The Relapse


Writers: John Vanbrugh

Dramatis Personæ.


Lord Foppington

Young Fashion, his Brother

Loveless, Husband to Amanda

Worthy, a Gentleman of the Town,

Sir Tunbelly Clumsey, a Country Gentleman,

Sir John Friendly, his Neighbour,

Coupler, a Matchmaker,

Bull, Chaplain to Sir Tunbelly,

Syringe, a Surgeon,

Lory, Servant to Young Fashion,

Shoemaker, Taylor, Perriwig-maker, &c.


Amanda, Wife to Loveless,

Berinthia, her Cousin, a young Widow,

Miss Hoyden, a great Fortune, Daughter to Sir Tunbelly,

Nurse, her Governant,



A Room in LOVELESS'S Country House.

Enter LOVELESS reading.

Love. How true is that philosophy, which says

Our heaven is seated in our minds !

Through all the roving pleasures of my youth,

(Where nights and days seem'd all consum'd in joy,

Where the false face of luxury

Display'd such charms,

As might have shaken the most holy hermit,

And made him totter at his altar,)

I never knew one moment's peace like this.

Here, in this little soft retreat, 10

My thoughts unbent from all the cares of life,

Content with fortune,

Eas'd from the grating duties of dependence,

From envy free, ambition under foot,

The raging flame of wild destructive lust

Reduc'd to a warm pleasing fire of lawful love,

1 6 The RELAPSE; [Acn.

My life glides on, and all is well within.


How does the happy cause of my content,

[Meeting her kindly.

My dear Amanda ?

You find me musing on my happy state, 20

And full of grateful thoughts to Heaven, and you. 

Aman. Those grateful offerings Heaven can't receive

With more delight than I do :

Would I could share with it as well

The dispensations of its bliss !

That I might search its choicest favours out,

And shower 'em on your head for ever.

Love. The largest boons that Heaven thinks fit to grant,

To things it has decreed shall crawl on earth,

Are in the gift of women form'd like you. 30

Perhaps, when time shall be no more,

When the aspiring soul shall take its flight,

And drop this pond'rous lump of clay behind it,

It may have appetites we know not of,

And pleasures as refin'd as its desires

But till that day of knowledge shall instruct me,

The utmost blessing that my thought can reach,

{Taking her in his arms.

Is folded in my arms, and rooted in my heart.

Aman. There let it grow for ever !

Love. Well said, Amanda let it be for ever 40

Would Heaven grant that

Aman. 'Twere all the heaven I'd ask.

But we are clad in black mortality,


And the dark curtain of eternal night

At last must drop between us.

Love. It must : 

That mournful separation we must see.

A bitter pill it is to all ; but doubles its ungrateful taste,

When lovers are to swallow it.

Aman. Perhaps that pain may only be my lot,

You possibly may be exempted from it.

Men find out softer ways to quench their fires. 50

Love. Can you then doubt my constancy, Amanda ?

You'll find 'tis built upon a steady basis

The rock of reason now supports my love,

On which it stands so fix'd,

The rudest hurricane of wild desire

Would, like the breath of a soft slumbering babe,

Pass by, and never shake it

Aman. Yet still 'tis safer to avoid the storm ;

The strongest vessels, if they put to sea,

May possibly be lost. 60

Would I could keep you here, in this calm port, for ever !

Forgive the weakness of a woman,

I am uneasy at your going to stay so long in town ;

I know its false insinuating pleasures ;

I know the force of its delusions ;

I know the strength of its attacks ;

I know the weak defence of nature ;

I know you are a man and I a wife.

Love. You know then all that needs to give you rest,

For wife's the strongest claim that you can urge. 70

When you would plead your title to my heart,

On this you may depend. Therefore be calm,

1 8 The RELAPSE ; [ACT i.

Banish your fears, for they

Are traitors to your peace : beware of 'em,

They are insinuating busy things

That gossip to and fro,

And do a world of mischief where they come.

But you shall soon be mistress of 'em all ;

I'll aid you with such arms for their destruction,

They never shall erect their heads again. 80

You know the business is indispensable, that obliges me to

go for London ; and you have no reason, that I know of,

to believe I'm glad of the occasion. For my honest

conscience is my witness,

I have found a due succession of such charms

In my retirement here with you,

I have never thrown one roving thought that way ;

But since, against my will, I'm dragg'd once more

To that uneasy theatre of noise,

I am resolv'd to make such use on't, 90

As shall convince you 'tis an old cast mistress,

Who has been so lavish of her favours,

She's now grown bankrupt of her charms,

And has not one allurement left to move me.

Aman. Her bow, I do believe, is grown so weak,

Her arrows (at this distance) cannot hurt you ; 

But in approaching 'em, you give 'em strength.

The dart that has not far to fly, will put

The best of armour to a dangerous trial.

Love. That trial past, and y'are at ease for ever ; 100

When you have seen the helmet prov'd,

You'll apprehend no more for him that wears it.

Therefore to put a lasting period to your fears,


I am resolv'd, this once, to launch into temptation :

I'll give you an essay of all my virtues ;

My former boon companions of the bottle

Shall fairly try what charms are left in wine :

I'll take my place amongst 'em,

They shall hem me in,

Sing praises to their god, and drink his glory : no

Turn wild enthusiasts for his sake,

And beasts to do him honour :

Whilst I, a stubborn atheist,

Sullenly look on,

Without one reverend glass to his divinity.

That for my temperance,

Then for my constancy 

Aman. Ay, there take heed.

Love. Indeed the danger's small.

Aman. And yet my fears are great.

Love. Why are you so timorous ?

Aman. Because you are so bold.

Love My courage should disperseyourapprehensions. 120

Aman. My apprehensions should alarm your courage.

Love. Fy, fy, Amanda ! it is not kind thus to distrust me

Aman. And yet my fears are founded on my love.

Love. Your love then is not founded as it ought ;

For if you can believe 'tis possible

I should again relapse to my past follies,

I must appear to you a thing

Of such an undigested composition,

That but to think of me with inclination,

Would be a weakness in your taste, 130

Your virtue scarce could answer.

c 2


Atnan. 'Twould be a weakness in my tongue,

My prudence could not answer,

If I should press you farther with my fears ;

I'll therefore trouble you no longer with 'em. 

Love. Nor shall they trouble you much longer,

A little time shall show you they were groundless :

This winter shall be the fiery trial of my virtue ;

Which, when it once has pass'd,

You'll be convinc'd 'twas of no false allay, 140

There all your cares will end.

Aman. Pray Heaven they may.

[JSxeunt, hand in hand.



Enter Young FASHION, LORY, and Waterman.

Fash. Come, pay the waterman, and take the portmantle.

Lory. Faith, sir, I think the waterman had as good take

the portmantle, and pay himself.

Fash. Why, sure there's something left in't !

Lorj. But a solitary old waistcoat, upon honour, sir.

Fash. Why, what's become of the blue coat, sirrah ?

Lory. Sir, 'twas eaten at Gravesend ; the reckoning

came to thirty shillings, and your privy purse was worth but

two half-crowns. 10

Fash. 'Tis very well.

Wat. Pray, master, will you please to dispatch me ?

Fash. Ay, here, a canst thou change me a guinea ? 

Lory. [Aside.] Good !


Wat. Change a guinea, master ! Ha ! ha ! your honour's

pleased to compliment.

Fash. Egad, I don't know how I shall pay thee then,

for I have nothing but gold about me.

Lory. \Aside^\ Hum, hum !

Fash. What dost thou expect, friend ? 20

Wat. Why, master, so far against wind and tide is

richly worth half a piece.*

Fash. Why, faith, I think thou art a good conscionable

fellow. Egad, I begin to have so good an opinion of thy

honesty, I care not if I leave my portmantle with thee, till I

send thee thy money.

Wat. Ha! God bless your honour; I should be as

willing to trust you, master, but that you are, as a man may

say, a stranger to me, and these are nimble times ; there are

a great many sharpers stirring. [Taking up the portmantle J

Well, master, when your worship sends the money, your

portmantle shall be forthcoming ; my name's Tug ; my wife

keeps a brandy-shop in Drab-Alley, at Wapping,

Fash. Very well ; I'll send for't to-morrow. 34

[Exit Waterman.

Lory. So. Now, sir, I hope you'll own yourself a

happy man, you have outlived all your cares.

Fash. How so, sir ? 

Lory. Why, you have nothing left to take care of.

Fash. Yes, sirrah, I have myself and you to take care of


Lory. Sir, if you could but prevail with somebody else

to do that for you, I fancy we might both fare the better for't.

" Piece. A coin worth twenty-two shillings." Wright.


Fash. Why, if thou canst tell me where to apply myself,

I have at present so little money and so much humility

about me, I don't know but I may follow a fool's advice.

Lory. Why then, sir, your fool advises you to lay aside

all animosity, and apply to sir Novelty, your elder brother.

Fash. Damn my elder brother !

Lory. With all my heart ; but get him to redeem your

annuity, however. 50

Fash. My annuity ! 'Sdeath, he's such a dog, he would

not give his powder-puff to redeem my soul.

Lory. Look you, sir, you must wheedle him, or you

must starve.

Fash. Look you, sir, I will neither wheedle him, nor


Lory. Why, what will you do then ?

fash. I'll go into the army.

Lory. You can't take the oaths ; you are a Jacobite.

Fash. Thou may'st as well say I can't take orders

because I'm an atheist. 61

Lory. Sir, I ask your pardon ; I find I did not know the

strength of your conscience so well as I did the weakness of

your purse.

Fash. Methinks, sir, a person of your experience should

have known that the strength of the conscience proceeds

from the weakness of the purse.

Lory. Sir, I am very glad to find you have a conscience

able to take care of us, let it proceed from what it will ; but

I desire you'll please to consider, that the army alone will

be but a scanty maintenance for a person of your generosity

(at least as rents now are paid). I shall see you stand in

damnable need of some auxiliary guineas for your menus


plaisirs ; I will therefore turn fool once more for your

service, and advise you to go directly to your brother. 75

fash. Art thou then so impregnable a blockhead, to

believe he'll help me with a farthing ?

Lory. Not if you treat him de haut en bas, as you use

to do.

Fash. Why, how wouldst have me treat him?

Lory. Like a trout tickle him. 

Fash. I can't flatter.

Lory. Can you starve ?

Fash. Yes.

Lory. I can't. Good-by t'ye, sir \Going.

Fash. Stay ; thou wilt distract me ! What wouldst thou

have me say to him ? 87

Lory. Say nothing to him, apply yourself to his favourites, speak to his periwig, his cravat, his feather, his snuffbox, and when you are well with them desire him to

lend you a thousand pounds. I'll engage you prosper.

Fash. 'Sdeath and furies ! why was that coxcomb thrust

into the world before me? O Fortune! Fortune ! thou art

a bitch, by Gad. [Exeunt.


A Dressing-room.

Enter Lord FOPPINGTON in his nightgown.

Lord Fop. Page !

Enter Page.

Page. Sir !

24 The RELAPSE ; [ACT i.

Lord Fop, Sir ! Pray, sir, do me the favour to teach your

tongue the title the king has thought fit to honour me with.

Page. I ask your lordship's pardon, my lord. 

Lord Fop. O, you can pronounce the word then? I

thought it would have choked you. D'ye hear ?

Page. My lord ! 8

Lord Fop. Call La Vdrole: I would dress. [Exit

Page.] Well, 'tis an unspeakable pleasure to be a

man of quality, strike me dumb ! My lord. Your lordship !

My lord Foppington ! Ah ! test quelque chose de beau, que

le diable nfemporte ! Why, the ladies were ready to puke at

me whilst I had nothing but sir Navelty to recommend me

to 'em. Sure, whilst I was but a knight, I was a very

nauseous fellow. Well, 'tis ten thousand pawnd well

given, stap my vitals !


La Ver. Me Lord, de shoemaker, de tailor, de hosier,

de sempstress, de barber, be all ready, if your lordship please

to be dress. 20

Lord Fop. 'Tis well, admit 'em.

La Ver. Hey, messieurs, entrez.

Enter Tailor, &c.

Lord Fop. So, gentlemen, I hope you have all taken

pains to show yourselves masters in your professions.

Tailor. I think I may presume to say, sir

La Ver. My lord you clawn, you !

Tailor. Why, is he made a lord ? My lord, I ask your

lordship's pardon, my lord ; I hope, my lord, your lordship

will please to own I have brought your lordship as accomplished a suit of clothes as ever peer of England trod the 


stage in, my lord. Will your lordship please to try 'em

now? 32

Lord Fop. Ay ; but let my people dispose the glasses so

that I may see myself before and behind, for I love to see

myself all raund.

Whilst he puts on his clothes, enter Young FASHION

and LORY.

Fash. Heyday, what the devil have we here ? Sure my

gentleman's grown a favourite at court, he has got so many

people at his levee.

Lory. Sir, these people come in order to make him a favourite at court; they are to establish him with the ladies. 40

Fash. Good God ! to what an ebb of taste are women

fallen, that it should be in the power of a laced coat to

recommend a gallant to 'em !

Lory. Sir, tailors and periwig-makers are now become

the bawds of the nation ; 'tis they debauch all the women.

Fash. Thou sayest true ; for there's that fop now has

not by nature wherewithal to move a cook-maid, and by that

time these fellows have done with him, egad he shall melt

down a countess ! But now for my reception ; I'll engage

it shall be as cold a one as a courtier's to his friend, who

comes to put him in mind of his promise. 5 1

Lord Fop. \To his Tailor.] Death and eternal tartures !

Sir, I say the packet's too high by a foot.

Tailor. My lord, if it had been an inch lower, it would

not have held your lordship's pocket-handkerchief. 

Lord Fop. Rat my pocket-handkerchief ! have not I a page

to carry it ? You may make him a packet up to his chin a

purpose for it; but I will not have mine come so near my face.


