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LADY F. Then she's always ready to laugh when Sneer offers to speak; and sits in expectation of his no-jest, with her gums bare, and her mouth open.

BRISK. Like an oyster at low ebb, egad! Ha, ha, ha!

CYNTHIA. [A side.] Well, I find there are no fools so inconsiderable in themselves, but they can render other people contemptible by exposing their infirmities.

LADY F. Then that t'other great strapping lady; I can't hit of her name; the old fat fool that paints so exorbitantly.

BRISK. I know whom you mean. But, deuce take me, I can't hit of her name either. Paints, d' ye say? Why, she lays it on with a trowel. Then she has a great beard that bristles through it, and makes her look as if she were plastered with lime and hair, let me perish!

LADY F. Oh! you made a song upon her, Mr. Brisk.

BRISK. Heh? egad, so I did. My lord can sing it.

CYNTHIA. O good, my lord; let us hear it.

BRISK. "Tis not a song neither. It's a sort of epigram, or rather an epigrammatic sonnet. I don't know what to call it, but it's satire. Sing it, my lord. LORD F. [Sings.]

Ancient Phyllis has young graces;

'Tis a strange thing, but a true one;
Shall I tell you how?

She herself makes her own faces,

And each morning wears a new one;
Where's the wonder now?

BRISK. Short, but there 's salt in 't. My way of writing, egad!

From 'Love for Love.'


BEN. Where 's father?

SERVANT. There, sir; his back 's towards you.

SIR SAMPSON. My son, Ben! Bless thee, my dear boy; body o' me, thou art heartily welcome.

BEN. Thank you, father; and I'm glad to see you.

SIR S. Odsbud, and I'm glad to see thee. Kiss me, boy; kiss me again and again, dear Ben. [Kisses him.]

BEN. So, so; enough, father. Mess, I'd rather kiss these gentlewomen.

SIR S. And so thou shalt. Mrs. Angelica, my son Ben.

BEN. Forsooth, if you please. [Salutes her.] Nay, Mistress, I'm not for dropping anchor here; about ship i' faith. [Kisses Frail.] Nay, and you too, my little cock boat-so. [Kisses Miss.]

TATTLE. Sir, you are welcome ashore.

BEN. Thank you, thank you, friend.

SIR S. Thou hast been many a weary league, Ben, since I saw thee.

BEN. Ay, ay, been! been far enough, an that be all. Well, father, and how do you all at home? How does brother Dick and brother Val?

SIR S. Dick! body o' me, Dick has been dead these two years; I writ you word when you were at Leghorn.

BEN. Mess, that's true; marry, I had forgot. and how? I have a many questions to ask you. father, be you?

Dick's dead, as you say. Well, Well, you be not married again,

SIR S. No, I intend you shall marry. Ben; I would not marry for thy sake. BEN. Nay, what does that signify ?-an you marry again, why, then, I'll go to sea again; so there's one for t' other, an that be all. Pray, don't let me be your hinderance; e'en marry a God's name, an the wind sit that way. As for my part, mayhap I have no mind to marry.

MRS. FRAIL. That would be a pity: such a handsome young gentleman.

In the character of Ben, Congreve gave the first humorous and natural representation of the English sailor, afterwards so fertile and amusing a subject of delineation with Smollett and other novelists and dramatists,

BEN. Handsome! hee, hee, hee; nay, foorsooth, an you be for joking, I'll joke with you, for I love my jest an the ship were sinking, as we say at sea. But I'll tell you why I don't much stand towards matrimony. I love to roam about from port to port, and from land to land: I could never abide to be port-bound, as we call it. Now, a man that is married has, as it were, d' ye see, his feet in the bilboes, and mayhap mayn't get them out again when he would.

SIR S. Ben 's a wag.

BEN. A man that is married, d' ye see, is no more like another man than a galley slave is like one of us free sailors. He is chained to an oar all his life; and mayhap forced to tug a leaky vessel into the bargain.

