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Then all bad poets, we are sure, are foes, May such malicious fops this fortune find, And how their number's swelled, the town well To think themselves alone the fools designed; knows;

If any are so arrogantly vain, In shoals I've marked 'em judging in the pit, To think they singly can support a scene, Though they're on no pretence for judgment fit, And furnish fool enough to entertain ! But that they have been damned for want of wit; For well the learned and the judicious know, Since when, they, by their own offences taught, That satire scorns to stoop so meanly low, Set up for spies on plays, and finding fault. As any one abstracted fop to show; Others there are whose malice we'd prevent ; For, as, when painters form a matchless face, Such, who watch plays with scurrilous intent They from each fair one catch some different To mark out who by characters are meant:

grace, And though no perfect likeness they can trace, And shining features in one portrait blend, Yet each pretends to know the copied face. To which no single beauty must pretend; These with false glosses feed their own ill na So poets oft do in one piece expose ture,

Whole belles assemblées of coquettes and beaux, And turn to libel what was meant a satire.

TUE

PROVOKED WIFE.

BY

VANBURGH.

PROLOGUE.

SINCE 'tis the intent and business of the stage Experience shews, to many a writer's smart, To copy out the follies of the age;

You hold a court where mercy ne'er had part; To hold to every man a faithful glass,

So much of the old serpeut's sting you have, And shew him of what species he's an ass; You love to damn, as Heav'n delights to save. I hope the next that teaches in the school In foreign parts, let a bold volunteer, Will shew our author he's a scribbling fool: For public good, upon the stage appear, And that the satire may be sure to bite,

He meets ten thousand smiles to dissipate bis Kind Heav'n! inspire some venom’d priest to

fear. write,

All tickle on th' adventuring young beginner, And grant some ugly lady may indite;

And only scourge the incorrigible sinner; For I would have bim lash’d, by Heav'n! I wou'd, They touch, indced, his faults, but with a hand Till his presumption swam away in blood. So gentle, that his merits still may stand; Three plays at once proclaim a face of brass ; Kindly they buoy the follies of his pen, No matter what they are; that's not the case: That he may shún 'em when he writes again. To write three plays, c'en that's to be an ass. But 'tis not so in this good-natur’d town, But what I least forgive, he knows it too, All's one, an ox, a poet, or a crown: For to his cost he lately has known you. Old England's play was always knocking down.

DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

MEN.
CONSTANT.
HEARTFREE.
Sir John BRUTE.
Lord Rake.
Col. BULLY,
RASOR,
Justice of the Peace.

WOMEN.
Ludy BRUTE.
BELINDA.
Lady FANCYFUL.
MADEMOISELLE.
Cornet.

Constable and Watch.

ACT I.

Sir John. And you me for money; so you have SCENE I.-Sir John BRUTE's Ilouse. your reward, and I have mine.

L. Brutr. What is it that disturbs you ?
Enter Sir Jous solus.

Sir John. A parson. Sir John. What cloying meat is love-when L. Brute. Why, what has he done to you? matrimony's the sauce to it! Two years marriage Sir John. He has married me, and be damned has debauched my five senses. Every thing I see, to him.

(Exit. every thing I hear, every thing I feel, every thing L. Brule. The devil's in the fellow, I think.I smell, and every thing I taste-methinks has I was told before I married him, that thus it would wife in't.---No boy was ever so weary of his tutor, be; but I thought I had charms enough to govern no giri of her bib, no nun of doing penance, or him, and that where there was an estate, a woold maid of being chaste, as I am of being mar man must needs be happy; so my vanity bas de ried. Sure there's a secret curse entailed upon ceived me, and my ambition has made me uneasy. the very name of wife. My lady is a young lady, But there is some comfort still : if one would be a fine lady, a witty lady, a virtuous lady—and revenged of him, these are good times ; a woman yet I hate her. There is but one thing on earth may have a gallant, and a separate maintenance i loathe beyond her : that's fighting. Would my too. The surly puppy-yet he's a fool for't; for courage come up to a fourth part of my ill nature, hitherto he has been no inonster; but who knows I'd stand buff to her relations, and thrust her out how far he may provoke me? I never loved him, of doors. But marriage has sunk me down to yet I have been ever true to him, and that in such an ebb of resolution, I dare not draw my spite of all the attacks of art and nature upon a sword, though even to get rid of my wife. But poor weak woman's heart, in favour of a tenipting here she comes.

lover. Methinks so noble a defence as I have

made should be rewarded with a better usageEnter Lady BRUTE.