Tailor. 'Tis not for me to dispute your lordship's fancy.

Fash. [To LORY.] His lordship ! Lory, did you

observe that? 61

Lory. Yes, sir; I always thought 'twould end there.

Now, I hope, you'll have a little more respect for him.

Fash. Respect ! Damn him for a coxcomb ! now has

he ruined his estate to buy a title, that he may be a fool of

the first rate; but let's accost him. [To Lord FOPPINGTON.] Brother, I'm your humble servant.

Lord Fop. O Lard, Tarn ! I did not expect you in

England. Brother, I am glad to see you. [Turning to his

Tailor.] Look you, sir ; I shall never be reconciled to this

nauseous packet ; therefore pray get me another suit with

all manner of expedition, for this is my eternal aversion.

Mrs. Calico, are not you of my mind? 73

Sempstress. O, directly, my lord ! it can never be too low.

Lord Fop. You are pasitively in the right on't, for the

packet becomes no part of the body but the knee.

[Exit Tailor.

Semps. I hope your lordship is pleased with your


Lord Fop. In love with it, stap my vitals ! Bring your

bill, you shall be paid to-marrow. 80 

Semps. I humbly thank your honour. [Exit.

Lord Fop. Hark thee, shoemaker ! these shoes an't

ugly, but they don't fit me.

Shoemaker. My lord, my thinks they fit you very well.

  • Cravat. The word " steenkirk " was brought from Paris, where it

had come into fashion as a name for cravats, and other small articles of

apparel, during the excitement which followed the battle of Steenkirk,

where William III. was defeated by the French, July 24, 1692.


Lord Fop. They hurt me just below the instep.

Shoe. \Feeling hisfootJ] My lord, they don't hurt you


Lord Fop. I tell thee, they pinch me execrably.

Shoe. My lord, if they pinch you, I'll be bound to be

hanged, that's all. 90

Lord Fop. Why, wilt thou undertake to persuade me I

cannot feel ?

Shoe. Your lordship may please to feel what you think

fit ; but that shoe does not hurt you ; I think I understand

my trade.

Lord Fop. Now by all that's great and powerful, thou

art an incomprehensible coxcomb ! but thou makest good

shoes and so I'll bear with thee. 

Shoe. My lord, I have worked for half the people of

quality in town these twenty years ; and 'twere very hard

I should not know when a shoe hurts, and when it don't. 101

Lord Fop. Well, prithee be gone about thy business.

\Exit Shoemaker.

[To the Hosier.] Mr. Mendlegs, a word with you : the

calves of these stockings are thickened a little too much.

They make my legs look like a chairman's.

Mend. My lord, my thinks they look mighty well.

Lord Fop. Ay, but you are not so good a judge of these

things as I am, I have studied 'em all my life ; therefore

pray let the next be the thickness of a crawn-piece less.

[Aside.] If the town takes notice my legs are fallen away,

'twill be attributed to the violence of some new intrigue.

\Exit Mendlegs. [in

28 The RELAPSE ; [ACT i.

[To the Periwig-maker.] Come, Mr. Foretop, let me seewhat

you have done, and then the fatigue of the marning will be over.

Fore. My lord, I have done what I defy any prince in

Europe to outdo ; I have made you a periwig so long, and

so full of hair, it will serve you for hat and cloak in all


Lord Fop, Then thou hast made me thy friend to

eternity. Come, comb it out. 

Fash. [Aside to LORY.] Well, Lory, what dost think

on't ? A very friendly reception from a brother after three

years' absence ! 122

Lory. Why, sir, it's your own fault ; we seldom care for

those that don't love what we love : if you would creep into

his heart, you must enter into his pleasures. Here have you

stood ever since you came in, and have not commended

any one thing that belongs to him.

Fash. Nor never shall, whilst they belong to a coxcomb.

Lory. Then, sir, you must be content to pick a hungry

bone. 130

Fash. No, sir, I'll crack it, and get to the marrow before

I have done.

Lord Fop. Gad's curse, Mr. Foretop ! you don't intend

to put this upon me for a full periwig ?

Fore. Not a full one, my lord ? I don't know what your

lordship may please to call a full one, but I have crammed

twenty ounces of hair into it.

Lord Fop. What it may be by weight, sir, I shall not

dispute ; but by tale, there are not nine hairs of a side.

Fore. O lord ! O lord ! O lord ! Why, as Gad shall

judge me, your honour's side-face is reduced to the tip of

your nose ! 142


Lord Fop. My side- face may be in eclipse for

aught I know; but I'm sure my full-face is like the fullmoon. 

Fore. Heavens bless my eye-sight [ J ff#<W;z < r his eyes.]

Sure I look through the wrong end of the perspective ; for

by my faith, an't please your honour, the broadest place I

see in your face does not seem to me to be two inches

diameter. 150

Lord Fop. If it did, it would be just two inches too

broad ; for a periwig to a man should be like a mask to a

woman, nothing should be seen but his eyes.

Fore. My lord, I have done ; if you please to have more

hair in your wig, I'll put it in.

Lord Fop. Pasitively, yes.

Fore. Shall I take it back now, my lord ?

Lord Fop. No : I'll wear it to-day, though it show such

a manstrous pair of cheeks, stap my vitals, I shall be taken

for a trumpeter. [Exit Foretop. 160

Fash. Now your people of business are gone, brother, I

hope I may obtain a quarter of an hour's audience of you.

Lerd Fop. Faith, Tarn, I must beg you'll excuse me at

this time, for I must away to the House of Lards immediately ; my lady Teaser's case is to come on to-day, and I

would not be absent for the salvation of mankind. Hey,


Enter Page.

Is the coach at the door ?

Page. Yes, my lord.

Lord Fop. You'll excuse me, brother. [Going. 170

Fash. Shall you be back at dinner ? 


Lord Fop. As Gad shall jidge me, I can't tell; for

'tis passible I may dine with some of aur House at


Fash. Shall I meet you there ? For I must needs talk

with you.

Lord Fop. That I'm afraid mayn't be so praper ; far the

lards I commonly eat with, are people of a nice conversation ; and you know, Tarn, your education has been a little

at large : but, if you'll stay here, you'll find a family dinner.

[To Page.] Hey, fellow! What is there for dinner?

There's beef: I suppose my brother will eat beef. Dear

Tarn, I'm glad to see thee in England, stap my vitals ! 183

\Exit with his equipage.

Fash. Hell and furies ! is this to be borne ?

Lory. Faith, sir, I could almost have given him a knock

o' th' pate myself.

Fash. 'Tis enough ; I will now show thee the excess of

my passion by being very calm. Come, Lory, lay your

loggerhead to mine, and in cool blood let us contrive his

destruction. 190

Lory. Here comes a head, sir, would contrive it better

than us both, if he would but join in the confederacy.


Fash. By this light, old Coupler alive still ! Why, how

now, matchmaker, art thou here still to plague the world

with matrimony ? You old bawd, how have you the

impudence to be hobbling out of your grave twenty years 

after you are rotten ?

Coup. When you begin to rot, sirrah, you'll go off like a

pippin; one winter will send you to the devil. What

mischief brings you home again ? Ha ! you young

lascivious rogue you. Let me put my hand in your

bosom, sirrah. 202

Fash. Stand off, old Sodom !

Coup. Nay, prithee now, don't be so coy.

Fash. Keep your hands to yourself, you old dog you,

or I'll wring your nose off.

Coup. Hast thou then been a year in Italy, and brought

home a fool at last ? By my conscience, the young fellows

of this age profit no more by their going abroad than they

do by their going to church. Sirrah, sirrah, if you are not

hanged before you come to my years, you'll know a cock

from a hen. But, come, I'm still a friend to thy person,

though I have a contempt of thy understanding; and

therefore I would willingly know thy condition, that I

may see whether thou stand'st in need of my assistance :

for widows swarm, my boy, the town's infected with

'em. 217

Fash. I stand in need of anybody's assistance, that will

help me to cut my elder brother's throat, without the risk of

being hanged for him.

Coup. Egad, sirrah, I could help thee to do him almost

as good a turn, without the danger of being burned in the 

hand for't.

Fash. Sayest thou so, old Satan ? Show me but that,

and my soul is thine.

Coup. Pox o' thy soul ! give me thy warm body, sirrah

I shall have a substantial title to't when I tell thee my



Fash. Out with it then, dear dad, and take possession

as soon as thou wilt. 230

Coup. Sayest thou so, my Hephestion ? Why, then

thus lies the scene. But hold ; who's that ? if we are

heard we are undone.

Fash. What, have you forgot Lory ?

Coup. Who, trusty Lory, is it thee ?

Lory. At your service, sir.

Coup. Give me thy hand, old boy. Egad, I did not

know thee again ; but I remember thy honesty, though I did

not thy face ; I think thou hadst like to have been

hanged once or twice for thy master. 240

Lory. Sir, I was very near once having that honour.

Coup. Well, live and hope ; don't be discouraged ; eat

with him, and drink with him, and do what he bids thee,

and it may be thy reward at last, as well as another's.

[To Young FASHION.] Well, sir, you must know I have

done you the kindness to make up a match for your brother.

Fash. I am very much beholding to you, truly. 

Coup. You may be, sirrah, before the wedding-day yet.

The lady is a great heiress ; fifteen hundred pound a year,

and a great bag of money ; the match is concluded, the

writings are drawn, and the pipkin's to be cracked in a fortnight. Now you must know, stripling (with respect to your

mother), your brother's the son of a whore. 253

Fash. Good !

Coup. He has given me a bond of a thousand pounds

for helping him to this fortune, and has promised me as

much more in ready money upon the day of marriage,

which, I understand by a friend, he ne'er designs to pay me.

If therefore you will be a generous young dog, and secure


me five thousand pounds, I'll be a covetous old rogue, and

help you to the lady.

Fash. Egad, if thou canst bring this about, I'll have thy

statue cast in brass. But don't you dote, you old pander

you, when you talk at this rate ? 264

Coup. That your youthful parts shall judge of. This

plump partridge, that I tell you of, lives in the country, fifty

miles off, with her honoured parents, in a lonely old house

which nobody comes near ; she never goes abroad, nor

sees company at home. To prevent all misfortunes, she has

her breeding within doors ; the parson of the parish teaches

her to play upon the bass-viol, the clerk to sing, her nurse to

dress, and her father to dance. In short, nobody can give

you admittance there but I ; nor can I do it any other way

than by making you pass for your brother.

Fash. And how the devil wilt thou do that ? 275 

Coup. Without the devil's aid, I warrant thee. Thy

brother's face not one of the family ever saw, the whole

business has been managed by me, and all the letters go

through my hands. The last that was writ to sir Tunbelly

Clumsey (for that's the old gentleman's name), was to tell

him, his lordship would be down in a fortnight to consummate. Now, you shall go away immediately, pretend you

writ that letter only to have the romantic pleasure of

surprising your mistress ; fall desperately in love, as soon as

you see her ; make that your plea for marrying her immediately, and, when the fatigue of the wedding-night's over,

you shall send me a swinging purse of gold, you dog


Fash. Egad, old dad, I'll put my hand in thy bosom

now. 290


Coup. Ah, you young hot lusty thief, let me muzzle you !

[Kissing.} Sirrah, let me muzzle you.

Fash. [Aside.} Psha, the old lecher !

Coup. Well ; I'll warrant thou hast not a farthing of

money in thy pocket now ; no, one may see it in thy face.

fash. Not a souse, by Jupiter !

Coup. Must I advance then? Well, sirrah, be at my

lodgings in half an hour, and I'll see what may be done ;

we'll sign, and seal, and eat a pullet, and when I have

given thee some farther instructions, thou shalt hoist sail

and be gone. [Kissing.] T'other buss, and so adieu.

Fash. Um ! psha! 312

Coup. Ah, you young warm dog you, what a delicious 

night will the bride have on't ! [Exit.

Fash. So, Lory ; Providence, thou seest at last, takes

care of men of merit : we are in a fair way to be great


Lory. Ay, sir, if the devil don't step between the cup

and the lip, as he uses to do.

Fash. Why, faith, he has played me many a damned

trick to spoil my fortune, and egad I'm almost afraid he's at

work about it again now ; but if I should tell thee how,

thou'dst wonder at me.

Lory. Indeed, sir, I should not.

Fash. How dost know? 325

Lory. Because, sir, I have wondered at you so often, I

can wonder at you no more.

Fash. No ! what wouldst thou say if a qualm of

conscience should spoil my design ?

Lory. I would eat my words, and wonder more than



Fash. Why, faith, Lory, though I am a young rake-hell,

and have played many a roguish trick ; this is so full-grown

a cheat, I find I must take pains to come up to't, I have


Lory. They are strong symptoms of death ; if you find

they increase, pray, sir, make your will 337

Fash. No, my conscience shan't starve me neither. 

But thus far I will hearken to it ; before I execute this project,

I'll try my brother to the bottom, I'll speak to him with the

temper of a philosopher ; my reasons (though they press him

home) shall yet be clothed with so much modesty, not one

of all the truths they urge shall be so naked to offend his

sight. If he has yet so much humanity about him as to

assist me (though with a moderate aid), I'll drop my project

at his feet, and show him I can do for him much more

than what I ask he'd do for me. This one conclusive

trial of him I resolve to make

Succeed or no, still victory's my lot ;

If I subdue his heart, 'tis well ; if not,

I shall subdue my conscience to my plot.




London. A Room in LOVELESS'S Lodgings.


Love. How do you like these lodgings, my dear ? For my

part, I am so well pleased with 'em, I shall hardly remove

whilst we stay in town, if you are satisfied.

Aman. I am satisfied with everything that pleases you ;

else I had not come to town at all.

Love. Oh ! a little of the noise and bustle of the world 

sweetens the pleasures of retreat. We shall find the charms

of our retirement doubled, when we return to it.

