Dramatis Personae

Volpone, a Magnifico.
Mosca, his Parasite.
Voltore, an Advocate.
Corbaccio, an old Gentleman.
Corvino, a Merchant.
Bonario, son to Corbaccio.
Sir Politick Would-be, a Knight.
Peregrine, a Gentleman Traveller.
Nano, a Dwarf.
Castrone, an Eunuch.
Androgyno, an Hermaphrodite.

Grege (or Mob)
Commandadori, Officers of Justice.
Mercatori, three Merchants.
Avocatori, four Magistrates.
Notario, the Register.
Lady Would-be, Sir Politick’s Wife.
Celia, Corvino’s Wife.
Servitori, Servants, two Waiting- women, etc.


The Argument

Volpone, childless, rich, feigns sick, despairs,
Offers his state to hopes of several heirs,
Lies languishing: his parasite receives
Presents of all, assures, deludes; then weaves
Other cross plots, which ope themselves, are told.
New tricks for safety are sought; they thrive: when bold,
Each tempts the other again, and all are sold.


Now, luck yet send us, and a little wit
Will serve to make our play hit;
(According to the palates of the season)
Here is rhime, not empty of reason.
This we were bid to credit from our poet,
Whose true scope, if you would know it,
In all his poems still hath been this measure,
To mix profit with your pleasure;
And not as some, whose throats their envy failing,
Cry hoarsely, All he writes is railing:
And when his plays come forth, think they can flout them,
With saying, he was a year about them.
To this there needs no lie, but this his creature,
Which was two months since no feature;
And though he dares give them five lives to mend it,
’Tis known, five weeks fully penn’d it,
From his own hand; without a co-adjutor,
Novice, journey- man, or tutor.
Yet thus much I can give you as a token
Of his play’s worth, no eggs are broken,
Nor quaking custards with fierce teeth affrighted,
Wherewith your rout are so delighted;
Nor hales he in a gull old ends reciting,
To stop gaps in his loose writing;
With such a deal of monstrous and forced action,
As might make Bethlem a faction:
Nor made he his play for jests stolen from each table,
But makes jests to fit his fable
And so presents quick comedy refined,
As best critics have designed;
The laws of time, place, persons he observeth,
From no needful rule he swerveth.
All gall and copperas from his ink he draineth,
Only a little salt remaineth,
Wherewith he’ll rub your cheeks, till red, with laughter,
They shall look fresh a week after

  By PanEris using Melati.

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