The Lying Lover: or the Ladies’ Friendship_, a Comedy, was acted at
Drury Lane Theatre on December 2, 1703, and ran for six nights. It was
published by Bernard Lintot on January 26, 1704. Wilks (Bookwit, jun.),
Mills (Lovemore), Cibber (Latine), Pinkethman (Storm), and Bullock
(Charcoal), together with Mrs. Oldfield (Victoria), and Mrs. Rogers
(Penelope), acted in this piece, which, so far as is known, has been
revived only once (April 4, 1746) since it was originally produced. The
plot was taken from _Le Menteur_, by Corneille, who had borrowed from
Ruiz de Alarcon’s _Verdad Sospechosa_. Steele is, of course, solely
responsible for the scenes in Newgate towards the end of the piece.
Samuel Foote afterwards made much use of Steele’s play in his _Liar_.
_To His Grace the_
DUKE OF ORMOND.
Out of gratitude to the memorable and illustrious patron of my
infancy, your Grace’s grandfather, I presume to lay this Comedy
at your feet. The design of it is to banish out of conversation
all entertainment which does not proceed from simplicity of mind,
good-nature, friendship, and honour. Such a purpose will not, I hope,
be unacceptable to so great a lover of mankind as your Grace; and if
your patronage can recommend it to all who love and honour the Duke of
Ormond, its reception will be as extensive as the world itself.
‘Twas the irresistible force of this humanity in your temper that has
carried you through the various successes of war, with the peculiar and
undisputed distinction that you have drawn your sword without other
motive than a passionate regard for the glory of your country; since
before you entered into its service, you were possessed of its highest
honours, but could not be contented with the illustrious rank your
birth gave you, without repeating the glorious actions by which it was
But there cannot be less expected from the son of an Ossory, than to
contemn life, to adorn it, and with munificence, affability, scorn
of gain, and passion for glory, to be the honour and example to the
profession of arms; all which engaging qualities your noble family has
exerted with so steadfast a loyalty, that in the most adverse fortune
of our monarchy, popularity, which in others had been invidious, was a
security to the Crown, when lodged in the House of Ormond.
Thus your Grace entered into the business of the world with so great
an expectation, that it seemed impossible there could be anything left
which might still conduce to the honour of your name. But the most
memorable advantage your country has gained this century was obtained
under your command; and Providence thought fit to give the wealth of
the Indies into his hands, who only could despise it; while, with
a superior generosity, he knows no reward but in opportunities of
bestowing. The great personage whom you succeed in your honours, made
me feel, before I was sensible of the benefit, that this glorious bent
of mind is hereditary to you. I hope, therefore, you will pardon me,
that I take the liberty of expressing my veneration for his remains, by
assuring your Grace that I am,
Your Grace’s most obedient
And most devoted
Though it ought to be the care of all Governments that public
representations should have nothing in them but what is agreeable to
the manners, laws, religion, and policy of the place or nation in which
they are exhibited; yet is it the general complaint of the more learned
and virtuous amongst us, that the English stage has extremely offended
in this kind. I thought, therefore, it would be an honest ambition
to attempt a Comedy which might be no improper entertainment in a
In order to this, the spark of this play is introduced with as much
agility and life as he brought with him from France, and as much humour
as I could bestow upon him in England. But he uses the advantages of a
learned education, a ready fancy, and a liberal fortune, without the
circumspection and good sense which should always attend the pleasures
of a gentleman; that is to say, a reasonable creature.
Thus he makes false love, gets drunk, and kills his man; but in the
fifth Act awakes from his debauch, with the compunction and remorse
which is suitable to a man’s finding himself in a gaol for the death of
his friend, without his knowing why.
The anguish he there expresses, and the mutual sorrow between an only
child and a tender father in that distress, are, perhaps, an injury
to the rules of comedy, but I am sure they are a justice to those of
morality. And passages of such a nature being so frequently applauded
on the stage, it is high time that we should no longer draw occasions
of mirth from those images which the religion of our country tells us
we ought to tremble at with horror.
But her Most Excellent Majesty has taken the stage into her
consideration; and we may hope, by her gracious influence on
the Muses, wit will recover from its apostasy; and that, by being
encouraged in the interests of virtue, it will strip vice of the gay
habit in which it has too long appeared, and clothe it in its native
dress of shame, contempt, and dishonour.
All the commanding powers that awe mankind
Are in a trembling poet’s audience joined,
Where such bright galaxies of beauty sit,
And at their feet assembled men of wit:
Our author, therefore, owns his deep despair
To entertain the learned or the fair;
Yet hopes that both will so much be his friends,
To pardon what he does, for what he intends;
He aims to make the coming action move
On the dread laws of friendship and of love;
Sure then he’ll find but very few severe,
Since there’s of both so many objects here.
He offers no gross vices to your sight,
Those too much horror raise for just delight;
And to detain the attentive knowing ear,
Pleasure must still have something that’s severe.
If then you find our author treads the stage
With just regard to a reforming age;
He hopes, he humbly hopes, you’ll think there’s due
Mercy to him, for justice done to you.
YOUNG BOOKWIT, the “Lying Lover.”
LOVEMORE, in love with PENELOPE.
FREDERICK, Friend to LOVEMORE.
LATINE, Friend to YOUNG BOOKWIT.
STORM, a Highwayman.
CHARCOAL, an Alchemist and Coiner.
SIMON, Servant to PENELOPE.
VICTORIA, Friend to PENELOPE.
BETTY, VICTORIA’S Woman.
LETTICE, PENELOPE’S Woman.
Constables, Watch, Turnkey, Cookmaid, and several Gaol-birds.
_THE LYING LOVER: OR, THE LADIES’ FRIENDSHIP._
ACT THE FIRST.
SCENE I.–_St. James’s Park._
_Enter_ YOUNG BOOKWIT _and_ LATINE.
_Latine._ But have you utterly left Oxford?
_Y. Book._ For ever, sir, for ever; my father has given me leave to
come to town, and I don’t question but will let my return be in my own
choice. But Jack, you know we were talking in Maudlen Walks last week
of the necessity, in intrigues, of a faithful, yet a prating servant.
We agreed, therefore, to cast lots who should be the other’s footman
for the present expedition. Fortune, that’s always blind, gave me the
_Lat._ She shall be called no more so, for that one action. And I am,
sir, in a literal sense, your very humble servant.
_Y. Book._ Begin, then, the duty of a useful valet, and flatter me
egregiously. Has the fellow fitted me? How is my manner? my mien? Do I
move freely? Have I kicked off the trammels of a gown? or does not the
tail on’t seem still tucked under my arm, where my hat is, with a pert
jerk forward, and little hitch in my gait like a scholastic beau? This
wig, I fear, looks like a cap.
_Lat._ No, faith, it looks like a cap and gown too; though at the same
time you look as if you ne’er had worn either.
_Y. Book._ But my sword, does it hang careless? Do I look bold,
negligent, and erect? that is, do I look as if I could kill a man
without being out of humour? I horridly mistrust myself. Am I military
enough in my air? I fancy people see I understand Greek. Don’t I pore
a little in my visage? Han’t I a down bookish lour, a wise sadness? I
don’t look gay enough and unthinking, I fancy.
_Lat._ I protest you wrong yourself. You look very brisk and very
_Y. Book._ O fie! I am afraid you flatter me.
_Lat._ I don’t indeed; I’ll be hanged if my tutor would know either of
us. But, good master, to what use do you design to put the noble arts
and sciences he taught us? The conduct of our lives, the government of
our passions, were his daily talk to us, good man!
_Y. Book._ Good man! Why I’ll obey his precepts, but abridge ’em. For
as he used to advise me, I’ll contract my thoughts, as I’ll tell you,
Jack:–for the passions, I’ll turn ’em all into that one dear passion,
love; and when that’s the only torture of my heart, I’ll give that
tortured heart quite away; deny there’s any such thing as pain, and
turn stoic a shorter way than e’er thy tutor taught thee. This is the
new philosophy, you rogue you.
_Lat._ But you would not in earnest be thought wholly illiterate?
_Y. Book._ No; for as when I walk, I’d have you know by my motion I can
dance; so when I speak, I’d have you see I read: yet would ordinarily
neither cut capers nor talk sentences. But you prate as if I came to
town to get an employment. No; hang business, hang care; let it live
and prosper among the men; I’ll ne’er go near the solemn ugly things
again. I’ll keep company with none but ladies–bright ladies. O London!
London! O woman! woman! I am come where thou livest, where thou shinest.
_Lat._ Hey day! why, were there no women in Oxford?
_Y. Book._ No, no; why, do you think a bed-maker’s a woman?
_Lat._ Yes, and thought you knew it.
_Y. Book._ No, no, ’tis no such thing. As he that is not honest or
brave is no man; so she that is not witty or fair is no woman. No, no,
Jack, to come up to that high name and object of desire, she must be
gay and chaste, she must at once attract, and banish you. I don’t know
how to express myself, but a woman, methinks, is a being between us and
angels. She has something in her that at the same time gives awe and
invitation; and I swear to you I was never out in’t yet, but I always
judged of men as I observed they judged of women. There’s nothing shows
a man so much as the object of his affections.–But what do you stare
at so considerately?
_Lat._ Faith, sir, I am wondering at you–how ’tis possible you could
be so jaunty a town-spark in a moment, and have so easy a behaviour. I
look, methinks, to you, as if I were really your footman.
_Y. Book._ Why, if you’re serious in what you say, I owe it wholly to
the indulgence of an excellent father, in whose company I was always
free and unconstrained. But what’s this to ladies, Jack, to ladies?
I was going to tell you I had studied ’em, and know how to make my
approaches to ’em by contemplating their frame, their inmost temper. I
don’t ground my hopes on the scandalous tales and opinions your wild
fellows have of ’em–fellows that are but mere bodies, machines–which
at best can but move gracefully. No; I draw my pretences from
_Lat._ You’ll give us by-and-by a lecture over your mistress: you can
_Y. Book._ That I can, indeed, and have so accurately observed on
woman, that I can know her mind by her eye as well as her doctor shall
her health by her pulse; I can read approbation through a glance of
disdain; can see when the soul is divided by a sparkling tear that
twinkles and betrays the heart. A sparkling tear’s the dress and livery
of love–of love made up of hope and fear, of joy and grief.
_Lat._ But what have the wars to do with all this? Why must you
needs commence soldier all of a sudden?
_Y. Book._ Were’t not a taking compliment with my college face and
phrase to accost a lady:–“Madam, I bring your ladyship a learned
heart, one newly come from the University. If you want definitions,
axioms, and arguments, I am an able schoolman. I’ve read Aristotle
twice over, compared his jarring commentators too, examined all
the famous peripatetics, know where the Scotists and the Nominals
differ:”–this, certainly, must needs enchant a lady.
_Lat._ This is too much on th’ other side.
_Y. Book._ The name of soldier bids you better welcome. ‘Tis valour and
feats done in the field a man should be cried up for; nor is’t so hard
_Lat._ The fame of it, you mean?
_Y. Book._ Yes; and that will serve. ‘Tis but looking big, bragging
with an easy grace, and confidently mustering up an hundred hard names
they understand not: Thunder out Villeroy, Catinat, and Boufflers;
speak of strange towns and castles, whose barbarous names, the harsher
they’re to the ear, the rarer and more taking; still running over
lines, trenches, outworks, counterscarps, and forts, citadels, mines,
countermines, pickeering, pioneers, sentinels, patrols, and others,
without sense or order; that matters not, the women are amazed, they
admire to hear you rap ’em out so readily; and many a one that went no
farther for it, retailing handsomely some warlike terms, passes for a
brave fellow. Don’t stand gaping, but live and learn, my lad. I can
tell thee ten thousand arts to make thee known and valued in these
regions of wit and gallantry–the park, the playhouse.
_Lat._ Now you put me in mind where we are. What have we to do here
thus early, now there’s no company?
_Y. Book._ Oh! sir, I have put on so much of the soldier with my red
coat, that I came here to observe the ground I am to engage upon. Here
must I act, I know, some lover’s part, and therefore came to view this
pleasant walk. I privately rambled to town last November. Here, ay
here, I stood and gazed at high Mall, till I forgot it was winter, so
many pretty shes marched by me. Oh! to see the dear things trip, trip
along, and breathe so short, nipt with the season! I saw the very air
not without force leave their dear lips. Oh! they were intolerably
_Lat._ You’ll see, perhaps, such to-day; but how to come at ’em?
_Y. Book._ Ay, there’s it, how to come at ’em.
_Lat._ Are you generous?
_Y. Book._ I think I am no niggard.
_Lat._ You must entertain them high, and bribe all about them. They
talk of Ovid and his Art of Loving; be liberal, and you outdo his
precepts. The art of love, sir, is the art of giving. Be free to women,
they’ll be free to you. Not every open-handed fellow hits it neither.
Some give by lapfulls, and yet ne’er oblige. The manner, you know, of
doing a thing is more than the thing itself. Some drop a jewel, which
had been refused if bluntly offered.
_Y. Book._ Some lose at play what they design a present.
_Lat._ Right; the skill is to be generous, and seem not to know it of
yourself, ’tis done with so much ease; but a liberal blockhead presents
his mistress as he’d give an alms.
_Y. Book._ Leaving such blockheads to their deserved ill-fortune, tell
me if thou know’st these ladies?
_Lat._ No, not I, sir; they are above an academic converse many
degrees. I’ve seen ten thousand verses writ in the University on
wenches not fit to be either of their handmaids. I never spoke to
such a fine thing as either in my whole life–I’m downright asleep o’
sudden. I must fall back, and glad it is my place to do so; yet I can
get you intelligence perhaps. I’ll to the footman.
_Y. Book._ Do you think he’ll tell?
_Lat._ He would not to you, perhaps, but to a brother footman. Do but
listen at the entrance of the Mall at noon, and you’ll have all the
ladies’ characters in town among their lackeys. You know all fame
begins from our domestics.
_Y. Book._ That was a wise man’s observation. Follow him, and know what
you can. [_Exit_ LATINE.
_Enter_ PENELOPE, VICTORIA, SIMON, _and_ LETTICE.
_Pen._ A walk round would be too much for us; we’ll keep the Mall.–But
to our talk: I must confess I have terrors when I think of marrying
Lovemore. He is, indeed, a man of an honest character. He has my good
opinion, but love does not always follow that. He is so wise a fellow,
always so precisely in the right, so observing and so jealous; he’s
blameless indeed, but not to be commended. What good he has, has no
grace in it; he’s one of those who’s never highly moved, except to
anger. Give me a man that has agreeable faults rather than offensive
_Vict._ Offensive virtues, madam?
_Pen._ Yes, I don’t know how–there’s a sort of virtue, or prudence, or
what you’ll call it, that we can but just approve. That does not win
us. Lovemore wants that fire, that conversation-spirit I would have.
They say he’s learned as well as discreet, but I’m no judge of that.
I’m sure he’s no woman’s scholar; his wisdom he should turn into wit,
and his learning into poetry or humour.
