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LADY F. Then she's always ready to laugh when Sneer offers to speak; and sits in expectation of his uo-jest, with her gums bare, and her mouth opeu.
Brisk. Like an oyster at low ebb, egud! Hi, 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.
LADT F. Then that t'other great strapping lady; I cau't hit of her name; the old fai fool that paints so excrbitantly.
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 ou with a trowel. Then she has a great beard that bristies through it, and makes her look as if she were plustered with me and hair, let me perish!
LADY F. Oh! you made a song upon her, Mr. Brisk.
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. LOED F. (Sings.]
Ancient Phyllis has young graces;
Shall I tell you how ?
Where's the wonder now?
From 'Love for Love.'
GEND and SERVANT.*
SiR SAMPSON. My son, Ben! Bless thec, 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, 80; enough, father. Mess, I'd rather kiss these gentlewomen.
Bxn. Forsooth, if you please. [Saiutes her.). Nay, Mistress, I'm not for dropping anchor here; about sluip i' faith. (Kisses Frail.) Nay, and you too, my litile cock boat--60. (Kisses Miss.)
TATTLE. Sir, you are welcome ashore.
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. Dick's dead, as you say. Well, and how? I have a many questions to ask you. Well, you be not married again, father, be you?
Sir S. No, I intend you shall marry, Ben ; I would not marry for thy sake,
Ben. Nay, what does that signify? --an yon 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 binderance; e'en marry a God's name, an the wind sit that way.
As for my part, mayo hap 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 Smoliott and other novelists and dramatists,
BEN. Handsome! hee, lee, hee ; may, fcorsooth, an you be for jolang, I 71 joke with you, for I love my jest at the ship were sinking, as we say at sa. But I'll tell you why I don't mache stand towards matrimony. I love to Toam about from port to port, abd from land to land: I couki nerer abide to be port-bound, as we call it. Nov, s mæn that is married has, as it were, ad ye see, his feet in the bâlbaes, and maghap inayo't get them out again when he would.
SIR Š. Ben 's a wag.
BEN. A man that is married, d’ye see, is no more like another mad tban a galley slave is like one of us free sailors. He is chained to an oar al his life ; and mayhap forced to tug a legky vessel into the bargain.
Sir S. A very way! Ben 's a very wag! only a little rough; be wants a little pole ishing.
MRS F. Not at all; I like his humour mightily; it's plain and honest; I should like such a humour in a husband ext cely.
BEN. Say'ı yanı so, forsooth? Marry, and I should like such a handsome gentlewoman brugely. How pay yon, mistress! wonld you like going to sea ? Mess, you're a tigtit vessel, and weli rigged. But 17 tell you one thing, as you come to gea in a high wind, lady, you mayn't carry so much sail o' your bead. Top and topgalant, by the meas,
MRS P. No? why so?
BEN. Wtry, an you do, you may run the risk to be overset, and then you I carry your keels above water; hee, hee, hee.
ANGELICA. I swear Mr. Benjamin is the veriest wag in nature-an absolute seawit.
SIK S. Nay, Ber has parts; but, as I told you before, they waot a little polisbing. You must not take anything ill, madam.
BEN. Xo; 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 hipder Jovers. TATTLE. Well, Miss, I have your promise.
[Aside to Miss. SIR S. Borty oʻme, madam, you say true. Lok you, Ben, this is your mistress. Come, Miss, you must not be shame-faced ; we'll leave you together.
Mros PRUE. I can't abide to be left alone; may not my cousin stay with me?
BEN and Miss PRUE. BEN. Come, mistress, will you please to sit down ? for an you stand astern a that's, 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 trne, as you say, nor I ain't damb; 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 yon, forsooth, i am as it were honnd for the land of matrimony; 'tis à voyage, d’ye see, that was none of ny seeking; I was conmanded by father; and if you like of it, mayhap I may stéer into your harbour. How say you, mistress? The short of the thing is, that if you like ine, and I like you, we may chance to swing in a hammock together.
Miss P. I don't kuow 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 scornfal?
Miss P. As long as one mast 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 ühink 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 keep ing anything under hatches so that if you ben't as willing as I, suy so a God's name; there is 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, sileuce gives cousent. 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 iny father do what he will. I'm too big to be whipt; so I'll tell you plaivly, 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 cau of small-beer to a bowi of punch.
Mi83 P. Well, and there's a handsome gentleman, and a fine gentleman, and & sweet gentieman, that was here, that loves me, and I love him; and if he sees you speak to me any inore, he'll thrash your jacket for you, he will; you great sea-calf.
BEN. What do you inean that fair-weather spark that was here just now? Will he thrash my jacket? Let ’n, let 'n, let 'n-but un 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 au'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 vessels.
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 Himirable 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 cicerane twangs his moral, and the blue sky shires 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 ferinented. We think of the glances that allured, the tears that melted; of the bright eyes that shone in those vacanđ 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, Seel there's the cup she drank from, the gold chain she wore on ber neck, the vasc which held the rouge for her cheeks, lier 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 !'*
SIR JOHN VANBRUGB. 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 doubtlul whether the dramatist was born in the French Bastile, or the parislı 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, be was appointed secretary to the commission for endowing Greenwich Hospital; and two years afterwards appeared his play of the Relapse' and the “Provoked Wife, Æsop,' the 'False Friend,' the 'Confederacy,' and other dramatic pieces fol. lowed. 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 kvighted 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 Vanbrugb 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-liunters, 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 philosopbical 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 cour-strike me duinb! You have married a woman belutiful 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-liouse valour and absurdity of Sir John Brute (Garrick's famous part) is well contrasted with the line-ludy 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 Vanbrugli'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 Vanbrugli 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 frolio, and is taken by the Constable and Watchmen before a Justice of the Peace.
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 ? Your morning, for example ?
Sir Joun. 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 stockinga. 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 lic down upon my couch, to say my prayers, while my maid reads me the playbills.
JrsTICE. 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 is the diunr is almost ready.
JUSTICE. So, madam.
SIR JOHN. By that time my head is half dressed, I hear my husband swearing himselt into a state of perdition that the neat 's all cold upon the table; to amend which I come dowu in an hour more, and have it sent back to the kitchen, to be all dressed over again.
JUSTICE. Poor man.