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THE

PROVOKED HUSBAND.

BY

VANBURGH & CIBBER.

PROLOGUE.

SPOKEN BY MR WILKS.

see

This play took birth from principles of truth,
To make amends for errors past, of youth.
A bard, that's now no more, in riper days,
Conscious reviewed the licence of his plays ;
And though applause his wanton muse had fired,
Himself condemned what sensual minds admired.
At length he owned that plays should let you
Not only what you are, but ought to be:
Though 'vice was natural, 'twas never meant
The stage should shew it, but for punishment !
Warm with that thought, his muse once more

took flame,
Resolved to bring licentious life to shame.
Such was the piece his latest pen design’d,
But left no traces of his plan behind.

Luxuriant scenes, unprun’d, or half contrived ;
Yet through the mass his native fire survived :
Rough as rich ore, in mines the treasure lay,
Yet still 'twas rich, and forms at length a play,
In which the bold compiler boasts no merit,
But that his pains have saved your scenes of

spirit ;
Not scenes that would a noisy joy impart,
But such as hush the mind, and warm the heart.
From praise of hands no sure account he draws,
But fix'd attention is sincere applause.

If then (for hard you'll own the task) his art
Can to those embryon-scenes new life impart,
The living proudly would exclude his lays,
And to the buried bard resigns the praise.

DRAMATIS PERSONA.

тап.

ry virtue.

MEN.

WOMEN. Lord TowNLY, of a regular Life.

Lady TowNLY, immoderate in her pursuit of Mr MANLY, an Admirer of Lady Grace.

pleasures. Sir FRANCIS WRONGHEAD, a Country Gentle Lady GRACE, Sister to Lord Townly, of exemplaSquire RICHARD, his Son, a mere Whelp. Lady WRONGHEAD, Wife to Sir Francis, inclined Count Basset, a Gamester.

to be a fine Lady. John Moody, Servant to Sir Francis, an ho Miss JENNY, her Daughter, pert and forward. nest Clown.

Mrs MOTHERLY, one that lets Lodgings.
MYRTILLA, her Niece, seduced by the Count.
Mrs TRUSTY, Lady Townly's Womun.

Masqueraders, Constable, Servants, &c.
The Scene, Lord Townly's House, and sometimes Sir Francis's Lodgings.

ACT I.

Lady Town. Oh! This world is not so ill bred SCENE I.-Lord TownLY's Apartment. as to quarrel with any woman for liking it.

Ld Town. Nor am I, madam, a husband so Lord TOWLY solus.

well bred, as to bear my wife's being so fond of Why did I marry ? - Was it not evident, it: in short, the life you lead, madammy plain, rational scheme of life was impracti Lady Town. Is to me the pleasantest life in cable, with a woman of so different a way of the world. thinking?—Is there one article of it that she Ld Town. I should not dispute your taste, has not broke in upon ?--Yes--let me do madam, if a woman had a right to please noher justice- her reputation--that--I have body but herself. no reason to believe is in question—–But then Lady Town. Why, whom would you

have her how long her profligate course of pleasures may please? make her able to keep it is a shocking ques Ld Toron. Sometimes her husband. tion! and her presumption while she keeps it Ludy Town. And don't you think a husband

insupportable! for on the pride of that under the same obligation?" single virtue she seems to lay it down as a fun Ld Town. Certainly. damental point, that the free indulgence of every Lady 7'own. Why then, we are agreed, my other vice this fertile town affords is the birthi- lord-for if I never go abroad 'till I am weary right prerogative of a woman of quality of being at home—which you know is the Amazing! that a creature so warm in the pur case-wis it not equally reasonable not to come suit of her pleasures should never cast one home 'till one's weary of being abroad? thought towards her happiness-Thus, while she Ld Town. If this be your rule of life, madam, admits no lover, she thinks it a greater merit 'tis time to ask you one serious question. still, in her chastity, not to care for her husband; Lady Town. Don't let it be long a-coming and while she herself is solacing in one continu- thenfor I am in haste. al round of cards and good company, he, poor Ld Torcn. Madam, when I am serious, I exwreich, is left at large, to take care of his own pect a serious answer. contentment-"Tis time, indeed, some care Lady Town. Before I know the question? were taken, and speedily there shall be--Yet Ld Town. Psha -Have I power, madam, to let me not be rash-Perhaps this disappoint- | make you serious by entreaty ? ment of my heart may make me too impatient; Lady Town. You have. and some tempers, when reproached, grow Ld Town. And you promise to answer me more untractable.Here she comes -Let me sincerely ? be calm a while.

