, this is he.
- Why, how now, signior gull: are you a turn'd filcher of
late? come, deliver my cloak.
- Your cloak, sir? I bought it even now in the market.
- Signior Giuliano, I must arrest you, sir.
- Arrest me, sir, at whose suit?
- At these two gentlemen's.
- I obey thee, varlet; but for these villains --
- Keep the peace, I charge you, sir, in the Duke's name,
- What's the matter, varlet?
- You must go before master Doctor Clement, sir, to
answer what these gentlemen will object against you, hark
you, sir, I will use you kindly.
- We'll be even with you, sir, come, Signior Bobadilla,
we'll go before and prepare the Doctor: varlet, look to him.
[EXEUNT BOBADILLA AND MATHEO.]
- The varlet is a tall man, by Jesu.
- Away, you rascals, Signior, I shall have my cloak.
- Your cloak? I say once again, I bought it, and I'll
- You will keep it?
- Ay, that I will.
- Varlet, stay, here's thy fee, arrest him.
- Signior Stephano, I arrest you.
- Arrest me! there, take your cloak: I'll none of it.
- Nay, that shall not serve your turn, varlet, bring him away,
I'll go with thee now to the Doctor's, and carry him along.
- Why, is not here your cloak? what would you have?
- I care not for that.
- I pray you, sir.
- Never talk of it; I will have him answer it.
- Well, sir, then I'll leave you, I'll take this gentleman's
word for his appearance, as I have done yours.
- Tut, I'll have no words taken, bring him along to answer it.
- Good sir, I pity the gentleman's case, here's your money
- God's bread, tell not me of my money, bring him away,
- I warrant you, he will go with you of himself.
- Yet more ado?
- I have made a fair mash of it.
- Must I go?
ENTER DOCTOR CLEMENT, THORELLO, LORENZO SENIOR, BIANCHA,
PISO, TIB, A SERVANT OR TWO OF THE DOCTOR'S.
- Nay, but stay, stay, give me leave; my chair, sirrah;
you, Signior Lorenzo, say you went thither to meet your son.
LOR. SE. Ay, sir.
- But who directed you thither?
LOR. SE. That did my man, sir.
- Where is he?
LOR. SE. Nay, I know not now, I left him with your clerk,
And appointed him to stay here for me.
- About what time was this?
LOR. SE. Marry, between one and two, as I take it.
- So, what time came my man with the message to you,
- After two, sir.
- Very good, but, lady, how that you were at Cob's, ha?
- An't please you, sir, I'll tell you: my brother Prospero
told me that Cob's house was a suspected place.
- So it appears, methinks; but on.
- And that my husband used thither daily.
- No matter, so he use himself well.
- True, sir, but you know what grows by such haunts
- Ay, rank fruits of a jealous brain, lady: but did you
find your husband there in that case, as you suspected?
- I found her there, sir.
- Did you so? that alters the case; who gave you knowledge
of your wife's being there?
- Marry, that did my brother Prospero.
- How, Prospero first tell her, then tell you after?
Where is Prospero?
- Gone with my sister, sir, I know not whither.
- Why, this is a mere trick, a device; you are gulled
in this most grossly: alas, poor wench, wert thou beaten
for this? how now, sirrah, what's the matter?
[ENTER ONE OF THE DOCTOR'S MEN.]
- Sir, there's a gentleman in the court without desires
to speak with your worship.
- A gentleman? what's he?
- A soldier, sir, he sayeth.
- A soldier? fetch me my armour, my sword, quickly; a
soldier speak with me, why, when, knaves? -- come on, come on,
hold my cap there, so; give me my gorget, my sword; stand by,
I will end your matters anon; let the soldier enter, now, sir,
what have you to say to me?
[ENTER BOBADILLA AND MATHEO.]
- By your worship's favour.
- Nay, keep out, sir, I know not your pretence, you
send me word, sir, you are a soldier, why, sir, you shall
be answered here, here be them have been amongst soldiers.
Sir, your pleasure.
- Faith, sir, so it is: this gentleman and myself have
been most violently wronged by one Signior Giuliano: a gallant
of the city here; and for my own part, I protest, being a man
in no sort given to this filthy humour of quarrelling, he hath
assaulted me in the way of my peace, despoiled me of mine
honour, disarmed me of my weapons, and beaten me in the open
streets: when I not so much as once offered to resist him.
- Oh, God's precious, is this the soldier? here, take my
armour quickly, 'twill make him swoon, I fear; he is not fit
to look on't that will put up a blow.
- An't please your worship, he was bound to the peace.
- Why, an he were, sir, his hands were not bound,
- There is one of the varlets of the city has brought two
gentlemen here upon arrest, sir.
- Bid him come in, set by the picture.
[ENTER MUSCO WITH GIULIANO AND STEPHANO.]
Now, sir, what! Signior Giuliano? is't you that are arrested
at signior freshwater's suit here?
- I'faith, master Doctor, and here's another brought at
- What are you, sir?
- A gentleman, sir; oh, uncle?
- Uncle? who, Lorenzo?
LOR. SE. Ay, sir.
- God's my witness, my uncle, I am wrong'd here monstrously;
he chargeth me with stealing of his cloak, and would I might
never stir, if I did not find it in the street by chance.
- Oh, did you find it now? you said you bought it erewhile.
- And you said I stole it, nay, now my uncle is here I care
- Well, let this breathe awhile; you that have cause to
complain there, stand forth; had you a warrant for this arrest?
- Ay, an't please your worship.
- Nay, do not speak in passion so, where had you it?
- Of your clerk, sir.
- That's well, an my clerk can make warrants, and my hand
not at them; where is the warrant? varlet, have you it?
- No, sir, your worship's man bid me do it for these
gentlemen, and he would be my discharge.
- Why, Signior Giuliano, are you such a novice to be
arrested and never see the warrant?
- Why, sir, he did not arrest me.
- No? how then?
- Marry, sir, he came to me and said he must arrest me,
and he would use me kindly, and so forth.
- Oh, God's pity, was it so, sir? he must arrest you.
Give me my long sword there; help me off, so; come on, sir
varlet, I must cut off your legs, sirrah; nay, stand up,
I'll use you kindly; I must cut off your legs, I say.
- Oh, good sir, I beseech you, nay, good master Doctor.
Oh, good sir.
- I must do it; there is no remedy;
I must cut off your legs, sirrah.
I must cut off your ears, you rascal, I must do it;
I must cut off your nose, I must cut off your head.
- Oh, for God's sake, good master Doctor.
- Well, rise; how dost thou now? dost thou feel thyself
well? hast thou no harm?
- No, I thank God, sir, and your good worship.
- Why so? I said I must cut off thy legs, and I must cut
off thy arms, and I must cut off thy head; but I did not do it
so: you said you must arrest this gentleman, but you did not
arrest him, you knave, you slave, you rogue, do you say you must
arrest, sirrah? away with him to the jail, I'll teach you a
trick for your must.
- Good master Doctor, I beseech you be good to me.
- Marry o'God: away with him, I say.
- Nay, 'sblood, before I go to prison, I'll put on my
old brazen face, and disclaim in my vocation: I'll discover,
that's flat, an I be committed, it shall be for the
committing of more villainies than this, hang me an I lose
the least grain of my fame.
- Why? when, knave? by God's marry, I'll clap thee by
the heels too.
- Hold, hold, I pray you.
- What's the matter? stay there.
- Faith, sir, afore I go to this house of bondage, I have
a case to unfold to your worship: which (that it may appear
more plain unto your worship's view) I do thus first of all
uncase, and appear in mine own proper nature, servant to this
gentleman: and known by the name of Musco.
LOR. SE. Ha, Musco!
- Oh, uncle, Musco has been with my cousin and I all
- Did not I tell you there was some device?
- Nay, good master Doctor, since I have laid myself thus
open to your worship, now stand strong for me, till the progress
of my tale be ended, and then if my wit do not deserve your
countenance, 'slight, throw it on a dog, and let me go hang
- Body of me, a merry knave, give me a bowl of sack.
Signior Lorenzo, I bespeak your patience in particular, marry,
your ears in general, here, knave, Doctor Clement drinks to
- I pledge master Doctor an't were a sea to the bottom.
- Fill his bowl for that, fill his bowl: so, now speak
- Indeed, this is it will make a man speak freely. But
to the point, know then that I, Musco, (being somewhat more
trusted of my master than reason required, and knowing his
intent to Florence,) did assume the habit of a poor soldier in
wants, and minding by some means to intercept his journey in
the midway, 'twixt the grange and the city, I encountered him,
where begging of him in the most accomplished and true garb,
(as they term it) contrary to all expectation, he reclaimed me
from that bad course of life; entertained me into his service,
employed me in his business, possest me with his secrets, which
I no sooner had received, but (seeking my young master, and
finding him at this gentleman's house) I revealed all most
amply: this done, by the device of Signior Prospero and him
together, I returned (as the raven did to the ark) to mine old
master again, told him he should find his son in what manner he
knows, at one Cob's house, where indeed he never meant to come;
now my master, he to maintain the jest, went thither, and left
me with your worship's clerk, who, being of a most fine supple
disposition, (as most of your clerks are) proffers me the wine,
which I had the grace to accept very easily, and to the tavern
we went: there after much ceremony, I made him drunk in
kindness, stript him to his shirt, and leaving him in that cool
vein, departed, frolick, courtier-like, having obtained a suit:
which suit fitting me exceedingly well, I put on, and usurping
your man's phrase and action, carried a message to Signior
Thorello in your name; which message was merely devised but to
procure his absence, while Signior Prospero might make a
conveyance of Hesperida to my master.
- Stay, fill me the bowl again, here; 'twere pity of his
life would not cherish such a spirit: I drink to thee, fill
him wine, why, now do you perceive the trick of it?
- Ay, ay, perceive well we were all abused.
LOR. SE. Well, what remedy?
- Where is Lorenzo and Prospero, canst thou tell?
- Ay, sir, they are at supper at the Mermaid, where I
left your man.
- Sirrah, go warn them hither presently before me, and
if the hour of your fellow's resurrection be come, bring him
- But forward, forward, when thou has been at Thorello's.
- Marry, sir, coming along the street, these two gentlemen
meet me, and very strongly supposing me to be your worship's
scribe, entreated me to procure them a warrant for the arrest
of Signior Giuliano, I promised them, upon some pair of silk
stockings or a jewel, or so, to do it, and to get a varlet of
the city to serve it, which varlet I appointed should meet
them upon the Realto at such an hour, they no sooner gone, but
I, in a mere hope of more gain by Signior Giuliano, went to one
of Satan's old ingles, a broker, and there pawned your man's
livery for a varlet's suit, which here, with myself, I offer
unto your worship's consideration.
- Well, give me thy hand;
Proh. Superi ingenium magnum quis noscit Homerum.
Illias aeternum si latuisset opus?
I admire thee, I honour thee, and if thy master or any man here
be angry with thee, I shall suspect his wit while I know him
for it: do you hear, Signior Thorello, Signior Lorenzo, and the
rest of my good friends, I pray you let me have peace when they
come, I have sent for the two gallants and Hesperida, God's
marry, I must have you, friends, how now? what noise is there?
[ENTER SERVANT, THEN PETO.]
