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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 Matheo, Prospero, Lorenzo Jr., Bobadilla, Stephano, [and] Musco. [Prospero, Lorenzo Jr., and Musco talk among themselves. The rest prepare to smoke pipes.]
    Prospero Beshrew me, but it was an absolute good jest, and exceedingly well carried.
    1255Lorenzo Jr. Ay, and our ignorance maintained it as well, did it not?
    Prospero Yes, faith; but was't possible thou shouldst not know him?
    Lorenzo Jr. 'Fore God, not I, an I might have been joined patent with one of the Nine Worthies for knowing him. 'Sblood, man, he had so writhen himself into the habit of one of your poor desperviews, your decayed, 1260ruinous, worm-eaten gentlemen of the round, such as have vowed to sit on the skirts of the city (let your provost and his half-dozen of halberdiers do what they can), and have translated begging out of the old hackney pace to a fine, easy amble, and made it run as smooth off the tongue as a shove-groat shilling. Into the likeness of one of these lean Pirgos had he molded 1265himself so perfectly, observing every trick of their action -- as varying the accent, swearing with an emphasis, indeed all with so special and exquisite a grace -- that, hadst thou seen him, thou wouldst have sworn he might have been the Tamburlaine or the Agamemnon of the rout.
    Prospero Why, Musco, who would have thought thou hadst been such a gallant?
    1270Lorenzo Jr. I cannot tell; but unless a man had juggled begging all his lifetime and been a weaver of phrases from his infancy for the appareling of it, I think the world cannot produce his rival.
    [To Musco]
    Where got'st thou this coat, I mar'l?
    Musco Faith, sir, I had it of one of the devil's near kinsmen: a broker.
    1275Prospero That cannot be, if the proverb hold, "A crafty knave needs no broker."
    Musco True, sir, but I need a broker, ergo no crafty knave.
    Prospero Well put off, well put off.
    Lorenzo Jr. Tut, he has more of these shifts.
    Musco And yet, where I have one, the broker has ten, sir.
    [Enter Piso.
    Piso [Calling] Francisco! Martino! -- Ne'er a one to be found now. What a spite's this!
    Prospero How now, Piso? Is my brother within?
    Piso No, sir, my master went forth e'en now, but Signor Giuliano is within.
    Cob! What, Cob! -- Is he gone too?
    Prospero Whither went thy master, Piso, canst thou tell?
    1285Piso I know not; to Doctor Clement's, I think, sir.
    Exit Piso.
    Lorenzo Jr. Doctor Clement -- what's he? I have heard much speech of him.
    Prospero Why, dost thou not know him? He is the gonfaloniere of the state here, an excellent rare civilian and a great scholar, but the only mad, merry old fellow in Europe. I showed him you the other day.
    1290Lorenzo Jr. Oh, I remember him now. Good faith, and he hath a very strange presence, methinks. It shows as if he stood out of the rank from other men. I have heard many of his jests in Padua. They say he will commit a man for taking the wall of his horse.
    Prospero Ay, or wearing his cloak of one shoulder, or anything, indeed, if it come in the way of his humor.
    [Enter Piso.
    Piso [Calling] Gasper, Martino, Cob! -- 'Sheart, where should they be, trow?
    [To Piso]
    Signor Thorello's man, I pray thee, vouchsafe us the lighting of this match.
    [He hands lighting material to Piso.]
    Piso A pox on your match! No time but now to "vouchsafe"? [Calling] Francisco! Cob! Exit.
    [Taking out a tobacco box]
    Body of me, here's the remainder of seven pound since yesterday was sevennight. It's your right Trinidado. Did you never take any, signor?
    Stephano No, truly, sir, but I'll learn to take it now, since you commend it so.
    Bobadilla Signor, believe me, upon my relation, for what I tell you 1305the world shall not improve. I have been in the Indies, where this herb grows, where neither myself nor a dozen gentlemen more, of my knowledge, have received the taste of any other nutriment in the world for the space of one-and-twenty weeks but tobacco only. Therefore, it cannot be but 'tis most divine. Further, take it in the nature, in the true kind so, it makes an antidote that, 1310had you taken the most deadly poisonous simple in all Florence, it should expel it and clarify you with as much ease as I speak. And for your green wound, your balsamum and your -- are all mere gulleries and trash to it, especially your Trinidado. Your Nicotian is good, too. I could say what I know of the virtue of it for the exposing of rheums, raw humors, crudities, 1315obstructions, with a thousand of this kind, but I profess myself no quacksalver. Only thus much, by Hercules: I do hold it and will affirm it before any prince in Europe to be the most sovereign and precious herb that ever the earth tendered to the use of man.
