Fiction > Harvard Classics > Ben Jonson > The Alchemist
Ben Jonson (1572–1637).  The Alchemist.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
Act V
Scene IV
[Enter] SUBTLE, [leading in] DAPPER, [with his eyes bound as before] 1

  SUB.  How! you have eaten your gag?
  DAP.        Yes, faith, it crumbled
Away in my mouth.
  SUB.  You ha’ spoil’d all then.        4
  DAP.        No!
I hope my aunt of Fairy will forgive me.
  SUB.  Your aunt’s a gracious lady; but in troth
You were to blame.        8
  DAP.        The fume did overcome me,
And I did do’t to stay my stomach. ’Pray you
So satisfy her grace.
[Enter FACE in his uniform]

        Here comes the captain.
  FACE.  How now! Is his mouth down?
  SUB.        Ay, he has spoken!
  FACE.  A pox, I heard him, and you too. He’s undone then.—
[Aside to SUBTLE.] I have been fain to say, the house is haunted        16
With spirits, to keep churl back.
  SUB.        And hast thou done it?
  FACE.  Sure, for this night.
  SUB.        Why, then triumph and sing        20
Of Face so famous, the precious king
Of present wits.
  FACE.        Did you not hear the coil
About the door?        24
  SUB.        Yes, and I dwindled 2 with it.
  FACE.  Show him his aunt, and let him be dispatch’d:
I’ll send her to you.  [Exit FACE.]
  SUB.        Well, sir, your aunt her grace        28
Will give you audience presently, on my suit,
And the captain’s word that you did not eat your gag
In any contempt of her highness.  [Unbinds his eyes.]
  DAP.        Not I, in troth, sir.        32
[Enter] DOL like the Queen of Fairy

  SUB.  Here she is come. Down o’ your knees and wriggle:
She has a stately presence.  [DAPPER kneels and shuffles towards her.]  Good! Yet nearer,
And bid, God save you!
  DAP.        Madam!        36
  SUB.        And your aunt.
  DAP.  And my most gracious aunt, God save your grace.
  DOL.  Nephew, we thought to have been angry with you;
But that sweet face of yours hath turn’d the tide,        40
And made it flow with joy, that ebb’d of love.
Arise, and touch our velvet gown.
  SUB.        The skirts,
And kiss ’em. So!        44
  DOL.  Let me now stroke that head.
Much, nephew, shalt thou win, much shalt thou spend;
Much shalt thou give away, much shalt thou lend.
  SUB.  [Aside.]  Ay, much! indeed.—Why do you not thank her grace?        48
  DAP.  I cannot speak of joy.
  SUB.        See, the kind wretch!
Your grace’s kinsman right.
  DOL.        Give me the bird.        52
Here is your fly in a purse, about your neck, cousin;
Wear it, and feed it about this day sev’n-night,
On your right wrist——
  SUB>        Open a vein with a pin,        56
And let it suck but once a week; till then,
You must not look on’t.
  DOL.        No: and, kinsman,
Bear yourself worthy of the blood you come on.        60
  SUB.  Her grace would ha’ you eat no more Woolsack 3 pies,
Nor Dagger 4 frumety. 5
  DOL.        Nor break his fast
In Heaven 6 and Hell. 7        64
  SUB.        She’s with you everywhere!
Nor play with costermongers, at mumchance, 8 traytrip, 9
God-make-you-rich 10 (when as your aunt has done it); but keep
The gallant’st company, and the best games——        68
  DAP.        Yes, sir.
  SUB.  Gleek 11 and primero; 12 and what you get, be true to us.
  DAP.  By this hand, I will.
  SUB.        You may bring ’s a thousand pound        72
Before to-morrow night, if but three thousand
Be stirring, an you will.
  DAP.        I swear I will then.
  SUB.  Your fly will learn you all games.        76
  FACE.        [Within.]  Ha’ you done there?
  SUB.  Your grace will command him no more duties?
  DOL.        No:
But come, and see me often. I may chance        80
To leave him three or four hundred chests of treasure,
And some twelve thousand acres of fairy land,
If he game well and comely with good gamesters.
  SUB.  There’s a kind aunt: kiss her departing part.—        84
But you must sell your forty mark a year now.
  DAP.  Ay, sir, I mean.
  SUB.        Or, give ’t away; pox on’t!
  DAP.  I’ll give ’t mine aunt. I’ll go and fetch the writings.  [Exit.]        88
  SUB.  ’Tis well; away.
[Re-enter FACE]

  FACE.        Where’s Subtle?
  SUB.        Here: what news?
  FACE.  Drugger is at the door, go take his suit,        92
And bid him fetch a parson presently.
Say he shall marry the widow. Thou shalt spend
A hundred pound by the service!  [Exit SUBTLE.] Now, Queen Dol,
Have you pack’d up all?        96
  DOL.        Yes.
  FACE.        And how do you like
The Lady Pliant?
  DOL.        A good dull innocent.        100
[Re-enter SUBTLE]

