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contrary to that soft, humble, pliant, easy thing, a wife, or say a civil thing to any body else. Jesu! lover, so guess at plagues in matrimony, in oppo how he looks already. Ha, ha, ha! sition to the pleasures of courtship. Alas! court- Bell. Ha, ha, ha! ship to marriage, is but as the music in the play- Heart. Death! am I made your laughing-stock? house, till the curtain's drawn; but that once up, For you, sir, I shall find a time; but take off your then opens the scene of pleasure.

wasp here, or the clown may grow boisterous: Belin. Oh, foh-no : rather, courtship to mar- I have a fly-flap. riage, is a very witty prologue to a very dull play. Belin. You have occasion for't; your wife has

been blown upon. Enter SHARPER.

Bell. That's home. Sharp. Hist, Bellmour! if you'll bring the Heart. Not fiends or furies could have added ladies, make haste to Silvia's lodgings, before to my vexation, or any thing but another woman Heartwell has fretted himself out of breath.-—I'm You've wrecked my patience: Begone, or in haste now, but I'll come in at the catastrophe. by

(Exit. Bell. Hold, hold !-What the devil, thou wilt Bell. You have an opportunity now, madam, not draw upon a woman ! to revenge yourself upon Heartwell, for affront. Vain. What's the matter? ing your squirrel.

[To BeliNDA. Aram. Bless me! what have you done to him? Belin. O the filthy rude beast !

Belin. Only touched a gall'd beast till he Aram. 'Tis a lasting quarrel: I think he has winced. never been at our house since.

Vain. Bellmour, give it over ; you vex him too Bell But give yourselves the trouble to walk much; 'tis all serious to him. to that corner house, and I'll tell you by the way Belin. Nay, I swear, I begin to pity him myself. what may divert and surprise you. (Exeuni. Heart. Damn your pity !_But let me be calnı

a little-How have I deserved this of you? Any SCENE II.-Changes to SILVIA's Lodging.

of ye !--Sir, have I impaired the honour of your

house, proinised your sister marriage, and whored Enter HEARTWELL and Boy.

her ? —Wherein have I injured you? Did I bring

a physician to your father, when he lay expiring, Heart. Gone forth, say you, with her maid ? and endeavour to prolong his life, and you one

Boy. There was a man, too, that fetched 'em and-twenty ?-Madam, have I had an opportuniout-Setter, I think, they called him.

ty with you and baulked it ? Did you ever offer Heart. So-h-_That precious pimp too- me the favour that I refused it? OrDamn’d, damn'd strumpet ! Could she not con- Belin. Oh foh! What does the filthy fellow tain herself on her wedding-day! Not hold out mean? Lard, let me be gone! till night! Leave me. [Exit Boy.] O cursed state ! Aram. Hang me if I pity you; you are right How wide we err, when, apprehensive of the load enough served. of life,

Bell. This is a little scurrilous though. -We hope to find Vain. Nay, 'tis a sore of your own scratching That belp which nature meant in woman-kind! -Well, George, To man that supplemental self design’d,

Heurt. You are the principal cause of all my But proves a burning caustic when apply'd; present ills. If Silvia had not been your whore, And Adam sure could, with more ease, abide my wife might have been honest. The bone when broken, than when made a bride. Vain. And if Silvia had not been your wife,

my whore might have been just-There we are Enter BELLMOUR, BELINDA, VAINLOVE, and

even-But have a good heart: I heard of your ARAMINTA.

misfortune, and come to your relief. Bell. Now, George ! what, rhyming ? I thought Heart. When execution's over, you offer a rethe chimes of verse were past, when once the prieve. doleful marriage-knell was rung,

Vain. What would you give? Heart, Shame and confusion! I am exposed. Heart. Oh! any thing, every thing, a leg or

(VAINLOVE and ARAMINTA talk apurt. an arm: Nay, I would be divorced from my viriBelin. Joy, joy, Mr Bridegroom ! I give you lity, to be divorced from my wife. joy, sir ! Heart. 'Tis not in thy nature to give me joy~

Enter SHARPER. A woman can as soon give immortality.

