Volpone; or, the fox by ben jonson

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1 AVOC: This is confusion.
VOLT: I do beseech your fatherhoods, read but those--


CORV: And credit nothing the false spirit hath writ:

It cannot be, but he's possest grave fathers.


SCENE 5.7.

VOLP: To make a snare for mine own neck! and run

My head into it, wilfully! with laughter!

When I had newly 'scaped, was free, and clear,

Out of mere wantonness! O, the dull devil

Was in this brain of mine, when I devised it,

And Mosca gave it second; he must now

Help to sear up this vein, or we bleed dead.--


How now! who let you loose? whither go you now?

What, to buy gingerbread? or to drown kitlings?

NAN: Sir, master Mosca call'd us out of doors,

And bid us all go play, and took the keys.

AND: Yes.
VOLP: Did master Mosca take the keys? why so!

I'm farther in. These are my fine conceits!

I must be merry, with a mischief to me!

What a vile wretch was I, that could not bear

My fortune soberly? I must have my crotchets,

And my conundrums! Well, go you, and seek him:

His meaning may be truer than my fear.

Bid him, he straight come to me to the court;

Thither will I, and, if't be possible,

Unscrew my advocate, upon new hopes:

When I provoked him, then I lost myself.

SCENE 5.8.



1 AVOC: These things can ne'er be reconciled. He, here,


Professeth, that the gentleman was wrong'd,

And that the gentlewoman was brought thither,

Forced by her husband, and there left.
VOLT: Most true.
CEL: How ready is heaven to those that pray!
1 AVOC: But that

Volpone would have ravish'd her, he holds

Utterly false; knowing his impotence.
CORV: Grave fathers, he's possest; again, I say,

Possest: nay, if there be possession, and

Obsession, he has both.
3 AVOC: Here comes our officer.
VOLP: The parasite will straight be here, grave fathers.
4 AVOC: You might invent some other name, sir varlet.
3 AVOC: Did not the notary meet him?
VOLP: Not that I know.
4 AVOC: His coming will clear all.
2 AVOC: Yet, it is misty.
VOLT: May't please your fatherhoods--
VOLP [whispers volt.]: Sir, the parasite

Will'd me to tell you, that his master lives;

That you are still the man; your hopes the same;

And this was only a jest--

VOLT: How?
VOLP: Sir, to try

If you were firm, and how you stood affected.

VOLT: Art sure he lives?
VOLP: Do I live, sir?
VOLT: O me!

I was too violent.

VOLP: Sir, you may redeem it,

They said, you were possest; fall down, and seem so:

I'll help to make it good.

[voltore falls.]

--God bless the man!--

Stop your wind hard, and swell: See, see, see, see!

He vomits crooked pins! his eyes are set,

Like a dead hare's hung in a poulter's shop!

His mouth's running away! Do you see, signior?

Now it is in his belly!

CORV: Ay, the devil!
VOLP: Now in his throat.
CORV: Ay, I perceive it plain.
VOLP: 'Twill out, 'twill out! stand clear.

See, where it flies,

In shape of a blue toad, with a bat's wings!

Do you not see it, sir?

CORB: What? I think I do.
CORV: 'Tis too manifest.
VOLP: Look! he comes to himself!
VOLT: Where am I?
VOLP: Take good heart, the worst is past, sir.

You are dispossest.

1 AVOC: What accident is this!
2 AVOC: Sudden, and full of wonder!
3 AVOC: If he were

Possest, as it appears, all this is nothing.

CORV: He has been often subject to these fits.
1 AVOC: Shew him that writing:--do you know it, sir?
VOLP [WHISPERS VOLT.]: Deny it, sir, forswear it; know it not.
VOLT: Yes, I do know it well, it is my hand;

But all that it contains is false.

BON: O practice!
2 AVOC: What maze is this!
1 AVOC: Is he not guilty then,

Whom you there name the parasite?

VOLT: Grave fathers,

No more than his good patron, old Volpone.

