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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 Giuliano with Bianca.
    Well, sister, I tell you true, and you'll find it so in the end.
    Alas, brother, what would you have me to do? I cannot 1505help it; you see, my brother Prospero, he brings them in here; they are his friends.
    His friends? His fiends! 'Sblood, they do nothing but haunt him up and down like a sort of unlucky sprites and tempt him to all manner of villainy that can be thought of. Well, by this light, a little 1510thing would make me play the devil with some of them. An 'twere not more for your husband's sake than anything else, I'd make the house too hot for them. They should say and swear hell were broken loose ere they went. But, by God's bread, 'tis nobody's fault but yours. For, an you had done as you might have done, they should have been damned ere they should have come in, e'er a one of them!
    God's my life, did you ever hear the like? What a strange man is this! Could I keep out all them, think you? I should put myself against half a dozen men, should I? Good faith, you'd mad the patient'st body in the world to hear you talk so, without any sense or reason.
    [Enter Matheo [holding papers], with Hesperida [and] Bobadilla, [followed at a distance by] Stephano, Lorenzo Jr., Prospero, [and] Musco.
    [To Matheo] Servant, in troth, you are too prodigal
    Of your wit's treasure, thus to pour it forth
    Upon so mean a subject as my worth.
    You say well, you say well.
    Hoyday, here is stuff!
    1525Lorenzo Jr.
    [Aside to Prospero] Oh, now stand close. Pray God she can get him to read it.
    [Aside to Lorenzo Jr.] Tut, fear not. I warrant thee, he will do it of himself with much impudency.
    [Indicating Matheo's papers] Servant, what is that same, I pray you?
    Marry, an elegy, an elegy, an odd toy.
    Ay, to mock an ape withal. O Jesu!
    Sister, I pray you, let's hear it.
    Mistress, I'll read it, if you please.
    I pray you do, servant.
    Oh, here's no foppery! 'Sblood, it frets me to the gall to think on it.
    [Aside to Lorenzo Jr.] Oh, ay, it is his condition. Peace, we are fairly rid of him.
    Faith, I did it in an humor. I know not how it is, but, please you, come near, signor. This gentleman
    [indicating Stephano] hath judgment; he knows how to censure of a -- . [To Stephano] I pray you, sir, you can judge.
    Not I, sir -- as I have a soul to be saved; as I am a gentleman.
    1540Lorenzo Jr.
    [Aside to Prospero] Nay, it's well, so long as he doth not forswear himself.
    [To Matheo] Signor, you abuse the excellency of your mistress and her fair sister. Fie, while you live, avoid this prolixity.
    I shall, sir. Well, incipere dulce.
    Lorenzo Jr.
    [Aside to Prospero] How? "Insipere dulce"? "A sweet thing to be a fool," indeed.
    [Aside to Lorenzo Jr.] What, do you take "incipere" in that sense?
    1545Lorenzo Jr.
    [Aside to Prospero] You do not, you? 'Sblood, this was your villainy, to gull him with a mot.
    [Aside to Lorenzo Jr.] Oh, the benchers' phrase: pauca verba, pauca verba.
    Rare creature, let me speak without offense.
    1550Would God my rude words had the influence
    To rule thy thoughts, as thy fair looks do mine!
    Then shouldst thou be his prisoner who is thine.
    Lorenzo Jr.
    [Aside to Prospero] 'Sheart, this is in Hero and Leander!
    [Aside to Lorenzo Jr.] Oh, ay, peace. We shall have more of this.
    Be not unkind and fair. Misshapen stuff
    Is of behavior boisterous and rough --
    [To Stephano] How like you that, signor?
    [Stephano shakes his head vigorously up and down.]
    Lorenzo Jr.
    [Aside to Prospero] 'Sblood, he shakes his head like a bottle, to feel an there be any brain in it.
    But observe the catastrophe now:
    And I in duty will exceed all other
    As you in beauty do excel Love's mother.
    [He presents the verses to Hesperida.]
    1570Lorenzo Jr.
    [Aside to Prospero] Well, I'll have him free of the brokers, for he utters nothing but stol'n remnants.
    [Aside to Lorenzo Jr.] Nay, good critic, forbear.
    Lorenzo Jr.
    [Aside to Prospero] A pox on him, hang him,
    filching rogue! Steal from the dead? It's worse than sacrilege.
    [To Hesperida] Sister, what have you here? Verses? I pray you, let's see.
    [Prospero takes the verses from Hesperida and examines them.]
    Do you let them go so lightly, sister?
    Yes, faith, when they come lightly.
    Ay, but if your servant should hear you, he would take it heavily.
    No matter. He is able to bear.
    So are asses.
    So is he.
    Signor Matheo, who made these verses? They are excellent good.
    Oh, God, sir, it's your pleasure to say so, sir. Faith, I made them extempore this morning.
    How, extempore?
    I would I might be damned else. Ask Signor Bobadilla. He saw me write them at the -- pox on it! -- the Miter yonder.
    [Aside to Prospero and Lorenzo Jr.] Well, an the Pope knew he cursed the miter, it were enough to have him excommunicated all the taverns 1590in the town.
    [To Lorenzo Jr.] Cousin, how do you like this gentleman's verses?
    Lorenzo Jr.
    Oh, admirable! The best that ever I heard.
    By this fair heavens, they are admirable, the best that ever I heard.
