Ben Jonson

"The Poetaster Act 3. Scene 1"

The Via Sacra (or Holy Street).

Enter HORACE, CRISPINUS following.

Hor.
Umph! yes, I will begin an ode so; and it shall be to
Mecaenas.

Oris.
'Slid, yonder's Horace! they say he's an excellent poet:
Mecaenas loves him. I'll fall into his acquaintance, if I can; I
think he be composing as he goes in the street! ha! 'tis a good
humour, if he be: I'll compose too.

Hor.
Swell me a bowl with lus'y wine,
Till I may see the plump Lyoeus swim
Above the brim:
I drink as I would write,
In flowing measure fill'd with flame and sprite.

Cris.
Sweet Horace, Minerva and the Muses stand auspicious to thy
designs! How farest thou, sweet man? frolic? rich? gallant? ha!

Hor.
Not greatly gallant, Sir; like my fortunes, well: I am bold to
take my leave, Sir; you'll nought else, Sir, would you?

Cris.
Troth, no, but I could wish thou didst know us, Horace; we
are a scholar, I assure thee.

Hor.
A scholar, Sir! I shall be covetous of your fair knowledge.

Cris.
Gramercy, good Horace. Nay, we are new turn'd poet too, which
is more; and a satirist too, which is more than that: I write just
in thy vein, I. I am for your odes, or your sermons, or any thing
indeed; we are a gentleman besides; our name is Rufus Laberius
Crispinus; we are a pretty Stoic too.

Hor.
To the proportion of your beard, I think it, sir.

Cris.
By Phoebus, here's a most neat, fine street, is't not? I
protest to thee, I am enamoured of this street now, more than of
half the streets of Rome again; 'tis so polite and terse! there's
the front of a building now! I study architecture too: if ever I
should build, I'd have a house just of that prospective.

Hor.
Doubtless, this gallant's tongue has a good turn, when he
sleeps. [Aside.

Cris.
I do make verses, when I come in such a street as this: O,
your city ladies, you shall have them sit in every shop like the
Muses—offering you the Castalian dews, and the Thespian liquors, to
as many as have but the sweet grace and audacity to sip of their
lips. Did you never hear any of my verses?

Bor.
No, sir;—-but I am in some fear I must now. [Aside.

Cris.
I'll tell thee some, if I can but recover them, I composed
even now of a dressing I saw a jeweller's wife wear, who indeed was
a jewel herself: I prefer that kind of tire now; what's thy
opinion, Horace?

Hor.
With your silver bodkin, it does well, sir.

Cris.
I cannot tell; but it stirs me more than all your
court-curls, or your spangles, or your tricks: I affect not
these high gable-ends, these Tuscan tops, nor your coronets,
nor your arches, nor your pyramids; give me a fine, sweet-little
delicate dressing with a bodkin, as you say; and a mushroom
for all your other ornatures!

Hor.
Is it not possible to make an escape from him? [Aside.

Cris.
I have remitted my verses all this while; I think I have
forgot them.

Hor.
Here's he could wish you had else. [Aside.

Cris.
Pray Jove I can entreat them of my memory!

Hor.
You put your memory to too much trouble, sir.

Cris.
No, sweet Horace, we must not have thee think so.

Hor.
I cry you mercy; then they are my ears
That must be tortured: well, you must have patience, ears.

Cris.
Pray thee, Horace, observe.

Hor.
Yes, sir; your satin sleeve begins to fret at the rug that is
underneath it, I do observe: and your ample velvet bases are not
without evident stains of a hot disposition naturally.

Cris.
O—I'll dye them into another colour, at pleasure: How many
yards of velvet dost thou think they contain?

Hor.
'Heart! I have put him now in a fresh way
To vex me more:—-faith, sir, your mercer's book
Will tell you With more patience than I can:—-
For I am crost, and so's not that, I think.

Cris.
'Slight, these verses have lost me again!
I shall not invite them to mind, now.

Hor.
Rack not your thoughts, good sir; rather defer it
To a new time; I'll meet you at your lodging,
Or where you please: 'till then, Jove keep you, sir!

Cris.
Nay, gentle Horace, stay; I have it now.

Hor.
Yes, sir. Apollo, Hermes, Jupiter,
Look down upon me. [Aside.

Cris.
Rich was thy hap; sweet dainty cap,
There to be placed;
Where thy smooth black, sleek white may smack,
And both be graced.

