Изображения страниц


men di



[ocr errors]

down. ...

« • Yoor wisdoms, conscript fathers, are “ Make a child now swaddled, to proceed able to examine, and censure these sugges- Man, and then shoot up, in one beard and tions. But, were they left to our absolving weed, voice, we durst pronounce them, as we think Past threescore years; or, with three rusty them, most malicious.'

swords, Senator. O, he has restor'd all ; list.

And help of some few foot and half-foot Præco. 'Yet are they offered to be avorrida words, and on the lives of the informers.'”*

Fight over York and Lancaster's

irag At this word the letter becomes


He rather prays you will be pleas'd te menacing. Those next Sejanus forsake him. “Sit farther. . . . Let's remove !"

He wishes to represent on he stage The heavy Sanquinius leaps panting over the benches. The soldiers come

“One such to-day, a. other plays should be ;

Where neither chorus wafts you o'er tl.. in; then Macro. And now, at last, the

seas, letter orders the arrest of Sejanus. Nor creaking throne comes down the boys e. "Regulus. Take him hence ;

please : And als the gods guard Cæsar!

Nor nimble squib is seen to make afcard Trio. Take him hence.

The gentlewomen.
Haterius. Hence.

But deeds, and language, such as
Cotta. To the dungeon with him.
Sanquinius. He deserves it.

You, that have so grac'd monsters, may lik:

men." + Senator. Crown all our doors with bays. San.

And let an ox,

Men, as we see them in the streets
With gilded horns and garlands,
Straight be led unto the Capitol.

with their whims and humorsHat.

And sacrific'd
To Jove, for Cæsar's safety.

“When some one peculiar quality

Do Tri.

All our gods

so possess a man, that it doth draw

All his affects, his spirits, and his powers Be present still to Cæsar! . . . Cot. Let all the traitor's titles be defac'd.

In their confluctions, all to run one way; Tri. His images and statues be pull'd

This may be truly said to be a humour.'

It is these humors which he exposes to Sen. Liberty, liberty, liberty! Lead on,

And praise to Macro that hath saved the light, not with the artist's curiosity

but with the moralist's hate : It is the baying of a furious pack of

“ I will scourge those apes, hounds, let loose at last on him, under And to these courteous eyes oppose a mirror whose hand they had crouched, and

As large as is the stage whereon we act;

Where they shall see the time's deformity who had for a long time beaten and

Anatomized in every nerve, and sinew, bruised them. Jonson discovered in

With constant courage, and contempt his own energetic soul the energy of these Roman passions; and the clear

My strict hand

Was made to seize on vice, and with a gripe ness of his mind, added to his profound Squeeze out the humour of such spongy souls, knowledge, powerless to construct As lick up every idle vanity.” § characters, furnished him with general Doubtless a determination so strong ideas and striking incidents, which

and decided dnes violence to the dra suffice to depict manners.

matic spirit. Jonson's comedies are

not rarely harsh; his characters are Moreover, it was to this that he

too grotesque, laboriously construited

mere automatons; the poet thought turned his talent. Nearly all his work less of producing living beings than of consists of comedies, not sentimental scotching a vice; the scenes get ar and fanciful as Shakspeare's, but imi- ranged, or are confused together in a tative and satirical, written to repre- mechanical manner; we see the pro sent and correct follies and vices. He

cess, we feel the satirical intention introduced a new model; he had a doctrine; his masters were Terence imitation is absent, as well as the grace

throughout; delicate and easy-flowing and Plautus. He observes the unity of ful fancy which abounds in Shakspeare. time and place, almost exactly. He But if Jonson comes across harsh pas ridicules the authors who, in the same play,

* Every Man in his Humour, Prologue. Ibid.

1 lbid. * The Fall of Sejanus, v.

ġ Every Man out of his Humour, Prologue Mosca.


fear. ...


Are you

sions, visibly evil and vile, he will “Volpone. I thank you, signior Voltore, derive from his energy and wrath the

Where is the plate ? mine cyes are bad. , ..