Aman. That pleasing prospect will be my chiefest entertainment, whilst (much against my will) I am obliged to

stand surrounded with these empty pleasures, which 'tis so

much the fashion to be fond of. 1 2

Love. I own most of them are indeed but empty ; nay, so

empty, that one would wonder by what magic power they act,

when they induce us to be vicious for their sakes. Yet some

there are we may speak kindlier of. There are delights (of

which a private life is destitute) which may divert an honest

man, and be a harmless entertainment to a virtuous woman.

The conversation of the town is one ; and truly (with some

small allowances), the plays, I think, may be esteemed



Aman. The plays, I must confess, have some small

charms ; and would have more, would they restrain that

loose obscene encouragement to vice, which shocks, if

not the virtue of some women, at least the modesty of

all.* 26

Love. But till that reformation can be made, I would not

leave the wholesome corn for some intruding tares that grow

amongst it. Doubtless the moral of a well-wrought scene is

of prevailing force. Last night there happened one that

moved me strangely.

Aman. Pray, what was that ?

I&ve. Why 'twas about but 'tis not worth repeating.

Aman. Yes, pray let me know it. 

Love. No ; I think 'tis as well let alone. 35

Aman. Nay, now you make me have a mind to know.

Love. 'Twas a foolish thing. You'd perhaps grow

jealous should I tell it you, though without cause, Heaven


Aman. I shall begin to think I have cause, if you persist

in making it a secret.

Love. I'll then convince you you have none, by making

it no longer so. Know then, I happened in the play to

find my very character, only with the addition of a relapse ;

which struck me so, I put a sudden stop to a most harmless

entertainment, which till then diverted me between the acts.

'Twas to admire the workmanship of nature, in the face of a

  • The " reforming Divine," one would think, might have felt at

home here, but he probably suspected the "scandalous Poet" of

laughing in his sleeve when he wrote this passage. I see no reason

to doubt that Vanbrugh intended it as an expression of his own opinion

on the matter.


young lady that sat some distance from me, she was so

exquisitely handsome !

Aman. So exquisitely handsome ! 50

Love. Why do you repeat my words, my dear ?

Aman. Because you seemed to speak 'em with such

pleasure, I thought I might oblige you with their echo. 

Love. Then you are alarmed, Amanda ?

Aman. It is my duty to be so, when you are in danger.

Love. You are too quick in apprehending for me ; all

will be well when you have heard me out. I do confess I

gazed upon her ; nay, eagerly I gazed upon her.

Aman. Eagerly ! that's with desire.

Love. No, I desired her not : I viewed her with a world

of admiration, but not one glance of love. 61

Aman. Take heed of trusting to such nice distinctions.

Love. I did take heed ; for observing in the play that

he who seemed to represent me there was, by an accident

like this, unwarily surprised into a net, in which he lay a

poor entangled slave, and brought a train of mischiefs on

his head, I snatched my eyes away ; they pleaded hard for

leave to look again, but I grew absolute, and they obeyed.

Aman. Were they the only things that were inquisitive ?

Had I been in your place, my tongue, I fancy, had been

curious too ; I should have asked her name, and where she

lived (yet still without design). Who was she, pray ?

Love. Indeed I cannot tell.

Aman. You will not tell.

Love. By all that's sacred then, I did not ask. 75

Aman. Nor do you know what company was with her ?

Love. I do not.

Aman. Then I am calm again. 


Love. Why were you disturbed ?

Aman. Had I then no cause ?

Love. None, certainly.

Aman. I thought I had.

Love. But you thought wrong, Amanda : for turn the

case, and let it be your story ; should you come home, and

tell me you had seen a handsome man, should I grow

jealous because you had eyes ? 86

Aman. But should I tell you he were exquisitely so;

that I had gazed on him with admiration ; that I had

looked with eager eyes upon him; should you not think 'twere

possible I might go one step farther, and inquire his


Love. [Aside.] She has reason on her side : I have

talked too much ; but I must turn it off another way.

[Aloud.'] Will you then make no difference, Amanda,

between the language of our sex and yours ? There

is a modesty restrains your tongues, which makes

you speak by halves when you commend ; but roving

flattery gives a loose to ours, which makes us still

speak double what we think. You should not, therefore, in so strict a sense, take what I said to her

advantage. 101

Aman. Those flights of flattery, sir, are to our faces

only : when women once are out of hearing, you are as

modest in your commendations as we are. But I shan't

put you to the trouble of farther excuses, if you please this

business shall rest here. Only give me leave to wish, both

for your peace and mine, that you may never meet this

miracle of beauty more. 

Love. I am content.

4O The RELAPSE ; [ACT n.

Enter Servant.

Ser. Madam, there's a young lady at the door in a chair,

desires to know whether your ladyship sees company. I

think her name is Berinthia. 112

Aman. O dear ! 'tis a relation I have not seen these

five years. Pray her to walk in. [Exit Servant.]

Here's another beauty for you. She was young when

I saw her last ; but I hear she's grown extremely handsome.

Love. Don't you be jealous now ; for I shall gaze upon

her too.


[Aside.'} Ha ! by Heavens the very woman ! 120

Ber. [Saluting AMANDA.] Dear Amanda, I did not

expect to meet with you in town.

Aman. Sweet cousin, I'm overjoyed to see you. Mr.

Loveless, here's a relation and a friend of mine, I desire

you'll be better acquainted with.

Love. \Saluting BERINTHIA.] If my wife never desires

a harder thing, madam, her request will be easily


Ber. I think, madam, I ought to wish you joy.

Aman. Joy! Upon what? 130 

Ber. Upon your marriage : you were a widow when I

saw you last.

Love. You ought rather, madam, to wish me joy upon

that, since I am the only gainer.

Ber. If she has got so good a husband as the world

reports., she has gained enough to expect the compliments

of her friends upon it.


Love. If the world is so favourable to me, to allow I

deserve that title, I hope 'tis so just to my wife to own I

derive it from her. 140

Ber. Sir, it is so just to you both, to own you are (and

deserve to be) the happiest pair that live in it.

Love. I'm afraid we shall lose that character, madam,

whenever you happen to change your condition.

Re-enter Servant.

Ser. Sir, my lord Foppington presents his humble

service to you, and desires to know how you do. He but

just now heard you were in town. He's at the next door;

and if it be not inconvenient, he'll come and wait upon


Love. Lord Foppington ! I know him not 150

Ber. Not his dignity, perhaps, but you do his person.

'Tis sir Novelty; he has bought a barony, in order to

marry a great fortune. His patent has not been passed

eight-and-forty hours, and he has already sent howdo-ye's to all the town, to make 'em acquainted with his


Love. Give my service to his lordship, and let him know

I am proud of the honour he intends me. [Exit Servant.]

Sure this addition of quality must have so improved his

coxcomb, he can't but be very good company for a quarter

of an hour. 161

Aman. Now it moves my pity more than my mirth, to

see a man whom nature has made no fool, be so very

industrious to pass for an ass.

Love. No, there you are wrong, Amanda ; you should

never bestow your pity upon those who take pains for your

4 2 The RELAPSE ; [ACT n.

contempt. Pity those whom nature abuses, but never those

who abuse nature.

Ber. Besides, the town would be robbed of one of its

chief diversions, if it should become a crime to laugh at

a fool. 171

Aman. I could never yet perceive the town inclined to

part with any of its diversions, for the sake of their being

crimes ; but I have seen it very fond of some I think had

little else to recommend 'em.

Ber. I doubt, Amanda, you are grown its enemy, you

speak with so much warmth against it.

Aman. I must confess I am not much its friend.

Ber. Then give me leave to make you mine, by not

engaging in its quarrel. 180

Aman. You have many stronger claims than that,

Berimhia, whenever you think fit to plead your title. 

Love. You have done well to engage a second, my

dear ; for here comes one will be apt to call you to an

account for your country principles.


Lord Fop. Sir, I am your most humble servant.

Love. I wish you joy, my lord.

Lord Fop. O Lard, sir! Madam, your ladyship's

welcome to tawn.

Aman. I wish your lordship joy. 190

Lord Fop. O Heavens, madam

Love. My lord, this young lady is a relation of my


Lord Fop. [Saluting BERINTHIA.] The beautifullest

race of people upon earth, rat me ! Dear Loveless, I'm


overjoyed to see you have brought your family to tawn

again ; I am, stap my vitals ! [Aside.] Far I design to lie

with your wife. [To AMANDA.] Far Gad's sake, madam,

haw has your ladyship been able to subsist thus long, under

the fatigue of a country life ? 200

Aman. My life has been very far from that, my lord ;

it has been a very quiet one.

Lord Fop. Why, that's the fatigue I speak of, madam.

For 'tis impossible to be quiet, without thinking : now thinking is to me the greatest fatigue in the world. 

Aman. Does not your lordship love reading then ?

Lord Fop. Oh, passionately, madam. But I never think

of what I read.

Ber. Why, can your lordship read without thinking ?

Lord Fop. O Lard ! can your ladyship pray without

devotion, madam ? 211

Aman. Well, I must own I think books the best entertainment in the world.

Lord Fop. I am so much of your ladyship's mind,

madam, that I have a private gallery, where I walk sometimes ; it is furnished with nothing but books and lookingglasses. Madam, I have gilded 'em, and ranged 'em so

prettily, before Gad, it is the most entertaining thing in the

world to walk and look upon 'em.

Aman. Nay, I love a neat library too ; but 'tis, I think,

the inside of a book should recommend it most to us. 221

Lord Fop. That, I must confess, I am nat altogether so

fand of. Far to mind the inside of a book, is to entertain one's self with the forced product of another man's

brain. Naw I think a man of quality and breeding may be

much better diverted with the natural sprauts of his own.

44 The RELAPSE ; [ACT n.

But to say the truth, madam, let a man love reading never

so well, when once he comes to know this tawn, he finds so

many better ways of passing the four-and-twenty hours,

that 'twere ten thousand pities he should consume his time

in that. Far example, madam, my life ; my life, madam,

is a perpetual stream of pleasure, that glides through such a 

variety of entertainments, I believe the wisest of our

ancestors never had the least conception of any of 'em. I

rise, madam, about ten a-clack. I don't rise sooner, because

'tis the worst thing in the world for the complexion ; nat

that I pretend to be a beau ; but a man must endeavour to

look wholesome, lest he make so nauseous a figure in the

side-bax, the ladies should be compelled to turn their eyes

upon the play. So at ten a-clack, I say, I rise. Naw, if I

find 'tis a good day, I resalve to take a turn in the Park,

and see the fine women ; so huddle on my clothes, and get

dressed by one. If it be nasty weather, I take a turn in the

chocolate-house : where, as you walk, madam, you have the

prettiest prospect in the world : you have looking-glasses all

raund you. But I'm afraid I tire the company.

Ber. Not at all. Pray go on. 247

Lord Fop. Why then, ladies, from thence I go to

dinner at Lacket's, where you are so nicely and delicately

served, that, stap my vitals ! they shall compose you a dish

no bigger than a saucer, shall come to fifty shillings.

Between eating my dinner (and washing my mouth, ladies) I

spend my time, till I go to the play ; * where, till nine

a-clack, I entertain myself with looking upon the company ;

and usually dispose of one hour more in leading 'em aut

  • The hour for beginning the play was at this time five o'clock.


So there's twelve of the four-and-twenty pretty well over.

The other twelve, madam, are disposed of in two articles :

in the first four I toast myself drunk, and in t'other eight I

sleep myself sober again. Thus, ladies, you see my life is

an eternal raund O of delights. 260

Love. 'Tis a heavenly one indeed. 

Aman. But I thought, my lord, you beaux spent a

great deal of your time in intrigues : you have given us no

account of them yet.

Lord Fop. [Aside^\ Soh ; she would inquire into my

amours. That's jealousy : she begins to be in love with

me. [To AMANDA.] Why, madam, as to time for my

intrigues, I usually make detachments of it from my other

pleasures, according to the exigency. Far your ladyship

may please to take notice, that those who intrigue with

women of quality, have rarely occasion for above half an

hour at a time : people of that rank being under those

decorums, they can seldom give you a langer view than will

just serve to shoot 'em flying. So that the course of my

other pleasures is not very much interrupted by my


Love. But your lordship is now become a pillar of the

state; you must attend the weighty affairs of the

nation. 279

Lord Fop. Sir, as to weighty affairs I leave them to

weighty heads. I never intend mine shall be a burden to

my body.

Love. O but you'll find the House will expect your


Lord Fop. Sir, you'll find the House will compound for

my appearance.

46 The RELAPSE ;

Love. But your friends will take it ill if you don't attend

their particular causes.

Lord Fop. Not, sir, if I come time enough to give 'em

my particular vote. 290 

Ber. But pray, my lord, how do you dispose of yourself on Sundays ? for that, methinks, is a day should hang

wretchedly upon your hands.

Lord Fop. Why, faith, madam Sunday is a vile day, I

must confess. I intend to move for leave to bring in a bill,

that players may work upon it, as well as the hackney

coaches. Though this I must say for the government, it

leaves us the churches to entertain us. But then again,

they begin so abominable early, a man must rise by candlelight to get dressed by the psalm. 300

Ber. Pray which church does your lordship most oblige

with your presence ?

Lord Fop. Oh, St James's, madam : there's much the

best company.

Aman. Is there good preaching too ?

Lord Fop. Why, faith, madam I can't tell. A man

must have very little to do there that can give an account

of the sermon.

Ber. You can give us an account of the ladies at

least ? 310

Lord Fop. Or I deserve to be excommunicated. There

is my lady Tattle, my lady Prate, my lady Titter, my lady

Leer, my lady Giggle, and my lady Grin. These sit in

the front of the boxes, and all church-time are the prettiest

company in the world, stap my vitals ! \To AMANDA.]

Mayn't we hope for the honour to see your ladyship

added to our society, madam ?