4 AVOC: Why, he is dead.
VOLT: O no, my honour'd fathers,

He lives--

1 AVOC: How! lives?
VOLT: Lives.
2 AVOC: This is subtler yet!
3 AVOC: You said he was dead.
VOLT: Never.
3 AVOC: You said so.
CORV: I heard so.
4 AVOC: Here comes the gentleman; make him way.
3 AVOC: A stool.
4 AVOC [ASIDE.]: A proper man; and, were Volpone dead,

A fit match for my daughter.

3 AVOC: Give him way.
VOLP [ASIDE TO MOSCA.]: Mosca, I was almost lost, the advocate

Had betrayed all; but now it is recovered;

All's on the hinge again--Say, I am living.
MOS: What busy knave is this!--Most reverend fathers,

I sooner had attended your grave pleasures,

But that my order for the funeral

Of my dear patron, did require me--

VOLP [ASIDE.]: Mosca!
MOS: Whom I intend to bury like a gentleman.
VOLP [ASIDE.]: Ay, quick, and cozen me of all.
2 AVOC: Still stranger!

More intricate!

1 AVOC: And come about again!
4 AVOC [ASIDE.]: It is a match, my daughter is bestow'd.
MOS [ASIDE TO VOLP.]: Will you give me half?
VOLP: First, I'll be hang'd.
MOS: I know,

Your voice is good, cry not so loud.

1 AVOC: Demand

The advocate.--Sir, did not you affirm,

Volpone was alive?
VOLP: Yes, and he is;

This gentleman told me so.


--Thou shalt have half.--

MOS: Whose drunkard is this same? speak, some that know him:

I never saw his face.


--I cannot now

Afford it you so cheap.
1 AVOC: What say you?
VOLT: The officer told me.
VOLP: I did, grave fathers,

And will maintain he lives, with mine own life.

And that this creature [POINTS TO MOSCA.] told me.


--I was born,

With all good stars my enemies.

MOS: Most grave fathers,

If such an insolence as this must pass

Upon me, I am silent: 'twas not this

For which you sent, I hope.

2 AVOC: Take him away.
VOLP: Mosca!
3 AVOC: Let him be whipt.
VOLP: Wilt thou betray me?

Cozen me?

3 AVOC: And taught to bear himself

Toward a person of his rank.

4 AVOC: Away.
MOS: I humbly thank your fatherhoods.
VOLP [ASIDE.]: Soft, soft: Whipt!

And lose all that I have! If I confess,

It cannot be much more.
4 AVOC: Sir, are you married?
VOLP: They will be allied anon; I must be resolute:

The Fox shall here uncase.

MOS: Patron!
VOLP: Nay, now,

My ruins shall not come alone; your match

I'll hinder sure: my substance shall not glue you,

Nor screw you into a family.

MOS: Why, patron!
VOLP: I am Volpone, and this is my knave;


This [TO VOLT.], his own knave; This [TO CORB.], avarice's fool;

This [TO CORV.], a chimera of wittol, fool, and knave:

And, reverend fathers, since we all can hope

Nought but a sentence, let's not now dispair it.

You hear me brief.
CORV: May it please your fatherhoods--
COM: Silence.
1 AVOC: The knot is now undone by miracle.
2 AVOC: Nothing can be more clear.
3 AVOC: Or can more prove

These innocent.

1 AVOC: Give them their liberty.
BON: Heaven could not long let such gross crimes be hid.
2 AVOC: If this be held the high-way to get riches,

May I be poor!

3 AVOC: This is not the gain, but torment.
1 AVOC: These possess wealth, as sick men possess fevers,

Which trulier may be said to possess them.

2 AVOC: Disrobe that parasite.
CORV, MOS: Most honour'd fathers!--
1 AVOC: Can you plead aught to stay the course of justice?

If you can, speak.

CORV, VOLT: We beg favour,
CEL: And mercy.
1 AVOC: You hurt your innocence, suing for the guilty.

