Fiction > Harvard Classics > Ben Jonson > The Alchemist
Ben Jonson (1572–1637).  The Alchemist.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
Act V
Scene V
[Enter]  LOVEWIT  [in the Spanish dress, with the Parson. Loud knocking at the door] 1

  LOVE.  What do you mean, my masters?
  MAM.        [without.]  Open your door,
Cheaters, bawds, conjurers.
  OFFI.        [without.]  Or we will break it open.        4
  LOVE.  What warrant have you?
  OFFI.        [without.]  Warrant enough, sir, doubt not,
If you’ll not open it.
  LOVE.        Is there an officer there?        8
  OFFI.  [without.]  Yes, two or three for failing. 2
  LOVE.        Have but patience,
And I will open it straight.
[Enter FACE, as butler]

  FACE.        Sir, ha’ you done?
Is it a marriage? Perfect?
  LOVE.        Yes, my brain.
  FACE.  Off with your ruff and cloak then; be yourself, sir.
  SUR.  [without.]  Down with the door.        16
  KAS.        [without.]  ’Slight, ding 3 it open.
  LOVE.        [opening the door.]  Hold,
Hold, gentlemen, what means this violence?

  MAM.  Where is this collier?
  SUR.        And my Captain Face?
  MAM.  These day owls.
  SUR.        That are birding 4 in men’s purses.
  MAM.  Madam Suppository.        24
  KAS.        Doxy, my suster.
  ANA.        Locusts
Of the foul pit.
  TRI.        Profane as Bel and the Dragon.        28
  ANA.  Worse than the grasshoppers, or the lice of Egypt.
  LOVE.  Good gentlemen, hear me. Are you officers,
And cannot stay this violence?
  1 OFFI.        Keep the peace.        32
  LOVE.  Gentlemen, what is the matter? Whom do you seek?
  MAM.  The chemical cozener.
  SUR.        And the captain pander.
  KAS.  The nun my suster.        36
  MAM.        Madam Rabbi.
  ANA.        Scorpions,
And caterpillars.
  LOVE.        Fewer at once, I pray you.        40
  1 OFFI.  One after another, gentlemen, I charge you,
By virtue of my staff.
  ANA.        They are the vessels
Of pride, lust, and the cart.        44
  LOVE.        Good zeal, lie still
A little while.
  TRI.        Peace, Deacon Ananias.
  LOVE.  The house is mine here, and the doors are open;        48
If there be any such persons as you seek for,
Use your authority, search on o’ God’s name.
I am but newly come to town, and finding
This tumult ’bout my door, to tell you true,        52
It somewhat maz’d me; till my man here, fearing
My more displeasure, told me he had done
Somewhat an insolent part, let out my house
(Belike presuming on my known aversion        56
From any air o’ the town while there was sickness),
To a doctor and a captain: who, what they are
Or where they be, he knows not.
  MAM.        Are they gone?        60
  LOVE.  You may go in and search, sir. [MAMMON, ANA., and TRIB. go in.]
Here, I find
The empty walls worse than I left ’em, smok’d,
A few crack’d pots, and glasses, and a furnace;        64
The ceiling fill’d with poesies of the candle,
And “Madam with a dildo” 5 writ o’ the walls.
Only one gentlewoman I met here
That is within, that said she was a widow——        68
  KAS.  Ay, that’s my suster; I’ll go thump her. Where is she?  [Goes in.]
  LOVE.  And should ha’ married a Spanish count, but he,
When he came to’t, neglected her so grossly,
That I, a widower, am gone through with her.        72
  SUR.  How! have I lost her then?
  LOVE.        Were you the don, sir?
Good faith, now she does blame you extremely, and says
You swore, and told her you had taken the pains        76
To dye your beard, and umber o’er your face,
Borrowed a suit, and ruff, all for her love:
And then did nothing. What an oversight
And want of putting forward, sir, was this!        80
Well fare an old harquebusier 6 yet,
Could prime his powder, and give fire, and hit,
All in a twinkling!
Re-enter MAMMON

  MAM.        The whole nest are fled!
  LOVE.  What sort of birds were they?
  MAM.        A kind of choughs, 7
Or thievish daws, sir, that have pick’d my purse
Of eight score and ten pounds within these five weeks,        88
Beside my first materials; and my goods,
That lie i’ the cellar, which I am glad they ha’ left,
I may have home yet.
  LOVE.        Think you so, sir?        92
  MAM.        Ay.
  LOVE.  By order of law, sir, but not otherwise.
  MAM.  Not mine own stuff!
  LOVE.        Sir, I can take no knowledge        96
That they are yours, but by public means.
If you can bring certificate that you were gull’d of ’em,
Or any formal writ out of a court,
That you did cozen yourself, I will not hold them.        100
  MAM.  I’ll rather lose ’em.
  LOVE.        That you shall not, sir,
By me, in troth; upon these terms, they are yours.
What, should they ha’ been, sir, turn’d into gold, all?        104
  MAM.        No.
I cannot tell.—It may be they should.—What then?
  LOVE.  What a great loss in hope have you sustain’d!
  MAM.  Not I, the commonwealth has.        108
  FACE.        Ay, he would ha’ built
The city new; and made a ditch about it
Of silver, should have run with cream from Hogsden;
That every Sunday in Moorfields the younkers,        112
And tits 8 and tom-boys should have fed on, gratis.
  MAM.  I will go mount a turnip-cart, and preach
The end of the world within these two months. Surly,
What! in a dream?        116
  SUR.        Must I needs cheat myself,
With that same foolish vice of honesty!
Come, let us go and hearken out the rogues:
That Face I’ll mark for mine, if e’er I meet him.        120
  FACE.  If I can hear of him, sir, I’ll bring you word
Unto your lodging; for in troth, they were strangers
To me; I thought ’em honest as myself, sir.  [Exeunt MAM. and SUR.]