_Vict._ Well, I’m not so much of your mind; I like a sober passion.
_Pen._ A sober passion! you took me up just now when I said an
offensive virtue.–Bless me! [_Stumbling almost to a fall._
_Y. Book._ [_Catching her._] How much am I indebted to an accident,
that favours me with an occasion of this small service! for ’tis to me
an happiness beyond expression thus to kiss your hand.
_Pen._ The occasion, methinks, is not so obliging, nor the happiness
you mention worth that name, sir.
_Y. Book._ ‘Tis true, madam, I owe it all to fortune; neither your
kindness nor my industry had any share in’t. Thus am I still as
wretched as I was, for this happiness I so much prize had doubtless
been refused my want of merit.
_Pen._ It has very soon, you see, lost what you valued in it; but I
find you and I, sir, have a different sense; for, in my opinion, we
enjoy with most pleasure what we attain with least merit. Merit is
a claim, and may pretend justly to favour; when without it what’s
conferred is more unexpected, and therefore more pleasing.
_Y. Book._ You talk very well, madam, of an happiness you can’t
possibly be acquainted with, the enjoying without desert. But indeed
you have done me a very singular good office, in letting me know myself
very much qualified for felicity.
_Vict._ I swear he’s a very pretty fellow, and how readily the thing
talks! I begin to pity Lovemore, but I begin to hate Penelope. How he
looks! he looks at her!
_Y. Book._ But judge, madam, what the condition of a passionate man
must be, that can approach the hand only of her he dies for, when her
heart is inaccessible.
_Pen._ ‘Tis very well the heart lies not so easily to be seized as the
hand–I find—-Pray, sir–I don’t know what there is in this very odd
fellow: I’m not angry, though he’s downright rude–but I must—-
_Y. Book._ But your heart, madam, your heart–[_Pressingly._
_Pen._ You seemed, sir, I must confess, to have shown a ready civility
when I’d like to fall just now, for which I could not but thank you,
and permit you to say what you pleased on that occasion–“But your
heart, madam!” ’tis a sure sign, sir, you know not me; or, if you are
what indeed you seem–a gentleman–sure you forget yourself, or rather
you talk, by memory, a form or cant which you mistake for something
_Y. Book._ Madam, I very humbly beg your pardon, if I pressed too far
and too abruptly. I forgot, indeed, that I broke through decencies, and
that though you have been long a familiar to me, I am a stranger to you.
_Pen._ Pray, familiar stranger, what can you mean? I never saw you
before this instant, nor you me, I believe.
_Y. Book._ Perhaps not, that you know of, madam, for your humility,
it seems, makes you so little sensible of your own perfection, that
you overlook your conquest; nor have you e’er observed me, though I
hover day and night about your lodging, haunt you from place to place,
at balls, in the park, at church. I gave you all the serenades you’ve
had, yet never till this minute could I find you, and this minute an
unfortunate one–But this is always my luck when I’m out of the field.
_Vict._ You’ve travelled then, and seen the wars, sir?
_Y. Book._ I–madam–I–all that I know of the matter is, that Louis
the Fourteenth mortally hates me. They talk of French gold–what heaps
have I refused! Yet to be generous even to an enemy, I must allow
that Prince has reason for his rancour to me. There has not been a
skirmish, siege, or battle since I bore arms, I made not one in; no,
nor the least advantage got of the enemy, but I had my share, though
perhaps not all my share of the glory. You’ve seen my name, though you
don’t know it, often in the _Gazette_.
_Pen._ I never read news.
_Lat._ What tale’s he telling now, tro’?
_Y. Book._ You’ve never heard, I suppose, of such names as Ruremonde,
Kaiserswerth, and Liege? nor read of an English gentleman left dead by
his precipitancy upon a parapet at Venloo? I was thought so indeed,
when the first account came away. Every man has his failings; rashness
is my fault.
_Lat._ Don’t you remember a certain place called Oxford among your
_Y. Book._ Pshaw, away–Oh! oh!–I beg your pardon, ladies, this fellow
knows I was shot in my left arm, and cannot bear the least touch, yet
will still be rushing on me.
_Lat._ He has a lie, I think, in every joint. [_Aside._
_Pen._ Do you bear any commission, sir?
_Y. Book._ There’s an intimate of mine, a general officer, who has
often said, Tom, if thou would’st but stick to any one application,
thou might’st be anything. ‘Tis my misfortune, madam, to have a mind
too extensive. I began last summer’s campaign with the renowned Prince
Eugene, but was forced to fly into Holland for a duel with that rough
Captain of the Hussars, Paul Diack. They talk of a regiment for me,
but those things–besides, it will oblige me to attend it, and then I
can’t follow honour where’er she’s busiest, but must be confined to
one nation; when indeed ’tis rather my way of serving with such of our
allies as most want me.
_Pen._ But I see you soldiers never enjoy such a thing as rest: You but
come home in winter to turn your valour on the ladies–’tis but just a
change of your warfare.
_Y. Book._ I had immediately returned to Holland, but your beauties at
my arrival here disarmed me, madam, made me a man of peace, or raised
a civil war within me rather. You took me prisoner at first sight, and
to your charms I yielded up an heart, till then unconquered. Martial
delights (once best and dearest to me) vanished before you in a moment,
and all my thoughts grew bent to please and serve you.
_Lett._ Lovemore’s in the walk, madam; he’ll be in a fit.
_Y. Book._ Rob me o’ the sudden thus of all my happiness! Yet ere you
quite forsake me, authorise my passion, license my innocent flames, and
give me leave to love such charming sweetness.
_Pen._ He that will love, and knows what ’tis to love, will ask no
leave of any but himself. [_Exeunt_ Ladies, _etc._
_Y. Book._ Follow ’em, Jack.
_Lat._ I know as much of ’em already as needs: the footman was in his
talking vein. The handsomer of the two, says he, I serve, and she lives
in the Garden.
_Y Book._ What Garden?
_Lat._ Covent Garden; the other lies there too. I did not stay to ask
her name, but I shall meet him again; I took particular notice of the
_Y. Book._ Ne’er trouble thyself to know which is which, my heart and
my good genius tell me, ’tis she, that pretty she I talked to.
_Lat._ If, with respect to your worship’s opinion, I might presume to
be of a contrary one, I should think the other the handsomer now.
_Y. Book._ What, the dumb thing, the picture?–No, love is the
union of minds, and she that engages mine must be very well able to
express her own. But I suppose some scolding landlady has made you
thus enamoured with silence. But here are two of the dearest of my old
comrades–they seem amazed at something by their action.
_Enter_ LOVEMORE _and_ FREDERICK.
_Fred._ How! a collation on the water, and music too?
_Love._ Yes, music and a collation.
_Fred._ Last night?
_Love._ Last night too.
_Fred._ An handsome treat?
_Love._ A very noble one.
_Fred,_ Who gave it?
_Love._ That I’m yet to learn.
_Y. Book._ How happy am I to meet you here!
_Love._ When I embrace you thus, no happiness can equal mine.
_Y. Book._ I thrust myself intrudingly upon you; but you’ll pardon a
man o’erjoyed to see you.
_Love._ Where you’re always welcome you never can intrude.
_Y. Book._ What were you talking of?
_Love._ Of an entertainment.
_Y. Book._ Given by some lover?
_Love._ As we suppose.
_Y. Book._ That circumstance deserves my curiosity; pray go on, and let
me share the story.
_Love._ Some ladies had the fiddles last night.
_Y. Book._ Upon the water, too, methought you said?
_Love._ Yes, ’twas upon the water.
_Y. Book._ Water often feeds the flame.
_Y. Book._ And by night too?
_Love._ Yes, last night.
_Y. Book._ He chose his time well–The lady is handsome?
_Love._ In most men’s eyes she is.
_Y. Book._ And the music?
_Love._ Good, as we hear.
_Y. Book._ Some banquet followed?
_Love._ A sumptuous one, they say.
_Y. Book._ And neither of you all this while know who gave this treat?
_Love._ D’ye laugh at it?
_Y. Book._ How can I choose, to see you thus admire a slight
divertisement I gave myself?
_Y. Book._ Even I!
_Love._ Why, have you got a mistress here already?
_Y. Book._ I should be sorry else. I’ve been in town this month or
more, though for some reasons I appear but little yet by day. I’ the
dark o’ the evening I peep out, and incognito make some visits. Thus
had I spent my time but ill, were not–
_Lat._ [_To_ Y. BOOK.] Do you know what you say, sir? Don’t lay it on
_Y. Book._ [_To_ LAT.] Nay, you must be sure to take care to be in the
way as soon as they land, to shew upstairs–I beg pardon, I was giving
my fellow some directions about receiving some women of quality that
sup with me to-night incog—-but you’re my dearest friends, and shall
_Fred._ [_To_ LOVE.] How luckily your rival discovers himself!
_Y. Book._ I took five barges, and the fairest kept for my company; the
other four I filled with music of all sorts, and of all sorts the best;
in the first were fiddles, in the next theorbo, lutes, and voices.
Flutes and such pastoral instruments i’ th’ third.
Loud music from the fourth did pierce the air.
Each concert vied by turns,
Which with most melody should charm our ears.
The fifth, the largest of ’em all, was neatly hung,
Not with dull tapestry, but with green boughs,
Curiously interlaced to let in air,
And every branch with jessamines, and orange posies decked;
In this the feast was kept.
Hither, with five other ladies, I led her whose beauty alone governs
my destiny. Supper was served up straight; I will not trouble you
with our bill of fare, what dishes were best liked, what sauces most
recommended; ’tis enough I tell you this delicious feast was of six
courses, twelve dishes to a course.
_Lat._ That’s indeed enough of all conscience. [_Aside._
_Love._ Oh, the torture of jealousy! [_Aside_]–But, sir, how seemed
the lady to receive this entertainment? We must know that.
_Y. Book._ Oh! that was the height on’t. She, I warrant you, was quite
negligent of all this matter. You know their way, they must not seem to
like–no, I warrant it would not so much as smile to make the fellow
vain, and believe he had power to move delight in her–ha, ha!
_Love._ But how then?
_Y. Book._ Why you must know my humour grew poetic. I pulled off my
sword-knot, and with that bound up a coronet of ivy, laurel, and
flowers; with that round my temples, and a plate of richest fruits
in my hand, on one knee I presented her with it as a cornucopia, an
offering from her humble swain of all his harvest–to her the Ceres of
our genial feast and rural mirth. She smiled; the ladies clapped their
hands, and all our music struck sympathetic rapture at my happiness;
while gentle winds, the river, air, and shore echoed the harmony in
notes more soft than they received it. Methought all nature seemed to
die for love like me. To all my heart and every pulse beat time. Oh,
the pleasures of successful love! ha, Lovemore! ha! What, hast thou got
a good office lately? you’re afraid I should make some request. Prithee
ben’t so shy, I have nothing to ask but of my mistress–What’s the
_Love._ I only attend, sir, I only attend–
_Y. Book._ Then I’ll go on. As soon as we had supped, the fireworks
played. Squibs of all sorts were darted through the skies, whose
spreading fires made a new day. A flaming deluge seemed to fall from
Heaven, and with such violence attacked the waves, you would have
thought the fiery element had left his sphere, to ruin his moist
enemy. Their contest done, we landed, danced till day, which hasty
Sol disturbed us with too soon. Had he taken our advice, or feared my
anger, he might in Thetis’s lap have slept as long as at Alcmena’s
labour he’s reported. But steering not as we would have prescribed, he
put a period to our envied mirth.
_Love._ Trust me, you tell us wonders, and with a grace as rare as the
feast itself, which all our summer’s mirth can’t equal.
_Y. Book._ My mistress took me o’ the sudden; I had not a day’s warning.
_Love._ The treat was costly though, and finely ordered.
_Y. Book._ I was forced to take up with this trifle. He that wants time
can’t do as he would.
_Love._ Farewell, we shall meet again at more leisure.
_Y. Book._ Number me among your creatures.
_Love._ Oh jealousy! Thou rack, jealousy!
_Fred._ [_To_ LOVE.] What reason have you to feel it? the circumstances
of the feast nothing agree.
_Love. [To_ FRED.] In time and place they do; the rest is nothing.
[_Exeunt_ FRED. _and_ LOVE.
_Lat._ May I speak now, sir, without offence?
_Y. Book._ ‘Tis in your choice now to speak or not, but before company
you’ll spoil all.
_Lat._ Do you walk abroad and talk in your sleep? or do you use to tell
your dreams for current truth?
_Y. Book._ Dull brain!
_Lat._ Why, you beat out mine with your battles, your fireworks, your
music, and your feasts. You’ve found an excellent way to go to the
wars, and yet keep out of danger. Then you feast your mistresses at the
cheapest rate that ever I knew! Why d’ye make ’em believe you ha’ been
here these six weeks?
_Y. Book._ My passion has the more growth, and I the better ground to
_Lat._ You’d make one believe fine things, that would but hearken to
you; but this lady might soon have found you out.
_Y. Book._ Some acquaintance I have got, however; this is making love,
scholar, and at the best rate too.
_Lat._ To speak truth, I’m hardly come to myself yet; your great supper
lies on my stomach still. I defy Pontack to have prepared a better
o’ the sudden. Your enchanted castles, where strangers found strange
tables strangely furnished with strange cates, were but sixpenny
ordinaries to the fifth barge; you were an excellent man to write
romances, for having feasts and battles at command, your Quixote in
a trice would over-run the world; revelling and skirmishing cost you
nothing; then you vary your scene with so much ease, and shift from
court to camp with such facility–
_Y. Book._ I love thus to outvie a newsmonger; and as soon as I
perceive a fellow thinks his story will surprise, I choke him with a
stranger, and stop his mouth with an extempore wonder. Did’st thou but
know what a pleasure ’tis to cram their own news down their throats
_Lat._ ‘Tis fine, but may prove dangerous sport, and may involve us in
a peck of troubles. Prithee, Tom, consider that I am of quality to be
kicked or caned by this l—-
_Y. Book._ Hush, hush, call it not lying; as for my waging war, it is
but just I snatch and steal from fortune that fame which she denies
me opportunity to deserve. My father has cramped me in a college,
while all the world has been in action. Then as to my lying to my
mistress, ’tis but what all the lovers upon earth do. Call it not then
by that coarse name, a lie. ‘Tis wit, ’tis fable, allegory, fiction,
hyperbole–or be it what you call it, the world’s made up almost of
nothing else. What are all the grave faces you meet in public? mere
silent lies, dark solemn fronts, by which they would disguise vain
empty silly noddles. But after all, to be serious, since I am resolved
honestly to love, I don’t care how artfully I obtain the woman I pitch
upon; besides, did you ever know any of them acknowledge they loved as
soon as they loved? No, they’ll let a man dwell upon his knees–whom
they languish to receive into their arms. They’re no fair enemy.
Therefore ’tis but just that–
We use all arts the fair to undermine,
And learn with gallantry to hide design. [_Exeunt._
ACT THE SECOND.
SCENE I.–PENELOPE’S _Lodgings, Covent Garden._
_Enter_ OLD BOOKWIT, PENELOPE, _and_ LETTICE.
