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  • Title: Everyman In His Humor (Modern)
  • Editor: David Bevington

  • Copyright David Bevington. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: Ben Jonson
    Editor: David Bevington
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Everyman In His Humor (Modern)

    [Enter Lorenzo Jr. [holding the letter] with Musco.
    Yes, sir, on my word, he opened it and read the contents.
    Lorenzo Jr.
    It scarce contents me that he did so. But Musco, didst thou observe his countenance in the reading of it, whether he were angry 200or pleased?
    Why, sir, I saw him not read it.
    Lorenzo Jr.
    No? How knowest thou then that he opened it?
    Marry, sir, because he charged me on my life to tell nobody that he opened it, which, unless he had done, he would never fear 205to have it revealed.
    Lorenzo Jr.
    That's true. Well, Musco, hie thee in again,
    Lest thy protracted absence do lend light
    To dark suspicion. Musco, be assured
    I'll not forget this thy respective love.
    210[Enter Stephano. [Lorenzo Jr., busy with the letter from Prospero, does not notice Stephano].
    Oh, Musco, didst thou not see a fellow here in a what-sha'-call-'em doublet? He brought mine uncle a letter even now.
    Yes, sir, what of him?
    Where is he, canst thou tell?
    Why, he is gone.
    Gone? Which way? When went he? How long since?
    It's almost half an hour ago since he rid hence.
    Whoreson Scanderbag rogue! Oh, that I had a horse! By God's lid, I'd fetch him back again, with heave and ho.
    Why, you may have my master's bay gelding, an you will.
    But I have no boots, that's the spite on it.
    Then it's no boot to follow him. Let him go and hang, sir.
    Ay, by my troth. Musco, I pray thee, help to truss me a little. Nothing angers me but I have waited such a while for him, all unlaced and untrussed yonder, and now to see he is gone the other way!
    [Helping Stephano with his clothing] Nay, I pray you, stand still, sir.
    I will, I will. Oh, how it vexes me!
    Tut, never vex yourself with the thought of such a base follow as he.
    Nay, to see he stood upon points with me, too!
    Like enough so. That was because he saw you had so few at your hose.
    What, hast thou done? God-a-mercy, good Musco.
    I mar'l, sir, you wear such ill-favored coarse stockings, having so good a leg as you have.
    Foh! The stockings be good enough for this time of the year, but I'll have a pair of silk ere it be long. I think my leg would show well in a silk hose.
    Ay, afore God would it, rarely well.
    In sadness, I think it would. I have a reasonable good leg.
    You have an excellent good leg, sir. I pray you pardon me, I have a little haste in, sir.
    A thousand thanks, good Musco.
    Exit [Musco].
    [Lorenzo Jr. laughs over his letter.]
    [Aside] What? I hope he laughs not at me. An he do --
    240Lorenzo Jr.
    [unaware still of Stephano] Here is a style, indeed, for a man's senses to leap over ere they come at it. Why, it is able to break the shins of any old man's patience in the world. My father read this with patience? Then will I be made an eunuch and learn to sing ballads. I do not deny but my father may have as much 245patience as any other man, for he uses to take physic, and oft taking physic makes a man a very patient creature. But, Signor Prospero, had your swaggering epistle here arrived in my father's hands at such an hour of his patience -- I mean, when he had ta'en physic -- it is to be doubted whether I should have read "sweet villain" here. [Noticing Stephano, but not speaking to him] 250But what? My wise cousin! Nay, then, I'll furnish our feast with one gull more toward a mess. He writes to me of two, and here's one: that's three, i'faith. Oh, for a fourth! Now, Fortune, or never, Fortune!
    [Aside] Oh, now I see who he laughed at: he laughed at somebody in that letter. By this good light, an he had laughed at me, I would have told mine uncle.
    255Lorenzo Jr.
    [Aloud] Cousin Stephano! Good morrow, good cousin. How fare you?
    The better for your asking, I will assure you. I have been all about to seek you; since I came, I saw mine uncle. And, i'faith, how have you done this great while? Good Lord, by my troth, I am glad you are well, cousin.
    260Lorenzo Jr.
    And I am glad at your coming, I protest to you, for I am sent for by a private gentleman, my most special dear friend, to come to him to Florence this morning; and you shall go with me, cousin, if it please you, not else. I will enjoin you no further than stands with your own consent and the condition of a friend.
    Why, cousin, you shall command me an 'twere twice so far as Florence, to do you good. What, do you think I will not go with you? I protest --
    Lorenzo Jr.
    Nay, nay, you shall not protest.
    By God, but I will, sir, by your leave; I'll protest more to my friend than I'll speak of at this time.
    270Lorenzo Jr.
    You speak very well, sir.
    Nay, not so, neither; but I speak to serve my turn.
    Lorenzo Jr.
    Your turn? Why, cousin, a gentleman of so fair sort as you are, of so true carriage, so special good parts, of so dear and choice estimation, one whose lowest condition bears the stamp of a great spirit? 275Nay, more, a man so graced, gilded, or rather, to use a more fit metaphor, tinfoiled by nature -- not that you have a leaden constitution, coz, although perhaps a little inclining to that temper and so the more apt to melt with pity when you fall into the fire of rage -- but for your luster only, which reflects as bright to the world as an old alewife's pewter again' a good time. And will you now, with nice modesty, hide such real ornaments as these, and shadow their glory as a milliner's wife doth her wrought stomacher with a smoky lawn or a black cypress? Come, come, for shame, do not wrong the quality of your desert in so poor a kind, but let the idea of what you are be portrayed in your aspect, that men may read in your looks: "Here within this place is to be seen the most admirable, rare, and accomplished work of nature." Cousin, what think you of this?
    Marry, I do think of it, and I will be more melancholy and gentleman-like than I have been, I do ensure you.
    Lorenzo Jr.
    Why, this is well.
    [Aside] Now, if I can but hold up this humor in him as it is begun, cazzo for Florence! Match him an she can! -- Come, cousin.
    I'll follow you.
    290Lorenzo Jr.
    Follow me? You must go before.
    Must I? Nay then, I pray you show me, good cousin.