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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 Bobadilla, Lorenzo Jr., Matheo, [and] Stephano.
    Matheo [To Lorenzo Jr.] Signor, did you ever see the like clown of him where we were today, Signor Prospero's brother? I think the whole earth 1825cannot show his like, by Jesu.
    Lorenzo Jr. We were now speaking of him. Signor Bobadilla tells me he is fallen foul of you two.
    Matheo Oh, ay, sir, he threatened me with the bastinado.
    Bobadilla Ay, but I think I taught you a trick this morning for that. You shall kill him, without all question, if you be so minded.
    1830Matheo Indeed, it is a most excellent trick.
    [He practices fencing.]
    Bobadilla Oh, you do not give spirit enough to your motion. You are too dull, too tardy. Oh, it must be done like lightning. Hay![He demonstrates.]
    Matheo Oh, rare!
    1835Bobadilla Tut, 'tis nothing, an't be not done in a -- .
    Lorenzo Jr. Signor, did you never play with any of our masters here?
    Matheo Oh, good sir!
    Bobadilla Nay, for a more instance of their preposterous humor, there came three or four of them to me at a gentleman's house, where it was 1840my chance to be resident at that time, to entreat my presence at their schools, and withal so much importuned me that -- I protest to you, as I am a gentleman -- I was ashamed of their rude demeanor out of all measure. Well, I told them that to come to a public school, they should pardon me, it was opposite to my humor; but if so they would 1845attend me at my lodging, I protested to do them what right or favor I could, as I was a gentleman, et cetera.
    Lorenzo Jr. So, sir, then you tried their skill?
    Bobadilla Alas, soon tried! You shall hear, sir. Within two or three days after, they came, and, by Jesu, good signor, believe me, I graced them 1850exceedingly, showed them some two or three tricks of prevention hath got them since admirable credit. They cannot deny this. And yet now they hate me; and why? Because I am excellent, and for no other reason on the earth.
    Lorenzo Jr. This is strange and vile as ever I heard.
    Bobadilla I will tell you, sir. Upon my first coming to the 1855city they assaulted me, some three, four, five, six of them together, as I have walked alone in divers places of the city, as upon the Exchange, at my lodging, and at my ordinary, where I have driven them afore me the whole length of a street in the open view of all our gallants, pitying to hurt them, believe me. Yet all this lenity will not depress their spleen; 1860they will be doing with the pismire, raising a hill a man may spurn abroad with his foot at pleasure. By my soul, I could have slain them all, but I delight not in murder. I am loath to bear any other but a bastinado for them, and yet I hold it good policy not to go disarmed, for, though I be skillful, I may be suppressed with multitudes.
    1865Lorenzo Jr. Ay, by Jesu, may you, sir, and in my conceit our whole nation should sustain the loss by it, if it were so.
    Bobadilla Alas, no. What's a peculiar man to a nation? Not seen.
    Lorenzo Jr. Ay, but your skill, sir.
    Bobadilla Indeed, that might be some loss, but who respects it? I 1870will tell you, signor, in private: I am a gentleman and live here obscure and to myself. But were I known to the duke, observe me, I would undertake, upon my head and life, for the public benefit of the state, not only to spare the entire lives of his subjects in general, but to save the one half -- nay, three parts -- of his yearly charges in holding 1875wars generally against all his enemies. And how will I do it, think you?
    Lorenzo Jr. Nay, I know not, nor can I conceive.
    Bobadilla Marry, thus: I would select nineteen more to myself throughout the land; gentlemen they should be of good spirit, strong and able constitution. I would choose them by an instinct, a trick that I have. And I would teach 1880these nineteen the special tricks -- as your punto, your reverso, your stoccato, your imbroccato, your passado, your montanto -- till they could all play very near or altogether as well as myself. This done, say the enemy were forty thousand strong: we twenty would come into the field the tenth of March or thereabouts and would challenge twenty of the enemy. They could not in their honor refuse the 1885combat. Well, we would kill them; challenge twenty more, kill them; twenty more, kill them; twenty more, kill them too. And thus would we kill every man his twenty a day, that's twenty score; twenty score, that's two hundred; two hundred a day, five days a thousand. Forty thousand -- forty times five, five times forty -- two hundred days kills them all, by computation. And this will I venture my life to perform, provided there by no treason practiced upon us.
    1890Lorenzo Jr. Why, are you so sure of your hand at all times?
    Bobadilla Tut, never mistrust, upon my soul.
    Lorenzo Jr. Mass, I would not stand in Signor Giuliano's state, then, an you meet him, for the wealth of Florence.
    Bobadilla Why, signor, by Jesu, if he were here now, I would not draw my weapon on him. Let this gentleman do his mind, but I 1895will bastinado him, by heaven, an ever I meet him.
    Matheo Faith, and I'll have a fling at him.
    [Enter Giuliano [not seeing them].
    Lorenzo Jr. Look, yonder he goes, I think.
    [To himself]
    'Sblood, what luck have I! I cannot meet with these bragging rascals.
    And goes out again.
    1900Bobadilla It's not he, is it?
    Lorenzo Jr. Yes, faith, it is he.
    Matheo I'll be hanged, then, if that were he.
    Lorenzo Jr. Before God, it was he. You make me swear.
    Stephano Upon my salvation, it was he.
    1905Bobadilla Well, had I thought it had been he, he could not have gone so. But I cannot be induced to believe it was he yet.
    [Enter Giuliano.
    Giuliano [To Bobadilla] Oh, gallant, have I found you? Draw. To your tools! Draw! Or, by God's will, I'll thrash you.
    Bobadilla Signor, hear me!
    1910Giuliano Draw your weapons, then.
    Bobadilla Signor, I never thought on it till now: body of Saint George, I have a warrant of the peace served on me even now as I came along, by a waterbearer. This gentleman saw it -- Signor Matheo.
    Matheo runs away.
    Giuliano The peace? 'Sblood, you will not draw?
    He beats him and disarms him.
    Lorenzo Jr. Hold, signor, hold! Under thy favor, forbear!
    [To Bobadilla]
    Prate again as you like this, you whoreson cowardly rascal! You'll control the point, you? Your consort, he is gone? Had he stayed, he had shared with you, in faith.
    Exit Giuliano [leaving his cloak] behind him 1920in his haste].
    Bobadilla Well, gentlemen, bear witness I was bound to the peace, by Jesu.
    Lorenzo Jr. Why, and though you were, sir, the law allows you to defend yourself. That's but a poor excuse.
    Bobadilla I cannot tell. I never sustained the like disgrace, by heaven. Sure I was struck with a planet then, for I had no power to 1925touch my weapon.
    Lorenzo Jr. Ay, like enough. I have heard of many that have been beaten under a planet. Go, get you to the surgeon's. 'Sblood, an these be your tricks, your passados and your montantos, I'll none of them.
    Exit [Bobadilla].
    1930Oh, God, that this age should bring forth such creatures! -- Come, cousin.
    [Taking up Giuliano's cloak]
    Mass, I'll have this cloak.
    Lorenzo Jr. God's will, it's Giuliano's.
    Stephano Nay, but 'tis mine now; another might have ta'en it up as well as I. I'll wear it, so I will.
    Lorenzo Jr. How an he see it? He'll challenge it, assure yourself.
    1935Stephano Ay, but he shall not have it. I'll say I bought it.
    Lorenzo Jr. Advise you, cousin, take heed he give not you as much.