Fiction > Harvard Classics > Ben Jonson > The Alchemist
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Ben Jonson (1572–1637).  The Alchemist.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
Argument
 
 
THE SICKNESS hot, 1 a master quit, for fear,
His house in town, and left one servant there;
Ease him corrupted, and gave means to know
 
A Cheater and his punk; 2 who now brought low,
Leaving their narrow practice, were become        5
Coz’ners 3 at large; and only wanting some
House to set up, with him they here contract,
Each for a share, and all begin to act.
Much company they draw, and much abuse, 4
In casting figures, 5 telling fortunes, news,        10
Selling of flies, 6 flat bawdry, with the stone, 7
Till it, and they, and all in fume 8 are gone.
 
Note 1. The plague raging. [back]
Note 2. Mistress. [back]
Note 3. Swindlers. [back]
Note 4. Deceive. [back]
Note 5. Calculating the future. [back]
Note 6. Familiar spirits. [back]
Note 7. Philosopher’s stone. [back]
Note 8. Smoke. [back]
 

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