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XXXVI.

VOLPONE; OR, THE FOX: A COMEDY.

BY THE SAME.

VOLPONE, a rich Venetian nobleman, who is without child.

ren, feigns himself to be dying, to draw gifts from such as pay their court to him in the expectation of becoming his heirs. Mosca, his knavish confederate, persuades each of these men in turn, that he is named for the inheritance, and by this means extrocts from their cre.

dulity many costly presents. VOLPONE, as on his death-bed. Mosca. CORBACCIO, an

old gentleman. Mos. Signior Corbaccio, You're very welcome, sir.

Corb. How does your patron ?
Mos. Troth, as he did, sir, no amends.
Corb. What? mends he?
Mos. No, sir, he is rather worse.
Corb. That's well. Where is he?
Mos. Upon his couch, sir, newly fall'n asleep.
Corb. Does he sleep well ?
Mos. No wink, sir, all this night,

10 Nor yesterday; but slumbers.

Corb. Good ! he shall take
Some counsel of physicians : I have brought him
An opiate here, from mine own doctor-

Mos. He will not hear of drugs.

Corb. Why? I myself Stood by, while it was made ; saw all th' ingredients; And know it cannot but most gently work. My life for his, 'tis but to make him sleep.

Volp. Ay, his last sleep if he would take it. 20

Mos. Sir,
He has no faith in physic.

Corb. Say you, say you ?
Mos. He has no faith in physic: he does think,
Most of your doctors are the greatest danger,
A worst disease t'escape. I often have
Heard him protest, that your physician
Should never be his heir.

Corb. Not I his heir ?
Mos. Not your physician, sir.

Corb. O, no, no, no,
I do not mean it.

Mos. No, sir, nor their fees
He cannot brook : he says they flay a man
Before they kill him.

Corb. Right, I do conceive you.

Mos. And then, they do it by experiment;
For which the law not only doth absolve 'em, 10
But gives them great reward ; and he is loth
To hire his death so.

Corb. It is true, they kill
With as much licence as a Judge.

Mos. Nay, more ;
For he but kills, sir, where the law condemns,
And these can kill him too.

Corb. Ay, or me,
Or any man. How does his apoplex ?
Is that strong on him still ?

20
Mos. Most violent.
His speech is broken, and his eyes are set,
His face drawn longer than 'twas wont.

Corb. How? how ? Stronger than he was wont ?

Mos. No, sir: his face Drawn longer than 'twas wont.

Corb. O, good.

Mos. His mouth
Is ever gaping, and his eyelids hang.

30 Corb. Good

Mos. A freezing numbness stiffens all his joints, And makes the colour of his flesh like lead.

Corb. 'Tis good.
Mos. His pulse beats slow, and dull.
Corb. Good symptoms still.
Mos. And from his brain-
Corb. Ha ? how ? not from his brain ?
Mos. Yes, sir, and from his brain-
Corb. I conceive you, good.

40 Mos. Flows a cold sweat, with a continual rheum Forth the resolved corners of his eyes.

Corb. Is 't possible ? yet I am better, ha!

How does he with the swimming of his head ?

Mos. 0, sir, 'tis past the scotomy; he now Hath lost his feeling, and hath left to snort : You hardly can perceive him that he breathes. Corb. Excellent, excellent, sure I shall outlast

him : This makes me young again a score of years.

Mos. I was coming for you, sir.

Corb. Has he made his will ?
What has he giv'n me?
Mos. No, sir.

10
Corb. Nothing? ha ?
Mos. He has not made his will, sir.

Corb. Oh, oh, oh.
What then did Voltore the lawyer here?

Mos. He smelt a carcase, sir, when he but heard
My master was about his testament;
As I did urge him to it for your good-

Corb. He came unto him, did he? I thought so.
Mos. Yes, and presented him this piece of plate.
Corb. To be his heir ?

20 Mos. I do not know, sir.

Corb. True,
I know it too.

Mos. By your own scale, sir.
Corb. Well, I shall prevent him yet. See Mosca,

look,
Here I have brought a bag of bright cecchines,
Will quite weigh down his plate.

Mos. Yea marry, sir,
This is true physic, this your sacred medicine ;
No talk of opiates, to this great elixir.

30
Corb. 'Tis aurum palpabile, if not potabile.
Mos. It shall be minister'd to him in his bowl ?
Corb. Ay, do, do, do.

Mos. Most blessed cordial.
This will recover him.

Corb. Yes, do, do, do,
Mos. I think it were not best, sir.
Corb. What?
Mos. To recover him.
Corb. O, no, no, no; by no means.

40 Mos. Why, sir, this

Will work some strange effect if he but feel it.
Corb. 'Tis true, therefore forbear; I'll take my

venture ; Give me't again.

Mos. At no hand ; pardon me
You shall not do yourself that wrong, sir. I
Will so advise you, you shall have it all.

Corb. How?

Mos. All sir, 'tis your right, your own ; no man Can claim a part ; 'tis yours without a rival, Decreed by destiny.

10
Corb. How? how, good Mosca ?
Mos. I'll tell you, sir. This fit he shall recover.
Corb. I do conceive you.

Mos. And on first advantage
Of his gain'd sense, will I re-importune him
Unto the making of his testament:
And shew him this.

Corb. Good, good.

Mos. 'Tis better yet, If you will hear, sir.

20 Corb. Yes, with all my heart. Mos. Now would I counsel you, make home with

speed; There frame a will ; whereto you shall inscribe My master your sole heir.

Corb. And disinherit My son ?

Mos. O sir, the better ; for that colour Shall make it much more taking.

Corb. O, but colour ?

Mos. This will, sir, you shall send it unto me. 30 Now, when I come to inforce (as I will do) Your cares, your watchings, and your many prayers, Your more than many gifts, your this day's present, And last produce your will ; where, (without thought, Or least regard unto your proper issue, A son so brave, and highly meriting) The stream of your diverted love hath thrown you Upon my master, and made him your heir : He cannot be so stupid, or stone-dead, But out of conscience, and mere gratitude- 40

Corb. He must pronounce me his?

10

Mos. 'Tis true.

Corb. This plot Did I think on before.

Mos. I do believe it.
Corb. Do you not believe it?
Mos. Yes, sir.
Corb. Mine own project.
Mos. Which when he hath done, sir-
Corb. Published me his heir ?
Mos. And you so certain to survive him-
Corb. Ay.
Mos. Being so lusty a man-
Corb. 'Tis true.
Mos. Yes, sir-
Corb. I thought on that too. See how he should be
The very organ to express my thoughts !

Mos. You have not only done yourself a good-
Corb. But multiplied it on my son.
Mos. 'Tis right, sir.
Corb. Still my invention.

20 Mos. 'Las, sir, heaven knows, It hath been all my study, all my care (I e'en grow grey withal) how to work things

Corb. I do conceive, sweet Mosca.

Mos. You are he,
For whom I labour, here.

Corb. Ay, do, do, do:
I'll straight about it.

Mos. Rook go with you, raven.
Corb. I know thee honest.
Mos. You do lie, sir-
Corb. Anda
Mos. Your knowledge is no better than your ears,

sir.
Corb. I do not doubt to be a father to thee.
Mos. Nor I to gull my brother of his blessing.
Corb. I may ha' my youth restored to me, why

not? Mos. Your worship is a precious ass— Corb. What say'st thou ? Mos. I do desire your worship to make haste, sir. Corb. 'Tis done, 'tis done, I go. [Exit. 40 Volp. O, I shall burst;

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