Ben Jonson

"The Staple of News. Act 1. Scene 6."

            Picklock, Peni-boy jun. P.Canter.

How do's the Heir, bright Master Peni-boy?
is he awake yet in his One and twenty?
Why, this is better far, than to wear Cypress,
Dull smutting Gloves, or melancholy Blacks,
And have a pair of Twelvepenny-broad Ribbands
Laid out like Labels.     P.jun. I should ha' made shift
To have laught as heartily in my Mourners Hood,
As in this Suit, if it had pleas'd my father
To have been buried with with the Trumpeters.
    Pic. The Heralds of Arms, you mean.     P.jun. I mean,
All noise that is superfluous!     Pic. All that idle pomp,
And Vanity of a Tomb-stone, your wise Father
Did by his Will prevent. Your Worship had --
    P.jun. A loving and obedient Father of him,
I know it; a right kind-natur'd Man,
To die so opportunely.     Pic. And to settle
All things so well, compounded for your Wardship
The Week afore, and left your State entire,
Without any charge upon't.     P.jun. I must needs say,
I lost an Officer of him, a good Bailiff,
And I shall want him: but all peace be with him,
I will not wish him alive again, not I,
For all my Fortune. Give your Worship joy
O' your new Place, your Emissaryship
I' the News Office.     Pic. Know you why I bought it,
    P.jun. Not I.     Pic. To work for you, and carry a Mine
Against the Master of it, Master Cymbal,
Who hath a Plot upon a Gentlewoman
Was once design'd for you, Sir.
    P.jun. Me?     Pic. Your Father,
Old Master Peni-boy, of happy Memory,
And Wisdom too, as any i' the County,
Careful to find out a fit Match for you,
In his own Life-time, (but he was prevented)
Left it in Writing in a Schedule here,
To be annexed to his Will, That you,
His only Son, upon his Charge and Blessing,
Should take due notice of a Gentlewoman
Sojourning with your Uncle, Richer Peni-boy.
    P.jun. A Cornish Gentlewoman, I do know her,
Mistris Pecunia Do-all.     Pic. A great Lady,
Indeed she is, and not of Mortal Race,
Infanta of the mines; her Graces Grandfather
Was Duke, and Cousin to the King of Ophyr,
The Subterranean. Let that pass. Her name is
Or rather, her three Names are (for such she is)
Aurelia Clara Pecunia, a great Princess,
Of mighty Power, though she live in private,
With a contracted Family! Her Secretary --
    P.Ca. Who is her gentleman Usher too.     Pic. One Broker,
And then two Gentlewomen, Mistris Statute,
And Mistris Band, with Wax the Chambermaid,
And Mother Mortgage the old Nurse, two Grooms,
Pawn and his Fellow: You have not many to bribe, Sir.
The work is feizable, and th' Approaches easie,
By your own Kindred. Now, Sir, Cymbal thinks,
The Master here, and Governor o' the Staple,
By his fine Arts, and Pomp of his great Place,
To draw her! He concludes, she is a Woman!
And that so soon as sh' hears of the New Office,
She'll come to visit it, as they all have Longings
After new Sights and Motions! But your Bounty,
Person, and Bravery, must atchieve her.     P.Ca. She is
The Talk o' the Time! th' adventure o' the Age!
    Pic. You cannot put your self upon an Action
Of more importance.
    P.Ca. All the World are Suitors to her.
    Pic. All sorts of Men, and all Professions!
    P.C. You shall have Stall-fed Doctors, cramm'd Divines,
Make Love to her, and with those studies
And perfum'd Flatteries, as no Room can stink
More elegant, than where they are.     Pic. Well chanted,
Old Canter, thou sing'st true.     P.Ca. And (by your leave)
Good Masters Worship, some of your Velvet Coat
Make corpulent Curt'sies to her, till they crack for't.
    Pic. There's Doctor Almanac woos her, one of the Jeerers,
A fine Physician.     P.Ca. Your Sea-Captain, Shunfield,
Gives out, he'll go upon the Cannon for her.
    Pic. Though his loud Mouthing get him little Credit.
    P.Ca. Young Master Pied-mantle, the fine Herald,
Professes toi derive her through all Ages,
From all the Kings and Queens that ever were.
    Pic. And Master Madrigal, the crowned Poet
Of these our Times, doth offer at her Praises
As fair as any, when it shall please Apollo
That Wit and Rime may meet both in one Subject.
    P.Ca. And you to bear her from all these, it will be --
    Pic. A work of Fame.
    P.Ca. Of Hnour.     Pic. Celebration.
    P.Ca. Worthy your Name.
    Pic. The Peni-boys to live in't.
    P.Ca. It is an Action you were built for, Sir.
    Pic. And none but you can do it.
    P.Ju. I'll undertake it.
    P.Ca. And carry it.     P.Ju. Fear me not; for since I came
Of mature age, I have heard a certain itch
In my right eye, this corner here, do you see?
To do some work, and worthy of a Chronicle.

