"Pay The Piper"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Sir Sampson Legend has two sons, Valentine and Ben. Valentine, the older, has displeased his father by his expensive living, putting himself in debt. The younger son, Ben, is a sailor; he is expected home at any moment. Sir Sampson wishes to leave his fortune to the younger son and has come to show the necessary document, signed by Valentine, to Foresight. Foresight's interest in the matter stems from the fact that he and Sir Sampson are arranging a marriage between Ben and Miss Prue, Foresight's daughter by an earlier marriage. Sir Sampson enters to interrupt Foresight's worrying about whether his second, and younger, wife may be about to make him a cuckold. As he enters, Sir Sampson flourishes the document which will enable Ben to be his heir:

. . . here 'tis, I have it in my Hand, Old Ptolomee; I'll make the ungracious Prodigal know who begat him; I will, Old Nostrodamus. Why, I warrant my Son thought nothing belong'd to a Father, but Forgiveness and Affection; no Authority, no Correction, no Arbitrary Power; nothing to be done, but for him to offend, and me to pardon. I warrant you, if he danc'd till Doomsday, he thought I was to pay the Piper. Well, but here it is under Black and White . . .; that as soon as my Son Benjamin is arriv'd, he is to make over to him his Right of Inheritance.