White is there usurp'd for her brow; her forehead: and then sleek,
as the parallel to smooth, that went before. A kind of paranomasie,
or agnomination: do you conceive, sir?

Hor.
Excellent. Troth, sir, I must be abrupt, and leave you.

Cris.
Why, what haste hast thou? prithee, stay a little; thou shalt
not go yet, by Phoebus.

Hor.
I shall not! what remedy? fie, how I sweat with suffering!

Cris.
And then

Hor.
Pray, sir, give me leave to wipe my face a little.

Cris.
Yes, do, good Horace.

Hor.
Thank you, sir.
Death! I must crave his leave to p—, anon;.
Or that I may go hence with half my teeth:
I am in some such fear. This tyranny
Is strange, to take mine ears up by commission,
(Whether I will or no,) and make them stalls
To his lewd solecisms, and worded trash.
Happy thou, bold Bolanus, now I say;
Whose freedom, and impatience of this fellow,
Would, long ere this, have call'd him fool, and fool,
And rank and tedious fool! and have flung jests
As hard as stones, till thou hadst pelted him
Out of the place; whilst my tame modesty
Suffers my wit be made a solemn ass,
To bear his fopperies—- [Aside.

Cris.
Horace, thou art miserably affected to be gone, I see.
But—prithee let's prove to enjoy thee a while. Thou hast no
business, I assure me. Whither is thy journey directed, ha?

Hor.
Sir, I am going to visit a friend that's sick.

Cris.
A friend! what is he; do not I know him?

Hor. No, sir, you do not know him; and 'tis not the worse for him.

Cris.
What's his name 1 where is he lodged?

Hor.
Where I shall be fearful to draw you out of your way, sir; a
great way hence; pray, sir, let's part.

Cris.
Nay, but where is't? I prithee say.

Hor.
On the far side of all Tyber yonder, by Caesar's gardens.

Cris.
O, that's my course directly; I am for you. Come, go; why
stand'st thou?

Hor.
Yes, sir: marry, the plague is in that part of the city; I had
almost forgot to tell you, sir.

Cris.
Foh! it is no matter, I fear no pestilence; I have not
offended Phoebus.

Hor.
I have, it seems, or else this heavy scourge
Could ne'er have lighted on me.

Cris.
Come along. Hor. I am to go down some half mile this way,
sir, first, to speak with his physician; and from thence to his
apothecary, where I shall stay the mixing of divers drugs.

Cris.
Why, it's all one, I have nothing to do, and I love not to be
idle; I'll bear thee company. How call'st thou the apothecary?

Hor.
O that I knew a name would fright him now!—-
Sir, Rhadamanthus, Rhadamanthus, sir.
There's one so called, is a just judge in hell,
And doth inflict strange vengeance on all those
That here on earth torment poor patient spirits.

Cris.
He dwells at the Three Furies, by Janus's temple.

Hor.
Your pothecary does, sir.

Cris.
Heart, I owe him money for sweetmeats, and he has laid to
arrest me, I hear: but

Hor: Sir, I have made a most solemn vow, I will never bail any man.

Oris.
Well then, I'll swear, and speak him fair, if the worst come.
But his name is Minos, not Rhadamanthus, Horace.

Hor.
That may be, sir, I but guess'd at his name by his sign. But
your Minos is a judge too, sir.

Cris.
I protest to thee, Horace, (do but taste me once,) if I do
know myself, and mine own virtues truly, thou wilt not make that
esteem of Varius, or Virgil, or Tibullus, or any of 'em indeed, as
now in thy ignorance thou dost; which I am content to forgive: I
would fain see which of these could pen more verses in a day, or
with more facility, than I; or that could court his mistress, kiss
her hand, make better sport with her fan or her dog

Hor.
I cannot bail you yet, sir.

Cris.
Or that could move his body more gracefully, or dance better;
you should see me, were it not in the street

Hor.
Nor yet.

Cris.
Why, I have been a reveller, and at my cloth of silver suit
and my long stocking, in my time, and will be again

Hor.
If you may be trusted, sir.

Cris.
And then, for my singing, Hermogenes himself envies me, that
is your only master of music you have in Rome.

Hor.
Is your mother living, sir?

Cris.
Ay! convert thy thoughts to somewhat else, I pray thee.

Hor.
You have much of the mother in you, sir: Your father is dead?