SIR S. A very wag! Ben's a very wag! only a little rough; he wants a little polishing.

MRS F. Not at all; I like his humour mightily; it's plain and honest; I should like such a humour in a husband extremely.

BEN. Say'n you so, forsooth? Marry, and I should like such a handsome gentlewoman hugely. How say you, mistress! would you like going to sea? Mess, you're a tight vessel, and well rigged. But I'll tell you one thing, an you come to sea in a high wind, lady, you mayn't carry so much sail o' your head. Top and topgallant, by the mess.

MRS F. No? why so?

BEN. Why, an you do, you may run the risk to be overset, and then you'll carry your keels above water; hee, hee, hee.


ANGELICA. I swear Mr. Benjamin is the veriest wag in nature-an absolute sea

SIR S. Nay, Ben has parts; but, as I told you before, they want a little polishing. You must not take anything ill, madam.

BEN. No; I hope the gentlewoman is not angry; I mean all in good part; for if I give a jest, I take a jest; and so, forsooth, you may be as free with me.

ANG. I thank you, sir; I am not at all offended. But methinks, Sir Sampson, you should leave him alone with his mistress. Mr. Tattle, we must not hinder lovers.

TATTLE. Well, Miss, I have your promise.

[Aside to Miss.

SIR S. Body o' me, madam, you say true. Look you, Ben, this is your mistress. Come, Miss, you must not be shame-faced; we 'll leave you together.

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MISS PRUE. I can't abide to be left alone; may not my cousin stay with me? SIR S. No, no; come, let us away.

BEN. Look you, father; mayhap the young woman mayn 't take a liking to me. SIR S. I warrant thee, boy; come, come, we 'll be gone; I'll venture that.


BEN. Come, mistress, will you please to sit down? for an you stand astern a that'n, we shall never grapple together. Come, I'll haul a chair; there, an you please to sit, I'll sit beside you.

MISS PRUE. You need not sit so near one; if you have anything to say, I can hear you farther off; I an't deaf.

BEN. Why, that 's true, as you say, nor I ain't dumb; I can be heard as far as another. I'll heave off to please you. [Sits further off.] An we were a league asunder, I'd undertake to hold discourse with you, an 'twere not a main high wind indeed, and full in my teeth. Look you, forsooth, I am as it were bound for the land of matrimony; 'tis a voyage, d'ye see, that was none of my seeking; I was commanded by father; and if you like of it, mayhap I may steer into your harbour. How say you, mistress? The short of the thing is, that if you like me, and I like you, we may chance to swing in a hammock together.

MISS P. I don't know what to say to you, nor I don't care to speak with you at all.

BEN. No? I'm sorry for that. But pray, why are you so scornful?

MISS P. As long as one must not speak one's mind, one had better not speak at all, I think; and truly I won't tell a lie for the matter.

BEN. Nay, you say true in that; it's but a folly to lie; for to speak one thing, and to think just the contrary way, is, as it were, to look one way and to row another.

Now, for my part, d'ye see, I'm for carrying things above-board; I'm not for keeping anything under hatches; so that if you ben't as willing as I, say so a God's name; there's no harm done. Mayhap you may be shame-faced; some maidens, thof they love a man well enough, yet they don't care to tell'n so to's face. If that's the case, why, silence gives consent.

MISS P. But I'm sure it's not so, for I'll speak sooner than you should believe that; and I'll speak truth, though one should always tell a lie to a man; and I don't care, let my father do what he will. I'm too big to be whipt; so I'll tell you plainly, I don't like you, nor love you at all, nor never will, that's more. So there's your answer for you, and don't trouble me any more, you ugly thing.