Your love talent to render them odious and visi

Hath taste in this, and shall not be unapble, and will produce a Volpone, a sub- swer'd. lime work, the sharpest picture of the I cannot now last long. I feel mo going,manners of the age, in which is dis- Uh, uh, uh, uh !" played the full brightness of evil lusts, He closes his eyes, as though exhaust in which lewdness, cruelty, love of gold, ed : shamelessness of vice, display a sinis- Voltore. Am I inscrib'd his heir for certain ter yet splendid poetry, worthy of one Mosca (Volpone's Parasite). of Titan's bacchanals.* All this makes I do beseech you, sir, you will vouchsafe

To write me in your family. All my hopes itself apparent in the first scene, when

Depend upon your worship: I am lost, Volpone says:

Except the rising sun do shine on me.

Volt. It shall both shine and warm those • Good-morning to the day; and next, my

Mosca. gold!

M. Open the shrine, that I may see my saint.”


I am man, that hath not done your love
This saint is his piles of gold, jewels,

All the worst offices : here I wear your keys,
See all your coffers and

your caskets lock'd, precious plate :

Keep the poor inventory of your jewels, "Hail the world's soul, and mine! ...0

Your plate and monies; am your steward, sir,

Husband thou son of Sol,

your goods here.

Volt. But am I sole heir ?
But brighter than thy father, let me kiss,
With adoration, thee, and every relick

M. Without a partner, sir ; confirm'd this Of sacred treasure in this blessed room." +


The wax is warm yet, and the ink scarce dry Presently after, the dwarf, the eunuch, Upon the parchment.

Volt. and the hermaphrodite of the house

Happy, happy, me!

By what good chance, sweet Mosca ? sing a sort of pagan and fantastic inter


Your desert, sir; lude ; they chant in strange verses the I know no second cause." + metamorphoses of the hermaphrodite, and he details the abundance of the who was first the soul of Pythagoras.wealth in which Voltore is about to We are at Venice, in the palace of the

revel, the gold which is to pour upon magnifico Volpone. These deformed

him, the opulence which is to flow in creatures, the splendor of gold, this

his house as a river: strange and poetical buffoonery, carry the thought immediately to the sensual

" When will


have your inventory brought,

sir? city, queen of vices and of arts. The rich Volpone lives like an an

Or see a copy of the will ?” cient Greek or Roman. Childless and The imagination is fed with precise without relatives, playing the invalid, words, precise details. Thus, one afhe makes all his flatterers hope to be ter another, the would-be heirs come bis heir, receives their gifts,

like beasts of prey. The second who

arrives is an old miser, Corbaccio “ Letting the cherry knock against their lips, And draw it by their mouths, and back deaf, "impotent,” almost dying, who again.” 1

nevertheless hopes to survive Volpone Glad to have their gold, but still more

To make more sure of it, he would

fain have Mosca give his master a nar. glad to deceive them, artistic in wickedness as in avarice, and just as pleased cellent opiate: he has had it prepared

cotic. He has it about him, this ex w look at a contortion of suffering as

under his own eyes, he suggests it at the sparkle of a ruby. The advocate Voltore arrives, bear

His joy on finding Volpone more ill ing a “huge piece of plate.” Volpone

than himself is bitterly humorous : throws himself on his bed, wraps him- “ Corbaccio. How does your patron ? . self in furs, heaps up his pillows, and

His mouth

Is ever gaping, and his eyelids hang. coughs as if at the point of death :

C. Good.

M. A freezing numbnes stiftens all hue • Compare Volpone with Regnard's Léga

joints, hairs; the end of the sixteenth with the beginning of the eighteenth century. Volgens, L. s.

1 lbid.

Ibid. i. 3.

" #


This plot

And makes the colour of his fesh like lead. M. Bastards,
C. 'Tis good.

Some dozen, or more, that he t.got on per M. His pulse beats slow, and dull.

gars, C.

