Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: Ben Jonson
Editor: David Bevington
Not Peer Reviewed

Everyman In His Humor (Modern)


2.2.
[Enter Lorenzo Sr.
Lorenzo Sr. My laboring spirit, being late oppressed
With my son's folly, can embrace no rest
770Till it hath plotted by advice and skill
How to reduce him from affected will
To reason's manage -- which while I intend,
My troubled soul begins to apprehend
A farther secret, and to meditate
775Upon the difference of man's estate,
Where is deciphered, to true judgment's eye,
A deep, concealed, and precious mystery.
Yet can I not but worthily admire
At Nature's art, who, when she did inspire
780This heat of life, placed Reason as a king
Here in the head to have the marshaling
Of our affections, and with sovereignty
To sway the state of our weak empery.
But, as in divers commonwealths we see
785The form of government to disagree,
Even so in man: who searcheth soon shall find
As much or more variety of mind.
Some men's affections, like a sullen wife,
Is with her husband, Reason, still at strife.
790Others, like proud arch-traitors that rebel
Against their sovereign, practice to expel
Their liege lord, Reason, and not shame to tread
Upon his holy and anointed head.
But as that land or nation best doth thrive
795Which to smooth-fronted Peace is most proclive,
So doth that mind whose fair affections, ranged
By Reason's rules, stand constant and unchanged.
Else, if the power of Reason be not such,
Why do we attribute to him so much?
800Or why are we obsequious to his law
If he want spirit our affects to awe?
Oh, no, I argue weakly; he is strong,
Albeit my son have done him too much wrong.
[Enter Musco [disguised still as a soldier].
805Musco [Aside] My master! Nay, faith, have at you. I am fleshed, now I have sped so well. -- Gentleman, I beseech you, respect the estate of a poor soldier. I am ashamed of this base course of life, God's my comfort, but extremity provokes me to't. What remedy?
Lorenzo Sr. I have not for you now.
810Musco By the faith I bear unto God, gentleman, it is no ordinary custom, but only to preserve manhood. I protest to you, a man I have been, a man I may be, by your sweet bounty.
Lorenzo Sr. I pray thee, good friend, be satisfied.
Musco Good signor, by Jesu, you may do the part of a 815kind gentleman in lending a poor soldier the price of two cans of beer, a matter of small value. The King of heaven shall pay you, and I shall rest thankful, sweet signor.
Lorenzo Sr. Nay, an you be so importunate --
Musco Oh, Lord, sir, need will have his course. I was not 820made to this vile use. Well, the edge of the enemy could not have abated me so much.
[He weeps.]
It's hard when a man hath served in his prince's cause and be thus. Signor, let me derive a small piece of silver from you. It shall not be given in the course of time. By this good ground, I was fain to pawn my rapier last night for a 825poor supper; I am a pagan else, sweet signor.
Lorenzo Sr. Believe me, I am rapt with admiration
To think a man of thy exterior presence
Should in the constitution of the mind
Be so degenerate, infirm, and base.
830Art thou a man? And sham'st thou not to beg?
To practice such a servile kind of life?
Why, were thy education ne'er so mean,
Having thy limbs, a thousand fairer courses
Offer themselves to thy election.
835Nay, there the wars might still supply thy wants,
Or service of some virtuous gentleman,
Or honest labor. Nay, what can I name
But would become thee better than to beg?
But men of your condition feed on sloth,
840As doth the scarab on the dung she breeds in,
Not caring how the temper of your spirits
Is eaten with the rust of idleness.
Now, afore God, whate'er he be that should
Relieve a person of thy quality
845While you insist in this loose, desperate course,
I would esteem the sin not thine, but his.
Musco Faith, signor, I would gladly find some other course, if so --
Lorenzo Sr. Ay, you'd gladly find it, but you will not seek it.
Musco Alas, sir, where should a man seek? In the wars there's 850no ascent by desert in these days, but -- and for service, would it were as soon purchased as wished for, God's my comfort! I know what I would say --
Lorenzo Sr. What's thy name?
Musco Please you: Portensio.
855Lorenzo Sr. Portensio?
Say that a man should entertain thee now;
Would thou be honest, humble, just, and true?
Musco Signor, by the place and honor of a soldier --
Lorenzo Sr. Nay, nay, I like not these affected oaths.
860Speak plainly, man: what think'st thou of my words?
Musco Nothing, signor, but wish my fortunes were as happy as my service should be honest.
Lorenzo Sr. Well, follow me. I'll prove thee, if thy deeds
Will carry a proportion to thy words.
Musco Yes, sir, straight. I'll but garter my hose.
Exit Lorenzo Sr.
865Oh, that my belly were hooped now! For I am ready to burst with laughing. 'Slid, was there ever seen a fox in years to betray himself thus? Now shall I be possessed of all his determinations, and, consequently, my young master. Well, he is resolved to prove my honesty. Faith, and I am resolved to prove his patience. Oh, I shall abuse him intolerably! This small piece 870of service will bring him clean out of love with the soldier forever. It's no matter. Let the world think me a bad counterfeit if I cannot give him the slip in an instant. Why, this is better than to have stayed his journey, by half. Well, I'll follow him. Oh, how I long to be employed! Exit.