Cris.
Ay, I thank Jove, and my grandfather too, and all my
kinsfolks, and well composed in their urns.

Hor.
The more their happiness, that rest in peace,
Free from the abundant torture of thy tongue:
Would I were with them too!

Cris.
What's that, Horace?

Hor.
I now remember me, sir, of a sad fate
A cunning woman, one Sabella, sung,
When in her urn she cast my destiny,
I being but a child.

Cris.
What was it, I pray thee?

Hor.
She told me I should surely never perish
By famine, poison, or the enemy's sword;
The hectic fever, cough, or pleurisy,
Should never hurt me, nor the tardy gout:
But in my time, I should be once surprised
By a strong tedious talker, that should vex
And almost bring me to consumption:
Therefore, if I were wise, she warn'd me shun
All such long-winded monsters as my bane;
For if I could but 'scape that one discourser,
I might no doubt prove an old aged man.—
By your leave, Sir. [Going.

Cris.
Tut, tut; abandon this idle humour, 'tis nothing but
melancholy. 'Fore Jove, now I think on't, I am to appear in court
here, to answer to one that has me in suit: sweet Horace, go with
me, this is my hour; if I neglect it, the law proceeds against me.
Thou art familiar with these things; prithee, if thou lov'st me,
go.

Hor.
Now, let me die, sir, if I know your laws,
Or have the power to stand still half so long
In their loud courts, as while a case is argued.
Besides, you know, sir, where I am to go.
And the necessity—-

Cris.
'Tis true.

Hor.
I hope the hour of my release be come: he will, upon this
consideration, discharge me, sure.

Cris.
Troth, I am doubtful what I may best do, whether to leave
thee or my affairs, Horace.

Hor.
O Jupiter! me, sir, me, by any means; I beseech you, me, sir.

Cris.
No, faith, I'll venture those now; thou shalt see I love
thee—some, Horace.

Hor.
Nay, then I am desperate: I follow you, sir. 'Tis hard
contending with a man that overcomes thus.

Cris.
And how deals Mecaenas with thee? liberally, ha? is he open
handed? bountiful?

Hor.
He's still himself, sir.

Cris.
Troth, Horace, thou art exceeding happy in thy friends and
acquaintance; they are all most choice spirits, and of the first
rank of Romans: I do not know that poet, I protest, has used his
fortune more prosperously than thou hast. If thou wouldst bring me known to Mecaenas, I should second thy desert well; thou shouldst find a good sure assistant of me, one that would speak all good of thee in thy absence, and be content with the next place, not envying thy reputation with thy patron. Let me not live, but I
think thou and I, in a small time, should lift them all out of
favour, both Virgil, Varius, and the best of them, and enjoy him
wholly to ourselves.

Hor.
Gods, you do know it, I can hold no longer;
This brize has prick'd my patience. Sir, your silkness
Clearly mistakes Mecaenas and his house,
To think there breathes a spirit beneath his roof,
Subject unto those poor affections
Of undermining envy and detraction,
Moods only proper to base grovelling minds.
That place is not in Rome, I dare affirm,
More pure or free from such low common evils.
There's no man griev'd, that this is thought more rich,
Or this more learned; each man hath his place,
And to his merit his reward of grace,
Which, with a mutual love, they all embrace.

Cris.
You report a wonder: 'tis scarce credible, this.

Hor.
l am no torturer to enforce you to believe it; but it is so

Cris.
Why, this inflames me with a more ardent desire to be his,
than before; but I doubt I shall find the entrance to his
familiarity somewhat more than difficult, Horace.

Hor.
Tut, you'll conquer him, as you have done me; there's no
standing out against you, sir, I see that: either your importunity,
or the intimation of your good parts, or

Cris.
Nay, I'll bribe his porter, and the grooms of his chamber;
make his doors open to me that way first, and then I'll observe my
times. Say he should extrude me his house to-day, shall I there-
fore desist, or let fall my suit to-morrow? No; I'll attend him,
follow him, meet him in the street, the highways, run by his coach,
never leave him. What! man hath nothing given him in this life
without much labour

Hor.
And impudence.
Archer of heaven, Phoebus, take thy bow,
And with a full-drawn shaft nail to the earth
This Python, that I may yet run hence and live:
Or, brawny Hercules, do thou come down,
And, tho' thou mak'st it up thy thirteenth labour,
Rescue me from this hydra of discourse here.