Good symptoms still. Gypsies, and Jews, and blackamoors, when he M. And from his brain

was drunk. . .. C. I conceive you ; good

Speak out: M. Flows a cold sweat, with a continual You may be louder yet. rheum,

Faith, I could stifle hi a rarely with a pillow, Forth the resolved corners of his eyes.

As well as any woman that should keur baise C. Is't possible? Yet I am better, ha! C. Do as you will; but I'll begone." * How does he, with the swimming of his head ? M5, sir, 'tis past the scotomy; he now

Corvino presently departs ; for the Hath lost his feeling, and hath left to snort : passions of the time have ail the jou hardly can perceive him, that he breathes. beauty of frankness. And Volpone, C. Excellent, excellent! sure I shall outlast him :

casting aside his sick man's garb, cries : This makes me young again, a score of

• My divine Moscal years.

Thou hast to-day out gone thyself. . . . PreIf you would be his heir, says Mosca,


Me music, dances, banquets, all delights ; the moment is favorable ; but you must

The Turk'is not more sensual in his pleasur, thing not let yourself be forestalled. Vol- Than will Volpone." + tore has been here, and presented him on this invitation, Mosca draws a with this piece of plate :

most voluptuous portrait of Corvino's Mak C.

See, Mosca, look, wife, Celia. Smitten with a suiden Here, I have brought a bag of bright che desire, Volpone dresses himself as a

quines, Will quite weigh down his plate. .

mountebank, and goes singing under M. Now, would I counsel you, make home her windows with all the sprightliness with speed;

of a quack; for he is naturally a There, frame a will ; whereto you shall inscribe comedian, like a true Italian, of the My master your sole heir.

same family as Scaramouch, as good an Did I think on before.

actor in the public square as in his M. And you so certain to survive him

house. Having once seen Celia, he C.


resolves to obtain her at any price : M. Being so lusty a manC. 'Tis true." +

“ Mosca, take my keys, And the old man hobbles away, not Gold, plate, and jewels, all's at thy devotion ; hearing the insults and ridicule thrown Employ them how thou wilt; nay, coin me at him, he is so deaf.

So thou, in this, but crown my longingu, When he is gone the merchant Cor.

Mosca." 1 vino arrives, bringing an orient pearl Mosca then tells Corvino that some and a splendid diamond :

quack's oil has cured his master, and Corvino. Am I his heir ?

that they are looking for a young Mosca. Sir, I am sworn, I may not show woman, lusty and full of juice,” to the will

complete the cure : Till he be dead; but here has been Corbaccio, Here has been Voltore, here were others too,

“ Have you no kinswoman I cannot number 'em, they were so many ;

Odso-Think, think, think, think, think, ink, All gaping here for legacies: but I,

think, sir. Taking the vantage of his naming you,

One o' the doctors offer'd there his daughter, Signior Corvino, Signior Corvino, took

Corvino. How ! Paper, and pen, and ink, and there I asked Mosca. Yes, signior Lupo, the physician

C. His daughter ! Whom he would have his heir? Corvino.


And a virgin, sir. ... Who


Should be executor? Corvino. And,

Covetous wretch." $
To any question he was silent to,
I still interpreted the nods he made,

Though unreasonably jealous, Cor. Through weakness, for consent: and sent vino is gradually induced to offer his home th' others,

wife. He has given too much already, Nothing bequeath'd them, but to cry and

and would not lose his advantage. Ko Cor. O my dear Moscal ... Has he child is like a half-ruined gamester, who with dren?

a shaking hand throws on the green




Volpone, i. S. # Ibid. # Ibis 4. a • Volpona, lo 4.

| Ibid.


hair ;


cloth the remainder of his fortune. I acted the part of the lovely Antinous He brings the poor, sweet woman, In his transport he sings a love song, weeping and resisting: Excited by his his voluptuousness culminates in poe. own hidden pangs, he becomes furious: try; for poetry was then in Italy the

blossom of vice. " Be damn'd!

