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He shall but be an undertaker with me,
In a most feasible business. It shall cost him.

Eng. Good, sir.

Meer. Except he please, but's countenance,
(That I will have) to appear in't, to great m^n,
For which I'll make him one. He shall not draw
A string of's purse. I'll drive his patent for him.
We'll take in citizens, commoner , and aldermen,
To bear the charge, and blow thei i off again,
Like so many dead flies, when it LS carried.
The thing is for recovery of drown 'd land,
Whereof the crown's to have a moiety,
If it be owner; else the crown and owners
To share that moiety, and the recoverers
To enjoy the t'other moiety for their charge.

Eng. Thoroughout England ?

Meer. Yes, which will arise
To eighteen millions, seven the first year:
I have computed all, and made my survey
Unto my acre: I'll begin at the pan,
Not at the skirts; as some have done, and lost
All that they wrought, their timber-work, their trench,
Their banks, all borne away, or else fill'd up,
By the next winter. Tut, they never went
The way: I'll have it all.

Eng. A gallant tract
Of land it is !

Meer. 'Twill yield a pound an acre:
We must let cheap ever at first. But, sir,
This looks too large for you, I see. Come hither,
We'll have a less. Here's a plain fellow, [points to Trains] you

see him,

Has his black bag of papers there, in buckram,
Will not be sold for the earldom of Pancridge: draw,
Give me out one by chance. [Trains gives him a payer out of the bag.}
" Project Jour: Dogs' skins."

The Devil is an Ass 283

Twelve thousand pound ! the very worst at first.

Fitz. Pray you let's see it, sir.

Meer. 'Tis a toy, a trifle !

Fitz. TriHe! twelve thousand pound for dogs' skins?

Meer. Yes.

But, by my way of dressing, you must know, sir,
And med'cining the leather to a height
Of improved ware, like your borachio
Of Spain, sir, I can fetch nine thousand for't

Eng. Of the king's glover ?

Meer. Yes; how heard you that?

Eng. Sir, I do know you can.

Meer. Within this hour;
And reserve half my secret. Pluck another;
See if thou hast a happier hand; [Trains draws out another.] I

thought so.

The very next worse to it! ' Bottle-ale."
Yet this is two and twenty thousand. Prithee
Pull out another, two or three.

Fit?.. Good; stay, friend
By bottle-ale two and twenty thousand pound?

Meer. Yes, sir, it's cast to penny-half farthing.
On the back-side, there you may see it, read,
I will not bate a Harrington of the sum.
I'll win it in my water, and my malt,
My furnaces, and hanging of my coppers,
The tonning, and the subtlety of my yest;
And, then the earth of my bottles, which I di^,
Turn up, and steep, and work, and neal, myself,
To a degree of porcelane. You will wonder
At my proportions, what I will put up
In seven years ! for so long time I ask
For my invention. I will save in cork,
In my mere stop" ling, above three thousand pound,
Within that term; by googing of them out
Just to the size of my bottles, and not slicing:
There's infinite loss in that. [Trains draws out another. ,] What hast

thou there?
O! " Making wine nf raisin*: " this is in hand now.

Eng. Is not that strange, sir, to make wine of ?ihins?

Meer. Yes, and as true a wine as the wines of France,
Or Spain, or Italy: look of what grape
My raisin is, that wine I'll render perfect,
As of the Muscatel grape, I'll render Muscatel;
Of the Canary, his; the Claret, his;
So of all kinds: and bate you of the prices
Of wine throughout the king lorn hal F in half.

Eng. But how, sir, if you raise the other commodity,
Raisins ?

284 Ben Jonson's Plays

Meer. Why, then I'll make it out of blackberries,
And it shall do the same. 'Tis but more art,
And the charge less. Take out another.

Fitz. No, good sir,

Save you the trouble, I'll not look, nor hear
Of any but your first, there: the drown' d-land;
If't will do, as you say.

