Ben Jonson

"Bartholomew Fayre ~ Induction"

Stage-keeper.

GEntlemen, have a little patience, they are e'en
 upon coming, instantly. He that should be-
 gin the Play, Master Little-wit, the Proctor,
 has a stitch new faln in his black silk Stock-
ing; 'twill be drawn up ere you can tell twenty. He
plays one o' the Arches that dwells about the Hospital,
and he has a very pretty part. But for the whole Play,
will you ha' the truth on't? (I am looking, lest the Poet
hear me, or his Man, Master Broom, behind the Arras)
it is like to be a very conceited scurvy one, in plain En-
glish.
When't comes to the Fair once, you were e'en
as good go to Virginia, for any thing there is of Smith-
field.
He has not hit the Humours, he do's not know
'em; he has not convers'd with the Bartholmew-birds,
as they say; he has ne'er a Sword and Buckler Man in
his Fair; nor a little Davy, to take Toll o' the Bawds
there, as in my time; nor a Kind-heart, if any bodies
Teeth should chance to ake in his Play; nor a Jugler
with a well-educated Ape, to come over the Chain for
the King of England, and back again for the Prince,
and sit still on his Arse for the Pope, and the King of
Spain! None o' these fine sights! Nor has he the Can-
vas-cut i' the Night, for a Hobby-horse-man to creep in-
to his she-neighbour, and take his leap there! Nothing!
No, and some writer (that I know) had had but the Pen-
ning o' this matter, he would ha' made you such a Jig-
ajog
i' the Boothes, you should ha' thought an Earth-
quake had been i' the Fair! But these Master-Poets,
they will ha' their own absurd courses; they will be
inform'd of nothing. He has (sirreverence) kick'd me
three or four times about the Tyring-house, I thank him,
for but offering to put in with my experience. I'll
be judg'd by you, Gentlemen, now, but for one conceit
of mine! Would not a fine Pump upon the Stage ha'
done well, for a property now? and a Punque set under
upon her Head, with her Stern upward, and ha' been
sous'd by my witty young Masters o' the Inns o' Court?
What think you o' this for a shew, now? he will not
hear 'o this! I am an Ass! I! and yet I kept the Stage
in Master Tarleton's time, I thank my Stars. Ho! and
that Man had liv'd to have play'd in Bartholmew Fair,
you should ha' seen him ha' come in, and ha' been co-
zened i' the Cloath-quarter, so finely! And Adams,
the Rogue, ha' leap'd and caper'd upon him, and ha'
dealt his Vermine about, as though they had cost him
nothing. And then a substantial Watch to ha' stoln in
upon 'em, and taken 'em away, with mistaking words,
as the fashion is in the Stage-practice.


Book-holder, Scrivener.
[To him.

Book. How now? what rare discourse are you faln
 upon? ha? ha' you found any familiars here, that
you are so free? what's the business?

   Sta. Nothing, but the understanding Gentlemen o'the
Ground here, ask'd my judgment.

   Book. Your judgment, Rascal? for what? sweeping
the Stage? or gathering up the broken Apples for the
Bears within? Away Rogue, it's come to a fine degree
in these Spectacles, when such a Youth as you pretend
to a judgment. And yet he may, i' the most o' this
matter i' faith: For the Author hath writ it just to his
Meridian, and the Scale of the grounded Judgments here,
his Play-fellows in wit. Gentlemen, not for want of a
Prologue, but by way of a new one, I am sent out to you
here, with a Scrivener, and certain Articles drawn out
in haste between our Author and you; which if you
please to hear, and as they appear reasonable, to approve
of; the Play will follow presently. Read, Scribe, gi' me
the Counterpain.

   Scr. Articles of Agreement, indented, between the
Spectators or Hearers, at the Hope on the Bankside, in the
County of Surry on the one party; And the Author of
Bartholmew Fair in the said place and County, on the
other party: the one and thirtieth day of Octob. 1614.
and in the twelfth year of the Reign of our Sovereign
Lord, James, by the Grace of God, King of England,
France,
and Ireland, Defender of the Faith: And of Scot-
land
the Seven and fortieth.

   Inprimis, It is covenanted and agreed, by and between
the Parties above-said, and the said Spectators, and Hear-
ers,
as well the curious and envious, as the favouring
and judicious, as also the grounded judgments and un-
derstandings, do for themselves severally covenant and
agree to remain in the Places their Money or Friends
have put them in, with patience, for the space of two
Hours and an half, and somewhat more. In which
time the Author promiseth to present them by us, with a
new sufficient Play, called Bartholmew Fair, merry, and
as full of noise, as sport: made to delight all, and to of-
fend none; provided they have either the wit or the ho-
nesty to think well of themselves.

