G. A. Wilkes (ed.), The Complete Plays of Ben Jonson, Vol. 2

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ACT II, Scene ii

[Security's house] Security, solus

Sec. My privy guest, lusty Quicksilver, has drunk too deep of the 2bride-bowl, but with a little sleep he is much recovered; and I think 3is making himself ready to be drunk in a gallanter likeness. My house Editor’s Note4is, as 'twere, the cave where the young outlaw hoards the stolen vails 5of his occupation; and here when he will revel it in his prodigal Editor’s Note6similitude, he retires to his trunks, and (I may say softly) his punks. 7He dares trust me with the keeping of both: for I am security itself, 8my name is Security, the famous usurer.

Enter Quicksilver in his prentice's coat and cap, his gallant breeches and stockings, gartering himself

Qui. Come, old Security, thou father of destruction: the indented 10sheepskin is burned wherein I was wrapped, and I am now loose to 11get more children of perdition into thy usurous bonds. Thou feed'st pg 37012my lechery, and I thy covetousness: thou art pander to me for my Editor’s Note13wench, and I to thee for thy cozenages: ka me, ka thee, runs 14through court and country.


Sec. Well said, my subtle Quicksilver, these K's ope the doors to 16all this world's felicity: the dullest forehead sees it. Let not master 17courtier think he carries all the knavery on his shoulders: I have 18known poor Hob in the country that has worn hobnails on's shoes 19have as much villainy in's head as he that wears gold buttons 20in's cap.


Qui. Why, man, 'tis the London highway to thrift; if virtue be Editor’s Note22used, 'tis but as a scrape to the net of villainy. They that use it 23simply, thrive simply, I warrant. 'Weight and fashion makes 24goldsmiths cuckolds.'

Enter Sindefy, with Quicksilver's doublet, cloak, rapier, and dagger

Sin. Here sir, put off the other half of your prenticeship.

Editor’s Note26

Qui. Well said sweet Sin: bring forth my bravery.

Editor’s Note27Now let my trunks shoot forth their silks concealed,

28I now am free; and now will justify

29My trunks and punks. Avaunt dull flat-cap then,

Editor’s Note30Via the curtain that shadowed Borgia;

31There lie, thou husk of my envassalled state.

32I Samson now, have burst the Philistines' bands,

33And in thy lap, my lovely Dalida,

34I lie and snore out my enfranchised state.

Editor’s Note35'When Samson was a tall young man

36His power and strength increased then,

37He sold no more nor cup, nor can,

38But did them all despise.

39Old Touchstone, now write to thy friends

40For one to sell thy base gold ends,

41Quicksilver, now no more attends

42Thee Touchstone.'

43But, dad, hast thou seen my running gelding dressed today?

pg 371 44

Sec. That I have, Frank; the ostler a'the Cock dressed him for 45a breakfast.


Qui. What did he eat him?


Sec. No, but he eat his breakfast for dressing him: and so dressed 48him for breakfast.


Qui. O witty age, where age is young in wit,

50And all youth's words have graybeards full of it!


Sin. But, alas, Frank, how will all this be maintained now? Your 52place maintained it before.


Qui. Why and I maintained my place. I'll to the court, another 54manner of place for maintenance I hope than the silly city. I heard 55my father say, I heard my mother sing an old song and a true: 'Thou 56art a she fool, and know'st not what belongs to our male wisdom.' I 57shall be a merchant, forsooth: trust my estate in a wooden trough 58as he does? What are these ships but tennis-balls for the winds to Editor’s Note59play withal? Tossed from one wave to another; now under-line; Editor’s Note60now over the house; sometimes brickwalled against a rock, so that Editor’s Note61the guts fly out again; sometimes struck under the wide hazard, 62and farewell Master Merchant.


Sin. Well, Frank, well; the seas you say are uncertain: but he that 64sails in your court seas shall find 'em ten times fuller of hazard; 65wherein to see what is to be seen is torment more than a free spirit 66can endure; but when you come to suffer, how many injuries 67swallow you? What care and devotion must you use to humour an 68imperious lord? Proportion your looks to his looks? Your smiles to 69his smiles? Fit your sails to the wind of his breath?


Qui. Tush, he's no journeyman in his craft that cannot do that.