Lady Town. Sincerely.

Ld Town. Now then recollect your thoughts, Enter Lady TowNLY.

and tell me seriously why you married me? Going out so soon after dinner, madam?

Lady Town. You insist upon truth, you say ? Lady Town. Lard, my lord! what can I pos Ld Town. I think I have a right to it. sibly do at home?

Lady Town. Why then, my lord, to give you, id Town. What does my sister, Lady Grace, at once, a proof of my obedience and sincerity do at home?

-I think -I married to take off that Lady Toxen. Why, that to me is amazing! restraint that lay upon my pleasures while I was Have you any pleasure at home?

a single woman. Ld Town. It might be in your power, madam, Ld Town. How, madam! Is any woman un. I confess, to make it a little more comfortable der less restraint after marriage than before it?

Lady Town. O, my lord ! my lord ! they are Lady Town. Comfortable ! and so, my good quite different creatures! Wives bave infinite lord, you would really have a woman of my rank liberties in life, that would be terrible in an unand spirit stay at home to comfort her husband ! married woman to take. Lord! what notions of life some men have ! Ld Town, Name one.

Ld Town. Don't you think, madam, some la Lady Town. Fifty, if you please-To bedies notions are full as extravagant ?

gin, then, in the morning a married woman Lady Town. Yes, my lord, when the tame may have men at her toilet, invite them to dindoves live cooped within the penn of your pre- ner, appoint them a party in a stage-box at the cepts, I do think 'em prodigious indeed! play, engross the conversation there, call 'em by

Ld Town. And when they fly wild about this their Christian names, talk louder than the town, madam, pray what must the world think players---from thence jaunt into the city of 'em then?

take a frolicksome supper at an India house

to me.

perhaps, in her gaieté de cæur, toast a pretty were I weak enough to love this man, I should fellow-then clatter again to this end of the never get a single guinea from him. (Aside. town, break, with the morning, into an assembly, Ld Town. If it be no offence, madamcrowd to the hazard-table, throw a familiar le Lady Town. Say what you please, my lord; vant upon some sharp lurching man of quality, I am in that harmony of spirits, it is impossible and if he demands his money, turn it off with a to put me out of humour. loud laugh, and cry—you'll owe it him, to vex Id Town. How long, in reason, then, do you him! ha, ha!

think that sum ought to last you? Ld Town. Prodigious !

(Aside. Lady Town. Oh, my dear, dear lord ! now Lady Town. These now, my lord, are some you have spoiled all again! How is it possible I few of the many modish amusements that dis- should answer for an event that so utterly detinguish the privilege of a wife from that of a pends upon fortune? But to shew you that I am single woman.

inore inclined to get money than to throw it id Town. Death, madam! what law has away--I have a strong possession, that with made these liberties less scandalous in a wife this five hundred I shall win five thousand. than in an unmarried woman?

Ld Town, Madam, if you were to win ten Lady Town. Why, the strongest law in the thousand, it would be no satisfaction to me. world-custom-Custom, time out of mind, my Lady Town. O! the churl! Ten thousand ! lord.

What! not so much as wish I might win ten Ld Town. Custom, madam, is the law of fools, thousand !--Ten thousand! O! the charming but it shall never govern me.

sum! What infinite pretty things might a woman Lady Town. Nay, then, my lord, 'tis time for of spirit do with ten thousand guineas ! O’my me to observe the laws of prudence.

conscience, if she were a woman of true spirit Ld Town. I wish I could see an instance of it. she-she might lose 'em all again.

