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To all thy labours; thou shalt be the master
Of my seraglio.
Thou art sure thou saw'st it blood?
Face. Both blood and spirit, sir.
Mammon. I will have all my beds blown up, not stuft : Down is too hard: and then, mine oval room
Fill'd with such pictures as Tiberius took
But coldly imitated.
Is it arrived at ruby? . . .
. And my flatterers
Shall be the pure and gravest of divines,
That I can get for money. My mere fools,
We will be brave, Puffe, now we have the med'cine.
With emeralds, sapphires, hyacinths, and rubies.
And I will eat these broths with spoons of amber,
Headed with diamond and carbuncle.
My foot-boy shall eat pheasants, calver'd salmons,
Knots, godwits, lampreys: I myself will have
Drest with an exquisite and poignant sauce ;
For which, I'll say unto my cook, There's gold,
Go forth, and be a knight.
Face. Sir, I'll go look
A little, how it heightens.
As cobwebs; and for all my other raiment,
It shall be such as might provoke the Persian,
My gloves of fishes and birds' skins perfumed
Surly. And do you think to have the stone with this?
Mammon. No, I do think t' have all this with the stone.
Surly. Why, I have heard, he must be homo frugi, A pious, holy, and religious man,
One free from mortal sin, a very virgin.
Mammon. That makes it, sir; he is so: but I buy it;
My venture brings it me. He, honest wretch,
A notable, superstitious, good soul,
Hath worn his knees bare, and his slippers bald,
With prayer and fasting for it: and, sir, let him
THIS play derives its name from the cunning devices of Volpone. Assuming the character of a wealthy old man, childless, and at the point of death, he, by giving hopes of making them his heirs, obtains rich gifts from Voltore, an advocate, Corbaccio, and many more, whose generosity is stimulated by the golden prospects artfully held out to them by Mosca, Volpone's parasite and confederate. To make sport of them, Volpone orders Mosca to spread a report that he is dead, and has left all his wealth to Mosca.
After witnessing, unseen, the discomfiture of the disappointed heirs, who assemble at his house, Volpone disguises himself and follows them, to taunt them further. Mosca meanwhile, taking advantage of the feigned death of his patron, takes possession of his estate and denounces Volpone as an impostor. Finally both are unmasked and brought to justice.
Sir Politick Would-be is a credulous, foolish knight, whose foibles are played upon by Peregrine, a gentleman on his travels.
A Room in VOLPONE'S House.
Volpone. Who's that?
(Knocking without.) Look, Mosca! Mosca. 'Tis Signior Voltore, the advocate;
I know him by his knock.
Volpone. Fetch me my gown,
My furs and night-caps; say, my couch is changing, And let him entertain himself awhile
Without i' the gallery.
Now, now, my clients
Re-enter MOSCA, with the gown, etc.
How now! The news?
Mosca. A piece of plate, sir.
Volpone. Of what bigness?
Massy and antique, with your name inscribed,
And arms engraven.
Volpone. Good! and not a fox
Stretched on the earth, with fine delusive sleights,
Mosca. Sharp, sir.
Volpone. Give me my furs. Puts on his sick dress. Why dost thou laugh so, man?
Mosca. I cannot choose, sir, when I apprehend What thoughts he has without now, as he walks: That this might be the last gift he should give ; This, this would fetch you; if you died to-day, And gave him all, what should he do to-morrow;
What large return would come of all his ventures;
Mosca. O, no: rich
Implies it. Hood an ass with reverend purple,
And he shall pass for a cathedral doctor.
Volpone. My caps, my caps, good Mosca. Fetch
Mosca. Stay, sir; your ointment for your eyes.
Volpone. That's true;
Dispatch, dispatch: I long to have possession
Of my new present.
Mosca. That, and thousands more
I hope to see you lord of.
Volpone. Thanks, kind Mosca.
Mosca. And that, when I am lost in blended dust,
And hundred such as I am, in succession
Volpone. Nay, that were too much, Mosca.
Mosca. You shall live,
Still, to delude these harpies.
Volpone. Loving Mosca !
'Tis well my pillow now, and let him enter.