Ben Jonson

"The New Inn. Act 1. Scene 6."

            Ferret, Lovel, Host, Cicelie.

     Your Horses, Sir, are ready; and the House
Dis --     Lov. Pleas'd thou think'st?
    Fer. I cannot tell, discharg'd
I'm sure it is.     Lov. Charge it again good Ferret.
And make unready the Horses: Thou knowest how.
Chalk, and renew the Rondels, I am now
Resolv'd to stay.     Fer. I easily thought so,
When you should hear what's purpos'd.     Lov. What?     Fer. To throw
The House out o' the Windo'?     Host. Brain o' man,
I shall ha' the worst o' that! will they not throw
My Houshold-stuff our first, Cushions, and Carpets,
Chairs, Stools, and Bedding? is not their sport my ruin?
    Lov. Fear not, mine Host, I am not o' the Fellowship.
    Fer. I cannot see, Sir, how you will avoid it;
They know already, all, you are i'the House.
    Lov. Who know?     F. The Lords: they have seen me, and enquir'd it.
    Lov. Why where you seen?     Fer. Because indeed i had
No Medi'cine, Sir, to go invisible:
No fern-seed in my Pocket; not an Opal
Wrapt in a Bay-leaf i' my left Fist,
To charm their Eyes with.     H. He does give you reasons
As Round as giges Ring: Which, say the Ancients,
Was a hoop Ring; and that is, round as a Hoop.
    Lov. You will ha' your Rebus still, mine Host.     Hos. I must.
    Fer. My Lady too, look't out o'the windo', and call'd me.
And see where Secretary Pru. comes from her.
                    [Enter Prudence.
Employ'd upon some Embassy unto you --
    Host. I'll meet her if she come upon Employment;
Fair Lady, welcome, as your host can make you.
    Pru. Forbear, Sir, I am first to have mine Audience,
Before the Complement. This Gentleman
Is my Adress to.     Host. And it is in state.
    Pru. My Lady, Sir, as glad o' the encounter
To find a Servant here, and such a Servant,
Whom she so values; with her best respects,
Desires to be remembred: and invites
Your Nobleness, to be a part, to day,
Of the Society, and Mirth intended
By her, and the young Lords, your Fellow-servants.
Who are like ambitious of enjoying
The fair request; and to that end have sent
Me, their imperfect Orator, to obtain it:
Which if I may, they have Elected me,
And Crown'd me, with the Title of a Soveraign
Of the days Sports devised i' the Inn,
So you be pleas'd to add your suffrage to it.
    Lov. So I be pleas'd , my gentle Mistress Prudence;
You cannot think me of that course Condition,
T' envy you any thing.     Host. That's nobly said!
And like my Guest!     Lov. I gratulate your Honour;
And should, with chear, lay hold on any Handle
That could advance it. But for me to think,
I can be any Rag or Particle
O' your Ladies care, more than to fill her List,
She being the Lady, that professeth still
To love no Soul or Body, but for ends;
Which are her Sports: And is not nice to speak this,
But doth proclaim it, in all Companies:
Her Ladiship must pardon my weak Counsels,
And weaker will, if it decline t' obey her.
    Pru. O Master Lovel, you must not give credit
To all that Ladies publickly profess,
Or talk, o' th' Volle, unto their Servanrs.
their Tongues and Thoughts oft times lye far asunder.
Yet, when the please, they have their Cabinet-counsels,
And reserv'd Thoughts, and can retire themselves
As well as others.     Host. I, the subtlest of us!
All that is born within a Ladies Lips --
    Pru. Is not the Issue of their Hearts, mine Host.
    Hos. Or kiss, or drink afore me.     Pru. Stay, excuse me;
Mine Errand is not done. Yet, if her Ladiships
Slighting, or diseteem, Sir, of your Service,
Hath formerly begot any distaste,
Which I not know of: here, I vow unto you,
Upon a Chamber-maids simplicity,
Reserving, still, the honour of my Lady,
I will be bold to hold the Glass up to her,
To shew her Ladiship where she hath err'd,
And how to tender satisfaction:
So you vouchsafe to prove, but the days venture.
    Hos. What say you Sir? where are you? are you within?
    Lov. Yes, I will wait upon her, and the Company.
    Hos. It is enough, Queen prudence; I will bring him:
And, o' this kiss. I long'd to kiss a Queen!
    Lov. There is no Life on Earth, but being in Love!
there are no Studies, no Delights, no Business,
No entercourse, or trade of Sense, or Soul,
But what is Love! I was the laziest creature,
The most unprofitable sign of nothing,
The veriest Drone, and slept away my Life
Beyond the Dormouse, till I was in Love!
And, now, I can out wake the Nightingale,
Out-watch an Usurer, and Out-walk him too,
Stalk like a Ghost, that haunted 'bout a treasure,
And all that phant'si'd treasure, it is Love!
    Host. But is your name Love-ill, Sir, or Love-well?
I would know that .     Lov. I do not know't my self,
Whether it is. But it is Love hath been
The Hereditary Passion of our House,
My gentle Host, and, as I guess, my Friend;
The truth is, I have lov'd this Lady long,
And impotently, with desire enough,
But no succes: for I have still forborn
To express it, in my Person, to her.     Hos. How then?

