Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: Ben Jonson
Editor: David Bevington
Not Peer Reviewed

Everyman In His Humor (Modern)

[Enter Signor Matheo.
295Matheo I think this be the house. [He knocks.] What ho!
To him, Cob [answering the door].
Cob Who's there? Oh, Signor Matheo! God give you good morrow, sir.
Matheo What, Cob? How dost thou, good Cob? Dost thou inhabit here, Cob?
Cob Ay, sir, I and my lineage have kept a poor house in our days.
300Matheo. Thy lineage, Monsieur Cob? What lineage, what lineage?
Cob Why, sir, an ancient lineage and a princely. Mine ance'try came from a king's loins, no worse man; and yet no man neither, but Herring, the king of fish, one of the monarchs of the world, I assure you. I do fetch my pedigree and name from the first red herring that was 305eaten in Adam and Eve's kitchen. His cob was my great, great, mighty-great grandfather.
Matheo Why mighty? Why mighty?
Cob Oh, it's a mighty while ago, sir, and it was a mighty great cob.
Matheo How knowest thou that?
Cob How know I? Why, his ghost comes to me every night.
310Matheo Oh, unsavory jest! The ghost of a herring cob!
Cob Ay, why not the ghost of a herring cob as well as the ghost of Rashero Bacono? They were both broiled on the coals. You are a scholar; upsolve me that, now.
Matheo Oh, rude ignorance! Cob, canst thou show me of a gentleman, one Signor Bobadilla, where his lodging is?
315Cob Oh, my guest, sir, you mean?
Matheo Thy guest? Alas! Ha, ha!
Cob Why do you laugh, sir? Do you not mean Signor Bobadilla?
Matheo Cob, I pray thee, advise thyself well; do not wrong the gentleman and thyself too. I dare be sworn he scorns thy house, he. He 320lodge in such a base, obscure place as thy house? Tut, I know his disposition so well, he would not lie in thy bed if thou'dst give it him.
Cob I will not give it him. Mass, I thought somewhat was in it; we could not get him to bed all night. Well, sir, though he lie not on my bed, he lies on my bench. An't please you 325to go up, sir, you shall find him with two cushions under his head and his cloak wrapped about him as though he had neither won nor lost, and yet I warrant he ne'er cast better in his life than he hath done tonight.
Matheo Why, was he drunk?
Cob Drunk, sir? You hear me not say so. Perhaps he swallowed 330a tavern token or some such device, sir. I have nothing to do withal; I deal with water and not with wine.
[Calling offstage]
Give me my tankard there, ho! -- God be with you, sir. It's six o'clock; I should have carried two turns by this.
[Calling offstage]
What ho! My stopple, come!
Matheo Lie in a waterbearer's house, a gentleman of his note? Well, I'll tell him my mind.
[Tib appears at the door with a tankard and stopper for Cob.]
Cob What, Tib, show this gentleman up to Signor Bobadilla.
Exit [Matheo with Tib].
Oh, an my house were the Brazen Head now! Faith, it would e'en cry, 'Mo fools yet!' You should have some now would take him to 340be a gentleman at the least. Alas, God help the simple! His father's an honest man, a good fishmonger, and so forth, and now doth he creep and wriggle into acquaintance with all the brave gallants about the town, such as my guest is -- oh, my guest is a fine man! -- and they flout him invincibly. He useth every day to a merchant's house where I serve water, 345one Master Thorello's, and here's the jest: he is in love with my master's sister, and calls her 'mistress'. And there he sits a whole afternoon sometimes, reading of these same abominable, vile -- a pox on them, I cannot abide them! -- rascally verses, poetry, poetry, and speaking of interludes. 'Twill make a man burst to hear him. And the wenches, they do so jeer and tee-hee at him! 350Well, should they do as much to me, I'd forswear them all, by the life of Pharaoh. There's an oath! How many waterbearers shall you hear swear such an oath? Oh, I have a guest, he teacheth me, he doth swear the best of any man christened: "By Phoebus," "By the life of Pharaoh," "By the body of me," "As I am a gentleman and a soldier" -- such dainty oaths! And withal he doth take this same filthy, roguish tobacco, the finest and cleanliest. It 355would do a man good to see the fume come forth at his nostrils. Well, he owes me forty shillings my wife lent him out of her purse by sixpence a time, besides his lodging. I would I had it. I shall have it, he saith, next action. Helter skelter, hang sorrow, care will kill a cat, uptails all, and a pox on the hangman! Exit.