Aman. Alas, my lord ! I am the worst company in the

world at church : I'm apt to mind the prayers, or the

sermon, or 320

Lord Fop, One is indeed strangely apt at church to

mind what one should not do. But I hope, madam, at one

time or other, I shall have the honour to lead your ladyship

to your coach there. [Aside.] Methinks she seems

strangely pleased with everything I say to her. 'Tis a vast

pleasure to receive encouragement from a woman before

her husband's face. I have a good mind to pursue my

conquest, and speak the thing plainly to her at once.

Egad, I'll do't, and that in so cavalier a manner, she shall

be surprised at it. [Aloud.'} Ladies, I'll take my leave ;

I'm afraid I begin to grow troublesome with the length of

my visit

Aman. Your lordship's too entertaining to grow troublesome anywhere. 334

Lord Fop. _Aside.~] That now was as much as if she

had said pray lie with me. I'll let her see I'm quick of

apprehension. [To AMANDA.] O Lard, madam ! I had

like to have forgot a secret, I must needs tell your ladyship. [To LOVELESS.] Ned, you must not be so jealous

now as to listen.

Love. Not I, my lord ; I am too fashionable a husband

to pry into the secrets of my wife.

Lord Fop. [To AMANDA, squeezing her hand.~] I am in

love with you to desperation, strike me speechless !

Aman. \Giving him a box o the ear.~] Then thus I

return your passion. An impudent fool !

Lord Fop. Gad's curse, madam, I'm a peer of the

realm ! 

48 The RELAPSE ; [ACT n.

Love. Hey ; what the devil do you affront my wife,

sir? Nay then 350

{They draw and fight. The women run shrieking

for help.

Aman. Ah ! What has my folly done ? Help ! murder !

help ! part 'em, for Heaven's sake !

Lord Fop, {Falling back, and leaning upon his sword.]

Ah quite through the body ! stap my vitals !

Enter Servants.

Love. {Running to him.~\ I hope I han't killed the fool

however. Bear him up ! Where's your wound ?

Lord Fop. Just through the guts.

Love. Call a surgeon there. Unbutton him quickly.

Lord Fop. Ay, pray make haste. [Exit Servant.

Love. This mischief you may thank yourself for.

Lord Fop. I may so love's the devil indeed, Ned. 360

Re-enter Servant with SYRINGE.

Ser. Here's Mr. Syringe, sir, was just going by the door.

Lord Fop. He's the welcomest man alive.

Syr. Stand by, stand by, stand by ! Pray, gentlemen,

stand by. Lord have mercy upon us ! did you never see a

man run through the body before ? pray, stand by.

Lord Fop. Ah, Mr. Syringe I'm a dead man ! 

Syr. A dead man and I by ! I should laugh to see

that, egad !

Love. Prithee don't stand prating, but look upon his

wound. 370

Syr. Why, what if I won't look upon his wound this

hour, sir?


Love. Why, then he'll bleed to death, sir.

Syr. Why, then I'll fetch him to life again, sir.

Love. 'Slife, he's run through the guts, I tell thee.

Syr. Would he were run through the heart, I should get

the more credit by his cure. Now I hope you're satisfied ?

Come, now let me come at him ; now let me come at him.

[ Viewing his wound.'} Oons, what a gash is here ! Why,

sir, a man may drive a coach and six horses into your body.

Lord Fop. Ho! 381

Syr. Why, what the devil, have you run the gentleman

through with a scythe ? [Aside.] A little prick between the

skin and the ribs, that's all.

Love. Let me see his wound.

Syr. Then you shall dress it, sir ; for if anybody looks

upon it, I won't.

Love. Why, thou art the veriest coxcomb I ever saw.

Syr. Sir, I am not master of my trade for nothing. 

Lord Fop. Surgeon ! 390

Syr. Well, sir.

Lord Fop. Is there any hopes ?

Syr. Hopes ? I can't tell. What are you willing to

give for your cure ?

Lord Fop. Five hundred paunds with pleasure.

Syr. Why, then perhaps there may be hopes. But we

must avoid farther delay. Here ; help the gentleman into

a chair, and carry him to my house presently, that's the

properest place [Aside.] to bubble him out of his money.

[Aloud] Come, a chair, a chair quickly there, in with

him. [They put him into a chair. 401

Lord Fop. Dear Loveless adieu! If I die I forgive

thee ; and if I live I hope thou'lt do as much by me. . I'm



very sorry you and I should quarrel ; but I hope here's

an end on't, for if you are satisfied I am.

Love. I shall hardly think it worth my prosecuting any

farther, so you may be at rest, sir.

Lord Fop. Thou art a generous fellow, strike me dumb !

\Aside^\ But thou hast an impertinent wife, stap my

vitals I 410

Syr. So, carry him off ! carry him off ! we shall have

him prate himself into a fever by and by ; carry him off. 

\Exit with Lord FOPPINGTON.

Aman. Now on my knees, my dear, let me ask your

pardon for my indiscretion, my own I never shall obtain.

Love. Oh, there's no harm done : you served him


Aman, He did indeed deserve it. But I tremble to

think how dear my indiscreet resentment might have cost


Love. Oh, no matter, never trouble yourself about that. 420

Ber. For Heaven's sake, what was't he did to you ?

Aman. O nothing ; he only squeezed me kindly by the

hand, and frankly offered me a coxcomb's heart. I know I

was to blame to resent it as I did, since nothing but a

quarrel could ensue. But the fool so surprised me with

his insolence, I was not mistress of my fingers.

Ber. Now, I dare swear, he thinks you had 'em at great

command, they obeyed you so readily.


War. Save you, save you, good people : I'm glad to find

you all alive ; I met a wounded peer carrying off. For

Heaven's sake, what was the matter? 431


Love. Oh, a trifle ! He would have lain with my wife

before my face, so she obliged him with a box o' th' ear, and

I run him through the body : that was all.

War. Bagatelle on all sides. But, pray madam, how 

long has this noble lord been a humble servant of yours ?

Aman. This is the first I have heard on't. So I suppose 'tis his quality more than his love, has brought him

into this adventure. He thinks his title an authentic

passport to every woman's heart below the degree of a peeress.

Wor. He's coxcomb enough to think anything. But I

would not have you brought into trouble for him : I hope

there's no danger of his life ? 443

Love. None at all. He's fallen into the hands of a

roguish surgeon ; I perceive designs to frighten a little

money out of him. But I saw his wound, 'tis nothing ; he

may go to the play to-night, if he pleases.

Wor. I am glad you have corrected him without farther

mischief. And now, sir, if these ladies have no farther

service for you, you'll oblige me if you can go to the place I

spoke to you of t'other day.

Love. With all my heart. [Aside.~\ Though I could

wish, methinks, to stay and gaze a little longer on that

creature. Good gods, how beautiful she is ! But what

have I to do with beauty ? I have already had my portion,

and must not covet more. [Aloud.'] Come, sir, when you


Wor. Ladies, your servant.

Aman. Mr. Loveless, pray one word with you before

you go. 460

Love. [To WORTHY.] I'll overtake you, sir. [Exit

WORTHY.] W hat would my dear ?

5 2 The RELAPSE ; [ACT n.

Aman. Only a woman's foolish question, how do you

like my cousin here ?

Love. Jealous already, Amanda?

Aman. Not at all, I ask you for another reason.

Love. [Aside.'} Whate'er her reason be, I must not tell

her true. [To AMANDA.] Why, I confess she's handsome.

But you must not think I slight your kinswoman, if I own

to you, of all the women who may claim that character, she

is the last would triumph in my heart. 471

Aman. I'm satisfied.

Love. Now tell me why you asked ?

Aman. At night I will. Adieu.

Love. I'm yours. [Kisses her and exit.

Aman. {Aside.'} I'm glad to find he does not like her ;

for I have a great mind to persuade her to come and live

with me. [Aloud."} Now, dear Berinthia, let me inquire a

little into your affairs : for I do assure you, I am enough

your friend to interest myself in everything that concerns

you. 481

Ber. You formerly have given me such proofs on't, I

should be very much to blame to doubt it. I am sorry I

have no secrets to trust you with, that I might convince you

how entire a confidence I durst repose in you.

Aman. Why, is it possible that one so young and

beautiful as you should live and have no secrets ?

Ber. What secrets do you mean ? 

Aman. Lovers.

Ber. Oh, twenty ! but not one secret one amongst 'em.

Lovers in this age have too much honour to do anything

underhand; they do all above board. 492

Aman. That now, methinks, would make me hate a man.


Ber. But the women of the town are of another mind :

for by this means a lady may (with the expense of a few

coquette glances) lead twenty fools about in a string for two

or three years together. Whereas, if she should allow J em

greater favours, and oblige 'em to secrecy, she would not

keep one of 'em a fortnight.

Aman. There's something indeed in that to satisfy the

vanity of a woman, but I can't comprehend how the men

find their account in it. 502

Ber. Their entertainment, I must confess, is a riddle to

me. For there's very few of 'em ever get farther than a

bow and an ogle. I have half a score for my share, who

follow me all over the town ; and at the play, the Park, and

the church, do (with their eyes) say the violentest things to

me. But I never hear any more of 'em.

Aman. What can be the reason of that ?

Ber. One reason is, they don't know how to go farther.

They have had so little practice, they don't understand the

trade. But, besides their ignorance, you must know there

is not one of my half score lovers but what follows half a

score mistresses. Now, their affections being divided

amongst so many, are not strong enough for any one to

make 'em pursue her to the purpose. Like a young puppy

in a warren, they have a flirt at all, and catch none. 

Aman. Yet they seem to have a torrent of love to

dispose of. 519

Ber. They have so. But 'tis like the river of a modern

philosopher, (whose works, though a woman, I have read,)

it sets out with a violent stream, splits in a thousand branches,

and is all lost in the sands.

Aman. But do you think this river of love runs all its

54 The RELAPSE ;

course without doing any mischief ? Do you think it overflows nothing ?

Ber. O yes ; 'tis true, it never breaks into anybody's

ground that has the least fence about it ; but it overflows all

the commons that lie in its way. And this is the utmost

achievement of those dreadful champions in the field of

love the beaux. 531

Aman. But prithee, Berinthia, instruct me a little farther;

for I'm so great a novice I am almost ashamed on't. My

husband's leaving me whilst I was young and fond threw me

into that depth of discontent, that ever since I have led so

private and recluse a life, my ignorance is scarce conceivable.

I therefore fain would be instructed. Not (Heaven knows)

that what you call intrigues have any charms for me ; my

love and principles are too well fixed. The practic part of

all unlawful love is 540

Ber. Oh, 'tis abominable ! But for the speculative ; that

we must all confess is entertaining. The conversation of all

the virtuous women in the town turns upon that and new


Aman. Pray be so just then to me, to believe, 'tis with a 

world of innocency I would inquire, whether you think those

women we call women of reputation, do so really 'scape all

other men, as they do those shadows of 'em, the

beaux 549

Ber. O no, Amanda ; there are a sort of men make

dreadful work amongst 'em : men that may be called the

beaux' antipathy ; for they agree in nothing but walking

upon two legs. These have brains : the beau has none.

These are in love with their mistress : the beau with himself.

They take care of her reputation : he's industrious to destroy


it. They are decent : he's a fop. They are sound : he's

rotten. They are men : he's an ass.

Aman. If this be their character, I fancy we had here e'en

now a pattern of 'em both.

Ber. His lordship and Mr Worthy? 560

Aman. The same.

Ber. As for the lord, he's eminently so ; and for the

other, I can assure you, there's not a man in town who has

a better interest with the women, that are worth having an

interest with. But 'tis all private : he's like a back-stair

minister at court, who, whilst the reputed favourites are

sauntering in the bedchamber, is ruling the roast in the closet.

Aman. He answers then the opinion I had ever of him.

Heavens ! What a difference there is between a man like

him, and that vain nauseous fop, sir Novelty. \Taking her

hand.~\ I must acquaint you with a secret, cousin. 'Tis

not that fool alone has talked to me of love. Worthy has

been tampering too. 'Tis true, he has done't in vain : not

all his charms or art have power to shake me. My love, 

my duty, and my virtue, are such faithful guards, I need

not fear my heart should e'er betray me. But what I

wonder at is this : I find I did not start at his proposal, as

when it came from one whom I contemned. I therefore

mention his attempt, that I may learn from you whence it

proceeds ; that vice (which cannot change its nature)

should so far change at least its shape, as that the self-same

crime proposed from one shall seem a monster gaping at

your ruin; when from another it shall look so kind, as

though it were your friend, and never meant to harm you.

Whence, think you, can this difference proceed? For 'tis

not love, Heaven knows. 586


Ber. O no ; I would not for the world believe it were.

But possibly, should there a dreadful sentence pass upon

you, to undergo the rage of both their passions ; the pain

you apprehend from one might seem so trivial to the other,

the danger would not quite so much alarm you.

Avian. Fy, fy, Berinthia ! you would indeed alarm me,

could you incline me to a thought, that all the merit of

mankind combined could shake that tender love I bear my

husband. No ! he sits triumphant in my heart, and nothing

can dethrone him.

Ber. But should he abdicate again, do you think you

should preserve the vacant throne ten tedious winters more

in hopes of his return ? 599

Aman. Indeed, I think I should. Though I confess,

after those obligations he has to me, should he abandon me

once more, my heart would grow extremely urgent with me

to root him thence, and cast him out for ever.

Ber. Were I that thing they call a slighted wife, somebody should run the risk of being that thing they call a 


A man. O fy, Berinthia ! no revenge should ever be

taken against a husband. But to wrong his bed is a

vengeance, which of all vengeance 609

Ber. Is the sweetest, ha ! ha ! ha ! Don't I talk madly ?

Aman. Madly, indeed.

Ber. Yet I'm very innocent.

Aman. That I dare swear you are. I know how to

make allowances for your humour : you were always very

entertaining company; but I find since marriage and

widowhood have shown you the world a little, you are very

much improved.


