Light, and humorous in her toying,

Mos. Upon his couch, sir, newly fall'n asleep.
Oft building hopes, and soone destroying, 1 Corb. Does he sleep well?
Long, but sweet in the enjoying

Mos. No wink, sir, all this night,
Neither too easie, nor too hard:

Nor yesterday; but slumbers. All extremes I would have bar'd.

Corb. Good! he shall take

Some counsel of physicians: I have brought him Shee should be allowed her passions,

An opiate here, from mine own doctor
So they were but us'd as fashions ;

Mos. He will not hear of drugs.
Sometimes froward, and then frowning, Corb. Why? I myself
Sometimes sickish, and then swowning, Stood by, while 'twas made; saw all th' ingre-
Every fit, with change, still crowning.

Purely jealous, I would have her,

And know it cannot but most gently work Then onely constant when I crave her My life for his, 'tis but to make him sleep. 'Tis a vertue should not save her.

Volp. I, his last sleep if he would take it. Thus, nor her delicates would cloy me,

Mos. Sir, Neither her peevishnesse annoy me.

He has no faith in physic.

Corb. Say you, say you?
Mos. He has no faith in physic: he does

Most of your doctors are the greatest danger,

And worst disease t'escape. I often have
From the Foxe.

Heard him protest, that your physician
Come, my Celia , let us prove,

Should never be his heir.
While we can, the sports of love;

Corb. Not I his heir?
Time will not be ours for ever,

Mos. Not your physician, sir.
He, at length, our good will sever;

Corb. O, no, no, no,
Spend not then his gifts in vaine,

I do not mean it.
Sunnes, that set, may rise againe:

Mos. No, sir, nor their fees
But if, once, we lose this light,

He cannot brook: he says they flay a man, 'Tis with us perpetuall night.

Before they kill him.
Why should wee deferre our joyes?

Corb. Right, I do conceive you.
Fame, and rumor are but toies;

Mos. And then, they do it by experiment;
Cannot we delude the eyes

For which the law not only doth absolve 'em,
Of a few poore houshold-spies?

But gives them great reward; and he is loth
Or his easier eares beguile,

To hire his death, so.
Thus remooved, by our wile?

Corb. It is true, they kill, 'Tis no sinne, loves fruits to steale

With as much licence as a Judge. But the sweet thefts to reveale:

| MoS. Nay, more! To be taken, to be seene,

For he but kills, sir, where the law condemns, These have crimes accounted beene.

And these can kill him too.

Corb. I, or me;
Or any man. How does his apoplex?
Is that strong on him still?

Mos. Most violent.
Scene from Volpone; His speech is broken, and his eyes are set,

His face drawn longer than 'twas wont. or, the Fox. A Comedy. By Ben Jonson.

Corb. How? how?

Stronger than he was wont?
Volpone as on his death bed.

Mos. No, sir: his face
Mosca. Corbaccio, an old gentleman. Drawn longer than 'twas wont.
Mos. Signior Corbaccio,

Corb. O, good. You are very welcome, sir.

Mos. His mouth Corb. How does your patron?

Is ever gaping, and his eyelids hang. Mos. Troth, as he did, sir, no amends.

Corb. Good Corb. What? mends he?

Mos. A freezing numbness stiffens all his Mog. No, sir, he is rather worse.

joints, Corb. That's well. Where is he?

And makes the colour of his flesh like dead.



Corb. 'Tis good.

Mos. At no hand; pardon me Mos. His pulse beats slow, and dull.

You shall not do yourself that wrong, sir. I Corb. Good symptoms still.

Will so advise you, you shall have it all. Mos. And from his brain

Corb. How? Corb. Ha? how? not from his brain?

Mos. All sir, 'tis your right, your own; no Mos. Yes, sir, and from his brain Corb. I conceive you, good.

Can claim a part; 'tis yours without a rival, Mos. Flows a cold sweat, with a continual Decreed by destiny.


Corb. How? how, good Mosca? Forth the resolved corners of his eyes.

Mos. I'll tell you, sir. This fit he shall Corb. Is't possible? yet I am better, ha! How does he with the swimming of his head? Corb. I do conceive you.