_Old Book._ Mistress Penelope, I have your father’s leave to wait
upon you, madam, and talk to you this morning; nay, to talk to you of
_Pen._ To talk to me of marriage, sir?
_O. Book._ Yes, madam, in behalf of my son, Tom Bookwit.
_Pen._ Nay, there may perhaps be something said to that. [_Aside._
_O. Book._ I sent for him from Oxford with that design. He came
to town but yesterday; and, if a father can judge, he brings from a
college the mien and air of a court. I love my son entirely, and hope,
madam, you take my thoughts as to you, to be no want of respect to you.
_Pen._ ‘Twere want of sense, sir, to do that.
_O. Book._ If I can remember my style to my mistress of old, I’ll ease
Tom’s way, and raise her expectation of my son. [_Aside._]–Madam, had
I my hat, my feather, pantaloons, and jerkin on, as when I wooed your
humble servant’s mother, I would deliver you his errand. I married her
just such a young thing as you; her complexion was charming, but not
indeed with all your sweetness.
_Pen._ Oh! sir!
_O. Book._ Her neck and bosom were the softest pillows; her shape was
not of that nice sort. Some young women suffer in shapes of their
mother’s making, by spare diet, straight lacing, and constant chiding.
But ’twas the work of nature, free, unconstrained, healthy, and—-But
her charms had not all that emanation which yours have.
_Pen._ O fie! fie!
_O. Book._ Not those thousand thousand graces, that soft army of loves
and zephyrs, millions of airy beings that attend around you, and appear
only to the second sight of lovers.
_Pen._ O fie! Pray, good sir, you’ll leave nothing for your son to say.
_O. Book._ I did not think I had such a memory. I find the women are
now certainly daughters of the women before ’em: Flattery still does
it. [_Aside._]–Tom is my only son, and I extremely desire to have him
settled. I own I think him of much merit.
_Pen._ He would derogate from his birth were he not much a gentleman.
But to receive a man in the character of a pretender at first sight—-
_O. Book._ I’ll walk him by and by before your window, where your own
eyes shall judge. I think there’s nothing above his pretences but
yourself; but when one of so many excellent qualities bestows herself,
it must be condescension. You shall not answer–Farewell, daughter; we
are but too apt to believe what we wish. [_Exit_ OLD BOOK.
_Pen._ ‘Tis as you said, Lettice, Old Bookwit came to propose his son.
_Lett._ I overheard the old gentleman talk of it last night. But,
madam, you han’t heard the song that was made on you. Oh! ’tis mighty
pretty! The gentleman is dying for you, he says it. Pure, pure verses.
_Pen,_ Whoever writ ’em, he’s not the first poet I have made. They may
talk, and say nature makes a poet, but I say love makes a poet. Don’t
you see elder brothers, who are by nature born above wit, shall fall in
love, and write verses: nay, and pretty good ones, considering they can
tag ’em to settlements. But let’s see.
[_Reading._] “TO CELIA’S SPINET.
“Thou soft machine that dost her hand obey,
Tell her my grief in thy harmonious lay.”
“To shun my moan to thee she’ll fly;
To her touch be sure reply,
And, if she removes it, die.”
The device is just and truly poetical.
“Know thy bliss–”
Ay, ay, there I come in.
“Know thy bliss, with rapture shake,
Tremble o’er all thy numerous make;
Speak in melting sounds my tears,
Speak my joys, my hopes, my fears–”
Which all depend upon me.
“Thus force her, when from me she’d fly,
By her own hand, like me, to die.”
Well, certainly nothing touches the heart of woman so much as poetry.
I suppose the master is in the next room. ‘Tis his hour; desire him to
walk in. ‘Twill make one’s ears tingle, a song on one’s self!
[_Here the song is performed to a spinet._
Well, dost think, Lettice, my grave lover writ this fine thing–say’st
_Lett._ No, madam, nobody writes songs on those they are sure of.
_Pen._ Sure of me! the insolent!
_Lett._ Nay, I know no more but that he said he’d turn me away as soon
as he had married you.
_Pen._ ‘Tis like enough; that’s the common practice of your
jealous-headed fellows. Well, I have a good mind to dress myself anew,
put on my best looks, and send for him to dismiss him. I know he loves
_Lett._ I never knew him show it but by his jealousy.
_Pen._ As you say, a jealous fellow love! ’tis all mistake–’tis only
for himself he has desires; nor cares what the object of his wishes
suffers so he himself has satisfaction.–No, he has a gluttony, an
hunger for me.
_Lett._ An hunger for you! I protest, madam, if you’d let me be his
cook, and make you ready, I’d poison him. But I’m glad Simon disobeyed
you, and told the gentleman’s servant who you were, and your lodging.
_Pen._ Did the rogue do so? Call him hither.
_Lett._ Simon, why Simon!
_Pen._ Sirrah, I find I must at last turn you off, you saucy fellow.
Don’t stand staring and dodging with your feet, and wearing out your
livery hat with squeezing for an excuse, but answer me, and that
_Sim._ I will, madam, as soon as you ask me a question.
_Pen._ Not afore then–Mr. Pert, don’t you know, you told the
gentleman’s footman in the park who I was, against my constant order,
when I walk early. Come, sirrah, tell all that passed between you.
_Sim._ Why, madam, the gentleman’s gentleman came up to me very
civilly, and said his master was in discourse with my lady, he
supposed; then he fell into talk about vails–about profits in a
service; at last, after a deal of civil discourse between us—-
_Pen._ Come, without this preamble, what he asked you, impertinence;
tell that, do.
_Sim._ He asked about you, and Madam Victoria. I said the handsomest of
the two is my lady.
_Pen._ Speak on boldly, Simon; I’m never angry at a servant that speaks
_Sim._ He told me he should be very proud of my acquaintance. Indeed,
madam, the man was very well spoken, and showed a great deal of respect
for me, on your ladyship’s account. He is a mighty well spoken man, and
said he found I was a smart gentleman; said he’d come again.
_Pen._ Go, you have done your business. Go down. [_Exit._
_Lett._ Well, after all, madam, I did not think that gentleman
_Pen._ Had but young Bookwit his mien and conversation, how easily
would he exclude Lovemore!
_Ser._ Mr. Lovemore is coming up, madam.
_Pen._ He has not heard, sure, of this new proposal!
_Lett._ ‘Tis possible he may, and come to rant or upbraid your
ladyship. I wonder you endure him on these occasions.
_Pen._ I’ll rack his very heart-strings. He shall know all that man
e’er suffered for his native mistress, woman.
_Lett._ His father, madam, has been so long coming out of
Suffolk—There are strange tricks in the world, but ’tis not my place
_Pen._ However, his father, may come at last. I will not wholly lose
him; as bad as he is, he’s better than no husband at all. Stay in the
room; I’ll talk to you as if he were not present.
_Love._ Ah! Penelope! inconstant, fickle Penelope!
_Pen._ But, Lettice, you don’t tell me what the gentleman said. Now
there’s nobody here, you may speak.
_Love._ Now there’s nobody here? Then I am a thing, a utensil! I am
nobody, I have no essence that I am sensible of! I think ’twill be so
soon!–This ingrate–this perjured!
_Pen._ Tell me, I say, how the match happened to break off?
_Love._ This is downright abuse! What! don’t you see me, madam?
_Lett._ He had the folly, upon her being commonly civil to him, to
talk of directing her affairs before his time. In the first place, he
thought it but necessary her maid, her faithful servant, Mrs. Betty,
should be removed.
_Love._ Her faithful servant, Mrs. Betty? Her betrayer, her whisperer,
Mrs. Lettice! Madam, would you but hear me? I will be heard!
_Pen._ Prithee step, Lettice, and see what noise is that without.
_Love._ The noise is here, madam; ’tis I that make what you call noise.
‘Tis I that claim aloud my right and speak to all the world the wrongs
_Pen._ Cooling herbs, well steeped–a good anodyne at night, made of
the juice of hellebore, with very thin diet, may be of use in these
cases. [_Both looking at him as disturbed._
_Love._ Cases! what cases? I shall downright run mad with this damned
usage! Am I a jest?
_Lett._ A jest? No, faith, this is far from a merry madness. Ha! ha! ha!
_Love._ Harkee, Lettice, I’ll downright box you. Hold your tongue,
_Lett._ Dear madam, save me! Go you to him.
_Pen._ Let him take you.–Bless me, how he stares! Take her.
_Lett. Pen._ Take her. [_Running round each other._
_Love._ Very fine!–No, madam, your gallant, your spark last night;
your fine dancer, entertainer, shall take you. He that was your swain;
and you, I warrant, a fantastic nymph of the flood or forest. Ha! ha!
ha! To be out all night with a young fellow! Oh! that makes you change
your countenance, does it so? Fine lady–you wonder how I came to
know. Why, choose a discreeter the next time–he told me all himself.
Swoon–die for shame at hearing of these words–do!
_Pen._ I am, indeed, downright ashamed for him that speaks ’em. Whence
this insolence, if not from utter distraction, under this roof?
_Love._ Oh, the ingrate! Have not I, madam, two long years, two ages,
with humblest resignation, depended on your smile? and shall I suffer
one of yesterday’s to treat you, to dance all night with you?
_Pen._ Speak softly; my father’s coming down.
_Love._ Thy father’s coming down! Faithless! Thou hast no father–But
to cross me by night upon the water!
_Pen._ Well, by night upon the water; what then?
_Love._ Yes, all night.
_Pen._ What of that?
_Love._ Without blushing when you hear of ‘t!
_Pen._ Blush for what? What do you drive at?
_Love._ Can you, then, coolly ask what ’tis I mean, thou reveller, thou
rambler? A fine young lady, with your midnight frolics! But what do I
pretend to? I know not how with bended knees to call you Ceres; make
you an offering of summer fruits, and deify your vanity! Thou art no
goddess; thou’rt a very woman, with all the guile! Your barges! your
treats! your fireworks!
_Pen._ What means the insolent? You grow insufferable!
_Love._ Oh, Penelope! that look, that disdainful look has pierced my
soul, and ebbed my rage to penitence and sorrow. I own my fault; I’m
_Pen._ The imaginary enemies you raise are but mere forms of your
sickly brain: so I think, and scorn ’em. A diffident, a humorous, and
ungenerous man, who, without grounds, calls me inconstant, shall surely
find me so. She will be very happy that takes a constant man with
twenty thousand humours.
_Love._ Is it a fault my life’s bound up in thee,
That all my powers change with thy looks,
That my eyes gloat on thee when thou’rt present,
And ache and roll for light when thou’rt absent?
_Pen._ A little ill-usage, I see, improves a lover. I never heard him
speak so well in my life before. [_Aside._
_Love._ Of you I am not jealous:
‘Tis my own indesert that gives me fears,
And tenderness forms dangers where they’re not;
I doubt and envy all things that approach thee:
Not a fond mother of a long-wished-for only child beholds with such
kind terrors her infant offspring, as I do her I love. She thinks its
food, if she’s not by, unwholesome; and all the ambient air made up of
fevers and of quartan agues, except she shrouds it in her arms. Such is
my unpitied, anxious care for you; and can I see another—-
_Pen._ What other?
_Love._ Nay, if you make a secret of your meeting, there’s all that I
suspect in it. Another? Young Bookwit is another—-
_Pen._ I never saw his face. Young Bookwit?
_Love._ What! not though he solicited a glance, with symphonies of
charming note, with sumptuous dishes? Not when the flying meteors from
the earth made a new day? Not see him? Oh, that was hard; that was
unkind! Not one look for all this gallantry?–But love is blind. You
can be all night with the son, all day with the father, and never see
either. His father was here this morning.–Seek not to excuse: I find
your arts, and see their aim too. Go, go, take your Bookwit; forget
your lover, as he now must you. [_Going._
_Pen._ Hear but three words.
_Love._ What shall they be?
_Pen._ Prithee hear me.
_Love._ No, no, your father’s coming down.
_Pen._ He’s not coming, nor can he overhear us. There’s time and
privacy enough to disabuse you.
_Love._ I’ll hear nothing unless you will be married; unless you give
me, as a present earnest of yourself, three kisses, and your word for
_Pen._ To give way to my satisfaction, then, and be friends again, you
would, Mr. Lovemore, have three kisses—-
_Love._ Three kisses, your faith and hand.
_Pen._ Nothing else? Will you be so contented?
_Love._ I’ll expect higher terms if you accept not these–Quickly, then.
_Pen._ Well, then–no, my father’s coming. Ha! ha! ha!
_Love._ Laugh at my sufferings! slight my anger!
Is this your base requital of my love?–
Revenge, revenge! I’ll print on thy favourite in his heart’s blood my
revenge. Our swords–our swords shall dispute our pretences, rather
than he enjoy what my long services entitle me to, which is to do
myself right for what he intends an injury; though perhaps what we
shall dispute for is better lost.
_Pert._ Mr. Lovemore, you have taken very great liberties. You say I
have injured you in my regard to another. Is your opinion, then, of
what you say you will dispute for, such as you just now said–better
_Love._ Look you, madam–so–therefore–as to that–this is such–for
that it–You don’t consider what you said to me.
_Pen._ Ha! ha! ha!
_Love._ You shall by all that’s–you shall repent this. [_Flings out._
_Pen._ This is all we have for ‘t, a little dominion beforehand. These
are the creatures that are born to rule us; who creep, who flatter,
and servilely beseech our favour; which obtained, they grow sullen,
proud, and insolent; pry into the gift, the manner of bestowing, with
all the little arts the ungrateful use to hide, or kill their sense and
conscience of a benefit.
_Lett._ Ay, ay, madam, ’tis so. I had a sweetheart once, a lady’s
butler, to whom I gave a lock of my hair, and the villain, when we
quarrelled, told me half of them were grey.
_Pen._ Ha! ha! ha! the ingrate–the faithless, as Lovemore says.
_Lett._ And yet, madam, the rogue stole a letter out of a book to ask
me for it, as my next suitor found out.
_Pen._ However, I am sure ’tis in my fate to be subject to one of them
_Lett._ Ah! madam! the gentleman this morning—-
_Pen._ The fellow’s very well, and I am mightily mistaken if my cousin
Victoria did not think so.
_Lett._ And so do you heartily. [_Aside._
_Pen._ Yet I wish I had seen this young Bookwit before Lovemore came
_Lett._ I’ll tell you how, madam. Victoria has ne’er a lover, and
is your entire friend. Now, madam, suppose you got her to write a
letter to this young gentleman in her own name. You meet him under that
name incognito; then, if an accident should happen, both you and she
will be safe, and puzzle the truth: you never writ to him, she never
_Pen._ A lucky thought–step to her immediately. I’ll come to her, or
she to me.
