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Thus Aristotle's soul, of old that was,
Strolling from place to place, by circulation; May now be damn'd to animate an ass ; Grant Heav'n, we don't return to our first staOr in this very house, for aught we know,
tion ! Is doing painful penance in some beau:
I know not what these think ; but, for my part, And thus our audience, which did once resort I cann't reflect without an aching heart, To shining theatres, to see our sport,
How we should end in our origina)—a cart. Now find us toss'd into a tennis court,
But we cann't fear, since you're so good to saveus, These walls but t'other day were fill’d with noise That you have only set us up to leave us. Of roaring gamesters, and your damme boys; Thus, from the past, we hope for future grace, Then bounding balls and rackets they encompast; I beg it And now they're fill’d with jests, and fights, and And some here know I have a begging face. bombast !
Then pray continue this your kind behaviour ; I vow, I don't much like this transmigration, For a clear stage won't do, without your favour,
WAY OF THE WORLD.
Of those few fools who with ill stars arc curst,
Heowns with toil he wrote the following scenes; Sure scribbling fools, call’d poets, fare the worst : But, if they're naught, ne'er spare him for his For they're a set of fools which Fortune makes, pains. And, after she has made 'em fools, forsakes. Damn him the more; have no commiseration With Nature's oafs 'tis quite a different case, For dulness on mature deliberation. For Fortune favours all her idiot-race:
He swears he'll not resent one hiss'd-off scene, In her own nest the cuckoo-eggs we find, Nor, like those peevish wits, his play maintain, O'er which she broods to hatch the changeling- Who, to assert their sense, your taste arraign. kind.
Some plot wethink he has, and some new thought: No portion for her own she has to spare, Some humour too, no farce; but that's a fault. So much she dotes on her adopted care. Satire, he thinks, you ought not to expect;
Poets are bubbles, by the town. drawn in, For so reform'd a town, who dares correct? Suffer'd at first some trifling stakes to win: To please, this time, has been his sole pretence, But what unequal hazards do they run ! He'll not instruct, lest it should give offence. Each time they write, they venture all they've won: Should he by chance a knave or fool expose, The squire that's butter'd still, is sure to be undone. That hurts none here, sure here are none of those. This author, heretofore, has found your favour; In short, our play shall (with your leave to shew But pleads no merit from his past behaviour.
it) To build on that might prove a vain presumption, Give you one instance of a passive poet, Should grants, to poets made, admit resumption: Who to your judgments yields all resignation, And in Parnassus he must lose his seat, To save, or damn, after your own discretion. If that be found a forfeited estate.
Mrs MILLAMANT, a fine Lady, Niece to Lady MEN.
Wishfort, and loves Mirabell. FAINALL, in love with Mrs Marwood.
Mrs MARWOOD, Friend to Mr Fainall, and likes MIRABELL, in love with Mrs Millamant.
Mirabell. WITWOULD, Followers of Mrs Millamant.
Mrs FAINALL, Daughter to Ludy Wishfort, PETULANT,
FOIBLE, Woman to Lady Wishfort. Sir WilFUL WITWOULD, Half-brother to Wit- MINCING, Woman to Árs Millamant.
Footmen and Attendants.
SCENE,-London—The Time equal to that of the Representation,
weary of you ; last night was one of their cabal SCENE I.- A Chocolate-House. MIRABELL and nights : they have 'em three times a-week, and FAINALL rising from Cards. BETTY waiting.
meet by turns at one another's apartments, where
they come together, like the coroner's inquest, to Mira. You are a fortunate man, Mr Fainall. sit upon the murder'd reputations of the week. Fain. Have we done?
You and I are excluded; and it was once proMira. What you please. I'll play on to en- posed that all the male sex should be excepted;
but somebody moved, that, to avoid scandal, there Fain. No; I'll give you your revenge another might be one man of the community; upon which time, when you are not so indifferent ; you are motion Witwould and Petulant were enrollid thinking of something else now, and play too ne- members. gligentiy: the coldness of a losing gamester les- Mira. And who may have been the foundress sens the pleasure of the winner. I'd no more of this sect? My Lady Wishfort, I warrant, who play with a man that slighted his ill-fortune, than publishes her detestation of mankind; and, full I'd make love to a woman who undervalued the of the vigour of fifty-five, declares for a friend loss of her reputation.
and ratafia ; and let posterity shift for itself, she'll Mira. You have a taste extremely delicate, breed no more. and are for refining on your pleasures.
