| Loud music. After
which the Scene is discov-
ered ; being a
Laboratory or Alchemist's work-
house : VULCAN
looking to the registers, while
tending the fire, to the cornets be-
gan to sing.
subtile fire, thou soul of art,
Now do thy part
On weaker nature,
that through age is lamed.
Take but thy time, now she is old,
And the sun her friend grown cold,
She will no more
in strife with thee be named.
Look, but how few
confess her now,
In cheek or brow !
From every head,
almost, how she is frighted !
The very age abhors her so,
That it learns to speak and go,
As if by art alone
it could be righted.
The Song ended, MERCURY
appeared, thrusting out
and afterward his body, at the tun-
nel of the middle
furnace : which
ing, cried out to the
Vul. Stay, see ! our Mercury is coming
art and all the elements assist !
Call forth our
philosophers. He will be gone. He will
rate. Dear Mercury ! help.
He flies. He is
scaped. Precious golden Mercury, be fixt :
not so volatile ! Will none of
the sons of art
In which time MERCURY
having ran once or twice
about the room, takes breath, and speaks.
Mer. Now the place and goodness
of it pro-
tect me. One tender-hearted creature
save Mercury, and free him. Ne'er an
tlewoman in the house, that has a wrinkle about
her to hide me in ? I could run
into a serving-
woman's pocket now ; her glove, any little
Some merciful verdingale among so
bounteous, and undertake me : I will stand close
up, any where, to escape this polt-footed philos-
opher, old Smug here of Lemnos, and his smoaky
family. Has he given me time to
breathe ! O
the variety of torment that I
have endured in
the reign of the Cyclops,
beyond the most
exquisite wit of tyrants ! The whole
of them are become Alchemists, since their trade
of armor-making failed them, only to keep them-
selves in fire, for this winter :
for the mischief
a secret that they know, above the
of coals, and drawing of usquebagh ! howsoever
they may pretend, under the specious names of
Geber, Amold, Lully, Bombast of Hohenhein,
to commit miracles in art, and treason
nature. And, as if the title of
creature of glory, were to be fetched
out of a
furnace, abuse the curious and credulous nation
of metal-men through the
world, and make
Mercury their instrument.
I am their crude,
and their sublimate ; their precipitate, and
unctuous ; their male and their
female ; some-
times their hermaphrodite : what
they list to
style me. It is I, that
am corroded, and ex-
alted, and sublimed, and reduced, and
over, and filtered, and wash'd, and wiped ; what
between their salts and their sulfurs,
and their tartars, their brines and their
you might take me out now a soused Mercury,
now a salted Mercury, now a smoaked and dried
Mercury, now a powdered
and pickled Mercury :
never herring, oyster, or cucumber past so many
vexations. My whole life with them
an exercise of torture : one, two,
and five times an hour have they made me dance
the philosophical circle, like an ape
hoop, or a dog in a wheel. I am
indeed : they eat or smell no roast-meat
my name. I am their bill
of credit still, that
passes for their victuals and house-room.
through me, they have got this
corner of the
Court to cozen in, where they shark for a
gry diet below stairs, and cheat upon your under-
officers, promising mountains for their meat, and
all upon Mercury's security. A poor
the larder, they have made obstinately
he shall be physician for
the household next
summer ; they will give him a quantity
quintessence, shall serve him to cure
the mormal o' the shin, take away the
in the nose, and Mercury is engaged for
child of the scullery steals all
their coals for
them too, and he is bid sleep secure,
find a corner of the philosophers' stone for 't un-
der his bolster, one day, and have the
inverted. Against which, one day
I am to de-
liver the buttery in, so many firkins
potabile, as it delivers out bombards of bouge to
them, between this and that.
For the pantry,
they are at a certainty with me,
and keep a
tally, an ingot, a loaf, or a wedge of some
pounds weight, which is nothing of
trifle. And so the black-guards
with any lease of life, (for some 999,) especially
those of the boiling-house, they
are to have
Medea's kettle hung up, that they
into it when they will, and come out
like so many stript snakes
at their pleasure.
But these are petty engagements, and, as I said
below the stairs ; marry above here, perpetuity
of beauty, (do you hear, ladies?) health, riches,
honor ; a matter of
immortality is nothing.
They will calcine you a grave matron, as it might
be a mother o' the maids, and spring up a young
virgin, out of her ashes, as fresh as a
lay you an old courtier on the coals
like a sau-
sage, or a bloat herring, and after
broiled him enough, blow a soul into him
a pair of bellows, till he start up
into his gal-
liard, that was made when Monsieur was here.
They profess familiarly to melt down all the old
sinners of the suburbs once in a half-year,
fresh gamesters again ; get all the crack'd maid-
enheads, and cast them into new ingots
the wenches of the town are alchemy.
they begin to muster again, and
forces out against me ! the Genius of the place
defend me ! You that are both
the Sol and
Jupiter of this sphere, Mercury invokes
majesty against the sooty tribe
here ; for in
your favor only, I grow recovered and warm.
At which time VULCAN
entering with a troop of
prepares them to the
Vul. Begin your charm,
sound music, circle
him in, and take him : if he will not
They all danced about MERCURY
with variety of
changes, whilst he defends himself with his
Caduceus, and after the DANCE, speaks.
