|Volpone Monologue by Ben Jonson|
- VOLPONE: Why droops my Celia?
- Thou hast, in place of a base husband, found
- A worthy lover; use thy fortune well,
- With secrecy and pleasure. See, behold
- What thou art queen of, not in expectation--
- As I feed others--but possessed and crowned.
- See, here, a rope of pearl, and each more orient
- Than that the brave Egyptian queen caroused--
- Dissolve and drink 'em. See, a carbuncle,
- May put out both the eyes of our Saint Mark;
- A diamond would have bought Lollia Paulina,
- When she came in like starlight, hid with jewels
- That were the spoils of provinces--take these
- And wear, and lose 'em; yet remains an earring
- To purchase them again, and this whole state.
- A gem but worth a private patrimony,
- Is nothing; we will eat such at a meal.
- The heads of parrots, tongue of nightingales,
- The brains of peacocks, and of estriches,
- Shall be our food; and, could we get the phoenix,
- Though nature lost her kind, she were our dish.
- If thou hast wisdom, hear me, Celia.
- Thy baths shall be the juice of gillyflowers,
- Spirit of roses, and of violets,
- The milk of unicorns, and panthers' breath
- Gathered in bags, and mixed with Cretan wines.
- Our drink shall be preparèd gold and amber,
- Which we will take until my roof whirl round
- With the vertigo; and my dwarf shall dance,
- My eunuch sing, my fool make up the antic.
- Whilst we, in changèd shapes, act Ovid's tales,
- Thou like Europa now, and I like Jove,
- Then I like Mars, and thou like Erycine;
- So of the rest, till we have quite run through,
- And wearied all the fables of the gods.
- Then will I have thee in more modern forms,
- Attirèd like some sprightly dame of France,
- Brave Tuscan lady, or proud Spanish beauty;
- Sometimes unto the Persian Sophy's wife,
- Or the Grand Signior's mistress; and for change,
- To one of our most artful courtesans,
- Or some quick Negro, or cold Russian.
- And I will meet thee in as many shapes;
- Where we may so transfuse our wand'ring souls
- Out at our lips, and score up sums of pleasures,
- "That the curious shall not know
- How to tell them as they flow;
- And the envious, when they find
- What their number is, be pined."
Credits: Reprinted from Volpone (1605).