Bobadilla discovers himself on a bench.
360Bobadilla Hostess! Hostess!
To him, Tib.
Tib What say you, sir?
Bobadilla A cup of your small beer, sweet hostess.
Tib Sir, there's a gentleman below would speak with you.
365Bobadilla A gentleman! Godso, I am not within.
Tib My husband told him you were, sir.
Bobadilla What a plague! What meant he?
Signor Bobadilla!
Bobadilla [Calling] Who's there? -- Take away the basin, good hostess. -- Come up, sir!
[Calling down as though to Matheo]
He would desire you to come up, sir.
[Enter Matheo [with a book].
You come into a cleanly house here.
Matheo [To Bobadilla] God save you sir, God save you.
Bobadilla Signor Matheo, is't you, sir? Please you sit down.
375Matheo I thank you, good signor; you may see I am somewhat audacious.
Bobadilla Not so, signor. I was requested to supper yesternight by a sort of gallants, where you were wished for and drunk to, I assure you.
Matheo Vouchsafe me by whom, good signor.
Bobadilla Marry, by Signor Prospero and others. -- Why, hostess, a stool here for this gentleman.
380Matheo No haste, sir, it is very well.
Bobadilla Body of me, it was so late ere we parted last night I can scarce open mine eyes yet; I was but new risen as you came. How passes the day abroad, sir? You can tell.
Matheo Faith, some half hour to seven. Now trust me, you have an exceeding fine lodging here, very neat and private.
385Bobadilla Ay, sir, sit down, I pray you. [Exit Tib.]
Signor Matheo, in any case possess no gentleman of your acquaintance with notice of my lodging.
Matheo Who, I, sir? No.
Bobadilla Not that I need to care who know it, but in regard I would not be so popular and general, as some be.
Matheo True, signor, I conceive you.
390Bobadilla For do you see, sir, by the heart of myself, except it be to some peculiar and choice spirits to whom I am extraordinarily engaged, as yourself or so, I would not extend thus far.
Matheo Oh, Lord, sir! I resolve so.
Bobadilla What new book have you there? What, "Go by, Hieronimo!"?
395Matheo Ay, did you ever see it acted? Is't not well penned?
Bobadilla Well penned? I would fain see all the poets of our time pen such another play as that was. They'll prate and swagger and keep a stir of art and devices, when, by Godso, they are the most shallow, pitiful fellows that live upon the face of the earth again.
400Matheo Indeed, here are a number of fine speeches in this book: "O eyes, no eyes, but fountains fraught with tears!" There's a conceit! "Fountains fraught with tears!" "O life, no life, but lively form of death!" Is't not excellent? "O world, no world, but mass of public wrongs!" Oh, God's me! "Confused and filled with murder and misdeeds." Is't not simply the best that ever you heard? Ha? How do you like it?
Bobadilla 'Tis good.
Matheo [Reciting] To thee, the purest object to my sense,
405The most refind essence heaven covers,
Send I these lines, wherein I do commence
The happy state of true deserving lovers.
If they prove rough, unpolished, harsh, and rude,
Haste made that waste -- thus mildly I conclude.
[Bobadilla dresses during this recital.]
Bobadilla Nay, proceed, proceed. Where's this? Where's this?
Matheo This, sir? A toy of mine own in my nonage. But when will you come and see my study? Good faith, I can show you some very good things I have done of late. -- That boot becomes your 415leg passing well, sir, methinks.
Bobadilla So so. It's a fashion gentlemen use.