Or who can tell ?--Perhaps a good part of what I L. Brute. Do you dine at home to-day, Sir suffer from my husband may be a judgment upon John

me for my cruelty to my lover. -But hold-let Sir John. Why, do you expect I should tell you me go no further-I think I have a right to arm what I don't know myself?

this surly brute of mine—but if I know my heart, L. Brute. I thought there was no harm in it will never let me go so far as to injure him. asking you.

Enter BELINDA. Sir John. If thinking wrong were an excuse for impertinence, women might be justified in L. Brute. Good morrow, dear cousin. most things they say or do.

Bel. Good morrow, madam ; you look pleased L. Brute. I am sorry I have said any thing to this morning. displease you.

L. Brule. I am so. Sir John. Sorrow for things past, is of as little Bel. With what, pray ? importance to me, as my dining at home or abroad L. Brute. With my

husband. ought to be to you.

Bel. Drown husbands; for yours is a provoL. Brule. My inquiry was only that I might | king fellow. As he went out just now, I prayed have provided what you liked.

him to tell me what time of day it was, and he Sir John. Six to four you had been in the wrong asked me if I took him for the church clock, that there again ; for what I liked yesterday I don't was obliged to tell all the parish. like to-day, and what I like to-day, 'tis odds I L. Brute. He has been saying some good oblimayu't like to-morrow.

ging things to me too. In short, Belinda, he has L. Brute. But if I had asked you what you liked ? used me so barbarously of late, that I could al

Sir John. Why, then there would be more ask most resolve to play the downright wife-and ing about it than the thing is worth.

cuckold him. L. Brute. I wish I did but know how I might Bel. That would be downright indeed. please you.

L. Brute. Why, after all, there's more to be Sir John. Ay, but that sort of knowledge is said for't than you'd imagine, child. He is the not a wife's talent.

first aggressor, not I. L. Brule. Whate'er my talent is, I'm sure my Bel. Ah, but you know we must return good will has ever been to make you easy.

for evil. Sir John. If women were to have their wills, L. Brute. That may be a mistake in the transthe world would be finely governed.

lation. Pr’ythee, be of my opinion, Belinda ; for L. Brute. What reason have I given you to I'm positive I'm in the right, and if you'll keep use me as you do of late ? It once was otherwise: up the prerogative of a woman, you'll likewise be you married me for love.

positive you are in the right, whenever you do

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any thing you have a mind to.

But I shall play me to revenge ; and Satan, catching the fair octhe fool, and jest on, till I make you begin to think casion, throws in my way that vengeance, which I am in earnest.

of all vengeance pleases women best. Bel. I sha'n't take the liberty, madam, to think Bel. 'Tis well Constant don't know the wcakof any thing that you desire to keep a secret froin ness of the fortification; for, o' my conscience,

he'd soon on to the assault. L. Brute. Alas, my dear, I have no secrets. L. Brule. Aj, and I'm afraid carry the town My heart could ne'er yet confine my tonguic. too. But whatever you may have observed, I

Bel. Your eyes, you mean, for I am sure I have have dissembled so well as to keep him ignorant. seen them gaddling, when your tongue has been So you see I'm no coquette, Belinda; and if you'll locked up safe enough.

follow my advice, you'll never be one neither

. L. Brute. My eyes gadding! Pr’ychee after 'Tis true, coquetry is one of the main ingredients who, child ?

in the natural coinposition of a woman ; and I, Bel. Why, after one that thinks you hate him, as well as others, could be well enough pleased as much as I know you love him.

to sce a crowd of young fellows ogling, and glan-, L. Brule. Constant, you mean.

cing, and watching all occasions to do forty toolBel. I do so.

ish officious things; nay, should some of 'em push L. Brute. Lord, what should put such a tling on, even to hanging or drowning, why-faithinto your head?

if I should let pure woman alone, I should e'en be Bil. That which puts things into most people's too well pleased with it. heads -observation.

