Fiction > Harvard Classics > Ben Jonson > The Alchemist
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Ben Jonson (1572–1637).  The Alchemist.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
Act V
 
Scene I
 
 
[Enter] LOVEWIT, [with several of the] Neighbours 1

  LOVE.  Has there been such resort, say you?
  1 NEI.        Daily, sir.
  2 NEI.  And nightly, too.
  3 NEI.        Ay, some as brave as lords.        4
  4 NEI.  Ladies and gentlewomen.
  5 NEI.        Citizens’ wives.
  1 NEI.  And knights.
  6 NEI.        In coaches.        8
  2 NEI.        Yes, and oyster-women.
  1 NEI.  Beside other gallants.
  3 NEI.        Sailors’ wives.
  4 NEI.        Tobacco men.        12
  5 NEI.  Another Pimlico! 2
  LOVE.        What should my knave advance,
To draw this company? He hung out no banners
Of a strange calf with five legs to be seen,        16
Or a huge lobster with six claws?
  6 NEI.        No, sir.
  3 NEI.  We had gone in then, sir.
  LOVE.        He has no gift        20
Of teaching i’ the nose 3 that e’er I knew of.
You saw no bills set up that promis’d cure
Of agues, or the tooth-ache?
  2 NEI.        No such thing, sir!        24
  LOVE.  Nor heard a drum struck for baboons or puppets?
  5 NEI.  Neither, sir.
  LOVE.        What device should he bring forth now?
I love a teeming wit as I love my nourishment:        28
’Pray God he have not kept such open house,
That he had sold my hangings, and my bedding!
I left him nothing else.. If he have eat ’em,
A plague o’ the moth, say I! Sure he has got        32
Some bawdy pictures to call all this ging; 4
The Friar and the Nun; or the new motion 5
Of the knight’s courser and the parson’s mare;
Or’t may be, he has the fleas that run at tilt        36
Upon a table, or some dog to dance.
When saw you him?
  1 NEI.        Who, sir, Jeremy?
  2 NEI.        Jeremy butler?        40
We saw him not this month.
  LOVE.        How!
  4 NEI.        Not these five weeks, sir.
  6 NEI.  These six weeks at the least.        44
  LOVE.        You amaze me, neighbours!
  5 NEI.  Sure, if your worship know not where he is,
He’s slipt away.
  6 NEI.        Pray God he be not made away.        48
  LOVE.  Ha! it’s no time to question, then.  Knocks at the door.
  6 NEI.        About
Some three weeks since I heard a doleful cry,
As I sat up a mending my wife’s stockings.        52
  LOVE.  ’Tis strange that none will answer! Did’st thou hear
A cry, sayst thou?
  6 NEI.        Yes, sir, like unto a man
That had been strangled an hour, and could not speak.        56
  2 NEI.  I heard it too, just this day three weeks, at two o’clock
Next morning.
  LOVE.        These be miracles, or you make ’em so!
A man an hour strangled, and could not speak,        60
And both you heard him cry?
  3 NEI.        Yes, downward, sir.
  Love, Thou art a wise fellow. Give me thy hand, I pray thee.
What trade art thou on?        64
  3 NEI.        A smith, an’t please your worship.
  LOVE.  A smith! Then lend me thy help to get this door open.
  3 NEI.  That I will presently, sir, but fetch my tools—[Exit.]
  1 NEI.  Sir, best to knock again afore you break it.        68
 
Note 1. Before Lovewit’s door. [back]
Note 2. A summer resort, where the citizens had cakes and ale. [back]
Note 3. Like a Puritan preacher. [back]
Note 4. Gang. [back]
Note 5. Puppet show. [back]
 

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