Ben Jonson

"The Devil Is an Ass Act 2 Scene 8"

Mere-craft, Fitz-dottrel, Ingine, Trains.

WHy ha' you these Excursions? where ha' you been,
Sir?

Fit.
VVhere I ha' been vex'd a little, with a Toy!

Mer.
O Sir! no Toys must trouble your grave Head,
Now it is growing to be great. You must
Be above all those things.

Fit.
Nay, nay, so I will.

Mer.
Now you are to'ard the Lord, you must put off
The Man, Sir.

Ing.
He says true.

Mer.
You must do nothing
As you ha' done it heretofore; not know,
Or salute any Man.

Ing.
That was your Bedfellow,
The other Month.

Mer.
The other Month? the Week.
Thou dost not know the Priviledges, Ingine,
Follow that Title; nor how swift: To day,
When he has put on his Lord's Face once, then —

Fit.
Sir, for these things I shall do well enough,
There is no fear of me. But then, my Wife is
Such an untoward thing! she'll never learn
How to comport with it! I am out of all
Conceit, on her behalf.

Mer.
Best have her taught, Sir.

Fit.
Where? Are there any Schools for Ladies?
Is there
An Academy for Women? I do know,
For Men, there was: I learn'd in it my self,
To make my Legs, and do my Postures.

Ing.
Sir,
Do you remember the conceit you had ——
O' the Spanish Gown, at home?

[Ingine whispers Merecraft: Merecraft
turns to Fitz-dottrel.

Merc.
Ha! I do thank thee,
With all my Heart, dear Ingine. Sir, there is
A certain Lady, here about the Town,
An English Widow, who hath lately travel'd,
But she's call'd the Spaniard, cause she came
Latest from thence: and keeps the Spanish habit.
Such a rare woman! all our women here,
That are of spirit and fashion, flock unto her,
As to their President; their Law, their Canon;
More than they ever did to Oracle-Foreman.
Such rare Receits she has, Sir, for the Face;
Such Oils, such Tinctures, such Pomatum's,
Such Perfumes, Medicines, Quintessences, &c.
And such a Mistris of behaviour,
She knows from the Dukes Daughter, to the Doxey,
VVhat is their due just: and no more!

Fit.
O Sir!
You please me i' this, more than mine own greatness.
VVhere is she? Let us have her.

Mer.
By you patience,
VVe must use means; cast how to be acquainted —

Fit.
Good, Sir, about it.

Mer.
We must think how, first.

Fit.
O!
I do not love to tarry for a thing,
VVhen I have a mind to't. You do not know me,
If you do offer it.

Mer.
Your Wife must send
Some pretty token to her, with a complement,
And pray to be receiv'd in her good Graces,
All the great Ladies do't.

Fit.
She shall, she shall,
VVhat were it best to be?

Mer.
Some little Toy,
I would not have it any great matter, Sir:
A Diamond Ring, of forty or fifty Pound,
VVould do it handsomly: and be a gift
Fit for your Wife to send, and her to take.

Fit.
I'll go, and tell my VVife on't, straight.

[Fitz-dottrel goes out.

Mer.
VVhy this
Is well! The Clothes we' have now; But, where's this
Lady?
If we could get a witty Boy now, Ingine;
That were an excellent crack. I could instruct him,
To the true height. For any thing takes this Dottrel.

Ing.
Why, Sir, your best will be one o' the Players!

Mer.
No, there's no trusting them. They'll talk on't,
And tell their Poets.

Ing.
What if they do? the Jest
Will brook the Stage. But, there be some of 'em
Are very honest Lads. There's di*k Robinson
A very pretty Fellow, and comes often
To a Gentleman's Chamber, a Friends of mine. We had
The merriest Supper of it there, one night,
The Gentleman's Landlady invited him

To'a Gossips Feast: Now, he Sir, brought di*k Robinson,
Drest like a Lawyers Wife, amongst 'em all;
(I lent him Cloathes) but, to see him behave it;
And lay the Law, and carve, and drink unto 'em;
And then talk Baudy: and send Frolicks! O!
It would have burst your Buttons, or not left you
A Seam.

Mer.
They say he's an ingenious Youth!

Ing.
O Sir! and dresses himself the best! beyond
Forty o' your very Ladies! did you nee'r see him?

Mer.
No, I do seldom see those Toys. But think you,
That we may have him?

Ing.
Sir, the young Gentleman
I tell you of, can command him. Shall I attempt it?

[Enters again.

Mer.
Yes, do it.

Fit.
'Slight, I cannot get my Wife
To part with a Ring, on any terms: and yet
The sullen Monkey has two.

Mer.
It were 'gainst Reason,
That you should urge it; Sir, send to a Goldsmith,
Let not her lose by't.

Fit.
How do's she lose by't?
Is't not for her?

Mer.
Make it your own bounty,
It will ha' the better success; what is a matter
Of fifty Pound to you, Sir.

Fit.
I' have but a hundred
Pieces, to shew here; that I would not break —

Mer.
You shall ha' credit, Sir. I'll send a Ticket
Unto my Goldsmith. Here, my Man comes too,
To carry it fitly. How now, Trains? VVhat Birds?

[Trains enters.

Tra.
Your Cousin Ever-ill met me, and has beat me,
Because I would not tell him where you were:
I think he has dog'd me to the House too.

Fit.
Well —
You shall go out at the back-door then, Trains.
You must get Guilt-head hither, by some means.

Tra.
'Tis impossible!

Fit.
Tell him, we have Venison,
I'll g' him a piece, and send his Wife a Pheasant.

Tra.
A forrest moves not, till that forty Pound,
Yo' had of him last be paid. He keeps more stir
For that same petty summ, than for your Bond
Of Six; and Statute of Eight hundred!

Fit.
Tell him
VVe'll hedge in that. Cry up Fitz-dottrel to him,
Double his price: Make him a Man of mettal.

Tra.
That will not need, his Bond is currant enough.

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