Fain. The discovery of your sham addresses to Fain. Pr'ythee, why so reserved? Something her, to conceal your love to her niece, has prohas put you out of humour.
voked this separation : had you dissembled betMiru. Not at all; I happen to be grave to-day, ter, things might have continued in the state of and you are gay, that's all.
nature. Fain. Confess, Millamant and you quarrell’d Mira. I did as much as man could, with any last night, after I left you: my fair cousin hias reasonable conscience; I proceeded to the very some humours that would tempt the patience of last act of flattery with her, and was guilty of a a stoic. What, some coxcomb came in, and was song in her commendation. Nay, I got a friend well received by her, while you were by? to put her into a lampoon, and compliment her
Mira. Witwould and Petulant; and, what was with the addresses of an affair with a young felworse, her aunt, your wife's mother, my evil gelow, which I carried so far, that I told her the nius; or, to sum up all in her own name, my old malicious town took notice that she was grown Lady Wishfort came in.
fat of a sudden; and when she lay in of a dropsy, Fain. O, there it is then—She has a lasting persuaded her she was reported to be in labour. passion for you, and with reason.—-What, then – The devil's in't if an old woman is to be flatmy wife was there?
ter'd farther, unless a man should endeavour Mira. Yes ; and Mrs Marwood, and three or downright personally to debauch her; and that four more whom I never saw before : seeing me, my virtue forbade me. But for the discovery of they all put on their grave faces, whisper'd one this amour, I am indebted to your friend, or your to another; then complain’d aloud of the va- wife's friend, Mrs Marwood. pours, and after fell into a profound silence. Fuin. What should provoke her to be your
Fain. They had a mind to be rid of you. enemy, unless she has made you advances which
Mira. For which reason I resolved not to stir. you have slighted? Women do not easily forgive At last the good old lady broke through her pain- omissions of that nature. ful taciturnity, with an invective against long vi- Miru. She was always civil to me till of late: sits. I would not have understood her; but Mil. I confess I am not one of those coxcombs who lamant joining in the argument, I rose, and, with are apt to interpret a woman's good manners to a constrain'd smile, told her, I thought nothing her prejudice, and think that she who does not was so easy as to know when a visit began to be refuse 'em every thing can refuse 'em nothing. troublesome: she redden'd, and I withdrew, with- Fain. You are a gallant man, Mirabell; and out expecting her reply.
though you may have cruelty enough'not to anFain. You were to blame, to resent what she swer a lady's advances, you have too much gespoke only in compliance with her aunt. nerosity not to be tender of her honour. Yet you
Mira. She is more mistress of herself than to speak with an indifference which seems to be afbe under the necessity of such resignation. fected, and confesses you are conscious of a ne
Fain. What, though half her fortune depends gligence. upon her marrying with my lady's approbation ? Mira. You pursue the argument with a dis
Mira. I was then in such a humour, that I trust that seems to be unaffected, and confesses should have been better pleased if she had been you are conscious of a concern for which the leless discreet.
dy is morc indebted to you than is your wife. Pain. Now I remember, I wonder not they were Fain. Fie, fie, friend! if you grow censorious,
I must leave you, I'll look upon the gamester3 a man somewhat too discerning in the failings of in the next room.
your mistress. Mira. Who are they?
Miru. And for a discerning man, somewhat Fain. Petulant and Witwould.—Bring me some too passionate a lover ; for I like her with all her chocolate.
[Exit. faults ; nay, like her for her faults. Her follies Mira. Betty, what says your clock ?
are so natural, or so artful, that they become her ; Betty. Turn'd of the last canonical hour, sir. and those affectations, which in another woman
Mira. How pertinently the jade answers me! would be odious, serve but to make her more Ha! almost one o'clock ! (Looking at his watch] agreeable.-I'll tell thee, Fainall, she once used -0, ye're come
me with that insolence, that, in revenge, I took A Footman enters.
her to pieces, sifted her, and separated her fail
ings; I studied 'em, and got 'em by rote. The Well, is the grand affair over? You have been catalogue was so large, that I was not without something tedious.