Sin. But he's worse than a prentice that does it, not only humour-72ing the lord, but every trencher-bearer, every groom that by indul-73gence and intelligence crept into his favour, and by panderism into 74his chamber; he rules the roost: and when my honourable lord says Editor’s Note75it shall be thus, my worshipful rascal (the groom of his close stool) 76says it shall not be thus, claps the door after him, and who dares 77enter? A prentice, quoth you? 'Tis but to learn to live, and does that pg 37278disgrace a man? He that rises hardly, stands firmly: but he that rises 79with ease, alas, falls as easily.


Qui. A pox on you, who taught you this morality?

Editor’s Note81

Sec. 'Tis long of this witty age, Master Francis. But indeed, 82Mistress Sindefy, all trades complain of inconvenience, and there-83fore 'tis best to have none. The merchant, he complains, and says 84traffic is subject to much uncertainty and loss: let 'em keep their 85goods on dry land with a vengeance, and not expose other men's 86substances to the mercy of the winds, under protection of a wooden 87wall (as Master Francis says) and all for greedy desire to enrich 88themselves with unconscionable gain, two for one, or so: where I 89and such other honest men as live by lending money are content Editor’s Note90with moderate profit; thirty or forty i'the hundred: so we may have 91it with quietness, and out of peril of wind and weather, rather than 92run those dangerous courses of trading, as they do.


Qui. Aye, dad, thou mayst well be called Security, for thou takest 94the safest course.


Sec. Faith, the quieter, and the more contented; and, out of 96doubt, the more godly. For merchants in their courses are never 97pleased, but ever repining against heaven. One prays for a westerly 98wind to carry his ship forth; another for an easterly to bring his ship 99home; and at every shaking of a leaf, he falls into an agony, to think 100what danger his ship is in on such a coast, and so forth. The farmer, 101he is ever at odds with the weather; sometimes the clouds have been 102too barren; sometimes the heavens forget themselves, their harvests 103answer not their hopes; sometimes the season falls out too fruitful, 104corn will bear no price, and so forth. The artificer, he's all for a 105stirring world; if his trade be too dull and fall short of his expecta-106tion, then falls he out of joint. Where we that trade nothing but 107money are free from all this, we are pleased with all weathers: let it 108rain or hold up, be calm or windy, let the season be whatsoever, let 109trade go how it will, we take all in good part; e'en what please the 110heavens to send us; so the sun stand not still; and the moon keep 111her usual returns; and make up days, months, and years.


Qui. And you have good security?


Sec. Aye, marry, Frank, that's the special point.

pg 373 114

Qui. And yet, forsooth, we must have trades to live withal; for 115we cannot stand without legs, nor fly without wings; and a number 116of such scurvy phrases. No, I say still; he that has wit, let him live 117by his wit: he that has none, let him be a tradesman.


Sec. Witty Master Francis! 'Tis pity any trade should dull that 119quick brain of yours. Do but bring Knight Petronel into my parch-120ment toils once, and you shall never need to toil in any trade, a' my 121credit! You know his wife's land?


Qui. Even to a foot, sir; I have been often there: a pretty fine seat, 123good land, all entire within itself.


Sec. Well wooded?


Qui. Two hundred pounds worth of wood ready to fell. And a fine Editor’s Note126sweet house that stands just in the midst an't, like a prick in the 127midst of a circle; would I were your farmer, for a hundred pound 128a year.


Sec. Excellent Master Francis; how I do long to do thee good: 130'How I do hunger, and thirst to have the honour to enrich thee! ' Aye, 131even to die, that thou mightest inherit my living: even hunger and 132thirst; for, a' my religion, Master Francis (and so tell Knight 133Petronel) I do it to do him a pleasure.


Qui. Marry, dad, his horses are now coming up, to bear down his 135lady; wilt thou lend him thy stable to set 'em in?


Sec. Faith, Master Francis, I would be loth to lend my stable out 137of doors; in a greater matter I will pleasure him, but not in this.


Qui. 'A pox of your hunger and thirst.' Well, dad, let him have 139money: all he could any way get is bestowed on a ship, now bound 140for Virginia: the frame of which voyage is so closely conveyed that 141his new lady nor any of her friends know it. Notwithstanding, as 142soon as his lady's hand is gotten to the sale of her inheritance, and 143you have furnished him with money, he will instantly hoist sail, 144and away.


Sec. Now a frank gale of wind go with him, Master Frank; we 146have too few such knight adventurers; who would not sell away 147competent certainties to purchase, with any danger, excellent 148uncertainties? Your true knight venturer ever does it. Let his wife 149seal today, he shall have his money today.