BEN, Look you, young woman, you may learn to give good words, however. I spoke you fair, d'ye see, and civil. As for your love or your liking, I don't value it of a rope's end; and mayhap I like you as little as you do me. What I said was in obedience to father: I fear a whipping no more than you do. But I tell you one thing, if you should give such language at sea, you'd have a cat-o'-nine-tails laid across your shoulders. Flesh! who are you? You heard t' other handsome young woman speak civilly to me of her own accord. Whatever you think of yourself, I don't think you are any more to compare to her than a can of small-beer to a bowl of punch.

MISS P. Well, and there's a handsome gentleman, and a fine gentleman, and a sweet gentleman, that was here, that loves me, and I love him; and if he sees you speak to me any more, he'll thrash your jacket for you, he will; you great sea-calf.

BEN. What do you mean that fair-weather spark that was here just now? Will he thrash my jacket? Let 'n, let 'n, let 'n-but an he comes near me, mayhap I may give him a salt-eel for 's supper, for all that. What does father mean, to leave me alone, as soon as I come home, with such a dirty dowdy? Sea-calf! I an't calf enough to lick your chalked face, you cheese-curd you. Marry thee! oons, I'll marry a Lapland witch as soon, and live upon selling contrary winds and wrecked


From the sparkling, highly wrought love-scenes of Congreve it would be perilous to quote. I have read two or three of Congreve's plays over before speaking of him,' said Mr. Thackeray, in one of his admirable lectures; and my feelings were rather like those which I daresay most of us here have had at Pompeii, looking at Sallust's house and the relics of an orgy-a dried wine-jar or two, a charred supper-table, the breast of a dancing-girl pressed against the ashes, the laughing skull of a jester, a perfect stillness round about, as the cicerone twangs his moral, and the blue sky shines calmly over the ruin. The Congreve muse is dead, and her song choked in Time's ashes. We gaze at the skeleton, and wonder at the life which once revelled in its mad veins. We take the skull up, and muse over the frolic and daring, the wit, scorn, passion, hope, desire, with which that empty bowl once fermented. We think of the glances that allured, the tears that melted; of the bright eyes that shone in those vacant sockets, and of lips whispering love and cheeks dimpling with smiles that once covered yon ghastly framework. They used to call those teeth pearls once. See there's the cup she drank from, the gold chain she wore on her neck, the vase which held the rouge for her cheeks, her looking-glass, and the harp she used to dance to. Instead of a feast we find a grave-stone, and in place of a mistress a few bones !'*

* English Humorists.

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SIR JOHN VANBRUGH united what Leigh Hunt calls the 'apparently incompatible geniuses' of comic writer and architect. His Blenheim and Castle Howard have outlived the 'Provoked Wife' or the Relapse; yet the latter were highly popular once; and even Pope, though he admits his want of grace, says that he never wanted wit. Vanbrugh was the son of a successful sugar-baker, who rose to be an esquire, and comptroller of the Treasury Chamber, besides marrying the daughter of Sir Dudley Carlton. It is doubtful whether the dramatist was born in the French Bastile, or the parish of St. Stephen's, Walbrook. The time of his birth was about the year 1666, when Louis XIV. declared war against England. It is certain he was in France at the age of nineteen, and remained there some years. In 1695, he was appointed secretary to the commission for endowing Greenwich Hospital; and two years afterwards appeared his play of the Relapse' and the 'Provoked Wife,' 'Esop,' the 'False Friend,' the 'Confederacy,' and other dramatic pieces followed. Vanbrugh was now highly popular. He made his design of Castle Howard in 1702, and Lord Carlisle appointed him Clarencieux king-at-arms, a heraldic office which gratified Vanbrugh's vanity. In 1706, he was commissioned by Queen Anne to carry the habit and ensigns of the Order of the Garter to the Elector of Hanover; and in the same year he commenced his design for the great national structure at Blenheim. He built various other mansions, was knighted by George I. and appointed comptroller of the royal works. He died, aged sixty, in 1726. At the time of his death, Vanbrugh was engaged on a comedy, the Provoked Husband,' which Colley Cibber finished with equal talent. The architectural designs of Vanbrugh have been praised by Sir Joshua Reynolds for their display of imagination, and their originality of invention. Though ridiculed by Swift and other wits of the day for heaviness and incongruity of design, Castle Howard and Blenheim are noble structures, and do honour to the boldness of conception and picturesque taste of Vanbrugh.

