All the wise world is little else, in nature, but parasites, or sub-parasites

From Ben Jonson’s Volpone (3.1). Mosca the parasite’s apotheosis of parasites.

I fear, I shall begin to grow in love
With my dear self, and my most prosperous parts,
They do so spring and burgeon; I can feel
A whimsy in my blood: I know not how,
Success hath made me wanton. I could skip
Out of my skin, now, like a subtle snake,
I am so limber. O! your parasite
Is a most precious thing, dropt from above,
Not bred ‘mongst clods and clot-poles, here on earth.
I muse, the mystery was not made a science,
It is so liberally professed! almost
All the wise world is little else, in nature,
But parasites, or sub-parasites. And yet,
I mean not those that have your bare town-art,
To know who’s fit to feed ’em; have no house,
No family, no care, and therefore mould
Tales for men’s ears, to bait that sense; or get
Kitchen-invention, and some stale receipts
To please the belly, and the groin; nor those,
With their court-dog-tricks, that can fawn and fleer,
Make their revenue out of legs and faces,
Echo my-Lord, and lick away a moth:
But your fine, elegant rascal, that can rise,
And stoop (almost together) like an arrow;
Shoot through the air, as nimbly as a star;
Turn short as doth a swallow; and be here,
And there, and here, and yonder, all at once;
Present to any humour, all occasion;
And change a visor swifter than a thought!
This is the creature had the art born with him;
Toils not to learn it, but doth practise it
Out of most excellent nature: and such sparks
Are the true parasites, others but their zanies.

The OED gives zany/zanies as “A comic performer attending on a clown, acrobat, or mountebank, who imitates his master’s acts in a ludicrously awkward way; a clown’s or mountebank’s assistant, a merry-andrew, jack-pudding; sometimes used vaguely for a professional jester or buffoon in general.”

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