_Lett._ I fly, I fly. [_Exit._
_Pen._ This is, indeed, a lucky hint of the wench, in which I have
another drift, too. Now shall I sift my friend Victoria, and perfectly
understand whether she likes that agreeable young fellow; for if her
reserved humour easily falls in with this design on Bookwit, she’s
certainly smitten with the other, and suspects me to be so too–What
is this dear, this sudden intruder, love, that Victoria’s long and
faithful friendship, Lovemore’s anxious and constant passion, both
vanish before it in a moment? Why are our hearts so accessible at our
_Enter_ VICTORIA _and_ LETTICE.
_Vict._ Dear Pen, I ran to you. Well, what is it?
_Pen._ Set chairs, and the bohea tea, and leave us. [_Exit_ LETT.] Dear
Victoria, you have always been my most intimate bosom friend; your wary
carriage and circumspection have often been a safety against errors to
me–I must confess it. [_Filling her tea._
_Vict._ But, my dear, why this preface to me? To the matter–
_Pen._ You know all that has passed between me and Mr. Lovemore.
_Vict._ I have always approved him, and do now more than ever; for ’tis
not a mien and air that makes that worthy creature, a kind husband;
_Pen._ True, but here was old Bookwit this morning, with my father’s
authority to talk to me of the subject of love.
_Vict._ Nay, madam, if so, and you can resolve to obey your father–I
contend not for Lovemore; for though the young men of this age are so
very vicious, so expensive, both of their health and fortune—-
_Pen._ How zealous she is to put me out of her way! False creature!
[_Aside._]–But, my dear friend, you don’t take me; your friendship
outruns my explanation. ‘Twas for his son at Oxford he came to me: He
is to walk with him before the door that I may view him, by-and-by.
_Vict._ Nay, as one must obey their parents wholly, I think a raw
young man that never saw the town is better than an old one that has
run through all its vices. I congratulate your good fortune. There’s a
great estate; and he knows nothing–just come to town. The furniture
and the horse-cloths will be all your own device for the wedding, and
the horses when and where you please. He knows no better.
_Pen._ But one shall be so long teaching a raw creature a manner.
_Vict._ Never let him have one; ’twill make him like himself, and think
of making advances elsewhere: You’d better have him a booby.–How could
I think of the old fellow for you! Look you, Pen, old age has its
infirmities, and ’tis a sad prospect for an honest young woman to be
sure of being a nurse, and never of being a mother.
_Pen._ Oh, that I had but your prudence! But, my dear, I have a request
to make to you, and that is that you would write him an assignation
this evening in the Park. I’ll obey the appointment, and converse with
him under that disguise; for the old people will clap up a match before
I know anything of the real man. And if one don’t know one’s husband,
how can one manage him–that is to say, obey him?
_Vict._ Oh! pray, my dear, do you think I don’t understand you? Oh! and
there’s another thing–a scholar makes the best husband in the world.
_Pen._ Because they are the most knowing?
_Vict._ No, because they are the least knowing.–But I’ll go
immediately and obey your commands. I wish you heartily well, my dear,
in this matter. [_Kissing her._
_Pen._ I thank you, dearest; I don’t doubt it indeed.
_Vict._ Where are you going now, my dear? O fie! this is not like a
friend–Do I use you so, dear madam?
_Pen._ Nay, indeed, madam, I must wait on you.
_Vict._ Indeed you shan’t–indeed you shan’t. [PEN. _follows_ VICT.
_Pen._ Well, madam, will you promise, then, to be as free with
me?–Thus does she hope to work me out of my lover, by being made my
confident–but that baseness has been too fashionable to pass any more.
I have not trusted her, the cunning creature. I begin to hate her
so–I’ll never be a minute from her. [_Exit._
SCENE II.–_Covent Garden._
_Enter_ OLD BOOKWIT, YOUNG BOOKWIT, _and_ LATINE.
_O. Book._ Well, Tom, where have you sauntered about since I saw you?
Is not the town mightily increased since you were in it?
_Y. Book._ Ay, indeed, I need not have been so impatient to have left
Oxford. Had I stayed a year longer, they had builded to me.
_O. Book._ But I don’t observe you affected much with the alterations.
Where have you been?
_Y. Book._ No, faith, the New Exchange has taken up all my
_O. Book._ Oh! but, son, you must not go to places to stare at women!
Did you buy anything?
_Y. Book._ Some baubles. But my choice was so distracted among the
pretty merchants and their dealers, I knew not where to run first.
One little, lisping rogue–“Ribbandths, gloveths, tippeths”–“Sir,”
cries another, “will you buy a fine sword-knot?” Then a third pretty
voice and curtsey–“Does not your lady want hoods, scarfs, fine green
silk stockings?” I went by as if I had been in a seraglio, a
living gallery of beauties, staring from side to side–I bowing, they
laughing–so made my escape, and brought your son and heir safe to
you, through all these darts and glances, to which indeed my breast is
not impregnable. But I wonder whence I had this amorous inclination?
_O. Book._ Whoever you had it from, sirrah, ’tis your business to
correct it, by fixing it upon a proper object–But, Tom, you know I
am always glad to hear you talk with the gaiety before me that you
do elsewhere. But I have now something of consequence (that sudden,
serious look was so like me). [_Aside._]–What I am going to say now, I
tell you is extraordinary.
_Y. Book._ I could not indeed help some seeming extravagancies I have
been forced to. But—-
_O. Book._ I do not grudge you your expenses, I was not going to speak
on it. For I decay, and so do my desires, while yours grow still upon
you. Therefore, what may be spared from mine, I heartily give you to
supply yours; ’tis but the just order of things. I scorn to hoard
what I only now can gaze at, while your youth and person want those
entertainments you may become and taste. All your just pleasures are
mine also; in you my youth and gayer years methinks I feel repeated.
_Y. Book_ Then what can give you, sir, uneasiness?
_O. Book._ Your affectation of a soldier’s dress; makes me think you
bent upon a dangerous though noble course; that you’ll expose a life,
that’s dearer to your father than yourself, to daily hazards. I,
therefore, have resolved to settle thee, and chosen a young lady,
witty, prudent, rich, and fair—-
_Y. Book._ Oh, Victoria! [_Aside._]–You cannot move too slowly in such
_O. Book._ Nay, ’tis no sudden thing. Her father and I have been
old acquaintance, and I was so confident of her worth, and your
compliance, that I can’t with honour disengage myself.
_Y. Book._ How, sir! when honour calls me to the field, where I may
perpetuate your name by some brave exploit—-
_O. Book._ You may do it much better, Tom, at home, by a brave boy.
Come, come, it must be so—-
_Y. Book._ What shall I do for some invention? [_Aside._
_O. Book._ Let it be so, dear Tom; it must be so.
_Y. Book._ What if it be impossible?
_O. Book._ Impossible! as how?
_Y. Book._ Upon my knees I beg your pardon, sir; I am—-
_O. Book._ What?
_Y. Book._ At Oxford—-
_O. Book._ What art thou at Oxford? Rise and tell me.
_Y. Book._ Why I am married there, since you needs must know.
_O. Book._ Married, without my consent!
_Y. Book._ There was a force upon me; you’ll easily get all annulled if
you desire it. It was the crossest, most unhappy accident. Yet, indeed,
she is an excellent creature!
_Lat._ How could he conceal this all this while from me? But I remember
he used to be out of the college whole nights, we knew not where.
PENELOPE _and_ VICTORIA _at the window._
_Pen._ [_Aside._] The very man we met this morning; and I employ my
rival to write to him! How confidently she stares at the fellow, and
observes his action!
_Vict._ Betty, do you see with what intent and with what fire in her
eyes Penelope gazes yonder? But take you that letter and give it when
the old gentleman’s gone. Goodness! how concerned she seems! Well, some
women!—-[_Exeunt Ladies from above._
_O. Book._ Let that pass, since the business is irrevocable. What is
_Y. Book._ Matilda, and her father’s, Newtown.
_O. Book._ They’re names I never heard before; but go on.
_Y. Book._ This lady, sir, I saw in a public assembly; at the first
sight she made me hers for ever. From that instant I languished, nor
had vital heat out of her presence. The sun to me shed influence in
vain; he rose and set both unobserved, nor was to any living this human
life so much a dream as me. All this she observed, but not untouched
observed. She shewed a noble gratitude to a noble passion; favours I
soon received, but severely modest ones.
_Lat._ Oh! that’s pre-supposed; you, to be sure, would ne’er desire any
_Y. Book._ We had contrived to meet o’nights,
The sweetest hours of love; and there was I
One evening in her lodging–‘Twas, as I remember,
Yes, ’twas on the second of December;
That’s the very night I was caught—-
_Lat._ ‘Tis strange, a fellow of his wit to be trepanned into a
_Y. Book._ Her father supped abroad that night, which made us think
ourselves secure. But coming home by accident sooner than we expected,
we heard him at the door. How did that noise surprise us! She hid me
behind the bed, then lets him in.
_O. Book._ I tremble for the poor young lady.–Pray go on. How did she
_Y. Book._ She fell into the prettiest artful little tales to divert
him and hide her discomposure–which he interrupted by telling her she
must be married suddenly to one proposed to him that evening. This was
to me daggers.
_O. Book._ But she!—-
_Y. Book._ She, by general answers, in that case managed it so well
that he was going down, when instantly my watch in my pocket struck
ten. He turns him short on his amazed daughter, asked where she had it.
She cried her cousin Martha sent it out of the country to be mended
for her. He said he would take care on’t. She comes to me, but as I
was giving it her the string was so entangled in the cock of a pistol
I always had about me on those occasions, that my haste to disengage
it fired it off. My mistress swoons away. The father ran out, crying
out murder. I thought her dead, feared his return, which he soon did
with two boisterous rogues, his sons, and his whole family of servants.
I would have made my escape, but they opposed me with drawn swords. I
wounded both; but a lusty wench, with a fireshovel, at one blow struck
down my sword, and broke it all to pieces.
_O. Book._ But still, the poor young lady!—-
_Y. Book._ Here was I seized. Meantime, Matilda wakes from her trance,
beholding me held like a ruffian, both her brothers bleeding. She
was returning to it. What should I do? I saw the hoary father in
the divided sorrow, for his sons’ lives and daughter’s honour, of
both which he thought me the invader. She, with pitying, dying and
reproaching looks, beseeched me, and taught me what I owed her constant
love. I yielded, sir, I own I yielded to the just terror of their
family resentment, and to my mistress’s more dreadful upbraiding. Thus
am I, sir, the martyr of an honest passion—-
_O. Book._ That I most blame is, that you concealed it from your best
friend. I’ll instantly to Penelope’s father, and make my apology. He is
my friend. [_Exit._
_Lat._ This marriage strangely surprised me.
_Y. Book._ Why, did you believe it, too, as well as the old gentleman?
Why, then, I did it excellently. Ha! ha! ha!
_Lat._ What, the watch! The pistol! Lady swooning! Her pitying,
upbraiding look! All chimera?
_Y. Book._ Nothing but downright wit, to keep myself safe for Victoria.
_Lat._ May I desire one favour?
_Y. Book._ What can I deny thee, my privado?
_Lat._ Only that you’d give me some little secret hint when next you
l—-are going to be witty. But to jumble particulars so readily! ‘Tis
impossible you could, I believe, at the beginning of your tale know the
_Y. Book._ These are gifts, child, mere gifts; ’tis not to be
learnt–the skill of lying–except humour, wit, invention, presence of
mind, retention, memory, circumspection, etc., were to be obtained by
industry. You must not hum, nor haw, nor blush for’t—-
_Lat._ Who have we got here?
_Bet._ May I be so bold as to crave the liberty to ask your name?
_Y. Book._ My bright handmaid, my little she Ganymede–thou charming
Hebe–you may ask me my name, for I won’t tell it you–till you do;
because I’d have the more words with you.
_Bet._ Are not you Mr. Bookwit?
_Y. Book._ The very same, my dear.
_Bet._ There, then [_Giving him letter._] He’s a mighty pretty man.
_Y. Book._ [_Reading._] “You may wonder–your person and
character–this evening, near Rosamond’s Pond, on the other side the
Oh, the happiness! What is become of the girl? Oh! Latine! Latine! ask
me fifty questions all at once! What ails me? Why this joy? Who is this
from? Oh, I could die, methinks, this moment, lest there should be in
fate some future ill to dash my present joy! Why, Jack, why dost not
ask me what’s the matter?
_Lat._ If you’d but give me leave—-
_Y. Book._ No; do not speak. Let me talk all; I fain would celebrate my
fair one’s praise, her every beauty! but the mind’s too full to utter
anything that is articulate, and will give way to nothing but mere
names and interjections. O Victoria! Victoria! Victoria! O my Victoria!
_Lat._ Well, I own this subscribed “Victoria”–but still I am afraid of
_Y. Book._ No–kneel down and ask forgiveness. You don’t believe that
she that would not speak to me would write.–But after all raptures
and ecstasies–prithee step after the maid, learn what you can of
her fortune, and so forth. Get interest to be admitted another time.
_Fred._ Sir, your servant
_Y. Book._ Yours, sir; have you business with me?
_Fred._ This paper speaks it.
_Y. Book._ [_Reading._] “Of a friend you’ve made me your mortal enemy.
With your sword I expect satisfaction to-morrow morning at six in Hyde
Park.–LOVEMORE.” Do you know the contents of this letter?
_Fred._ Yes, sir, it is a challenge from Lovemore.
_Y. Book._ Are you to be his second?
_Fred._ I offered it, but he will meet you single.
_Y. Book._ The fewer the better cheer.
_Fred._ You’re very pleasant, sir.
_Y. Book._ My good humour was ever challenge-proof. I will be very
punctual. [_Exit_ FRED.]–I fall into business very fast. There, thou
dear letter of love; be there, thou of hatred. There; men of business
must sort their papers.–I fear he saw me put up two letters.
Oh, Jack, more adventures, another lady has writ.
_Lat._ Let’s see it.
_Y. Book._ No; always tender of rep.–she is of quality–a gentleman
usher came with it. I can’t believe there’s anything in that old whim
of being wrapt in one’s mother’s smock to be thus lucky; I suppose I
was used like other children. They clapped me on a skull-cap, swathed
me hard, played me in arms, and shewed me London. But however it comes
about I have strange luck with the women.
_Lat._ But let us see this letter.
_Y. Book._ [_Reading._] “No, no–A woman of condition to go so
far–But, indeed, your passion, your wit–My page–at the back
‘stairs–secrecy, and your veracity—-”
_Lat._ There her ladyship nicked it. Pox, I’ll be as humourous and
frolic as you. You pert fellows are the only successful—-
_Y. Book._ Well said, lad; and, as Mr. Bayes says, now the plot
thickens upon us we’ll spend our time as gaily as the best of ’em, and
all of it in love–
For since through all the race of man we find,
Each to some darling passion is inclined,
Let love be still the bias of my mind. [_Exeunt._
ACT THE THIRD.
SCENE I.–VICTORIA’S _Lodgings, Covent Garden._
_Enter_ VICTORIA _and_ BETTY.
_Vict._ This was, indeed, Betty, a very diverting accident, that I
should be employed to write to her lover. Now, I can’t but think
how angry my cousin Pen is. She frets, I warrant, at her very
looking-glass, which used to be her comforter upon all occasions.