Ber. [Aside.~\ Alack a-day, there has gone more than

that to improve me, if she knew all ! 619

Aman. For Heaven's sake, Berinthia, tell me what way

I shall take to persuade you to come and live with me ?

Ber. Why, one way in the world there is and but one.

Aman. Pray which is that ?

Ber. It is, to assure me I shall be very welcome.

Aman. If that be all, you shall e'en lie here to-night.

Ber. To-night !

Aman. Yes, to-night. 

Ber. Why, the people where I lodge will think me mad.

Aman. Let 'em think what they please. 629

Ber. Say you so, Amanda ? Why, then they shall think

what they please : for I'm a young widow, and I care not

what anybody thinks. Ah, Amanda, it's a delicious thing

to be a young widow !

Aman. You'll hardly make me think so.

Ber. Puh ! because you are in love with your husband :

but that is not every woman's case.

Aman. I hope 'twas yours, at least.

Ber. Mine, say ye ? Now I have a great mind to tell

you a lie, but I should do it so awkwardly you'd find me

out. 640

Aman. Then e'en speak the truth.

Ber. Shall I ? Then after all I did love him, Amanda

as a nun does penance.

Aman. Why did not you refuse to marry him, then ?

Ber. Because my mother would have whipped me.

Aman. How did you live together?

Ber. Like man and wife, asunder. He loved the

country, I the town. He hawks and hounds, I coaches and


equipage. He eating and drinking, I carding and playing.

He the sound of a horn, I the squeak of a fiddle. We 

were dull company at table, worse a-bed. Whenever we

met, we gave one another the spleen ; and never agreed but

once, which was about lying alone.

Aman. But tell me one thing, truly and sincerely.

Ber. What's that? 655

Aman. Notwithstanding all these jars, did not his death

at last extremely trouble you ?

Ber. O yes. Not that my present pangs were so very

violent, but the after-pains were intolerable. I was forced

to wear a beastly widow's band a twelvemonth for't.

Aman. Women, I find, have different inclinations.

Ber. Women, I find, keep different company. When

your husband ran away from you, if you had fallen into

some of my acquaintance, 'twould have saved you many

a tear. But you go and live with a grandmother, a bishop,

and an old nurse ; which was enough to make any woman

break her heart for her husband. Pray, Amanda, if ever

you are a widow again, keep yourself so, as I do.

Aman. Why ! do you then resolve you'll never marry ?

Ber. O no; I resolve I will. 670

Aman. How so ?

Ber. That I never may.

Aman. You banter me.

Ber. Indeed I don't. But I consider I'm a woman,

and form my resolutions accordingly.

Aman. Well, my opinion is, form what resolution you

will, matrimony will be the end on't. 

Ber. Faith it won't.

Aman. How do you know ?


Ber. I'm sure on't. 680

A man. Why, do you think 'tis impossible for you to fall

in love ?

Ber. No.

Aman. Nay, but to grow so passionately fond, that

nothing but the man you love can give you rest.

Ber. Well, what then ?

Aman. Why, then you'll marry him.

Ber. How do you know that ?

Aman. Why, what can you do else ?

Ber. Nothing but sit and cry.

Aman. Psha !

Ber. Ah, poor Amanda ! you have led a country life :

but if you'll consult the widows of this town, they'll tell you

you should never take a lease of a house you can hire for a

quarter's warning. [Exeunt.

60 The RELAPSE ; [ACT in. 



A Room in Lord FOPPINGTON'S House.

Enter Lord FOPPINGTON and Servant.

Lord Fop. Hey, fellow, let the coach come to the door.

Ser. Will your lordship venture so soon to expose yourself to the weather ?

Lord Fop. Sir, I will venture as soon as I can, to expose

myself to the ladies ; though give me my cloak, however ;

for in that side-box, what between the air that comes in at

the door on one side, and the intolerable warmth of the

masks on t'other,* a man gets so many heats and colds,

'twould destroy the canstitution of a harse.

Ser. {Putting on his cloak.'} I wish your lordship would

please to keep house a little longer; I'm afraid your

honour does not well consider your wound. 12

Lord Fop. My wound ! I would not be in eclipse

another day, though I had as many wounds in my guts as

I have had in my heart. [Exit Servant.

  • Soon after the Restoration, masks were commonly worn at the

theatre by ladies of reputation (See Pepys, June 12, 1663), but the

custom appears to have been quickly abandoned to women of the town.

In Dryden's prologues and epilogues, for example, the term " vizardmask " is always synonymous with prostitute.


Enter Young FASHION. 

Fash. Brother, your servant. How do you find yourself to-day ?

Lord Fop. So well, that I have ardered my coach to

the door : so there's no great danger of death this baut,

Tarn. 20

Fash. I'm very glad of it.

Lord Fop. [Aside.} That I believe's a lie. [Aloud.}

Prithee, Tam, tell me one thing : did nat your heart cut a

caper up to your mauth, when you heard I was run through

the bady ?

Fash. Why do you think it should ?

Lord Fop. Because I remember mine did so, when I

heard my father was shat through the head.

Fash. It then did very ill.

Lord Fop. Prithee, why so ? 30

Fash. Because he used you very well.

Lord Fop. Well ? naw, strike me dumb ! he starved

me. He has let me want a thausand women for want of a

thausand paund.

Fash. Then he hindered you from making a great many

ill bargains, for I think no woman is worth money that will

take money.

Lord Fop. If I were a younger brother, I should think

so too.

Fash. Why, is it possible you can value a woman that's

to be bought ? 41 

Lord Fop. Prithee, why not as well as a padnag ?

Fash. Because a woman has a heart to dispose of; a

horse has none.

62 The RELAPSE ; [ACT in.

Lord Fop. Look you, Tarn, of all things that belang to

a woman, I have an aversion to her heart. Far when once

a woman has given you her heart you can never get rid of

the rest of her bady.

Fash. This is strange doctrine. But pray in your

amours how is it with your own heart ? 50

Lord Fop. Why, my heart in my amours is like my

heart aut of my amours ; d la glace. My bady, Tarn, is a

watch ; and my heart is the pendulum to it ; whilst the

finger runs raund to every hour in the circle, that still beats

the same time.

Fash. Then you are seldom much in love ?

Lord Fop. Never, stap my vitals !

Fash. Why then did you make all this bustle about

Amanda ?

Lord Fop. Because she was a woman of an insolent

virtue, and I thought myself piqued in honour to debauch

her. 62

Fash. Very well. [Aside.'] Here's a rare fellow for

you, to have the spending of five thousand pounds a year !

But now for my business with him. [Aloud.'] Brother,

though I know to talk to you of business (especially of

money) is a theme not quite so entertaining to you as that

of the ladies ; my necessities are such, I hope you'll have 

patience to hear me.

Lord Fop. The greatness of your necessities, Tarn, is

the worst argument in the world for your being patiently

heard. I do believe you are going to make me a very good

speech, but, strike me dumb ! it has the worst beginning of

any speech I have heard this twelvemonth.

Fash. I'm very sorry you think so. 75


Lord Fop. I do believe thou art. But come, let's know

thy affair quickly; far 'tis a new play, and I shall be so

rumpled and squeezed with pressing through the crawd,

to get to my servant, the women will think I have lain all

night in my clothes.

Fash. Why then, (that I may not be the author of so

great a misfortune) my case in a word is this. The

necessary expenses of my travels have so much exceeded

the wretched income of my annuity, that I have been

forced to mortgage it for five hundred pounds, which

is spent; so that unless you are so kind to assist me in

redeeming it, I know no remedy but to go take a purse.

Lord Fop. Why, faith, Tarn to give you my sense of

the thing, I do think taking a purse the best remedy in the

the world : for if you succeed, you are relieved that way ; if

you are taken you are relieved t'other.

Fash. I'm glad to see you are in so pleasant a humour,

I hope I shall find the effects on't. 93

Lord Fop. Why, do you then really think it a reasonable

thing I should give you five hundred paunds ?

Fash. I do not ask it as a due, brother, I am willing to 

receive it as a favour.

Lord Fop. Thau art willing to receive it any haw, strike

me speechless ! But these are damned times to give money

in, taxes are so great, repairs so exorbitant, tenants such

rogues, and periwigs so dear, that the devil take me,

I am reduced to that extremity in my cash, I have been

forced to retrench in that one article of sweet pawder, till I

have braught it dawn to five guineas a manth. Naw

judge, Tarn, whether I can spare you five hundred

paunds. 106

64 The RELAPSE ; [ACT m.

Fash. If you can't, I must starve, that's all. [Aside, .]

Damn him !

Lord Fop. All I can say is, you should have been a

better husband.

Fash. Oons, if you can't live upon five thousand a

year, how do you think I should do't upon two hundred ?

Lord Fop. Don't be in a passion, Tarn ; far passion is the

most unbecoming thing in the world to the face. Look

you, I don't love to say anything to you to make you

melancholy ; but upon this occasion I must take leave to

put you in mind that a running horse does require more

attendance than a coach-horse. Nature has made some

difference 'twixt you and I. 119

Fash. Yes, she has made you older. \Aside^\ Pox take


Lord Fop. That is nat all, Tarn.

Fash. Why, what is there else ? 

Lord Fop. \Looking first upon himself, then upon his

brother I\ Ask the ladies.

Fash. Why, thou essence bottle ! thou musk cat ! dost

thou then think thou hast any advantage over me but what

Fortune has given thee ?

Lord Fop. I do stap my vitals !

Fash. Now, by all that's great and powerful, thou art

the prince of coxcombs ! 130

Lord Fop. Sir I am praud of being at the head of so

prevailing a party.

Fash. Will nothing then provoke thee ? Draw, coward !

Lord Fop. Look you, Tarn, you know I have always

taken you for a mighty dull fellow, and here is one of the

foolishest plats broke out that I have seen a long time.


Your paverty makes your life so burdensome to you, you

would provoke me to a quarrel, in hopes either to slip

through my lungs into my estate, or to get yourself run

through the guts, to put an end to your pain. But I will

disappoint you in both your designs ; far, with the temper

of a philasapher, and the discretion of a statesman I will

go to the play with my sword in my scabbard. [Exit.

fash. So ! Farewell, snuff-box ! and now, conscience,

I defy thee. Lory ! 145

Enter LORY.

Lory. Sir ! 

Fash. Here's rare news, Lory; his lordship has given

me a pill has purged off all my scruples.

Lory. Then my heart's at ease again. For I have been

in a lamentable fright, sir, ever since your conscience had

the impudence to intrude into your company.

Fash. Be at peace, it will come there no more : my

brother has given it a wring by the nose, and I have kicked

it down stairs. So run away to the inn ; get the horses

ready quickly, and bring 'em to old Coupler's, without a

moment's delay. 156

Lory. Then, sir, you are going straight about the fortune ?

Fash. I am. Away ! fly, Lory !

Lory. The happiest day I ever saw. I'm upon the wing

already. [Exeunt several ways.


A Garden.

Enter LOVELESS and Servant.

Love. Is my wife within ?

Scr. No, sir, she has been gone out this half hour.


66 The RELAPSE ; [ACT in.

Love. 'Tis well, leave me. [Exit Servant.

Sure fate has yet some business to be done,

Before Amanda's heart and mine must rest ;

Else, why amongst those legions of her sex, 

Which throng the world,

Should she pick out for her companion

The only one on earth

Whom nature has endow'd for her undoing ? 10

Undoing, was't, I said ! who shall undo her?

Is not her empire fix'd ? am I not hers ?

Did she not rescue me, a grovelling slave,

When chain'd and bound by that black tyrant vice,

I labour'd in his vilest drudgery ?

Did she not ransom me, and set me free ?

Nay more : when by my follies sunk

To a poor tatter'd despicable beggar,

Did she not lift me up to envied fortune ?

Give me herself, and all that she possess'd, 20

Without a thought of more return,

Than what a poor repenting heart might make her ?

Han't she done this ? And if she has,

Am I not strongly bound to love her for it ?

To love her ! why, do I not love her then ?

By earth and heaven I do !

Nay, I have demonstration that I do :

For I would sacrifice my life to serve her.

Yet hold if laying down my life

Be demonstration of my love, 30

What is't I feel in favour of Berinthia ?

For should she be in danger, methinks I could incline to

risk it for her service too ; and yet I do not love her. How


then subsists my proof? Oh, I have found it out ! What

I would do for one, is demonstration of my love ; and if

I'd do as much for t'other : it there is demonstration of my 

friendship. Ay it must be so. I find I'm very much her

friend. Yet let me ask myself one puzzling question more :

Whence springs this mighty friendship all at once ? For our

acquaintance is of later date. Now friendship's said to be a

plant of tedious growth ; its root composed of tender fibres,

nice in their taste, cautious in spreading, check'd with the

least corruption in the soil ; long ere it take, and longer

still ere it appear to do so : whilst mine is in a moment shot

so high, and fix'd so fast, it seems beyond the power of

storms to shake it. I doubt it thrives too fast. [Musing.



Ha, she here ! Nay, then take heed, my heart, for there are

dangers towards. 48

Ber. What makes you look so thoughtful, sir ? I hope

you are not ill.

Love. I was debating, madam, whether I was so or not ;

and that was it which made me look so thoughtful.

Ber. Is it then so hard a matter to decide ? I thought

all people had been acquainted with their own bodies,

though few people know their own minds.

Love. What if the distemper, I suspect, be in the


Ber. Why then I'll undertake to prescribe you a cure.

Love. Alas ! you undertake you know not what. 59

Ber. So far at least then allow me to be a physician.

Love. Nay, I'll allow you so yet farther: for I have

F 2 

68 The RELAPSE ; [ACT m.

reason to believe, should I put myself into your hands, you

would increase my distemper.

Ber. Perhaps I might have reasons from the college not

to be too quick in your cure ; but 'tis possible I might find

ways to give you often ease, sir.

Love. Were I but sure of that, I'd quickly lay my case

before you.

