Fiction > Harvard Classics > Ben Jonson > The Alchemist
Ben Jonson (1572–1637).  The Alchemist.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
Act IV
Scene III
[Enter] FACE 1

  FACE.  Where are you, doctor?
  SUB.        [within]  I’ll come to you presently.
  FACE.  I will ha’ this same widow, now I ha’ seen her,
On any composition.        4
[Enter SUBTLE]

  SUB.        What do you say?
  FACE.  Ha’ you dispos’d of them?
  SUB.        I ha’ sent ’em up.
  FACE.  Subtle, in troth, I needs must have this widow.        8
  SUB.  Is that the matter?
  FACE.        Nay, but hear me.
  SUB.        Go to.
If you rebel once, Dol shall know it all:        12
Therefore be quiet, and obey your chance.
  FACE.  Nay, thou art so violent now. Do but conceive,
Thou art old, and canst not serve——
  SUB.        Who cannot? I?        16
’Slight, I will serve her with thee, for a——
  FACE.        Nay,
But understand: I’ll gi’ you composition. 2
  SUB.  I will not treat with thee. What! sell my fortune?        20
’Tis better than my birthright. Do not murmur:
Win her, and carry her. If you grumble, Dol
Knows it directly.
  FACE.        Well, sir, I am silent.        24
Will you go help to fetch in Don in state?  [Exit.]
  SUB.  I follow you, sir. We must keep Face in awe,
Or he will overlook us like a tyrant.
[Re-enter FACE, introducing]  Surly disguised as a Spaniard

