To whom, with blushing, they should owe their lives.
1 AVOC: What proofs have you of this?
BON: Most honoured fathers,
I humbly crave there be no credit given
To this man's mercenary tongue.
2 AVOC: Forbear.
BON: His soul moves in his fee.
3 AVOC: O, sir.
BON: This fellow,
For six sols more, would plead against his Maker.
1 AVOC: You do forget yourself.
VOLT: Nay, nay, grave fathers,
Let him have scope: can any man imagine
That he will spare his accuser, that would not
Have spared his parent?
1 AVOC: Well, produce your proofs.
CEL: I would I could forget I were a creature.
VOLT: Signior Corbaccio.
[CORBACCIO COMES FORWARD.]
1 AVOC: What is he?
VOLT: The father.
2 AVOC: Has he had an oath?
CORB: What must I do now?
NOT: Your testimony's craved.
CORB: Speak to the knave?
I'll have my mouth first stopt with earth; my heart
Abhors his knowledge: I disclaim in him.
1 AVOC: But for what cause?
CORB: The mere portent of nature!
He is an utter stranger to my loins.
BON: Have they made you to this?
CORB: I will not hear thee,
Monster of men, swine, goat, wolf, parricide!
Speak not, thou viper.
BON: Sir, I will sit down,
And rather wish my innocence should suffer,
Then I resist the authority of a father.
VOLT: Signior Corvino!
[CORVINO COMES FORWARD.]
2 AVOC: This is strange.
1 AVOC: Who's this?
NOT: The husband.
4 AVOC: Is he sworn?
NOT: He is.
3 AVOC: Speak, then.
CORV: This woman, please your fatherhoods, is a whore,
Of most hot exercise, more than a partrich,
1 AVOC: No more.
CORV: Neighs like a jennet.
NOT: Preserve the honour of the court.
CORV: I shall,
And modesty of your most reverend ears.
And yet I hope that I may say, these eyes
Have seen her glued unto that piece of cedar,
That fine well-timber'd gallant; and that here
The letters may be read, through the horn,
That make the story perfect.
MOS: Excellent! sir.
CORV [ASIDE TO MOSCA.]: There's no shame in this now, is there?
CORV: Or if I said, I hoped that she were onward
To her damnation, if there be a hell
Greater than whore and woman; a good catholic
May make the doubt.
3 AVOC: His grief hath made him frantic.
1 AVOC: Remove him hence.
2 AVOC: Look to the woman.
Prettily feign'd, again!
4 AVOC: Stand from about her.
1 AVOC: Give her the air.
3 AVOC [TO MOSCA.]: What can you say?
MOS: My wound,
May it please your wisdoms, speaks for me, received
BON: So he does.
VOLT: Would you have him tortured?
BON: I would have him proved.
VOLT: Best try him then with goads, or burning irons;
Put him to the strappado: I have heard
The rack hath cured the gout; 'faith, give it him,
And help him of a malady; be courteous.
I'll undertake, before these honour'd fathers,
He shall have yet as many left diseases,
As she has known adulterers, or thou strumpets.--
O, my most equal hearers, if these deeds,
Acts of this bold and most exorbitant strain,
May pass with sufferance; what one citizen
But owes the forfeit of his life, yea, fame,
To him that dares traduce him? which of you
Are safe, my honour'd fathers? I would ask,
With leave of your grave fatherhoods, if their plot
Have any face or colour like to truth?
Or if, unto the dullest nostril here,
It smell not rank, and most abhorred slander?
I crave your care of this good gentleman,
Whose life is much endanger'd by their fable;
And as for them, I will conclude with this,
That vicious persons, when they're hot and flesh'd
In impious acts, their constancy abounds:
Damn'd deeds are done with greatest confidence.
1 AVOC: Take them to custody, and sever them.
2 AVOC: 'Tis pity two such prodigies should live.
1 AVOC: Let the old gentleman be return'd with care;
[EXEUNT OFFICERS WITH VOLPONE.]
I'm sorry our credulity hath wrong'd him.
4 AVOC: These are two creatures!
3 AVOC: I've an earthquake in me.
2 AVOC: Their shame, even in their cradles, fled their faces.
4 AVOC [TO VOLT.]: You have done a worthy service to the state, sir,
In their discovery.
1 AVOC: You shall hear, ere night,
What punishment the court decrees upon them.
[EXEUNT AVOCAT., NOT., AND OFFICERS WITH BONARIO AND CELIA.]
VOLT: We thank your fatherhoods.--How like you it?
I'd have your tongue, sir, tipt with gold for this;
Should have been prov'd.
CORV: Nay, I consider'd that:
Now it is her fault:
MOS: Then it had been yours.
CORV: True; I do doubt this advocate still.
You need not, I dare ease you of that care.
CORV: I trust thee, Mosca.
MOS: As your own soul, sir.
MOS: Now for your business, sir.
CORB: How! have you business?
MOS: Yes, your's, sir.
CORB: O, none else?
MOS: None else, not I.
CORB: Be careful, then.
MOS: Rest you with both your eyes, sir.
CORB: Dispatch it.
CORB: And look that all,