Meer. Sir, there's not place
To give you demonstration of these things,
They are a little too subtle. But I could shew you
Such a necessity in it, as you must be
But what you please ; against the received heresy,
That England bears no dukes. Keep you the land, sir,
The greatness of the estate shall throw't upon you.
If you like better turning it to money,
What may not you, sir, purchase with that wealth ?
Say you should part with two of your millions,
To be the thing you would, who would not do't?
As I protest I will, out ol my dividend,
Lay for some pretty principality
In Italy, from the church: now you, perhaps,
Fancy the smoke of England rather? but
Have you no private room, sir, to draw to.
To enlarge ourselves more upon ?

Fitz. O yes. Devil !

Meer. These, sir, are businesses ask to be carried
With caution, and in cloud.

Fitz. I apprehend
They do, sir.

Enter Puo.

Devil, which way is your mistress ?

Pug. Above, sir, in her chamber.

F tz. O that's well:
Tli en this way, good sir.

Meer. I shall follow you. Trains,
Give me the bag, and go you presently,
Commend my service to my lady Tailbush.
Tell her I am come from court this morning; say,
I have got our business mov'd, and well: entreat her,
That she give you the fourscore angels, and see them
Disposed of to my counsel, sir Paul Eitherside.
Some time, to-day, I'll wait upon her ladyship,
With the relation. [Exit Trains.

Enq. Sir, of what dispatch
He is! do you mark ? [Aside to Fitz.

Meer. Engine, when did you see
My cousin Everill ? keeps he still your quarter
In the Bermudas ?

The Devil is an Ass 285

Eng. Yes, sir, he was writing
This morning, very hard.

Meer. Be not you known to him,
That I am come to town: I have effected
A business for him, but I would have it take him<
Before he thinks for't.

Eng. Is it past?

Meer. Not yet.
*Tis well o ! the way.

Eng. O sir ! your worship takes
Infinite pains.

Meer. I love friends to be active:
A sluggish nature puts off man, and kind.

Eng. And such a blessing follows it.

Meer. I thank
My fate Pray you, let's be private, sir.

Fitz. In, here.

Meer. Where none may interrupt us.

[Exeunt Meer. and Engine.

Fitz. You hear, Devil,

Lock the street-doors fast, and let no one in,
Except they be this gentleman's followers,
To trouble me. Do you mark? You have heard and seen
Something to-day, and by it you may gather,
Your mistress is a fruit that's worth the stealing,
And therefore worth the watching. Be you sure, now,
You have all your eyes about you; and let in
No lace-woman, nor bawd, that brings French masks,
And cut- works; see you ? nor old croans with wafers,
To convey letters: nor no youths, disguised
Like country wives, with cream and marrow puddings.
Much knavery may be vented in a pudding,
Much bawdy intelligence: they are shrewd cyphers.
Nor turn the key to any neighbours' need;
Be it but to kindle fire, or beg a little,
Put it out rather, all out to an ash,
That they may see no smoke. Or water, spill it;
Knock on the empty tubs, that by the sound
They may be forbid entry. Say, we are robb'd,
If any come to borrow a spoon or so:
I will not have Good Fortune, or God's Blessing
Let in, while I am busy.

Pug. I'll take care, sir;
They shall not trouble you if they would.

Fitz. Well, do so. [Exit.

Pug. I have no singular service of this now,
Nor no superlative master ! I shall wish,
To be in hell again at leisure! bring
A Vice from thence ! that had been such a subtlety,

286 Ben Jonson's Plays

As to bring broad -cloths hither, or transport

Fresh oranges into Spain. I find it now;

My chief was in the right. Can any fiend

Boast of a better Vice, than here by nature

And art they're owners of? Hell never own me,

But I am taken ! the fine tract of it

Pulls me along ! to hear men such professors

Grown in our subtlest sciences! My first act, now,

Shall be to make this master of mine, cuckold:

The primitive work of darkness I will practise.

I will deserve so well of my fair mistress

By my discoveries first, my counsels after,

And keeping counsel after that, as who

So ever is one, I will be another sure,

I'll have my share. Most delicate damn'd flesh

She will be ! O, that I could stay time, now 1

Midnight will come too fast upon me, I fear,

To cut my pleasure


Mrs. Fitz. Look at the back-door,
One knocks, see who it is.