hopes, one day or other, to hate her heartily: to Fool. Sir, there's such coupling at Pancras, that which end I so used myself to think of 'em, that they stand behind one another, as'twere in a coun at length, contrary to my design and expectation, try dance. Ours was the last couple to lead up; they gave me every hour less disturbance ; till in and no hopes appearing of dispatch, besides the a few days it became habitual to me to rememparson growing, hoarse, we were afraid his lungs ber 'em without being displeased. They are now would have fail'd before it came to our turn ; so grown as familiar to me as my own fraiities; and, we drove round to Duke's-Place, and there they in all probability, in a little time longer I shall were rivetted in a trice.
like 'em as well. Miru. So, so; you are sure they are married ? Fain. Marry her, marry her; be half as well Foot. Incontestibly, sir ; I am witness. acquainted with her charms as you are with her Mira. Have you the certificate ?
defects, and my life on't you are your own man Fool. Here it is, sir.
again. Mira. Has the tailor brought Waitwell's Mira. Say you so ? clothes home, and the new liveries?
Fain. Ay, ay, I have experience; I have a Foot. Yes, sir.
wife, and so forth. Mira. That's well.-Do you go home again, d'ye hear, and adjourn the consummation till
A Messenger enters. farther order : bid Waitwell shake his ears, and Mess. Is one 'Squire Witwould here? dame Partlet rustle up her feathers, and meet me Betty. Yes; what's your business? at one o'clock by Rosamond's pond, that I may Mess. I have a letter for him, from his brosee her before she returns to her lady ; and as you ther, Sir Wilful, which I am charged to deliver tender your cars be secret. (Exit Footnian. into his own hands.
Betty. He's in the next room, friend. That FAINALL enters.
(Erit Messenger. Fain. Joy of your success, Mirabell ! You look Mira. What, is the chief of that noble family pleased.
in town, Sir Wilful Witwould ? Mira. Ay; I have been engaged in a matter Fain. He is expected to-day.—Do you know of some sort of mirth, which is not yet ripe for him? discovery. I am glad this is not a cabal-night. Mira. I have seen him; he promises to be an I wonder, Fainall, that you who are married, and extraordinary person. I think you have the hoof consequence should be discreet, will suffer your nour to be related to him. wife to be of such a party.
Fain. Yes ; he is half-brother to this Witwould, Euinta Faith, I am not jealous. Besides, most by a former wife, who was sister to my Lady Wishwho are engaged are women and relations; and fort, my wife's mother. If you marry Millamant, for the men, they are of a kind too contemptible you must call cousins too. to give scandal.
Mira. I would rather be his relation than his Mira. I am of another opinion. The greater acquaintance. the coxcomb, always the more the scandal; for Fain. He comes to town in order to equip hima woman who is not a fool can have but one rea- self for travel. son for associating with a man who is one. Mira. For travel! Why, the man that I mean
Fain. Are you jealous as often as you see Wit is above forty. would entertain'd by Millamant?
Fain. No matter for that; 'tis for the honour Mira. Of her understanding I am, if not of her of England, that all Europe should know we have person.
blockheads of all ages. Fain. You do her wrong; for, to give her her Mira. I wonder there is not an act.of parliadue, she has wit.
ment to save the credit of the nation, and prohiMira, She has beauty enough to make any man bit the exportation of fools. think so; and complaisance enough not to con- Fain. By no means ; 'tis better as 'tis : 'tis bettradict him who shall tell her so.
ter to trade with little loss, than to be quite eaten Fain. For a passionate lover, methinks, you are up with being overstock’d. VOL. III.
Mira. Pray, are the follies of this knight-er. Wit. No man in town lives well with a wife rant and those of the 'squire his brother any thing but Fainall. Your judgment, Mirabell. related ?
Mira. You had better step and ask his wife, Fain. Not at all; Witwould grows by the knight, if you would be credibly informed. like a medlar grafted on a crab: one will melt in Wit. Mirabell. your mouth, and t’other set your teeth on edge; Mira. Ay. one is all pulp, and the other all core.
Wit. My dear, I ask ten thousand pardons : Mira. So one will be rotten before he be ripe; gad, I have forgot what I was going to say and the other will be rotten without ever being to you. ripe at all.