[Enter FUSCUS ARISTIUS.

Ari.
Horace, well met.

Hor.
O welcome, my reliever;
Aristius, as thou lov'st me, ransom me.

Ari.
What ail'st thou, man?

Hor.
'Death, I am seized on here
By a land remora; I cannot stir,
Nor move, but as he pleases.

Cris.
Wilt thou go, Horace?

Hor.
Heart! he cleaves to me like Alcides' shirt,
Tearing my flesh and sinews: O, I've been vex'd
And tortured with him beyond forty fevers.
For Jove's sake, find some means to take me from him.

Ari.
Yes, I will;—but I'll go first and tell Mecaenas. [Aside.

Cris.
Come, shall we go?

Ari.
The jest will make his eyes run, i'faith. [Aside.

Hor.
Nay, Aristius!

Ari.
Farewell, Horace. [Going.

Hor.
'Death! will he leave me? Fuscus Aristius! do you hear? Gods
of Rome! You said you had somewhat to say to me in private.

Ari. Ay, but I see you are now employed with that gentleman; 'twere offence to trouble you; I'll take some fitter opportunity: farewell.

[Exit.

Hor.
Mischief and torment! O my soul and heart,
How are you cramp'd with anguish! Death itself
Brings not the like convulsions, O, this day!
That ever I should view thy tedious face.—-

Cris.
Horace, what passion, what humour is this?

Hor.
Away, good prodigy, afflict me not.
A friend, and mock me thus! Never was man
So left under the axe.—-
[Enter Minos with two Lictors.

How now?

Min.
That's he in the embroidered hat, there, with the ash-colour'd
feather: his name is Laberius Crispinus.

Lict.
Laberius Crispinus, I arrest you in the emperor's name.

Cris.
Me, sir! do you arrest me?

Lice.
Ay, sir, at the suit of master Minos the apothecary.

[Exit hastily.

Hor.
Thanks, great Apollo, I will not slip thy favour offered me in
my escape, for my fortunes.

Cris.
Master Minos! I know no master

Minos.
Where's Horace? Horace! Horace!

Min.
Sir, do not you know me?

Cris.
O yes, I know you, master Minos; cry you mercy. But Horace?
God's me, is he gone?

Min.
Ay, and so would you too, if you knew how.—Officer, look to
him.

Cris.
Do you hear, master Minos? pray let us be used like a man of
our own fashion. By Janus and Jupiter, I meant to have paid you
next week every drachm. Seek not to eclipse my reputation thus
vulgarly.

Min.
Sir, your oaths cannot serve you; you know I have forborne you
long.

Cris.
I am conscious of it, sir. Nay, I beseech you, gentlemen, do
not exhale me thus, remember 'tis but for sweetmeats—

Lict.
Sweet meat must have sour sauce, sir. Come along.

Cris.
Sweet master Minos, I am forfeited to eternal disgrace, if
you do not commiserate. Good officer, be not so officious.

Enter TUCCA and Pyrgi.

Tuc.
Why, how now, my good brace of bloodhounds, whither do you
drag the gentleman? You mongrels, you curs, you ban-dogs! we are
captain Tucca that talk to you, you inhuman pilchers.

Min.
Sir, he is their prisoner.

Tuc.
Their pestilence! What are you, sir?

Min.
A citizen of Rome, sir.

Tuc.
Then you are not far distant from a fool, sir.

Min.
A pothecary, sir.

Tuc.
I knew thou wast not a physician: foh! out of my nostrils,
thou stink'st of lotium and the syringe; away, quack-salver!—
Follower, my sword.
[Aside.

I Pyr.
Here, noble leader; you'll do no harm with it, I'll trust
you.

Tuc.
Do you hear, you goodman, slave? Hook, ram, rogue, catchpole,
loose the gentleman, or by my velvet arms—

[Strikes up his heels, and seizes his sword.

Lict.
What will you do, sir?

Tuc.
Kiss thy hand, my honourable active varlet, and embrace thee
thus.

1 Pyr.
O patient metamorphosis!

Tuc.
My sword, my tall rascal.

Lict.
Nay, soft, sir; some wiser than some.

Tuc.
What! and a wit too? By Pluto, thou must be cherish'd, slave;
here's three drachms for thee; hold.

2 Pyr.
There's half his lendings gone.

Tuc.
Give me.