Qui. Tomorrow she shall, dad, before she goes into the country; pg 374Editor’s Note151to work her to which action, with the more engines, I purpose 152presently to prefer my sweet Sin here to the place of her gentle-153woman; whom you, for the more credit, shall present as your friend's 154daughter, a gentlewoman of the country, new come up with a will 155for a while to learn fashions, forsooth, and be toward some lady; and 156she shall buzz pretty devices into her lady's ear; feeding her humours 157so serviceably, as the manner of such as she is, you know.


Sec. True, good Master Francis.


Qui. That she shall keep her port open to anything she commends 160to her.


Sec. A' my religion, a most fashionable project; as good she spoil 162the lady, as the lady spoil her; for 'tis three to one of one side. Sweet 163Mistress Sin, how are you bound to Master Francis! I do not doubt 164to see you shortly wed one of the head men of our city.


Sin. But sweet Frank, when shall my father Security present me?

Editor’s Note166

Qui. With all festination; I have broken the ice to it already; and 167will presently to the knight's house, whither, my good old dad, let 168me pray thee with all formality to man her.


Sec. Command me, Master Francis; I do hunger and thirst to do 170thee service. Come, sweet Mistress Sin, take leave of my Winifred, 171and we will instantly meet frank Master Francis at your lady's.

Enter Winifred, above

Win. Where is my Cu there? Cu?


Sec. Aye, Winnie.


Win. Wilt thou come in, sweet Cu?

Editor’s Note175

Sec. Aye, Winnie, presently.

(Exeunt Winifred above, Security and Sindefy below)

Qui. Aye, Winnie, quod he; that's all he can do, poor man, he 177may well cut off her name at Winnie. Oh, 'tis an egregious pander! 178What will not an usurous knave be, so he may be rich? Oh, 'tis a Editor’s Note179notable Jew's-trump! I hope to live to see dog's meat made of the 180old usurer's flesh; dice of his bones; and indentures of his skin: and 181yet his skin is too thick to make parchment, 'twould make good boots Editor’s Note182for a peterman to catch salmon in. Your only smooth skin to make pg 375183fine vellum is your Puritan's skin; they be the smoothest and slickest 184knaves in a country.

Editor’s NoteEnter Sir Petronel in boots with a riding wand

Pet. I'll out of this wicked town as fast as my horse can trot. Here's 186now no good action for a man to spend his time in. Taverns grow Editor’s Note187dead; ordinaries are blown up; plays are at a stand; houses of 188hospitality at a fall; not a feather waving, nor a spur jingling any-189where: I'll away instantly.


Qui. Y'ad best take some crowns in your purse, knight, or else 191your eastward castle will smoke but miserably.


Pet. Oh, Frank! My castle? Alas, all the castles I have are built 193with air, thou know'st.


Qui. I know it, knight, and therefore wonder whither your lady 195is going.


Pet. Faith to seek her fortune, I think. I said I had a castle and 197land eastward, and eastward she will without contradiction; her 198coach and the coach of the sun must meet full butt: and the sun 199being outshined with her ladyship's glory, she fears he goes west-200ward to hang himself.


Qui. And I fear when her enchanted castle becomes invisible, her 202ladyship will return and follow his example.


Pet. Oh, that she would have the grace, for I shall never be able 204to pacify her, when she sees herself deceived so.


Qui. As easily as can be. Tell her she mistook your directions, and 206that shortly yourself will down with her to approve it; and then, 207clothe but her crupper in a new gown, and you may drive her any 208way you list: for these women, sir, are like Essex calves, you must 209wriggle 'em on by the tail still, or they will never drive orderly.


Pet. But, alas, sweet Frank, thou know'st my ability will not 211furnish her blood with those costly humours.


Qui. Cast that cost on me, sir; I have spoken to my old pander, Editor’s Note213Security, for money or commodity; and commodity, if you will, I 214know he will procure you.


Pet. Commodity! Alas, what commodity?


Qui. Why, sir, what say you to figs and raisins?

pg 376 Editor’s Note217

Pet. A plague of figs and raisins, and all such frail commodities; 218we shall make nothing of 'em.


Qui. Why then, sir, what say you to forty pound in roasted beef?


Pet. Out upon't, I have less stomach to that than to the figs and 221raisins. I'll out of town, though I sojourn with a friend of mine, for Editor’s Note222stay here I must not; my creditors have laid to arrest me, and I have 223no friend under heaven but my sword to bail me.