- Sir, it is Peto is come home.
- Peto, bring him hither, bring him hither, what, how now,
signior drunkard, in arms against me, ha? your reason, your
reason for this.
- I beseech your worship to pardon me.
- Well, sirrah, tell him I do pardon him.
- Truly, sir, I did happen into bad company by chance,
and they cast me in a sleep and stript me of all my clothes.
- Tut, this is not to the purpose touching your armour,
what might your armour signify?
- Marry, sir, it hung in the room where they stript me, and
I borrowed it of one of the drawers, now in the evening, to
come home in, because I was loth to come through the street
in my shirt.
[ENTER LORENZO JUNIOR, PROSPERO, HESPERIDA.]
- Well, disarm him, but it's no matter, let him stand by:
who be these? oh, young gallants; welcome, welcome, and you,
lady, nay, never scatter such amazed looks amongst us,
Qui nil potest sperare desperet nihil.
- Faith, master Doctor, that's even I, my hopes are small,
and my despair shall be as little. Brother, sister, brother,
what, cloudy, cloudy? "and will no sunshine on these looks
appear?" well, since there is such a tempest toward, I'll be
the porpoise, I'll dance: wench, be of good cheer, thou hast a
cloak for the rain yet, where is he? 'Sheart, how now, the
picture of the prodigal, go to, I'll have the calf drest for
you at my charges.
LOR. SE. Well, son Lorenzo, this day's work of yours hath much
deceived my hopes, troubled my peace, and stretch'd my patience
further than became the spirit of duty.
- Nay, God's pity, Signior Lorenzo, you shall urge it no
more: come, since you are here, I'll have the disposing of all,
but first, Signior Giuliano, at my request take your cloak again.
- Well, sir, I am content.
- Stay, now let me see, oh signior snow-liver, I had almost
forgotten him, and your Genius there, what, doth he suffer for a
good conscience too? doth he bear his cross with patience?
- Nay, they have scarce one cross between them both to bear.
- Why, dost thou know him? what is he? what is he?
- Marry, search his pocket, sir, and he'll shew you he is an
- Dic mihi musa virum: are you an author, sir? give me
leave a little, come on, sir, I'll make verses with you now
in honour of the gods and the goddesses for what you dare
extempore; and now I begin.
"Mount thee my Phlegon muse, and testify,
How Saturn sitting in an ebon cloud,
Disrobed his podex, white as ivory,
And through the welkin thunder'd all aloud."
There's for you, sir.
- Oh, he writes not in that height of style.
- No: we'll come a step or two lower then.
"From Catadupa and the banks of Nile,
Where only breeds your monstrous crocodile,
Now are we purposed for to fetch our style."
- Oh, too far-fetch'd for him still, master Doctor.
- Ay, say you so? let's intreat a sight of his vein then.
- Signior, master Doctor desires to see a sight of your
vein, nay, you must not deny him.
- What, all this verse, body of me, he carries a whole
realm; a commonwealth of paper in his hose, let's see some of
"Unto the boundless ocean of thy beauty,
Runs this poor river, charg'd with streams of zeal,
Returning thee the tribute of my duty:
Which here my youth, my plaints, my love reveal."
Good! is this your own invention?
- No, sir, I translated that out of a book, called
- Oh, but I would see some of your own, some of your own.
- Sir, here's the beginning of a sonnet I made to my
- That, that: who? to Madonna Hesperida, is she your
- It pleaseth him to call her so, sir.
- "In summer time, when Phoebus' golden rays."
You translated this too, did you not?
- No, this is invention; he found it in a ballad.
- Faith sir, I had most of the conceit of it out of a
- Conceit, fetch me a couple of torches, sirrah,
I may see the conceit: quickly! it's very dark!
- Call you this poetry?
LOR. JU. Poetry? nay, then call blasphemy, religion;
Call devils, angels; and sin, piety:
Let all things be preposterously transchanged.
LOR. SE. Why, how now, son! what are you startled now?
Hath the brize prick'd you, ha? go to; you see
How abjectly your poetry is rank'd in general opinion.
LOR. JU. Opinion, O God, let gross opinion sink and be damn'd
As deep as Barathrum,
If it may stand with your most wish'd content,
I can refell opinion and approve
The state of poesy, such as it is,
Blessed, eternal, and most true divine:
Indeed, if you will look on Poesy
As she appears in many, poor and lame,
Patch'd up in remnants and old worn rags,
Half starved for want of her peculiar food:
Sacred invention, then I must confirm
Both your conceit and censure of her merit,
But view her in her glorious ornaments,
Attired in the majesty of art,
Set high in spirit, with the precious taste
Of sweet philosophy, and which is most,
Crown'd with the rich traditions of a soul
That hates to have her dignity profaned
With any relish of an earthly thought:
Oh, then how proud a presence doth she bear.
Then is she like herself, fit to be seen
Of none but grave and consecrated eyes:
Nor is it any blemish to her fame,
That such lean, ignorant, and blasted wits,
Such brainless gulls, should utter their stol'n wares
With such applauses in our vulgar ears:
Or that their slubber'd lines have current pass
From the fat judgments of the multitude,
But that this barren and infected age
Should set no difference 'twixt these empty spirits
And a true poet: than which reverend name
Nothing can more adorn humanity.
[ENTER WITH TORCHES.]
- Ay, Lorenzo, but election is now governed altogether by
the influence of humour, which, instead of those holy flames
that should direct and light the soul to eternity, hurls forth
nothing but smoke and congested vapours, that stifle her up, and
bereave her of all sight and motion. But she must have a store
of hellebore given her to purge these gross obstructions: oh,
that's well said, give me thy torch, come, lay this stuff
- So, give fire! there, see, see, how our poet's glory
shines brighter and brighter, still, still it increaseth, oh,
now it's at the highest, and now it declines as fast: you may
see, gallants, "sic transit gloria mundi." Well now, my two
signior outsides, stand forth, and lend me your large ears, to
a sentence, to a sentence: first, you, Signior, shall this night
to the cage, and so shall you, sir, from thence to-morrow morning,
you, Signior, shall be carried to the market cross, and be there
bound: and so shall you, sir, in a large motley coat, with a rod
at your girdle; and you in an old suit of sackcloth, and the
ashes of your papers (save the ashes, sirrah) shall mourn all day,
and at night both together sing some ballad of repentance very
piteously, which you shall make to the tune of "Who list to lead
and a soldier's life." Sirrah bill-man, embrace you this torch,
and light the gentlemen to their lodgings, and because we tender
their safety, you shall watch them to-night, you are provided for
the purpose, away, and look to your charge with an open eye,
- Well, I am arm'd in soul against the worst of fortune.
- Faith, so should I be, an I had slept on it.
- I am arm'd too, but I am not like to sleep on it.
- Oh, how this pleaseth me.
- Now, Signior Thorello, Giuliano, Prospero, Biancha.
- And not me, sir.
- Yes, and you, sir: I had lost a sheep an he had not
bleated, I must have you all friends: but first a word with
you, young gallant, and you, lady.
- Well, brother Prospero, by this good light that shines
here, I am loth to kindle fresh coals, but an you had come in
my walk within these two hours I had given you that you should
not have clawed off again in haste, by Jesus, I had done it, I
am the arrant'st rogue that ever breathed else, but now beshrew
my heart if I bear you any malice in the earth.
- Faith, I did it but to hold up a jest, and help my sister
to a husband, but, brother Thorello, and sister, you have a spice
of the jealous yet, both of you, (in your hose, I mean,) come, do
not dwell upon your anger so much, let's all be smooth foreheaded
- He plays upon my forehead, brother Giuliano, I pray you
tell me one thing I shall ask you: is my forehead any thing
rougher than it was wont to be?
- Rougher? your forehead is smooth enough, man.
- Why should he then say, be smooth foreheaded,
Unless he jested at the smoothness of it?
And that may be, for horn is very smooth;
So are my brows, by Jesu, smooth as horn!
- Brother, had he no haunt thither, in good faith?
- No, upon my soul.
- Nay, then, sweet-heart: nay, I pray thee, be not angry,
good faith, I'll never suspect thee any more, nay, kiss me,
- Tell me, Biancha, do not you play the woman with me.
- What's that, sweet-heart?
- Nay, do not turn away: but say i'faith was it not a
match appointed 'twixt this old gentleman and you?
- A match?
- Nay, if it were not, I do not care: do not weep, I pray
thee, sweet Biancha, nay, so now! by Jesus, I am not jealous,
but resolved I have the faithful'st wife in Italy.
"For this I find, where jealousy is fed,
Horns in the mind are worse than on the head.
See what a drove of horns fly in the air,
Wing'd with my cleansed and my credulous breath:
Watch them, suspicious eyes, watch where they fall,
See, see, on heads that think they have none at all.
Oh, what a plenteous world of this will come,
When air rains horns, all men be sure of some:
- Why that's well, come then: what say you, are all
agreed? doth none stand out?
- None but this gentleman: to whom in my own person I owe
all duty and affection; but most seriously intreat pardon, for
whatsoever hath past in these occurrants that might be contrary
to his most desired content.
LOR. SE. Faith sir, it is a virtue that pursues
Any save rude and uncomposed spirits,
To make a fair construction, and indeed
Not to stand off, when such respective means
Invite a general content in all.
- Well, then I conjure you all here to put off all
discontentment, first, you, Signior Lorenzo, your cares; you,
and you, your jealousy; you, your anger, and you, your wit,
sir; and for a peace-offering, here's one willing to be
sacrificed upon this altar: say, do you approve my motion?
- We do, I'll be mouth for all.
- Why, then I wish them all joy, and now, to make our
evening happiness more full: this night you shall be all my
guests: where we'll enjoy the very spirit of mirth, and carouse
to the health of this heroic spirit, whom to honour the more I
do invest in my own robes, desiring you two, Giuliano and
Prospero, to be his supporters, the train to follow, myself
will lead, ushered by my page here with this honourable verse --
"Claudite jam rivos pueri sat prata biberunt."
ABATE, cast down, subdue.
ABHORRING, repugnant (to), at variance.
ABJECT, base, degraded thing, outcast.
ABRASE, smooth, blank.
ABSTRACTED, abstract, abstruse.
ABUSE, deceive, insult, dishonour, make ill use of.
ACCEPTIVE, willing, ready to accept, receive.
ACCOMMODATE, fit, befitting. (The word was a fashionable
one and used on all occasions. See "Henry IV.," pt. 2,
ACCOST, draw near, approach.
ACKNOWN, confessedly acquainted with.
ACME, full maturity.
ADALANTADO, lord deputy or governor of a Spanish province.
ADMIRE, wonder, wonder at.
ADROP, philosopher's stone, or substance from which obtained.
ADULTERATE, spurious, counterfeit.
ADVERTISE, inform, give intelligence.
ADVERTISED, "be --," be it known to you.
ADVISE, consider, bethink oneself, deliberate.
ADVISED, informed, aware; "are you --?" have you found that out?
AFFECT, love, like; aim at; move.
AFFECTED, disposed; beloved.
AFFECTIONATE, obstinate; prejudiced.
AFFRONT, "give the -- ," face.
AFFY, have confidence in; betroth.
AFTER, after the manner of.
AGAIN, AGAINST, in anticipation of.
