Fiction > Harvard Classics > Ben Jonson > The Alchemist
Ben Jonson (1572–1637).  The Alchemist.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
Scene III
SUBTLE.  [Enter] FACE [in his uniform] 1

How now! good prize?
  FACE.        Good pox! Yond’ costive cheater
Never came on.
  SUB.        How then?        4
  FACE.        I ha’ walk’d the round
Till now, and no such thing.
  SUB.        And ha’ you quit him?
  FACE.  Quit him! An hell would quit him too, he were happy.        8
’Slight! would you have me stalk like a mill-jade,
All day, for one that will not yield us grains?
I know him of old.
  SUB.        O, but to ha’ gull’d him,        12
Had been a mastery.
  FACE.        Let him go, black boy!
And turn thee, that some fresh news may possess thee.
A noble count, a don of Spain (my dear        16
Delicious compeer, and my party 2 -bawd),
Who is come hither private for his conscience
And brought munition with him, six great slops, 3
Bigger than three Dutch hoys, 4 beside round trunks, 5        20
Furnish’d with pistolets, 6 and pieces of eight, 7
Will straight be here, my rogue, to have thy bath,
(That is the colour, 8) and to make his battery
Upon our Dol, our castle, our cinqueport,        24
Our Dover pier, our what thou wilt. Where is she?
She must prepare perfumes, delicate linen,
The bath in chief, a banquet, and her wit,
Where is the doxy?        28
  SUB.        I’ll send her to thee:
And but despatch my brace of little John Leydens, 9
And come again myself.
  FACE.        Are they within then?        32
  SUB.  Numbering the sum.
  FACE.        How much?
  SUB.        A hundred marks, boy.  [Exit.]
  FACE.  Why, this is a lucky day. Ten pounds of Mammon!        36
Three o’ my clerk! A portague o’ my grocer!
This o’ the brethren! Beside reversions
And states to come, i’ the widow, and my count!
My share today will not be bought for forty—        40
[Enter DOL]

  DOL.        What?
  FACE.  Pounds, dainty Dorothy! Art thou so near?
  DOL.  Yes; say, lord general, how fares our camp?
  FACE.  As with the few that had entrench’d themselves        44
Safe, by their discipline, against a world, Dol,
And laugh’d within those trenches, and grew fat
With thinking on the booties, Dol, brought in
Daily by their small parties. This dear hour,        48
A doughty don is taken with my Dol;
And thou mayst make his ransom what thou wilt
My Dousabel; 10 he shall be brought here fetter’d
With thy fair looks, before he sees thee; and thrown        52
In a down-bed, as dark as any dungeon;
Where thou shalt keep him waking with thy drum;
Thy drum, my Dol, thy drum; till he be tame
As the poor blackbirds were i’ the great frost,        56
Or bees are with a bason; and so hive him
I’ the swan-skin coverlid and cambric sheets,
Till he work honey and wax, my little God’s-gift. 11
  DOL.  What is he, general?        60
  FACE.        An adalantado, 12
A grandee, girl. Was not my Dapper here yet?
  DOL.  No
  FACE.        Nor my Drugger?        64
  DOL.        Neither.
  FACE.        A pox on ’em,
They are so long a furnishing! such stinkards
Would not be seen upon these festival days.—        68
[Re-enter SUBTLE]

How now! ha’ you done?
  SUB.        Done. They are gone: the sum
Is here in bank, my Face. I would we knew
Another chapman who would buy ’em outright.        72
  FACE.  ’Slid, Nab shall do’t against he ha’ the widow,
To furnish household.
  SUB.        Excellent, well thought on:
Pray God he come.        76
  FACE.        I pray he keep away
Till our new business be o’erpast.
  SUB.        But, Face,
How camst thou by this secret don?        80
  FACE.        A spirit
Brought me th’ intelligence in a paper here,
As I was conjuring yonder in my circle
For Surly; I ha’ my flies 13 abroad. Your bath        84
Is famous, Subtle, by my means. Sweet Dol,
Tickle him with thy mother tongue. His great
Verdugoship 14 has not a jot of language;
So much the easier to be cozen’d, my Dolly.        88
He will come here in a hir’d coach, obscure,
And our own coachman, whom I have sent as guide,
No creature else.  One knocks.  Who’s that?  [Exit DOL.]
  SUB.        It is not he?        92
  FACE.  O no, not yet this hour.
Re-enter DOL

  SUB.        Who is’t?
  DOL.        Dapper,
Your clerk.        96
  FACE.        God’s will then, Queen of Fairy,
On with your tire;  [Exit DOL.]  and, doctor, with your robes.
Let’s despatch him for God’s sake.
  SUB.        ’Twill be long.        100
  FACE.  I warrant you, take but the cues I give you,
It shall be brief enough.  [Goes to the window.]  ’Slight, here are more!
Abel, and I think the angry boy, the heir,
That fain would quarrel.        104
  SUB.        And the widow?
  FACE.        No,
Not that I see. Away!  [Exit SUB.]
Note 1. The same. [back]
Note 2. Partner. [back]
Note 3. Large breeches. [back]
Note 4. Ships. [back]
Note 5. Trunk hose. [back]
Note 6. A Spanish gold coin worth about 16sh. 8d. [back]
Note 7. A coin worth about 4sh. 6d. [back]
Note 8. Pretext. [back]
Note 9. Puritans, from the name of the Anabaptist leader. [back]
Note 10. I. e., douce et belle; sweetheart. [back]
Note 11. Referring to the literal meaning of Dorothea. [back]
Note 12. A Spanish governor. [back]
Note 13. Familiars. [back]
Note 14. Verdugo is a Spanish name, but the precise allusion is uncertain. [back]


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