Stand forth; and first the parasite: You appear

T'have been the chiefest minister, if not plotter,

In all these lewd impostures; and now, lastly,

Have with your impudence abused the court,

And habit of a gentleman of Venice,

Being a fellow of no birth or blood:

For which our sentence is, first, thou be whipt;

Then live perpetual prisoner in our gallies.
VOLT: I thank you for him.
MOS: Bane to thy wolvish nature!
1 AVOC: Deliver him to the saffi.


--Thou, Volpone,

By blood and rank a gentleman, canst not fall

Under like censure; but our judgment on thee

Is, that thy substance all be straight confiscate

To the hospital of the Incurabili:

And, since the most was gotten by imposture,

By feigning lame, gout, palsy, and such diseases,

Thou art to lie in prison, cramp'd with irons,

Till thou be'st sick, and lame indeed.--Remove him.
VOLP: This is call'd mortifying of a Fox.
1 AVOC: Thou, Voltore, to take away the scandal

Thou hast given all worthy men of thy profession,

Art banish'd from their fellowship, and our state.

Corbaccio!--bring him near--We here possess

Thy son of all thy state, and confine thee

To the monastery of San Spirito;

Where, since thou knewest not how to live well here,

Thou shalt be learn'd to die well.

CORB: Ah! what said he?
AND: You shall know anon, sir.
1 AVOC: Thou, Corvino, shalt

Be straight embark'd from thine own house, and row'd

Round about Venice, through the grand canale,

Wearing a cap, with fair long asses' ears,

Instead of horns; and so to mount, a paper

Pinn'd on thy breast, to the Berlina--

CORV: Yes,

And have mine eyes beat out with stinking fish,

Bruised fruit and rotten eggs--'Tis well. I am glad

I shall not see my shame yet.

1 AVOC: And to expiate

Thy wrongs done to thy wife, thou art to send her

Home to her father, with her dowry trebled:

And these are all your judgments.

ALL: Honour'd fathers.--
1 AVOC: Which may not be revoked. Now you begin,

When crimes are done, and past, and to be punish'd,

To think what your crimes are: away with them.

Let all that see these vices thus rewarded,

Take heart and love to study 'em! Mischiefs feed

Like beasts, till they be fat, and then they bleed.

VOLPONE: The seasoning of a play, is the applause.

Now, though the Fox be punish'd by the laws,

He yet doth hope, there is no suffering due,

For any fact which he hath done 'gainst you;

If there be, censure him; here he doubtful stands:

If not, fare jovially, and clap your hands.



ABATE, cast down, subdue.

ABHORRING, repugnant (to), at variance.
ABJECT, base, degraded thing, outcast.
ABRASE, smooth, blank.
ABSOLUTE(LY), faultless(ly).
ABSTRACTED, abstract, abstruse.
ABUSE, deceive, insult, dishonour, make ill use of.
ACATER, caterer.
ACATES, cates.
ACCEPTIVE, willing, ready to accept, receive.
ACCOMMODATE, fit, befitting. (The word was a fashionable

one and used on all occasions. See "Henry IV.," pt. 2,

iii. 4).
ACCOST, draw near, approach.
ACKNOWN, confessedly acquainted with.
ACME, full maturity.
ADALANTADO, lord deputy or governor of a Spanish province.
ADJECTION, addition.
ADMIRATION, astonishment.
ADMIRE, wonder, wonder at.
ADROP, philosopher's stone, or substance from which obtained.
ADSCRIVE, subscribe.
ADULTERATE, spurious, counterfeit.
ADVANCE, lift.
ADVERTISE, inform, give intelligence.
ADVERTISED, "be--," be it known to you.
ADVERTISEMENT, intelligence.
ADVISE, consider, bethink oneself, deliberate.
ADVISED, informed, aware; "are you--?" have you found that out?
AFFECT, love, like; aim at; move.
AFFECTED, disposed; beloved.
AFFECTIONATE, obstinate; prejudiced.
AFFECTS, affections.
AFFRONT, "give the--," face.
AFFY, have confidence in; betroth.
AFTER, after the manner of.
AGAIN, AGAINST, in anticipation of.
AGGRAVATE, increase, magnify, enlarge upon.
AGNOMINATION. See Paranomasie.
AIERY, nest, brood.
AIM, guess.
ALL HID, children's cry at hide-and-seek.
ALL-TO, completely, entirely ("all-to-be-laden").
ALLOWANCE, approbation, recognition.
ALMA-CANTARAS (astronomy), parallels of altitude.
ALMAIN, name of a dance.
ALMUTEN, planet of chief influence in the horoscope.
ALONE, unequalled, without peer.
ALUDELS, subliming pots.
AMAZED, confused, perplexed.
AMBER, AMBRE, ambergris.
AMBREE, MARY, a woman noted for her valour at the