         The First Intermean after the First Act.

Mirth. How now, Gossip! How does the Play please you?
     Expectation. As a Body would wish: Here's nothing but
a young Prodigal, come of age, who makes much of the
buys him a Place in a New Office, i' the Air, I know
not where, and his Man o' Law to follow him, with the

Beggar to Boot, and they two help him to such a Wife.
     Mirth. I, she is a proper Piece! that such Creatures can broke for.
Tattle. I cannot abide that nasty Fellow, the Beggar; if
he had been a
Court-Beggar, in good Clothes, a Beggar in
Velvet, as they say, I could have endur'd him.

Mirth. Or a Begging Scholar in Black, or one of these
Poets, Gossip, that would hang upon a young Heir like a Horseleech.
     Expectation. Or a thred-bare Doctor of Physick, a poor Quacksalver.

     Censure. or a Sea-Captain half starv'd.
     Mirth. I, these were tolerable Beggars, Beggars of fashion!
You shall see some such anon.
     Tattle. I would fain see the Fool, Gossip; the Fool is
the finest Man i' the Company, they say, and has all the Wit:
He is the very Justice o'
Peace o' the Play, and can commit
whom he will, and what he will, Errour, Absurdity, as the
toy takes him, and o Man say, Black is his Eye, but laugh at him.

     Mirth. But they ha' no Fool i' this Play, I am afraid,
     Tattle. It's a wise Play then.
     Expectation. They are all Fools, the rather, in that.
     Censure. Like enough.
     Tattle. My Husband (Timothy Tattle, God rest his
poor Soul) was wont to say, There was no Play without a

Fool and a Devil in't; he was for the Devil, still, God
bless him. The
Devil for his Money, would he say, I would
fain see the
Devil. And why would you so fain see the
Devil? would I say. Because he has Horns, Wife, and may
be a Cuckhold, as well as a
Devil, he would answer. You are
e'en such another, Husband, quoth I. Was the
Devil ever
married? Where do you read, the
Devil was ever so honourable
to commit
Matrimony? The Play will tell us that,
says he, we'll go see't to morrow,
The Devil is an Ass. He
is an errant learn'd Man that made it, and can write, they say;
and I am foully deceiv'd, but he can read too.
     Mirth. I remember it, Gossip; I went with you, by the
same token,
Mrs. Trouble Truth dissuaded us, and told us,
he was a profane
Poet, and all his Plays had Devils in
them: That he kept School upo' the
Stage, could conjure there,
above the
School of Westimnster, and Doctor Lamb too:
Not a Play he made, but had a
Devil in it: And that he
would learn us all to make our Husbands Cuckolds at Plays:
By another token, that a young married Wife i' the Company
said, she could find in her heart to steal thither and see a
little o' the Vanity through her Mask, and come practise at home.

     Tattle. O, it was Mistris --
     Mirth. nay, Gossip, I name no body. It may be 'twas my self.
     Expectation. But was the Devil a proper Man, Gossip?
     Mirth. As fine a gentleman, of his Inches, as ever I saw
trusted to the
Stage, or any where else; and lov'd the Commonwealth
as well as e're a
Patriot of 'em all: He would
carry away the
Vice on his back, quick to Hell, in every
Play where he came, and reform Abuses.

     Expectation. There was the Devil of Edmonton, no
such Man, I warrant you.

     Censure. The Conjurer cosen'd him with a Candles end;
he was an Ass.

     Mirth. But there was one Smug, a Smith, would have
made a Horse laugh, and broke his Halter, as they say.

     Tattle. O, but the poor Man had got a shrewd mischance
one day.

     Expectation. How, Gossip?
     Tattle. He had drest a Roguy Jade i' the morning, that
had the
Staggers, and had got such a spice of 'em himself
by noon, as they would not away all the Play-time, do what
he could for his heart.

     Mirth. 'twas his Part, Gossip; he was to be drunk by his Part.
     Tattle. Say you so? I understood not so much.
     Expectation. Would we had such another Part, and
such a Man in this Play. I fear 'twill be an excellent dull thing.

     Censure. Expect, intend it.

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