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To all thy labours; thou shalt be the master

Of my seraglio.

Thou art sure thou saw'st it blood?

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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
From Elephantis, and dull Aretine

But coldly imitated.
・. My mists
I'll have of perfume, vapour'd 'bout the room,
To lose ourselves in ; and my baths, like pits
To fall into; from whence we will come forth,
And roll us dry in gossamer and roses.

Is it arrived at ruby? . . .

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. And my flatterers

Shall be the pure and gravest of divines,

That I can get for money. My mere fools,

Eloquent burgesses.

We will be brave, Puffe, now we have the med'cine.
My meat shall all come in, in Indian shells,
Dishes of agate set in gold, and studded

With emeralds, sapphires, hyacinths, and rubies.
The tongues of carps, dormice, and camels' heels,
Boil'd in the spirit of sol, and dissolv'd pearl,
Apicius' diet 'gainst the epilepsy:

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
The beards of barbels served, instead of sallads;
Oil'd mushrooms; and the swelling unctuous paps
Of a fat pregnant sow, newly cut off,

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.
Mammon. Do.-My shirts
I'll have of taffeta-sarsnet, soft and light

As cobwebs; and for all my other raiment,

It shall be such as might provoke the Persian,
Were he to teach the world riot anew.


My gloves of fishes and birds' skins perfumed
With gums of paradise and eastern air-

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
Do it alone, for me, still. Here he comes.
Not a profane word afore him: 'tis poison.


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
Begin their visitation! Vulture, kite,
Raven, and gorcrow, all my birds of prey,
That think me turning carcase, now they come;
I am not for them yet-

Re-enter MOSCA, with the gown, etc.

How now! The news?

Mosca. A piece of plate, sir.

Volpone. Of what bigness?
Mosca. Huge,


Massy and antique, with your name inscribed,

And arms engraven.

Volpone. Good! and not a fox

Stretched on the earth, with fine delusive sleights,
Mocking a gaping crow? ha, Mosca !

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;
How he should worshipp'd be, and reverenced;
Ride with his furs, and foot-cloths; waited on
By herds of fools and clients; have clear way
Made for his mule, as lettered as himself;
Be called the great and learned advocate:
And then concludes, there 's nought impossible.
Volpone. Yes, to be learned, Mosca.

Mosca. O, no: rich

Implies it. Hood an ass with reverend purple,
So you can hide his two ambitious ears,

And he shall pass for a cathedral doctor.

Volpone. My caps, my caps, good Mosca. Fetch

him in.

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.


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