Ben Jonson

"The Staple of News. Act 1. Scene 2."

        Fashioner, Penyboy, Thomas Barber, Haberdasher.

God give your Worship Joy.
    P. Ju. What? of your staying?
And leaving me to stalk here in my Trowses,
Like a tame Her'n-sew for you?     Fas. I but waited
Bellow, till the Clock strooke.     P. Ju. Why, if you had come
Before a quarter, would it so have you,
In Reputation, to have waited her?
    Fas. No, but your Worship might have pleaded Nonage,
If you had got 'em on, ere I could make
Just Affidavit of the Time.     P. Ju. That Jest
Has gain'd thy Pardon, thou had'st liv'd condemn'd
To thine own Hell else, never to have wrought
Stitch more for me, or any Peniboy,
I could have hindred thee: but now thou art mine,
For One and twenty Years, or for three Lives,
Chuse which thou wilt, I'll make thee a Copy-holder,
And thy first Bill unquestion'd. Help me on.
            [He says his Sute.
    Fas. Presently, Sir: I am bound unto your Worship.
    P. Ju. Thou shalt be, when I have seal'd thee a Lease
of my Custom.
    Fas. Your Worships Barber is without.     P. Ju. Who? Thom?
Come in Thom: set thy things upon the Board,
And spread thy Clothes, lay all forth in procinctu,
And tell's what news?     Tho. O Sir, A Staple of News!
Or the New Staple, which you please.     P. Ju. What's that?
    Fas. An Office, Sir, a brave young Office set up.
I had forgot to tell your Worship.     P. Ju. for what?
    Tho. To enter all the News, Sir, o' the time.
    Fas. And vent it as occasion serves! A Place
Of huge commerce it will be!     P. Ju. Pray thee peace,
I cannot abide a talking Taylor: Let Thom
(He's a Barber) by his Place relate it.
What is't, an Office, Thom?     Tho. Newly erected
Here in the House, almost on the same Floor,
Where all the News of all sorts shall be brought,
And there be Examin'd, and then Registred,
And so to be issu'd under the Seal of the Office,
As Staple News; no other News be currant.
    P. Ju. 'Fore me, thou speak'st of, a brave business, Thom.
    Fas. Nay, if you knew the Brain that hatch'd it, Sir --
    P. Ju. I know thee well enough: give him a Loaf, Thom --
Quiet his Mouth, that Oven will be venting else.
Proceed --     Tho. He tells you true, Sir, Master Cymbal
Is Master of the Office, he projected it,
He lies here i' the House: and the great Rooms
He has taken for the Office, and set up
His Desks and Classes, Tables and his Shelves,
    Fas. He's my Customer, and a Wit, Sir, too.
But, h' has brave Wits under him --
    Tho. Yes, four Emissaries,
    P. Ju. Emissaries? stay, there's a fine new word, Thom!
'Pray God it signifie any thing, what are Emissaries?
    Tho. Men imploy'd outward, that are sent abroad
To fetch in the Commodity.     Fas. From all Regions
Where the best News are made.     Tho. Or vented forth.
    Fas. By way of exchange, or trade.
    P. Ju. Nay, thou wilt speak --
            [He Gives the Taylor leave to talk.
    Fas. My share, Sir, there's enough for both.
    P. Ju. Go on then,
Speak all thou canst: methinks the Ordinaries,
Should help them much.     Fas. Sir, they have Ordinaries,
And Extraordinaries, as many Changes
And Variations, as there are Points i' the Compass.
    Tho. But the 4 Cardinal Quarters --     P. Ju. I those Thom --
    Tho. The Court, Sir, Pauls, Exchange, and Westminster-hall.
    P. Ju. Who is the Chief? which hath Precedency?
    Tho. The Governour o' the Staple, Master Cymball.
He is the Chief; and after him the Emissaries:
First Emissary Court, one Master Fitton,
He's a Jeerer too.     P. Ju. What's that?     Fas. A Wit.
    Tho. Or half a Wit. some of them are Half-wits,
Two to a Wit, there are a set of'em.
     Then Master Ambler, Emissary Pauls,
A fine pac'd Gentleman, as you shall see, walk
The middle Isle: And then my froy Hans Buz,
A Dutch-man; he's Emissary Exchange.
    Fas. I had thought Mr. Burst the Merchant had had it.     Tho. No,
He has a Rupture, he has sprung a Leak,
Emissary Westminster's undispos'd of yet;
Then the Examiner, Register, and two Clerks,
They mannage all at home, and sort, and file,
And seal the News, and issue them.
    P. Ju. Thom. dear Thom.
What may my means do for thee, ask and have it,
I'd fain be doing some good. It is my Birth-day.
And I'd do it betimes, I feel a grudging
Of Bounty, and I would not long lye fallow.
I pray thee think and speak, or wish for something.
    Tho. I would I had but one o' the Clerks Places
I' this News-Office.     P. Ju. Thou shalt have it Thom,
If Silver or Gold will fetch it; what's the Rate?
At what is't set i' the Mercat?     Tho. Fifty Pound, Sir.
    P. Ju. An't were a hundred, Thom, thou shalt not want it.
            [The Taylor leaps and embraceth him.
    Fas. O Noble Master!     P. Ju. How nows Aesops Ass!
Because I play with thom, must I needs run
Into your rude Embraces? stand you still, Sir;
Clowns fawnings are a Horses salutations.
How do'st thou like my suit, thom?     Tho. Mr. Fashioner
Has hit your Measures, Sir, h' has moulded you,
And made you, as they say.     Fas. No, no, not I,
I am an Ass, old AEsops Ass.     P. Ju. Nay, Fashioner,
I can do thee a good turn too, be not musty,
Though thou hast moulded me, as little thom says,
(I think thou hast put me in mouldy Pockets.)
    Fas. As good,         [He draws out his Pockets,
Right Spanish Perfume, the Lady Estifania's,
They cost Twelve pound a Pair.
    P. Ju. Thy Bill will say so.
I pray thee tell me, Fashioner, what Authors
Thou read'st to help thy Invention? Italian Prints?
Or Arras Hangings? They are Taylors Libraries.
    Fas. I scorn such helps.
    P. Ju. O, thou art a Silk-worm!
And deal'st in Sattins and Velvets, and rich plushes,
Thou canst not spin all Forms out of thy self;
They are quite other things: I think this suit
Has made me wittier then I was.     Fas. Believe it, Sir,

