The Devil Is an Ass
Satan. For what? The laming a poor cow or two?
Entering a sow to make her cast her farrow?
Or crossing of a market-woman’s mare
’Twixt this and Tottenham? (1.1.8–11)
Satan. [...] You have some plot now
Upon a tunning of ale, to stale the yeast,
Or keep the churn so that the butter come not
Spite o’ the housewife’s cord or her hot spit?
Or some good ribibeabout Kentish Town,
Or Hoxton, you would hang now for a witch,
Because she will not let you play round Robin? (1.1.12b-18)
Iniquity. Child of hell, this is nothing! I will fetch thee a leap
And lead thee a dance through the streets without fail,
Like a needle of Spain, with a thread at my tail.
We will survey the suburbs, and make forth our sallies
Down Petticoat Lane, and up the Smock Alleys,
To drink with the Dutch there, and take forth their patterns.
From thence we will put in at Custom House Quay there,
And see how the factors and prentices play there
False with their masters; and geld many a full pack,
To spend it in pies at the Dagger, and the Woolsack.
Pug. Brave, brave, Iniquity! Will not this do, chief?
Iniquity. Nay, boy, I will bring thee to the bawds and the roisters,
At Billingsgate, feasting with claret wine, and oysters,
And see there the gimlets, how they make their entry!
Or if thou hadst rather, to the Strand down to fall
’Gainst the lawyers come dabbled from Westminster Hall,
And mark how they cling with their clients together,
Like ivy to oak, so velvet to leather--
Ha, boy, I would show thee! (1.1.55–76a)
Satan. [...] So this morning
There is a handsome cutpurse hanged at Tyburn,
Whose spirit departed, you may enter his body[.] (1.2.139b-41)
Gilthead. [...] Our shop-books are our pastures, our corn-grounds,
We lay ’em op’n, for them to come into:
And when we have ’em there, we drive ’em up
In to’one of our two pounds, the Counters, straight,
And this is to make you a gentleman! (3.1.17–20).
Merecraft. [...] Buy him a captain’s place, for shame; and let him
Into the world early, and with his plume
And by the virtue’of those, draw down a wife
There from a window, worth ten thousand pound!
Get him the posture book, and’s leaden men
To set upon a table, ’gainst his mistress
Chance ot come by, that he may draw her in
Merecraft. I knew thou must take after somebody!
Thou couldst not be else. This was no shop-look!
I’ll ha’ thee Captain Gilthead, and march up,
And take in Pimlico, and kill the bush
At every tavern! (3.3.167–71a)
Fitzdottrel. Yes, here’s the ring: I ha’ sealed.
But there’s not so much gold in all the row, he says--
Till ’t come fro’ the Mint (3.5.1b-3a).
Wittipol. [...] Coach it to Pimlico; dance the saraband;
Hear and talk bawdy; laugh as loud, as a larum;
Squeak, spring, do anything (4.4.164–66a).
Merecraft. Well, and you went to a whore?
Ambler. No, sir. I durst not--
For fear it might arrive at somebody’s ear
It should not--trust myself to a common house,
(AMBLER tells this with extraordinary speed.)
But got the gentlewoman to go with me,
And carry her bedding to a conduit-head,
Hard by the place toward Tyburn, which they call
My Lord Mayor’s Banqueting House (5.1.23–29).
Iniquity. [...] And in the mena time, to be greasy and bouzy,
And nasty and filthy, and ragged and lousy,
With damn me, renounce me, and all the fine phrases,
That bring unto Tyburn the plentiful gazes (5.6.25–28).
Satan. [...] But that I would not such a damned dishonour
Stick on our state, as that the Devil were hanged,
And could not save a body, that he took
From Tyburn, but it must come hither again,
You should e’en ride (5.6.69–73a).
- Jonson, Ben. The Devil is an Ass. Ed. Peter Happé. Revels Plays. Manchester; New York: Manchester UP, 1996. Print.
This project is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.
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