Ben Jonson

"Bartholomew Fayre Act 5. Scene 3"

Cokes, Sharkwel, Justice, Filcher, John, Lanterne.

How now? what's here to do? Friend, art thou the
Master of the Monuments?

Sha.
'Tis a Motion, an't please your Worship.

Jus.
My phantastical Brother in Law, Master Barthol-
mew Cokes!


He reads the Bill.

Cok.
A Motion, what's that? The Ancient
Modern History of Hero and Leander, other-
wise called The Touchstone of true Love, with
as true a Trial of Friendship between Damon
and Pythias, two faithful Friends o' the Bank-side? Pretty
i' faith, what's the meaning on't? is't an Enterlude? or
what is't?

Fil.
Yes, Sir, please you come near, we'll take your
Money within.

Cok.
Back with these Children; they do so follow me
up and down.

[The Boys o' the Fair follow him.


Joh.
By your leave, friend.

Fil.
You must pay, Sir, an' you go in.

Joh.
Who, I? I perceive thou know'st not me: call
the Master o' the Motion.

Sha.
What, do you not know the Author, fellow Fil-
cher?
You must take no money of him; he must come
in Gratis: Master Little-wit is a Voluntary; he is the
Author.

Joh.
Peace, speak not too loud, I would not have a-
ny notice taken, that I am the Author, till we see how it
passes.

Cok.
Master Little-wit, how dost thou?

Joh.
Master Cokes! you are exceeding well met:
What, in your Doublet and Hose, without a Cloak or
a Hat?

Cok.
I would I might never stir, as I am an honest
man, and by that fire; I have lost all i'the Fair, and all
my Acquaintance too; didst thou meet any body that
I know, Master Little-wit? my Man Numps, or my Si-
ster Over-doo, or Mistris Grace? Pray thee Master
Little-wit lend me some Money to see the Interlude
here. I'll pay thee again, as I am a Gentleman.
If thou'lt but carry me home, I have money enough
there.

Joh.
O, Sir, you shall command it, what, will a Crown
serve you?

Cok.
I think it will, what do we pay for coming in,
fellows?

Fil.
Two Pence, Sir.

Cok.
Two Pence? There's Twelve Pence, friend;
Nay, I am a Gallant, as simple as I look now; if you
see me with my Man about me, and my Artillery
again.

Joh.
Your Man was i' the Stocks e'en now, Sir.

Cok.
Who, Numps?

Joh.
Yes faith.

Cok.
For what i' faith, I am glad o' that; remember
to tell me on't anon; I have enough now! What man-
ner of matter is this, Mr. Little-wit? What kind of A-
ctors
ha' you? Are they good Actors?

Joh.
Pretty Youths, Sir, all Children both Old and
Young, here's the Master of 'em ——

(Lan.
Call me not Leatherhead, but Lantern.

[Leatherhead whispers to Littlewit.

Joh.
Master Lantern, that gives light to the bu-
siness.

Cok.
In good time, Sir, I would fain see 'em, I would
be glad drink with the Young Company; which is the
Tiring-house?

Lan.
Troth, Sir, our Tiring-house is somewhat little,
we are but beginners yet, pray pardon us; you cannot
go upright in't.

Cok.
No? not now my Hat is off? what would you
have done with me, if you had had me, Feather and all,
as I was once to day? Ha' you none of your pretty
Impudent Boys now, to bring Stools, fill Tabacco,
fetch Ale, and beg money, as they have at other Houses?
let me see some o' your Actors.

Joh.
Shew him 'em, shew him 'em. Master Lan-
tern,
this is a Gentleman that is a Favourer of the
Quality.

Jus.
I, the favouring of this Licentious Quality is the
Consumption of many a Young Gentleman; a perni-
cious Enormity.

Cok.
What, do they live in Baskets?

[He brings them out in a Basket.

Lea.
They do lie in a Basket, Sir, they are o' the small
Players.

Cok.
These be Players minors indeed. Do you call
these Players?

Lan.
They are Actors, Sir, and as good as any, none
disprais'd, for dumb Shows: Indeed I am the mouth of
'em all.

Cok.
Thy mouth will hold 'em all. I think one Taylor
would go near to beat all this Company, with a Hand
bound behind him.

Joh.
I, and eat 'em all too, an' they were in Cake-
bread.

Cok.
I thank you for that, Master Little-wit, a good
Jest! which is your Burbage now?

Lan.
What mean you by that, Sir?

Cok.
Your best Actor. Your Field?

Joh.
Good i' faith! you are even with me, Sir.

Lan.
This is he, that acts young Leander, Sir. He
is extreamly belov'd of the Womenkind, they do
so affect his Action, the green Gamsters, that come
here, and this is lovely Hero; this with the beard, Da-
mon;
and this pretty Pythias: this is the Ghost of King
Dionysius in the Habit of a Scrivener: as you shall see
anon at large.

Cok.
Well, they are a Civil Company, I like 'em for
that; they offer not to fleer, nor geer, nor break Jests,
as the great Players do: And then, there goes not so
much charge to the Feasting of 'em, or making 'em
drunk, as to the other, by reason of their Littleness.
Do they use to play perfect? Are they never flu-
ster'd?

Lan.
No, Sir, I thank my Industry and Policy for
it; they are as well govern'd a Company, though I
say it —— And here is Young Leander, is as pro-
per an Actor, of his Inches; and shakes his Head like
an Hostler.

Cok.
But do you play it according to the Printed
Book? I have read that.

Lan.
By no means, Sir.

Cok.
No? How then?

Lan.
A better way, Sir, that is too Learned and Poe-
tical for our Audience, what, do they know what Helle-
spont
is? Guilty of true Loves Blood? or what Abidos is?
or the other Sestos height?

Cok.
Th' art i' the right, I do not know my self.

Lan.
No, I have entreated Master Little-wit to take
a little pains to reduce it to a more familiar strain for our
people.

Cok.
How, I pray thee, good Master Little-wit.

Joh.
It pleases him to make a matter of it, Sir.
But there is no such matter, I assure you: I have only
made it a little easie, and Modern for the Times, Sir,
that's all: As for the Hellespont, I imagine our Thames
here; and then Leander I make a Dyer's Son about
Puddle-Wharf; and Hero a Wench o' the Bank-side, who
going over one Morning to Old-Fishstreet, Leander
spies her land at Trigs-Stairs, and falls in Love with
her: Now do I introduce Cupid, having Metamor-
phos'd
himself into a Drawer, and he strikes Hero in
love with a Pint of Sherry, and other pretty passages
there are o' the friendship, that will delight you, Sir,
and please you of Judgment.

Cok.
I'll be sworn they shall: I am in Love with
the Actors already, and I'll be allied to them pre-
sently. (They respect Gentlemen, these Fellows:)
Hero shall be my Fairing: But which of my Fairings?
(Le' me see) i' faith, my Fiddle! and Leander my
Fiddle-stick: Then Damon my Drum; and Pythias
my Pipe, and the Ghost of Dionysius my Hobby-Horse.
All fitted.

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