For I do mean To have a list of wives...

The Alchemist

Sir Epicure Mammon

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For I do mean

To have a list of wives and concubines,

Equal with Solomon, who had the stone

Alike with me; and I will make me a back

With the elixir, that shall be as tough

As Hercules, to encounter fifty a night.—

Thou'rt sure thou saw'st it blood?

[...]

I will have all my beds blown up, not stuft;

Down is too hard: and then, mine oval room

Fill'd with such pictures as Tiberius took

From Elephantis, and dull Aretine

But coldly imitated. Then, my glasses

Cut in more subtle angles, to disperse

And multiply the figures, as I walk

Naked between my succubae. My mists

I'll have of perfume, vapour'd 'bout the room,

To lose ourselves in; and my baths, like pits

To fall into; from whence we will come forth,

And roll us dry in gossamer and roses.—

Is it arrived at ruby?—Where I spy

A wealthy citizen, or [a] rich lawyer,

Have a sublimed pure wife, unto that fellow

I'll send a thousand pound to be my cuckold.

[...]

No. I'll have no bawds,

But fathers and mothers: they will do it best,

Best of all others. And my flatterers

Shall be the pure and gravest of divines,

That I can get for money. My mere fools,

Eloquent burgesses, and then my poets

The same that writ so subtly of the fart,

Whom I will entertain still for that subject.

The few that would give out themselves to be

Court and town-stallions, and, each-where, bely

Ladies who are known most innocent for them;

Those will I beg, to make me eunuchs of:

And they shall fan me with ten estrich tails

A-piece, made in a plume to gather wind.

We will be brave, Puffe, now we have the med'cine.

My meat shall all come in, in Indian shells,

Dishes of agat set in gold, and studded

With emeralds, sapphires, hyacinths, and rubies.

The tongues of carps, dormice, and camels' heels,

Boil'd in the spirit of sol, and dissolv'd pearl,

Apicius' diet, 'gainst the epilepsy:

And I will eat these broths with spoons of amber,

Headed with diamond and carbuncle.

My foot-boy shall eat pheasants, calver'd salmons,

Knots, godwits, lampreys: I myself will have

The beards of barbels served, instead of sallads;

Oil'd mushrooms; and the swelling unctuous paps

Of a fat pregnant sow, newly cut off,

Drest with an exquisite, and poignant sauce;

For which, I'll say unto my cook, "There's gold,

Go forth, and be a knight."

Ben Jonson, The Alchemist, Project Gutenberg [https://www.gutenberg.org/files/4081/4081-h/4081-h.htm#link2H40008]

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