AGGRAVATE, increase, magnify, enlarge upon.
- See Paranomasie.
AIERY, nest, brood.
ALL HID, children's cry at hide-and-seek.
ALL-TO, completely, entirely ("all-to-be-laden").
ALLOWANCE, approbation, recognition.
ALMA-CANTARAS (astronomy), parallels of altitude.
ALMAIN, name of a dance.
ALMUTEN, planet of chief influence in the horoscope.
ALONE, unequalled, without peer.
ALUDELS, subliming pots.
AMAZED, confused, perplexed.
AMBER, AMBRE, ambergris.
AMBREE, MARY, a woman noted for her valour at the
siege of Ghent, 1458.
AMES-ACE, lowest throw at dice.
AMUSED, bewildered, amazed.
ANATOMY, skeleton, or dissected body.
ANGEL, gold coin worth 10 shillings, stamped with the
figure of the archangel Michael.
ANNESH CLEARE, spring known as Agnes le Clare.
ANSWER, return hit in fencing.
ANTIC, ANTIQUE, clown, buffoon.
ANTIC, like a buffoon.
ANTIPERISTASIS, an opposition which enhances the quality
APPLE-JOHN, APPLE-SQUIRE, pimp, pander.
APPREHEND, take into custody.
APPREHENSIVE, quick of perception; able to perceive and appreciate.
APPROVE, prove, confirm.
APT, suit, adapt; train, prepare; dispose, incline.
APT(LY), suitable(y), opportune(ly).
ARBOR, "make the --," cut up the game (Gifford).
ARCHES, Court of Arches.
ARCHIE, Archibald Armstrong, jester to James I. and Charles I.
ARGAILE, argol, crust or sediment in wine casks.
ARGUMENT, plot of a drama; theme, subject; matter in question;
ARSEDINE, mixture of copper and zinc, used as an imitation of
ARTHUR, PRINCE, reference to an archery show by a society who
assumed arms, etc., of Arthur's knights.
ASCENSION, evaporation, distillation.
ASPIRE, try to reach, obtain, long for.
ASSALTO (Italian), assault.
ASSAY, draw a knife along the belly of the deer, a
ceremony of the hunting-field.
ASSURE, secure possession or reversion of.
ATHANOR, a digesting furnace, calculated to keep up a
ATTACH, attack, seize.
AUDACIOUS, having spirit and confidence.
AUTHENTIC(AL), of authority, authorised, trustworthy, genuine.
AVISEMENT, reflection, consideration.
AVOID, begone! get rid of.
AWAY WITH, endure.
AZOCH, Mercurius Philosophorum.
BACK-SIDE, back premises.
BAFFLE, treat with contempt.
BAGATINE, Italian coin, worth about the third of a farthing.
BAIARD, horse of magic powers known to old romance.
BALDRICK, belt worn across the breast to support bugle, etc.
BALE (of dice), pair.
BALK, overlook, pass by, avoid.
BALLOO, game at ball.
BALNEUM (BAIN MARIE), a vessel for holding hot water
in which other vessels are stood for heating.
BANBURY, "brother of --," Puritan.
BANDOG, dog tied or chained up.
BANE, woe, ruin.
BANQUET, a light repast; dessert.
BARB, to clip gold.
BARBEL, fresh-water fish.
BARE, meer; bareheaded; it was "a particular mark of state
and grandeur for the coachman to be uncovered" (Gifford).
BARLEY-BREAK, game somewhat similar to base.
BASE, game of prisoner's base.
BASES, richly embroidered skirt reaching to the knees, or
BASILISK, fabulous reptile, believed to slay with its eye.
BASKET, used for the broken provision collected for prisoners.
BASON, basons, etc., were beaten by the attendant mob when
bad characters were "carted."
BATE, be reduced; abate, reduce.
BATOON, baton, stick.
BATTEN, feed, grow fat.
BEADSMAN, prayer-man, one engaged to pray for another.
BEAGLE, small hound; fig. spy.
BEAR IN HAND, keep in suspense, deceive with false hopes.
BEARWARD, bear leader.
- See Phere.
BEDSTAFF, (?) wooden pin in the side of the bedstead for
supporting the bedclothes (Johnson); one of the sticks or
"laths"; a stick used in making a bed.
BEETLE, heavy mallet.
BEG, "I'd -- him," the custody of minors and idiots was
begged for; likewise property fallen forfeit to the Crown
("your house had been begged").
BELL-MAN, night watchman.
BENJAMIN, an aromatic gum.
BETHLEHEM GABOR, Transylvanian hero, proclaimed King of Hungary.
BEVIS, SIR, knight of romance whose horse was equally celebrated.
BEWRAY, reveal, make known.
BEZANT, heraldic term: small gold circle.
BEZOAR'S STONE, a remedy known by this name was a
supposed antidote to poison.
BIGGIN, cap, similar to that worn by the Beguines; nightcap.
BILIVE (belive), with haste.
BILK, nothing, empty talk.
BILL, kind of pike.
BILLET, wood cut for fuel, stick.
BLACK SANCTUS, burlesque hymn, any unholy riot.
BLANK, originally a small French coin.
BLANKET, toss in a blanket.
BLAZE, outburst of violence.
BLAZE, (her.) blazon; publish abroad.
BLAZON, armorial bearings; fig. all that pertains to
good birth and breeding.
BLIN, "withouten --," without ceasing.
BLOW, puff up.
BLUE, colour of servants' livery, hence "-- order,"
BLUSHET, blushing one.
BOB, jest, taunt.
BOB, beat, thump.
BODKIN, dagger, or other short, pointed weapon; long
pin with which the women fastened up their hair.
BOLT, roll (of material).
BOLT, dislodge, rout out; sift (boulting-tub).
BOLT'S-HEAD, long, straight-necked vessel for distillation.
BOMBARD SLOPS, padded, puffed-out breeches.
BONA ROBA, "good, wholesome, plum-cheeked wench" (Johnson)
-- not always used in compliment.
BONNY-CLABBER, sour butter-milk.
BOOT, "to --," into the bargain; "no --," of no avail.
BORACHIO, bottle made of skin.
BORNE IT, conducted, carried it through.
BOTTLE (of hay), bundle, truss.
BOTTOM, skein or ball of thread; vessel.
BOVOLI, snails or cockles dressed in the Italian manner
BOW-POT, flower vase or pot.
BOYS, "terrible --," "angry --," roystering young bucks.
BRABBLES (BRABBLESH), brawls.
BRADAMANTE, a heroine in "Orlando Furioso."
BRADLEY, ARTHUR OF, a lively character commemorated in
BRAKE, frame for confining a horse's feet while being
shod, or strong curb or bridle; trap.
BRANCHED, with "detached sleeve ornaments, projecting
from the shoulders of the gown" (Gifford).
BRANDISH, flourish of weapon.
BRAVE, bravado, braggart speech.
BRAVE (adv.), gaily, finely (apparelled).
BRAVERY, extravagant gaiety of apparel.
BRAVO, bravado, swaggerer.
BRAZEN-HEAD, speaking head made by Roger Bacon.
BREATHE, pause for relaxation; exercise.
BREATH UPON, speak dispraisingly of.
BRIDE-ALE, wedding feast.
BRIEF, abstract; (mus.) breve.
BRISK, smartly dressed.
BRIZE, breese, gadfly.
BROAD-SEAL, state seal.
BROCK, badger (term of contempt).
BROKE, transact business as a broker.
BROOK, endure, put up with.
BROUGHTON, HUGH, an English divine and Hebrew scholar.
BUFF, leather made of buffalo skin, used for military
and serjeants' coats, etc.
BUFO, black tincture.
BUGLE, long-shaped bead.
BULLED, (?) bolled, swelled.
BULLIONS, trunk hose.
BULLY, term of familiar endearment.
BUNGY, Friar Bungay, who had a familiar in the shape of a dog.
BURDEN, refrain, chorus.
BURGONET, closely-fitting helmet with visor.
BURN, mark wooden measures ("--ing of cans").
BURROUGH, pledge, security.
BUSKIN, half-boot, foot gear reaching high up the leg.
BUTT-SHAFT, barbless arrow for shooting at butts.
BUTTER, NATHANIEL ("Staple of News"), a compiler of general
- (See Cunningham).
BUTTERY-HATCH, half-door shutting off the buttery, where
provisions and liquors were stored.
BUY, "he bought me," formerly the guardianship of wards
could be bought.
BUZ, exclamation to enjoin silence.
BY AND BY, at once.
BY(E), "on the __," incidentally, as of minor or secondary
importance; at the side.
BY-CHOP, by-blow, bastard.
CADUCEUS, Mercury's wand.
CALIVER, light kind of musket.
CALLET, woman of ill repute.
CALLOT, coif worn on the wigs of our judges or
CALVERED, crimped, or sliced and pickled. (See Nares).
CAMOUCCIO, wretch, knave.
CANDLE-RENT, rent from house property.
CANDLE-WASTER, one who studies late.
CANTER, sturdy beggar.
CAP OF MAINTENCE, an insignia of dignity, a cap of state
borne before kings at their coronation; also an heraldic term.
CAPABLE, able to comprehend, fit to receive instruction,
CAPANEUS, one of the "Seven against Thebes."
CARACT, carat, unit of weight for precious stones, etc.;
CARANZA, Spanish author of a book on duelling.
CARCANET, jewelled ornament for the neck.
CARE, take care; object.
CAROSH, coach, carriage.
CARRIAGE, bearing, behaviour.
CARWHITCHET, quip, pun.
CASAMATE, casemate, fortress.
CASE, a pair.
CASE, "in --," in condition.
CASSOCK, soldier's loose overcoat.
CAST, flight of hawks, couple.
CAST, throw dice; vomit; forecast, calculate.
CASTING-GLASS, bottle for sprinkling perfume.
CASTRIL, kestrel, falcon.
CAT, structure used in sieges.
CATAMITE, old form of "ganymede."
CATCHPOLE, sheriff's officer.
CATES, dainties, provisions.
CATSO, rogue, cheat.
CAUTELOUS, crafty, artful.
CENSURE, criticism; sentence.
CENSURE, criticise; pass sentence, doom.
CERUSE, cosmetic containing white lead.
CHANGE, "hunt --," follow a fresh scent.
CHAPMAN, retail dealer.
CHARM, subdue with magic, lay a spell on, silence.
CHARMING, exercising magic power.
CHEAP, bargain, market.
CHEAR, CHEER, comfort, encouragement; food, entertainment.
CHECK AT, aim reproof at.
CHEQUIN, gold Italian coin.
CHEVRIL, from kidskin, which is elastic and pliable.
CHIAUS, Turkish envoy; used for a cheat, swindler.
CHILDERMASS DAY, Innocents' Day.
CHOKE-BAIL, action which does not allow of bail.
CHRYSOSPERM, ways of producing gold.
CIBATION, adding fresh substances to supply the waste
CIOPPINI, chopine, lady's high shoe.
CIRCLING BOY, "a species of roarer; one who in some way
drew a man into a snare, to cheat or rob him" (Nares).
CIRCUMSTANCE, circumlocution, beating about the bush;
ceremony, everything pertaining to a certain condition;
CITRONISE, turn citron colour.
CITTERN, kind of guitar.
