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VALENTINE discovered reading; JEREMY waiting. Several Books upon the Table.

Val. Jeremy!

Jer. Sir.

Val. Here, take away; I'll walk a turn, and digest what I have read.

[Rises. Jer. You'll grow devilish fat upon this paper diet! [Aside, and taking away the Books. Val. And, d'ye hear? go you to breakfast--There's a page doubled down in Epictetus, that is a feast for

an emperor.

Jer. Was Epictetus a real cook, or did he only write receipts?

Val. Read, read, sirrah, and refine your appetite; learn to live upon instruction; feast your mind, and mortify your flesh. Read, and take your nourishment in at your eyes; shut up your mouth, and chew the cud of understanding. So Epictetus advises.

Jer. O lord! I have heard much of him, when I waited upon a gentleman at Cambridge. Pray what was that Epictetus ? -not worth a groat.

Val. A very rich man

Jer. Humph! and so he has made a very fine feast, where there is nothing to be eaten?

Val. Yes.


Jer. Sir, you're a gentleman, and probably understand this fine feeding: but, if you please, I had rather be at board-wages. Does your Epictetus, or your Seneca here, or any of these poor rich rogues, teach you how to pay your debts without money Will they shut up the mouths of your creditors? Will Plato be bail for you ? or Diogenes, because he understands confinement, and lived in a tub, go to prison for you? 'Slife, sir, what do you mean, to mew yourself up here with three or four musty books, in commendation of starving and poverty ?

Val. Why, sirrah, I have no money, you know it; and therefore resolve to rail at all that have: and in that I but follow the examples of the wisest and wittiest men in all ages-these poets and philosophers, whom you naturally hate, for just such another reason; because they abound in sense, and you are a fool.


Jer. Ay, sir, I am a fool, I know it and yet, Heaven help me, I'm poor enough to be a wit.—But I was always a fool, when I told you what your expenses would bring you to; your coaches and your liveries; your treats and your balls; your being in love with a lady, that did not care a farthing for you in your prosperity; and keeping company with wits, that cared for nothing but your prosperity, and now when you are poor, hate you as much as they do one


Val. Well! and now I am poor, I have an opportunity to be revenged on them all; I'll pursue Angelica with more love than ever, and appear more no

toriously her admirer in this restraint, than when I openly rivaled the rich fops that made court to her. So shall my poverty be a mortification to her pride, and perhaps make her compassionate the love, which has principally reduced me to this lowness of fortune. And for the wits, I'm sure I am in a condition to be even with them. [Sits. Jer. Nay, your condition is pretty even with theirs, that's the truth on't.

Val. I'll take some of their trade out of their hands. Jer. Now Heaven of mercy continue the tax upon paper! You don't mean to write?

Val. Yes, I do ; I'll write a play.

Jer. Hem! Sir, if you please to give me a small certificate of three lines-only to certify those whom it may concern, That the bearer hereof, Jeremy Fetch, by name, has for the space of seven years truly and faithfully served Valentine Legend, Esquire; and that he is not now turned away for any misdemeanor, but does voluntarily dismiss his master from any future authority over him

Val. No, sirrah; you shall live with me still.

Jer. Sir, it's impossible-I may die with you, starve with you, or be damned with your works : but to live, even three days, the life of a play, I no more expect it, than to be canonized for a muse after my decease.

Val. You are witty, you rogue, I shall want your help-I'll have you learn to make couplets, to tag to the ends of acts. D'ye hear? get the maids to crambo in an evening, and learn the knack of rhyming; you may arrive at the height of a song sent by an unknown hand, or a chocolate-house lampoon.

Jer. But, sir, is this the way to recover your father's favour? Why Sir Sampson will be irreconcileable. If your younger brother should come from sea, he'd never look upon you again. You're undone, sir; you're ruined; you won't have a friend left in

the world, if you turn poet: I never think of the trade but the spirit of famine appears to me-sometimes like a decayed porter, worn out with pimping, and carrying billet-doux and songs; not like other porters, for hire, but for the Jest's sake.-Now like a thin chairman, melted down to half his proportion, with carrying a poet upon tick, to visit some great fortune; and his fare to be paid him, like the wages of sin, either at the day of marriage, or the day of death.


Scand. What! Jeremy holding forth?

Val. The rogue has (with all the wit he could muster up) been declaiming against wit.

Scand. Ay! Why then I'm afraid Jeremy has wit: for wherever it is, it's always contriving its own ruin. Jer. Why so I have been telling my master, sir. Mr. Scandal, for Heaven's sake, sir, try if you can dissuade him from turning poet.

Scand. Poet! He shall turn soldier first, and rather depend upon the outside of his head, than the lining! Why, what the devil! has not your poverty made you enemies enough? must you needs show your wit to get more?

Jer. Ay, more indeed: for who cares for any body that has more wit than himself?

Don't you see rogues avoid looks like a

Scand. Jeremy speaks like an oracle. how worthless great men and dull rich a witty man of small fortune? Why he writ of inquiry into their titles and estates; and zeems commissioned by Heaven to seize the better half.

Val. Therefore I would rail in my writings, and be revenged.

[Rises. Scand. Rail! at whom? the whole world? Impotent and vain! Who would die a martyr to sense, in a country where religion is folly? You may stand at bay for a while; but, when the full cry is against

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