siege of Ghent, 1458.

AMES-ACE, lowest throw at dice.
AMPHIBOLIES, ambiguities.
AMUSED, bewildered, amazed.
AN, if.
ANATOMY, skeleton, or dissected body.
ANDIRONS, fire-dogs.
ANGEL, gold coin worth 10 shillings, stamped with the

figure of the archangel Michael.

ANNESH CLEARE, spring known as Agnes le Clare.
ANSWER, return hit in fencing.
ANTIC, ANTIQUE, clown, buffoon.
ANTIC, like a buffoon.
ANTIPERISTASIS, an opposition which enhances the quality

it opposes.

APOZEM, decoction.
APPERIL, peril.
APPLY, attach.
APPREHEND, take into custody.
APPREHENSIVE, quick of perception; able to perceive and appreciate.
APPROVE, prove, confirm.
APT, suit, adapt; train, prepare; dispose, incline.
APT(LY), suitable(y), opportune(ly).
APTITUDE, suitableness.
ARBOR, "make the--," cut up the game (Gifford).
ARCHES, Court of Arches.
ARCHIE, Archibald Armstrong, jester to James I. and Charles I.
ARGAILE, argol, crust or sediment in wine casks.
ARGENT-VIVE, quicksilver.
ARGUMENT, plot of a drama; theme, subject; matter in question;

token, proof.

ARRIDE, please.
ARSEDINE, mixture of copper and zinc, used as an imitation of


ARTHUR, PRINCE, reference to an archery show by a society who

assumed arms, etc., of Arthur's knights.

ARTICLE, item.
ASCENSION, evaporation, distillation.
ASPIRE, try to reach, obtain, long for.
ASSALTO (Italian), assault.
ASSAY, draw a knife along the belly of the deer, a

ceremony of the hunting-field.

ASSOIL, solve.
ASSURE, secure possession or reversion of.
ATHANOR, a digesting furnace, calculated to keep up a

constant heat.

ATONE, reconcile.
ATTACH, attack, seize.
AUDACIOUS, having spirit and confidence.
AUTHENTIC(AL), of authority, authorised, trustworthy, genuine.
AVISEMENT, reflection, consideration.
AVOID, begone! get rid of.
AWAY WITH, endure.
AZOCH, Mercurius Philosophorum.
BABION, baboon.
BABY, doll.
BACK-SIDE, back premises.
BAFFLE, treat with contempt.
BAGATINE, Italian coin, worth about the third of a farthing.
BAIARD, horse of magic powers known to old romance.
BALDRICK, belt worn across the breast to support bugle, etc.
BALE (of dice), pair.
BALK, overlook, pass by, avoid.
BALLACE, ballast.
BALLOO, game at ball.
BALNEUM (BAIN MARIE), a vessel for holding hot water

in which other vessels are stood for heating.

BANBURY, "brother of--," Puritan.
BANDOG, dog tied or chained up.
BANE, woe, ruin.
BANQUET, a light repast; dessert.
BARB, to clip gold.
BARBEL, fresh-water fish.
BARE, meer; bareheaded; it was "a particular mark of state

and grandeur for the coachman to be uncovered" (Gifford).

