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A monologue from the play by Christopher Marlowe
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Masterpieces of the English Drama. Ed. William Lyon Phelps. New York: American Book Company, 1912.
[Discovered in his counting house,
With heaps of gold before him.]
So that of thus much that return was made;
And of the third part of the Persian ships
There was the venture summ’d and satisfied.
As for those Samnites, and the men of Uz,
That brought my Spanish oils and wines of Greece,
Here have I purs’d their paltry silverlings.
Fie, what a trouble ’tis to count this trash!
Well fare the Arabians, who so richly pay
The things they traffic for with wedge of gold,
Whereof a man may easily in a day
Tell that which may maintain him all his life.
The needy groom, that never finger’d groat,
Would make a miracle of thus much coin;
But he whose steel-barr’d coffers are cramm’d full,
And all his life-time hath been tired,
Wearying his fingers’ ends with telling it,
Would in his age he loath to labour so,
And for a pound to sweat himself to death.
Give me the merchants of the Indian mines,
That trade in metal of the purest mould;
The wealthy Moor, that in the eastern rocks
Without control can pick his riches up,
And in his house heap pearl like pebble stones,
Receive them free, and sell them by the weight!
Bags of fiery opals, sapphires, amethysts,
Jacinths, hard topaz, grass-green emeralds,
Beauteous rubies, sparkling diamonds,
And seld-seen costly stones of so great price,
As one of them, indifferently rated,
And of a carat of this quantitiy,
May serve, in peril of calamity,
To ransom great kings from captivity.
This is the ware wherein consists my wealth;
And thus methinks should men of judgment frame
Their means of traffic from the vulgar trade,
And, as their wealth increaseth, so inclose
Infinite riches in a little room.