Pug. Dainty she-Devil! [Aside and exit.

Mrs. Fitz. I cannot get this venture of the cloke
Out of my fancy, nor the gentleman's way
He took, which though't were strange, yet it was handsome,
And had a grace withal, beyond the newness.
Sure he will think me that dull stupid creature
He said, and may conclude it, if I find not
Some thought to thank the attempt. He did presume
By all the carriage of it, on my brain,
For answer; and will swear 'tis very barren,
If it can yield him no return.

Re-enter PUG.

Who is it ?

Pug. Mistress, it is but first, let me assure
The excellence of mistresses, I am,
Although my master's man, my mistress' slave,
The servant of her secrets, and sweet turns,
And know what fitly will conduce to either.

Mrs. Fitz. What's this? I pray you come to yourself, and think
What your part is; to make an answer. Tell,
Who is at the door ?

Pug. The gentleman, mistress,
Who was at the cloke-charge to speak with you
This morning; who expects only to take
Some small commandments from you, what you please.
Worthy your form, he says, and gentlest manners.

The Devil is an Ass 287

Mrs. Fitz. O! you'll anon prove his hired man, I fear;
What has he given you for this message ? sir,
Bid him put off his hopes of straw, and leave
To spread his nets in view thus. Though they take
Master Fitzdottrel, I am no such foul
Nor fair one, tell him, will be had with stalking;
And wish him to forbear his acting to me,
At the gentleman's chamber-window in Lincoln's-inn there,
That opens to my gallery; else I swear
To acquaint my husband with his folly, and leave him
To the just rage of his offended jealousy.
Or if your master's sense be not so quick
To right me, tell him I shall find a friend
That will repair me. Say, I will be quiet
In mine own house. Pray you, in those words give it him.

Pug. This is some fool turn'd! [Exit.

Mrs. Fitz. If he be the master,
Now, of that state and wit which I allow him,
Sure, he will understand me: I durst not
Be more direct; for this officious fellow,
My husband's new g oom, is a spy upon me,
I find already. Yet, if he but tell him
This in my words, he cannot but conceive
Himself both apprehended and requited.
I would not have him think he met a statue,
Or spoke to one, not there, though I were silent.

Re-enter PUG.

How now ? have you told him ?

Pug. Yes.

Mrs. Fitz. And what says he ?

Pug. Says he !

That which myself would say to you, if I durst.
That you are proud, sweet mistress; and withal,
A little ignorant, to entertain

The good that's profTer'd; and, by your beauty's leave,
Not all so wise as some true politic wife
Would be; who having match'd with such a nupson
(I speak it with my master's peace) whose face
Hath left to accuse him, now, for it doth confess him,
What you can make him; will yet (out of scruple,
And a spiced conscience) defraud the poor gentleman,
At least delay him in the thing he longs for,
And makes it his whole study, how to compass
Only a title. Could but he write cuckold,
He had his ends: for, look you

Mrs. Fitz. This can be
None but my husband's wit. [Aside.

Pug. My precious mistress

Ben Jonson's Plays

Mrs. Fitz. It creaks his engine: the groom never durst
Be else so saucy. [Aside.

