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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 Thorello, Prospero, Bianca, [and] Hesperida.
    Now trust me, Prospero, you were much to blame
    1940T'incense your brother and disturb the peace
    Of my poor house; for there be sentinels
    That every minute watch to give alarums
    Of civil war, without adjection
    Of your assistance and occasion.
    No harm done, brother, I warrant you. Since there is no harm done, anger costs a man nothing, and a tall man is never his own man till he be angry. To keep his valor in obscurity is to keep himself, as it were, in a cloakbag. What's a musician unless he play? What's a tall man unless he fight? For, indeed, all this my brother stands 1950upon absolutely, and that made me fall in with him so resolutely.
    Ay, but what harm might have come of it!
    Might? So might the good warm clothes your husband wears be poisoned, for anything he knows, or the wholesome wine he drunk even now at the table.
    Now, God forbid! [Aside] Oh, me, now I remember:
    My wife drunk to me last and changed the cup,
    And bade me wear this cursd suit today.
    See if God suffer murder undiscovered! --
    I feel me ill. Give me some mithridate;
    1960Some mithridate and oil, good sister, fetch me.
    Oh, I am sick at heart! I burn, I burn.
    If you will save my life, go fetch it me.
    Oh, strange humor! My very breath hath poisoned him.
    [To Thorello] Good brother, be content. What do you mean?
    1965The strength of these extreme conceits will kill you.
    Beshrew your heart-blood, brother Prospero,
    For putting such a toy into his head!
    Is a fit simile a toy? Will he be poisoned with a simile? -- Brother Thorello, what a strange and vain imagination is this! For 1970shame, be wiser. Of my soul, there's no such matter.
    Am I not sick? How am I then not poisoned?
    Am I not poisoned? How am I then so sick?
    If you be sick, your own thoughts make you sick.
    His jealousy is the poison he hath taken.
    1975[Enter Musco like [Peto] the Doctor's man.
    Signor Thorello, my master, Doctor Clement, salutes you and desires to speak with you with all speed possible.
    No time but now? Well, I'll wait upon His Worship. -- Piso! Cob! [Aside] I'll seek them out and set them sentinels till I return. -- Piso! Cob! Piso!
    [Privately to Musco] Musco, this is rare. But how got'st thou this apparel of the Doctor's man?
    Marry, sir, my youth would needs bestow the wine of me to hear some martial discourse, where I so marshalled him that I made him monstrous drunk. And because too much heat was the cause of his distemper, I stripped him stark naked, as he lay along asleep, and borrowed his suit to 1985deliver this counterfeit message in, leaving a rusty armor and an old brown bill to watch him till my return -- which shall be when I have pawned his apparel and spent the money, perhaps.
    Well, thou art a mad knave, Musco. His absence will be a good subject for more mirth. I pray thee, return to thy young master 1990Lorenzo and will him to meet me and Hesperida at the Friary presently; for here, tell him, the house is so stirred with jealousy that there is no room for love to stand upright in. But I'll use such means she shall come thither, and that, I think, will meet best with his desires. Hie thee, good Musco.
    I go, sir.
    1995[Enter Thorello [unaware of the presence of Bianca and Prospero].
    Ho, Piso! Cob! Where are these villains, trow?
    To him, Piso. [They talk privately.]
    Oh, art thou there? Piso, hark thee here;
    Mark what I say to thee. I must go forth.
    2000Be careful of thy promise. Keep good watch;
    Note every gallant, and observe him well,
    That enters in my absence to thy mistress.
    If she would show him rooms, the jest is stale.
    Follow them, Piso, or else hang on him,
    2005And let him not go after. Mark their looks;
    Note if she offer but to see his band
    Or any other amorous toy about him.
    But praise his leg or foot, or if she say
    The day is hot, and bid him feel her hand,
    2010How hot it is -- oh, that's a monstrous thing!
    Note me all this, sweet Piso; mark their sighs,
    And if they do but whisper, break them off.
    I'll bear thee out in it. Wilt thou do this?
    Wilt thou be true, sweet Piso?
    Most true, sir.
    Thanks, gentle Piso. Where is Cob, now? -- Cob!
    Exit Thorello.
    He's ever calling for Cob. I wonder how he employs Cob so.
    Indeed, sister, to ask how he employs Cob is a necessary 2020question for you that are his wife and a thing not very easy for you to be satisfied in. But this I'll assure you: Cob's wife is an excellent bawd, indeed, and oftentimes your husband haunts her house -- marry, to what end I cannot altogether accuse him. Imagine you what you think convenient. But I have known fair hides have foul hearts ere now, I can tell you.
    Never said you truer than that, brother. -- Piso, fetch your cloak and go with me; I'll after him presently. I would to Christ I could take him there, i'faith!
    Exeunt Piso and Bianca.
    So, let them go. This may make sport anon. -- Now, my fair sister Hesperida: ah, that you knew how happy a thing it were 2030to be fair and beautiful!
    That toucheth not me, brother.
    That's true; that's even the fault of it. For, indeed, beauty stands a woman in no stead unless it procure her touching. But sister, whether it touch you or no, it touches your beauties, and I am sure they 2035will abide the touch. An they do not, a plague of all ceruse, say I! And it touches me too in part, though not in the --. Well, there's a dear and respected friend of mine, sister, stands very strongly affected towards you, and hath vowed to inflame whole bonfires of zeal in his heart in honor of your perfections. I have already engaged my promise to bring you where 2040you shall hear him confirm much more than I am able to lay down for him. Signor Lorenzo is the man. What say you, sister? Shall I entreat so much favor of you for my friend as to direct and attend you to his meeting? Upon my soul, he loves you extremely. Approve it, sweet Hesperida, will you?
    Faith, I had very little confidence in mine own constancy if 2045I durst not meet a man. But brother Prospero, this motion of yours savors of an old knight-adventurer's servant, methinks.
    What's that, sister?
    Marry, of the squire.
    No matter, Hesperida, if it did. I would be such an one for my friend. But say, will you go?
    Brother, I will, and bless my happy stars.
    [Enter Clement and Thorello.
    Why, what villainy is this? My man gone on a false message, and run away when he has done? Why, what trick is there in it, trow?
    2055 [A clock strikes:] 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
    How? Is my wife gone forth? Where is she, sister?
    She's gone abroad with Piso.
    Abroad with Piso? Oh, that villain dors me!
    He hath discovered all unto my wife.
    2060Beast that I was to trust him! Whither went she?
    I know not, sir.
    I'll tell you, brother, whither I suspect she's gone.
    Whither, for God's sake?
    To Cob's house, I believe; but keep my counsel.
    I will, I will. To Cob's house? Doth she haunt Cob's?
    She's gone o'purpose now to cuckold me
    With that lewd rascal, who, to win her favor,
    Hath told her all.
    [To Hesperida] But did you, mistress, see my man bring him a message?
    That we did, Master Doctor.
    And whither went the knave?
    To the tavern, I think, sir.
    What, did Thorello give him anything to spend for the message he brought him? If he did, I should commend my man's wit exceedingly if 2075he would make himself drunk with the joy of it. Farewell, lady. Keep good rule, you two, I beseech you now. By God's marry, my man makes me laugh!
    What a mad doctor this is! Come, sister, let's away.