That Clothes do much upon the Wit, as Weather
Do's on the Brain; and thence comes your Proverb;
The Taylor makes the Man: I have had Gallants,
Both Court and Countrey, would ha' fool'd you up
In a new Suit, with the best Wits in being,
And kept their speed as long as their Clothes lasted
Handsome and neat; but then as they grew out
At the Elbows again, or had a stain or spot,
They have sunk most wretchedly.
    P. Ju. What thou report'st,
Is but the common Calamity, and seen daily;
And therefore you 'ave another answering Proverb:
A broken Sleeve keeps the Arm back.     Fas. 'Tis true, Sir.
And thence we say, that such a one plays at Peep-arm.
    P. Ju. Do you so? it is wittily said. I wonder, Gentlemen,
And Men of Means will not maintain themselves
Fresher in wit, I mean in Clothes, to the highest.
For he that's out o' Clothes, is out o' Fashion,
And out of Fashion, is out of Countenance,
And out o' Countenance is out o' Wit.
Is not Rogue Haberdasher come?     Hab. Yes, here, Sir.
            [They are all busie about him.
I ha' been without this half hour.     P. Ju. Give me my Hat.
Put on my Girdle Rascal, sits my Ruff well?
    Lin. In print.     P. Ju. Slave.     Lin. See your self.     P. Ju. Is this same Hat
O' the Block Passant? Do not answer me,
I cannot stay for an answer. I do feel
The Powers of One and twenty, like a Tide
Flow in upon me, and perceive an Heir,
Can Conjure up all Spirits in all Circles,
Rogue, Rascal, Slave, give Tradesmen their true names,
And they appear to 'em presently.     Lin. For Profit.
    P. Ju. Come, cast my Cloak about me, I'll go see,
This Office Thom, and be trimm'd afterwards.
I'll put thee in possession, my prime work!
Gods so: my Spurrier! put 'em on Boy, quickly,
            [His Spurrier comes in.
I' had like to ha' lost my Spurs with too much speed.

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