Pug. If it were not clearly
His worshipful ambition, and the top of it,
The very forked top too, why should he
Keep you thus mured up in a back-room, mistress,
Allow you ne'er a casement to the street,
Fear of engendering by the eyes, with gallants?
Forbid you paper, pen and ink, like rat's-bane;
Search your half pint of muscatel, lest a letter
Be sunk in the pot; and hold your new laid egg
Against the fire, lest any charm be writ there?
Will you make benefit of truth, dear mistress,
If I do tell it you ? I do't not often:
I am set over you, employ'd indeed
To watch your steps, your looks, your very breathings,
And to report them to him. Now, if you
Will be a true, right, delicate, sweet mistress,
Why, we will make a Cokes of this Wise Master,
We will, my mistress, an absolute fine Cokes.
And mock, to air, all the deep diligences
Of such a solemn and effectual ass,
An ass to so good purpose as we'll use him.
I will contrive it so, that you shall go
To plays, to masques, to meetings, and to feasts:
For, why is all this rigging and fine tackle, mistress,
If your neat handsome vessels, of goo 1 sail,
Put not forth ever and anon with your nets
Abroad into the world ? It is your fishing.
There, you shall choose your friends, your servants, lady,
Your squires of honour; I'll convey your letters,
Fetch answers, do you all the offices
That can belong to your blood and beauty. And,
For the variety, at my times, although
I am not in due symmetry, the man
Of that proportion; or in rule
Of physic, of the just complexion;
Or of that truth of Picardil, in clothes,
To boast a sovereignty o'er ladies: yet
I know to do my turns, sweet mistress. Come, kiss

Mrs. Fitz. How now !

Pug. Dear delicate mistress, I am your slave,
Your little worm, that loves you; your fine monkey,
Your dog, your Jack, your Pug, that longs to be
Styled, o' your pleasures.

Mrs. Fitz. [aloud.} Hear you all this? Sir, pray you
Come from your standing, do, a little, spare
Yourself, sir, from your watch, t' applaud your squire,
That so well follows your instructions 1

The Devil is an Ass 289


Fitz. How now, sweet-heart ! what is the matter ?

Mrs. Fitz. Good!

You are a stranger to the plot ! you set not
Your saucy Devil here, to tempt your wife,
With all the insolent uncivil language,
Or action, he could vent !

Fitz. Did you so, Devil ?

Mrs. Fitz. Not you !

You were not planted in your hole to hear him
Upon the stairs, or here behind the hangings!
I do not know your qualities ! he durst do it
And you not give directions !

Fitz. You shall see, wife,
Whether he durst or no, and what it was,
I did direct. [Exit,

Pug. Sweet mistress, are you mad ?

Re-ent&r FITZDOTTREL, with a cudgel.

Fitz. You most mere rogue ! you open manifest villain 1
You fiend apparent, you! you declared hell-hound 1

Pug. Good sir.

Fitz. Good knave, good rascal, anJ good traitor,
Now, I do find you parcel Devil indeed.
Upon the point of trust ! in your first charge,
The very day of your probation,

To tempt your mistress ! [Beats Pug.] You do see, good wedlock,
How I directed him ?

Mrs. Fitz. Why, where, sir, were you ?

Fitz. Nay, there is one blow more for exercise:

[Strikes him again.
I told you, I should do it.

Pug. Would you had done, sir.

Fitz. O wife, the rarest man ! (yet there's another
To put you in mind o' the last) [beats him again] such a brave

man, wife!

Within, he has his projects, and does vent them
The gallantest ! Were you tentiginous, ha ?
Would you be acting of the incubus?
Did her silk's rustling move you?

Pug. Gentle sir !

Fitz. Out of my sight ! If thy name were not Devil,
Thou should' st not stay a minute with me. In,
Go, yet stay, yet go too. I am resolv'd
What I will do, and you shall know't aforehand,
Soon as the gentleman is gone, do you hear ?
I'll help your lisping. [Exit Pug.l Wife, such a man, wife!
He has such plots! he will make me a duke!

290 Ben Jonson's Plays

No less, hy heaven ! six mares to your coach, wife!
That's your proportion ! and your coachman bald,
Because he shall be bare enough. Do not you laugh,
We are looking for a place, and all, in the map,
What to be of. Have faith, be not an infidel.
You know I am not easy to be gull'd.
I swear, when I have my millions, else, I'll make
Another, dutchess; if you have not faith.

Mrs. Fitz. You'll have too much, 1 fear, in these fn'e spirits.

