Fiction > Harvard Classics > Ben Jonson > The Alchemist
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Ben Jonson (1572–1637).  The Alchemist.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
Act III
 
Scene V
 
 
FACE, DAPPER. Enter SUBTLE, disguised like a priest of Fairy [with a strip of cloth] 1

  SUB.  [in a feigned voice.]  Is yet her grace’s cousin come?
  FACE.        He is come.
  SUB.  And is he fasting?
  FACE.        Yes.        4
  SUB.        And hath cried hum?
  FACE.  Thrice, you must answer.
  DAP.        Thrice.
  SUB.        And as oft buz?        8
  FACE.  If you have, say.
  DAP.        I have.
  SUB.        Then, to her cuz,
Hoping that he hath vinegar’d his senses,        12
As he was bid, the Fairy queen dispenses,
By me, this robe, the petticoat of fortune;
Which that he straight put on, she doth importune.
And though to fortune near be her petticoat,        16
Yet nearer is her smock, the queen doth note:
And therefore, even of that a piece she hath sent,
Which, being a child, to wrap him in was rent;
And prays him for a scarf he now will wear it,        20
With as much love as then her grace did tear it,
About his eyes,  They blind him with the rag,  to show he is fortunate.
And, trusting unto her to make his state,
He’ll throw away all worldly pelf about him;        24
Which that he will perform, she doth not doubt him.
  FACE.  She need not doubt him, sir. Alas, he has nothing
But what he will part withal as willingly,
Upon her grace’s word—throw away your purse—        28
As she would ask it:—handkerchiefs and all—
She cannot bid that thing but he’ll obey.—
If you have a ring about you cast it off,
Or a silver seal at your wrist; her grace will send  He throws away, as they bid him.        32
Her fairies here to search you, therefore deal
Directly 2 with her highness: if they find
That you conceal a mite, you are undone.
  DAP.  Truly, there’s all.        36
  FACE.        All what?
  DAP.        My money; truly.
  FACE.  Keep nothing that is transitory about you.
[Aside to SUBTLE.]  Bid Dol play music.—Look, the elves are come.  [DOL. plays on the cittern within.        40
To pinch you, if you tell not truth. Advise you.  [They pinch him.]
  DAP.  O! I have a paper with a spur-ryal 3 in’t.
  FACE.        Ti, ti.
They knew’t, they say.        44
  SUB.        Ti, ti, ti, ti. He has more yet.
  FACE.  Ti, ti-ti-ti. I’ the other pocket?
  SUB.        Titi, titi, titi, titi, titi.
They must pinch him or he will never confess, they say.  [They pinch him again.        48
  DAP.  O, O!
  FACE.  Nay, pray you, hold: he is her grace’s nephew,
Ti, ti, ti? What care you? good faith, you shall care.—
Deal plainly, sir, and shame the fairies. Show        52
You are innocent.
  DAP.        By this good light, I ha’ nothing.
  SUB.  Ti, ti, ti, ti, to, ta. He does equivocate she says:
Ti, ti do ti, ti ti do, ti da; and swears by the light when he is blinded.        56
  DAP.  By this good dark, I ha’ nothing but a half-crown
Of gold about my wrist, that my love gave me;
And a leaden heart I wore sin’ she forsook me.
  FACE.  I thought ’twas something. And would you incur        60
Your aunt’s displeasure for these trifles? Come,
I had rather you had thrown away twenty half-crowns.  [Takes it off.]
You may wear your leaden heart still.—
 
[Enter DOL. hastily]

      How now!
        64
  SUB.  What news, Dol?
  DOL.        Yonder’s your knight, Sir Mammon.
  FACE.  ’Ods lid, we never thought of him till now!
Where is he?        68
  DOL.        Here hard by. He’s at the door.
  SUB.  And you are not ready now! Dol, get his suit.  [Exit DOL.]
He must not be sent back.
  FACE.        O, by no means.        72
What shall we do with this same puffin 4 here,
Now he’s on the spit?
  SUB.        Why, lay him back awhile,
With some device.        76
 
[Re-enter DOL with FACE’S clothes]

        —Ti, ti, ti, ti, ti, ti, Would her grace speak with me?
I come.—Help, Dol!  Knocking without.
  FACE.  [speaks through the keyhole.]—Who’s there? Sir Epicure,
My master’s i’the way. Please you to walk        80
Three or four turns, but till his back be turn’d,
And I am for you.—Quickly, Dol!
  SUB.        Her grace
Commends her kindly to you, Master Dapper.        84
  DAP.  I long to see her grace.
  SUB.        She now is set
At dinner in her bed, and she has sent you
From her own private trencher, a dead mouse,        88
And a piece of gingerbread, to be merry withal,
And stay your stomach, lest you faint with fasting:
Yet if you could hold out till she saw you, she says,
It would be better for you.        92
  FACE.        Sir, he shall
Hold out, an ’twere this two hours, for her highness;
I can assure you that. We will not lose
All we ha’ done.——        96
  SUB.        He must not see, nor speak
To anybody, till then.
  FACE.        For that we’ll put, sir,
A stay in’s mouth.        100
  SUB.        Of what?
  FACE.        Of gingerbread.
Make you it fit. He that hath pleas’d her grace
Thus far, shall not now crinkle 5 for a little.——        104
Gape, sir, and let him fit you.  [They thrust a gag of gingerbread into his mouth.]
  SUB.        Where shall we now
Bestow him?
  DOL.        I’ the privy.        108
  SUB.        Come along, sir,
I must now show you Fortune’s privy lodgings.
  FACE.  Are they perfum’d, and his bath ready?
  SUB.        All:        112
Only the fumigation’s somewhat strong.
  FACE.  [speaking through the keyhole.]  Sir Epicure, I am yours, sir, by and by.  [Exeunt with DAPPER.]
 
Note 1. The same. [back]
Note 2. Uprightly. [back]
Note 3. A gold coin worth 15sh. [back]
Note 4. A sort of gull. [back]
Note 5. Turn aside from his purpose. [back]
 

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