    [Enter Giuliano.
    [To himself] I am vexed. I can hold never a bone of me still! 'Sblood, I think they mean to build a tabernacle here. Well!
    [To Hesperida] Sister, you have a simple servant here, that crowns your beauty with such encomions and devices. You may see what it is to be the mistress of a wit that can make your perfections so transparent that 1600every blear eye may look through them and see him drowned over head and ears in the deep well of desire. -- Sister Bianca, I marvel you get you not a servant that can rhyme and do tricks, too.
    [To himself] Oh, monster! Impudence itself! Tricks?
    [To Prospero] Tricks, brother? What tricks?
    Nay, speak, I pray you, what tricks?
    Ay, never spare anybody here, but say, what tricks?
    Passion of my heart! "Do tricks"?
    'Sblood, here's a trick, vied and revied. Why, you monkeys, you, what a caterwauling do you keep! Has he not given you rhymes and verses 1610and tricks?
    [To himself] Oh, see the devil!
    [To Hesperida] Nay, you lamp of virginity, that take it in snuff so, come and cherish this tame poetical fury in your "servant"; you'll be begged else shortly for a concealment. Go to, reward his muse. You cannot 1615give him less than a shilling, in conscience, for the book he had it out of cost him a teston at the least. -- How now, gallants, Lorenzo, Signor Bobadilla? What, all sons of silence? No spirit?
    [Aloud] Come, you might practice your ruffian tricks somewhere else and not here, iwis. This is no tavern, nor no place for such exploits.
    'Sheart, how now?
    Nay, boy, never look askance at me for the matter. I'll tell you of it, by God's bread! Ay, and you and your companions, mend yourselves when I have done.
    My companions?
    Ay, your companions, sir, so I say. 'Sblood, I am not afraid of you nor them neither. You must have your poets and your cavaliers and your fools follow you up and down the city, and here they must come to domineer and swagger?
    [To Matheo] Sirrah, you ballad-singer, and Slops, your fellow there, get you out! Get you out or, by the will of God, I'll 1630cut off your ears! Go to.
    [To Matheo and Bobadilla, as they move away] 'Sblood, stay. Let's see what he dare do. [To Giuliano] Cut off his ears? You are an ass. Touch any man here and, by the Lord, I'll run my rapier to the hilts in thee.
    Yea, that would I fain see, boy.
    They all draw. The women make a great cry.
    Oh, Jesu! Piso, Matheo, murder!
    Help, help, Piso!
    [Enter Piso and some more of the house to part them.
    1640Lorenzo Jr.
    Gentlemen! Prospero! Forbear, I pray you.
    [To Giuliano] Well, sirrah, you Holofernes: by my hand, I will pink thy flesh full of holes with my rapier for this, I will, by this good heaven!
    They offer to fight again and are parted.
    1645Nay, let him come, let him come, gentlemen; by the body of Saint George, I'll not kill him.
    Hold, hold! Forbear.
    [To Bobadilla] You whoreson bragging coistrel!
    [Enter Thorello.
    Why, how now? What's the matter? What stir is here?
    1650Whence springs this quarrel? Piso! Where is he? --
    Put up your weapons and put off this rage.
    My wife and sister, they are cause of this. --
    What, Piso! -- Where is this knave?
    Here, sir.
    [To Lorenzo Jr.. and the others] Come, let's go. This is one of my brother's ancient humors, this.
    I am glad nobody was hurt by this ancient humor.
    Exeunt Prospero, Lorenzo Jr., Musco, Stephano, Bobadilla, [and] Matheo.
    Why, how now, brother, who enforced this brawl?
    A sort of lewd rakehells, that care neither for God nor 1660the devil. And they must come here to read ballads and roguery and trash! I'll mar the knot of them ere I sleep, perhaps, especially Signor Pythagoras, he that's all manner of shapes, and Songs and Sonnets, his fellow there.
    Brother, indeed, you are too violent,
    Too sudden in your courses; and you know
    1665My brother Prospero's temper will not bear
    Any reproof, chiefly in such a presence
    Where every slight disgrace he should receive
    Would wound him in opinion and respect.
    Respect? What talk you of respect 'mongst such as had neither 1670spark of manhood nor good manners? By God, I am ashamed to hear you. Respect?
    Yes, there was one, a civil gentleman,
    And very worthily demeaned himself.
    Oh, that was some love of yours, sister.
    A love of mine? In faith, I would he were
    No other's love but mine.
    Indeed, he seemed to be a gentleman of an exceeding fair disposition and of very excellent good parts.
    Exit Hesperida [and] Bianca.
    [Aside] Her love, by Jesu! My wife's minion!
    "Fair disposition"? "Excellent good parts"?
    1680'Sheart , these phrases are intolerable.
    "Good parts"? How should she know his parts? Well, well,
    It is too plain, too clear. -- Piso, come hither.
    What, are they gone?
    Ay, sir, they went in.
    Are any of the gallants within?
    No, sir, they are all gone.
    Art thou sure of it?
    Ay, sir, I can assure you.
    Piso, what gentleman was that they praised so?
    One they call him Signor Lorenzo, a fair young gentleman, sir.
    [Aside] Ay, I thought so; my mind gave me as much.
    'Sblood, I'll be hanged if they have not hid him in the
    Somewhere! I'll go search. -- Piso, go with me.
    1695Be true to me and thou shalt find me bountiful.