Fitz. Spirits! O, no such thing, wife; wit, mere wit.
This man defies the Devil and all his works,
He does't by engine, and devices, he!
He has hie winged ploughs, that go with sails,
Will plough you forty acres at once! and mills
Will spout you water ten miles off! All Crowland
Is ours, wife; and the fens, from us, in Norfolk,
To the utmost bounds in Lincolnshire! we have view'd it,
And measur'd it within all, by the scale:
The richest tract of land, love, in the kingdom !
There will be made seventeen or eighteen millions,
Or more, as't may be handled! wherefore think,
Sweet-heart, if thou hast a fancy to one place
More than another, to be dutchess of,
Now name it; I will have't, whate'er it cost,
(If 'twill be had for money) either here,
Or in France, or Italy.

Mrs. Fitz. You have strange phantasies!


Meer. Where are you, sir ?

Fitz. I see thou hast no talent
This way, wife. Up to thy gallery, do, chuck,
Leave us to talk of it who understand it. \Tlrit Mrs. Fitz.

Meer. I think we have found a place to fit you now, sir.

Fitz. no, I'll none.

Meer. Why, sir?

Fitz. 'Tis fatal.

Meer. That you say right in. Spenser, I think the younger,
Had his last honour thence. But he was but earl.

Fitz. I know not that, sir. But Thomas of Woodstock,
I'm sure was duke, and he was made away
At Calice, as duke Humphrey was at Bury:
And Richard the Third, you know what end he came to.

Meer. By my faith you are cunning in the chronicle, sir.

Fitz. No, I confess I have it from the play-books,
And think they are more authentic.

Eng. That is sure, sir.

Meer. [whispers him.] What say you to this then?

The Devil is an A^s 291

Fitz. No, a noble house
Pretends to that. 1 will do no man wrong.

Meer. Then take one proposition more, and hear it
As past exception.

Fitz. What is that ?

Meer. To be

Duke of those lands you shall recover: take
Your title thence, sir, DUKE OF THE DROWN'D LANDS,

Fitz. Ha! that last has a good sound:
I like it well. The duke of Drown'd-land ?

Eng Yes;
It goes like Groen-land, sir, if you mark it.

Meer. Ay;

And drawing thus your honour from the work,
You make the reputation of that greater,
And stay it the longer in your name.

Fitz. 'Tis true.
DROWN'D LANDS will live in drown'd-land!

Meer. Yes, when you

Have no foot left; as that must be, sir, one day.
And though it tarry in your heirs some forty,
Fifty descents, the longer liver at last, yet,
Must thrust them out on't, if no quirk in law,
Or odd vice of their own not do it first.
We see those changes daily: the fair lands
That were the client's, are the lawyer's now;
And those rich manors there of goodman Taylor's
Had once more wood upon them, than the yard
By which they were measured out for the last purchase.
Nature hath these vicissitudes. She makes
No man a state of perpetuity, sir.

Fitz. You are in the right. Let's in then, and conclude.

Re-enter PUG.

In my sight again! I'll talk with you anon.

[Exeunt Fitz, Meer. t and Engine,
Ptig. Sure he will geld me if I stay, or worse,
Pluck out my tongue, one of the two. This fool,
There is no trusting of him; and to quit him,
Were a contempt against my chief past pardon.
It was a shrewd disheartening this, at first!
Who would have thought a woman so well harness'd,
Or rather well caparison'd, indeed,
That wears such petticoats, and lace to her smocks,
Broad seaming laces (as 1 see them hang there)
And garters which are lost, if she can shew them,
Could have done this? Hell! why is she so brave?
It cannot be to please duke Dottrel, sure,

292 Ben Jonson's Plays

Nor the dull pictures in her gallery,

Nor her own dear reflection in her glass;

Yet that may be: I have known many of them

Begin their pleasure, but none end it there:

(That I consider, as I go along with it)

They may, for want of better company,

Or that they think the better, spend an hour,

Two, three, or four, discoursing with their shadow;

But sure they have a farther speculation.

No woman drest with so much care and study,

Doth dress herself in vain. I'll vex this problem

A little more, before I leave it sure. [Exit.

SCENE II. MANLY' s Chambers in Lincoln's Inn, opposite



Wit. This was a fortune happy above thought,
That this should prove thy chamber; which I fear'd
Would be my greatest trouble ! this must be
The very window and that the room.