   It is further agreed, That every Person here, have his
or their free-will of Censure, to like or dislike at their
own charge, the Author having now departed with his
right: it shall be lawful for any Man to judge his six
Pen'orth, his twelve Pen'orth, so to his eighteen Pence,
two Shillings, half a Crown, to the value of his Place;
provided always his Place get not above his Wit. And
if he pay for half a dozen, he may censure for all them
too, so that he will undertake that they shall be silent.
He shall put in for Censures here, as they do for Lots at
the Lottery: marry, if he drop but six Pence at the
Door, and will Censure a Crowns worth, it is thought
there is no Conscience, or Justice in that.

It is also agreed, That every Man here exercise his
own Judgment, and not Censure by Contagion, or upon
trust, from anothers Voice, or Face, that sits by him,
be he never so first in the Commission of Wit: As also,
that he be fixt and settled in his Censure, that what he
approves, or not approves to day, he will do the same
to morrow; and if to morrow, the next day, and so
the next week (if need be:) and not to be brought
about by any that sits on the Bench with him, though
they indite and arraign Plays daily. He that will swear,
Jeronimo, or Andronicus are the best Plays, yet shall pass
unexcepted at here, as a Man whose Judgment shews it
is constant, and hath stood still these five and twenty
or thirty years. Though it be an Ignorance, it is a
vertuous and staid Ignorance; and next to truth, a con-
firm'd error does well; such a one the Author knows
where to find him.

It is further covenanted, concluded and agreed, That
how great soever the expectation be, no Person here is
to expect more than he knows, or better Ware than a
Fair will afford: neither to look back to the Sword and
Buckler-age of Smithfield, but content himself with the
present. Instead of a little Davy, to take Toll o' the
Bawds, the Author doth promise a strutting Horse-courser,
with a leer-Drunkard, two or three to attend him, in as
good Equipage as you would wish. And then for Kind-
heart,
the Tooth-drawer, a fine Oily Pig-woman with her
Tapster, to bid you welcome, and a Consort of Roarers
for Musick. A wise Justice of Peace meditant, instead
of a Jugler, with an Ape. A civil Cutpurse searchant. A
sweet Singer of new Ballads allurant: and as fresh an


Hypocrite, as ever was broach'd, rampant. If there be ne-
ver a Servant-monster i' the Fair, who can help it, he
says, nor a Nest of Antiques? He is loth to make Na-
ture afraid in his Plays, like those that beget Tales, Tem-
pests,
and such like Drolleries, to mix his Head with other
Mens Heels; let the concupiscence of Jigs and Dances,
reign as strong as it will amongst you: yet if the Pup-
pets
will please any body, they shall be entreated to
come in.

In consideration of which, it is finally agreed, by the
foresaid Hearers and Spectators, That they neither in
themselves conceal, nor suffer by them to be concealed,
any State-decipherer, or Politick Picklock of the Scene, so so-
lemnly ridiculous, as to search out, who was meant by
Ginger-bread-woman, who by the Hobby-horse-man, who by
the Costard-monger, nay, who by their Wares. Or that
will pretend to affirm (on his own inspired Ignorance)
what Mirror of Magistrates is meant by the Justice,
what great Lady by the Pig-woman, what conceal'd States-
man,
by the Seller of Mouse-traps, and so of the rest.
But that such Person, or Persons so found, be left disco-
vered to the mercy of the Author, as a forfeiture to the
Stage, and your laughter aforesaid. As also, such as
shall so desperately, or ambitiously, play the fool by his
place aforesaid, to challenge the Author of scurrility, be-
cause the Language somewhere favours of Smithfield, the
Booth, and the Pig-broath, or of prophaneness, because
a Mad-man cries, God quit you, or bless you. In witness
whereof, as you have preposterously put to your Seals
already (which is your Money) you will now add the
other part of suffrage, your Hands. The Play shall pre-
sently begin. And though the Fair be not kept in the
same Region, that some here, perhaps, would have it;
yet think, that therein the Author hath observ'd a speci-
al Decorum, the place being as dirty as Smithfield, and
as stinking every whit.

Howsoever, he prays you to believe, his Ware is still
the same, else you will make him justly suspect that he
that is so loth to look on a Baby, or an Hobby-horse here,
would be glad to take up a Commodity of them, at any
laughter or loss in another place.

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