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Corvino.  Grave fathers, he is possessed; again, I say,  
    Possessed. Nay, if there be possession and  
    Obsession, he has both.  
3 Avocatore.                              Here comes our officer. 10
   
[Enter Volpone disguised.]  
   
Volpone.  The parasite will straight be here, grave fathers.  

4 Avocatore.  You might invent some other name, sir varlet.

 

3 Avocatore.  Did not the notary meet him?

 
Volpone.                                                     Not that I know.  
4 Avocatore.  His coming will clear all.  
2 Avocatore.                                       Yet it is misty.  
Voltore.  May’t please your fatherhoods--  
   

Volpone whispers [to] the Advocate.

 
Volpone.  [Aside to Voltore]            Sir, the parasite 15
    Willed me to tell you that his master lives;  
    That you are still the man; your hopes the same  

    And this was only a jest--

 

Voltore.                                                 How?

 

Volpone.                                                           Sir, to try

 

    If you were firm, and how you stood affected.

 
Voltore.  Art sure he lives?  
Volpone.                                   Do I live, sir?  
Voltore.                                                             O, me! 20
    I was too violent.  
Volpone.                                               Sir, you may redeem it.  
    They said you were possessed: fall down, and seem so.  
    I’ll help to make it good.                          Voltore falls.  
                                            God bless the man!  
    [Aside to Voltore.] Stop your wind hard, and swell. [Aloud.]  
    See, see, see, see!  
    He vomits crooked pins! His eyes are set 25
    Like a dead hare’s hung in a poulter’s shop!  
    His mouth’s running away! [To Corvino.] Do you see, Signor?  
    Now ‘tis in his belly--  
Corvino.                                    Ay, the devil!  
Volpone.  Now, in his throat  
Corvino.                                    Ay, I perceive it plain.  
Volpone.  ‘Twill out, ‘twill out!  Stand clear.  See where it flies 30
    In shape of a blue toad with a bat’s wings!  
    [To Corbaccio.]  Do not you see it, sir?  
Corbaccio.                                                   What?  I think I do.  
Corvino.  ‘Tis too manifest.  
Volpone.                                   Look! he comes t’himself!  
Voltore.  Where am I?  
Volpone.                       Take good heart, the worst is past, sir.  
    You are dispossessed.  
1 Avocatore.                              What accident is this? 35
2 Avocatore.  Sudden, and full of wonder!  
3 Avocatore.                                                      If he were  
    Possessed, as it appears, all this is nothing.  
[He indicates Voltore’s statement.]  
Corvino.  He has been often subject to these fits.  
1 Avocatore.  Show him that writing.  [To Voltore.]  Do you know it, sir?  
Volpone.  [Aside to Voltore.]  Deny it, sir, forswear it, know it not. 40
Voltore.  Yes, I do know it well, it is my hand;  
    But all that it contains is false.  
Bonario.                                                O practice!  
2 Avocatore.  What maze is this?  
1 Avocatore.                              Is he not guilty then,  
    Whom you there name the parasite?  
Voltore.                                                             Grave fathers,  
    No more than his good patron, old Volpone. 45
4 Avocatore.  Why, he is dead!  
Voltore.                                     O no, my honoured fathers,  
    He lives--  
1 Avocatore.  How! Lives?  
Voltore.                         Lives.  
2 Avocatore.                                          This is subtler yet!  
3 Avocatore.  You said he was dead?  
Voltore.                                        Never.  
3 Avocatore.  [To Corvino.]                      You said so?  
Corvino.                                                                  I heard so.  
4 Avocatore.  Here comes the gentleman, make him way.  
[Enter Mosca]  
3 Avocatore.                                                                 A stool!  
4 Avocatore.  A proper man!  [Aside]  And, were Volpone dead, 50
    A fit match for my daughter.  
3 Avocatore.                                          Give him way.  
Volpone.  [Aside to Mosca.]  Mosca, I was almost lost; the advocate  
    Had betrayed all; but now it is recovered.  
    All’s o’the hinge again.  Say I am living.  
Mosca.  What busy knave is this?  Most reverend fathers, 55
    I sooner had attended your grave pleasures,  
    But that my order for the funeral  
    Of my dear patron did require me--  
Volpone.  (Aside.)                                              Mosca!  
Mosca.  Whom I intend to bury like a gentleman.  
Volpone.  [Aside.]  Ay, quick, and cozen me of all.  
2 Avocatore.                                                      Still stranger! 60
    More intricate!  
1 Avocatore.                  And come about again!  
4 Avocatore.  [Aside.]  It is a match, my daughter is bestowed.  
Mosca.  (Aside to Volpone.)  Will you gi’ me half?  
Volpone.  [Half-aloud.]                            First I’ll be hanged.  
Mosca.  (Aside.)                                                             I know  
    Your voice is good, cry not so loud.  
1 Avocatore.                                                      Demand  
    The advocate.  Sir, did not you affirm 65
    Volpone was alive?  
Volpone.                                   Yes, and he is;  
    [Indicating Mosca.]  This gent’man told me so. (Aside to  
    Mosca)  Thou shalt have half.  
Mosca.  [Aloud.]  Whose drunkard is this same?  Speak some that know him;  
    I never saw his face.  (Aside to Volpone.)  I cannot now  
    Afford it you so cheap.  
Volpone.  (Aside.)                      No?  
1 Avocatore.  [To Voltore.]                      What say you? 70
Voltore.  The officer told me.  
Volpone.                                   I did, grave fathers,  
    And will maintain he lives with mine own life,  
    And that this creature told me.  (Aside.)  I was born  
    With all good stars my enemies!  
Mosca.                                                  Most grave fathers,  
    If such an insolence as this must pass 75
    Upon me, I am silent; ‘twas not this  
    For which you sent, I hope.  
2 Avocatore.  [Indicating Volpone.]  Take him away.  
Volpone.  (Aside.)  Mosca!  
3 Avocatore.                              Let him be whipped.  
Volpone.  (Aside.)                                              Wilt thou betray me?  
    Cozen me?  
3 Avocatore.                  And taught to bear himself  
    Toward a person of his rank.  
4 Avocatore.                                          Away!               [Volpone is seized.] 80
Mosca.  I humbly thank your fatherhoods.  
Volpone.                                               Soft, soft.  [Aside.]  Whipped?  
    And lose all that I have?  If I confess,  
    It cannot be much more.  
4 Avocatore.  [To Mosca.]           Sir, are you married?  
Volpone.  [Aside.]  They’ll be allied anon; I must be resolute.  
    The Fox shall here uncase.                   He puts off his disguise.  
Mosca.  (Aside.)                                    Patron!  
Volpone.                                                           Nay, now 85
    My ruins shall not come alone.  Your match  
    I’ll hinder sure; my substance shall not glue you,  
    Nor screw you, into a family.  
Mosca.  (Aside.)                                    Why, patron!  
Volpone.  I am Volpone, and this [Indicating Mosca.] is my knave;  
    This [Indicating Voltore.] his own knave; this, [Indicating Corbaccio.] avarice’s fool; 90
    This [Indicating Corvino.], a chimera of wittol, fool and knave.  
    And, reverend fathers, since we all can hope  
    Nought but a sentence, let’s not now despair it.  
    You hear me brief.