Qui. God's me, knight, put 'em in sufficient sureties, rather than 225let your sword bail you; let 'em take their choice, either the King's Editor’s Note226Bench, or the Fleet, or which of the two Counters they like best, for, 227by the Lord, I like none of 'em.


Pet. Well, Frank, there is no jesting with my earnest necessity; 229thou know'st if I make not present money to further my voyage 230begun, all's lost, and all I have laid out about it.


Qui. Why then, sir, in earnest, if you can get your wise lady to set 232her hand to the sale of her inheritance, the bloodhound, Security, 233will smell out ready money for you instantly.


Pet. There spake an angel. To bring her to which conformity, I 235must feign myself extremely amorous; and alleging urgent excuses 236for my stay behind, part with her as passionately as she would from Editor’s Note237her foisting hound.


Qui. You have the sow by the right ear, sir: I warrant there was 239never child longed more to ride a cock-horse, or wear his new coat 240than she longs to ride in her new coach. She would long for every-241thing when she was a maid; and now she will run mad for 'em. I lay 242my life she will have every year four children; and what charge and 243change of humour you must endure while she is with child; and 244how she will tie you to your tackling till she be with child, a dog Editor’s Note245would not endure. Nay, there is no turnspit dog bound to his wheel 246more servilely than you shall be to her wheel; for as that dog can 247never climb the top of his wheel but when the top comes under 248him: so shall you never climb the top of her contentment but when 249she is under you.


Pet. 'Slight, how thou terrifiest me!


Qui. Nay, hark you sir; what nurses, what midwives, what fools, pg 377Editor’s Note252what physicians, what cunning women must be sought for (fearing 253sometimes she is bewitched, sometimes in a consumption) to tell Editor’s Note254her tales, to talk bawdy to her, to make her laugh, to give her clysters, 255to let her blood under the tongue, and betwixt the toes; how she will 256revile and kiss you; spit in your face, and lick it off again; how she 257will vaunt you are her creature; she made you of nothing; how she 258could have had thousand mark jointures; she could have been made Editor’s Note259a lady by a Scotch knight, and never ha' married him: she could Editor’s Note260have had panadas in her bed every morning; how she set you up, 261and how she will pull you down: you'll never be able to stand of 262your legs to endure it.


Pet. Out of my fortune, what a death is my life bound face to face 264to? The best is, a large time-fitted conscience is bound to nothing: 265marriage is but a form in the school of policy, to which scholars 266sit fastened only with painted chains. Old Security's young wife is 267ne'er the further off with me.


Qui. Thereby lies a tale, sir. The old usurer will be here instantly, 269with my punk Sindefy, whom you know your lady has promised me Editor’s Note270to entertain for her gentlewoman: and he, with a purpose to feed on 271you, invites you most solemnly by me to supper.


Pet. It falls out excellently fitly: I see desire of gain makes 273jealousy venturous. Enter Gertrude 274See Frank, here comes my lady. Lord, how she views thee, she 275knows thee not I think in this bravery.


Ger. How now? Who be you, I pray?


Qui. One Master Francis Quicksilver, an't please your ladyship.


Ger. God's my dignity! As I am a lady, if he did not make me 279blush so that mine eyes stood a-water, would I were unmarried again. Enter Security and Sindefy 280Where's my woman, I pray?


Qui. See, madam, she now comes to attend you.

pg 378 282

Sec. God save my honourable knight, and his worshipful lady.

Editor’s Note283

Ger. Y'are very welcome! You must not put on your hat yet.


Sec. No, madam; till I know your ladyship's further pleasure, I 285will not presume.


Ger. And is this a gentleman's daughter new come out of the 287country?


Sec. She is, madam; and one that her father hath a special care to 289bestow in some honourable lady's service, to put her out of her Editor’s Note290honest humours, forsooth, for she had a great desire to be a nun, an't 291please you.


Ger. A nun? What nun? A nun substantive? Or a nun adjective?


Sec. A nun substantive, madam, I hope, if a nun be a noun. But, 294I mean, lady, a vowed maid of that order.


Ger. I'll teach her to be a maid of the order I warrant you. And 296can you do any work belongs to a lady's chamber?


Sin. What I cannot do, madam, I would be glad to learn.


Ger. Well said, hold up then; hold up your head, I say; come 299hither a little.


Sin. I thank your ladyship.