CITY-WIRES, woman of fashion, who made use of wires
for hair and dress.
CLAP, clack, chatter.
CLAPPER-DUDGEON, downright beggar.
CLAPS HIS DISH, a clap, or clack, dish (dish with a
movable lid) was carried by beggars and lepers to show
that the vessel was empty, and to give sound of their
CLARIDIANA, heroine of an old romance.
CLARISSIMO, Venetian noble.
CLIM O' THE CLOUGHS, etc., wordy heroes of romance.
CLOSE, secret, private; secretive.
CLOTH, arras, hangings.
CLOUT, mark shot at, bull's eye.
CLOWN, countryman, clodhopper.
COACH-LEAVES, folding blinds.
COALS, "bear no --," submit to no affront.
COAT-ARMOUR, coat of arms.
COB-HERRING, HERRING-COB, a young herring.
COB-SWAN, male swan.
COCK-A-HOOP, denoting unstinted jollity; thought to
be derived from turning on the tap that all might
drink to the full of the flowing liquor.
COCKATRICE, reptile supposed to be produced from a
cock's egg and to kill by its eye -- used as a term
of reproach for a woman.
COCK-BRAINED, giddy, wild.
COCKSCOMB, fool's cap.
COCKSTONE, stone said to be found in a cock's
gizzard, and to possess particular virtues.
CODLING, softening by boiling.
COFFIN, raised crust of a pie.
COG, cheat, wheedle.
COIL, turmoil, confusion, ado.
COKELY, master of a puppet-show (Whalley).
COKES, fool, gull.
COLD-CONCEITED, having cold opinion of, coldly
COLE-HARBOUR, a retreat for people of all sorts.
COLLECTION, composure; deduction.
COLLOP, small slice, piece of flesh.
COLOURS, "fear no --," no enemy (quibble).
COLSTAFF, cowlstaff, pole for carrying a cowl=tub.
COME ABOUT, charge, turn round.
COMFORTABLE BREAD, spiced gingerbread.
COMING, forward, ready to respond, complaisant.
COMMENT, commentary; "sometime it is taken for a lie
or fayned tale" (Bullokar, 1616).
COMMODITY, "current for --," allusion to practice of
money-lenders, who forced the borrower to take part of
the loan in the shape of worthless goods on which the
latter had to make money if he could.
COMPASS, "in --," within the range, sphere.
COMPLEMENT, completion, completement; anything
required for the perfecting or carrying out of
a person or affair; accomplishment.
COMPLEXION, natural disposition, constitution.
COMPLIMENT, See Complement.
COMPLIMENTARIES, masters of accomplishments.
COMPOSITION, constitution; agreement, contract.
COMPTER, COUNTER, debtors' prison.
CONCEALMENT, a certain amount of church property
had been retained at the dissolution of the monasteries;
Elizabeth sent commissioners to search it out, and the
courtiers begged for it.
CONCEIT, idea, fancy, witty invention, conception, opinion.
CONCEITED, fancifully, ingeniously devised or conceived;
possessed of intelligence, witty, ingenious (hence well
conceited, etc.); disposed to joke; of opinion, possessed
of an idea.
CONCENT, harmony, agreement.
CONCLUDE, infer, prove.
CONCOCT, assimilate, digest.
CONDEN'T, probably conducted.
CONDUCT, escort, conductor.
CONNIVE, give a look, wink, of secret intelligence.
CONSORT, company, concert.
CONSTANCY, fidelity, ardour, persistence.
CONSTANT, confirmed, persistent, faithful.
CONSTANTLY, firmly, persistently.
CONTINENT, holding together.
CONTROL (the point), bear or beat down.
CONVENT, assembly, meeting.
CONVERT, turn (oneself).
CONVEY, transmit from one to another.
CONVINCE, evince, prove; overcome, overpower; convict.
COP, head, top; tuft on head of birds; "a cop" may
have reference to one or other meaning; Gifford and
others interpret as "conical, terminating in a point."
COPY (Lat. copia), abundance, copiousness.
CORN ("powder --"), grain.
COROLLARY, finishing part or touch.
CORTINE, curtain, (arch.) wall between two towers, etc.
CORYAT, famous for his travels, published as "Coryat's
COSSET, pet lamb, pet.
COSTARD-MONGER, apple-seller, coster-monger.
COTHURNAL, from "cothurnus," a particular boot worn by
actors in Greek tragedy.
COUNTENANCE, means necessary for support; credit, standing.
- See Compter.
COUNTER, pieces of metal or ivory for calculating at play.
COUNTER, "hunt --," follow scent in reverse direction.
COUNTERFEIT, false coin.
COUNTERPANE, one part or counterpart of a deed or indenture.
COUNTERPOINT, opposite, contrary point.
COURT-DISH, a kind of drinking-cup (Halliwell); N.E.D.
quotes from Bp. Goodman's "Court of James I.": "The
king...caused his carver to cut him out a court-dish,
that is, something of every dish, which he sent him as
part of his reversion," but this does not sound like
short allowance or small receptacle.
COURTEAU, curtal, small horse with docked tail.
COWSHARD, cow dung.
COXCOMB, fool's cap, fool.
COY, shrink; disdain.
COYSTREL, low varlet.
CRACK, lively young rogue, wag.
CRACK, crack up, boast; come to grief.
CRAMBE, game of crambo, in which the players find
rhymes for a given word.
CRANION, spider-like; also fairy appellation for a
fly (Gifford, who refers to lines in Drayton's
CRIMP, game at cards.
CRINCLE, draw back, turn aside.
CRISPED, with curled or waved hair.
CROP, gather, reap.
CROPSHIRE, a kind of herring. (See N.E.D.)
CROSS, any piece of money, many coins being stamped
with a cross.
CROSS AND PILE, heads and tails.
CRUDITIES, undigested matter.
CRUMP, curl up.
CRUSADO, Portuguese gold coin, marked with a cross.
CRY ("he that cried Italian"), "speak in a musical
cadence," intone, or declaim (?); cry up.
CUCKING-STOOL, used for the ducking of scolds, etc.
CUCURBITE, a gourd-shaped vessel used for distillation.
CUERPO, "in --," in undress.
CULLION, base fellow, coward.
CULLISEN, badge worn on their arm by servants.
CULVERIN, kind of cannon.
CURE, care for.
CURIOUS(LY), scrupulous, particular; elaborate,
elegant(ly), dainty(ly) (hence "in curious").
CURST, shrewish, mischievous.
CURTAL, dog with docked tail, of inferior sort.
CUSTARD, "quaking --," " -- politic," reference to
a large custard which formed part of a city feast
and afforded huge entertainment, for the fool jumped
into it, and other like tricks were played. (See
"All's Well, etc." ii. 5, 40.)
CUTWORK, embroidery, open-work.
CYPRES (CYPRUS) (quibble), cypress (or cyprus) being
a transparent material, and when black used for mourning.
DAGGER (" -- frumety"), name of tavern.
DARGISON, apparently some person known in ballad or tale.
DAUPHIN MY BOY, refrain of old comic song.
DEAD LIFT, desperate emergency.
DEAR, applied to that which in any way touches us nearly.
DECLINE, turn off from; turn away, aside.
DEFALK, deduct, abate.
DEMI-CULVERIN, cannon carrying a ball of about ten pounds.
DENIER, the smallest possible coin, being the twelfth
part of a sou.
DEPART, part with.
DEPENDANCE, ground of quarrel in duello language.
DESPERATE, rash, reckless.
DETECT, allow to be detected, betray, inform against.
DETRACT, draw back, refuse.
DEVICE, masque, show; a thing moved by wires,
DEVISE, exact in every particular.
DIAPASM, powdered aromatic herbs, made into balls
of perfumed paste. (See Pomander.)
DIBBLE, (?) moustache (N.E.D.); (?) dagger (Cunningham).
DIFFUSED, disordered, scattered, irregular.
DILDO, refrain of popular songs; vague term of low meaning.
DIMBLE, dingle, ravine.
DIMENSUM, stated allowance.
DISCERN, distinguish, show a difference between.
DISCHARGE, settle for.
DISCIPLINE, reformation; ecclesiastical system.
DISCLAIM, renounce all part in.
DISCOURSE, process of reasoning, reasoning faculty.
DISCOVER, betray, reveal; display.
DISPARAGEMENT, legal term applied to the unfitness
in any way of a marriage arranged for in the case
DISPENSE WITH, grant dispensation for.
DIS'PLE, discipline, teach by the whip.
DISPOSED, inclined to merriment.
DISPUNCT, not punctilious.
DISSOLVED, enervated by grief.
DISTANCE, (?) proper measure.
DISTASTE, offence, cause of offence.
DISTASTE, render distasteful.
DISTEMPERED, upset, out of humour.
DIVISION (mus.), variation, modulation.
DOG-BOLT, term of contempt.
DOLE, given in dole, charity.
DOLE OF FACES, distribution of grimaces.
DOOM, verdict, sentence.
DOP, dip, low bow.
DOR, beetle, buzzing insect, drone, idler.
DOR, (?) buzz; "give the --," make a fool of.
DOSSER, pannier, basket.
DOTES, endowments, qualities.
DOTTEREL, plover; gull, fool.
DOUBLE, behave deceitfully.
DOXY, wench, mistress.
DRACHM, Greek silver coin.
DRESS, groom, curry.
DRYFOOT, track by mere scent of foot.
DUCKING, punishment for minor offences.
DUMPS, melancholy, originally a mournful melody.
DURINDANA, Orlando's sword.
DWINDLE, shrink away, be overawed.
EAN, yean, bring forth young.
EGREGIOUS, eminently excellent.
EKE, also, moreover.
E-LA, highest note in the scale.
EGGS ON THE SPIT, important business on hand.
ELF-LOCK, tangled hair, supposed to be the work of elves.
- See Ingle.
ENGHLE, cajole; fondle.
ENGIN(E), device, contrivance; agent; ingenuity, wit.
ENGINER, engineer, deviser, plotter.
ENGINOUS, crafty, full of devices; witty, ingenious.
ENS, an existing thing, a substance.
ENSIGNS, tokens, wounds.
ENTERTAIN, take into service.
ENTRY, place where a deer has lately passed.
ENVOY, denouement, conclusion.
ENVY, spite, calumny, dislike, odium.
EQUAL, just, impartial.
ERECTION, elevation in esteem.
ERINGO, candied root of the sea-holly, formerly
used as a sweetmeat and aphrodisiac.
ESSENTIATE, become assimilated.
EURIPUS, flux and reflux.
EVEN, just equable.
EVENT, fate, issue.
EXAMPLESS, without example or parallel.
EXCALIBUR, King Arthur's sword.
EXEMPLIFY, make an example of.
EXEMPT, separate, exclude.
EXHALE, drag out.
EXHIBITION, allowance for keep, pocket-money.
EXORBITANT, exceeding limits of propriety or law,
EXPLICATE, explain, unfold.
EXTEMPORAL, extempore, unpremeditated.
EXTRAORDINARY, employed for a special or temporary purpose.
EYE, "in --," in view.
EYEBRIGHT, (?) a malt liquor in which the herb of
this name was infused, or a person who sold the same
EYE-TINGE, least shade or gleam.
FACES ABOUT, military word of command.