BARLEY-BREAK, game somewhat similar to base.
BASE, game of prisoner's base.
BASES, richly embroidered skirt reaching to the knees, or

BASILISK, fabulous reptile, believed to slay with its eye.

BASKET, used for the broken provision collected for prisoners.
BASON, basons, etc., were beaten by the attendant mob when

bad characters were "carted."

BATE, be reduced; abate, reduce.
BATOON, baton, stick.
BATTEN, feed, grow fat.
BAWSON, badger.
BEADSMAN, prayer-man, one engaged to pray for another.
BEAGLE, small hound; fig. spy.
BEAR IN HAND, keep in suspense, deceive with false hopes.
BEARWARD, bear leader.
BEDPHERE. See Phere.
BEDSTAFF, (?) wooden pin in the side of the bedstead for

supporting the bedclothes (Johnson); one of the sticks or

"laths"; a stick used in making a bed.
BEETLE, heavy mallet.
BEG, "I'd--him," the custody of minors and idiots was

begged for; likewise property fallen forfeit to the Crown

("your house had been begged").
BELL-MAN, night watchman.
BENJAMIN, an aromatic gum.
BERLINA, pillory.
BESCUMBER, defile.
BESLAVE, beslabber.
BESOGNO, beggar.
BESPAWLE, bespatter.
BETHLEHEM GABOR, Transylvanian hero, proclaimed King of Hungary.
BEVER, drinking.
BEVIS, SIR, knight of romance whose horse was equally celebrated.
BEWRAY, reveal, make known.
BEZANT, heraldic term: small gold circle.
BEZOAR'S STONE, a remedy known by this name was a

supposed antidote to poison.

BID-STAND, highwayman.
BIGGIN, cap, similar to that worn by the Beguines; nightcap.
BILIVE (belive), with haste.
BILK, nothing, empty talk.
BILL, kind of pike.
BILLET, wood cut for fuel, stick.
BIRDING, thieving.
BLACK SANCTUS, burlesque hymn, any unholy riot.
BLANK, originally a small French coin.
BLANK, white.
BLANKET, toss in a blanket.
BLAZE, outburst of violence.
BLAZE, (her.) blazon; publish abroad.
BLAZON, armorial bearings; fig. all that pertains to

good birth and breeding.

BLIN, "withouten--," without ceasing.
BLOW, puff up.
BLUE, colour of servants' livery, hence "--order,"


BLUSHET, blushing one.
BOB, jest, taunt.
BOB, beat, thump.
BODGE, measure.
BODKIN, dagger, or other short, pointed weapon; long

pin with which the women fastened up their hair.

BOLT, roll (of material).
BOLT, dislodge, rout out; sift (boulting-tub).
BOLT'S-HEAD, long, straight-necked vessel for distillation.
BOMBARD SLOPS, padded, puffed-out breeches.
BONA ROBA, "good, wholesome, plum-cheeked wench" (Johnson)

--not always used in compliment.

BONNY-CLABBER, sour butter-milk.
BOOKHOLDER, prompter.
BOOT, "to--," into the bargain; "no--," of no avail.
BORACHIO, bottle made of skin.
BORDELLO, brothel.
BORNE IT, conducted, carried it through.
BOTTLE (of hay), bundle, truss.
BOTTOM, skein or ball of thread; vessel.
BOURD, jest.
BOVOLI, snails or cockles dressed in the Italian manner


BOW-POT, flower vase or pot.
BOYS, "terrible--," "angry--," roystering young bucks.

(See Nares).

BRACH, bitch.
BRADAMANTE, a heroine in "Orlando Furioso."
BRADLEY, ARTHUR OF, a lively character commemorated in

BRAKE, frame for confining a horse's feet while being

shod, or strong curb or bridle; trap.
BRANCHED, with "detached sleeve ornaments, projecting

from the shoulders of the gown" (Gifford).