Ber. Whether you are sure of it or no, what risk do you

run in trying ? 70

Love. Oh ! a very great one.

Ber. How ?

Love. You might betray my distemper to my wife.

Ber. And so lose all my practice.

Love. Will you then keep my secret ?

Ber. I will, if it don't burst me.

Love. Swear.

Ber. I do.

Love. By what ?

Ber. By woman. 80

Love. That's swearing by my deity. Do it by your

own, or I shan't believe you. 

Ber. By man then.

Love. I'm satisfied. Now hear my symptoms, and give

me your advice. The first were these :

When 'twas my chance to see you at the play,

A random glance you threw at first alann'd me,

I could not turn my eyes from whence the danger came :

I gaz'd upon you till you shot again,

And then my fears came on me. 90

My heart began to pant, my limbs to tremble,

My blood grew thin, my pulse beat quick, my eyes


Grew hot and dim, and all the frame of nature

Shook with apprehension.

'Tis true, some small recruits of resolution

My manhood brought to my assistance ;

And by their help I made a stand a while,

But found at last your arrows flew so thick,

They could not fail to pierce me ; so left the field,

And fled for shelter to Amanda's arms. 100

What think you of these symptoms, pray ?

Ber. Feverish every one of 'em.

But what relief pray did your wife afford you ? 

Love. Why, instantly she let me blood ;

Which for the present much assuag'd my flame.

But when I saw you, out it burst again,

And rag'd with greater fury than before.

Nay, since you now appear, 'tis so increas'd,

That in a moment, if you do not help me,

I shall, whilst you look on, consume to ashes. no

[Taking hold of her hand.

Ber. \Breakingfrom himl\ O Lard, let me go ! 'Tis the

plague, and we shall all be infected.

Love. [Catching her in his arms, and kissing her.~

Then we'll die together, my charming angel !

Ber. O Ged the devil's in you ! Lord, let me go,

here's somebody coming.

Enter Servant.

Ser. Sir, my lady's come home, and desires to speak

with you : she's in her chamber.

Love. Tell her I'm coming. [Exit Servant.] But

before I go, one glass of nectar more to drink her health.

70 The RELAPSE ; [ACT m.

Ber. Stand off, or I shall hate you, by Heavens ! 120

Love. [Kissing her.'} In matters of love, a woman's oath

is no more to be minded than a man's.

Ber. Urn


Wor. [Aside.'] Ha ! what's here ? my old mistress, and

so close, i' faith ! I would not spoil her sport for the 

universe. [Exit.

Ber. O Ged ! Now do I pray to Heaven, [Exit

LOVELESS running] with all my heart and soul, that the

devil in hell may take me, if ever I was better pleased in

my life ! This man has bewitched me, that's certain.

[Sighing.'] Well, I am condemned ; but, thanks to Heaven,

I feel myself each moment more and more prepared for my

execution. Nay, to that degree, I don't perceive I have

the least fear of dying. No, I find, let the executioner be

but a man, and there's nothing will suffer with more resolution than a woman. Well, I never had but one intrigue

yet but I confess I long to have another. Pray Heaven

it end as the first did though, that we may both grow weary

at a time ; for 'tis a melancholy thing for lovers to outlive

one another. 140

Re-enter WORTHY.

Wor. [Aside.~] This discovery's a lucky one, I hope to

make a happy use on't. That gentlewoman there is no

fool ; so I shall be able to make her understand her

interest. [Aloud.] Your servant, madam ; I need not ask

you how you do, you have got so good a colour.


Ber. No better than I used to have, I suppose.

Wor. A little more blood in your cheeks.

Ber. The weather's hot.

Wor. If it were not, a woman may have a colour.

Ber. What do you mean by that ? 150

Wor. Nothing. 

Ber. Why do you smile then ?

Wor. Because the weather's hot.

Ber. You'll never leave roguing, I see that.

Wor. [Putting his finger to his noseJ\ You'll never leave

I see that.

Ber. Well, I can't imagine what you drive at. Pray tell

me what you mean ?

Wor. Do you tell me ; it's the same thing.

Ber. I can't. 160

Wor. Guess !

Ber. I shall guess wrong.

Wor. Indeed you won't.

Ber. Psha ! either tell, or let it alone.

Wor. Nay, rather than let it alone, I will tell. But

first I must put you in mind, that after what has passed

'twixt you and I, very few things ought to be secrets

between us.

Ber. Why, what secrets do we hide ? I know of none.

Wor. Yes, there are two ; one I have hid from you,

and t'other you would hide from me. You are fond of

Loveless, which I have discovered ; and I am fond of his


Ber. Which I have discovered. 174

Wor. Very well, now I confess your discovery to be 

true : what do you say to mine ?

72 The RELAPSE; [ACT in.

Ber. Why, I confess I would swear 'twere false, if I

thought you were fool enough to believe me.

Wor. Now I am almost in love with you again. Nay, I

don't know but I might be quite so, had I made one short

campaign with Amanda. Therefore, if you find 'twould

tickle your vanity to bring me down once more to your

lure, e'en help me quickly to dispatch her business, that

I may have nothing else to do, but to apply myself to

yours. 185

Ber. Do you then think, sir, I am old enough to be a

bawd ?

Wor. No, but I think you are wise enough to

Ber. To do what ?

Wor. To hoodwink Amanda with a gallant, that she

mayn't see who is her husband's mistress.

Ber. \Aside, .] He has reason : the hint's a good one.

Wor. Well, madam, what think you on't.

Ber. I think you are so much a deeper politician in

these affairs than I am, that I ought to have a very great

regard to your advice. 196

Wor. Then give me leave to put you in mind, that the

most easy, safe, and pleasant situation for your own amour,

is the house in which you now are; provided you keep

Amanda from any sort of suspicion. That the way to do

that, is to engage her in an intrigue of her own, making 

yourself her confidant. And the way to bring her to

intrigue, is to make her jealous of her husband in a wrong

place ; which the more you foment, the less you'll be

suspected. This is my scheme, in short ; which if you

follow as you should do, my dear Berinthia, we may all

four pass the winter very pleasantly. 207


Ber. Well, I could be glad to have nobody's sins to

answer for but my own. But where there is a necessity

Wor. Right : as you say, where there is a necessity, a Christian is bound to help his neighbour. So, good Berinthia,

lose no time, but let us begin the dance as fast as we can.

Ber. Not till the fiddles are in tune, pray sir. Your

lady's strings will be very apt to fly, I can tell you that, if

they are wound up too hastily. But if you'll have patience

to screw 'em to their pitch by degrees, I don't doubt but

she may endure to be played upon.

Wor. Ay, and will make admirable music too, or I'm

mistaken. But have you had no private closet discourse

with her yet about males and females, and so forth, which

may give you hopes in her constitution ? for I know her

morals are the devil against us. 222

Ber. I have had so much discourse with her, that I

believe, were she once cured of her fondness to her

husband, the fortress of her virtue would not be so impregnable as she fancies.

Wor. What ! she runs, I'll warrant you, into that

common mistake of fond wives, who conclude themselves

virtuous, because they can refuse a man they don't like,

when they have got one they do. 

Ber. True ; and therefore I think 'tis a presumptuous

thing in a woman to assume the name of virtuous, till she

has heartily hated her husband, and been soundly in love

with somebody else. Whom, if she has withstood, then

much good may it do her. 235

Wor. Well, so much for her virtue. Now, one word

of her inclinations, and every one to their post. What

opinion do you find she has of me ?

74 The RELAPSE ; [ACT m.

Ber. What you could wish ; she thinks you handsome

and discreet.

Wor. Good ; that's thinking half-seas over. One tide

more brings us into port.

Ber. Perhaps it may, though still remember, there's a

difficult bar to pass.

Wor, I know there is, but I don't question I shall get

well over it, by the help of such a pilot.

Ber. You may depend upon your pilot, she'll do the

best she can ; so weigh anchor and begone as soon as you


Wor. I'm under sail already. Adieu ! 250

Ber. Bon voyage! [Exit WORTHY.] So, here's fine

work ! What a business have I undertaken ! I'm a very

pretty gentlewoman truly ! But there was no avoiding it :

he'd have ruined me, if I had refused him. Besides, faith,

I begin to fancy there may be as much pleasure in carrying

on another body's intrigue as one's own. This at least is

certain, it exercises almost all the entertaining faculties of a

woman : for there's employment for hypocrisy, invention, 

deceit, flattery, mischief, and lying.

Enter AMANDA, her Woman following her.

Worn. If you please, madam, only to say, whether you'll

have me buy 'em or not. 261

Aman. Yes, no, go fiddle ! I care not what you do.

Prithee leave me.

Worn. I have done. [Exit.

Ber. What in the name of Jove's the matter with you ?

Aman. The matter, Berinthia ! I'm almost mad, I'm

plagued to death.


Ber. Who is it that plagues you ?

Aman. Who do you think should plague a wife, but her

husband ? 270

Ber. O ho, is it come to that ? We shall have you wish

yourself a widow by and by.

Aman. Would I were anything but what I am ! A base

ungrateful man, after what I have done for him, to use me

thus !

Ber. What, he has been ogling now, 111 warrant you ?

Aman. . Yes, he has been ogling.

Ber. And so you are jealous ? is that all ?

Aman. That all ! is jealousy then nothing ? 

Ber. It should be nothing, if I were in your case. 280

Aman. Why, what would you do ?

Ber. I'd cure myself.

Aman. How ?

Ber. Let blood in the fond vein : care as little for my

husband as he did for me.

Aman. That would not stop his course.

Ber. Nor nothing else, when the wind's in the warm

corner. Look you, Amanda, you may build castles in the

air, and fume, and fret, and grow thin and lean, and pale

and ugly, if you please. But I tell you, no man worth

having is true to his wife, or can be true to his wife, or ever

was, or ever will be so. 292

Aman. Do you then really think he's false to me ? for I

did but suspect him.

Ber. Think so ! I know he's so.

Aman. Is it possible ? Pray tell me what you know.

Ber. Don't press me then to name names, for that I

have sworn I won't do.


Aman. Well, I won't ; but let me know all you can

without perjury. 300

Ber. I'll let you know enough to prevent any wise

woman's dying of the pip ; and I hope you'll pluck up 

your spirits, and show upon occasion you can be as good a

wife as the best of 'em.

Aman. Well, what a woman can do I'll endeavour. .

Ber, Oh, a woman can do a great deal, if once she sets

her mind to it. Therefore pray don't stand trifling any

longer, and teasing yourself with this and that, and your

love and your virtue, and I know not what : but resolve to

hold up your head, get a-tiptoe, and look over 'em all ; for

to my certain knowledge your husband is a pickeering* elsewhere. 312

Aman, You are sure on't ?

Ber. Positively ; he fell in love at the play.

Aman. Right, the very same. Do you know the ugly

thing ?

Ber, Yes, I know her well enough ; but she's not such

an ugly thing neither.

Aman. Is she very handsome ?

Ber, Truly I think so.

Aman, Hey ho !

Ber. What do you sigh for now ?

Aman. Oh, my heart ! 323

Ber. \Aside^\ Only the pangs of nature ; she's in labour

of her love ; Heaven send her a quick delivery, I'm sure

she has a good midwife.

  • To pickeer is "to rob or pillage; from the Italian. Not much in 

use. " Nares.


Aman, I'm very ill, I must go to my chamber. Dear

Berinthia, don't leave me a moment.

Ber. No, don't fear. _Aside] I'll see you safe brought

to bed, I'll warrant you.

[Exeunt, AMANDA leaning upon BERINTHIA.



Enter Young FASHION and LORY.

Fash. So, here's our inheritance, Lory, if we can but get

into possession. But methinks the seat of our family looks

like Noah's ark, as if the chief part on't were designed for

the fowls of the air, and the beasts of the field.

Lory. Pray, sir, don't let your head run upon the orders

of building here ; get but the heiress, let the devil take the


Fash. Get but the house, let the devil take the heiress,

I say ; at least if she be as old Coupler describes her. But

come, we have no time to squander. Knock at the door.

[LORY knocks two or three times.] What the devil, have they

got no ears in this house ? Knock harder. T 2

Lory. Egad, sir, this will prove some enchanted castle ;

we shall have the giant come out by and by with his club,

and beat our brains out. [Knocks again.

Fash. Hush ! they come. 

Servant. [ Within.] Who is there ?

Lory. Open the door and see. Is that your country

breeding ?

Str. Ay, but two words to a bargain. Tummas, is the

blunderbuss primed ?

78 The RELAPSE ; [ACT in.

Fash. Oons, give 'em good words, Lory ; we shall be

shot here a fortune-catching.

Lory. Egad, sir, I think y'are in the right on't. Ho !

Mr. What-d'ye-call-um. 25

[Servant appears at the window with a blunderbuss.

Ser. Weall, naw what's yare business ?

Fash. Nothing, sir, but to wait upon sir Tunbelly, with

your leave.

Ser. To weat upon sir Tunbelly ! Why, you'll find that's

just as sir Tunbelly pleases.

Fash. But will you do me the favour, sir, to know

whether sir Tunbelly pleases or not ?

Ser. Why, look you, do you see, with good words much

may be done. Ralph, go thy weas, and ask sir Tunbelly

if he pleases to be waited upon. And dost hear ? call to

nurse that she may lock up Miss Hoyden before the geat's

open. 37

Fash. D'ye hear that, Lory ? 

Lory. Ay, sir, I'm afraid we shall find a difficult job on't.

Pray Heaven that old rogue Coupler han't sent us to fetch

milk out of the gunroom.

Fash. I'll warrant thee all will go well. See, the door


Enter Sir TUNBELLY, with his Servants armed with guns,

clubs, pitchforks, scythes, drc.

Lory. [Running behind his master :] O Lord ! O Lord !

O Lord ! we are both dead men !

Fash. Take heed, fool ! thy fear will ruin us.

Lory. My fear, sir ! 'sdeath, sir, I fear nothing. [Aside.]