FACINOROUS, extremely wicked.
FACT, deed, act, crime.
FACTIOUS, seditious, belonging to a party, given to party feeling.
FAGIOLI, French beans.
FAIN, forced, necessitated.
FALL, ruff or band turned back on the shoulders; or, veil.
FALSIFY, feign (fencing term).
FAMILIAR, attendant spirit.
FANTASTICAL, capricious, whimsical.
FAR-FET. See Fet.
FARTHINGAL, hooped petticoat.
FAULT, lack; loss, break in line of scent; "for --," in default of.
FAYLES, old table game similar to backgammon.
FEAT, activity, operation; deed, action.
FEAT, elegant, trim.
FEE, "in --" by feudal obligation.
FEIZE, beat, belabour.
FELLOW, term of contempt.
FENNEL, emblem of flattery.
FERE, companion, fellow.
FERN-SEED, supposed to have power of rendering invisible.
FEUTERER (Fr. vautrier), dog-keeper.
FIGGUM, (?) jugglery.
FIGMENT, fiction, invention.
FIRK, frisk, move suddenly, or in jerks; "-- up,"
stir up, rouse; "firks mad," suddenly behaves like
FIT, pay one out, punish.
FITTON (FITTEN), lie, invention.
FIVE-AND-FIFTY, "highest number to stand on at
FLAG, to fly low and waveringly.
FLAGON CHAIN, for hanging a smelling-bottle (Fr.
flacon) round the neck (?). (See N.E.D.).
FLAP-DRAGON, game similar to snap-dragon.
FLASKET, some kind of basket.
FLAW, sudden gust or squall of wind.
FLEA, catch fleas.
FLEER, sneer, laugh derisively.
FLESH, feed a hawk or dog with flesh to incite
it to the chase; initiate in blood-shed; satiate.
FLIGHT, light arrow.
FLOUT, mock, speak and act contemptuously.
FLOWERS, pulverised substance.
FLY, familiar spirit.
FOIL, weapon used in fencing; that which
sets anything off to advantage.
FOIST, cut-purse, sharper.
FOOT-CLOTH, housings of ornamental cloth which
hung down on either side a horse to the ground.
FOOTING, foothold; footstep; dancing.
FOR, "-- failing," for fear of failing.
FORBEAR, bear with; abstain from.
FORCE, "hunt at --," run the game down with dogs.
FOREHEAD, modesty; face, assurance, effrontery.
FORESPEAK, bewitch; foretell.
FORETOP, front lock of hair which fashion
required to be worn upright.
FORM, state formally.
FORMAL, shapely; normal; conventional.
FORTHCOMING, produced when required.
FOUNDER, disable with over-riding.
FOURM, form, lair.
FRAIL, rush basket in which figs or raisins
FRAMPULL, peevish, sour-tempered.
FRAPLER, blusterer, wrangler.
FRAYING, "a stag is said to fray his head when he
rubs it against a tree to...cause the outward coat
of the new horns to fall off" (Gifford).
FREIGHT (of the gazetti), burden (of the newspapers).
FRICATRICE, woman of low character.
FRIPPERY, old clothes shop.
FROLICS, (?) humorous verses circulated at a feast
(N.E.D.); couplets wrapped round sweetmeats (Cunningham).
FRUMETY, hulled wheat boiled in milk and spiced.
FRUMP, flout, sneer.
FUGEAND, (?) figent: fidgety, restless (N.E.D.).
FULLAM, false dice.
FULSOME, foul, offensive.
FURIBUND, raging, furious.
GALLEY-FOIST, city-barge, used on Lord Mayor's Day,
when he was sworn into his office at Westminster
GALLIARD, lively dance in triple time.
GAPE, be eager after.
GARAGANTUA, Rabelais' giant.
GARB, sheaf (Fr. gerbe); manner, fashion, behaviour.
GARD, guard, trimming, gold or silver lace, or other
GARDED, faced or trimmed.
GAVEL-KIND, name of a land-tenure existing chiefly in
Kent; from 16th century often used to denote custom
of dividing a deceased man's property equally among
his sons (N.E.D.).
GAZETTE, small Venetian coin worth about three-farthings.
GEANCE, jaunt, errand.
GEAR (GEER), stuff, matter, affair.
GEMONIES, steps from which the bodies of criminals
were thrown into the river.
GENERAL, free, affable.
GENIUS, attendant spirit.
GENTRY, gentlemen; manners characteristic of gentry,
GIGANTOMACHIZE, start a giants' war.
GLASS ("taking in of shadows, etc."), crystal or beryl.
GLEEK, card game played by three; party of three, trio;
GLICK (GLEEK), jest, gibe.
GLORIOUSLY, of vain glory.
GODWIT, bird of the snipe family.
GOLD-END-MAN, a buyer of broken gold and silver.
GONFALIONIER, standard-bearer, chief magistrate, etc.
GOOD, sound in credit.
GOOD-YEAR, good luck.
GOOSE-TURD, colour of. (See Turd).
GORCROW, carrion crow.
GORGET, neck armour.
GOWKED, from "gowk," to stand staring and gaping like
GRASS, (?) grease, fat.
GRATEFUL, agreeable, welcome.
GRATIFY, give thanks to.
GRATULATE, welcome, congratulate.
GRIPE, vulture, griffin.
GRIPE'S EGG, vessel in shape of.
GROGRAN, coarse stuff made of silk and mohair, or of
GROOM-PORTER, officer in the royal household.
GROPE, handle, probe.
GROUND, pit (hence "grounded judgments").
GUARD, caution, heed.
GUARDANT, heraldic term: turning the head only.
GUILDER, Dutch coin worth about 4d.
GULES, gullet, throat; heraldic term for red.
GULL, simpleton, dupe.
HAB NAB, by, on, chance.
HABERGEON, coat of mail.
HAGGARD, wild female hawk; hence coy, wild.
HALBERD, combination of lance and battle-axe.
HALL, "a --!" a cry to clear the room for the dancers.
HANDSEL, first money taken.
HANGER, loop or strap on a sword-belt from which the
sword was suspended.
HAP, fortune, luck.
HAPPINESS, appropriateness, fitness.
HARBOUR, track, trace (an animal) to its shelter.
HARPOCRATES, Horus the child, son of Osiris, figured
with a finger pointing to his mouth, indicative of
HARRINGTON, a patent was granted to Lord H. for the
coinage of tokens (q.v.).
HARRY NICHOLAS, founder of a community called the
"Family of Love."
HAY, net for catching rabbits, etc.
HAY! (Ital. hai!), you have it (a fencing term).
HAY IN HIS HORN, ill-tempered person.
HAZARD, game at dice; that which is staked.
HEAD, "first --," young deer with antlers first
sprouting; fig. a newly-ennobled man.
HEARKEN AFTER, inquire; "hearken out," find, search out.
HEAVEN AND HELL ("Alchemist"), names of taverns.
HEDGE IN, include.
HELM, upper part of a retort.
HER'NSEW, hernshaw, heron.
HIERONIMO (JERONIMO), hero of Kyd's "Spanish Tragedy."
HOBBY-HORSE, imitation horse of some light material,
fastened round the waist of the morrice-dancer, who
imitated the movements of a skittish horse.
HOIDEN, hoyden, formerly applied to both sexes (ancient
term for leveret? Gifford).
HOLLAND, name of two famous chemists.
HONE AND HONERO, wailing expressions of lament or discontent.
HORN-MAD, stark mad (quibble).
HORN-THUMB, cut-purses were in the habit of wearing a horn
shield on the thumb.
HORSE-BREAD-EATING, horses were often fed on coarse bread.
HOSPITAL, Christ's Hospital.
HOWLEGLAS, Eulenspiegel, the hero of a popular German
tale which relates his buffooneries and knavish tricks.
HUFF, hectoring, arrogance.
HUFF IT, swagger.
HUISHER (Fr. huissier), usher.
HUM, beer and spirits mixed together.
HUMANITIAN, humanist, scholar.
HUMOROUS, capricious, moody, out of humour; moist.
HUMOUR, a word used in and out of season in the time
of Shakespeare and Ben Jonson, and ridiculed by both.
HUMPHREY, DUKE, those who were dinnerless spent the
dinner-hour in a part of St. Paul's where stood a
monument said to be that of the duke's; hence "dine
with Duke Humphrey," to go hungry.
IDLE, useless, unprofitable.
IMBIBITION, saturation, steeping.
IMBROCATA, fencing term: a thrust in tierce.
IMPART, give money.
IMPARTER, any one ready to be cheated and to part
with his money.
IMPERTINENT(LY), irrelevant(ly), without reason or purpose.
IMPOSITION, duty imposed by.
IMPOTENTLY, beyond power of control.
IMPRESS, money in advance.
IN AND IN, a game played by two or three persons
with four dice.
INCENSE, incite, stir up.
INCERATION, act of covering with wax; or reducing
a substance to softness of wax.
INCH, "to their --es," according to their stature,
INCONVENIENCE, inconsistency, absurdity.
INCONY, delicate, rare (used as a term of affection).
INCUBUS, evil spirit that oppresses us in sleep, nightmare.
INCURIOUS, unfastidious, uncritical.
INDENT, enter into engagement.
INDIFFERENT, tolerable, passable.
INDIGESTED, shapeless, chaotic.
INFANTED, born, produced.
INFLAME, augment charge.
INGENIOUS, used indiscriminantly for ingenuous;
- See Engin.
INGINER, engineer. (See Enginer).
INGLE, OR ENGHLE, bosom friend, intimate, minion.
INJURY, insult, affront.
IN-MATE, resident, indwelling.
INQUEST, jury, or other official body of inquiry.
INSTRUMENT, legal document.
INTEGRATE, complete, perfect.
INTELLIGENCE, secret information, news.
INTEND, note carefully, attend, give ear to, be
INTENT, intention, wish.
INTENTION, concentration of attention or gaze.
INTRUDE, bring in forcibly or without leave.
IRPE (uncertain), "a fantastic grimace, or contortion
of the body: (Gifford).
JACK, Jack o' the clock, automaton figure that strikes
the hour; Jack-a-lent, puppet thrown at in Lent.
JACK, key of a virginal.
JACOB'S STAFF, an instrument for taking altitudes and
JEALOUSY, JEALOUS, suspicion, suspicious.
JEW'S TRUMP, Jew's harp.
JIG, merry ballad or tune; a fanciful dialogue or
light comic act introduced at the end or during an
interlude of a play.
JOINED (JOINT)-STOOL, folding stool.
JUMP, agree, tally.
JUST YEAR, no one was capable of the consulship until
he was forty-three.
KELLY, an alchemist.
KEMIA, vessel for distillation.
KIBE, chap, sore.
KILDERKIN, small barrel.
KIND, nature; species; "do one's --," act according
to one's nature.
KIRTLE, woman's gown of jacket and petticoat.
KISS OR DRINK AFORE ME, "this is a familiar expression,
employed when what the speaker is just about to say is
anticipated by another" (Gifford).
KNACK, snap, click.
KNIPPER-DOLING, a well-known Anabaptist.
KNITTING CUP, marriage cup.
KNOCKING, striking, weighty.
KNOT, company, band; a sandpiper or robin snipe (Tringa
canutus); flower-bed laid out in fanciful design.