Lict.
No, sir, your first word shall stand; I'll hold all.

Tuc.
Nay, but rogue—

Lict.
You would make a rescue of our prisoner, sir, you.

Tuc.
I a rescue! A way, inhuman varlet. Come, come, I never relish
above one jest at most; do not disgust me, Sirrah; do not, rogue! I
tell thee, rogue, do not.

Lict.
How, sir! rogue?

Tuc.
Ay; why, thou art not angry, rascal, art thou?

Lict.
I cannot tell, sir; I am little better upon these terms.

Tuc.
Ha, gods and fiends! why, dost hear, rogue, thou? give me thy
hand; I say unto thee, thy hand, rogue. What, dost not thou know
me? not me, rogue? not captain Tucca, rogue?

Min.
Come, pray surrender the gentleman his sword, officer; we'll
have no fighting here.

Tuc.
What's thy name?

Min.
Minos, an't please you.

Tuc.
Minos! Come hither, Minos; thou art a wise fellow, it seems;
let me talk with thee.

Cris.
Was ever wretch so wretched as unfortunate I!

Tuc.
Thou art one of the centumviri, old boy, art not?

Min.
No indeed, master captain.

Tuc.
Go to, thou shalt be then; I'll have thee one.

Minos.
Take my sword from these rascals, dost thou see! go, do it;
I cannot attempt with patience. What does this gentleman owe thee, little Minos?

Min.
Fourscore sesterties, sir.

Tuc.
What, no more! Come, thou shalt release him.

Minos:
what, I'll be his bail, thou shalt take my word, old boy,
and cashier these furies: thou shalt do't, I say, thou shalt,
little Minos, thou shalt.

Cris.
Yes; and as I am a gentleman and a reveller, I'll make a
piece of poetry, and absolve all, within these five days.

Tuc.
Come, Minos is not to learn how to use a gentleman of quality,
I know.—My sword: If he pay thee not, I will, and I must, old boy.
Thou shalt be my pothecary too. Hast good eringos, Minos.

Min.
The best in Rome, sir.

Tuc.
Go to, then—Vermin, know the house.

1 Pyr.
I warrant you, colonel.

Tuc.
For this gentleman, Minos—

Min.
I'll take your word, captain.

Tuc.
Thou hast it. My sword.

Min.
Yes, sir: But you must discharge the arrest, master Crispinus.

Tuc.
How, Minos! Look in the gentleman's face, and but read his
silence. Pay, pay; 'tis honour, Minos.

Cris.
By Jove, sweet captain, you do most infinitely endear and
oblige me to you.

Tuc.
Tut, I cannot compliment, by Mars; but, Jupiter love me, as I
love good words and good clothes, and there's an end. Thou shalt
give my boy that girdle and hangers, when thou hast worn them a
little more.

Cris.
O Jupiter! captain, he shall have them now, presently:—
Please you to be acceptive, young gentleman.

1 Pyr.
Yes, sir, fear not; I shall accept; I have a pretty foolish
humour of taking, if you knew all. [Aside.

Tuc.
Not now, you shall not take, boy.

Cris.
By my truth and earnest, but he shall, captain, by your
leave.

Tuc.
Nay, an he swear by his truth and earnest, take it, boy: do
not make a gentleman forsworn.

Lict.
Well, sir, there's your sword; but thank master Minos; you
had not carried it as you do else.

Tuc.
Minos is just, and you are knaves, and

Lict.
What say you, sir?

Tuc.
Pass on, my good scoundrel, pass on, I honour thee:

[Exeunt Lictors.]

But that I hate to have action with such base rogues as these, you should have seen me unrip their noses now, and have sent them to the next barber's to stitching; for do you see—-I am a man of humour, and I do love the varlets, the honest varlets, they have wit and valour, and are indeed good profitable,—errant rogues, as any live in an empire. Dost thou hear, poetaster?
[To Crispinus.]
Second me. Stand up, Minos, close, gather, yet, so! Sir, (thou
shalt have a quarter-share, be resolute) you shall, at my request,
take Minos by the hand here, little Minos, I will have it so; all
friends, and a health; be not inexorable. And thou shalt impart the
wine, old boy, thou shalt do it, little Minos, thou shalt; make us
pay it in our physic. What! we must live, and honour the gods
sometimes; now Bacchus, now Comus, now Priapus; every god a little.