Mos. O, sir 'tis past the scotomy; he now Mos. And on first advantage Hath lost his feeling, and hath left to snort: Of his gain'd sense, will I re-importune him You hardly can perceive him that he breathes. Unto the making of his testament: Corb. Excellent, excellent, sure I shall And shew him this.

outlast him:

Corb. Good, good. This makes me young again a score of years.

Mos. 'Tis better yet, Mos. I was coming for you, sir.

you will hear, sir. Corb. Has he made his will?

Corb. Yes, with all my heart. What has he giv'n me?

Mos. Now, would I counsel you, make home Mos. No, sir.

with speed; Corb. Nothing? ha?

There frame a will; whereto you shall inscribe Mos. He has not made his will, sir.

My master your sole heir.
Corb. Oh, oh, oh,

Corb. And disinherit
What then did Voltore the lawyer here? My son?
Mos. He smelt a carcase, sir, when he but Mos. O sir, the better; for that colour


Shall make it much more taking. My master was about his testament;

Corb. O, but colour? As I did urge him to it for your good

Mos. This will, sir, you shall send it unto me. Corb. He came unto him, did he? I thought Now, when I come to inforce (as I will do)

Your cares, your watchings, and your many Mos. Yes, and presented him this piece of

prayers, plate.

Your more than many gifts, your this day's Corb. To be his heir?

present, Mos. I do not know, sir.

And last produce your will; where (without Corb. True,

thought, I know it too.

Or least regard unto your proper issue, Mos. By your own scale, sir.

A son so brave, and highly meriting) Corb. Well, I shall prevent him yet. See The stream of your diverted love hath thrown Mosca, look

you Here I have brought a bag of bright cecchines, Upon my master, and made him your heir: Will quite weigh down his plate.

He cannot be so stupid, or stone-dead,
Mos. Yea marry, sir,

But out of conscience, and mere gratitude
This is true physic, this your sacred medicine; Corb. He must pronounce me his?
No talk of opiates, to this great elixir.

Mos. "Tis true.
Corb. Tis aurum palpabile, if not potabile. Corb. This plot
Mos. It shall be miniser'd to him in his bowl? Did I think on before.
Corb. I, do, do, do.

Mos. I do believe it. Mos. Most blessed cordial.

Corb. Do you not believe it? This will recover him.

Mos. Yes, sir. Corb. O, no, no, no; by no means.

Corb. Mine own project.
Mog. Why, sir, this

Mos. Which when he hath done, sir
Will work some strange effect if he but feel it. Corb. Published me his heir?
Corb. 'Tis true, therefore forbear, I'll take Mos. And you so certain to survive him

my venture:

Corb. I. Give me't again.

Mos. Being so lusty a man

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Corb. 'Tis true.

And all turns air! Who's that there, now? a Mos. Yes, sir

third? Corb. I thought on that too. See how he

(Another knocks.) should le

Mos. Close to your couch again: I hear his The very organ to express my thoughts!

Foice. Mos. You are he,

It is Corvino, our spruce merchant. For whom I labour, here.

Volp. Dead. Corb. I, do, do, do:

Mos. Another bout, sir, with your eyes. I'll straight about it.

Who's there? Mos. Rook go with you, raven, Corb. I know thee honest. Mos. You do lie, sir ---

Corvino, a Merchant, enters. Corb. And Mos. Your knowledge is no better than your Mos. Signior Corvino! come most wisht fir!

ears, sir. Corb. I do not doubt to be a father to thee. How happy were you, if you knew it now! Mos. Nor I to gull my brother of his bless- Corv. Why? what? wherein?


Mos. The tardy lour is come, sir. Corb. I may ha' my youth restored to me, Corv. He is not dead?

why not?

Mos. Not dead, sir, but as good;
Mos. Your worship is a precious ass - He knows no man.
Corb. What saist thou?

Corv. How shall I do then?
Mos. I do desire your worship to make haste, Mos. Why, sir?


Corv. I have brought him here a pearl. Corb. "Tis done, 'tis done, I go. (Exit.) Mos. Perhaps he has Volp. O, I shall burst;

So much remembrance left, as to know you, sir: Let out my sides, let out my sides --

He still calls on you: nothing but your name Mos. Contain

Is in his mouth: is your pearl orient, sir? Your flux of laughter, sir: you know this hope Corv. Venice was never owner of the like. Is such a bait it covers any hook.