Vain. Faith that's a sure way_But here's one Belin. Ha, ha, ha!-0 Gad! men grow such can sell you freedom better cheap. clowns when they are married

Sharp: Vainlove, I have been a kind of a godBell. That they are fit for no company but father to you youder; I have promised and vowtheir wives.

ed some things in your name, which I think you Belin. Nor for them neither, in a little time- are bound to perform. I swear, at the month's end, you shall hardly find Vain. No signing to a blank, friend. a married man that will do a civil thing to his Sharp. No, I'll deal fairly with you— 'Tis 2 full and free discharge to Sir Joseph Wittol and BluffWhat are you a woman of quality too, Captain Bluffe, for all injuries whatsoever done spouse ? unto you by them, until the present date hereof Set. And my relation ; pray let her be respect-How say you?

ed accordingly---Well, honest Lucy, fare thee Vain. Agreed.

well—I think you and I have been play-fellows Sharp. Then let me beg these ladies to wear off and on, any time this seven years. their masks a moment.

(Exit. Lury. Hold your prating - I'm thinking what Heart. What the devil's all this to me? vocation I shall follow, while my spouse is plantVain. Patience.

ing laurels in the wars. Re-enter SHARPER, with Sir JOSEPH, BLUFFE,

Bluff

. No more wars; spouse, no more wars

While I plant laurels for my head abroad, I may SILVIA, LUCY, and SETTER.

find the branches sprout at home. Bluff. All injuries whatsoever, Mr Sharper. Heart. Bellmour, I approve thy mirth, and

Sir Jos. Ay, ay, whatsoever, captain! stick to thank thee-And I cannot in gratitude (for I see that whatsoever !

which way thou art going) see thee fall into the Sharp. 'Tis done ; those gentlemen are witnes- same snare, out of which thou hast deliver'd me. ses to the general release.

Bell. I thank thee, George, for thy good intenVain. Ay, ay, to this instant moment, I have tion-But there is a fatality in marriage-For past an act of oblivion.

I find I'm resolute. Bluff. 'Tis very generous, sir, since I needs Heart. Then good counsel will be thrown away must own

upon you-For my part I have once escaped'; Sir Jos. No, no, captain, you need not own, and when I wed again, may she be-ugly as an heh, heh, heh! 'Tis I must own.

old bawd, Bluff. That you are over-reach'd too, ha, ha, Vain. Ill-natured as an old maidha! Önly a little art military used-only under- Bell. Wanton as a young widowmined, or so, as shall appear by the fair Aramin- Sharp. And jealous as a barren wife. ta, my wife's permission. Oh, the devil, cheated Heart. Agreed. at last!

(LUCY unmasks. Bell. Well; 'midst of these dreadful denunci. Sir Jos. Only a little art military trick, captain ; ations, and notwithstanding the warning and exonly countermined, or so—Mr Vainlove, I suppose ample before me, I commit myself to lasting duyou know whom I have got-now-but all's forgiven.

Belin. Prisoner, make much of your fetters. Vain. I know whom you have not got; pray,

[Giding her hand. ladies, convince him.

Bell. Frank, will you keep us in countenance? (ARAMINTA and BELINDA unmask. Vain. May I presume to hope so great a blessó Sir Jos. Ah! O Lord, my heart aches-Ah! ing? Setter, a rogue of all sides.

Aram. We had better take the advantage of a Sharp. Sir Joseph, you had better have pre- little of our friend's experience first. engaged this gentleman's pardon : For, though Bell. O’ my conscience she dare not consent, Vainlove be so generous to forgive the loss of his for fear he should recant. (Aside.) Well, we shall mistress, I know not how Heartwell may take have your company to church in the morningthe loss of his wife.

(SILVIA unmasks. May be it may get you an appetite, to see us fall Heart. My wife! By this light 'tis she, the to before ye. Setter, did not you tell me very cockatrice- -Oh, Sharper ! let me em- Set. They're at the door : I'll call 'em in. brace thee-But art thou sure she is really mar

(A Dance. ried to him?

Bell. Now set me forward on a journey for Set. Really and lawfully married, I am witness. life- -Come, take your fellow-travellers. Old Sharp. Bellmour will unriddle to you. George, I'm sorry to see thee still plod on alone.

(HEARTWELL goes to BELLMOUR. Heart. With gaudy plumes and jingling bells Sir Jos. Pray, madam, who are you? for I find made proud, you and I are like to be better acquainted. The youthful beast sets forth, and neighs aloud.