[Histrio passes by.] What's he that stalks by there, boy, Pyrgus?
You were best let him pass, Sirrah; do, ferret, let him pass, do

2 Pyr.
'Tis a player, sir.

Tuc.
A player! call him, call the lousy slave hither; what, will he
sail by and not once strike, or vail to a man of war? ha!-Do you
hear, you player, rogue, stalker, come back here!

[Enter Histrio.

No respect to men of worship, you slave! what, you are proud, you
rascal, are you proud, ha? you grow rich, do you, and purchase,
you twopenny tear-mouth? you have FORTUNE, and the good year on your side, you stinkard, you have, you have!

Hist.
Nay, 'sweet captain, be confined to some reason; I protest I
saw you not, sir.

Tuc.
You did not? where was your sight, OEdipus? you walk with
hare's eyes, do you? I'll have them glazed, rogue; an you say the
word, they shall be glazed for you: come we must have you turn
fiddler again, slave, get a base viol at your back, and march in a
tawny coat, with one sleeve, to Goose-fair; then you'll know us,
you'll see us then, you will, gulch, you will. Then, Will't please
your worship to have any music, captain?

Hist.
Nay, good captain.

Tuc.
What, do you laugh, Howleglas! death, you perstemptuous
varlet, I am none of your fellows; I have commanded a hundred and
fifty such rogues, I,

2 Pyr.
Ay, and most of that hundred and fifty have been leaders of
a legion. [Aside.

Hist.
If I have exhibited wrong, I'll tender satisfaction, captain.

Tuc.
Say'st thou so, honest vermin! Give me thy hand; thou shalt
make us a supper one of these nights.

Hist.
When you please, by Jove, captain, most willingly. us. Dost
thou swear! To-morrow then; say and hold, slave. There are some of you players honest gentlemen-like scoundrels, and suspected to have some wit, as well as your poets, both at drinking and breaking of jests, and are companions for gallants. A man may skelder ye, now and then, of half a dozen shillings, or so. Dost thou not know that Pantalabus there?

Hist.
No, I assure you, captain.

Tuc.
Go; and be acquainted with him then; he is a gentleman, parcel
poet, you slave; his father was a man of worship, I tell thee. Go,
he pens high, lofty, in a new stalking strain, bigger than half the
rhymers in the town again; he was born to fill thy mouth,
Minotaurus, he was, he will teach thee to tear and rand. Rascal, to
him, cherish his muse, go; thou hast forty-forty shillings, I mean,
stinkard; give him in earnest, do, he shall write for thee, slave!
If he pen for thee once, thou shalt not need to travel with thy
pumps full of gravel any more, after a blind jade and a hamper, and
stalk upon boards and barrel heads to an old crack'd trumpet.

Hist.
Troth, I think I have not so much about me, captain.

Tuc.
It's no matter; give him what thou hast, stiff-toe, I'll give
my word for the rest; though it lack a shilling or two, it skills
not: go, thou art an honest shifter; I'll have the statute repeal'd
for thee.—Minos, I must tell thee, Minos, thou hast dejected yon
gentleman's spirit exceedingly; dost observe, dost note, little
Minos?

Min.
Yes, sir.

Tuc.
Go to then, raise, recover, do; suffer him not to droop in
prospect of a player, a rogue, a stager: put twenty into his
hand—twenty sesterces I mean,—and let nobody see; go, do it—the work shall commend itself; ye Minos, I'll pay.

Min.
Yes, forsooth, captain.

2 Pyr.
Do not we serve a notable shark? [Aside.

Tuc.
And what new matters have you now afoot, sirrah, ha? I would
fain come with my c*ckatrice one day, and see a play, if I knew
when there were a good bawdy one; but they say you have nothing but HUMOURS, REVELS, and SATIRES, that gird and f—t at the time, you slave.

Hist.
No, I assure you, captain, not we. They are on the other side
of Tyber: we have as much ribaldry in our plays as can be, as you
would wish, captain: all the sinners in the suburbs come and
applaud our action daily.

Tuc.
I hear you'll bring me o' the stage there; you'll play me,
they say; I shall be presented by a sort of copper-laced scoundrels
of you: life of Pluto! an you stage me, stinkard, your mansions
shall sweat for't, your tabernacles, varlets, your Globes, and your
Triumphs.

Hist.
Not we, by Phoebus, captain; do not do us imputation without
desert.