Mira. I thank you heartily, heartily. Fain. Sir Wilful is an odd mixture of bashful- Wit. No, but pr’ythee excuse me—my memo. ness and obstinacy. But when he's drunk, he's ry is such a memory. as loving as the monster in the Tempest, and Mira. Have a care of such apologies, Witmuch after the same manner. To give t'other would :-for I never knew a fool but he affected his due, he has something of good-nature, and to complain either of the spleen, or his memory. does not always want wit.
Fain. What have you done with Petulant? Mira. Not always; but as often as his memory Wit. He's reckoning his money,—my money fails him, and his common-place of comparisons. it was I have had no luck to-day. He is a fool with a good memory, and some few Fain. You may allow him to win of you at scraps of other folks wit. He is one whose con- play; for you are sure to be too hard for him at versation can never be approved; yet it is now repartee :-Since you monopolize the wit that is and then to be endured. He has indeed one good between you, the fortune must be his of course. quality-he is not exceptious; for he so passion. Mira. I don't find that Petulant confesses the ately affects the reputation of understanding rail- superiority of wit to be your talent, Witwould. lery, that he will construe an affront into a jest, Wit. Come, come, you are malicious now, and and call downright rudeness and ill language sa- would breed debates -Petulant's my friend, tire and fire.
and a very pretty fellow, and a very honest fellow, Fain. If you have a mind to finish his picture, and has a smattering-faith and troth a pretty you have an opportunity to do it in full length. deal of an odd sort of a small wit; nay, I do him -Behold the original !
justice, I'm his friend, I won't wrong him; and WITWOULD enters.
if he had any judgment in the world, he would
not be altogether contemptible. Come, come, Wit. Afford me your compassion, my dears : don't detract from the merits of my friend. pity me, Fainall; Mirabell, pity me.
Fain. You don't take your friend to be over Mira. I do from my soul.
nicely bred. Fain. Why, what's the matter?
Wit. No, no, hang him, the rogue has no manWit. No letters for me, Betty?
ners at all, that I must own-No more breeding Betty. Did not a messenger bring you one but than a bum-bailiff, that I grant you—'Tis a pity; now, sir?
the fellow has fire and life. Wit. Ay; but no other?
Mira. What, courage ? Betty. No, sir.
Wit. Hum, faith I don't know as to that, I Wit. That's hard, that's very hard – A mes cann't say as to that.— Yes, faith, in controversenger! A mule, a beast of burden !—He has sy, he'll contradict any body. brought me a letter from the fool my brother, as Mira. Though 'twere a man whom he feared, heavy as a panegyric in a funeral sermon, or a or a woman whom be loved. copy of commendatory verses from one poet to Wil. Well, well, he does not always think beanother. And what's worse, 'tis as sure a fore fore he speaks; we have all our failings :-you runner of the author, as an epistle dedicatory! are too hard upon him, you are, faith. Let me
Mira. A fool, and your brother, Witwould ? excuse him.- I can defend most of his faults, ex•
Wit. Ay, ay, my half-brother. My half-bro- cept one or two ;-one he has, that's the truth ther, he is no nearer, upon honour.
on't; if he were my brother I could not acquit Mira, Then 'tis possible he may be but half a him—that, indeed, I could wish were otherwise. fool.
Mira. Ay, marry, what's that, Witwould ? Wit. Good, good, Mirabell, le Drole! Good, Wit. O pardon me-expose the infirmities of good; hang him, don't let's talk of him :—Pain my friend !--No, my dear, excuse me there. all, how does your lady? Gad, I say any thing in Fuin. What, I warrant he's insincere, or 'tis the world to get this fellow out of my head. I some such trifle. beg pardon that I should ask a man of pleasure, Wit, No, no ; what if he be ? 'tis no matter and the town, a question at once so foreign and for that, his wit will excuse that: a wit should domestic. But I talk like an old maid at a mar- no more be sincere, than a woman constant; one riage; I don't know what I say :-but she's the argues a decay of parts, as t'other of beauty
. best woman in the world.
Mira. May be you think him too positive? Fain. 'Tis well you don't know what you say, Wit. No, no; his being positive is an incenor else your commendation would go near to tive to argument, and keeps up conversation. make me either vain or jealous.
Fain. Too illiterate.