Act I, scene ix
Back at the wharf. Enter the Bosun.
I have shunned to speak full sentences
Which vacuous, in sense, though unbegun
And often endless – sometimes not, no doubt –
What fools may follow diligently or scan
For my mind inhabits now the borderland
Of curious polysemy – should these words
Contain one syllable that men can comprehend –
Then would the fair one rising in my sight
(I own her name were worth a pretty coin)
Be worth no more to me than yonder stoat
Who runs the travel-agents' in yond swamp,
Who falsifies the tickets of the folk
Who place their trust, right foolishly, him in
Whose late renown has been not of the best
Nor worst, alas; and on that note I leave ...
Enter Merchant.
Methought the Bosun should I find herein
His chin unshaved, his wrists but newly healed
His feet but lately dried, a poultice new
About his nether elbow tightly bound
In muscled agony; his sinews cleft
As sunbeams split the heavenkissing clouds
To strike the earth as I of late struck him
Upon the pate.
Enter the Boy.
                The bosun, is he here?
I bear a missive ...
                           You shall give it me!
An you but give me reason.
                                      That I shun!
Why so?
                You'll question me to death!
                                      Odd's nape
I'll not, unless it hap that so I do!
For godsake let's leap up and down, and tell
Sad stories of the death of sundry folk
Your so-called missive's nothing but a joke.
They leap up and down as predicted.
Enter the Bosun.
Ud's weasel! What's this jumping up and down?
What twofold choreographic expertise
Be practised herewithin? What several joys
Are to the skies resounded, that the Muse
Do put the leap within your limbs, and make you
Frog the human limb?
                           I cannot tell
Sir Bosun, for the cause, whereby I jump
In happy harmony with this weak knave
(Whose goading, I believe, may be the cause)
The whom I lately have encountered here,
Is likely not for th'ears of me or thee.
Perchance the lad can say?
                           Perchance ...
                                      or not,
Vile boy – I think the time is nigh at hand
When we this wild exertion must eschew
For my weak limbs do slack.
The Merchant stops jumping
                                      Thou art more puny
Than all the protozoa in yon pond
Where frogs do imitate inanest leapings
And leeches lurch, and water-beetles dive
Fro'th'highest board, in dizzy boldness clothed
And hungry snarl! Yes, punier art thou
Purulent Polo! Masticated Marco
Fool of the people ...
                           Polo am I not!
Such insults are the parody of years,
Years I have lived before your very birth!
An't please you, sir, my birth was not excessive,
Withal a stripling was I, nor a twin,
Nor octuplet, nor yet miscarriage I!
Not mighty Caesar did I emulate
Nor old Macduff, nor anybody else
Of birth unseemly. Therein lies my strength
Which with your weakness does a contrast make
So bold as doth the gods on high amaze
(They're easily surprised).
                           Though vomit's darling
Cur you be, I woot, and thus is known,
That if I had a needle thou'ldst be sewn,
Flesh upon flesh, and muscle, tendon, bone.

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