guard are pleased with any lease of life (for some 999)|
especially those o' the boyling-house, they are to have
Medeas kettle hung up, that they may souse into it when
they will, and come out renew'd like so many strip'd
Snakes at their pleasure. But these are petty Engage-
ments, and (as I said) below the staires; Marry above
here, perpetuity of beauty, (do you hear, Ladies)
health, riches, honour; a matter of Immortality is no-
thing. 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 Phœnix: Lay you
an old Courtier o' the coales like a sawsedge, or a bloat
herring, and after they ha' broil'd him enough, blow a
soul into him with a pair of bellows, till he start up in-
to his Galliard, that was made when Monsieur was here.
They profess familiarly to melt down all the old sinners
o' the Suburbs once in a half-year, into fresh Gamesters
again. Get all the crack'd Maiden-heads, and cast 'em
into new Ingots, half the Wenches o' the Town are Al-
chymy. See, they begin to muster again, and draw their
Forces out against me! The Genius of the place defend
me. You that are both the Sol and Jupiter of this
Sphear, Mercury invokes your Majesty against the sooty
Tribe here; for in your favour only, I grow recover'd
At which time Vulcan entring with a troop of thredbare Al-
chymists, prepares them to the first Antimasque.
V U L C A N.
Egin your charm, sound musick, circle him in, and
take him: If he will not obey, bind him.
They all danc'd about Mercury with variety of changes,
whilst he defends himself with his Caduceus, and after the
M E R C U R Y.
T is vain Vulcan, to pitch your net in the sight of the
fowl thus: I am no sleepy Mars, to be catch'd i' your
subtile toys. I know what your aimes are, Sir, to tear
the wings from my head, and heels, lute me up in a glass,
with my own seals, while you might wrest the Caduceus
out of my hand, to the adultery and spoil of Nature, and
make your accesses by it, to her dishonor, more easie.
Sir, would you believe it should be come to that height
of impudence, in Mankind, that such a nest of fire-worms
as these are (because their Patron Mulciber heretofore
has made stools stir, and Statues dance, a dog of brass to
bark, and (which some will say, was his worst act, a
Woman to speak) should therefore with his heats call'd
Balnei, Cineris, or Horse-dung, profess to outwork the
Sun in vertue, and contend to the great act of generation,
nay almost creation? It is so, tho. For, in yonder vessels
which you see, in their laboratory, they have inclos'd
Materials, to produce Men, beyond the deeds of Deuca-
lion, or Prometheus (of which, one, they say, had the Phi-
losophers stone, and threw it over his shoulder, the other
the fire, and lost it.) And what men are they, they are
so busie about, think you? not common ordinary crea-
tures, but of rarity and excellence, such as the times
wanted, and the Age had a special deal of need of: such,
as there was a necessity, they should be artificial; for
Nature could never have thought or dreamt o'their com-
position. I can remember some o' their titles to you, and
the Ingredients do not look for Paracelsus man among 'em,
that he promised you out of white bread, and dele-wine,
for he never came to light. But of these, let me see; the
first that occurs; a Master of the Duel, a Carrier of the
differences. To him went spirit of ale, a good quantity,
with the Amalgama of sugar and nutmegs, oyl of Oaths,
sulphure of quarrel, strong Waters, Valour precipitate,
vapor'd o'er the helm with Tobacco, and the rosin of
Mars with a dram o' the business, for that's the word of
tincture, the business. I do understand the business. I
do find an affront i' the business. Then another is a Fen-
cer i' the Mathematicks, or the Towns cunning-man, a
creature of art too; a supposed Secretary to the Stars;
but, indeed, a kind of lying Intelligencer from those parts.
His materials, if I be not deceived, were juyce of Alma-
nacks, extraction of Ephemerides, scales of the Globe, filings
of Figures, dust o'the twelve Houses, conserve of Que-
stions, salt of Confederacy, a pound of Adventure, a
grain of Skill, and a drop of Truth. I saw Vegitals too,
as well as Minerals, put into one glass there, as Adders-
tongue, Title-bane, Nitre of Clients, Tartar of false
Conveyance, Aurum palpabile, with a huge deal of talk,
to which they added tincture of Conscience, with the fa-
ces of Honesty; but for what this was, I could not learn;
only I have over-heard one o' the Artists say, out o' the
corruption of a Lawyer was the best generation of a Bro-
ker in suits: whether this were he or no, I know not.
V U L C A N.
Hou art a scorner, Mercury, and out of the pride of
thy protection here, mak'st it thy study to revile
Art, but it will turn to thine own contumely soon. Call
forth the Creatures of the first class, and let them move
to the harmony of our heat, till the slanderer have seal'd
up his own lips, to his own torment.
M E R C U R Y.
E T 'hem come, let 'hem come, I would not wish a
greater punishment to thy impudence.
There enters the second Antimasque of imperfect Creature, with
helmes of lymbecks on their heads: Whose dance ended,
M E R C U R Y proceeded.
R T thou not asham'd, Vulcan, to offer in defence of
thy fire and Art, against the excellence of the Sun
and Nature, creatures more imperfect than the very flies
and insects, that are her trespasses and scapes? Vanish
with thy insolence, thou and thy impostors, and all men-
tion of you melt, before the Majesty of this light, whose
Mercury henceforth I profess 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 ri-
diculous Monsters and his absolute features.
At which the whole Scene changed to a glorious bowre, wherein
Nature was placed, with Prometheus at her feet; and the
twelve Masquers, standing about them. After they had been
a while viewed, Prometheus descended, and Nature after
N A T U R E.
O W young and fresh am I to night,|
To see't kept day by so much light,
And twelve my sons stand in their Makers 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 stepdame, but a mother.
Come forth, come forth, prove all the numbers|
That make perfection up, and may absolve you