_Bet._ I would not be in poor Mrs. Lettice’s place for all the world.
Nothing, to be sure, can please to-day; did you mind how she nestled
and fumed inwardly to see your ladyship look so well? Nay, indeed,
madam, you were in high beauty.
_Vict._ Yet I must confess I was myself a little discomposed. I was
ashamed for my friend, and then to see her show such a regard for a
_Bet._ But I swear, were I to have my will, you should be always angry
at me. It gives your ladyship such a pretty fierceness, and quick
spirit to your features–not that you want it–yet it adds—-
_Vict._ There are some people very unhappily pretend to fire and life;
there’s poor, stupid, insipid Lady Fad, has heard of the word spleen,
and distaste, and sets up for being out of humour, with that unmeaning
face of hers.
_Bet._ You’re in a fine humour, madam.
_Vict._ Her ladyship’s physician prescribed anger to her; upon which
she comes in public with her eyes staringly open. This she designs for
vivacity, and gapes about like a wandering country lady. She pretends
to be a remarker, and looks at everybody; but, alas, she wants it here,
and knows not that to see, is no more to look, than to go is to walk.
For you must know, Betty, every child can see, but ’tis an observing
creature that can look; as every pretty girl can go, but ’tis a fine
woman that walks.
_Both._ Ha! ha! ha!
_Vict._ But, by the way, there’s Mrs. Penelope, methinks, does neither;
I have a kindness for her, but she has no gesture in the least. My
_Pen._ Well, my dear—-
_Bet._ How civilly people of quality hate one another. [_Aside._
_Pen._ Well, my dear, were not you strangely surprised to see that this
young Bookwit should be the soldier we met this morning?
_Vict._ The confident lying creature! Indeed, I wondered you’d suffer
him to entertain you so long.
_Pen._ You must know, madam, he’s married too at Oxford.
_Vict._ The ugly wretch! I think him downright disagreeable.–But
perhaps this is a fetch of hers; he had no married look. [_Aside._
_Pen._ Yet I am resolved to go to your assignation, if it be but to
confront the coxcomb, and laugh at his lie. Such fellows should be
made to know themselves, and that they’re understood.
_Vict._ I’ll wait upon you, my dear.–She’s very prettily dressed.
[_Aside._]–But indeed, my dear, you shan’t go with your hood
so; it makes you look abominably, with your head so forward.
There–[_Displacing her head_]; that’s something. You had a fearful,
silly blushing look; now you command all hearts.
_Pen._ Thank you, my dear.
_Vict._ Your servant, dearest.
_Pen._ But alas, madam, who patched you to-day? Let me see. It is the
hardest thing in dress–I may say, without vanity, I know a little of
it. That so low on the cheek pulps the flesh too much. Hold still,
my dear, I’ll place it just by your eye.–Now she downright squints.
_Vict._ There’s nothing like a sincere friend, for one is not a judge
of one’s self. I have a patch-box about me. Hold, my dear, that gives
you a sedate air, that large one near your temples.
_Pen._ People, perhaps, don’t mind these things. But if it be true, as
the poet finely sings, that “all the passions in the features are,” we
may show or hide ’em, as we know how to affix these pretty artificial
_Vict._ And so catch lovers, and puzzle physiognomy.
_Pen._ ‘Tis true; then pray, my dear, let me put a little disdain in
your face: for we’ll plague this fop. There–that on your forehead does
_Vict._ Hold, my dear; I’ll give indifference for him, a patch just at
the point of your lip exactly shows it–and that you’re dumb to all
_Pen._ You wish I would be. [_Aside._
_Vict._ There, my dear.
_Pen._ But, dear madam, your hair is not half powdered. Betty, bring
the powder-box to your lady. It gives one a clean look (though your
complexion does not want it) to enliven it.
_Vict._ Oh! fie, this from you! But I know you won’t flatter me, you’re
too much my friend.
_Pen._ Now, madam, you shall see. [_Powders her._]–Now she looks like
a sprite. [_Aside._
_Vict._ Thank you, my dear; we’ll take an hack. Our maids shall go with
us. Come, dear friend. [_Exeunt arm in arm._
_Bet._ Pray, Madam Lettice, be pleased to go on.
_Lett._ Indeed, Madam Betty, I must beg your pardon.
_Bet._ I am at home, dear Madam Lettice.
_Lett._ Well, madam, this is unkind. I don’t use you with this
SCENE II._–Covent Garden._
_Enter_ YOUNG BOOKWIT _and_ LATINE _after a flourish._
_Y. Book._ Victoria! Victoria! Victoria!
_Lat._ Make way, make way. By your leave. Stand by. Victoria!
“_Formosam resonare doces Amaryllida sylvas._”
_Y. Book._ Well said, Jack. Let me see any of your sparks besides
myself keep such an equipage. I don’t question but in a little time I
shall be a finer fop than the town has yet seen. All my lackeys shall
be linguists as thou art. While thus I ride immortal steeds–how my
horses stare at me! They see I am a very new sort of beau.
_Lat._ This is rare–the having this noise of music. But won’t it be
reckoned a disturbance?
_Y. Book._ No, no; it is a usual gallantry here. But the vocal
is an elegance hardly known before me here–who am the founder of
accomplished fools, of which I’ll institute an order. All coxcombs
of learning and parts shall after me be called Bookwits–a sect will
soon be more numerous, and in more credit, than your Aristotelians,
Platonists, and Academics.
_Lat._ Sir, ’twill be extraordinary, and you are really a wise
person–you put your theory of philosophy into practice; ’tis not with
you a dead letter.
_Y. Book._ Oh! sir, no. The design of learning is for the use of life;
therefore I’ll settle a family very suddenly, and show my literature in
_Lat._ As how, pray?
_Y. Book._ I’ll have four peripatetic footmen, two followers of
Aristippus for valets de chambre, and an epicurean cook–with an
hermetical chemist (who are good only at making fires) for my scullion;
and then I think all is disposed. But, methinks this fair one takes
state upon her. But I am none of your languishers; I am not known in
town, and if I misbehave, ’tis but being sent back again to my small
beer and three-halfpenny commons; and I, like many another beau, only
blazed and vanished—-
_Lat._ But you know I love music immoderately. How do you dispose your
entertainment? Let ’em begin.
_Y. Book._ Well, give me but leave. The fiddles will certainly
attract the ladies, I mean the nymphs who have grottos round this
enchanted forest. In the first place, you intelligences that move this
vehicle–how the fellows stare!
_Chair._ Good your honour, speak to us in English.
_Y. Book._ Why then, you chairmen, wherever I move, you are to follow
me; for I mean to strut, shine through the dusk of the evening, and
look as like a lazy town-fool as I can, to charm ’em.
_Lat._ Well, but the music?
_Y. Book._ But remember, ye sons of Phœbus, brethren of the string
and lyre, that is to say, ye fiddlers–Let me have a flourish as I
now direct. When I lift up my cane, let it be martial. If I but throw
myself just forward on it, or but raise it smoothly, sigh all for love,
to show, as I think fit, that I would die or fight for her you see me
bow to. Well, then, strike up:–
_Song, by_ MR. LEVERIDGE.
Venus has left her Grecian isles,
With all her gaudy train
Of little loves, soft cares and smiles,
In my larger breast to reign.
Ye tender herds and list’ning deer,
Forget your food, forget your fear,
The bright Victoria will be here.
The savages about me throng,
Moved with the passion of my song,
And think Victoria stays too long.
_Y. Book._ There’s for you, Jack; is not that like a fine gentleman
that writes for his own diversion?
_Lat._ And nobody’s else.
_Y. Book._ Now I warrant one of your common sparks would have stamped,
fretted, and cried, what the devil! fooled! jilted! abused!–while I,
in metre, to show you how well nothing at all may be made to run–
The savages about me throng,
Moved with the passion of my song,
And think Victoria stays too long.
_Lat._ I begin to be one of those savages.
_Enter_ VICTORIA, PENELOPE, LETTICE, _and_ BETTY.
_Vict._ We had better have stayed where we were, and listened to that
charming echo, than have come in search of that liar.
_Lat._ Do you see yonder?
_Y. Book._ [_Gives the sign and sings himself._] Thus, madam, have I
spent my time almost ever since I saw you, repeated your name to the
woods, the dales, and echoing groves.
_Pen._ Prithee observe him. Now he begins.
_Y. Book._ I had not time to carve your name on every tree, but that’s
a melancholy employment, not for those lovers that are favoured with
_Vict._ Prithee, cousin, do you talk to him in my name. I’ll be silent
till I see farther.
_Pen._ The spring is now so forward, that it must indeed be attributed
to your passion that you are not in the field.
_Y. Book._ You do me justice, madam, in that thought, for I am
strangely pestered to be there. Well, the French are the most
industrious people in the world. I had a letter from one of their
generals, that shall be nameless (it came over by the way of Holland),
with an offer of very great terms, if I would but barely send my
opinion in the use of pikes, about which he tells me their Prince and
generals have lately held a grand court martial.
_Both._ Ha! ha! ha!
_Lat._ These cunning things keep still together to puzzle us.–I’ll
alarm him.–Sir, one word—-
_Vict._ Come, come, we’ll have no whispering, no messages at present.
Some other ladies have sent, but they shan’t have you from us.
_Both._ Ha! ha! ha!
_Y. Book._ I hold myself obliged to be of the same humour ladies are
in–ha! ha! ha! Now pray do me the favour to tell me what I laughed at.
_Pen._ Why, you must know, your talking of the French and war put
us in mind of a young coxcomb that came last night from Oxford, calls
himself soldier, treats ladies, fights battles, raises jealousies with
downright lies of his own inventing–ha! ha! ha!
_Y. Book._ That must be an impudent young rascal certainly–ha! ha! ha!
_Vict._ Nay, this is beyond comparison—-
_Y. Book._ I can’t conceive how one of those sneaking academics could
personate such a character; for we, bred in camps, have a behaviour
that shows we are used to act before crowds.
_Pen._ ‘Tis certainly so; nay, he has been confronted with it, as
plainly as I speak to you, and yet not blushed for it, but carried it
as if he knew not the man—-
_Y. Book._ That may be; ’tis want of knowing themselves makes those
coxcombs so confident.
_Pen._ The faithless! shameless! Well, then, to see, if possible, such
a one may be brought to that sense, I tell you, this worthy hero two
days ago was in hanging-sleeves at Oxford, and is called Mr. Bookwit.
_Y. Book._ Well, was it not well enough carried? Pooh, I knew you well
enough, and you knew me, before you writ to me for Mr. Bookwit’s son.
But I fell into that way of talking purely to divert you. I knew you
a woman of wit and spirit, and that acting that part would at least
show I had fire in me, and wished myself what I would be half an age to
serve and please you–suffer in camps all the vicissitudes of burning
heats and sharp afflicting colds–
_Vict._ Look you, sir, I shall tell Mrs. Matilda Newtown, your spouse
at Oxford, what you are saying to another lady.
_Pen._ Prithee cousin, never give yourself the trouble to meddle in
such a work; one hardly knows how to speak it to a gentleman, but don’t
touch the affairs of so impudent a liar.
_Y. Book._ Ha! ha! ha!–Why, madam, have they told you of the marriage
too? Well, I was hard put to it there. I had like to have been
gravelled, faith. You were more beholden to me for that than anything.
Had it not been for that, they had married me to Mrs. Penelope, old
Getwel’s granddaughter, the great fortune; but I refused her for
you–who are a greater. [_Aside._
_Lat._ Sir! sir! pray sir, one word—-
_Pen. and Vict._ Stand off, sirrah.
_Vict._ You shan’t come near him; none of your dumb signs.
_Pen._ Then you have refused Penelope, though a great fortune! What
could you dislike in her?
_Y. Book._ The whole woman. Her person, nor carriage please me. She
is one of those women of condition, who do and say what they please
with an assured air, and think that’s enough, only to be called fine
mistress such-a-one’s manner.
_Pen._ This is not to be endured.–I do assure you, sir, Mrs. Penelope
has refused your betters.
_Y. Book._ I don’t much value my betters in her judgment, but am sorry
to see you concerned for her. When I have been at church, where I first
saw you, I’ve seen the gay giddy thing in a gallery watching eyes to
make curtsies. She is indeed a very ceremonious churchwoman, and never
is guilty of a sin of omission to any lady of quality within eye-shot.
In short, I don’t like the woman, and would go to Tunis or Aleppo for a
wife before I’d take her.
_Vict._ I cannot bear this of my friend; if you go on, sir, at this
rate, Tunis or Aleppo are the properest places for you to show your
gallantry in; ’twill never be received by any here–I hope she believes
_Pen._ The lady’s in the right on’t; who can confide in a known common
_Y. Book._ Ah, madam! how can you use a man that loves you so
unjustly? But call me what you will, liar, cheat, impostor–do but add,
your servant, and I am satisfied. I have, indeed, madam, ran through
many shifts in hopes to gain you, and could be contented to run through
all the shapes in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, could I but return to this on
my bended knees, of my fair one’s humble servant.
_Vict._ Prithee let us leave him, as you told me; I wonder you can
suffer him to entertain you so long. Leave him, let him kneel to the
trees and call to the woods if he will.–Oh, I could brain him–how
ugly he looks kneeling to her! [_Aside._
_Pen._ No, I’ll stay to plague him more.–But what opinion can I
have of this sudden passion? You hardly know me, I believe, or my
_Y. Book._ No, no, not I; I don’t know you. Your mother was not
Alderman Sterling’s daughter; your father, Mr. Philips, of Gray’s Inn,
who had an estate and never practised? You had not a brother killed at
Landen? Your sister Diana is not dead? nor you are not co-heiress with
Miss Molly? No, madam, I don’t know you; no, nor love you.
_Pen._ I wish I had taken her advice in going; he means her all this
while [_Aside._]–Pshaw, this is downright fooling. Let’s go, my
dear; leave him to the woods, as you say–I wish ’twas full of bears.
_Vict._ No; now I’ll stay to plague him.
_Pen._ No, you shan’t stay.–Sir, we have given ourselves the diversion
to see you, and confront you in your falsehoods; in which you have
entangled yourself to that degree, you know not even the woman you
pretend to; and therefore, sir, I so far despise you, that if you
should come after me with your fiddles, I’ll have a porter–ready to
let you in. [_Aside._
_Vict._ I don’t know how to threaten a gentleman in that manner, but
I’m sure I shall never entertain any man that has disobliged my friend,
while my name’s Victoria! [_Exeunt arm in arm._
_Lat._ Master, methinks these ladies don’t understand wit. They were
very rough with you.
_Y. Book._ Ay, they were somewhat dull. But really Victoria discovered
herself at her going, methinks, agreeably enough.
_Lat._ I believe they are irrecoverably lost. Pox on’t, when I gave you
so many signs, too.
_Y. Book._ Well, hang thinking. Let’s to the tavern, and in every glass
name a new beauty, till I either forget, or am inspired with some new
project to attain her.