Would I were well up to the chin in a horsepond !


Sir Tun. Who is it here has any business with me ? 49

Fash. Sir, 'tis I, if your name be sir Tunbelly


Sir Tun. Sir, my name is sir Tunbelly Clumsey,

whether you have any business with me or not So

you see I am not ashamed of my name nor my face


Fash. Sir, you have no cause, that I know of.

Sir Tun. Sir, if you have no cause neither, I desire to

know who you are ; for till I know your name, I shall

not ask you to come into my house ; and when I

know your name 'tis six to four I don't ask you

neither. 6 1 

Fash. [Giving him a letter.'} Sir, I hope you'll find this

letter an authentic passport.

Sir Tun. Cod's my life ! I ask your lordship's pardon

ten thousand times. [To a Servant.] Here, run in a-doors

quickly. Get a Scotch-coal fire in the great parlour ; set all

the Turkey-work chairs in their places ; get the great brass

candlesticks out, and be sure stick the sockets full of laurel,

run ! [Exit Servant.] My lord, I ask your lordship's

pardon. [71? other Servants.] And do you hear, run away

to nurse, bid her let Miss Hoyden loose again, and if it was

not shifting day, let her put on a clean tucker, quick!

[Exeunt Servants confusedly.] I hope your honour will

excuse the disorder of my family ; we are not used

to receive men of your lordship's great quality every

day. Pray where are your coaches and servants, my

lord? 77

Fash. Sir, that I might give you and your fair daughter

a proof how impatient I am to be nearer akin to you, I left


my equipage to follow me, and came away post with only one


Sir Tun. Your lordship does me too much honour. It

was exposing your person to too much fatigue and danger, I

protest it was. But my daughter shall endeavour to make

you what amends she can ; and though I say it that should

not say it Hoyden has charms.

Fash. Sir, I am not a stranger to them, though I am to

her. Common fame has done her justice. 88

Sir Tun. My lord, I am common fame's very grateful

humble servant. My lord my girl's young, Hoyden is

young, my lord ; but this I must say for her, what she wants 

in art, she has by nature ; what she wants in experience, she

has in breeding ; and what's wanting in her age, is made

good in her constitution. So pray, my lord, walk in : pray,

my lord, walk in.

Fash. Sir, I wait upon you. {Exeunt.


A Room in the same.

Miss HOYDEN discovered alone.

Hoyd. Sure never nobody was used as I am. I know

well enough what other girls do, for all they think to make

a fool of me. It's well I have a husband coming, or, ecod,

I'd marry the baker, I would so ! Nobody can knock at the

gate, but presently I must be locked up ; and here's the

young greyhound bitch can run loose about the house all

day long, she can ; 'tis very well.

Nurse. [ Without, opening the door.'} Miss Hoyden !

miss ! miss ! miss ! Miss Hoyden ! 9


Enter Nurse.

Hoyd. Well, what do you make such a noise for, ha? what

do you din a body's ears for ? Can't one be at quiet for you ?

Nurse. What do I din your ears for ! Here's one come

will din your ears for you.

Hoyd. What care I who's come ? I care not a fig who

comes, nor who goes, as long as I must be locked up like the


Nurse. That, miss, is for fear you should be drank 

before you are ripe.

Hoyd. Oh, don't you trouble your head about that ; I'm

as ripe as you, though not so mellow. 20

Nurse. Very well ; now have I a good mind to lock you

up again, and not let you see my lord to-night.

Hoyd. My lord ! why, is my husband come ?

Nurse. Yes, marry is he, and a goodly person too.

Hoyd. [Hugging Nurse.] O my dear nurse ! forgive me

this once, and I'll never misuse you again ; no, if I do, you

shall give me three thumps on the back, and a great pinch

by the cheek.

Nurse. Ah, the poor thing, see how it melts. It's as full

of good-nature as an egg's full of meat. 30

Hoyd. But, my dear nurse, don't lie now ; is he come

by your troth ?

Nurse. Yes, by my truly, is he.

Hoyd. O Lord ! I'll go put on my laced smock, though

I'm whipped till the blood run down my heels fort.

{.Exit running.

Nurse. Eh the Lord succour thee ! How thou art

delighted ! [Exit after her


Another Room in the same. 

Enter Sir TUNBELLY and Young FASHION. A Servant

with wine.

Sir Tun. My lord, I am proud of the honour to see your

lordship within my doors ; and I humbly crave leave to bid

you welcome in a cup of sack wine.

fash. Sir, to your daughter's health. \Drinks.

Sir Tun. Ah, poor girl, she'll be scared out of her wits

on her wedding-night ; for, honestly speaking, she does not

know a man from a woman but by his beard and his


Fash. Sir, I don't doubt but she has a virtuous education, which with the rest of her merit makes me long to see

her mine. I wish you would dispense with the canonical

hour, and let it be this very night. 12

Sir Tun. Oh, not so soon neither ! that's shooting my

girl before you bid her stand. No, give her fair warning, we'll sign and seal to-night, if you please ; and this day

seven-night let the jade look to her quarters.

Fash. This day se'nnight ! why, what, do you take me

for a ghost, sir ? 'Slife, sir, I'm made of flesh and blood,

and bones and sinews, and can no more live a week without

your daughter _AsideI\ than I can live a month with her.

Sir Tun. Oh, I'll warrant you, my hero ; young men

are hot, I know, but they don't boil over at that rate,

neither. Besides, my wench's wedding-gown is not come

home yet. 24

Fash. Oh, no matter, sir, I'll take her in her shift.

[Aside.'] A pox of this old fellow ! he'll delay the business

till my damned star finds me out and discovers me. 


[Aloud.] Pray, sir, let it be done without ceremony, 'twill

save money.

Sir Tun. Money ! save money when Hoyden's to be

married ! Udswoons, I'll give my wench a wedding-dinner,

though I go to grass with the king of Assyria for't ; and

such a dinner it shall be, as is not to be cooked in the

poaching of an egg. Therefore, my noble lord, have a

little patience, we'll go and look over our deeds and settlements immediately ; and as for your bride, though you may

be sharp-set before she's quite ready, 111 engage for my girl

she stays your stomach at last. [Exeunt.




Country- House.

Enter Miss HOYDEN and Nurse.

Nurse. Well, miss, how do you like your husband that

is to be ?

Hoyd. O Lord, nurse ! I'm so overjoyed I can scarce

contain myself.

Nurse. Oh, but you must have a care of being too 

fond ; for men now-a-days hate a woman that loves 'em.

Hoyd. Love him ! why, do you think I love him, nurse ?

ecod, I would not care if he were hanged, so I were but

once married to him ! No that which pleases me, is to

think what work I'll make when I get to London ; for when

I am a wife and a lady both, nurse, ecod, I'll flaunt it with

the best of 'em. 1 2

Nurse. Look, look, if his honour be not coming again

to you ! Now, if I were sure you would behave yourself

handsomely, and not disgrace me that have brought you up,

I'd leave you alone together.

Hoyd. That's my best nurse, do as you would be done

by ; trust us together this once, and if I don't show my

breeding from the head to the foot of me, may I be twice

married, and die a maid.


Nurse. Well, this once I'll venture you ; but if you disparage me 22

Hoyd. Never fear, I'll show him my parts, I'll warrant

him. [.Exit Nurse.] These old women are so wise when

they get a poor girl in their clutches ! but ere it be long, I

shall know what's what, as well as the best of 'em.

Enter Young FASHION.

Fash. Your servant, madam ; I'm glad to find you alone,

for I have something of importance to speak to you about.

Hoyd. Sir (my lord, I meant), you may speak to me

about what you please, I shall give you a civil answer.

Fash. You give rne so obliging a one, it encourages me 

to tell you in few words what I think both for your interest

and mine. Your father, I suppose you know, has resolved

to make me happy in being your husband, and I hope I

may depend upon your consent, to perform what he

desires. 36

Hoyd. Sir, I never disobey my father in anything but

eating of green gooseberries.

Fash. So good a daughter must needs make an admirable

wife ; I am therefore impatient till you are mine, and hope

you will so far consider the violence of my love, that you

won't have the cruelty to defer my happiness so long as

your father designs it.

Hoyd. Pray, my lord, how long is that ?

Fash. Madam, a thousand year a whole week.

Hoyd. A week ! why, I shall be an old woman by that


Fash. And I an old man, which you'll find a greater

misfortune than t'other. 49


Hoyd. Why, I thought 'twas to be to-morrow morning,

as soon as I was up ; I'm sure nurse told me so.

Fash. And it shall be to-morrow morning still, if you'll


Hoyd. If I'll consent ! Why, I thought I was to obey

you as my husband.

Fash. That's when we are married; till then, lam to

obey you. 

Hoyd. Why then, if we are to take it by turns, it's the

same thing ; I'll obey you now, and when we are married,

you shall obey me. 60

Fash. With all my heart ; but I doubt we must get

nurse on our side, or we shall hardly prevail with the


Hoyd. No more we shan't indeed, for he loves her

better than he loves his pulpit, and would always be a

preaching to her by his good will.

Fash. Why then, my dear little bedfellow, if you'll call

her hither, we'll try to persuade her presently.

Hoyd. O Lord, I can tell you a way how to persuade

her to anything. 70

Fash. How's that ?

Hoyd. Why, tell her she's a wholesome comely woman

and give her half-a-crown.

Fash. Nay, if that will do, she shall have half a score of


Hoyd. O gemini ! for half that, she'd marry you herself. I'll run and call her. \Exit.

Fash. So, matters go swimmingly. This is a rare girl,

T faith ; I shall have a fine time on't with her at London.

I'm much mistaken if she don't prove a March hare all the


year round. What a scampering chase will she make on't,

when she finds the whole kennel of beaux at her tail ! Hey 

to the park, and the play, and the church, and the devil ;

she'll show 'em sport, I'll warrant 'em. But no matter, she

brings an estate will afford me a separate maintenance. 85

Re-enter Miss HOYDEN and Nurse.

How do you do, good mistress nurse? I desired your

young lady would give me leave to see you, that I might

thank you for your extraordinary care and conduct in her

education; pray accept of this small acknowledgment for

it at present, and depend upon my farther kindness, when I

shall be that happy thing her husband.

Nurse. [Aside] Gold by makings ! [Aloud.] Your

honour's goodness is too great ; alas ! all I can boast of is,

I gave her pure good milk, and so your honour would have

said, an you had seen how the poor thing sucked it. Eh,

God's blessing on the sweet face on't ! how it used to hang

at this poor teat, and suck and squeeze, and kick and

sprawl it would, till the belly on't was so full, it would drop

off like a leach. 99

Hoyd. [Aside to Nurse angrily.] Pray one word with

you. Prithee nurse, don't stand ripping up old stories, to

make one ashamed before one's love. Do you think such a

fine proper gentleman as he is cares for a fiddlecome tale of a

draggle-tailed girl ? If you have a mind to make him have

a good opinion of a woman, don't tell him what one did

then, tell him what one can do now. \To Young

FASHION.] I hope your honour will excuse my mismanners to whisper before you ; it was only to give some

orders about the family. 109

88 The RELAPSE ; [ACT iv.

Fash. O everything, madam, is to give way to business !

Besides, good housewifery is a very commendable quality

in a young lady. 

Hoyd. Pray, sir, are the young ladies good housewives

at London town ? Do they darn their own linen ?

Fash. O no, they study how to spend money, not to

save it.

Hoyd. Ecod, I don't know but that may be better sport

than t'other ; ha, nurse ?

Fash. Well, you shall have your choice when you come

there. 120

Hoyd. Shall I ? then by my troth I'll get there as fast

as I can. [To Nurse.] His honour desires you'll be so

kind as to let us be married to-morrow.

Nurse. To-morrow, my dear madam ?

Fash. Yes, to-morrow, sweet nurse, privately ; young

folks, you know, are impatient, and Sir Tunbelly would

make us stay a week for a wedding dinner. Now all things

being signed and sealed, and agreed, I fancy there could be

no great harm in practising a scene or two of matrimony in

private, if it were only to give us the better assurance when

we come to play it in public. 131

Nurse. Nay, I must confess stolen pleasures are sweet ;

but if you should be married now, what will you do when

sir Tunbelly calls for you to be wed ?

Hoyd. Why then we'll be married again.

Nurse. What, twice, my child ?

Hoyd. Ecod, I don't care how often I'm married, not I.

Fash. Pray, nurse, don't you be against your young

lady's good, for by this means she'll have the pleasure of

two wedding-days. 140 


Hoyd. [To Nurse softly '.] And of two wedding-nights

too, nurse.

Nurse. Well, I'm such a tender-hearted fool, I find I

can refuse nothing ; so you shall e'en follow your own


Hoyd. Shall I ? [Aside.'} O Lord, I could leap over

the moon !

fash. Dear nurse, this goodness of yours shan't go

unrewarded ; but now you must employ your power with

Mr. Bull the chaplain, that he may do us his friendly office

too, and then we shall all be happy : do you think you can

prevail with him ? 152

Nurse. Prevail with him ! or he shall never prevail

with me, I can tell him that.

Hoyd. My lord, she has had him upon the hip this

seven year.

fash. I'm glad to hear it; however, to strengthen your

interest with him, you may let him know I have several fat

livings in my gift, and that the first that falls shall be in

your disposal.

Nurse. Nay, then I'll make him marry more folks than

one, I'll promise him. 162

Hoyd. Faith do, nurse, make him marry you too, I'm

sure he'll do't for a fat living : for he loves eating more

than he loves his Bible ; and I have often heard him say,

a fat living was the best meat in the world. 

Nurse. Ay, and I'll make him commend the sauce too,

or I'll bring his gown to a cassock, I will so.

fash. Well, nurse, whilst you go and settle matters with

him, then your lady and I will go take a walk in the


9O The RELAPSE ; [ACT iv.

Nurse. I'll do your honour's business in the catching up

of a garter. \Exit.