Matheo Mass, sir, and, now you speak of the fashion, Signor Prospero's elder brother and I are fallen out exceedingly. This other day I happened to enter into some discourse of a hanger, which, I assure you, both for fashion 420and workmanship was most beautiful and gentleman-like; yet he condemned it for the most pied and ridiculous that ever he saw.
Bobadilla Signor Giuliano, was it not? The elder brother?
Matheo Ay, sir, he.
Bobadilla Hang him, rook. He? Why, he has no more judgment than 425a malt-horse. By Saint George, I hold him the most peremptory, absurd clown -- one o'them -- in Christendom. I protest to you, as I am a gentleman and a soldier, I ne'er talked with the like of him. He has not so much as a good word in his belly. All iron, iron-- a good commodity for a smith to make hobnails on.
430Matheo Ay, and he thinks to carry it away with his manhood still where he comes. He brags he will give me the bastinado, as I hear.
Bobadilla How, the bastinado? How came he by that word, trow?
Matheo Nay, indeed, he said "cudgel" me. I termed it so for the more grace.
Bobadilla That may be, for I was sure it was none of his word. But when? When said he so?
435Matheo Faith, yesterday, they say. A young gallant, a friend of mine, told me so.
Bobadilla By the life of Pharaoh, an 'twere my case now, I should send him a challenge presently. The bastinado? Come hither, you shall challenge him. I'll show you a trick or two. You shall kill him at pleasure; the first, stoccado, if you will, by this air.
440Matheo Indeed, you have absolute knowledge in the mystery, I have heard, sir.
Bobadilla Of whom? Of whom, I pray?
Matheo Faith, I have heard it spoken of divers that you have very rare skill, sir.
Bobadilla By heaven, no, not I, no skill in the earth; some small science -- know my time, distance, or so. I have professed it more 445for noblemen and gentlemen's use than mine own practice, I assure you. [Calling offstage] Hostess, lend us another bedstaff here quickly. [He demonstrates fencing maneuvers with a bedstaff.] Look you, sir, exalt not your point above this state at any hand, and let your poniard maintain your defense thus.
[Tib enters with another bedstaff for Matheo.]
450Give it the gentleman. [Tib does so, and exit.]
So, sir, come on. [They fence.] Oh, twine your body more about, that you may come to a more sweet, comely, gentleman-like guard. [They fence again.] So, indifferent. Hollow your body more, sir, thus. [He demonstrates.] Now stand fast on your left leg. Note your distance; keep your due proportion of time. [Matheo tries.] 455Oh, you disorder your point most vilely!
Matheo [Trying again] How is the bearing of it now, sir?
Bobadilla Oh, out of measure ill. A well experienced man would pass upon you at pleasure.
Matheo How mean you, "pass upon" me?
Bobadilla Why, thus, sir. Make a thrust at me; come in upon 460my time; control your point, and make a full career at the body. The best-practiced gentlemen of the time term it the passado -- a most desperate thrust, believe it.
Matheo Well, come, sir.
[They fence again.]
Bobadilla Why, you do not manage your weapons with that facility and grace that you should do. I have no spirit to play with you; your 465dearth of judgment makes you seem tedious.
Matheo But one veny, sir.
Bobadilla Fie, "veny"! Most gross denomination as ever I heard! Oh, the stoccado, while you live, signor, note that. Come, put on your cloak, and we'll go to some private place where you are acquainted, some tavern or so, 470and we'll send for one of these fencers, where he shall breathe you at my direction, and then I'll teach you that trick you shall kill him with it at the first, if you please. Why, I'll learn you, by the true judgment of the eye, hand, and foot, to control any man's point in the world. Should your adversary confront you with a pistol, 'twere nothing; you should, by 475the same rule, control the bullet, most certain, by Phoebus, unless it were hail-shot. What money have you about you, sir?
Matheo Faith, I have not past two shillings or so.
Bobadilla 'Tis somewhat with the least. But come. When we have done, we'll call up Signor Prospero. Perhaps we shall meet with Corydon his brother there.