Volp. Signior Corvino.
Volp. O, but thy working, and thy placing it! Mos. Hark.
I cannot hold: good rascal, let me kiss thee: Volp. Signior Corvino.
I never knew thee in so rare a humour.

Mos. He calls you, step and give it him. Mos. Alas, sir, I but do, as I am taught;

He's here, sir? Follow your grave instructions; give 'em words : And he has brought you a jich pearl. Pour oil into their ears: and send them hence. 1 Corv. How do you, sir?

Tell him it doubles the twelfth caract. Volp. 'Tis true, 'tis true. What a rare

Mos. Sir, punishment

He cannot understand, his hearing's gone; Is avarice to itself!

And yet it comforts him to see you —
Mos. I, with our help, sir.

Corv. Say,
Volp. So many cares, so many maladies, I have a diamond for him too.
So many fears attending on old age,

Mos. Best shew't, sir,
Yea, death so often callid on, as no wish

Put it into his hand; 'tis only there Can be more frequent with 'em; their limbs faint, He apprehends: he has his feeling vet. Their senses dull, their seeing, hearing, going, See how he grasps it! All dead before them; yea their very teeth, Corv. 'Las, good gentleman! Their instruments of eating, failing them: How pitiful the sight is! Yet this is reckon'd life! Nay here was one, | Mos. Tut forget, sir. Is now gone home, that wishes to live longer! The weeping of an heir should still be laughter, Feels not his gout, nor palsy, feigns himself Under a visor. Younger by scores of years, flatters his age, Cory. Why, am I his heir? With confident belying it, hopes he may

Mos. Sir, I am sworn, I may not shew the With charms, like Aeson, have his youth re

will, stored:

Till he be dead: but, here has been Corbaccio, And with these thoughts so battens, as if Fate Here has been Voltore, here were others too, Would be as easily cheated on as he:

I cannot number 'em, they were so many

All gaping here for legacies; but I,

Cover'd with hide, instead of skin: (nay help, Taking the vantage of his naming you,

sir) (Signior Corvino, Signior Corvino) took

That look like frozen dish - clouts set on end. Paper, and pen, and ink, and there I ask'd him, Cor. Or, like an old smok'd wall, on which Whom he would have his heir ? Corvino. Who

the rain Should be executor! Corvino. And

Ran down in streaks. To any question he was silent to,

Mos. Excellent, sir, speak out; I still interpreted the nods, he made

You may be louder yet: a culvering Through weakness, for consent: and sent home Discharged in his ear, would hardly bore it.

the others,

Corv. His nose is like a common sewer, still Nothing bequeath'd them, but to cry, and curse.

running Corv. O, my dear Mosca. Does he not per Mos. 'Tis good; and what his mouth?

ceive us?

Corv. A very draught. Mos. No more than a blind harper. He Mos. O, stop it up

knows no man,

Corv. By no means. No face of friend, nor name of any servant,

Mos. Pray you let me. Who't was that fed him last, or gave him drink, Faith I could stitle him rarely with a pillow, Not those he hath begotten, or brought up, As well as any woman that should keep him. Can he remember.

Corv. Do as you will, but I'll begone. Corv. Has he children?

Mos. Be so; Mos. Bastards,

It is your presence makes him last so long. Some dozen, or more, that he begot on beggars, Corv. I pray you use no violence. Gypsies, and Jews, and black - moors, when he Mos. No, sir, why?

was drunk : Why should you be thus scrupulous ? 'Pray you, Knew you not that, sir? 'Tis the common fable,

sir. The dwarf, the fool, the eunuch, are all his; Corv. Nay at your discretion. He's the true father of his family,

Mos. Well, good sir, be gone. In all, save me: but he has given 'em nothing.

Corv. I will not trouble him now, to take Corv. That's well, that's well. Art sure he

my pearl.
does not hear us?

Mos. Puh,
nor your diamond.

What a Mos. Sure, sir? why look you, credit your

needless care

Is this afflicts you? Is not all here yours? The pox approach, and add to your diseases,

Am not I here, whom you have made your If it would send you hence the sooner, sir

creature, For your incontinence, it hath deserv'd it

That owe my being to you? Throughly, and throughly, and the plague to


Cory. Grateful Mosca! (You may come near, sir) would you would once Thou art my friend, my fellow, my companion,


My partner, and shalt share in all my fortunes. Those filthy eyes of your's that tow with slime,

(Exit.) Like two frog - pits: and those same hanging Volp. My divine Mosca!


