[Exit the JUGGLER.
Now, kind spectators, I dare boldly say,
You all are welcome to our author’s play:
Be still awhile, and, ere we go,
We’ll make your eyes with laughter flow.
Let Momus’ mates judge how they list.
We fear not what they babble;
Nor any paltry poet’s pen
Amongst that rascal rabble.
But time forbids me further speech,
My tongue must stop her race;
My time is come, I must be dumb,
And give the actors place.
GRIPE, an Usurer.
PLOD-ALL, a Farmer.
SOPHOS, a Scholar.
CHURMS, a Lawyer.
FORTUNATUS, Gripe’s son.
LELIA, Gripe’s daughter.
PETER PLOD-ALL, Plod-all’s son.
PEG, Nurse’s daughter.
An Old Man.
Enter GRIPE, solus.
A heavy purse makes a light heart. O, the consideration of this pouch, this pouch! Why, he that has money has heart’s ease, and the world in a string. O, this rich chink and silver coin! it is the consolation of the world. I can sit at home quietly in my chair, and send out my angels by sea and by land, and bid—Fly, villains, and fetch in ten in the hundred. Ay, and a better penny too. Let me see: I have but two children in all the world to bestow my goods upon—Fortunatus, my son, and Lelia, my daughter. For my son, he follows the wars, and that which he gets with swaggering he spends in swaggering. But I’ll curb him; his allowance, whilst I live, shall be small, and so he shall be sure not to spend much: and if I die, I will leave him a portion that, if he will be a good husband, and follow his father’s steps, shall maintain him like a gentleman, and if he will not, let him follow his own humour till he be weary of it, and so let him go. Now for my daughter, she is my only joy, and the staff of my age; and I have bestowed good bringing-up upon her, by’r Lady. Why, she is e’en modesty itself; it does me good to look on her. Now, if I can hearken out some wealthy marriage for her, I have my only desire. Mass, and well-remembered: here’s my neighbour Plod-all hard by has but one only son; and let me see—I take it, his lands are better than five thousand pounds. Now, if I can make a match between his son and my daughter, and so join his land and my money together—O, ’twill be a blessed union. Well, I’ll in, and get a scrivener: I’ll write to him about it presently. But stay, here comes Master Churms the lawyer; I’ll desire him to do so much.
Good morrow, Master Gripe.
O, good morrow, Master Churms. What say my two debtors, that I lent two
hundred pound to? Will they not pay use and charges of suit?