    Lorenzo Jr.
    [Aside to Prospero]
    Oh, this speech would have done rare in a pothecary's mouth!
    [Enter Piso and Cob.
    1320Piso [To Cob] Ay, close by Saint Anthony's, Doctor Clement's.
    Cob Oh, oh!
    [To Piso]
    Where's the match I gave thee?
    Piso 'Sblood, would his match, and he, and pipe, and all were at Sancto Domingo! Exit.
    Cob By God's deynes, I mar'l what pleasure or felicity they have 1325in taking this roguish tobacco. It's good for nothing but to choke a man and fill him full of smoke and embers. There were four died out of one house last week with taking of it, and two more the bell went for yesternight. One of them, they say, will ne'er scape it; he voided a bushel of soot yesterday, upward and downward. By the stocks, an there were no 1330wiser men than I, I'd have it present death, man or woman, that should but deal with a tobacco pipe. Why, it will stifle them all in th'end, as many as use it; it's little better than ratsbane.
    [Bobadilla cudgels Cob.]
    [Enter Piso.
    1335ALL Oh, good signor, hold, hold!
    Bobadilla You base cullion, you!
    [Bobadilla is restrained.]
    Piso [Handing the lighted flammable material back to Bobadilla] Sir, here's your match. [To Cob] Come, thou must needs be talking, too.
    1340Cob Nay, he will not meddle with his match, I warrant you. Well, it shall be a dear beating, an I live.
    [Threatening Cob]
    Do you prate?
    Lorenzo Jr. [To Bobadilla] Nay, good signor, will you regard the humor of a fool? [To Cob] Away, knave!
    Prospero Piso, get him away.
    Exit Piso and Cob.
    Bobadilla A whoreson, filthy slave, a turd, an excrement! Body of Caesar, 1345but that I scorn to let forth so mean a spirit, I'd have stabbed him to the earth.
    Prospero Marry, God forbid, sir.
    Bobadilla By this fair heaven, I would have done it.
    [To himself]
    Oh, he swears admirably! "By this fair heaven," "Body of Caesar" -- I shall 1350never do it, sure. "Upon my salvation" -- no, I have not the right grace.
    [The gentlemen smoke.]
    Matheo [Offering tobacco to Lorenzo Jr.] Signor, will you any? By this air, the most divine tobacco as ever I drunk.
    Lorenzo Jr. I thank you, sir.
    [To himself]
    Oh, this gentleman doth it rarely too, but nothing 1355like the other.
    [He practices fencing at a post.]
    "By this air!" "As I am a gentleman!" "By Phoebus!"
    Exeunt Bobadilla and Matheo.
    Musco [Aside to Lorenzo Jr.] Master, glance, glance! -- Signor Prospero!
    Stephano As I have a soul to be saved, I do protest --
    Prospero [Aside] That you are a fool.
    1360Lorenzo Jr.
    [To Stephano]
    Cousin, will you any tobacco?
    Stephano [Taking tobacco] Ay, sir, upon my salvation.
    Lorenzo Jr. How now, cousin?
    Stephano I protest, as I am a gentleman, but no soldier, indeed.
    Prospero No, signor? As I remember, you served on a great horse last general muster.
    1365Stephano Ay, sir, that's true. -- Cousin, may I swear "as I am a soldier" by that?
    Lorenzo Jr. Oh, yes, that you may.
    Stephano Then, as I am a gentleman and a soldier, it is divine tobacco.
    Prospero But soft, where's Signor Matheo? Gone?
    Musco No, sir, they went in here.
    1370Prospero Oh, let's follow them. Signor Matheo is gone to salute his mistress.
    [To Lorenzo Jr.]
    Sirrah, now thou shalt hear some of his verses, for he never comes hither without some shreds of poetry. -- Come, Signor Stephano, Musco.
    Stephano Musco? Where? Is this Musco?
    Lorenzo Jr. Ay, but peace, cousin, no words of it at any hand.
    1375Stephano Not I, by this fair heaven, as I have a soul to be saved, by Phoebus.
    [Aside to Lorenzo Jr.]
    Oh, rare! Your cousin's discourse is simply suited, all in oaths.
    Lorenzo Jr. [Aside to Prospero] Ay, he lacks nothing but a little light stuff to draw them out withal, and he were rarely fitted to the time.