Every Man in His Humour

by

Ben Jonson

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Wellbred is a roguish young gallant with a taste for mischief. He is Downright’s half-brother, and deliberately causes much of the confusion that runs throughout the play (e.g. Kitely and Dame Kitely’s corresponding fears that the other is being adulterous). His letter to Edward, a friend, puts the play in motion, inviting the latter man to meet him at the Old Jewry. Wellbred enjoys exposing and mocking the foolishness of others—such as Matthew’s propensity for awful poetry—seeing this as fair game for a man like himself. Wellbred also orchestrates Edward’s marriage to Mistress Bridget.

Wellbred Quotes in Every Man in His Humour

The Every Man in His Humour quotes below are all either spoken by Wellbred or refer to Wellbred. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Oxford University Press edition of Every Man in His Humour published in 2009.
Act 3, Scene 1 Quotes

STEPHEN: Ay, truly, sir, I am mightily given to melancholy.

MATTHEW: Oh, it's your only fine humour, sir: your true melancholy breeds your perfect fine wit, sir. I am melancholy myself, divers times, sir, and then do I no more but take pen and paper presently, and overflow you half a score, or a dozen of sonnets at a sitting.

Related Characters: Master Stephen (speaker), Master Matthew (speaker), Edward Knowell, Wellbred
Related Symbols: Poetry
Page Number: 42
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 3, Scene 2 Quotes

EDWARD: Ay, by his leave, he is, and under favour: a pretty piece of civility! Sirrah, how dost thou like him?

WELLBRED: Oh, it's a most precious fool, make much on him: I can compare him to nothing more happily than a drum; for every one may play upon him.

Related Characters: Edward Knowell (speaker), Wellbred (speaker), Brainworm, Master Stephen
Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 4, Scene 8 Quotes

No harm done, brother, I warrant you: since there is no harm done, Anger costs a man nothing: and a tall man is never his own man, till he be angry. To keep his valour in obscurity, is to keep himself, as it were, in a cloak bag. What's a musician, unless he play? What's a tall man, unless he fight? For, indeed, all this, my wise brother stands upon, absolutely: and that made me fall in with him so resolutely.

Related Characters: Wellbred (speaker), Downright, Kitely
Page Number: 78
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 5, Scene 1 Quotes

JUSTICE CLEMENT: I see, rank fruits of a jealous brain, mistress Kitely: but did you find your husband there, in that case, as you suspected?

KITELY: I found her there, sir.

JUSTICE CLEMENT: Did you, so? that alters the case. Who gave you knowledge of your wife's being there?

KITELY: Marry, that did my brother Wellbred.

JUSTICE CLEMENT: How? Wellbred first tell her? then tell you, after? Where is Wellbred?

KITELY: Gone with my sister, sir, I know not whither.

JUSTICE CLEMENT: Why, this is a mere trick, a device; you are gulled in this most grossly, all!

Related Characters: Kitely (speaker), Justice Clement (speaker), Wellbred, Dame Kitely
Page Number: 90
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 5, Scene 2 Quotes

JUSTICE CLEMENT: Nay, keep out, sir; I know not your pretence. You send me word, sir, you are a soldier: why, sir, you shall be answered, here, here be them that have been amongst soldiers. Sir, your pleasure.

BOBADIL: Faith, sir, so it is, this gentleman, and myself, have been most uncivilly wronged, and beaten, by one Downright, a coarse fellow, about the town, here, and for mine own part, I protest, being a man in no sort given to this filthy humour of quarrelling, he hath assaulted me in the way of my peace; despoiled me of mine honour; disarmed me of my weapons; and rudely, laid me along, in the open streets: when I not so much as once offered to resist him.

JUSTICE CLEMENT: Oh God's precious! Is this the soldier? Here, take my armour off quickly, ‘twill make him swoon, I fear; he is not fit to look on't, that will put up a blow.

Related Characters: Captain Bobadil (speaker), Justice Clement (speaker), Wellbred, Downright
Related Symbols: Swords
Page Number: 90-91
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Every Man in His Humour LitChart as a printable PDF.
Every Man in His Humour PDF

Wellbred Character Timeline in Every Man in His Humour

The timeline below shows where the character Wellbred appears in Every Man in His Humour. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 2
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Old Knowell reads the letter, which is from Wellbred, a roguish London gallant. It invites Edward to come and spend time at the Old... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 5
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Matthew complains to Bobadil about an argument he had with Downright, the no-nonsense half-brother of Wellbred, about men’s fashion. Matthew goes on to say that Downright has threatened to give him... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
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Kitely has a thorny issue to bring up with Downright—Wellbred. The latter man, who lodges with Kitely, seems to have taken an “irregular” course and... (full context)
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Downright is annoyed to hear of Wellbred’s lewd behavior, and predicts he’ll end up in one of the city prisons. Downright wonders... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
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Matthew and Bobadil enter, looking for Wellbred. They leave when Kitely explains that he did not return to his lodging last night,... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
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Cob comes by, delivering water. Kitely laments the fact that he ever let Wellbred into his house, doubling down on his worry that he is likely to be cuckolded:... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
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In a street near the Windmill tavern, Matthew and Bobadil tell Wellbred that they were looking for him earlier. Bobadil tries to complain to Wellbred about Downright,... (full context)
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Edward enters with Stephen, greeting Wellbred warmly and calling him a “fine gallant” for his letter. Edward explains that Old Knowell... (full context)
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Stephen introduces himself to Wellbred, insisting that he is “mightily given to melancholy.” Matthew, not wanting to be left out,... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
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...the group, still in disguise. Stephen confronts him angrily about the sword, with Edward and Wellbred finding this hilarious. Wellbred compares Stephen to “a drum; for everyone may play upon him.” (full context)
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...Edward, informing him about Old Knowell’s attempts to follow him. He then tells Edward and Wellbred that Old Knowell is currently at the house of Justice Clement, the local judicial authority. (full context)
Act 3, Scene 3
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...after his home while he’s gone—or, more accurately, to look after Dame Kitely and prevent Wellbred or any of his associates from coming by. (full context)
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...deliberately avoiding swearing on his honor. He orders Cash to bring him word immediately if Wellbred shows up at the house, explaining that he (Kitely) will most likely be at Justice... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 5
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Wellbred, Edward, Brainworm, Bobadil, Matthew, and Stephen arrive. Edward and Wellbred are praising Brainworm for his... (full context)
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...and Matthew go inside, with the latter hoping to charm Mistress Bridget with his “verse.” Wellbred and Edward go inside to have the “happiness to hear some of his poetry now.” (full context)
Act 3, Scene 6
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Cob arrives at Justice Clement’s house and tells him of Wellbred’s arrival there with his entourage. Kitely panics about the “swarm” stinging his “head / With... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
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Back at Kitely’s, Downright chastises Dame Kitely for allowing Wellbred and his entourage into the house. He blames her, but she questions how she could... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
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Bridget, Matthew, Bobadil, Wellbred, Stephen, Edward, and Brainworm all enter at Kitely’s house. Matthew intends to read some poetry... (full context)
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Edward and Wellbred listen amusedly as Matthew utters “stolen remnants” from Christopher Marlowe’s Hero and Leander, passing them... (full context)
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Wellbred asks Matthew “who made these verses.” Matthew claims to have written them, “extempore,” that very... (full context)
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Downright takes offence at Wellbred’s use of the word “tricks.” Tensions between them quickly ramp up, and Downright tells Wellbred... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
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Kitely comes in, wondering about the cause of the commotion. Wellbred blames it on “one of my brother’s ancient humours” and leaves, with Stephen, Bobadil, Matthew,... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 5
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At the Windmill tavern, Edward and Wellbred instruct Brainworm, still disguised, to take a message to Downright. They talk about Bridget Kitely,... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 8
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Back at Kitely’s house, Wellbred explains to Kitely and Dame Kitely that anger is in Downright’s nature—and that there was... (full context)
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Kitely, in a fit of paranoia, takes Wellbred’s suggestion to heart and says he feels “ill.” Wellbred, Dame Kitely and Bridget all tell... (full context)
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Brainworm explains to Wellbred how he managed to procure Roger Formal’s clothes: he got the other man drunk and... (full context)
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Dame Kitely wonders why Kitely is looking for Cob so eagerly. Wellbred mischievously implies that Kitely is interested in Cob’s wife, Tib, whom he says is a... (full context)
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Wellbred tries to convince Bridget to marry Edward. She is clearly keen on the idea, but... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
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...that each of them was convinced to search for the other at Cob’s house by Wellbred. He points out that it has all been a “mere trick.” (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
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...been sent as a false messenger on numerous times throughout the day; he explains that Wellbred is making use of the distraction to marry Bridget and Edward. (full context)
Act 5, Scene 4
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Roger Formal, drunk, arrives at Justice Clement’s house, followed shortly after by Edward, Wellbred, and Bridget. Clement tells Edward that he has “made your peace […] so will I... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 5
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...so little of man in ‘em” as to not be any “part” of his “care.” Wellbred, in jest, pleads Matthew’s case, saying he is Bridget’s official poet. Clement insists that he... (full context)
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Wellbred insists that Matthew is more of a “pocket” poet than one who likes to “extempore.”... (full context)