While in a lovely bowl I drown my care,
She’ll cease to be, or I to think her, fair. [_Exeunt._
ACT THE FOURTH.
SCENE I.–_Covent Garden._
_Enter_ YOUNG BOOKWIT _and_ LATINE.
_Young Book._ This Roebuck has almost done my business. Rigby’s an
honest fellow, and would not poison us. The wine had good-humour,
mirth, and joy in it. My blood beats high and frolic. What says my dear
_Lat._ Why, sir, I say, sir, that I am in so noble, so exalted a
condition, that I almost forget I am your honour’s footman.
_Y. Book._ Do but your business well to-night.
_Lat._ Who says the tongue stutters, legs falter, and eyes fail with
drink? ‘Tis false, my dear master, my tongue runs faster than ever;
my legs so brisk and nimble, that I can’t stand still; and my eyes
are better than ever they were; for I see everything double–But the
letter, the letter, I warrant I give it her.
_Y. Book._ Here, here, Jack, take it.
_Lat._ Let’s come nearer the lamp. This is the foul copy of it that
’tis wrapped in. Let me judge. Now I’ll be sedate. Let me read it again.
_Y. Book._ But you look cursedly fluttered; they’ll say you’re drunk.
Let’s see, I must comb your wig a little.
_Lat._ I shall be kicked for this letter here about the middle. You
should not talk of joys so soon; you should write miserable a fortnight
or three weeks longer–I shall be kicked.
_Y. Book._ What then? what then? A man of your philosophy must needs
remember, the body’s but the mere organ of the mind. Kicks come under
the topic of things without. What shall I do for powder for this smart
bob? [_Combs out his own wig into_ LAT’S.
_Lat._ ‘Tis no matter, sir; powder comes under the notion of things
_Y. Book._ Oh! but ladies are no philosophers; but as to being drubbed
(these stockings too), you must fix your imagination upon some other
object, and you may, by force of thought, suspend your feeling.
The body is but the instrument of the mind, and you may command an
_Lat._ No, sir, I’ll have you to know, I’ll save my carcass by mere
dint of eloquence. You have no other orders?
_Y. Book._ No; but may persuasion, grace, and elocution hang on thy
lips. But if you can come in to Victoria, she and the wine you’ve drank
will inspire you. Farewell. [_Exit._
_Lat._ This is the enchanted castle which the lady fair inhabits. Ha!
Mr. Simon, sir, I am your most humble servant. My dear friend—-
_Sim._ Your servant, good sir; my lady is with Madam Victoria at cards.
She’ll lie here to-night–but all’s ruined; they are both huge angry
with your master. But Lettice, having taken a fancy to you, Mr. John,
spoke up rarely, that she did indeed.
_Lat._ Can’t one come to the speech of her?
_Sim._ I was ordered to have a strict eye to the door, and let nobody
in whatever. I don’t care for going up, because she’ll see I have made
a cap of one of the finest napkins, for which she’ll make a plaguy
_Lat._ Nay, nay, you are exactly of my mind; I love to avoid anger.
_Sim._ You are a little disguised in drink, though, Mr. John–but
I ain’t seen you, not I. Go straight up: Mrs. Lettice is in the
_Lat._ I thank you, dear friend. My master bids me upon these
occasions—-[_Gives him money._
_Sim._ I beg your pardon, good Mr. John.
_Lat._ Look you, I am a servant as well as you; what do you mean, Mr.
Simon? Come, come, time’s precious. When your lady’s married, all these
vails will end.
_Sim._ Nay, I said behind your back, Mr. John, that you were very well
spoken. Well, put up briskly. I’ll stand your friend as much as one
servant can to another, against all masters and mistresses whatever.
_Lat._ Thanks, good Mr. Simon. [_Exeunt._
SCENE II.–PENELOPE’S _Lodgings._
LETTICE, _discovered reading, by a small candle; two large ones by her
_Lett._ ‘Tis a most sad thing, one dare not light a large candle except
company’s coming in, and I scarce can see to read this piteous story.
Well, in all these distresses and misfortunes, the faithful Argalus was
renowned all over the plains of Arca–Arca–Arcadia–for his loyal and
true affection to his charming paramour, Parthenia. Blessings on
his heart for it; there are no such suitors nowadays. [_Weeping._] But
I hope they’ll come together again at the end of the book, and marry,
and have several children. Oh! Bless me! A man here! [_Turns over the
leaves._]–The gentleman’s pretty man—-[_Aside._
I wonder by what means, with that impudence, you could offer to come
upstairs at this time of the night, and my lady in the next room. I
protest I’ll cry out. [_In a low voice all._
_Lat._ Dear Mrs. Lettice, my love to you. [_Aloud._
_Lett._ Hist, hist! I am, methinks, however, loth to discover you,
because servants must do as they’re bid; for I know it was not to see
me, but some message from your master you came about.
_Lat._ I offered to bring a letter from him, in hopes to see you, my
dearest. I’ll not give it at all; I don’t care, my dearest. [_Kisses
_Lett._ Pho! pho! now you are rude, because you know one dare not
discover you. You do what you will.–How he kisses one’s hand: I
warrant he has kissed his betters. [_Aside._]–Pray, did you never live
in a lady’s service?
_Lat._ No; nor do I value any of the sex but your dear self, Mrs.
Lettice.–I would be discovered. [_Aside._]–I’m in a rapture! in a
_Pen._ [_Within._] Who’s there?
_Lett._ Hist, hist! could not you have forced a kiss quietly?–Madam!
madam!–Hold me fast. Show the letter, my lady’s coming.–I tell you,
sir, she will receive no message at all. Get you downstairs, you
impudent!–Hold me faster yet; she loves your master. [_Softly aside
_Enter_ PENELOPE _and_ VICTORIA.
_Pen._ What can this mean? What fellow’s that has seized the wench?
_Lett._ Madam, madam, here’s Mr. Bookwit’s footman drunk, and has
directly stole upstairs with some ill design, I fear, on me–but has a
letter from his master to your ladyship.
_Pen._ Call up the servants: Simon, William, Kate, Alf! I’ll have
the rascal well basted for his insolence–served just as his master
_Lat._ [_Kneeling._] Let not those lips, more sweet than labour of
Hyblæan bees, utter a sentence, as if a Libyan lioness on a mountain
gave thee suck, and thou wert the obdurate offspring of a rock.
_Vict._ Hyblæan! Libyan! Obdurate! Ridiculous. The fellow has got his
master’s cant! Ha! ha! ha!
_Pen._ I’ll put him out of it, I’ll warrant you. What, will no one come
_Enter_ Servants _with brooms, &c._
_Lat._ Oh! for the force of eloquence to allay and reconcile the
passion of this angry mansion!–I had like to have said plain house,
which had been against the laws of buskin, in which I would at present
_Pen._ Did you ever hear anything like this? Ha! ha!
_Maid._ Madam, shall I beat him?
_Lat._ Ah! culinary fair, compose thy rage; thou whose more skilful
hand is still employed in offices for the support of nature, descend
not from thyself, thou bright cookmaid—-There! sunk again!
[_Aside._]–With heightened gusts and quickening tastes, by you what
would be labour else is made delight. Thou great robust, let not thy
hand all red assault a life it rather should preserve.
_Maid._ Good madam, excuse me, I can’t touch him—-I have bowels for
_Sim._ I wish I had his learning. I’ll warrant he buys in everything
wherever he lives.
_Lat._ This, madam, this faithful paper tells you the passions of the
tenderest heart that ever bled for cruel maid. Oh, Victoria! did you
but hear his sighs, his restless hours!–how often he repeats Victoria!
_Lett._ Victoria! Then I find this is none on’t meant to my lady–nor
to me neither; the master and man are both rogues. [_Aside._
_Pen._ Receive your seasonable epistle now at midnight!
_Vict._ He can’t mean me—-To you he all along addressed.–Would I
could read it without her. [_Aside._
_Pen._ To show you I value neither author nor bearer of it–kick the
_Lat._ Nay, madam, since matters must come to extremities, I’d rather
have the honour of your ladyship’s command to be cudgelled by your good
family than have it from my master. A disappointed lover in his rage
will strike stone walls and things inanimate, much more a poor live
footman; therefore I must deliver my message. I’ll read it to you,
ladies, for I see you are friends.
_Pen._ Away with him.
_Lat._ “If the sincerity of my intentions were not—-”
_Lett._ Get out, false wretch.
_Lat._ “Demonstrable, in spite of—-”
_Maid._ Take that—-
_Lat._ “These accidents in which I have been involved, I should not
dare to tell you how alternately joys, raptures, ecstasies, miseries,
doubts, and anxieties do attack a breast devoted to you.”
Whither shall injured virtue fly for shelter,
When love and honour suffer thus in me?
Oh! I could rage, call elements about me, spout cataracts–
Must I be drubbed with broom-staves? [_Exit._ LAT.
_Pen._ Come in, my dear, again. The night is cold. [_Exeunt._
SCENE III.–_Covent Garden._
_Enter_ LOVEMORE _and_ FREDERICK.
_Love._ It is so pleasant a night that I will see you over the Garden
to your lodgings.
_Fred._ That compliment won’t pass upon me. Your reason for sauntering
this way is that ’tis near Penelope’s.
_Love._ I come for her sake! No; should she write, beseech, kneel to
me, I think I ne’er should value her more. No, I’ll be no longer her
tool, her jest; she shall not dally with a passion she deserves not.
_Fred._ ‘Twere very well were this resolution in your power; but
believe me, friend, one smile, one glance that were but doubtful
whether favourable, would conquer all your indignation.
_Love._ Faith, I’m afraid what you say is true.
_Fred._ Then strive not to be rationally mad, which you attempt if you
think you can at once be at your own command and at another’s. Would
you be master of yourself and have a mistress?
_Love._ But I can rebel against that mistress.
_Fred._ Do if you can. Nay, I’m sure ’tis in your power, because
to-morrow morning you are to fight a rival for her–because though
you know she lies backwards, and you can’t so much as see her chamber
window, you must needs walk hither. Well, I protest I’m of your mind;
there is, me thinks, now a particular, amiable gloom about that
house–though, perhaps, to ordinary beholders it is exactly like the
_Love._ You are very witty, I must confess, at your friend’s follies,
_Fred._ I won’t then any longer disturb your meditation, but e’en go
home like a dull rogue as I am, and without love enough to any woman,
or hatred enough to any man, to keep me awake, fall fast asleep–I was
going to wish you rest, but you are above all that. If it should rain,
I’d advise you not to forget it does, but go into the Piazza. [_Exit._
_Love._ ‘Tis very well, I’m deservedly laughed at. But the door
opens–Bookwit’s footman! [LATINE _crosses the stage._] The master, I
suppose, is there too. I’ll watch for his coming out—-The morning
approaches too slowly. He shall not sleep to-night except it be for
ever—-Oh, revenge! Oh, jealousy!
_Enter_ YOUNG BOOKWIT, _with bottle and glass, singing._
Since the day of poor man,
That little, little span,
Though long it can’t last,
For the future and past
Is spent with remorse and despair.
With such a full glass
Let that of life pass,
‘Tis made up of trouble,
A storm though a bubble,
There’s no bliss but forgetting your care.
I wonder what’s become of poor Latine. I wish he had a bumper of
_Love._ I have no patience to observe his insolent jollity; how
immoderately joyful my misery has made him!–Bookwit!
_Y. Book._ Lovemore!
_Love._ What, sir! are you diverting the thought of to-morrow morning’s
business with midnight riot? Or is it an assignation keeps you out of
bed thus late?
_Y. Book._ An hour or two till morning is not much in either of our
lives; therefore I must tell you now, sir, I am ready for your message.
_Love._ That conscious light and stars are witnesses of—-
_Y. Book._ I want no witnesses. I have a sword, as you bid me meet you.
[_They draw and fight._
_Love._ You’ve done my business. [_Falls._
_Y. Book._ Then I’ve done what you desired me. But this is no place for
_Enter_ CONSTABLE _and_ WATCHMEN.
_Const._ Where, where was this clashing of swords? So-ho! So-ho! You,
sir, what, are you dead? Speak, friend; what are you afraid of? If you
are dead, the law can’t take hold of you.
_Watch._ I beg your pardon, Mr. Constable, he ought by the law to be
carried to the Round-house for being dead at this time of night.
_Const._ Then away with him, you three—-And you, gentlemen, follow me
to find out who killed him. [_Exeunt._
_Sim._ What’s the matter, good gentlemen, what’s the matter? Oh, me!
Mr. Lovemore killed! Oh, me! My mind gives me that it must be about our
_Watch._ Does it so, sir? Then you must stay with us. [_Some hold_
SIMON, _whilst others carry_ LOVEMORE _off._
_Sim._ I stay with you! Oh, gemini! Indeed, I can’t—-They can’t be
without me at our house.
_Watch._ But they must, friend—-Harkee, friend–I hope you’ll be
hanged. [_Whispers him._
_Sim._ I hanged! Pray, sir, take care of your words. Madam Penelope’s,
our young lady’s servant, hanged! Take care what you say.
_Lat._ Whither can this Bookwit be gone?
_Sim._ Oh! Mr. John, Mr. Lovemore is killed just now, since you went
out of our house; and you and your master must have an hand in it.
_Lat._ How? Lovemore killed! [_They seize_ LATINE.
_Enter others with_ YOUNG BOOKWIT.
_Y. Book._ Hands off, you dirty midnight rascals. Let me go, or—-
_Const._ Sir, what were you running so fast for? There’s a man killed
in the Garden, and you’re a fine gentleman, and it must be you–for
good honest people only beat one another—-
_Lat._ Nay, nay, we are all in a fair way to be fine gentlemen, Mr.
Simon and all.
_Const._ Hands off, rascals, you said just now–do you know what a
_Y. Book._ The greatest man in the parish when all the rest are asleep.
_Const._ Come, come, I find they are desperate fellows; we’ll to the
justice, and commit ’em immediately. I’ll teach rascals to speak
high-treason against a petty constable—-[_Exeunt._
_Enter_ FREDERICK _and_ OLD BOOKWIT.
_O. Book._ You well may be surprised at my waiting here for your coming
home. But you’ll pardon me, since it is to ease me of an anxiety that
keeps me waking.
_Fred._ I shall be very glad if I am capable of doing that.
_O. Book._ You knew my Tom at Oxford, and I believe were not so
hard a student, but you made some acquaintance in the town–therefore,
pray tell me, do you know Mr. Newtown there–his family, descent, and
_Fred._ What Newtown?
_O. Book._ I’ll tell you, sir, what you young fellows take most notice
of old ones for–a token that you needs must know him by–he’s the
father of the fair Matilda, your celebrated beauty of that town.
_Fred._ I assure you, sir, I never heard of the father or daughter till
this instant; therefore I’m confident there’s no such beauty.
_O. Book._ Oh, sir, I know your drift–you’re tender of informing me
for my son’s sake! He told me all himself. I know all the progress of
his love with the young lady; how he was taken in the night in her
bedchamber by his pistol going off, the family disturbance that was
raised upon it, which he composed by marrying–I know it all.