He spreads before Heart. I will drag thec hence, home, by the her pearls, diamonds, carbuncles. He

is in raptures at the sight of the treasCry thee a strumpet through the st:eets ; rip ures, which he displays and sparkler

before her eyes : Tby mouth unto thine ears; and slit thy nose ; Like a raw rochet I-Do not tempt me ; come,

“ Take these Vield, I am loth—Death! I will buy some And wear, and lose them: yet remains em slave

ring Whom I will kill, and bind thee to him, alive ; To purchase them again, and this whole state And at my window hang you forth, devising, A gem but worth a private patrimony, Some monstrous crime, which Í, in capital is nothing: we will eat such at a meal, letters,

The heads cf parrots, tongues of nightingeles Will eat into thy flesh with aquafortis,

The brains of peacocks, and of estriches,
And burning corsives, on this stubborn breast. Shall be our food.
Now, by the blood thou hast incensed, I'll do Conscience ? 'Tis the beggar's virtue.

Thy. baths shall be the juice of July flowers, Celia. Sir, what you please, you may, I am Spirit of roses, and of violets, your martyr.

The milk of unicorns, and panthers' breath Corvino. Be not thus obstinate, I have not Gather'd in bags, and mixt with Cretan wines. deserv'd it:

Our drink shall be prepared gold and amber ; Think who it is intreats you. Prithee, sweet ;– Which we will take until my roof whirl round Good faith thou shalt have jewels, gowns, at- With the vertigo : 2nd my dwarf shall dance, tires,

My eunuch sing, my fool make up the antic, What thou wilt think, and ask. Do but go Whilst we, in changed shapes, act Ovid's kiss him,

tales, Or touch him, but. For my sake. -At my Thou, like Europa now, and I like Jove, suit.

Then I like Mars, and thou like Erycine ; This once.- Nol not! I shall remember So, of the rest, till we have quite run through, this.

And wearied all the fables of the gods." * Will you disgrace me thus? Do you thirst

We recognize Venice in this splendoj Mosca turned a moment before, to of Aretinus, the country of Tintoretto

of debauchery – Venice, the throne Volpone :

and Giorgione. Volpone seizes Celia:

"Sir, Yield, or I'll force thee?” But sudSignior Corvino ... hearing of the consulta- denly Bonario, disinherited son of Cor. tion had

baccio, whom Mosca had concealed So lately, for your health, is come to offer, Or rather, sir, to prostitute.

there with another design, enters vioCorvino.

Thanks, sweet Mosca. lently, delivers her, wounds Mosca, and Mosca. Freely, unask'd, or unintreated. accuses Volpone before the tribunal, of C.

Well. Mosca. As the true fervent instance of his imposture and rape. love,

The three rascals who aim at being flis own most fair and proper wife; the his heirs, work together to save Volbeauty


Corbaccio disavows his son, 'Tis well urg'd." +

and accuses him of parricide. Cor.

vino declares his wife an adulteress, the Where

such blows shameless mistress of Bɔnario. Never launched and driven hard, full in the on the stage was seen such energy ol face, by the violent hand of satire ? | lying, such open villany. The hus Celia is alone with Volpone, who, i band, who knows his wife to be inno thi uwing off his feigned sickness, cent, is the most eager : comes upon her, as fresh, as hot, as high, and in as jovial plight,” as

“ This woman (please your fatherhoods) is o

whore, the ga'a-days of the Republic, when he

Of most hot exercise, more than a partrick,

Upon record. • Volpone, iii. 5. We pray the reader to ist Advocate. No more. pardon us for Ben Jonson's broadness. If I Corvino. Neighs like a jennet. omit it, I cannot depict the sixteenth century. Notary. Preserve the honour of the corne Grant the same indulgence to the historian as C.

I shall, 1o the anatomist. | Valpons, iii.