KURSINED, KYRSIN, christened.
LABOURED, wrought with labour and care.
LANCE-KNIGHT (Lanzknecht), a German mercenary foot-soldier.
LAR, household god.
LARUM, alarum, call to arms.
LATTICE, tavern windows were furnished with lattices of
LAUNDER, to wash gold in aqua regia, so as imperceptibly
to extract some of it.
LAVE, ladle, bale.
LAW, "give --," give a start (term of chase).
LAY ABOARD, run alongside generally with intent to board.
LEAGUER, siege, or camp of besieging army.
LEAVE, leave off, desist.
LEER, leering or "empty, hence, perhaps, leer horse,
a horse without a rider; leer is an adjective meaning
uncontrolled, hence 'leer drunkards'" (Halliwell);
according to Nares, a leer (empty) horse meant also a
led horse; leeward, left.
LEGS, "make --," do obeisance.
LEIGER, resident representative.
LEMMA, subject proposed, or title of the epigram.
LEVEL COIL, a rough game...in which one hunted
another from his seat. Hence used for any noisy
LEYSTALLS, receptacles of filth.
LIEGER, ledger, register.
LIFT(ING), steal(ing); theft.
LIGHTLY, commonly, usually, often.
LIKELY, agreeable, pleasing.
LIME-HOUND, leash-, blood-hound.
LIMMER, vile, worthless.
LIN, leave off.
Line, "by --," by rule.
LINSTOCK, staff to stick in the ground, with forked
head to hold a lighted match for firing cannon.
LIST, listen, hark; like, please.
LIVERY, legal term, delivery of the possession, etc.
LOGGET, small log, stick.
LOOSE, solution; upshot, issue; release of an arrow.
LOSE, give over, desist from; waste.
LOUTING, bowing, cringing.
LUCULENT, bright of beauty.
LUDGATHIANS, dealers on Ludgate Hill.
LURCH, rob, cheat.
LUTE, to close a vessel with some kind of cement.
MACK, unmeaning expletive.
MADGE-HOWLET or OWL, barn-owl.
MAIM, hurt, injury.
MAIN, chief concern (used as a quibble on heraldic
term for "hand").
MAINPRISE, becoming surety for a prisoner so as to
procure his release.
MAINTENANCE, giving aid, or abetting.
MAKE, MADE, acquaint with business, prepare(d), instruct(ed).
MALLANDERS, disease of horses.
MALT HORSE, dray horse.
MAMMOTHREPT, spoiled child.
MANAGE, control (term used for breaking-in horses);
MANGONISE, polish up for sale.
MANIPLES, bundles, handfuls.
MANKIND, masculine, like a virago.
MAPLE FACE, spotted face (N.E.D.).
MARCHPANE, a confection of almonds, sugar, etc.
MARK, "fly to the --," "generally said of a goshawk
when, having 'put in' a covey of partridges, she takes
stand, marking the spot where they disappeared from
view until the falconer arrives to put them out to her"
(Harting, Bibl. Accip. Gloss. 226).
MARROW-BONE MAN, one often on his knees for prayer.
MARRY! exclamation derived from the Virgin's name.
MARRY GIP, "probably originated from By Mary Gipcy =
St. Mary of Egypt, (N.E.D.).
MARTAGAN, Turk's cap lily.
MASORETH, Masora, correct form of the scriptural text
according to Hebrew tradition.
MASS, abb. for master.
MAUTHER, girl, maid.
MEASURE, dance, more especially a stately one.
MEAT, "carry -- in one's mouth," be a source of money
MECHANICAL, belonging to mechanics, mean, vulgar.
MEDITERRANEO, middle aisle of St. Paul's, a general
resort for business and amusement.
MEET WITH, even with.
MELICOTTON, a late kind of peach.
MERE, undiluted; absolute, unmitigated.
MESS, party of four.
METHEGLIN, fermented liquor, of which one ingredient
METOPOSCOPY, study of physiognomy.
MIDDLING GOSSIP, go-between.
MIGNIARD, dainty, delicate.
MILE-END, training-ground of the city.
MINION, form of cannon.
MINSITIVE, (?) mincing, affected (N.E.D.).
MISCELLANY MADAM, "a female trader in miscellaneous
articles; a dealer in trinkets or ornaments of various
kinds, such as kept shops in the New Exchange" (Nares).
MISCELLINE, mixed grain; medley.
MISPRISE, MISPRISION, mistake, misunderstanding.
MISTAKE AWAY, carry away as if by mistake.
MITHRIDATE, an antidote against poison.
MOCCINIGO, small Venetian coin, worth about ninepence.
MODERN, in the mode; ordinary, commonplace.
MOMENT, force or influence of value.
MONTANTO, upward stroke.
MONTH'S MIND, violent desire.
MOORISH, like a moor or waste.
MORGLAY, sword of Bevis of Southampton.
MORRICE-DANCE, dance on May Day, etc., in which
certain personages were represented.
MORT-MAL, old sore, gangrene.
MOSCADINO, confection flavoured with musk.
MOTHER, Hysterica passio.
MOTION, proposal, request; puppet, puppet-show;
"one of the small figures on the face of a large
clock which was moved by the vibration of the
MOTION, suggest, propose.
MOTLEY, parti-coloured dress of a fool; hence
used to signify pertaining to, or like, a fool.
MOURNIVAL, set of four aces or court cards in a hand;
MOW, setord hay or sheaves of grain.
MUCH! expressive of irony and incredulity.
MULE, "born to ride on --," judges or serjeants-at-law
formerly rode on mules when going in state to Westminster
MULLETS, small pincers.
MUM-CHANCE, game of chance, played in silence.
MUREY, dark crimson red.
MUSICAL, in harmony.
MUSS, mouse; scramble.
MYROBOLANE, foreign conserve, "a dried plum, brought
from the Indies."
MYSTERY, art, trade, profession.
NAIL, "to the --" (ad unguem), to perfection, to the
NEAT, smartly apparelled; unmixed; dainty.
NEATLY, neatly finished.
NEIS, nose, scent.
NEUF (NEAF, NEIF), fist.
NIAISE, foolish, inexperienced person.
NICE, fastidious, trivial, finical, scrupulous.
NICK, exact amount; right moment; "set in the --,"
NICE, suit, fit; hit, seize the right moment, etc.,
exactly hit on, hit off.
NOBLE, gold coin worth 6s. 8d.
NIL, not will.
NOISE, company of musicians.
NOMENTACK, an Indian chief from Virginia.
NOTE, sign, token.
NOUGHT, "be --," go to the devil, be hanged, etc.
NUPSON, oaf, simpleton.
OBARNI, preparation of mead.
OBJECT, oppose; expose; interpose.
OBLATRANT, barking, railing.
OBNOXIOUS, liable, exposed; offensive.
OBSERVANCE, homage, devoted service.
OBSERVANT, attentive, obsequious.
OBSERVE, show deference, respect.
OBSERVER, one who shows deference, or waits upon another.
OBSTANCY, legal phrase, "juridical opposition."
OBSTREPEROUS, clamorous, vociferous.
ODLING, (?) "must have some relation to tricking and
OMINOUS, deadly, fatal.
ONCE, at once; for good and all; used also for additional
ONLY, pre-eminent, special.
OPEN, make public; expound.
ORT, remnant, scrap.
OUT, "to be --," to have forgotten one's part;
not at one with each other.
OUTCRY, sale by auction.
OUTRECUIDANCE, arrogance, presumption.
OUTSPEAK, speak more than.
OVERPARTED, given too difficult a part to play.
- See Howleglass.
OYEZ! (O YES!), hear ye! call of the public crier
when about to make a proclamation.
PACKING PENNY, "give a --," dismiss, send packing.
PAINED (PANED) SLOPS, full breeches made of strips
of different colour and material.
PAINFUL, diligent, painstaking.
PALINODE, ode of recantation.
PALL, weaken, dim, make stale.
PAN, skirt of dress or coat.
PANNEL, pad, or rough kind of saddle.
PANNIER-ALLY, inhabited by tripe-sellers.
PANNIER-MAN, hawker; a man employed about the inns of
court to bring in provisions, set the table, etc.
PANTOFLE, indoor shoe, slipper.
PARAMENTOS, fine trappings.
PARANOMASIE, a play upon words.
PARANTORY, (?) peremptory.
PARCEL, particle, fragment (used contemptuously); article.
PARCEL, part, partly.
PARERGA, subordinate matters.
PARGET, to paint or plaster the face.
PARLOUS, clever, shrewd.
PARTAKE, participate in.
PARTED, endowed, talented.
PARTICULAR, individual person.
PARTIZAN, kind of halberd.
PARTS, qualities, endowments.
PASH, dash, smash.
PASS, care, trouble oneself.
PASSADO, fencing term: a thrust.
PASSAGE, game at dice.
PASSION, effect caused by external agency.
PASSION, "in --," in so melancholy a tone, so pathetically.
PATOUN, (?) Fr. Paton, pellet of dough; perhaps the
"moulding of the tobacco...for the pipe" (Gifford); (?)
variant of Petun, South American name of tobacco.
PATRICO, the recorder, priest, orator of strolling
beggars or gipsies.
PATTEN, shoe with wooden sole; "go --," keep step with,
PAUCA VERBA, few words.
PAVIN, a stately dance.
PEACE, "with my master's --," by leave, favour.
PECULIAR, individual, single.
PEDANT, teacher of the languages.
PEEL, baker's shovel.
PEEP, speak in a small or shrill voice.
PEEVISH(LY), foolish(ly), capricious(ly); childish(ly).
PELICAN, a retort fitted with tube or tubes, for
PENCIL, small tuft of hair.
PERDUE, soldier accustomed to hazardous service.
PEREMPTORY, resolute, bold; imperious; thorough, utter,
PERIMETER, circumference of a figure.
PERIOD, limit, end.
PERK, perk up.
PERPETUANA, "this seems to be that glossy kind of stuff
now called everlasting, and anciently worn by serjeants
and other city officers" (Gifford).
PERSPECTIVE, a view, scene or scenery; an optical device
which gave a distortion to the picture unless seen from a
particular point; a relief, modelled to produce an
PERSPICIL, optic glass.
PERSTRINGE, criticise, censure.
PERSUADE, inculcate, commend.
PESTLING, pounding, pulverising, like a pestle.
PETASUS, broad-brimmed hat or winged cap worn by Mercury.
PETRONEL, a kind of carbine or light gun carried by horsemen.
PETULANT, pert, insolent.
- See Fere.
PHLEGMA, watery distilled liquor (old chem. "water").
PICARDIL, stiff upright collar fastened on to the coat
PICT-HATCH, disreputable quarter of London.
PIECE, person, used for woman or girl; a gold coin
worth in Jonson's time 20s. or 22s.
PIECES OF EIGHT, Spanish coin: piastre equal to eight
PIE-POUDRES (Fr. pied-poudreux, dusty-foot), court held
at fairs to administer justice to itinerant vendors and
PILCHER, term of contempt; one who wore a buff or leather
jerkin, as did the serjeants of the counter; a pilferer.
PILED, pilled, peeled, bald.
PILL'D, polled, fleeced.
PIMLICO, "sometimes spoken of as a person -- perhaps
master of a house famous for a particular ale" (Gifford).