Lady Town. You shall have one this moment, Ld Town. And I had rather it should be so, my lord; for I think, when a man begins to lose madam, provided I could be sure that were the his temper at home, if a woman has any pru- last you would lose.

dence, why -she'll go abroad 'till he comes Lady Town. Well, my lord, to let you see ! t to himself again.

(Going design to play all the good housewife I can, I La Town. Hold, madam I am amaz'd

you am now going to a party at quadrille, only to are not more uneasy at the life you lead! You piddle with a little of it, at poor two guineas a don't want sense, and yet seem void of all hu- fish, with the duchess of Quiteright. manity; for with a blush I say it, I think I have

(Erit Lady TOWNlY. not wanted love.

Ld Town. Insensible creature! neither reLady Town. Oh! don't say that, my lord, if proaches or indulgencies, kindness or severity, you suppose I have my senses.

can wake her to the least reflection! Continual La Town. What is it I have done to you ? licence has lull’d her into such a lethargy of care, What can you complain of?

that she speaks of her excesses with the same Lady Town. Oh! nothing in the least. 'Tis easy confidence, as if they were so many virtues. true, you have heard me say I have owed my lord What a turn has her head taken! But how to Lurcher an hundred pound these three weeks cure it--I am afraid the physic must be strong - but what then-a husband is not liable to his that reaches her--Lenitives, I see, are to no wife's debts of honour, you know--and if a silly purpose-Take my friends' opinion Manly woman will be uneasy about money she can't be will speak freely -my sister with tenderness sued for, what's that to him? As long as he loves to both sides - They know my case -I'll talk her, to be sure, she can have nothing to com- with 'em. plain of. Ld Town. By Heaven, if my whole fortune

Enter a Servant. thrown into your lap could make you delight in Serv. Mr Manly, my lord, has sent to know the cheerful duties of a wife, I should think

my

if your lordship was at home. self a gainer by the purchase.

Ld Town. They did not deny me? Lady Town. That is, my lord, I might receive Sero. No, my lord. your whole estate, provided you were sure I Ld Town. Very well; step up to my sister, would not spend a shilling of it.

and I desire to speak with her. Ld Town. No, madam; were I master of Serv. Lady Grace is here, my lord. [ Exit Sert. your heart, your pleasures would be mine; but different as they are, I'll feed even your fol

Enter Lady GRACE. lies, to deserve it-Perhaps you may have Ld Town So, lady fair; what pretty weapon some other trifling debts of honour abroad, that have you been killing your time with ? keep you out of humour at home at least it L Grace. A huge folio, that has almost killed shall not be my fault, if I have not more of your me-I think I have half read my eyes out. ompany. There, there's a bill of five hun Ld Town. O! you should not pore so much red and now, madam

just after dinner, child. Lady Town. And now, my lord, down to the L. Grace. That's true, but any body's thoughts und I thank you Now am I convinced, I are better than always one's own, you know.

say

my lord ?

this

Ld Town. Who's there?

of merit makes his addresses, good sense may

give him an answer without scorn or coquetry. Enter Servant.

L. Grace. Hush ! he's here. Leave word at the door, I am at home to no

Enter Mr MANLY. body but Mr Manly. 1. Grace. And why is he excepted, pray, Man. My lord, your most obedient.

La Town. Dear Manly ! yours- I was think. *Ld Town. I hope, madam, you have no ob- ing to send to you. jection to his company?

Mun. Then I am glad I am here, my lordL. Grace. Your particular orders, upon my be- Lady Grace, I kiss your hands -What! oning here, look, indeed, as if you thought I had ly you two ! How many visits may a man make, not.

before he fall into such unfashionable company? Ld Town. And your ladyship’s inquiry into A brother and sister soberly sitting at home, the reason of those orders shews, at least, it was when the whole town is a-gadding! I question not a matter indifferent to you.

if there is so particular a téle-u-tête again in L. Gruce. Lord! You make the oddest con the whole parish of St James's ! structions, brother!