. Ibid. jäi. s.

my undoing?"

Orely of price in Venice.






And modesty nf your most reverend ears. Flarlot, thou hast gullid me.
And yet I hope that I may say, these eyes

Mosca, Yes, sir. Stop your mouth
Have seen her glued unto that piece of cedar, Or I shall draw the only tooth is left.
That fine well-timber'd gallant; and that here Are not you he, that filthy covetous wretch,
The letters may be read, thorough the horn, With the three legs, that here, in hope of
That make the story, perfect.

prey, 3d Ado. His grief hath made him frantic. Have, any tinie this three years, snuffs

(Celia swoons. about, C. Rare! Prettily feign'di again!" . With your most grov'ling nose, and would

have hir'd They have Voipone brought in, like a Me to the pois'ning of my patrori, sir? dying man; manufacture false“ testi- Are not you he that have to-day in court muny,” to which Voltore gives weight

Profess'd the disinheriting of your son? with his advocate's tongue, with words

Perjur'd yourself? Go home, and die, and worth a sequin apiece. They throw Celia and Bonario into prison, and Volpone goes out disguised, comes to Volpone is saved. This public impos- each of them in turn, and succeeds in lure is for him only another comedy, a wringing their hearts. · But Mosca, pleasant pastime, and a masterpiece.

who has the will, acts with a high hand,

and demands of Volpone half his fos " Mosca. To gal the court.

tune. The dispute between the two Volpone, And quite divert the torrent Upon the innocent.

rascals discovers their impostures, M. You are not taken with it enough, me and the master, the servant, with the thinks.

three would-be heirs, are sent to the V.0, more than if I had enjoy'd the wench?”

galleys, to prison, to the pillory--as

Corvino says, to To conclude, he writes a will in Mos

“ Have mine eyes beat out with stinking fish, ca's favor, has his death reported,

Bruis'd fruit, and rotten eggs. –Tis welí. hides behind a curtain, and enjoys the I'm glad, looks of the would-be heirs. They I shall not see my shame yet." + had just saved him from being thrown No more vengeful comedy has been into prison, which makes the fun all written, none more persistently athirst the better, the wickedness will be all to make vice suffer, to unmask, triumph the greater and more exquisite." Tor- over, and punish it. ture 'em rarely,” Volpone says to Mos

Where can be the gayety of such a The latter spreads the will on the theatre? In caricature and farce. table, and reads the inventory aloud. There is a rough gayety, a sort of phys“ Turkey carpets nine. Two cabinets, ical, external laughter which suits this one of ebony, the other mother-of-combative, drinking, blustering mode. pearl. A perfum'd box, made of an It is thus that this mood relaxes from onyx." The heirs are stupefied with war-waging and murderous satire; the disappointment, and Mosca drives pastime is appropriate to the manners them off with insults. He says to Cor- of the time, excellent to attract men sino:

who look upon hanging as a good Why should you stay here? with what joke, and laugh to see the Puritan's ears thought, what promise?

cut. Put yourself for an instant in Hear you ; do you not know, I know you an ass,

their place, and you will think like them, And that you would most fain have been a that The Silent Woman is a missier

wittol, If fortaue would have let you? That you are l who has a horror of noise, but loves tu

piece. X Morose is an old monomaniac A declar'd cuckold, on good terms? This pearl,

speak. He inhabits a street so narrow You'll say, was yours? Right: this dia- that a carriage cannot enter it. He mond

drives off with his stick the bear-lead. I'll not deny't, lat thank you. Much here else?

ers and sword-players, who venture to It may be o. Why, think that these good pass under his windows. He has sent works

away his servant whose shoes creaked May help to hide your bad. (Exit Corvi- and Mute, the new one, wears slippers

no.) Corbaccio. I am cozen'd, cheated, by a

“soled with wool," and only speaks in parasite slave;

a whisper through a tube. Morosc • Volpone, iv

ibid. v I.

# Ibid. &




[ocr errors]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »