By David Hawkes (auth.)

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In Middleton’s Your Five Gallants, we find the broker Frippery greedily doing his sums: Why, so; our pawn is ever thrice the value of our money, unless in plate and jewels; how should the months be restored and the use else? We must cast it for the twelvemonth, so many pounds, so many months, so many eighteenpences; then the use of these eighteenpences; then the want of the return of those pounds: all these must be laid together; which well considered, the valuation of the pawn had need to sound treble.

Nay, pray sir, ’tis at your service. Witgood: You do so ravish me with kindness that I’m constrained to play the maid and take it! First Creditor: Let none of them see it, I beseech you. Witgood: Fah! First Creditor: I hope I shall be first in your remembrance After the marriage rites. Witgood: Believe it firmly. —What, do you walk, sirs? Second Creditor: I go. — Come, Master Cockpit, we both stay for you. Third Creditor: I ha’ lost a ring, i’faith, I’ll follow you presently. ] But you shall find it, sir; I know your youth and expenses have disfunished you of all jewels; there’s a ruby of twenty pound price, sir; bestow it upon your widow.

To charge for its use is therefore unethical. ). ). Although he gives what the modern world would understand as an “economic” definition of usury, Jewell blends it seamlessly with Christian ethics, in particular the injunction to charity, with which the self-interest that is undeniably manifested in usury cannot be reconciled. ). The usurer of such definitions resembles homo economicus, the abstract market participant in modern economic theory, who always pursues his individual, rational self-interest.

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