Silo. The worst of me is, that I am your A morning sun his tinsell d harness gilds, wife

And the first stage a down-hill green-sward yields. Sharp. Come, Sir Joseph, your fortune is not But, ohso bad as you fear-A fine lady, and a lady of What rugged ways attend the noon of life! very good quality:

Our sun declines, and with what anxious strife, Sir Jos. Thanks to my knighthood, she's a What pain, we tug that galling load, a wife. lady

All coursers the first heat with vigour run; Vain. That deserves a fool with a better title But 'tis with whip and spur the race is won. -Pray use her as my relation, or you shall hear

(Exeunt omnes. on't.

rance.

EPILOGUE.

SPOKEN BY MRS BARRY.

As a rash girl, who will all hazards run, But hold—I am exceeding my commission; And be enjoy'd, though sure to be undone ; My business here was humbly to petition : Soon as her curiosity is over,

But we're so used to rail on these occasions, Would give the world she could her toy recover : I could not help one trial of your patience : So fares it with our poet; and I'm sent

For 'tis our way, you know, for fear o'th' worst, To tell you, he already does repent:

To be before-hand still, and cry fool first. Would you were all as forward to keep Lent. How say you, sparks? How do you stand afNow the deed's done, the giddy thing has leisure fected? To think o'th' sting that's in the tail of pleasure. I swear young Bays within is so dejected, Methinks I hear him in consideration !

'Twould grieve your hearts to see him; shall I What will the world say? Where's my reputa- call him? tion?

But then you cruel critics would so maul him ! Now that's at stake- No, fool, 'tis out of fa- Yet, may be, you'll encourage a beginner; shion.

But how ?- Just as the devil does a sinner. If loss of that should follow want of wit,

Women and wits are uscd e'en much as one, How many undone men were in the pit ! You gain your ends, and damn 'em when you've Why that's some comfort to an author's fears,

done. If he's an ass, he will be tried by peers.

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THE

DOUBLE DEALER.

BY

CONGREVE.

PROLOGUE.

Moors have this way (as story tells) to know
Whether their brats are truly got or no:
Into the sea the new-born babe is thrown,
There, as instinct directs, to swim or drown.
A barbarous device, to try if spouse
Has kept religiously her nuptial vows,

Such are the trials poets make of plays;
Only they trust to more inconstant seas;
So does our author this his child commit
To the tempestuous mercy of the pit,
To know if it be truly born of wit.
Critics, avaunt! for you are fish of prey,
And feed, like sharks, upon an infant play.
Be ev'ry monster of the deep away ;
Let's have fair trial, and a clear sea.

Let nature work, and do not damn too soon,
For life will struggle long, ere it sink down;
And will at least rise thrice before it drown.

Let us consider, had it been our fate,
Thus hardly to be proved legitimate !
I will not say we'd all in danger been,
Were each to suffer for his mother's sin:
But by my troth I cannot avoid thinking,
How nearly some good men might have 'scaped

sinking.
But, Heaven be praised, this custom is confined
Alone to the offspring of the muses' kind :
Our christian cuckolds are more bent to pity;
I know not one Moor-husband in the city.
I'th'good man's arms the chopping bastard thrives,
For he thinks all his own that is his wife's.

Whatever fate is for this play designed,
The poet's sure he shall some comfort find:
For if his muse has play'd him false, the worst
That can befall him is to be divorced ;
You husbands judge, if that be to be cursed.

DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

MEN.

Knight ; Brother to Lady Touchwood, and MASKWELL, a Villain ; pretended Friend to Mel

Father to Cynthia. lefont, Gallant to Lady Touchwood, and in love with Cynthia.

WOMEN. Lord TouchWOOD, Uncle to Mellefont. Lady TouchWOOD, in love with Mellefont. MELLEFONT, promised to, and in love with Cyn. CYNTHIA, Daughter to Sir Paul by a former thia.

Wife, promised to Mellefont. CARELESS, his Friend.

Lady FROTH, a great Coquet ; Pretender to Pose Lord FROTH, a solemn Corcomb.

try, Wit, and Learning. BRISK.

Lady Plyant, insolent io her Husband, and easy Sir Paul PLYANT, an uxorious, foolish old to any Pretender.

Chaplain, Boy, Footmen, and Attendants.
SCENE - A Gallery in Lord Touchwood's House, with Chambers adjoining.

ACT І.

Care. Priythee get thee gone : thou seest we SCENE 1.- A Gallery in Lord Touchwood's are serious. House, with Chambers adjoining.