  TRI.  ’Tis well, the saints shall not lose all yet. Go
And get some carts——
  LOVE.        For what, my zealous friends?
  ANA.  To bear away the portion of the righteous
Out of this den of thieves.        128
  LOVE.        What is that portion?
  ANA.  The goods sometimes the orphans’, that the brethren
Bought with their silver pence.
  LOVE.        What, those i’ the cellar,        132
The knight Sir Mammon claims?
  ANA.        I do defy
The wicked Mammon, so do all the brethren,
Thou profane man! I ask thee with what conscience        136
Thou canst advance that idol against us,
That have the seal? 9 Were not the shillings numb’red
That made the pounds; were not the pounds told out
Upon the second day of the fourth week,        140
In the eighth month, upon the table dormant,
The year of the last patience of the saints,
Six hundred and ten?
  LOVE.        Mine earnest vehement botcher,        144
And deacon also, I cannot dispute with you:
But if you get you not away the sooner,
I shall confute you with a cudgel.
  ANA.        Sir!        148
  TRI.  Be patient, Ananias.
  ANA.        I am strong,
And will stand up, well girt, against an host
That threaten Gad in exile.        152
  LOVE.        I shall send you
To Amsterdam, to your cellar.
  ANA.        I will pray there,
Against thy house. May dogs defile thy walls,        156
And wasps and hornets breed beneath thy roof,
This seat of falsehood, and this cave of coz’nage!  [Exeunt ANA. and TRIB.]

  LOVE.  Another too?
  DRUG.        Not I, sir, I am no brother.        160
  LOVE.  (beats him.)  Away, you Harry Nicholas! 10 do you talk?  [Exit DRUG.
  FACE.  No, this was Abel Drugger. Good sir, go,  To the Parson.
And satisfy him; tell him all is done:
He staid too long a washing of his face.        164
The doctor, he shall hear of him at Westchester;
And of the captain, tell him, at Yarmouth, or
Some good port-town else, lying for a wind.  [Exit Parson.]
If you can get off the angry child now, sir——        168
[Enter KASTRIL, dragging in his sister]

  KAS.  Come on, you ewe, you have match’d most sweetly, have you not?
Did not I say, I would never ha’ you tupp’d
But by a dubb’d boy, 11 to make you a lady-tom?
’Slight, you are a mammet! 12 O, I could touse you now.        172
Death, mun 13 you marry with a pox!
  LOVE.        You lie, boy;
As sound as you; and I’m aforehand with you.
  KAS.        Anon!        176
  LOVE.  Come, will you quarrel? I will feize 14 you, sirrah;
Why do you not buckle to your tools?
  KAS.        Od’s light,
This is a fine old boy as e’er I saw!        180
  LOVE.  What, do you change your copy now? Proceed;
Here stands my dove: stoop 15 at her if you dare.
  KAS.  ’Slight, I must love him! I cannot choose, i’ faith,
An I should be hang’d for’t! Suster, I protest,        184
I honour thee for this match.
  LOVE.        O, do you so, sir?
  KAS.  Yes, an thou canst take tobacco and drink, old boy,
I’ll give her five hundred pound more to her marriage,        188
Than her own state.
  LOVE.        Fill a pipe full, Jeremy.
  FACE.  Yes; but go in and take it, sir.
  LOVE.        We will.        192
I will be rul’d by thee in anything, Jeremy.
  KAS.  ’Slight, thou art not hide-bound, thou art a jovy 16 boy!
Come, let us in, I pray thee, and take our whiffs.
  LOVE.  Whiff in with your sister, brother boy.  [Exeunt KAS. and DAME P.]  That master        196
That had receiv’d such happiness by a servant,
In such a widow, and with so much wealth,
Were very ungrateful, if he would not be
A little indulgent to that servant’s wit,        200
And help his fortune, though with some small strain
Of his own candour. 17  [advancing.]  Therefore, gentlemen,
And kind spectators, if I have outstript
An old man’s gravity, or strict canon, think        204
What a young wife and a good brain may do;
Stretch age’s truth sometimes, and crack it too.
Speak for thyself, knave.
  FACE.  So I will, sir.  [advancing to the front of the stage.]  Gentlemen,        208
My part a little fell in this last scene,
Yet ’twas decorum. 18 And though I am clean
Got off from Subtle, Surly, Mammon, Dol,
Hot Ananias, Dapper, Drugger, all        212
With whom I traded; yet I put myself
On you, that are my country: 19 and this pelf,
Which I have got, if you do quit me, rests
To feast you often, and invite new guests.  [Exeunt.]        216
Note 1. An outer room in the same. [back]
Note 2. For fear of failing. [back]
Note 3. Break. [back]
Note 4. Stealing. [back]
Note 5. Probably a fragment of a song. [back]
Note 6. Musketeer. [back]
Note 7. Crow. [back]
Note 8. Wenches. [back]
Note 9. That are sealed as God’s people. [back]
Note 10. The founder of the fanatical sect called “The Family of Love.” [back]
Note 11. Knight. [back]
Note 12. Puppet. [back]
Note 13. Must. [back]
Note 14. Beat. [back]
Note 15. A term of falconry: used in punning allusion to the name Kastril, which means hawk. [back]
Note 16. Jovial. [back]
Note 17. Fair reputation. [back]
Note 18. Dramatic propriety. [back]
Note 19. Jury. [back]


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