L. Grace. Fie, fie ! Mr Manly, how censoriLd Town. Look you, my grave Lady Grace ous you are! --in one serious word-I wish you had him. Man. I had not made the reflection, madam, L. Grace. I can't help that.

but that I saw you an exception to it. Where's Ld Town. Ha! you can't help it! Ha, ha! my lady? The flat simplicity of that reply was admirable. Ld Town. That, I believe, is impossible to

L. Grace. Pooh! you teaze one, brother. guess.

Ld Town. Come, I beg pardon, child--this Man. Then I won't try, my lord. is not a point, I grant you, to trifle upon ; there Id Toren. But 'tis probable I may hear of het fore I hope you'll give me leave to be serious. by that time I have been four or five hours in bedł

. L. Grace. If you desire it, brother; though, Mon. Now, if that were my case, I believe I upon my word, as to Mr Manly's having any se should-But I beg pardon, my lord. rious thoughts of me I know nothing of it. Ld Town. Indeed, sir

, you shall not : You will Ld. Town. Well there's nothing wrong in oblige me if you speak out; for it was upon your making a doubt of it-But, in short, I head I wanted to see you. find, by his conversation of late, that he has been Man. Why then, my lord, since you oblige me looking round the world for a wife ; and if you to proceed if that were my case I believe were to look round the world for a husband, he's I should certainly sleep in another house. the first man I would give to you.

L. Grace. How do you mean? L. Grace. Then whenever he makes me any Man. Only a compliment, madam. offer, brother, I will certainly tell you of it. L. Grace. A compliment !

Ld Town. O! that's the last thing he'll do ; Man. Yes, madam, in rather turning myself he'll never make you an offer, till he's pretty sure out of doors than her. it won't be refused.

L. Grace. Don't you think that would be goL. Grace. Now you make me curious. Pray, ing too far? did he ever make any offer of that kind to you? Alon. I don't know but it might, madam ; for

, Ld Town. Not directly; but that imports no in strict justice, I think she ought rather to sa thing : he is a man too well acquainted with the than I. female world, to be brought into a high opinion L. Grace. This is new doctrine, Mr Manly. of any one woman, without some well-examined Mun. As old, madam, as love, honour, and proof of her merit : yet I have reason to believe obey! When a woman will

stop at nothing that's that your good sense, your turn of mind, and wrong, why should a man balance any thing that's your way of life, have brought him to so favour-right? able a one of you, that a few days will reduce L. Gruce. Bless me! But this is fomenting him to talk plainly to me; which as yet (not things. withstanding our friendship) I have neither de Man. Fomentations, malam, are sometimes clined, nor encouraged him to.

necessary to dispel tumours; though I don't diL. Gruce. I am mighty glad we are so near rectly advise my lord to do this—This is only in our way of thinking ; for to tell you the truth, / what, upon the same provocation, I would do m; he is much upon the same terms with me. You self. know he has a satirical turn, but never lashes L. Grace. Ay, ay! You would do ! Bachelo any folly without giving due encomiums to its wives, indeed, are finely governed. opposite virtue ; and upon such occasions he Man. If the married men's were as well); is sometimes particular in turning his compli- apt to think we should not see so many mut ments upon me, which I don't receive with any plagues taking the air in separate coaches! reserve, lest he should imagine I take them to my L. Grace. Well, but suppose it your own c self.

Would you part with a wife, because she nov Ld Town. You are right, child; when a man then stays out in the best company?

!

C

am

to say.

La Town. Well said, Lady Grace ! come, stand Ld Town. O Manly! 'tis too true! there's the up for the privilege of your sex! This is like to source of my disquiet! she knows, and has abube a warm debate ! I shall edify.

sed her power! Nay, I am still so weak (with Man. Madam, I think a wife, after midnight, shame I speak it) 'tis not an hour ago, that, in the has no occasion to be in better company than her midst of my impatience, I gave her another bill husband's; and that frequent unseasonable hours for five hundred to throw away. make the best company—the worst company she

Mun. Well-my lord! to let you see I ar can fall into.

sometimes upon the side of good-nature, I won't L. Gruce. But if people of condition are to absolutely blame you; for the greater your indul. keep company with one another, how is it possi- gence, the more you have to reproach her with. ble to be done unless one conforms to their hours ? L. Grace. Ay, Mr Manly! here now, I begin

Mun. I cann't find, that any woman's good to come in with you. Who knows, my lord, you breeding obliges her to conform to other people's may have a good account of your kindness ? vices.