Mel. We'll come immediately, if you'll but go

in, and keep up good humour and sense in the Enter CARELESS, crossing the Stage, with his company: Pr’ythee do they'll fall asleep else.

Hat, Gloves, and Sword in his Hand, as just Brisk. 'Egad, so they will Well, I will, I risen from Table; MELLEFONT following him. will ; 'egad, you shall command me from the ze

Meh Ned, Ned, whither so fast? What, turn'd nith to the nadir. But the deuce take me if I dincher! Why, you wo' not leave us?

say a good thing till you come. But, pr’ythee, Care. Where are the women? I'm weary of dear rogue, make haste, pr’ythee make haste, i guzzling, and begin to think them the better com- shall burst else. And yonder your uncle, my lord pany.

Touchwood, swears he'll disinherit you, and Sir Mel

. Then thy reason staggers, and thou'rt al- Paul Plyant threatens to disclaim you for a sonmost drunk.

in-law, and my Lord Froth won't dance at your Care. No, faith, but your fools grow noisy; and wedding to-morrow; nor, the deuce take me, I if a man must

endure the noise of words without won't write your epithalamium and see what sense, I think the women have more musical voices, a condition you are like to be brought to. and become the nonsense better.

Mel. Well, I'll speak but three words, and folMel. Why, they are at the end of the gallery, low you. retired to their tea and scandal, according to their Brisk. Enough, enough. Careless, bring your ancient custom after dinner. But I made a pre-apprehension along with you.

(Exit. tence to follow you, because I had something Care. Pert coxcomb ! to say to you in private, and I am not like to have Mel. 'Faith, 'tis a good-natured coxcomb, and many opportunities this evening.

has very entertaining follies--You must be Care. And here's this

coxcomb most critically more humane to him; at this juncture it will do come to interrupt you.

me service. I'll tell you, I would have mirth con

tinued this day at any rate; though patience purEnter BRISK.

chase folly, and attention be paid with noise.Brisk. Boys, boys, lads, where are you? What, There are times when sense may be unseasonable, do you give ground ? Mortgage for a bottle, ha? as well as truth. Prythee do thou wear none toCareles. , this is your trick, you are always spoil- day, but

allow Brisk to have wit, that thou mayst ing company by leaving it.

seem a fool. Care. And thou art always spoiling company

Care. Why, how now? Why this extravagant by coming into it.

proposition ? Brisk. Pooh! ha, ha, ha! I know you envy me. Mel. O, I would have no room for serious deSpite, proud spite, by the gods! and burning en- sign, for I am jealous of a plot. I would have vy.-I'll be judged by Mellefont here, who gives noise and impertinence keep my Lady Touch and takes raillery better, you or I. Pshaw, man, wood's head from working: for bell is not inore when I say you spoil company by leaving it, 1 busy than her brain, nor contains more devils than mean you leave nobody for the company to laugh that imaginations. at. I think there I was with you, ha ! Mellefont. Care. I thought your fear of her had been over. Mel

. Oʻmy word, Brisk, that was a home thrust - Is not to-morrow appointed for your marriage -You have silenced him.

with Cynthia, and her father Sir Paul Plyant come Brisk. Oh, my dear Mellefont, let me perish if to settle the writings this day, on purpose ? thou art not the soul of conversation, the very es- Mel. True; but you shall judge whether I have sence of wit and spirit of wineThe deuce take not reason to be alarmer. None besides you and me, if there were three good things said, or one Maskwell are acquainted with the secret of my anderstood, since thy amputation from the body aunt Touchwood's violent passion for me. Since of our society-Eh, I think that's pretty and me- my first refusal of her addresses, she has endeataphorical enough: 'Egad, I could not have said voured to do me all the ill offices with my uncle; it out of thy company--Careless; ha!

yet has managed them with that subtilty, that to Care. Hum, what is it?

him they have borne the face of kindness, while Brisk. O, non cæur! What is it? Nay, gad her malice, like a dark lanthorn, only shone upon I'll punish you for want of apprehension :--the me, where it was directed. Still it gave me less deuce take me if I tell you.

perplexity to prevent the success of her displca. Mel. No, no, hang him, he has no taste- sure, than to avoid the importunities of her love; But, dear Brisk, excuse me, I have a little busi- and of two evils, I thought myself favoured in her ness.

aversion: but whether urged by her despair, and VOL, III.

Y

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