Bel. I'll swear 'twould tickle me strangely. L. Brute. Why, what have you observed, in L. Brute. But, after all, 'tis a vicious practice the name of wonder ?

in us to give the least encouragement but where Bel. I have observed you blush when you met we design to come to a conclusion; for 'tis an him; force yourself away from him; and then be unreasonable thing to engage a man in a disease, out of humour with every thing about you: in a which we before-hand resolve we will never apword, never was a poor creature so spurr’d on by ply a cure to. desire, or so reined in with fear,

Bel. 'Tis true; but then a woman must aban. L. Brute. How strong is fancy!

don one of the supreme blessings of her life ; for Bel. Ilow weak is woman !

I am fully convinced, no man las half that pleaL. Bruie. Pr’ythee, niece, have a better opi sure in gallanting a inistress, as a woman has ia nion of your aunt's inclination.

jilting a gallant. Bel. Dear aunt, have a better opinion of your L. Brute. The happiest woman then on carth nier, 's understanding.

must be our neighbour. L. Brute. You'll make me angry.

Bel. Oh, the impertinent composition! She Bel. You'll make me laugh.

has vanity and affectation enough to make her a L. Brute. Then you are resolved to persist? ridiculous original, and in spite of all that art anıl Bel. Positively.

nature ever furnished to any of her ses before her. L. Brule. And all I can say

L. Brute. She concludes all men her captives; Bel. Will signify nothing.

and whatever course they take, it serves to cole L. Bruie. Though I should swear it were firin her in that opinion. false

Del. If they slun her, she thinks 'tis modests, Bel. I should think it truc.

and takes it for a proof of their passion. L. Brute. Then let us forgive, (Kissing her,] L. Bruto. And if they are rude to her, 'tis coli. for we have both offended: I, in making a se- duct, and done to prevent town-talk. cret; you, in discovering it.

Bel. When her folly makes 'em laugh, she Bel. Good nature may do much ; but you have thinks they are pleased with her wit. more reason to forgive one, than I hare to par L. Bruie. And when her impertinence makes don t'other.

’em dull, concludes they arejealous of her favours

. L. Brute. 'Tis true, Belinda, you have given Bel. All their actions and their words, she me so many proofs of your friendship, that my takes for granted, aim at her. reserve has been, indeed, a crime; but that you L. Brute. And pities all other women, because may more easily forgive me, remember, child, that she thinks they envy her. when our nature prompts us to a thing our ho Bel. Pray, out of pity to ourselves, let us find nour and religion forbid us, we would (were it a better subject, for I'm weary of this.-Do you possible) conceal, even from the soul itself, the think your husband inclined to jealousy? knowledge of the body's weakness.

L. Brute, O no; he does not love me well Bel. Well, I hope, to make your friend amends, enough for that. Lord, how wrong men’s maxims you'll hide nothing from her for the future, though are !-- They are seldom jealous of their wives, unthe body should still grow weaker and weaker. less they are very fond of 'em; whereas they

; L. Brule. No, from this moment I have no ought to consider the women's inclinations, fur more reserve; and as proof of my repentance, I there depends their fate. Well, men may talk, own, Belinda, I am in danger. Merit and wit but they are not so wise as we, that's certain. assault me from without, nature and love solicit Bel. At least in our affairs. me within; my husband's barbarous usage piques L. Brute. Nay, I believe we should outdo 'em

more.

men

in the business of the state too; for, methinks, Mladen. Ah, matam, I wish I was fine gentlethey do and undo, and make but bad work on't. man for your sake! I do all de ting in de world

Bel. Why then don't we get into the intrigues to get a little way into your heart. I make song, of government as well as they?

I make verse, I give you de serenade, I give great L. Brute. Because we have intrigues of our many present to Mademoiselle; I no eat, I no own, that make us more sport, child. And so sleep, I be lean, I be mad, I hang myself, I drown let's in, and consider of 'em. (Exeunt. myself. Ah, ma chere dame, que je vous aimerois !

(Embracing her. SCENE II.-A Dressing-Room.

L. Fın. Well, the French have strange obli

ging ways with 'em ; you may take those two pair Enter Lady FANCYFUL, MADEMOISELLE, and

of gloves, Mademoiselle. CORNET.

