|Volpone Monologue by Ben Jonson|
- CORVINO: Death of mine honour, with the city's fool!
- A juggling, tooth-drawing, prating mountebank!
- And at a public window! where, whilst he,
- With his strained action, and his dole of faces,
- To his drug-lecture draws your itching ears,
- A crew of old, unmarried, noted lechers
- Stood leering up like satyrs; and you smile
- Most graciously, and fan your favours forth,
- To give your hot spectators satisfaction!
- What, was your mountebank their call? their whistle?
- Or were y' enamoured on his copper rings?
- His saffron jewel with the toad-stone in't?
- Or his embroidered suit, with the cope-stitch,
- Made of a hearse-cloth? or his old tilt-feather?
- Or his starched beard? Well, you shall have him, yes!
- He shall come home, and minister unto you
- The fricace of the mother. Or, let me see,
- I think you'd rather mount; would you not mount?
- Why, if you'll mount, you may; yes, truly, you may!
- And so you may be seen, down to th' foot.
- Get you a cittern, Lady Vanity,
- And be a dealer with the virtuous man;
- Make one. I'll but protest myself a cuckold,
- And save your dowry. I'm a Dutchman, I!
- For if you thought me an Italian,
- You would be damned ere you did this, you whore!
- Thou'dst tremble to imagine that the murder
- Of father, mother, brother, all thy race,
- Should follow, as the subject of my justice!
- I should strike this steel into thee, with as many stabs
- As thou wert gazed upon with goatish eyes!
- You were an actor, with your handkerchief,
- Which he most sweetly kissed in the receipt,
- And might, no doubt, return it with a letter,
- And 'point the place where you might meet--your sister's,
- Your mother's, or your aunt's might serve the turn.
- And therefore mark me: thy restraint before
- Was liberty To what I now decree.
- First, I will have this bawdy light damned up;
- And till't be done, some two or three yards off,
- I'll chalk a line, o'er which if thou but chance
- To set thy desp'rate foot, more hell, more horror,
- More wild remorseless rage shall seize on thee,
- Than on a conjuror that had heedless left
- His circle's safety ere his devil was laid.
- Then, here's a lock which I will hang upon thee;
- And, now I think on't, I will keep thee backwards;
- Thy lodging shall be backwards, thy walks backwards,
- Thy prospect all be backwards, and no pleasure,
- That thou shalt know, but backwards. Nay, since you force
- My honest nature, know it is your own
- Being too open, makes me use you thus;
- Since you will not contain your subtle nostrils
- In a sweet room, but they must snuff the air
- Of rank and sweaty passengers!
Credits: Reprinted from Volpone (1605).