If This Be Not a Good Play – Act 4, Scene 1

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Enter BARTERVILE like a Turk; and LURCHALL

Thou hadst, like t’ha’ sent me swearing into Hell.
I’ll wear my nets myself; how dost thou like me?
Is not this habit Turk-merchant-like?

A mere Turk, sir, none can take you for less.

King borrow thirty thousand chequeens of me!  Ha, ha!

But pray, sir, what is’t turns you into a Turk?

That for which many their religion,
Most men their faith, all change their honesty:
Profit, that gilded god, commodity.
He that would grow damn’d-rich, yet live secure,
Must keep a case of faces, sometimes demure,
Sometimes a grum-surly sir, now play the Jew,
Then the Precisian.  Not a man we’ll view
But varies so.  Myself, of bashful nature,
Am thus supplied by art.

Mine own dear sir!
But, sir, your aims and ends in this?

Marry, these:
A hundred thousand florins fill my coffers;
Some of it is mine own, and some the king’s;
Some taken up at use of sundry merchants
To ply at six six months, or mine own banc,
Sue that, I’ll keep the monies in my hand.

You’ll break, sir.

Not mine own neck, but their backs;
To get their monies, Bartervile must die,
Make will, name an executor, which is I.


Given out his kinsman, lately employed
By him in Turkey.

What will hence befall?

Like an executor will I cozen all,
Make creditors orphans, and widows spend those tears
They sav’d from their late husband’s burials;
They get not two pence i’th’ pound.

They’ll tell the king.

The king!  Ha, ha!
The king is going this way; he means to borrow,
If the wars hold, my gold; yes; when?  To-morrow!
All debts of mine on him shall be confer’d.
I ha’ briefs and tickets which from time to time
Show what large sums his minions ha’ fetch’d from me;
His tribute money has pay’d it; that’s no matter;
The world bites them dead whom alive they flatter,
And so must I.  Then give it out I left
A complete state, but the king’s death bereft
Me of those sums he owed.

Say the king prevails.

With that wind must I likewise shift my sails,
And where the fox gets nothing, will turn ape,
Make legs, crouch, kiss my paw, present some stale
Device of virtues triumph to express
How much I joy him safe, wish nothing less.

But how can you excuse your turning Turk?

Easiest of all:  I’ll swear this sav’d my life;
Pursued by kennels of barking creditors
For my much love to him, and thus being forc’d
To walk obscure, my credit fell to wrack,
Want of return made all my factors break
In parts remote; to recompense which loss,
And that with safety I may give direction
To my disturb’d state, crave I the king’s protection.

Protection!  What’s that?

A merchant, and yet knowst not
What a protection is!  I’ll tell thee.

Pray, sir, for I never broke with any man.

It is a buckler of large fair compass
Quilted within with fox-skins; in the midst
A pike sticks out, sometimes of two years long
And sometimes longer.  And this pike keeps off
Sergeants and bailiffs, actions, and arrests.
‘Tis a strong charm ‘gainst all the noisome smells
Of Counters, gaolers, garnishes, and such hells;
By this, a debtor craz’d, so lusty grows
He may walk by, and play with his creditors’ nose.
Under this buckler, here I’ll lie and fence.

You have out-reach’d me.

I’ll out-reach the devil.
But I tempt danger; go thou and fetch some friar
As if, at point of death, I did desire,
No, Bartervile did desire, to make confession.
If any creditors beat or rail at door,
Up starts this Turk and answers them.

Why fetch I a friar?

I have a reaching plot in that, boy.  Hasten,
That we may smile in our securer port,
Seeing others sea-toss’d.  Why, ‘tis but a sport
For him that’s safe, to see the proud waves swallow
Whole fleets of wretched souls; it needs must follow,
Nature sent man into the world, alone,
Without all company, but to care for one,
And that I’ll do.

True city doctrine, sir.

Away, thy haste, our richest love shall earn.

I came to teach, but now methinks must learn.                                   [Exeunt.


Proceed to the next scene


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