Tuc.
I will not, my good twopenny rascal; reach me thy neuf. Dost
hear? what wilt thou give me a week for my brace of beagles here,
my little point-trussers? you shall have them act among ye.—I
Sirrah, you, pronounce.—Thou shalt hear him speak in King Darius'
doleful strain.

1 Pyr.
O doleful days! O direful deadly dump!
O wicked world, and worldly wickedness!
How can I hold my fist from crying, thump,
In rue of this right rascal wretchedness!

Tuc.
In an amorous vein now, sirrah: peace!

1 Pyr.
O, she is wilder, and more hard, withal,
Than beast, or bird, or tree, or stony wall.
Yet might she love me, to uprear her state:
Ay, but perhaps she hopes some nobler mate.
Yet might she love me, to content her fire:
Ay, but her reason masters her desire.
Yet might she love me as her beauty's thrall:
Ay, but I fear she cannot love at all.

Tuc.
Now, the horrible, fierce soldier, you, sirrah.

2 Pyr.
What! will I brave thee? ay, and beard thee too;
A Roman spirit scorns to bear a brain
So full of base pusillanimity.

Hist.
Excellent!

Tuc.
Nay, thou shalt see that shall ravish thee anon; prick up
thine ears, stinkard.—The ghost, boys!

1 Pyr.
Vindicate!

2 Pyr.
Timoria!

1 Pyr.
Vindicta!

2 Pyr.
Timoria!

1 Pyr.
Veni!

2 Pyr.
Veni!

Tuc.
Now thunder, sirrah, you, the rumbling player.

2 Pyr.
Ay, but somebody must cry, Murder! then, in a small voice.

Tuc.
Your fellow-sharer there shall do't:

Cry, sirrah, cry.

1 Pyr.
Murder, murder!

2 Pyr.
Who calls out murder? lady, was it you?

Hist.
O, admirable good, I protest.

Tuc.
Sirrah, boy, brace your drum a little straiter, and do the
t'other fellow there, he in the—what sha' call him—and yet stay
too.

2 Pyr.
Nay, an thou dalliest, then I am thy foe,
And fear shall force what friendship cannot win;
Thy death shall bury what thy life conceals.
Villain! thou diest for more respecting her—-

1 Pyr.
O stay, my lord.

2 Pyr.
Than me:
Yet speak the truth, and I will guerdon thee;
But if thou dally once again, thou diest.

Tuc.
Enough of this, boy.

2 Pyr.
Why, then lament therefore: d—n'd be thy guts
Unto king Pluto's Hell, and princely Erebus;
For sparrows must have food—-

Hist.
Pray, sweet captain, let one of them do a little of a lady.

Tuc.
O! he will make thee eternally enamour'd of him, there: do,
sirrah, do; 'twill allay your fellow's fury a little.

1 Pyr.
Master, mock on; the scorn thou givest me,
Pray Jove some lady may return on thee.

2 Pyr.
Now you shall see me do the Moor: master, lend me your scarf
a little.

Tuc.
Here, 'tis at thy service, boy.

2 Pyr.
You, master Minos, hark hither a little

[Exit with Minos, to make himself ready.

Tuc.
How dost like him? art not rapt, art not tickled now? dost not
applaud, rascal? dost not applaud?

Hist.
Yes: what will you ask for them a week, captain?

Tuc.
No, you mangonising slave, I will not part from them; you'll
sell them for enghles, you: let's have good cheer tomorrow night
at supper, stalker, and then we'll talk; good capon and plover, do
you hear, sirrah? and do not bring your eating player with you
there; I cannot away with him: he will eat a leg of mutton while I
am in my porridge, the lean Polyphagus, his belly is like
Barathrum; he looks like a midwife in man's apparel, the slave: nor
the villanous out-of-tune fiddler, AEnobarbus, bring not him. What
hast thou there? six and thirty, ha?

Hist.
No, here's all I have, captain, some five and twenty: pray,
sir, will you present and accommodate it unto the gentleman? for
mine own part, I am a mere stranger to his humour; besides, I have
some business invites me hence, with master Asinius Lupus, the
tribune.