Ger. And hark you (Good man, you may put on your hat now, 302I do not look on you) I must have you of my faction now; not of 303my knight's, maid.


Sin. No, forsooth, madam, of yours.

Editor’s Note305

Ger. And draw all my servants in my bow, and keep my counsel, 306and tell me tales, and put me riddles, and read on a book sometimes 307when I am busy, and laugh at country gentlewomen, and command 308anything in the house for my retainers, and care not what you spend, 309for it is all mine; and in any case, be still a maid whatsoever you do, 310or whatsoever any man can do unto you.


Sec. I warrant your ladyship for that.


Ger. Very well, you shall ride in my coach with me into the 313country tomorrow morning. Come, knight, pray thee let's make a 314short supper, and to bed presently.


Sec. Nay, good madam, this night I have a short supper at home 316waits on his worship's acceptation.

pg 379 Editor’s Note317

Ger. By my faith, but he shall not go, sir; I shall swoon and he sup 318from me.


Pet. Pray thee, forbear; shall he lose his provision?


Ger. Aye, by 'r Lady, sir, rather than I lose my longing. Come in 321I say: as I am a lady you shall not go.


Qui. I told him what a burr he had gotten.


Sec. If you will not sup from your knight, madam, let me entreat 324your ladyship to sup at my house with him.


Ger. No, by my faith, sir, then we cannot be abed soon enough, 326after supper.


Pet. What a medicine is this? Well, Master Security, you are new 328married as well as I; I hope you are bound as well: we must honour 329our young wives you know.


Qui. In policy, dad, till tomorrow she has sealed.


Sec. I hope in the morning yet your knighthood will breakfast 332with me.


Pet. As early as you will, sir.


Sec. Thank your good worship; I do hunger and thirst to do you 335good, sir.


Ger. Come sweet knight, come, I do hunger and thirst to be abed 337with thee.


Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
(II. ii) 4 vails: gains over and above his wages
Editor’s Note
6 punks: whores
Editor’s Note
13 ka me, ka thee: 'one good turn deserves another' (quibble on 'key' at l. 15)
Editor’s Note
22 scrape: i.e. shrape, a bait or snare
Editor’s Note
26 bravery: finery
Editor’s Note
27 shoot forth: play on 'trunk' as pea-shooter
Editor’s Note
30 Via: quibble on 'via' as 'away!' and 'a way'
curtain … Borgia : untraced
Editor’s Note
35–42 parody of an old ballad, given in H&S ix. 655
Editor’s Note
59 under-line: too low for correct play (in tennis)
Editor’s Note
60 the house: sloping roof on one side of the court and at the ends
brickwalled: from bricole, a stroke in which the ball rebounds from one of the walls of the court
Editor’s Note
61 hazard: opening in the inner wall of the court supporting 'the house' ('wide hazard' = sea
Editor’s Note
75 worshipful: DA III. iii. 8
Editor’s Note
81 long of: on account of
Editor’s Note
90 thirty or forty: the legal rate of interest was up to 10 per cent
Editor’s Note
126 prick: the centre of the target (archery)
Editor’s Note
151 engines: scheming, contrivance
Editor’s Note
166 festination: haste
Editor’s Note
175 presently: at once
Editor’s Note
179 Jew's-trump: usurer
Editor’s Note
182 peterman: fisherman
Editor’s Note
s.d. wand: rod
Editor’s Note
187 blown up: put out of business
Editor’s Note
213 commodity: goods (foisted on the borrower as part of the loan)
Editor’s Note
217 frail: quibble on 'frail', a basket
Editor’s Note
222 laid: set a watch
Editor’s Note
226 Counters: the two city prisons
Editor’s Note
237 foisting: evil-smelling
Editor’s Note
245 turnspit dog: which turned the spit by running in a wheel
Editor’s Note
252 cunning: EMO V. v. 18
Editor’s Note
254 clysters: enemas
Editor’s Note
259 Scotch knight: under Scottish law, marriage could be presumed simply from cohabitation
Editor’s Note
260 panadas: a dish made by boiling bread and flavouring it with sugar, nutmeg, or currants
Editor’s Note
270 entertain: employ
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283 not put on your hat: in deference to her 'ladyhood'
Editor’s Note
290 nun: Gertrude's mincing pronunciation of 'noun' (with play on nun = prostitute)
Editor’s Note
305 draw … in my bow : bend to my will
Editor’s Note
317 and: if
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