Under a visor.
CORV: Why, am I his heir?
MOS: Sir, I am sworn, I may not shew the will,
Till he be dead; but, here has been Corbaccio,
Here has been Voltore, here were others too,
I cannot number 'em, they were so many;
All gaping here for legacies: but I,
Taking the vantage of his naming you,
"Signior Corvino, Signior Corvino," took
Paper, and pen, and ink, and there I asked him,
Whom he would have his heir? "Corvino." Who
Should be executor? "Corvino." And,
To any question he was silent too,
I still interpreted the nods he made,
Through weakness, for consent: and sent home th' others,
Nothing bequeath'd them, but to cry and curse.
CORV: O, my dear Mosca!
Does he not perceive us?
MOS: No more than a blind harper. He knows no man,
No face of friend, nor name of any servant,
Who 'twas that fed him last, or gave him drink:
Not those he hath begotten, or brought up,
Can he remember.
CORV: Has he children?
Some dozen, or more, that he begot on beggars,
Gipsies, and Jews, and black-moors, when he was drunk.
Knew you not that, sir? 'tis the common fable.
The dwarf, the fool, the eunuch, are all his;
He's the true father of his family,
In all, save me:--but he has giv'n them nothing.
CORV: That's well, that's well. Art sure he does not hear us?
MOS: Sure, sir! why, look you, credit your own sense.
[SHOUTS IN VOL.'S EAR.]
The pox approach, and add to your diseases,
If it would send you hence the sooner, sir,
For your incontinence, it hath deserv'd it
Thoroughly, and thoroughly, and the plague to boot!--
You may come near, sir.--Would you would once close
Those filthy eyes of yours, that flow with slime,
Like two frog-pits; and those same hanging cheeks,
Cover'd with hide, instead of skin--Nay help, sir--
That look like frozen dish-clouts, set on end!
CORV [ALOUD.]: Or like an old smoked wall, on which the rain
Ran down in streaks!
MOS: Excellent! sir, speak out:
You may be louder yet: A culverin
Discharged in his ear would hardly bore it.
CORV: His nose is like a common sewer, still running.
MOS: 'Tis good! And what his mouth?
CORV: A very draught.
MOS: O, stop it up--
CORV: By no means.
MOS: 'Pray you, let me.
Faith I could stifle him, rarely with a pillow,
As well as any woman that should keep him.
CORV: Do as you will: but I'll begone.
MOS: Be so:
It is your presence makes him last so long.
CORV: I pray you, use no violence.
MOS: No, sir! why?
Why should you be thus scrupulous, pray you, sir?
CORV: Nay, at your discretion.
MOS: Well, good sir, begone.
CORV: I will not trouble him now, to take my pearl.
MOS: Puh! nor your diamond. What a needless care
Is this afflicts you? Is not all here yours?
Am not I here, whom you have made your creature?
That owe my being to you?
CORV: Grateful Mosca!
Thou art my friend, my fellow, my companion,
My partner, and shalt share in all my fortunes.
MOS: Excepting one.
CORV: What's that?
MOS: Your gallant wife, sir,--
Now is he gone: we had no other means
To shoot him hence, but this.
VOLP: My divine Mosca!
Thou hast to-day outgone thyself.
I will be troubled with no more. Prepare
Me music, dances, banquets, all delights;
The Turk is not more sensual in his pleasures,
Than will Volpone.
Let me see; a pearl!
A diamond! plate! chequines! Good morning's purchase,
Why, this is better than rob churches, yet;
Or fat, by eating, once a month, a man.
MOS: The beauteous lady Would-be, sir.
Wife to the English knight, Sir Politick Would-be,
(This is the style, sir, is directed me,)
Hath sent to know how you have slept to-night,
And if you would be visited?
VOLP: Not now:
Some three hours hence--
MOS: I told the squire so much.
VOLP: When I am high with mirth and wine; then, then:
'Fore heaven, I wonder at the desperate valour
Of the bold English, that they dare let loose
Their wives to all encounters!
MOS: Sir, this knight
Had not his name for nothing, he is politick,
And knows, howe'er his wife affect strange airs,
She hath not yet the face to be dishonest:
But had she signior Corvino's wife's face--
VOLP: Has she so rare a face?
MOS: O, sir, the wonder,
The blazing star of Italy! a wench
Of the first year! a beauty ripe as harvest!
Whose skin is whiter than a swan all over,
Than silver, snow, or lilies! a soft lip,
Would tempt you to eternity of kissing!
And flesh that melteth in the touch to blood!
Bright as your gold, and lovely as your gold!
VOLP: Why had not I known this before?
MOS: Alas, sir,