Act I, scene iv
The scene, a busy commercial centre where sacks of corn are bought and sold (though not by the same people) and where money is changing hands. Putresco takes Merchant aside.
Tell me, sir, wherein the merchant's trade
Of profit, and of usury perhaps,
Might suffer to allow perusal of this
Unsightly crowd, the which since nigh on dawn
Has quobbled o'er the price of sundry sacks.
This, Putresco, sir, is not the place
Where to discuss in strictest confidence
The motives of my friends; come in awhile
And see my newest scheme, the which in bed
I dreamed of, and have here set down.
Shows book.
                                      Good sir!
This doth amaze me like the cats that stray
Among the graves of those that hate the King.
It pleases you no whit ungreatly, sir?
As little as the rouge which whores affect,
Wherewith to kindle the desires of men
Intemperate; as little as permits
The stubborn mind to reach beyond itself
Beyond that border unbeknown to him
Who toes no straighter line than curves about
The vast bay of Basibode before,
And comes to rest between his father's shins
Yet unrevealed.
                           Despite the coming tide,
I fear my ships will never leave the shore
To fill the King's persuasion. An I do not,
Will you fulfil the honour, meet the due?
Why seek you this? My plans are not unseen
By those that scan the rude commercial press
And hawk those columns for a profit or two.
But yet, perplexed, hold commerce as your aim
And scorn th'abuse of mercantile retreats
While not withholding anything you need!
I, who know the seas, what need I now
Of plotters, who expect my help; with low
Groans I shall not help my trading plans,
Or yours.
                Thus mine will flourish when the King
Withholds his sweet commandment 'No-one sing!'
Exit Merchant
In time to come, who shall remember me?
My tomes of crime forgot, I shall decease
As leaves in autumn fall, and pigs expire.
Who shall remember me? My faults are all
Embossed on coins that shimmer in the mart
As from one palsied palm to cankered curs
Or gangrened goats. Who shall remember aught
Of noble thoughts that stumbled through my mind,
Possessing all, though unpossessed by man,
Suppressing laws unwanted in these trials,
Obsessed by everything I see and do.
Sequestered from the obsequies of small
Unknowing thugs who falter down the lanes
And here and there collapse, and, lifeless, die
As if their lives had hated them, and fled
To bottled beer in hovels on the hills,
Which sets them coughin' hoarsely in their sleeves,
As does a hangman when his daughters die
And dangle, haughty, from the gallows-tree
Which I myself shall emulate in mine.
O, Willet, come! O, semipalmate one,
Decrier of the King, who rent my crutch
In seven parts, come, breathe my last, and die!
Who shall remember me?
He falls in a swound as the Merchant enters.
                           Who's this faint knave,
His trousers round his throat, his knees awry?
Belike, he is the self and same Putresco
Whom I betimes have concoursed with in speech
(And speech no whit bereft of scandal, I'll be
Bound). Perhaps I'll nail him to my horse
And hie me with him to some market-place
And hang his wallet from a hazel tree
Where hazel grow, I woot. Oh, woot, woot, woot,
I'll plant thee, and a waspberry tree shall grow
Of supernatural powers possessed – of fruit
That magic holds. Now come, my steed, Jerome!
Enter a mercantile steed, whereupon is slung Putresco. Exit merchant plus horse.

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