  SUB.  Here’s your Hieronimo’s cloak and hat.
  FACE.        Give me ’em.
  SUB.  And the ruff too?
  FACE.        Yes; I’ll come to you presently.  [Exit.]        104
  SUB.  Now he is gone about his project, Dol,
I told you of, for the widow.
  DOL.        ’Tis direct
Against our articles.        108
  SUB.        Well, we will fit him, wench.
Hast thou gull’d her of her jewels or her bracelets?
  DOL.  No; but I will do ’t.
  SUB.        Soon at night, my Dolly,        112
When we are shipp’d, and all our goods aboard,
Eastward for Ratcliff, we will turn our course
To Brainford, westward, if thou sayst the word,
And take our leaves of this o’erweening rascal,        116
This peremptory Face.
  DOL.        Content; I’m weary of him.
  SUB.  Thou’st cause, when the slave will run a wiving, Dol,
Against the instrument that was drawn between us.        120
  DOL.  I’ll pluck his bird as bare as I can.
  SUB.        Yes, tell her
She must by any means address some present
To the cunning man, make him amends for wronging        124
His art with her suspicion; send a ring,
Or chain of pearl; she will be tortur’d else
Extremely in her sleep, say, and have strange things
Come to her. Wilt thou?        128
  DOL.        Yes.
  SUB.        My fine flitter-mouse, 13
My bird o’ the night! We’ll tickle it at the Pigeons, 14
When we have all, and may unlock the trunks,        132
And say, this’s mine, and thine; and thine, and mine.  They kiss.
Re-enter FACE

  FACE.  What now! a billing?
  SUB.        Yes, a little exalted
In the good passage of our stock-affairs.        136
  FACE.  Drugger has brought his parson; take him in, Subtle,
And send Nab back again to wash his face.
  SUB.  I will: and shave himself?  [Exit.]
  FACE.        If you can get him.        140
  DOL.  You are hot upon it, Face, whate’er it is!
  FACE.  A trick that Dol shall spend ten pound a month by.
[Re-enter SUBTLE]

Is he gone?
  SUB.        The chaplain waits you in the hall, sir.        144
  FACE.  I’ll go bestow him.  [Exit.]
  DOL.        He’ll now marry her instantly.
  SUB.  He cannot yet, he is not ready. Dear Dol,
Cozen her of all thou canst. To deceive him        148
Is no deceit, but justice, that would break
Such an inextricable tie as ours was.
  DOL.  Let me alone to fit him.
[Re-enter FACE]

  FACE.        Come, my venturers,
You ha’ pack’d up all? Where be the trunks? Bring forth.
  SUB.  Here.
  FACE.        Let us see ’em. Where’s the money?
  SUB.        Here,        156
In this.
  FACE.  Mammon’s ten pound; eight score before:
The brethren’s money this. Drugger’s and Dapper’s.
What paper’s that?        160
  DOL.        The jewel of the waiting maid’s,
That stole it from her lady, to know certain——
  FACE.  If she should have precedence of her mistress.
  DOL.        Yes.        164
  FACE.  What box is that?
  SUB.        The fish-wives’ rings, I think,
And th’ ale-wives’ single money. 15 Is’t not, Dol?
  DOL.  Yes; and the whistle that the sailor’s wife        168
Brought you to know an her husband were with Ward. 16
  FACE.  We’ll wet it to-morrow; and our silver beakers
And tavern cups. Where be the French petticoats
And girdles and hangers?        172
  SUB.        Here, i’ the trunk,
And the bolts of lawn.
  FACE.        Is Drugger’s damask there,
And the tobacco?        176
  SUB.        Yes.
  FACE.        Give me the keys.
  DOL.  Why you the keys?
  SUB.        No matter, Dol; because        180
We shall not open them before he comes.
  FACE.  ’Tis true, you shall not open them, indeed;
Nor have ’em forth, do you see? Not forth, Dol.
  DOL.        No!        184
  FACE.  No, my smock-rampant. The right is, my master
Knows all, has pardon’d me, and he will keep ’em.
Doctor, ’tis true—you look—for all your figures:
I sent for him, indeed. Wherefore, good partners,        188
Both he and she be satisfied; for here
Determines 17 the indenture tripartite
’Twixt Subtle, Dol, and Face. All I can do
Is to help you over the wall, o’ the back-side,        192
Or lend you a sheet to save your velvet gown, Dol.
Here will be officers presently, bethink you
Of some course suddenly to escape the dock;
For thither you will come else. (Some knock.) Hark you, thunder.        196
  SUB.  You are a precious fiend!
  OFFI.        [without.]  Open the door.
  FACE.  Dol, I am sorry for thee i’ faith; but hear’st thou?
It shall go hard but I will place thee somewhere:        200
Thou shalt ha’ my letter to Mistress Amo—
  DOL.        Hang you!
  FACE.  Or Madam Cæsarean.
  DOL.        Pox upon you, rogue,        204
Would I had but time to beat thee!
  FACE.        Subtle,
Let’s know where you set up next; I will send you
A customer now and then, for old acquaintance.        208
What new course have you?
  SUB.        Rogue, I’ll hang myself;
That I may walk a greater devil than thou,
And haunt thee i’ the flock-bed and the buttery.  [Exeunt.]        212
Note 1. A room in the same. [back]
Note 2. Shrank with fear. [back]
Note 3. Names of taverns. [back]
Note 4. Names of taverns. [back]
Note 5. Wheat boiled in milk. [back]
Note 6. Names of taverns. [back]
Note 7. Names of taverns. [back]
Note 8. “For the love of God, why this delay?” [back]
Note 9. “For the love of God, why this delay?” [back]
Note 10. “For the love of God, why this delay?” [back]
Note 11. “For the love of God, why this delay?” [back]
Note 12. “For the love of God, why this delay?” [back]
Note 13. Bat. [back]
Note 14. An inn at Brentford. [back]
Note 15. Small change. [back]
Note 16. A famous pirate. [back]
Note 17. Ends. [back]


Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.