Mun. That, I am afraid, we had not best deLa Town. I doubt, child, here we are got a lit-pend upon: But, since you have had so much patle on the wrong side of the question.

tience, my lord, even go on with it a day or two L. Grace. Why so, my lord? I cann't think the more; and, upon her ladyship’s next sally, be a litcase so bad as Mr Manly states it-People of tle rounder in your expostulation; if that don't quality are not tied down to the rules of those work, drop her some cool hints of determined who have their fortunes to make.

reformation, and leave her to breakfast upon Man. No people, madam, are above being tied 'em. down to some rules, that have fortunes to lose. Ld Town. You are perfectly right! How valua

L. Grace. Pooh! I'm sure, if you were to take ble is a friend in our anxiety! my side of the argument, you would be able to Man. Therefore, to divert that, my lord, I beg, say something more for it.

for the present, we may call another cause. Ld Town. Well, what say you to that, Manly? L. Grace. Ay! for goodness sake, let's have Mun. Why, 'troth, my lord, I have something done with this.

L1 Town. With all my lieart. L. Grace. Ay! that I should be glad to hear L. Gruce. Have you no news abroad, Mr Manly? now!

Man. d propos

-I have some, madam ; and Ld Town. Out with it!

I believe, my lord, as extraordinary in its kind Man. Then, in one word, this, my lord. I have Ld Town. Pray let's have it. often thought, that the misconduct of my lady has, Man. Do you know, that your country neighin a great ineasure, been owing to your lordship's bour, and my wise kinsman, Sir Francis Wrongtreatment of her.

head, is coming to town with his whole family? L. Grace, Bless me!

Ld Town. The fool! what can be his business Ld Town. My treatment !

here? Man. Ay, my lord, you so idolized her before Man. Oh! of the last importance, I'll assure marriage, that you even indulged her like a mis- you—No less than the business of the nation. tress after it: In short you continued the lover, Li Town. Explain! when you should have taken up the husband. Mun. He has carried his election -against

L. Grace. O frightful! this is worse than t'other! Sir John Worthland. Can a husband love a wife too well ?

Ld Town. The douce! what! for-forMan. As easy, madam, as a wife may love her Man. The famous borough of Guzzledown ! hasband too little.

Li Town. A proper representative, indeed. Ld Town. So ! you two are never like to agree, L. Grace. Pray, Mr Manly, don't I know him?

Man. You have dined with him, madam, when L. Grace. Don't be positive, brother ;-I am I was last down with my lord, at Bellmont. afraid we are both of a mind already. (Aside.) And L. Gruce. Was not that he that got a little mer

you, at this rate, ever hope to be married, Mrry before dinner, and overset the tea-table in maManly?

king his compliments to my lady? Man. Never, madam, till I can meet with a Man. The same. woman that likes my doctrine.

L. Grace. Pray what are his circumstances ? L. Grace. 'Tis pity but your mistress should I know but very little of him.

Mun. Then he is worth your knowing, I can Man. Pity me, madam, when I marry the wo- tell you, madam. His estate, if clear, I believe, man that won't hear it.

might be a good two thousand pounds a year: L. Gruce. I think at least, he cann't say that's Thongh, as it was left him saddled with two join

(Aside. tures, and two weighty mortgages upon it, there Man. And so, my lord, by giving her more is no saying what it is—But, that he might be power than was needful, she has none where she sure never to inend it, he married a profuse young wants it; having such entire possession of you, she hussy for love, without a penny of money. Thus is not mistress of herself! And, mercy on us ! how having, like his brave ancestors, provided heirs for many fine women's heads have been turned upon the family, (for his dove breeds likea tame pigeon,) the same occasion !

he now finds children and interest-money make VOL. III.

2 K

I find.

do

hear it.

me.

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