M an. It is.

I now remember, I have often seen there
A woman, but I never mark'd her much.

Wit. Where was your soul, friend ?

Man. Faith, but now and then
Awake unto those objects.

Wit. You pretend so.
Let me not live, if I am not in love
More with her wit, for this direction now,
Than with her form, though I have praised that prettily,
Since I saw her and you to-day. Head those:

[Gives him the copy of a song.
They'll go unto the air you love so well.
Try them unto the note, may be the music
Will call her sooner; light, she's here! sing quickly.

Mrs. FITZDOTTREL appears at a window of her house fronting

that of MANLY' s Chambers.

Mrs. Fitz. Either he understood him not; or else,
The fellow was not faithful in delivery
Of what I bade. And, I am justly pay'd,
That might have made my profit of his service,
But by mistaking, have drawn on his envy,

And done the worse defeat upon myself. [Manly sings.

How ! music ? then he may be there : and is sure.

Enter PUG behind.

Piiq. O ! is it so ? is there the interview !
Have I drawn to you, at last, my cunning lady ?

The Devil is an Ass 293

The Devil is an aps! fool'd off, and beaten!

Nay, made an instrument, and could not scent it.

Well, since you have shewn the malice of a woman,

No less than her true wit and learning, mistress,

I'll try, if little Pug have the malignity

To recompense it, and so save his danger.

'Tis not the pain, but the discredit of it,

The Devil should not keep a body entire. [Aside and exit.

Wit. Away, fall back, she comes.

Man. I leave you, sir,
The master of my chamber: I have business. [Exit.

Wit. Mistress!

Mrs. Fitz. [advances to the ivindow.] You make me paint, sir.

Wit. They are fair colours,
Lady, and natural ! I did receive
Some commands from you, lately, gentle lady,
But so perplex' d, and wrapt in the delivery,
As I may fear to have misinterpreted:
But must make suit still, to be near your grace.

Mrs. Fitz. Who is there with you, sir ?

Wit. None, but myself.

It falls out, lady, to be a dear friend's lodging;
Wherein there's some conspiracy of fortune
With your poor servant's blest affections.

Mrs. Fitz. Who was it sung ?

Wit. He, lady, but he's gone
Upon my entreaty of him, seeing you
Approach the window. Neither need you doubt him,
If he were here; he is too much a gentleman.

Mrs. Fitz. Sir, if you judge me by this simple action,
And by the outward habit, and complexion
Of easiness it hath, to your design ;
You may with justice say, I am a woman;
And a strange woman. But when you shall please
To bring but that concurrence of my fortune
To memory, which to-day yourself did urge;
It may beget some favour like excuse,
Though none like reason.

W it. No, my tuneful mistress ?
Then surely love hath none, nor beauty any;
Nor nature, violenced in both these:
With all whose gentle tongues you speak, at once.
I thought I had enough remov'd already
That scruple from your breast, and left you all reason ;
W'hen through my morning's perspective I shew'd you
A man so above excuse, as he's the cause,
Why any thing is to be done upon him;
And nothing call'd an injury, misplaced.
I rather now had hope, to shew you how love

294 Ben Jonson's Plays

By his accesses grows more natural:

And what was done this morning with such force,

Was but devised to serve the present, then.

That since Love hath the honour to approach

These sister-swelling breasts; and touch this soft

And rosy hand; he hath the skill to draw

Their nectar forth, with kissing; and could make

More wanton salts from this brave promontory,

Down to this valley, than the nimble roe;

Could play the hopping sparrow 'bout these nets;

And sporting squirrel in these crisped groves;

Bury himself in every silk-worm's kell,

Is here unravell'd; run into the snare,

Which every hair is, cast into a curl,

To catch a Cupid flying ! bathe himself

In milk and roses here, and dry him there;

Warm his cold hands, to play with his smooth, round,

And well-torn'd chin, as with the billiard ball;

Roll on these lips, the banks of love, and there

At once both plant and gather kisses. Lady,

Shall I, with what I have made to-day here, call

All sense to wonder, and all faith to sign

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