Mudem. Me humbly tank my sweet lady. L. Fan. How do I look this morning ? Cor. Your ladyship looks very ill, truly.

Enter Seruunt with a letler. L. Fun. Lard, how ill-natured thou art, Cor Serv. Madam, here's a letter for your ladynet, to tell me so, though the thing should be true. ship. Don't you know that I have humility enough to

L. Fun. 'Tis thus I am importuned every mornbe but too easily out of conceit with myself? ing, Maclennoiselle. Pray, how do the French Hold the glass; I dare say that will have no e ladies when they are thus accablées ? manners than you have. Mademoiselle, let me Auten. Matam, dey never complain. Au conhave your opinion too,

traire, when one Frense laty have got a hundred Madem. My opinion pe, matam, dat your ladlylover, den she do all she can—to get a hundred ship never look so well in your life. L. Fan. Well, the French are the prettiest L. Fun. Well

, let me dic, I think they have le obliging people; they say the most acceptable, gout bon. For 'tis an unutterable pleasure to be well-mannered things and never flatter. adored by all the inen, and envied by all the wo

Madem. Your ladyship say great justice inteed. -Yet I'll swear I'm concerned at the tor

L. Fan. Nay, every thing is just in my house ture I give 'em. Lard, why was I formed to make but Cornet. The very looking-glass gives her the the whole creation uneasy? But let me read my dementi. But I'm almost afraid it flatters me, it letter.

(Reads. makes me look so very engaging.

• If you have a mind to hear of your faults, in(Looking utjectedly in the glass. stead of being praised for your virtues, take the Madem. Inteed, matam," your face be hand pains to walk in the Green-walk in St James's somer den all de looking-glass in de world, croyez Park, with your woman, an hour hence. You'll moy.

there meet one, who bates you for some things, as L. Fan. But is it possible my eyes can be so he could love you for others, and therefore is willanguishing, and so very full of fire ?

lin: to endeavour your reformation-If you Maden. Matam, if de glass was burning-glass, come to the place I mention, you'll know who I I believe your eyes set de fire in de house. am: If you don't, you never shall: so take your

L. Fan. You may take that night-gown, Ma- choice. This is strangely familiar, Mademoiselle; demoiselle ; get out of the room, Cornet-I now have I a provoking fancy to know who this cann't endure you. This wench, methinks, does impudent fellow is. look so insufferably ugly.

Madem. Den take your scarf and your mask, Madem. Every ting look ugly, matam, dat stand and go to de rendezvous. De Frense laty do by your latyship.

justement comme ça. L. Pan. No, really, Mademoiselle, methinks L. Fan. Rendezvous ! What, rendezvous with you look mighty pretty.

a man, Mademoiselle? Mudem. Ah, matam, de moon have no eclat, Mudem. Eh, pourquoy non? ven de sun appear.

L. Fan. What, and a man perhaps I never saw L. Fun. O, pretty expression! Have you ever in my life? been in love, Mademoiselle?

ajudem. Tant mieux : c'est donc quelque chose Mullcm. Ony, matam !

(Sighing: de nouveau. L. Fan. And were you beloved again?

L. Fun. Why, how do I know what designs Madem. No, matam.

[Sighing | he may have? He may intend to ravish me, for L. Fun. O ye gods! what an unfortunate aught I know. creature should I be in such a case! But nature Madem. Ravish ! Bagatelle. I would fain see has made me nice for my own defence; I'm nice, one impudent rogue ravisli Mademoiselle. Oui, strangely nice, Mademoiselle. I believe, were the je le voudrois. merit of all mankind bestowed upon one single L. Fan. O, but my reputation, Mademoiselle, person, I should still think the fellow wanted my reputation; ah, ma chere reputation ! something to make it worth iny while to take no Madem. Matam-Quand on l'a une fois pertice of him; and yet I could love-nay, foudly dus-On n'en est plus embarassée. love were it possible to have a thing made on L. Fan. Fie, Mademoiselle, fie ! reputation is a purpose for me ; for I'm not cruel, Mademoiselle, jewel. I'm only nice.

Madem. Qui coute bien chere, matam. VOL III.

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