Tuc.
Well, go thy ways, pursue thy projects, let me alone with
this design; my Poetaster shall make thee a play, and thou shalt be
a man of good parts in it. But stay, let me see; do not bring your
AEsop, your politician, unless you can ram up his mouth with
cloves; the slave smells ranker than some sixteen dunghills, and is
seventeen times more rotten. Marry, you may bring Frisker, my zany; he's a good skipping swaggerer; and your fat fool there, my mango, bring him too; but let him not beg rapiers nor scarfs, in his
over-familiar playing face, nor roar out his barren bold jests with
a tormenting laughter, between drunk and dry. Do you hear,
stiff-toe? give him warning, admonition, to forsake his saucy
glavering grace, and his goggle eye; it does not become him,
sirrah: tell him so. I have stood up and defended you, I, to
gentlemen, when you have been said to prey upon puisnes, and honest citizens, for socks or buskins; or when they have call'd you
usurers or brokers, or said you were able to help to a piece of
flesh—I have sworn, I did not think so, nor that you were the
common retreats for punks decayed in their practice; I cannot
believe it of you.

Hist.
Thank you, captain. Jupiter and the rest of the gods confine
your modern delights without disgust.

Tuc.
Stay, thou shalt see the Moor ere thou goest.

[Enter DEMETRIUS at a distance.

What's he with the half arms there, that salutes us out of his
cloak, like a motion, ha?

Hist.
O, sir, his doublet's a little decayed; he is otherwise a
very simple honest fellow, sir, one Demetrius, a dresser of plays
about the town here; we have hired him to abuse Horace, and bring him in, in a play, with all his gallants, as Tibullus, Mecaenas,
Cornelius Gallus, and the rest.

Tuc.
And why so, stinkard?

Hist.
O, it will get us a huge deal of money, captain, and we have
need on't; for this winter has made us all poorer than so many
starved snakes: nobody comes at us, not a gentleman, nor a—

Tuc.
But you know nothing by him, do you, to make a play of?

Hist.
Faith, not much, captain; but our author will devise that
that shall serve in some sort.

Tuc.
Why, my Parnassus here shall help him, if thou wilt. Can thy
author do it impudently enough?

Hist.
O, I warrant you, captain, and spitefully enough too; he has
one of tho most overflowing rank wits in Rome; he will slander any
man that breathes, if he disgust him.

Tuc.
I'll know the poor, egregious, nitty rascal; an he have these
commendable qualities, I'll cherish him—stay, here comes the
Tartar—I'll make a gathering for him, I, a purse, and put the poor
slave in fresh rags; tell him so to comfort him.—

[Demetrius comes forward.

Be-enter Minos, with 2 Pyrgus on his shoulders, and stalks
backward and forward, as the boy acts.


Well said, boy.

2 Pyr.
Where art thou, boy? where is Calipolis?
Fight earthquakes in the entrails of the earth,
And eastern whirlwinds in the hellish shades;
Some foul contagion of the infected heavens
Blast all the trees, and in their cursed tops
The dismal night raven and tragic owl
Breed and become forerunners of my fall!

Tuc.
Well, now fare thee well, my honest penny-biter: commend me to
seven shares and a half, and remember to-morrow.—If you lack a
service, you shall play in my name, rascals; but you shall buy your
own cloth, and I'll have two shares for my countenance. Let thy
author stay with me.

[Exit Histrio.

Dem.
Yes, sir.

Tuc.
'Twas well done, little Minos, thou didst stalk well: forgive
me that I said thou stunk'st; Minos; 'twas the savour of a poet I
met sweating in the street, hangs yet in my nostrils.

Cris.
Who, Horace?

Tuc.
Ay, he; dost thou know him?

Cris.
O, he forsook me most barbarously, I protest.

Tuc.
Hang him, fusty satyr, he smells all goat; he carries a ram
under his arm-holes, the slave: I am the worse when I see him.—
Did not Minos impart? [Aside to Crispinus.

Cris.
Yes, here are twenty drachms he did convey.

Tuc.
Well said, keep them, we'll share anon; come, little Minos.

Cris.
Faith, captain, I'll be bold to shew you a mistress of mine,
a jeweller's wife, a gallant, as we go along.

Tuc.
There spoke my genius. Minos, some of thy eringos, little
Minos; send. Come hither, Parnassus, I must have thee familiar with my little locust here; 'tis a good vermin, they say.—

[Horace and Trebatius pass over the stage.]

See, here's Horace, and old Trebatius, the great lawyer, in his
company; let's avoid him now, he is too well seconded.

[Exeunt.

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