Ben Jonson

"The Staple of News Act 2 Scene 3"

Broker, Peni-boy sen. Lick-finger.

Here he is come, Sir.

P. sen.
Pox upon him, Kidney,
Always too late!

To wish 'em you, I confess,
That ha' them already.

P. sen.

The Pox!

P. sen.
The Piles,
The Plague, and all Diseases light on him,
Knows not to keep his word. I'ld keep my word, sure!
I hate that Man that will not keep his word.
When did I break my word?

Or I, till now.
And 'tis but half an Hour.

P. sen.
Half a Year,
To me, that stands upon a Minute of Time.
I am a just Man, I love still to be just.

Why? you think I can run like light-foot Ralph,
Or keep a Wheel-barrow with a Sail in Town here,
To whirl me to you. I have lost two Stone
Of Suet i' the Service, posting hither:
You might have followed me like a Watering-pot,
And seen the Knots I made along the Street;
My Face dropt like the Skimmer in a Fritter-pan,
And my whole Body is yet (to say the truth)
A roasted Pound of Butter, with grated Bread in't!

[He sweeps his Face.

P. sen.
Believe you, he that list. You staid of purpose
To have my Venison stink, and my Fowl mortified,
That you might ha' 'em —

A Shilling or two cheaper,
That's your Jealousie.

P. sen.
Perhaps it is.
Will you go in, and view, and value all?
Yonder is Venison sent me, Fowl, and Fish,
In such abundance, I am sick to see it!
I wonder what they mean! I ha' told 'em of it!
To burden a weak Stomach, and provoke
A dying Appetite! thrust a Sin upon me
I ne'er was guilty of! nothing but Gluttony!
Gross Gluttony! that will undo this Land!

And bating Two i' the Hundred.

P. sen.
I, that same's
A crying Sin, a fearful damn'd Device,
Eats up the Poor, devours 'em —

Sir, take heed
What you give out.

P. sen.
Against your grave great Solons?
Numæ Pompilii, they that made that Law?
To take away the Poor's Inheritance:
It was their Portion; I will stand to't:
And they have robb'd 'em of it, plainly robb'd 'em.
I still am a just Man, I tell the truth.
When Moneys went at Ten i' the Hundred, I,
And such as I, the Servants of Pecunia,
Could spare the Poor Two out of Ten, and did it:
How say you, Broker?

Ask your Eccho.) Bro. You did it.

P. sen.
I am for Justice; when did I leave Justice?
We knew 'twas theirs, they had Right and Title to't.
Now —

You can spare 'em nothing.

P. sen.
Very little.

As good as nothing.

P. sen.
They have bound our Hands
With their wise solemn Act, shortned our Arms.

Beware those worshipful Ears, Sir, be not shortned,
And you play Crop i' the Fleet, if you use this Licence.

P. sen.
What Licence, Knave, Informer?

I am Lick-finger.
Your Cook.

P. sen.
A sawcy Jack you are, that's once.
What said I, Broker?

Nothing that I heard, Sir.

I know his Gift, he can be deaf when he list.

P. sen.
Ha' you provided me my Bushel of Eggs
I did bespeak? I do not care how stale
Or stinking that they be; let 'em be rotten:
For Ammunition here, to pelt the Boys,
That break my Windows.

Yes, Sir, I ha' spar'd 'em
Out of the Custard-politick for you, the Mayor's.

P. sen.
'Tis well; go in, take hence all that Excess,
Make what you can of it, your best: and when
I have Friends that I invite at home, provide me
Such, such, and such a Dish, as I bespeak;
One at a time, no Superfluity.
Or if you have it not, return me Money:
You know my ways.

They are a little crooked.

P. sen.
How, Knave?

Because you do indent.

P. sen.
'Tis true, Sir,
I do indent you shall return me Money.

Rather than Meat, I know it: you are just still.

P. sen.
I love it still. And therefore if you spend
The Red-Deer Pies i' your House, or sell 'em forth, Sir,
Cast so, that I may have their Coffins all
Return'd here, and pil'd up: I would be thought
To keep some kind of House.

By the mouldy Signs?

P. sen.
And then remember Meat for my two Dogs:
Fat Flaps of Mutton, Kidneys, Rumps of Veal,
Good plenteous Scraps; my Maid shall eat the Relicks.

When you and your Dogs have din'd. A sweet

P. sen.
Who's here? my Courtier, and my little Doctor?
My Muster-master? And what Plover's that
They have brought to pull?

I know not, some green Plover.
I'll find him out.

P. sen.
Do, for I know the rest:
They are the Jeerers, mocking, flouting Jacks.

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