BRANDISH, flourish of weapon.
BRASH, brace.
BRAVE, bravado, braggart speech.
BRAVE (adv.), gaily, finely (apparelled).
BRAVERIES, gallants.
BRAVERY, extravagant gaiety of apparel.
BRAVO, bravado, swaggerer.
BRAZEN-HEAD, speaking head made by Roger Bacon.
BREATHE, pause for relaxation; exercise.
BREATH UPON, speak dispraisingly of.
BREND, burn.
BRIDE-ALE, wedding feast.
BRIEF, abstract; (mus.) breve.
BRISK, smartly dressed.
BRIZE, breese, gadfly.
BROAD-SEAL, state seal.
BROCK, badger (term of contempt).
BROKE, transact business as a broker.
BROOK, endure, put up with.
BROUGHTON, HUGH, an English divine and Hebrew scholar.
BRUIT, rumour.
BUCK, wash.
BUCKLE, bend.
BUFF, leather made of buffalo skin, used for military

and serjeants' coats, etc.

BUFO, black tincture.
BUGLE, long-shaped bead.
BULLED, (?) bolled, swelled.
BULLIONS, trunk hose.
BULLY, term of familiar endearment.
BUNGY, Friar Bungay, who had a familiar in the shape of a dog.
BURDEN, refrain, chorus.
BURGONET, closely-fitting helmet with visor.
BURGULLION, braggadocio.
BURN, mark wooden measures ("--ing of cans").
BURROUGH, pledge, security.
BUSKIN, half-boot, foot gear reaching high up the leg.
BUTT-SHAFT, barbless arrow for shooting at butts.
BUTTER, NATHANIEL ("Staple of News"), a compiler of general

news. (See Cunningham).

BUTTERY-HATCH, half-door shutting off the buttery, where

provisions and liquors were stored.

BUY, "he bought me," formerly the guardianship of wards

could be bought.

BUZ, exclamation to enjoin silence.
BUZZARD, simpleton.
BY AND BY, at once.
BY(E), "on the __," incidentally, as of minor or secondary

importance; at the side.

BY-CHOP, by-blow, bastard.
CADUCEUS, Mercury's wand.
CALIVER, light kind of musket.
CALLET, woman of ill repute.
CALLOT, coif worn on the wigs of our judges or

serjeants-at-law (Gifford).

CALVERED, crimped, or sliced and pickled. (See Nares).
CAMOUCCIO, wretch, knave.
CAMUSED, flat.
CAN, knows.
CANDLE-RENT, rent from house property.
CANDLE-WASTER, one who studies late.
CANTER, sturdy beggar.
CAP OF MAINTENCE, an insignia of dignity, a cap of state

borne before kings at their coronation; also an heraldic term.

CAPABLE, able to comprehend, fit to receive instruction,


CAPANEUS, one of the "Seven against Thebes."
CARACT, carat, unit of weight for precious stones, etc.;

value, worth.

CARANZA, Spanish author of a book on duelling.
CARCANET, jewelled ornament for the neck.
CARE, take care; object.
CAROSH, coach, carriage.
CARPET, table-cover.
CARRIAGE, bearing, behaviour.
CARWHITCHET, quip, pun.
CASAMATE, casemate, fortress.
CASE, a pair.
CASE, "in--," in condition.
CASSOCK, soldier's loose overcoat.
CAST, flight of hawks, couple.
CAST, throw dice; vomit; forecast, calculate.
CAST, cashiered.
CASTING-GLASS, bottle for sprinkling perfume.
CASTRIL, kestrel, falcon.
CAT, structure used in sieges.
CATAMITE, old form of "ganymede."
CATASTROPHE, conclusion.
CATCHPOLE, sheriff's officer.
CATES, dainties, provisions.
CATSO, rogue, cheat.
CAUTELOUS, crafty, artful.
CENSURE, criticism; sentence.
CENSURE, criticise; pass sentence, doom.
CERUSE, cosmetic containing white lead.
CESS, assess.
CHANGE, "hunt--," follow a fresh scent.

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