PINE, afflict, distress.
PINK, stab with a weapon; pierce or cut in scallops for
PINNACE, a go-between in infamous sense.
PISTOLET, gold coin, worth about 6s.
PITCH, height of a bird of prey's flight.
PLAGUE, punishment, torment.
PLAIN SONG, simple melody.
PLANET, "struck with a --," planets were supposed to
have powers of blasting or exercising secret influences.
PLY, apply oneself to.
POESIE, posy, motto inside a ring.
POINT IN HIS DEVICE, exact in every particular.
POINTS, tagged laces or cords for fastening the breeches
to the doublet.
POINT-TRUSSER, one who trussed (tied) his master's
POISE, weigh, balance.
POKING-STICK, stick used for setting the plaits of ruffs.
POLITIC, judicious, prudent, political.
POLITICIAN, plotter, intriguer.
POLL, strip, plunder, gain by extortion.
POMANDER, ball of perfume, worn or hung about the
person to prevent infection, or for foppery.
POMMADO, vaulting on a horse without the aid of stirrups.
POPULAR, vulgar, of the populace.
PORT, gate; print of a deer's foot.
PORTAGUE, Portuguese gold coin, worth over 3 or 4
PORTCULLIS, "-- of coin," some old coins have a
portcullis stamped on their reverse (Whalley).
PORTENT, marvel, prodigy; sinister omen.
PORTENTOUS, prophesying evil, threatening.
PORTER, references appear "to allude to Parsons, the king's
porter, who was...near seven feet high" (Whalley).
POSSESS, inform, acquaint.
POST AND PAIR, a game at cards.
POSY, motto. (See Poesie).
POUNCE, claw, talon.
PRACTICE, intrigue, concerted plot.
PRACTISE, plot, conspire.
PRAGMATIC, an expert, agent.
PRAGMATIC, officious, conceited, meddling.
PRECEDENT, record of proceedings.
PRECEPT, warrant, summons.
PRECISIAN(ISM), Puritan(ism), preciseness.
PRESENCE, presence chamber.
PRESENT(LY), immediate(ly), without delay; at the
present time; actually.
PRESS, force into service.
PRETEND, assert, allege.
PRICE, worth, excellence.
PRICK, point, dot used in the writing of Hebrew and
PRICK, prick out, mark off, select; trace, track;
"-- away," make off with speed.
PRIMERO, game of cards.
PRINCOX, pert boy.
PRINT, "in --," to the letter, exactly.
PRIVATE, private interests.
PRIVATE, privy, intimate.
PROCLIVE, prone to.
PRODIGIOUS, monstrous, unnatural.
PROJECTION, the throwing of the "powder of projection"
into the crucible to turn the melted metal into gold or
PROLATE, pronounce drawlingly.
PROPER, of good appearance, handsome; own, particular.
PROPERTIES, stage necessaries.
PROPERTY, duty; tool.
PRORUMPED, burst out.
PROTEST, vow, proclaim (an affected word of that time);
formally declare non-payment, etc., of bill of exchange;
fig. failure of personal credit, etc.
PROVANT, soldier's allowance -- hence, of common make.
PROVIDENCE, foresight, prudence.
PUBLICATION, making a thing public of common property (N.E.D.).
PUCKFIST, puff-ball; insipid, insignificant, boasting fellow.
PUFF-WING, shoulder puff.
PUISNE, judge of inferior rank, a junior.
PUNTO, point, hit.
PURCEPT, precept, warrant.
PURE, fine, capital, excellent.
PURELY, perfectly, utterly.
PURL, pleat or fold of a ruff.
PURSE-NET, net of which the mouth is drawn together
with a string.
PURSUIVANT, state messenger who summoned the persecuted
seminaries; warrant officer.
PURSY, PURSINESS, shortwinded(ness).
PUT, make a push, exert yourself (N.E.D.).
PUT OFF, excuse, shift.
PUT ON, incite, encourage; proceed with, take in hand, try.
QUAINT, elegant, elaborated, ingenious, clever.
QUARRIED, seized, or fed upon, as prey.
QUEAN, hussy, jade.
QUEASY, hazardous, delicate.
QUELL, kill, destroy.
QUEST, request; inquiry.
QUESTION, decision by force of arms.
QUESTMAN, one appointed to make official inquiry.
QUIB, QUIBLIN, quibble, quip.
QUICK, the living.
QUIDDIT, quiddity, legal subtlety.
QUIRK, clever turn or trick.
QUIT, requite, repay; acquit, absolve; rid; forsake,
QUITTER-BONE, disease of horses.
QUOIT, throw like a quoit, chuck.
QUOTE, take note, observe, write down.
RACK, neck of mutton or pork (Halliwell).
RAKE UP, cover over.
RAMP, rear, as a lion, etc.
RAPT, carry away.
RASCAL, young or inferior deer.
RASH, strike with a glancing oblique blow, as a
boar with its tusk.
RATSEY, GOMALIEL, a famous highwayman.
REBATU, ruff, turned-down collar.
RECTOR, RECTRESS, director, governor.
REDUCE, bring back.
REED, rede, counsel, advice.
REEL, run riot.
REFORMADOES, disgraced or disbanded soldiers.
REGULAR ("Tale of a Tub"), regular noun (quibble) (N.E.D.).
RELIGION, "make -- of," make a point of, scruple of.
REMNANT, scrap of quotation.
REMORA, species of fish.
RENDER, depict, exhibit, show.
REPETITION, recital, narration.
RESOLUTION, judgment, decision.
RESOLVE, inform; assure; prepare, make up one's mind;
dissolve; come to a decision, be convinced; relax, set
RESPECTIVE, worthy of respect; regardful, discriminative.
RESPECTIVELY, with reverence.
RESPIRE, exhale; inhale.
REST, "set up one's --," venture one's all, one's
last stake (from game of primero).
RESTIVE, RESTY, dull, inactive.
RETIRE, cause to retire.
RETRICATO, fencing term.
RETRIEVE, rediscovery of game once sprung.
RETURNS, ventures sent abroad, for the safe return of
which so much money is received.
REVERBERATE, dissolve or blend by reflected heat.
REVERSE, REVERSO, back-handed thrust, etc., in fencing.
REVISE, reconsider a sentence.
RHEUM, spleen, caprice.
RIBIBE, abusive term for an old woman.
RID, destroy, do away with.
RIFLING, raffling, dicing.
RING, "cracked within the --," coins so cracked were
unfit for currency.
RISSE, risen, rose.
ROCHET, fish of the gurnet kind.
ROGUE, vagrant, vagabond.
RONDEL, "a round mark in the score of a public-house"
ROOK, sharper; fool, dupe.
ROSAKER, similar to ratsbane.
ROSA-SOLIS, a spiced spirituous liquor.
ROUND, "gentlemen of the --," officers of inferior rank.
ROUND TRUNKS, trunk hose, short loose breeches reaching
almost or quite to the knees.
ROUSE, carouse, bumper.
ROVER, arrow used for shooting at a random mark at
RUDE, RUDENESS, unpolished, rough(ness), coarse(ness).
RUFFLE, flaunt, swagger.
RUG, coarse frieze.
RUG-GOWNS, gown made of rug.
RUSH, reference to rushes with which the floors were
RUSHER, one who strewed the floor with rushes.
RUSSET, homespun cloth of neutral or reddish-brown colour.
SACK, loose, flowing gown.
SADLY, seriously, with gravity.
SAD(NESS), sober, serious(ness).
ST. THOMAS A WATERINGS, place in Surrey where criminals
SAKER, small piece of ordnance.
SAMPSUCHINE, sweet marjoram.
SARABAND, a slow dance.
SATURNALS, began December 17.
SAUCINESS, presumption, insolence.
SAUCY, bold, impudent, wanton.
SAUNA (Lat.), a gesture of contempt.
SAVOUR, perceive; gratify, please; to partake of the nature.
SAY, assay, try.
SCALD, word of contempt, implying dirt and disease.
SCALLION, shalot, small onion.
SCANDERBAG, "name which the Turks (in allusion to
Alexander the Great) gave to the brave Castriot, chief
of Albania, with whom they had continual wars. His
romantic life had just been translated" (Gifford).
SCARTOCCIO, fold of paper, cover, cartouch, cartridge.
SCOT AND LOT, tax, contribution (formerly a parish
SCOTOMY, dizziness in the head.
SCOURSE, deal, swap.
SCRATCHES, disease of horses.
SCROYLE, mean, rascally fellow.
SEAL, put hand to the giving up of property or rights.
SEALED, stamped as genuine.
SEAMING LACES, insertion or edging.
SEAR UP, close by searing, burning.
SECRETARY, able to keep a secret.
SECULAR, worldly, ordinary, commonplace.
SEELIE, happy, blest.
SEISIN, legal term: possession.
SELLARY, lewd person.
SEMINARY, a Romish priest educated in a foreign seminary.
SENSELESS, insensible, without sense or feeling.
SENSUAL, pertaining to the physical or material.
SERENE, harmful dew of evening.
SERICON, red tincture.
SERVICES, doughty deeds of arms.
SESTERCE, Roman copper coin.
SET, stake, wager.
SET UP, drill.
SETS, deep plaits of the ruff.
SEWER, officer who served up the feast, and brought
water for the hands of the guests.
SHAPE, a suit by way of disguise.
SHIFT, fraud, dodge.
SHITTLE, shuttle; "shittle-cock," shuttlecock.
SHOT, tavern reckoning.
SHOT-CLOG, one only tolerated because he paid the shot
(reckoning) for the rest.
SHOT-FREE, scot-free, not having to pay.
SHOVE-GROAT, low kind of gambling amusement, perhaps
somewhat of the nature of pitch and toss.
SHREWD, mischievous, malicious, curst.
SHREWDLY, keenly, in a high degree.
SHRIVE, sheriff; posts were set up before his door for
proclamations, or to indicate his residence.
SHROVING, Shrovetide, season of merriment.
SIGILLA, seal, mark.
SILENCED BRETHERN, MINISTERS, those of the Church or
Nonconformists who had been silenced, deprived, etc.
SILLY, simple, harmless.
SIMPLE, silly, witless; plain, true.
SINGLE, term of chase, signifying when the hunted stag
is separated from the herd, or forced to break covert.
SINGLE, weak, silly.
SINGLE-MONEY, small change.
SINGULAR, unique, supreme.
SI-QUIS, bill, advertisement.
SKELDRING, getting money under false pretences; swindling.
SKILL, "it --s not," matters not.
SKINK(ER), pour, draw(er), tapster.
SLICE, fire shovel or pan (dial.).
SLICK, sleek, smooth.
'SLID, 'SLIGHT, 'SPRECIOUS, irreverent oaths.
SLIGHT, sleight, cunning, cleverness; trick.
SLIP, counterfeit coin, bastard.
SLIPPERY, polished and shining.
SLOPS, large loose breeches.
SLOT, print of a stag's foot.
SLUR, put a slur on; cheat (by sliding a die in some way).
SMELT, gull, simpleton.
SNORLE, "perhaps snarl, as Puppy is addressed" (Cunningham).
SNUFF, anger, resentment; "take in --," take offence at.