Brain of a tailor! who comes here? Don John!
  SUR.  Senores, beso las manos a vuestras mercedes. 3
  SUB.  Stab me; I shall never hold, man.
He looks in that deep ruff like a head in a platter,
Serv’d in by a short cloak upon two trestles.        32
  FACE.  Or what do you say to a collar of brawn, 4 cut down
Beneath the souse, 5 and wriggled with a knife?
  SUB.  ’Slud, he does look too fat to be a Spaniard.
  FACE.  Perhaps some Fleming or some Hollander got him        36
In d’Alva’s time; Count Egmont’s bastard.
  SUB.        Don,
Your scurvy, yellow, Madrid face is welcome.
  SUR.  Gratia.        40
  SUB.        He speaks out of a fortification.
Pray God he ha’ no squibs in those deep sets. 6
  SUR.  Por dios, senores, muy linda casa! 7
  SUB.  What says he?        44
  FACE.        Praises the house, I think;
I know no more but’s action.
  SUB.        Yes, the casa,
My precious Diego, 8 will prove fair enough        48
To cozen you in. Do you mark? You shall
Be cozened, Diego.
  FACE.        Cozened, do you see,
My worthy Donzel, 9 conzened.        52
  SUR.        Entiendo. 10
  SUB.  Do you intend it? So do we, dear Don.
Have you brought pistolets, 11 or portagues,
My solemn Don?  [to FACE.]  Dost thou feel any?        56
  FACE.  feels his pockets.        Full.
  SUB.  You shall be emptied, Don, pumped and drawn
Dry, as they say.
  FACE.        Milked, in troth, sweet Don.        60
  SUB.  See all the monsters; the great lion of all, Don.
  SUR.  Con licencia, se puede ver a esta senora? 12
  SUB.  What talks he now?
  FACE.        Of the senora.        64
  SUB.        O, Don,
This is the lioness, which you shall see
Also, my Don.
  FACE.        ’Slid, Subtle, how shall we do?        68
  SUB.  For what?
  FACE.        Why, Dol’s employ’d, you know.
  SUB.        That’s true.
’Fore heaven I know not: he must stay, that’s all.        72
  FACE.  Stay! that he must not by no means.
  SUB.        No! why?
  FACE.  Unless you’ll mar all. ’Slight, he’ll suspect it;
And then he will not pay, not half so well.        76
This is a travell’d punk-master, and does know
All the delays; a notable hot rascal,
And looks already rampant.
  SUB.        ’Sdeath, and Mammon        80
Must not be troubled.
  FACE.        Mammon! in no case.
  SUB.  What shall we do then?
  FACE.        Think: you must be sudden. 13        84
  SUR.  Entiendo que la senora es tan hermosa, que codicio tan a verla, como la bien aventuranza de mi vida. 14
  FACE.  Mi vida! ’Slid, Subtle, he puts me in mind o’ the widow.
What dost thou say to draw her to’t, ha!
And tell her ’tis her fortune? All our venture        88
Now lies upon’t. It is but one man more,
Which on’s chance to have her: and beside,
There is no maidenhead to be fear’d or lost.
What dost thou think on’t, Subtle?        92
  SUB.        Who, I? why——
  FACE.  The credit of our house too is engag’d. 15
  SUB.  You mate me an offer for my share erewhile.
What wilt thou gi’ me, i’ faith?        96
  FACE.        O, by that light
I’ll not buy now. You know your doom 16 to me.
E’en take your lot, obey your chance, sir; win her,
And wear her—out for me.        100
  SUB.        ’Slight, I’ll not work her then.
  FACE.  It is the common cause; therefore bethink you.
Dol else must know it, as you said.
  SUB.        I care not.        104
  SUR.  Senores, porque se tarda tanto? 17
  SUB.  Faith, I am not fit, I am old.
  FACE.        That’s now no reason, sir.
  SUR.  Puede ser de hacer burla de mi amor? 18        108
  FACE.  You hear the Don too? by this air I call,
And loose the hinges. Dol!
  SUB.        A plague of hell——
  FACE.  Will you then do?        112
  SUB.        You’re a terrible rogue!
I’ll think of this. Will you, sir, call the widow?
  FACE.  Yes, and I’ll take her too with all her faults,
Now I do think on’t better.        116
  SUB.        With all my heart, sir;
Am I discharg’d o’ the lot?
  FACE.        As you please.
  SUB.        Hands.  [They shake hands.]        120
  FACE.  Remember now, that upon any change,
You never claim her.
  SUB.        Much good joy and health to you, sir,
Marry a whore! Fate, let me wed a witch first.        124
  SUR.  Por estas honradas barbas 19——
  SUB.        He swears by his beard.
Dispatch, and call the brother too.  [Exit FACE.]
  SUR.  Tengo duda, senores, que no me hagan alguna traycion. 20        128
  SUB.  How, issue on? yes, præsto, senor. Please you
Enthratha the chambratha, worthy don:
Where if you please the fates, in your bathada,
You shall be soak’d, and strok’d and tubb’d and rubb’d,        132
And scrubb’d, and fubb’d, 21 dear don, before you go.
You shall in faith, my scurvy baboon don,
He curried, claw’d, and flaw’d, 22 and taw’d, 23 indeed.
I will the heartlier go about it now,        136
And make the widow a punk so much the sooner,
To be reveng’d on this impetuous Face:
The quickly doing of it is the grace.  [Exeunt SUB. and SURLY.]
Note 1. The same. [back]
Note 2. Recompense. [back]
Note 3. Spanish. “Gentlemen, I kiss your hands.” [back]
Note 4. Neck of a boar, or boar’s flesh rolled. [back]
Note 5. Ear. [back]
Note 6. The deep plaits of his ruff. [back]
Note 7. “Gad, sirs, a very pretty house.” [back]
Note 8. Spaniard. Strictly, Spanish for James. [back]
Note 9. Diminutive of Don. [back]
Note 10. “I understand.” [back]
Note 11. Spanish gold coin, worth about 16sh. 8d. [back]
Note 12. “If you please, may I see the lady?” [back]
Note 13. Quick about it. [back]
Note 14. “I understand that the lady is so handsome that I am as eager to see her as the good fortune of my life.” [back]
Note 15. Involved. [back]
Note 16. Agreement. [back]
Note 17. “Sirs, why so long delay?” [back]
Note 18. “Can it be to make sport of my love?” [back]
Note 19. “By this honored beard—” [back]
Note 20. “I fear, sirs, that you are playing me some trick.” [back]
Note 21. Cheated. [back]
Note 22. Cracked. [back]
Note 23. Soaked, like a hide being tanned. [back]


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