Ben Jonson

"Bartholomew Fayre Act 4. Scene 1"

Trouble-all, Bristle, Haggise, Cokes, Justice, Pocher,
Busy, Purecraft.

MY Masters, I do make no doubt but you are

What then, Sir?

And the King's loving, and obedient Subjects.

Obedient, Friend? Take heed what you speak, I
advise you; Oliver Bristle advises you. His loving Sub-
jects, we grant you; but not his obedient, at this time,
by your leave; we know our selves a little better than
so; we are to command, Sir, and such as you are to be
obedient. Here's one of his Obedient Subjects, going
to the Stocks; and we'll make you such another, if you

You are all wise enough i' your Places, I know.

If you know it, Sir, why do you bring it in question?

I question nothing, pardon me. I do only hope
you have Warrant for what you do, and so quit you,
and so multiply you.

[He goes away again.

What's he? Bring him up to the Stocks there.
Why bring you him not up?

[Comes again.

If you have Justice Overdo's War-
rant, 'tis well; you are safe; that is the
Warrant of Warrants. I'll not give this Button for any
Man's Warrant else.

Like enough, Sir; but let me tell you, an' you
play away your Buttons thus, you will want 'em e'er
night, for any store I see about you; you might keep
'em, and save Pins, I wuss.

[Goes away.

What should he be, that doth so esteem and ad-
vance my Warrant? He seems a sober and discreet Per-
son! It is a comfort to a good Conscience, to be fol-
low'd with a good Fame in his Sufferings. The World
will have a pretty taste by this, how I can bear Adver-
sity; and it will beget a kind of Reverence toward me,
hereafter, even from mine Enemies, when they shall see,
I carry my Calamity nobly, and that it doth neither
break me, nor bend me.

Come, Sir, here's a place for you to preach in.
Will you put in your Leg?

[They put him in the Stocks.

That I will, chearfully.

O' my conscience, a Seminary! he kisses the Stocks.

Well, my Masters, I'll leave him with you; now
I see him bestow'd, I'll go look for my Goods, and

You may, Sir, I warrant you: Where's the t'o-
ther Bawler? Fetch him too, you shall find 'em both fast

In the midst of this Tumult, I will yet be the
Author of mine own Rest, and not minding their Fury,
sit in the Stocks, in that calm as shall be able to trouble
a Triumph.

[Comes again.

Do you assure me upon your
words? May I undertake for you, if I
be ask'd the Question, that you have this Warrant?

What's this Fellow, for God's sake?

Do but shew me Adam Overdoo, and I am satisfied.

[Goes out.

He is a Fellow that is distracted, they say; one
Trouble-all: He was an Officer in the Court of Pie-pow-
here, last year, and put out of his Place by Justice


Upon which, he took an idle Conceit, and's run
mad upon't: So that ever since, he will do nothing, but
by Justice Overdo's Warrant; he will not eat a Crust,
nor drink a little, nor make him in his Apparel ready.
His Wife, Sirreverence, cannot get him make his Water,
or shift his Shirt, without his Warrant.

If this be true, this is my greatest Disaster! How
am I bound to satisfie this poor Man, that is of so good
a nature to me, out of his Wits! where there is no room
left for dissembling.

[Comes in.

If you cannot shew me Adam Over-
I am in doubt of you: I am afraid
you cannot answer it.

[Goes again.

Before me, Neighbour Bristle, (and now I think
on't better) Justice Overdoo is a very parantory Person.

O, are you advis'd of that? and a severe Justicer,
by your leave.

Do I hear ill o' that side too?

He will sit as upright o' the Bench, an' you mark
him, as a Candle i' the Socket, and give Light to the
whole Court in every Business.

But he will burn blue, and swell like a Bile
(God bless us) an' he be angry.

I, and he will be angry too, when his list, that's
more; and when he is angry, be it right or wrong, he
has the Law on's side ever. I mark that too.

I will be more tender hereafter. I see Compas-
sion may become a Justice, though it be a Weakness, I
confess, and nearer a Vice than a Vertue.

Well, take him out o' the Stocks again; we'll
go a sure way to work, we'll ha' the Ace of Hearts of
our side, if we can.

[They take the Justice out.

Come, bring him away to his Fellow there. Ma-
ster Busy, we shall rule your Legs, I hope, though we can-
not rule your Tongue.

No, Minister of Darkness, no; thou canst not
rule my Tongue; my Tongue it is mine own, and with it
I will both knock, and mock down your Bartholmew-
abominations, till you be made a Hissing to the neigh-
bour Parishes round about.

Let him alone, we have devis'd better upon't.

And shall he not into the Stocks then?

No, Mistris, we'll have 'em both to Justice Over-
and let him do over 'em as is fitting. Then I, and
my Gossip Haggis, and my Beadle Pocher are discharg'd.

O, I thank you, blessed, honest Men!

Nay, never thank us; but thank this Mad-man
that comes here; he put it in our Heads.

Is he mad? Now Heaven increase his Madness,
and bless it, and thank it: Sir, your poor Hand-maid
thanks you.

[Comes again.

Have you a Warrant? An' you have a Warrant,
shew it.

Yes, I have a Warrant out of the Word, to give
thanks for removing any Scorn intended to the Brethren.

It is Justice Overdo's Warrant that I look for; if
you have not that, keep your word, I'll keep mine. Quit
ye, and multiply ye.

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