_Fred._ Is Tom Bookwit then married at Oxford?
_O. Book._ He is, indeed, sir; therefore our affairs are now so linked
that ’twill be an ill office both to the Newtowns and to us to conceal
anything from me that relates to them.
_Fred._ A man can’t be said to conceal what he does not know—-But it
seems it was Mr. Bookwit gave you this account himself.
_O. Book._ Yes, sir; I told you, sir, I had it from himself.
_Fred._ Then I’m sure there was nothing left out; he never tells a
story by halves.
_O. Book._ Why, then, you think my son’s a liar.
_Fred._ Oh fie, sir, but he enlivens a mere narration with variety of
accidents; to be plain, his discourse gains him more applause than
credit. You could not, I believe, have married your son to a less
expensive lady in England than this Mrs. Matilda. I’ll be sworn you’ll
avoid all the charge of gay dress, high play, and stately childbirth.
You understand me, sir?
_O. Book._ I never could see anything in my son that’s disingenuous, to
put his aged father to this shame.
_Fred._ Never fret or grieve for it. He told Lovemore this morning such
a relation of his feasting ladies, and I know not what, that he has
brought a tilt upon his hands to-morrow morning; therefore keep him at
home. I’ll to his adversary, so we’ll convince him of a fault which has
so ill (though not intended) consequences.
_O. Book._ You’ll highly oblige me, sir; I’ll trouble you no longer.
YOUNG BOOKWIT, LATINE, SIMON, STORM, _with the crowd of Gaol-birds._
_Storm._ I apprehend, sir, by Mr. Turnkey, the gentleman there with a
broken nose, that you’re brought in for murder. I honour you, sir; I
don’t question but ’twas done like a gentleman.
_Y. Book._ I hope it will appear so.
_Storm._ I come, I fear, sir, to your acquaintance with some prejudice,
because you see me thus in irons. But affliction is the portion of the
virtuous and the gallant.
_Y. Book._ It does not depress, sir, but manifest the brave.
_Storm._ Right, sir, I find you’re noble. You may, perhaps, have heard
of me. My name is Storm. This person, my friend, who is called Faggot,
and myself, being exposed by an ungrateful world to feel its cruelty
and contempt of ragged virtue, made war upon it, and in open day
infested their high road.
_Y. Book._ Your humble servant, gentlemen, I do conceive you. Your
spirits could not stoop to barter on the change, to sneer in courts, to
lie, to flatter, or to creep for bread. You, therefore, chose rather to
prey like lions, then betray like crocodiles, or fawn like dogs. You
took upon you to interrupt the commerce of a cheating world, to unload
the usurer of his anxious pelf, and save the thoughtless landed boy he
travelled to undo, with a thousand such good actions; by which means
you two are infamous, for what two millions of you had been glorious.
_Storm._ Right, sir; I see you’re knowing, sir, and learned in
man. This gentleman, Mr. Charcoal, the chemist, was our secret
correspondent, and as we never robbed a poor man, so he never cheated a
fool, but still imposed on your most sprightly wits and genius–fellows
of fire and metal, whose quick fancies and eager wishes formed reasons
for their undoing. He is a follower of the great Raimundus Lullius; the
public think to frighten him into their own purposes. But he’ll leave
the ungrateful world without the secret.
_Char._ You know, sir, he that first asserted the Antipodes died for
that knowledge; and I, sir, having found out the melioration of metals,
the ignorant will needs call it coining; and I am to be hanged for it,
would you think it?
_Y. Book._ When, pray sir, are you to be immortal?
_Char._ On Friday next. I’m very unhappy our acquaintance is to be
short. I’m very sorry your business is not over, sir, that, if it must
be, we might go together.
_Y. Book._ I’m highly obliged to you, sir.
_Char._ Yet let me tell you, sir, because by secret sympathy I’m yours,
I must acquaint you, if you can obtain the favour of an opportunity and
a crucible, I can show projection–directly Sol, sir, Sol, sir, more
bright than that high luminary the Latins called so–wealth shall be
yours; we’ll turn each bar about us into golden ingots. Sir, can
you lend me half-a-crown?
_Y. Book._ Oh, sir, a trifle between such old acquaintance.
_Storm._ You’ll be indicted, sir, to-morrow. I would advise you, when
your indictment’s read, to one thing: that is, don’t cavil at false
Latin; but if by chance there should be a word of good, except to that,
and puzzle the whole court.
_Y. Book._ Sir, I’m obliged—-
_Storm._ I defy the world to say I ever did an ill thing; I love my
friend. But there is always some little trifle given to prisoners they
call garnish; we of the road are above it, but o’ t’other side of the
house, silly rascals that came voluntarily hither—-such as are in
for fools, signed their own mittimus, in being bound for others,–may
perhaps want it. I’ll be your faithful almoner.
_Y. Book._ Oh, by all means, sir. [_Gives him money._
_Storm._ Pray, sir, is that your footman?
_Y. Book._ He is my friend, sir.
_Storm._ Look you, sir, the only time to make use of a friend is in
extremity. Do you think you could not hang him and save yourself? Sir,
my service to you; your own health.
_1st Pris._ Captain, your health. [_Gives it to the next prisoner._
_2nd Pris._ Captain, your health.
_Storm._ But perhaps the captain likes brandy better. So-ho! brandy
there. [_Drinks._] But you don’t, perhaps, like these strong liquors.
Cider, ho! [_Drinks to him in it._] Gentlemen all! But, captain, I
see you don’t love cider neither. You and I will be for claret then.
Ay, marry! I knew this would please [_Drinks_] you. [_Drinks again._]
Faith, we’ll make an end on’t; I’m glad you like it.
_Turn._ I’m sorry, Captain Storm, to see you impose on a gentleman, and
put him to charge in his misfortune. If a petty larceny fellow had done
this—-but one of the road!
_Storm._ I beg your pardon, sir, I don’t question but the captain
understands there is a fee to you for going to the keeper’s side.
[BOOK. _and_ LATINE _give him money. Exeunt with_ TURNKEY, SIMON
_following._] Nay, nay, you must stay here.
_Sim._ Why, I am Simon, Madam Penelope’s man.
_Storm._ Then Madam Penelope’s man must strip for garnish. Indeed,
Master Simon, you must.
_Sim._ Thieves! Thieves! Thieves!
_Storm._ Thieves! Thieves! Why, you senseless dog, do you think there’s
thieves in Newgate? Away with him to the tap-house. [_Pushes him off._]
We’ll drink his coat off. Come, my little chemist, thou shalt transmute
this jacket into liquor; liquor that will make us forget the evil day.
And while day is ours, let us be merry.
For little villains must submit to fate,
That great ones may enjoy the world in state.
ACT THE FIFTH.
YOUNG BOOKWIT _discovered on a couch asleep_, LATINE _looking on him._
_Lat._ How quietly he rests! Oh that I could,
By watching him, hanging thus over him,
And, feeling all his care, protract his sleep!
Oh, sleep! thou sweetest gift of Heaven to man,
Still in thy downy arms embrace my friend,
Nor loose him from his inexistent trance
To sense of yesterday and pain of being;
In thee oppressors soothe their angry brow,
In thee the oppressed forget tyrannic power,
The wretch condemned is equal to his judge,
And the sad lover to his cruel fair;
Nay, all the shining glories men pursue,
When thou art wanted, are but empty noise.
Who then would court the pomp of guilty power,
When the mind sickens at the weary show,
And dies to temporary death for ease;
When half our life’s cessation of our being—-
How do I pity that returning life,
Which I could hazard thousand lives to save!
_Y. Book._ How heavily do I awake this morning! Oh, this senseless
drinking! To suffer a whole week’s pain for an hour’s jollity! Methinks
my senses are burning round me. I have but interrupted hints of the
last night—-Ha! in a gaol! Oh, I remember, I remember. Oh, Lovemore!
Lovemore! I remember—-
_Lat._ You must have patience, and bear it like a man.
_Y. Book._ Oh, whither shall I run to avoid myself?
Why all these bars? These bolted iron gates?
They’re needless to secure me—-Here, here’s my rack,
My gaol, my torture—-
Oh, I can’t bear it. I cannot bear the rushing of new thoughts;
Fancy expands my senses to distraction,
And my soul stretches to that boundless space
To which I’ve sent my wretched, wretched friend.
Oh, Latine! Latine! Is all our mirth and humour come to this?
Give me thy bosom, close in thy bosom hide me
From thy eyes; I cannot bear their pity or reproach.
_Lat._ Dear Bookwit, how heartily I love you–I don’t know what to say.
But pray have patience.
_Y. Book._ If you can’t bear my pain that’s but communicated by your
pity, how shall I my proper inborn woe, my wounded mind?
_Lat._ In all assaults of fortune that should be serene,
Not in the power of accident or chance—-
_Y. Book._ Words! words! all that is but mere talk.
Perhaps, indeed, to undeserved affliction
Reason and argument may give relief,
Or in the known vicissitudes of life
We may feel comfort by our self-persuasion;
But oh! there is no taking away guilt:
This divine particle will ache for ever.
There is no help but whence I dare not ask;
When this material organ’s indisposed
Juleps can cool and anodynes give rest;
But nothing mix with this celestial drop,
But dew from that high Heaven of which ’tis part.
_Lat._ May that high Heaven compose your mind,
And reconcile you to yourself.
_Y. Book._ How can I hope it?
No—-I must descend from man,
Grovel on earth, nor dare look up again!
Oh, Lovemore! Lovemore! Where is he now?
Oh, thinking, thinking, why didst thou not come sooner?
Or not now!—-
My thoughts do so confuse me now–as my folly and pleasures did before
this fatal accident–that I cannot recollect whence Lovemore was
provoked to challenge me.
_Lat._ You know, dear Bookwit, I feared some ill from a careless way of
talking. But alas! I dreamt not of so great—-
_Y. Book._ Ay, there it was; he was naturally a little jealous.
Heavens, do I say he was? I talked to him of ladies, treats, and he
might possibly believe ’twas where he had engaged—-I remember his
serious behaviour on that subject. Oh, this unhappy tongue of mine!
Thou lawless, voluble, destroying foe,
That still run’st on, nor wait’st command of reason,
Oh, I could tear thee from me—-
_Lat._ Did you not expostulate before the action?
_Y. Book._ He would have don’t; but I, flushed with the thoughts of
duelling, pressed on—-Thus for the empty praise of fools, I’m solidly
_Lat._ You take it too deeply. Your honour was concerned.
_Y. Book._ Honour! The horrid application of that sacred word to
a revenge against friendship, law, and reason is a damned last
shift of the damned envious foe of human race. The routed fiend
projected this, but since the expansive glorious law from Heaven came
_Turn._ Gentlemen, I come to tell you that you have the favour to be
carried in chairs to your indictment, to which you must go immediately.
_Lat._ We are ready, sir,
_Y. Book._ How shall I bear the eyeshot of the crowd in court?
SCENE II.–FREDERICK’S _Lodgings._
_Enter_ LOVEMORE, _in a serjeant’s gown, and_ FREDERICK.
_Love._ Mankind is infinitely beholden to this noble styptic, that
could produce such wonderful effects so suddenly. But though my wound
was very slight, I’m weak by the effusion of so much blood.
_Fred._ Yet after all, you have not lost enough to cool your passion.
Your heart still beats, Penelope, Penelope—-But in this disguise you
have opportunity for observation. You’ll see whether you ought still to
value her or not. I’m glad you thought of being brought hither as soon
as you came to yourself. I expect old Bookwit every moment here—-
_Enter_ OLD BOOKWIT.
There he is—-
_O. Book._ Oh, Mr. Frederick! too late, too late was our care; they
met last night, and then the fatal act was done. You’ll excuse, sir, a
father’s sorrow—-I can’t speak much, but you may guess what I hope
_Fred._ You may depend upon ingenuous usage in the prosecution. I’m
going instantly to Penelope’s with this learned gentleman, to know what
she can say to this matter. I desired you, in the note I sent you, to
purchase the favour of your son’s being brought thither, where he and
you may be witnesses of what shall pass. I seek not his blood, nor
would neglect a justice to my deceased friend.
_O. Book._ I believe my son and the rest are going thither ere this;
and I desire this worthy serjeant’s favour and advice, since we both
mean the same thing–only to act with honour, if his life may be saved.
_Love._ I’ll do what’s just to the deceased and the survivor.
_O. Book._ I’ll leave you, but will take care to come in just afore the
criminals arrive. [_Exit._
_Love._ The poor old gentleman! Prithee, let’s go; I long to see my
lovely torment, Penelope.
_Fred._ I’ll but leave word within. [_Exeunt._
SCENE III.–PENELOPE’S _Lodgings._
_Enter_ PENELOPE _and_ VICTORIA.
_Pen._ It seems Simon lay out all night, and was carried away by the
watch with some gentlemen in a quarrel.
_Vict._ I fancy the men who are always for showing their valour are
like the women who are always talking of their chastity, because they
are conscious of their defect in it.
_Pen._ Right; for we are not apt to raise arguments but about what we
think is disputable.
_Vict._ Ay, ay, they whose honour is a sore part are more fearful of
being touched than they in whom ’tis only a tender one. But tell me
honestly, Penelope, should poor Lovemore be in this rencounter, and
that for your sake, would it have no effect upon you in his favour?
_Pen._ I don’t know how to answer you; but I find something in that
reflection which acquaints me ’tis very hard for one to know one’s own
_Vict._ However, let your heart answer me one question more, as well as
it can. Does it love me as well as ever it did?
_Pen._ Does not, madam, that question proceed from a change in your own?
_Vict._ It does, Penelope; I own it does—-I had a long conflict with
myself on my pillow last night.
_Pen._ What were your thoughts there?
_Vict._ That I owed it to our friendship to acknowledge to you that all
the pleasure I once had in you is vanished. Ah, Penelope! I’m sorry for
every good quality you have.
_Pen._ Since you are so frank, I must confess to you something very
like this. But however I envied that sprightly, ingenuous, native
beauty of yours, I see it now so much the figure of your mind that I
can conquer, I think I can, any inclination in myself that opposes the
happiness of so sincere a friend.
_Vict._ Explain yourself, my dear.
_Pen._ I’ll discountenance this Bookwit’s ambiguous addresses; and if
Lovemore can forgive my late ill-usage—-I need say no more.
_Serv._ Mr. Frederick below desires to see you on some extraordinary
_Vict._ I have not time, my dearest friend, to applaud or thank you,
but must run in—-He comes from Lovemore—-remember. [_Exit._
_Pen._ Let him come up—-Now can’t I for my life forbear a little
_Enter_ FREDERICK _and_ LOVEMORE.
_Pen._ Good morrow, sir. I believe I know your business: you’re
officious for your friend—-But I am deaf.
_Fred._ I know you are, and have been; but I come only to do him a last
office. He’ll trouble you no more, but I must conjure you to read this,
and inform this learned gentleman what you know of this misfortune.