    Lov. I ha' sent her Toys, Verses, and Anagram's,
Trials o' Wit, mere Trifles she has commended,
But knew nmot whence they came, nor could she guess.
    Host. This was a pretty riddling way of wooing!
    Lov. I oft have been, too, in her Company;
And look'd upon her, a whole day; admir'd her;
lov'd her, and did not tell her so; lov'd still,
Look'd still, and lov'd; and lov'd, and look'd, and sigh'd;
But, as a Man neglected, I came off,
And unregarded --     Host. Could you blame her, Sir,
When you were silent, and not said a word?
    Lov. O but I lov'd the more; and she might read it
best, in my silence, had she been --     Host. As melancholick
As you are. 'Pray you, why would you stand mute, Sir?
    Lov. O thereon hangs a History, mine Host.
Did you ever know, or hear, of the Lord Beaufort,
Who serv'd so bravely in France? I was his Page,
And ere he dy'd, his friend! I follow'd him,
First, i' the Wars, and i' the times of peace,
I waited on his Studies; which were right.
He had no Arthurs, nor no Roiscleer's,
No Knights o' the Sun, nor Amadis de Gauls,
Primalions, and Pantagruel's, publick Nothings;
Abortives of the Fabulous, dark Cloyster,
Sent out to poison Courts and infest Manners:
But great Achilles, Agamemnons Acts,
Sage Nestors Counsels, and Ulysses Slights,
Tydides Fortitude, as Homer wrought them
In his immortal Phant'sie, for Examples
Of the Heroick Vertue. Or, as Virgil,
That Master of the Epick Poem, limn'd
Pious AEneas, his religious Prince,
Bearing his aged Parent on his Shoulders,
Rapt from the Flames of Troy, with his young Son.
And these he brought to practise, and to use.
He gave me first my Breeding, I acknowledge,
Then showr'd his Bounties on me, like the Howres,
That open-handed sit upon the Clouds,
And press the Liberality of Heaven
Down to the Laps of thankful Men! But then!
the trust commited to me, at his death,
Was above all! and left so strong a tye
On all my Powers! as time shall not dissolve!
Till it dissolve it self, and bury all!
The care of his brave Heir, and only Son!
Who being a Vertuous, sweet, young, hopeful Lord,
Hath cast his first Affections on this Lady.
And though I know, and may presume her husch,
As, out of Humour, will return no Love;
And therefore might indifferently be made
The Courting-stock, for all to practise on,
As she doth practise on all us, to scorn:
Yet, out of a Religion to my Charge,
And Debt profess'd, I ha' made a Self-decree,
Nere to express my Person, though my Passion
Burn me to Cinders.     Host. Then yo' are not so subtil,
Or half so read in Love-craft, as I took you.
Come, come, you are no Pheonix, an' you were,
I should expect no Miracle from your Ashes.
Take some advice. Be still that Rag of Love,
you are. burn on till you turn tinder.
This Chamber-maid may hap to prove the Steel,
To strike a sparkle out o' the Flint, your Mistress
My beget Bonfires yet, you do not know,
What light may be forc'd out, and from what darkness.
    Lov. Nay, I am so resolv'd, as still I'll love
Tho' not confess it.     Host. That's, Sir, as it chances:
We'll throw the Dice for it: Chear up.     Lov. I do.

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