As a dramatist, the first thing in his plays which strikes the reader is the lively ease of his dialogue. Congreve had more wit, but less nature, and less genuine unaffected humour and gaiety. Vanbrugh drew more from living originals, and depicted the manners of his times the coarse debauchery of the country knight, the gallantry of town-wits and fortune-hunters, and the love of French intrigue and French manners in his female characters. Lord Foppington, in the 'Relapse,' is the original of most of those empty coxcombs who abound in modern comedy, intent only on dress and fashion. When he loses his mistress, he consoles himself with this reflection: 'Now, for my part, I think the wisest thing a man can do with an aching heart is to put on a serene countenance; for a philosophical air is the most becoming thing in the world to the face of a person of quality.

I will therefore bear my disgrace like a great man, and let the people see I am above an affront. [Aloud.] Dear Tom, since things are thus fallen out, prithee give me leave to wish thee joy. I do it de bon cœur-strike me dumb! You have married a woman beautiful in her person, charming in her airs, prudent in her conduct, constant in her inclinations, and of a nice morality-split my windpipe!


The young lady thus eulogised, Miss Hoyden, is the lively, ignorant, romping country-girl to be met with in most of the comedies of this period. In the Provoked Wife,' the coarse pot-house valour and absurdity of Sir John Brute (Garrick's famous part) is well contrasted with the fine-lady airs and affectation of his wife, transported from the country to the hot-bed delicacies of London fashion and extravagance. Such were the scenes that delighted our playgoing ancestors, and which may still please us, like old stiff family portraits in their grotesque habiliments, as pictures of a departed generation.

These portraits of Vanbrugh's were exaggerated and heightened for dramatic effect; yet, on the whole, they are characteristic likenesses. The picture is not altogether a pleasing one, for it is dashed with the most unblushing licentiousness. A tone of healthful vivacity, and the absence of all hypocrisy, form its most genial features. The licence of the times,' as Mr. Leigh Hunt remarks, allowed Vanbrugh to be plain spoken to an extent which was perilous to his animal spirits; but, like Dryden, he repented of these indiscretions; and if he had lived, would have united his easy wit and nature to scenes inculcating sentiments of honour and virtue.

Picture of the Life of a Woman of Fashion.

SIR JOHN BRUTE, in the 'Provoked Wife,' disguised in his lady's dress, joins in a drunken midnight frolic, and is taken by the Constable and Watchmen before a Justice of the Peace.

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JUSTICE. Pray, madam, what may be your ladyship's common method of life? if I may presume so far.

SIR JOHN. Why, sir, that of a woman of quality.

JUSTICE. Pray, how may you generally pass your time, madam? for example?

Your morning,

SIR JOHN. Sir, like a woman of quality. I wake about two o'clock in the afternoon-I stretch, and make a sign for my chocolate. When I have drunk three cups, I slide down again upon my back, with my arms over my head, while my two maids put on my stockings Then, hanging upon their shoulders, I'm trailed to my great chair, where I sit and yawn for my breakfast. If it don't come presently, I lie down upon my couch, to say my prayers, while my maid reads me the playbills.

JUSTICE. Very well, madam.

SIR JOHN. When the tea is brought in, I drink twelve regular dishes, with eight slices of bread and butter; and half an hour after, I send to the cook to know if the dinner is almost ready.

JUSTICE. So, madam.

SIR JOHN. By that time my head is half dressed, I hear my husband swearing himself into a state of perdition that the meat's all cold upon the table; to amend which I come down 1 an hour more, and have it sent back to the kitchen, to be all dressed over again.

JUSTICE. POor man.

SIR JOHN. When I have dined, and my idle servants are presumptuously set down'

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