Thou hast to-day out-gone thyself.

own sense.

Thomas Decker.

Die Lebensverhältnisse dieses dramatischen Dichters, der bald allein, bald in Verbindung mit Anderen für die Bühne arbeitete, sind unermittelt geblieben. Man weiss nur, dass er 1597 zuerst ein Drama lieterte und seit 1603 sich als Prosaist, vorzüglich durch scharfe und treffende Sittenschilderungen bekannt machte, welche ihm wahrscheinlich eine dreijährige Gefangenschaft zuzogen. Ben Jonson griff ihn in seinem Poetaster als Crispinus heitig an, was Decker in seinem Satyromastix erwiderte, in welchem er seinen Gegner siegreich geisselte. Er muss um 1639 gestorben sein.

Decker war sehr fruchtbar und binterliess u. A. zwei und dreissig Dramen, die er zum Theil allein, zum Theil mit Anderen gemeinschaftlich verfasst hatte, die aber nicht alle im Druck erschienen sind. Sein Talent war nicht gering und offenbart sich besonders durch kräftige und consequente Characterzeichnung und gute Erfindung. Fortunat, von dem wir hier einige Scenen mittheilen, wird als sein gelungenstes Werk betrachtet.


That Jove shall turn away young Ganimede, rom the Comedy of old Fortunatus. And with immortal arms shall circle thee. By Thomas Decker.

Are thy desires Long Life ? thy vital thread The Goddess Fortune appears to Fortunatus, and Shall be stretch'd out, thou shalt behold the offers him the choice of six things. He chuses


Of monarchies, and see those children die
Fortune. Fortunatus.

Whose great great grandsires now in cradles lie. Fortune. Before thy soul at this deep lot- If through Gold's sacred hunger thou dost pine,

Those gilded wantons which in swarms do run tery

To warm their slender bodies in the sun, Draw forth her prize, ordain'd by destiny,

Shall stand for number of those golden piles Know that here's no recanting a first choice. Chuse then discreetly: for the laws of fate,

Which in rich pride shall swell before thy feet:

As those are, so shall these be infinite. Being grav’n in steel, must stand inviolate. Fortunat. Daughters of Jore and the un Fortunat. O whither am I rapt beyond blemish'd Night,

myself? Most righteous Parcae , guide my genius right: More violent conflicts fight in every thought Wisdom, Strength, Health, Beauty, Long Life, Than his whose fatal choice Troy's downfall and Riches.

wrought. Fortune. Stay Fortunatus; once more hear Shall I contract myself to Wisdom's love?

me speak. Then I lose Riches; and a wise man poor If thou kiss Wisdom's cheek and make her thine, Is like a sacred book that's never read; She'll breathe into thy lips divinity,

To himself he lives and to all else seems dead. And thou (like Phoebus) shall speak oracle; This age thinks better of a gilded fool, Thy heav'n-inspired soul on Wisdom's wings Than of a threadbare saint in Wisdom's school. Shall ty up to the Parliament of Jove,

I will be strong: then I refuse Long Life; And read the Statutes of Eternity,

And though mine arm should conquer twenty And see what's past and learn what is to come.

worlds, If thou lay claim to Strength, armies shall quake There's a lean fellow beats all conquerors : To see thee frown: as Kings at mine do lie, The greatest Strength expires with loss of breath, So shall thy feet trample on empery,

The mightiest in one minute stoop to death. Make Health thine object, thou shalt be strong Then take Long Life, or Health; should I do so,


I might grow ugly, and that tedious scroll 'Gainst the deep searching darts of surfeiting, Of months and years much misery may enroll: Be ever merry, ever revelling.

Therefore I'll beg for Beauty; yet I will not: Wish but for Beauty, and within thine eyes The fairest cheek hath oftentimes a soul Two naked Cupids amorously shall swim Leprous as sin itself, than hell more foul. And on thy cheeks I'll mix such white and red, The Wisdom of this world is idiotism;

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