SNUFFERS, small open silver dishes for holding snuff,
or receptacle for placing snuffers in (Halliwell).
SOCK, shoe worn by comic actors.
SOGGY, soaked, sodden.
SOIL, "take --," said of a hunted stag when he takes
to the water for safety.
SOLICIT, rouse, excite to action.
SOOTH, flattery, cajolery.
SOOTHE, flatter, humour.
SORT, company, party; rank, degree.
SORT, suit, fit; select.
SOUSED ("Devil is an Ass"), fol. read "sou't," which
Dyce interprets as "a variety of the spelling of "shu'd":
to "shu" is to scare a bird away." (See his "Webster,"
SPAGYRICA, chemistry according to the teachings of Paracelsus.
SPEAK, make known, proclaim.
SPECULATION, power of sight.
SPED, to have fared well, prospered.
SPIGHT, anger, rancour.
SPINSTRY, lewd person.
SPITTLE, hospital, lazar-house.
SPLEEN, considered the seat of the emotions.
SPLEEN, caprice, humour, mood.
SPUR-RYAL, gold coin worth 15s.
SQUIRE, square, measure; "by the --," exactly.
STAGGERING, wavering, hesitating.
STAIN, disparagement, disgrace.
STALE, decoy, or cover, stalking-horse.
STALE, make cheap, common.
STALK, approach stealthily or under cover.
STAPLE, market, emporium.
STARTING-HOLES, loopholes of escape.
STATE, dignity; canopied chair of state; estate.
STATUMINATE, support vines by poles or stakes; used
by Pliny (Gifford).
STAY, await; detain.
STICKLER, second or umpire.
STIGMATISE, mark, brand.
STILL, continual(ly), constant(ly).
STINKARD, stinking fellow.
STOCCATA, thrust in fencing.
STOCK-FISH, salted and dried fish.
STOMACH, pride, valour.
STOOP, swoop down as a hawk.
STOP, fill, stuff.
STOTE, stoat, weasel.
STOUP, stoop, swoop=bow.
STRAMAZOUN (Ital. stramazzone), a down blow, as opposed
to the thrust.
STRANGE, like a stranger, unfamiliar.
STRANGENESS, distance of behaviour.
STREIGHTS, OR BERMUDAS, labyrinth of alleys and courts
in the Strand.
STRIGONIUM, Grau in Hungary, taken from the Turks in
STRIKE, balance (accounts).
STRINGHALT, disease of horses.
STROKER, smoother, flatterer.
STROOK, p.p. of "strike."
STRUMMEL-PATCHED, strummel is glossed in dialect dicts.
as "a long, loose and dishevelled head of hair."
STUDIES, studious efforts.
STYLE, title; pointed instrument used for writing on wax
SUBTLE, fine, delicate, thin; smooth, soft.
SUBTLETY (SUBTILITY), subtle device.
SUBURB, connected with loose living.
SUCCUBAE, demons in form of women.
SUCK, extract money from.
SUMMED, term of falconry: with full-grown plumage.
SUPER-NEGULUM, topers turned the cup bottom up when
it was empty.
SUPPLE, to make pliant.
SURBATE, make sore with walking.
SUR-REVERENCE, save your reverence.
SUSPENDED, held over for the present.
SWAD, clown, boor.
SWATH BANDS, swaddling clothes.
TABERD, emblazoned mantle or tunic worn by knights
TABLE(S), "pair of --," tablets, note-book.
TABOR, small drum.
TAFFETA, silk; "tuft-taffeta," a more costly silken fabric.
TAINT, "-- a staff," break a lance at tilting in an
unscientific or dishonourable manner.
TAKE IN, capture, subdue.
TAKE ME WITH YOU, let me understand you.
TAKE UP, obtain on credit, borrow.
TALENT, sum or weight of Greek currency.
TALL, stout, brave.
TANKARD-BEARERS, men employed to fetch water from the
TARLETON, celebrated comedian and jester.
TARTAROUS, like a Tartar.
TAVERN-TOKEN, "to swallow a --," get drunk.
TEMPER, modify, soften.
TENDER, show regard, care for, cherish; manifest.
TENT, "take --," take heed.
TERSE, swept and polished.
TERTIA, "that portion of an army levied out of one
particular district or division of a country" (Gifford).
TESTON, tester, coin worth 6d.
THREE-FARTHINGS, piece of silver current under Elizabeth.
THREE-PILED, of finest quality, exaggerated.
THRUMS, ends of the weaver's warp; coarse yarn made from.
THUMB-RING, familiar spirits were supposed capable of
being carried about in various ornaments or parts of dress.
TIBICINE, player on the tibia, or pipe.
TICK-TACK, game similar to backgammon.
TIM, (?) expressive of a climax of nonentity.
TIMELESS, untimely, unseasonable.
TINCTURE, an essential or spiritual principle supposed
by alchemists to be transfusible into material things;
an imparted characteristic or tendency.
TIPPET, "turn --," change behaviour or way of life.
TIPSTAFF, staff tipped with metal.
TIRE, feed ravenously, like a bird of prey.
TITILLATION, that which tickles the senses, as a perfume.
TOILED, worn out, harassed.
TOKEN, piece of base metal used in place of very small
coin, when this was scarce.
TOP, "parish --," large top kept in villages for
amusement and exercise in frosty weather when people
were out of work.
TOTER, tooter, player on a wind instrument.
TOUSE, pull, rend.
TOWARD, docile, apt; on the way to; as regards; present,
TOY, whim; trick; term of contempt.
TRAIN, allure, entice.
TRAY-TRIP, game at dice (success depended on throwing
a three) (Nares).
TREACHOUR (TRECHER), traitor.
TRENCHER, serving-man who carved or served food.
TRENDLE-TAIL, trundle-tail, curly-tailed.
TRICK (TRICKING), term of heraldry: to draw outline of
coat of arms, etc., without blazoning.
TRIG, a spruce, dandified man.
TRILLIBUB, tripe, any worthless, trifling thing.
TRIPOLY, "come from --," able to perform feats of agility,
a "jest nominal," depending on the first part of the word
TRITE, worn, shabby.
TRIVIA, three-faced goddess (Hecate).
TROJAN, familiar term for an equal or inferior; thief.
TROLL, sing loudly.
TROMP, trump, deceive.
TROPE, figure of speech.
TROW, think, believe, wonder.
TROWSES, breeches, drawers.
TRUNDLE, JOHN, well-known printer.
TRUNDLE, roll, go rolling along.
TRUNDLING CHEATS, term among gipsies and beggars for
carts or coaches (Gifford).
TRUSS, tie the tagged laces that fastened the breeches
to the doublet.
TUCKET (Ital. toccato), introductory flourish on the
TUMBLER, a particular kind of dog so called from the
mode of his hunting.
TUMBREL-SLOP, loose, baggy breeches.
TUSK, gnash the teeth (Century Dict.).
TWIRE, peep, twinkle.
TWOPENNY ROOM, gallery.
- See Howleglass.
UMBRATILE, like or pertaining to a shadow.
UMBRE, brown dye.
UNBORED, (?) excessively bored.
UNCARNATE, not fleshly, or of flesh.
UNCOUTH, strange, unusual.
UNDERTAKER, "one who undertook by his influence in the
House of Commons to carry things agreeably to his
Majesty's wishes" (Whalley); one who becomes surety for.
UNEXCEPTED, no objection taken at.
UNICORN'S HORN, supposed antidote to poison.
UNMANNED, untamed (term in falconry).
UNRUDE, rude to an extreme.
UNSEASONED, unseasonable, unripe.
UNSEELED, a hawk's eyes were "seeled" by sewing the
eyelids together with fine thread.
UPBRAID, make a matter of reproach.
UPSEE, heavy kind of Dutch beer (Halliwell); "-- Dutch,"
in the Dutch fashion.
UPTAILS ALL, refrain of a popular song.
URGE, allege as accomplice, instigator.
URSHIN, URCHIN, hedgehog.
USE, interest on money; part of sermon dealing with the
practical application of doctrine.
USE, be in the habit of, accustomed to; put out to interest.
UTTER, put in circulation, make to pass current; put forth for sale.
VAIL, bow, do homage.
VAILS, tips, gratuities.
- See Vail.
VALLIES (Fr. valise), portmanteau, bag.
VAPOUR(S) (n. and v.), used affectedly, like "humour,"
in many senses, often very vaguely and freely ridiculed
by Jonson; humour, disposition, whims, brag(ging),
VARLET, bailiff, or serjeant-at-mace.
VEER (naut.), pay out.
VEGETAL, vegetable; person full of life and vigour.
VELVET CUSTARD. Cf. "Taming of the Shrew," iv. 3, 82,
"custard coffin," coffin being the raised crust over a pie.
VENT, vend, sell; give outlet to; scent, snuff up.
VENUE, bout (fencing term).
VERDUGO (Span.), hangman, executioner.
VERGE, "in the --," within a certain distance of the court.
VEX, agitate, torment.
VICE, the buffoon of old moralities; some kind of
machinery for moving a puppet (Gifford).
VIE AND REVIE, to hazard a certain sum, and to cover
it with a larger one.
VINCENT AGAINST YORK, two heralds-at-arms.
VIRGE, wand, rod.
VIRGINAL, old form of piano.
VIVELY, in lifelike manner, livelily.
VOGUE, rumour, gossip.
VOID, leave, quit.
VOLARY, cage, aviary.
VOLLEY, "at --," "o' the volee," at random (from a
term of tennis).
WADLOE, keeper of the Devil Tavern, where Jonson and his
friends met in the 'Apollo' room (Whalley).
WAIGHTS, waits, night musicians, "band of musical
watchmen" (Webster), or old form of "hautboys."
WANNION, "vengeance," "plague" (Nares).
WARD, a famous pirate.
WARD, guard in fencing.
WATCHET, pale, sky blue.
WEIGHTS, "to the gold --," to every minute particular.
WELL-SPOKEN, of fair speech.
WELL-TORNED, turned and polished, as on a wheel.
WELT, hem, border of fur.
WHETSTONE, GEORGE, an author who lived 1544(?) to 1587(?).
WHIFF, a smoke, or drink; "taking the --," inhaling the
tobacco smoke or some such accomplishment.
WHIGH-HIES, neighings, whinnyings.
WHIMSY, whim, "humour."
WHINILING, (?) whining, weakly.
WHIT, (?) a mere jot.
WHITEMEAT, food made of milk or eggs.
WICKED, bad, clumsy.
WICKER, pliant, agile.
WILDING, esp. fruit of wild apple or crab tree (Webster).
WINE, "I have the -- for you," Prov.: I have the
perquisites (of the office) which you are to share
WINNY, "same as old word "wonne," to stay, etc." (Whalley).
WISS (WUSSE), "I --," certainly, of a truth.
WITTY, cunning, ingenious, clever.
WOOD, collection, lot.
WOODCOCK, term of contempt.
WOOLSACK ("-- pies"), name of tavern.
WORT, unfermented beer.
WOUNDY, great, extreme.
WROUGHT, wrought upon.
WUSSE, interjection. (See Wiss).
YEANLING, lamb, kid.
ZANY, an inferior clown, who attended upon the chief
fool and mimicked his tricks.
End of Project Gutenberg Etext of Every Man in his Humour, by Ben Jonson