_Pen._ [_Reading._] “Your cruelty provoked me to desire the favour of
dying by Mr. Bookwit’s hand, since he had taken from me more than life
in robbing me of you—-farewell for ever—-I direct Frederick not
to give you this till I am no more.” Writ in his blood! “Till I am no
more!” Lovemore no more! Thou shalt not be no more—-thou shalt live
here for ever. Here, thou dearest paper, mingle with my life’s stream;
either the paper bleeds anew, or my eyes weep blood. So let ’em do
forever—-Oh, my Lovemore! did the vanity of a prating boy banish thy
solid services and manly love?
_Fred._ This is no reparation to him for his lost life, nor me for
my lost friend. Yet when you please to receive ’em, I am obliged to
deliver you some papers, wherein he has given you all the fortune he
could bestow, nor would revoke it, even thus injured as he was.
_Pen._ Curse on all wealth and fortune! He–he is gone who only
deserved all, and whose worth I know too late!
_Love._ [_To_ FRED.] Oh, ecstasy! Why was I angry at her rejoicing at
my sorrow, when hers to me is such a perfect bliss? ‘Tis barbarous not
to discover myself.
_Fred._ [_To_ LOVE.] Do, and be used barbarously—-But, madam, you
must be composed. Your life, for ought I know, is at stake; for there
is no such thing as accessories in murder; and it can be proved you
knew of Lovemore’s threatening to fight Bookwit. You must either take
your trial yourself, or be Mr. Bookwit’s witness.
_Pen._ I his witness! No, I’ll swear anything to hang him.
_Fred._ Ah, madam, you must consider yourself, however—-Pray, sir,
read her indictment to her.
_Love._ [_Reading._] “That on the said third day of April the said
Penelope, of the parish of St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields, spinster,
without fear before her eyes, but by the instigation of the devil, and
through an evil pride of heart—-”
_Pen._ ‘Tis too true—-[_Weeping._
_Love._ “Did contrive, abet, and consent to the death of John Lovemore,
Esq., of the age of twenty-eight years, or thereabouts.”
_Fred._ I can’t hear the mention of him without tears. He was the
_Love._ I think I have seen him. He was, I’ve heard, a man of honesty,
but of something a disagreeable make.
_Pen._ Oh, sir, you never saw him if you think so—-His person was as
free as his mind was honest, nor had he imperfection, but his love of
_Love._ [_To_ FRED.] I tremble I shall disoblige her too much.
_Fred._ [_To_ LOVE.] You shan’t discover yourself, you shall go through
her soul, now ’tis moved on our side. Win her now, or see my face no
more; I’ll not have my wine spoiled every night with your recitals of
love, and asking advice, though you never mean to take it, like a true
_Pen._ When did that best of men expire, good Mr. Frederick?
_Fred._ This morning. But should I speak the manner? With a faint,
dying voice he called me to him. I went in tenderness to take my long
farewell. He, in a last effort of nature, pressed me to his breast,
and, with the softest accent, sighed in death–“Penelope.”
_Pen._ Oh, the too generous man! Ungrateful I!
Curses on him first flattered with his tongue,
On her that first dissembled in her silence—-
What miseries have they entailed on life
To bring in fraud and diffidence of love!
Simplicity’s the dress of honest passion,
Then why our arts, why to a man enamoured,
That at her feet effuses all his soul,
Must woman cold appear, false to herself and him?
_Fred._ [_To_ LOVE.] Do you see there? You’d have spoke before she
_Pen._ Oh, could I see him now, to press his livid lips,
And call him back to life with my complaints,
His eyes would glare upon my guilt with horror,
That used to gloat and melt in love before me.
Let mine for ever then be shut to joy,
To all that’s bright and valuable in man!
I’ll to his sacred ashes be a wife,
And to his memory devote my life. [_Exit._
_Love._ This is worth dying for indeed. I’ll follow her.
_Fred._ No, you shan’t; let her go in, throw herself upon her bed,
and hug, and call her pillow “Lovemore.” ‘Tis but what you’ve done a
thousand times for her.
_Love._ That’s true too.
_Fred._ Let her contemplate on the mischief of her vanity. She shall
lament till her glass is of our side–till its pretty eyes be all
blubbered; its heart must heave and pant with perfect anguish before
’twill feel the sorrow of another’s. Don’t you know, pride, scorn,
affectation, and a whole train of ills must be sobbed away before a
great beauty’s mortified to purpose?
_Serv._ Old Mr. Bookwit enquires for you here, Mr. Frederick.
_Fred._ Pray, let him come up.
_Enter_ OLD BOOKWIT.
_Love._ What’s the matter? You seem more discomposed than you were at
Mr. Frederick’s. Something still new?
_O. Book._ I saw the boy a-coming in a chair; he looks so languid and
distressed, poor lad! He has all his mother’s softness, by nature of
the sweetest disposition. Oh, gentlemen, you know not what it is to be
a father! To see my only child in that condition—-My grief quickened
at the sight of him. I thought I could have patience till I saw him.
_Serv._ There are two or three in chairs desire admittance by
_O. Book._ ‘Tis right, sir.
_Enter_ YOUNG BOOKWIT, LATINE, _and_ GAOLER.
Oh, my dear child! Oh, Tom! are all thy aged father’s hopes, then, come
to this, that he can’t see thee, his only son, but guarded by a gaoler?
Thy mother’s happy that lived not to see this day. Is all the nurture
that she gave thy infancy, the erudition she bequeathed thy youth, thus
answered? Oh, my son! my son! rise and support thy father! I sink with
tenderness, my child; come to my arms while thou art mine.
_Y. Book._ Oh, best of fathers!
Let me not see your tears,
Don’t double my afflictions by your woe—-
There’s consolation when a friend laments us, but
When a parent grieves, the anguish is too native,
Too much our own to be called pity.
Oh, sir, consider; I was born to die.
‘Tis but expanding thought, and life is nothing.
Ages and generations pass away,
And with resistless force, like waves o’er waves,
Roll down the irrevocable stream of time
Into the insatiate ocean for ever—-Thus we are gone.
But the erroneous sense of man–’tis the lamented
That’s at rest, but the survivor mourns.
All my sorrows vanish with that thought,
But Heaven grant my aged father patience!
_O. Book._ Oh, child! [_Turning away._
_Y. Book._ Do not torment yourself, you shall promise not to grieve.
What if they do upbraid you with my death?
Consider, sir, in death that our relation ceases;
Nor shall I want your care, or know your grief.
It matters not whether by law, or nature, ’tis I die.
What, won’t my father hear me plead to him?
Don’t turn from me—-
Yet don’t look at me with your soul so full.
_O. Book._ Oh, my child! my child! I could hear thee ever.
‘Twas that I loved thee that I turn away;
To hear my son persuade me to resign him,
I can’t, I can’t. The grief is insupportable.
_Y. Book._ You make a coward of me with your anguish.
I grow an infant, scarce can weep with silence;
But let me keep some decency in my distress.
_O. Book._ If we might be apart–
[_Looking at the company._
But that’s too much to hope.
_Gaol._ No, no, we’ll leave you to yourselves. [_Exeunt._
_O. Book._ I have too much upon me, child, to speak–and, indeed, have
nothing to say, but to feed my eyes upon thee e’er we part for ever, if
tears would let me. When you have slept in your cradle, I have waked
for you–and was it to this end! Oh, child, you’ve broke your father’s
_Y. Book._ Good Heav’n forbid it–guard him and protect him.
He faints, he’s cold, he’s gone; [_Running to him._
He’s gone, and with his last breath called me parricide.
“You’ve broke your father’s heart!” Oh, killing sound!
I’m all contagion; to pity me is death:
My griefs to all are mortal but myself.
“You’ve broke your father’s heart!” If I did so,
Why thus serene in death, thou smiling clay?
Why that calm aspect to thy murderer?
Oh, big unutterable grief—-merciful Heaven!
I don’t deserve this ease of tears to melt
With penitence–Oh, sweet, sweet remorse;
Now all my powers give way
To my just sorrow, for the best of fathers. [_Aloud._
Thou venerable fountain of my life,
Why don’t I also die, derived from thee?
Sure you are not gone–Is the way out of life
Thus easy, which you so much feared in me?
[_Takes him by the hand._
Why stay I after? But I deserve to stay,
To feel the quick remembrance of my follies.
Yet if my sighs, my tears, my anguish can atone—-
_Re-enter_ FREDERICK, LOVEMORE, LATINE, GAOLER, VICTORIA, _and_
_Fred._ What is the matter? What—-
_Y. Book._ Behold this sight! I am the guilty wretch–
_Fred._ Keep aside a little, sir, he only swoons, I hope. I think he
breathes–yes, he returns. You must compose yourself.
_Lat._ Poor Bookwit! how utterly he seems distressed!
_O. Book._ I will be calm–resign to Heaven–and hear you patiently.
_Fred._ You, sir, his favourite servant, pray speak honestly the truth
of what you know to this learned gentleman, who is counsel in this case.
_Y. Book._ Sir, he is not—-
_Love._ Pray, sir, give the servant leave first.
_Lat._ Know, then, I am not what I seem, but a gentleman of a plentiful
fortune. I am thus dressed to carry on such gay pursuits as should
offer in this town. Not to detain you, Mr. Bookwit sent me late last
night with a letter to one of these ladies. Coming from thence, as I
crossed, I saw Lovemore in the Garden. He stopped me, and, after some
questions concerning my message to this house, to which he did not like
my answers, he struck me. We fought–I left him dead upon the spot; of
which this gentleman is guiltless.
_O. Book._ How! was it you, then, that killed Mr. Lovemore?
_Lat._ ‘Twas this unhappy hand gave him his death, but so provoked–
_Y. Book._ Who could believe that any pleasing passion
Could touch a breast loaded with guilt like mine?
But all my mind is seized with admiration
Of thy stupendous friendship. What then–
Could’st thou hold thy innocent hand up at a bar
With felons, to save thy friend?
How shall I chide or praise thy brave imposture?
Ah, sir, believe him not! He cannot bear the loss of me whom he
o’ervalues; therefore with highest gallantry he offers a benefit which
’twere the meanest baseness to receive.
But death’s more welcome than a life so purchased.
_Lat._ We all know you can talk, and gild things as you please, but the
lady’s servant knows I was taken near the body when you—-
_Y. Book._ Sir, do but hear me–[_Pushing away_ LAT.
_Lat._ I’ll easily convince you–[_Pushing away_ BOOK.
_Y. Book._ Pray mind him not, his brain is touched–
_Lat._ I am the man, he was not near the place—-
_Love._ I can hold out no longer.–Lovemore still lives to adore
your noble friendship, and begs a share in’t. Be not amazed! but
let me grasp you both, who, in an age degenerate as this, have such
_Y. Book._ Oh, Lovemore! Lovemore! how shall I speak my joy at thy
I fail beneath the too ecstatic pleasure.
What help has human nature from its sorrows,
When our relief itself is such a burthen?
_O. Book._ Oh, the best burthen upon earth!–I beg your pardon, sir–I
never was so taken with a man in my life at first sight. [_Kisses_
LOVE.] Let me be known to you too. [_To_ LAT.
_Lat._ Sir, you do me honour.
_O. Book._ But you, ladies, are the first cause of the many errors we
have been in, and you only can extricate us with satisfaction. Such
is the force of beauty. The wounds the sword gave this gentleman were
slight, but you’ve transfixed a vital and a noble part–his heart. Had
I known his pretences, I had not interposed for my son.
_Fred._ Come, madam, no more of the cruel–go on, Lovemore; o’ my
conscience, the man’s afraid ’tis impudence to be alive again. You see
him now, madam; now you may press his livid lips, and call him back to
life with your complaints.
_Love._ I stand, methinks, on the brink of fate, in an ambiguous
interval of life, and doubt to accept of being till you smile. In every
human incident besides
I am superior, and can choose or leave;
But in minutest things that touch my love,
My bosom’s seized with anguish or with transport.
_Pen._ You’ve shown your passion to me with such honour that if I am
confused, I know I should not be, to say I approve it; for I know no
rules should make me insensible of generous usage. My person and my
mind are yours for ever.
_Love._ Then doubts, and fears, and anxious cares be gone,
All ye black thoughts that did corrode my breast;
Here enter faith, and confidence, and love!
Love that can’t live with jealousy, but dwells
With sacred marriage, truth, and mutual honour.
I knew not where you would bestow your vows,
But never doubted of your faith when given.
[_Kissing her hand._
_O. Book._ You see, my son, how constancy’s rewarded!
You have from nature every quality
To make you well become what fortune gave you;
But neither wit nor beauty, wealth nor courage,
Implicitly deserve the world’s esteem;
They’re only in their application good.
How could you fight a man you knew not why?
You don’t think that ’tis great merely to dare?
‘Tis that a man is just he should be bold.
Indeed you’ve erred.
_Lat._ You give my friend, methinks, too much compunction for a little
levity in his actions–when he’s too severe in his own reflections on
_Pen._ Well, Victoria, you see I take your advice at last in choice of
_Vict._ I congratulate your missing of the other.
_Pen._ I heartily believe you, my dear friend.
_O. Book._ But we best guide our actions by hopes of reward. Could
but my son have such a glorious prospect as this fair one. [_To_
VICTORIA.] I doubt not but his future carriage would deserve her.
_Vict._ I believe I may safely promise to approve of all the truth he
_Y. Book._ You’ve promised, then, to like all I shall say.
_O. Book._ These unexpected good events deserve our celebration with
some mirth and fiddles.
_Fred._ I foresaw this happy turn, therefore have prepared ’em. Call in
_Song, by_ MR. LEVERIDGE.
The rolling years the joys restore,
Which happy, happy Britain knew,
When in a female age before
Beauty the sword of justice drew.
Nymphs and fawns, and rural powers,
Of crystal floods and shady bowers,
No more shall here preside;
The flowing wave and living green,
Owe only to their present queen
Their safety and their pride.
United air and pleasures bring,
Of tender note and tuneful string,
All your arts devoted are
To move the innocent and fair.
While they receive the pleasing wound,
Echo repeats the dying sound.
_Y. Book._ Since such deserved misfortunes they must share,
Who with gay falsehoods entertain the fair;
Let all with this just maxim guide their youth,
There is no gallantry in love but truth. [_Exeunt._
Our too advent’rous author soared to-night
Above the little praise, mirth to excite,
And chose with pity to chastise delight.
For laughter’s a distorted passion, born
Of sudden self-esteem and sudden scorn;
Which, when ’tis o’er, the men in pleasure wise,
Both him that moved it and themselves despise;
While generous pity of a painted woe
Makes us ourselves both more approve and know.
What is that touch within which nature gave
For man to man e’er fortune made a slave?
Sure it descends from that dread Power alone,
Who levels thunder from His awful throne,
And shakes both worlds–yet hears the wretched groan.
‘Tis what the ancient sage could ne’er define,
Wondered–and called part human, part divine;
‘Tis that pure joy which guardian angels know,
When timely they assist their care below,
When they the good protect, the ill oppose;
‘Tis what our sovereign feels when she bestows,
Which gives her glorious cause such high success,
That only on the stage you see distress.