Mer. It is in vain,
Vulcan, to pitch your net
in the sight of the fowl
thus : I am no sleepy
Mars, to be catch'd in your
subtile toils. I
know what your aims are, sir, to tear the
from my head and heels, lute me
up in a glass
with my own seals, while you might
Caduceus out of my hand, to the adultery
spoil of nature, and make your accesses by it, to
her dishonor, more easy. Sir, would you believe
it should be come to that height of
in mankind, that such a nest of
these are, because their patron Mulciber hereto-
fore has made stools stir, and statues
dog of brass to bark, and (which some will
was his worst act) a woman to
therefore with their heats call'd Balnei
or horse-dung, profess to outwork
the sun in
virtue, and contend to the great act
tion, nay almost creation ? It is so,
though : for
in yonder vessels which you see in their
tory, they have inclosed materials
men, beyond the deeds of Deucalion, or Prome-
theus ; of which, one, they say, had
ophers' stone, and threw it over
the other the fire, and lost it.
And what men
are they, they are so busy about,
think you ?
not common ordinary creatures, but
and excellence, such as the times
the age had a special deal of need of
there was a necessity, they should be
for nature could never have thought
of their composition. I can remember
their titles to you, and the ingredients
; do not
look for Paracelsus' man among them,
promised you out of white bread and Dele-wine,
for he never came to light. But of these
see ; the first that occurs ; a master of the
a carrier of the differences. To him
of ale, a good quantity, with the
sugar and nutmegs, oil
of oaths, sulfur of
quarrel, strong waters, valor precipitate, vapored
o'er the helm with tobacco, and
the rosin of
Mars with a drachm of the business, for
the word of tincture, the business. Let me
with the business. I will carry
the business. I
do understand the business. I do find an affront
in the business. Then another is
a fencer in the
mathematics, or the town's cunning-man, a crea-
ture of art too ; a supposed
secretary to the
stars ; but, indeed, a kind of lying
from those parts. His materials,
if I be not
deceived, were juice of almanacs, extraction of
ephemerides, scales of the globe, filings
ures, dust of the twelve houses,
questions, salt of confederacy, a pound of adven-
ture, a grain of skill, and a
drop of truth. I
saw vegetals too, as well as minerals,
one glass there, as adder's-tongue,
nitre of clients, tartar of false
rum palpabile, with a huge deal of talk, to which
they added tincture of conscience, with the faces
of honesty ; but for what this
was, I could not
learn ; only I have overheard one of
say, out o' the corruption of a lawyer
best generation of a broker in suits : whether this
were he or no, I know not.
Vul. Thou art a scorner, Mercury,
and out of
the pride of thy protection here, makest
study to revile art, but it will turn
to thine own
contumely soon. Call forth the creatures of
first class, and let them move to the harmony of
our heat, till the slanderer have
sealed up his
own lips, to his own torment.
Mer. Let them come, let them come,
not wish a greater punishment
to thy impu-
Enter the second ANTIMASQUE,
of imperfect crea-
tures, with helms
of limbecks on their heads :
whose dance ended,
Mer. Art thou not
ashamed, Vulcan, to offer,
in defense of thy power and
art, against the
excellence of the sun and
more imperfect than the very flies
that are her trespasses and scapes
with thy insolence, thou and thy impostors,
all mention of you melt before
the majesty of
this light, whose Mercury henceforth
to be, and never
again the philosophers'.
Vanish, I say, that
all who have but their
senses, may see and judge the difference between
thy ridiculous monsters and
his absolute fea-
At which the whole scene changed
to a glorious
bower, wherein NATURE
was placed, with PRO-
at her feet, and the twelve Masquers
them. After they had been a
while viewed, PROMETHEUS
descended, and Na-
ture after him,
Nat. How young and fresh am I to-night,
To see't kept day by so much light.
And twelve my sons
stand in their maker's sight ?
Help, wise Prometheus, something must be done,
To shew they are the creatures of the Sun ;
That each to other
Is a brother,
And Nature here
no step-dame, but a mother.
Cho. Come forth, come forth, prove all the
That make perfection up, and may absolve you men.
Nat. But shew thy winding ways and
Thy risings, and thy timely starts,
fire from ladies eyes and hearts.
Those softer circles are the young man's heaven,
And there more orbs and planets are than seven,
To know whose motion
Were a notion
As worthy of youth's study, as devotion.
Cho. Come forth, come forth, prove all the
time will gain,
For Nature bids the best, and never bade in vain.
HERE THE FIRST DANCE.
after which this
Pro. How many 'mongst these ladies
Wish now they such a mother were !
Not one, I fear,
And read it in their laughters :
There's more, I guess, would wish to be my daughters.
Pro. You think they would not be so
For so much glory.
I think that thought so told
Is no false piece of story.
'Tis yet with them but beauty's noon,
They would not grandames be too soon.
Is that your sex's humor ?
'Tis then since Niobe was chang'd that they have left
Cho. Move, move again, in forms as
'Tis form allures.
Then move, the ladies here are store.
Pro. Nature is Motion's mother, as
Cho. The spring whence order flows,
that all directs,
And knits the causes with the effects.
HERE THEY DANCE THE
Then they dance with the Ladies ;
Then their last Dance.
AFTER WHICH, PROMETHEUS CALLS
TO THEM IN THIS
What ! have you done
So soon ?
And can you from such beauty part ?
You'll do a wonder more than I.
I woman with her ills did fly ;
But you their good, and them deny.
Sure each hath left his heart
In pawn to come again, or else he durst not start.
They are loth to go
Or sure they are no sons of mine.
There is no banquet, boys, like this,
If you hope better, you will miss ;
Stay here, and take each one a kiss
Which if you can refine,
The taste knows no such cates, nor
yet the palate
No cause of tarrying shun,
They are not worth his light, go backward
WITH WHICH IT ENDED.