Fash, [Giving her his hand.] Come, madam, dare you

venture yourself alone with me ?

Hoyd, O dear, yes, sir, I don't think you'll do anything

to me I need be afraid on. [Exeunt.


LOVELESS'S Lodgings.




I smile at Love and all its arts,

The charming Cynthia cried :

Take heed, for Love has piercing darts,

A wounded swain replied.

Once free and blest as you are now,

I trifled with his charms,

I pointed at his little bow, 

And sported with his arms :

Till urg'd too far, Revenge ! he cries,

A fatal shaft he drew,

It took its passage through your eyes,

And to my heart it flew.


To tear it thence I tried in vain,

To strive, I quickly found,

Was only to increase the pain,

And to enlarge the wound.

Ah ! much too well, I fear, you know

What pain I'm to endure,

Since what your eyes alone could do,

Your heart alone can cure.

And that (grant Heaven I may mistake !)

I doubt is doom'd to bear

A burden for another's sake,

Who ill rewards its care.


Aman. Well, now, Berinthia, I'm at leisure to hear

what 'twas you had to say to me.

Ber. What I had to say was only to echo the sighs and

groans of a dying lover.

Aman. Phu ! will you never learn to talk in earnest of

anything ? 

Ber. Why this shall be in earnest, if you please : for my

part, I only tell you matter of fact, you may take it which

way you like best ; but if you'll follow the women of the

town, you'll take it both ways; for when a man offers

himself to one of them, first she takes him in jest, and then

she takes him in earnest. 12

Aman. I'm sure there's so much jest and earnest in

what you say to me, I scarce know how to take it ; but I

think you have bewitched me, for I don't find it possible to

be angry with you, say what you will.

Ber. I'm very glad to hear it, for I have no mind to

quarrel with you, for more reasons than I'll brag of; but

quarrel or not, smile or frown, I must tell you what I have

suffered upon your account.

Aman. Upon my account !

Ber. Yes, upon yours ; I have been forced to sit still

and hear you commended for two hours together, without

one compliment to myself; now don't you think a woman

had a blessed time of that ? 25

Aman. Alas ! I should have been unconcerned at it ; I

never knew where the pleasure lay of being praised by the

men. But pray who was this that commended me so ?

Ber. One you have a mortal aversion to, Mr.

Worthy ; he used you like a text, he took you all to pieces,

but spoke so learnedly upon every point, one might see the

92 The RELAPSE ; [A CT IV.

spirit of the church was in him. If you are a woman, you'd

have been in an ecstasy to have heard how feelingly he

handled your hair, your eyes, your nose, your mouth, your 

teeth, your tongue, your chin, your neck, and so forth.

Thus he preached for an hour, but when he came to use an

application, he observed that all these without a gallant were

nothing. Now consider of what has been said, and Heaven

give you grace to put it in practice. 39

Aman. Alas ! Berinthia, did I incline to a gallant (which

you know I do not), do you think a man so nice as he

could have the least concern for such a plain unpolished

thing as I am ? it is impossible !

Ber. Now have you a great mind to put me upon

commending you.

Aman. Indeed that was not my design.

Ber. Nay, if it were, it's all one, for I won't do't, I'll

leave that to your looking-glass. But to show you I have

some good nature left, I'll commend him, and may be that

may do as well. 50

Aman. You have a great mind to persuade me I am in

love with him.

Ber. I have a great mind to persuade you, you don't

know what you are in love with.

Aman. I am sure I am not in love with him, nor never

shall be, so let that pass. But you were saying something

you would commend him for.

Ber. Oh ! you'd be glad to hear a good character of him,


Aman. Psha ! 60

Ber. Psha ! Well, 'tis a foolish undertaking for women

in these kind of matters to pretend to deceive one 


another. Have not I been bred a woman as well as

you ?

Aman. What then ?

Ber. Why, then I understand my trade so well, that

whenever I am told of a man I like, I cry, Psha ! But that

I may spare you the pains of putting me a second time in

mind to commend him, I'll proceed, and give you this account

of him. That though 'tis possible he may have had women

with as good faces as your ladyship's, (no discredit to it

neither,) yet you must know your cautious behaviour, with

that reserve in your humour, has given him his death's

wound ; he mortally hates a coquette. He says 'tis impossible to love where we cannot esteem ; and that no woman

can be esteemed by a man who has sense, if she makes

herself cheap in the eye of a fool ; that pride to a woman

is as necessary as humility to a divine ; and that far-fetched

and dear-bought, is meat for gentlemen as well as for ladies ;

in short, that every woman who has beauty may set a

price upon herself, and that by under-selling the market, they

ruin the trade. This is his doctrine, how do you like it ?

Aman. So well, that since I never intend to have a

gallant for myself, if I were to recommend one to a friend,

he should be the man. 85


Bless me ! he's here, pray Heaven he did not hear me.

Ber. If he did, it won't hurt your reputation; your

thoughts are as safe in his heart as in your own.

Wor. I venture in at an unseasonable time of night,

ladies; I hope, if I'm troublesome, you'll use the same

freedom in. turning me out again. 

94 The RELAPSE ; [ACT iv.

Aman. I believe it can't be late, for Mr. Loveless is not

come home yet, and he usually keeps good hours.

Wor. Madam, I'm afraid he'll transgress a little to-night ;

for he told me about half an hour ago, he was going to sup

with some company he doubted would keep him out till

three or four o'clock in the morning, and desired I would

let my servant acquaint you with it, that you might not

expect him : but my fellow's a blunderhead ; so lest he

should make some mistake, I thought it my duty to deliver

the message myself. 101

Aman. I'm very sorry he should give you that trouble,

sir : but

Ber. But since he has, will you give me leave, madam,

to keep him to play at ombre with us ?

Aman. Cousin, you know you command my house.

Wor. \To BERINTHIA.] And, madam, you know you

command me, though I'm a very wretched gamester.

Ber. Oh ! you play well enough to lose your money, and

that's all the ladies require ; so without any more ceremony,

let us go into the next room and call for the cards.

Aman. With all my heart.

[Exit WORTHY, leading AMANDA.

Ber. Well, how this business will end Heaven knows ;

but she seems to me to be in as fair a way as a boy is to

be a rogue, when he's put clerk to an attorney. {Exit. 



Enter LOVELESS cautiously in the dark.

Love. So, thus far all's well. I'm got into her bedchamber, and I think nobody has perceived me steal into


the house ; my wife don't expect me home till four

o'clock ; so, if Berinthia comes to bed by eleven, I shall

have a chase of five hours. Let me see, where shall

I hide myself? Under her bed? No; we shall have

her maid searching there for something or other ; her

closet's a better place, and I have a master-key will open

it. I'll e'en in there, and attack her just when she

comes to her prayers, that's the most likely to prove her

critical minute, for then the devil will be there to

assist me. 12

[He opens the closet, goes in, and shuts the door after him.

Enter BERINTHIA, with a candle in her hand.

Ber. Well, sure I am the best-natured woman in the

world, I that love cards so well (there is but one thing upon

earth I love better), have pretended letters to write, to give

my friends a tete-a-tete : however, I'm innocent, for picquet

is the game I set 'em to : at her own peril be it, if she

ventures to play with him at any other. But now what

shall I do with myself ? I don't know how in the world to

pass my time ; would Loveless were here to badiner a little !

Well, he's a charming fellow ; I don't wonder his wife's so

fond of him. What if I should sit down and think of him

till I fall asleep, and dream of the Lord knows what ? Oh,

but then if I should dream we were married, I should be

frightened out of my wits ! [Seeing a book.'] What's this 

book ? I think I had best go read. O splenetic 1 it's

a sermon. Well, I'll go into my closet, and read the

Plotting Sisters. [She of ens the closet, sees LOVELESS, and

shrieks out.'] O Lord, a ghost ! a ghost ! a ghost ! a

ghost ! 30

96 The RELAPSE ; [ACT iv.

Re-enter LOVELESS, running to her.

Love. Peace, my dear, it's no ghost; take it in your

arms, you'll find 'tis worth a hundred of 'em.

Ber. Run in again ; here's somebody coming.

[LOVELESS retires as before.

Enter Maid.

Maid. O Lord, madam ! what's the matter ?

Ber. O Heavens ! I'm almost frighted out of my wits ;

I thought verily I had seen a ghost, and 'twas nothing but

the white curtain, with a black hood pinned up against it :

you may begone again ; I am the fearfullest fool !

[Exit Maid.

Re-enter LOVELESS.

Love. Is the coast clear ?

Ber. The coast clear ! I suppose you are clear, you'd

never play such a trick as this else. 41

Love. I'm very well pleased with my trick thus far, and

shall be so till I have played it out, if it ben't your fault.

Where's my wife ?

Ber. At cards. 

Love. With whom ?

Ber. With Worthy.

Love. Then we are safe enough.

Ber. Are you so ? Some husbands would be of another

mind, if he were at cards with their wives. 50

Love. And they'd be in the right on't, too : but I dare

trust mine. Besides, I know he's in love in another

place, and he's not one of those who court half-a-dozen

at a time.


Ber. Nay, the truth on't is, you'd pity him if you saw

how uneasy he is at being engaged with us ; but 'twas my

malice, I fancied he was to meet his mistress somewhere

else, so did it to have the pleasure of seeing him fret.

Love. What says Amanda to my staying abroad so late ?

Ber. Why, she's as much out of humour as he; I

believe they wish one another at the devil. 61

Love. Then I'm afraid they'll quarrel at play, and soon

throw up the cards. [Offering to pull her into the closet '.]

Therefore, my dear, charming angel, let us make a good

use of our time.

Ber. Heavens ! what do you mean ?

Love. Pray what do you think I mean ?

Ber. I don't know.

Love. I'll show you. 

Ber. You may as well tell me. 70

Love. No, that would make you blush worse than


Ber. Why, do you intend to make me blush ?

Love. Faith I can't tell that ; but if I do, it shall be in the

dark. [Pulling her.

Ber. O Heavens ! I would not be in the dark with you

for all the world !

Love. I'll try that. [Puts out the candles.

Ber. O Lord ! are you mad ? What shall I do for

light? 80

Love. You'll do as well without it.

Ber. Why, one can't find a chair to sit down.

Love. Come into the closet, madam, there's moonshine

upon the couch.

Ber. Nay, never pull, for I will not go.

98 The RELAPSE ; [ACT iv.

Love. Then you must be carried.

[Takes her in his arms.

Ber. [ Very softly I\ Help ! help ! I'm ravished ! ruined !

undone ! O Lord, I shall never be able to bear it.





Enter Miss HOYDEN, Nurse, Young FASHION, and BULL.

Fash. This quick dispatch of yours, Mr. Bull, I take so

kindly, it shall give you a claim to my favour as long as I

live, I do assure you.

Hoyd. And to mine, too, I promise you.

Bull. I most humbly thank your honours ; and I hope,

since it has been my lot to join you in the holy bands of

wedlock, you will so well cultivate the soil, which I have

craved a blessing on, that your children may swarm about

you like bees about a honeycomb. 9

Hoyd. Ecod, with all my heart ; the more the merrier, I

say ; ha, nurse ?

Enter LORY ; he takes his master hastily aside.

Lory. One word with you, for Heaven's sake !

Fash. What the devil's the matter ?

Lory. Sir, your fortune's ruined; and I don't think

your life's worth a quarter of an hour's purchase. Yonder's

your brother arrived with two coaches and six horses,

twenty footmen and pages, a coat worth four-score pound,

and a periwig down to his knees : so judge what will

become of your lady's heart.


Fash. Death and furies ! 'tis impossible ! 20

Lory. Fiends and spectres ! sir, 'tis true.

Fash. Is he in the house yet ?

Lory. No, they are capitulating with him at the gate.

The porter tells him he's come to run away with Miss

Hoyden, and has cocked the blunderbuss at him ; your

brother swears Gad damme, they are a parcel of clawns,

and he has a good mind to break off the match ; but they

have given the word for sir Tunbelly, so I doubt all will

come out presently. Pray, sir, resolve what you'll do this

moment, for egad they'll maul you. 30

Fash. Stay a little. [To Miss HOYDEN.] My dear,

here's a troublesome business my man tells me of, but

don't be frightened, we shall be too hard for the rogue.

Here's an impudent fellow at the gate (not knowing I was

come hither incognito] has taken my name upon him, in

hopes to run away with you.

Hoyd. O the brazen-faced varlet, it's well we are

married, or maybe we might never a been so.

Fash. [Aside.] Egad, like enough ! [Aloud.] Prithee,

dear doctor, run to sir Tunbelly, and stop him from going

to the gate before I speak with him. 41

Bull. I fly, my good lord. [Exit.

Nurse. An't please your honour, my lady and I had

best lock ourselves up till the danger be over.

Fash. Ay, by all means.

Hoyd. Not so fast, I won't be locked up any more.

I'm married.

Fash. Yes, pray, my dear, do, till we have seized this rascal. 

Hoyd. Nay, if you pray me, I'll do anything.

[Exeunt Miss HOYDEN and Nurse

H 2

ioo The RELAPSE ; [ACT iv.

Fash. Oh ! here's sir Tunbelly coming. Hark you,

sirrah, things are better than you imagine ; the wedding's

over. 5 2

Lory. The devil it is, sir !

Fash. Not a word, all's safe : but sir Tunbelly don't

know it, nor must not yet ; so I am resolved to brazen the

business out, and have the pleasure of turning the

impostor upon his lordship, which I believe may easily be


Enter Sir TUNBELLY, BULL, and Servants, armed.

Fash. Did you ever hear, sir, of so impudent an

undertaking ? 60

Sir Tun. Never, by the mass ! But we'll tickle him,

I'll warrant him.

Fash. They tell me, sir, he has a great many people

with him disguised like servants.

Sir Tun. Ay, ay, rogues enough ; but I'll soon raise

the posse upon 'em.

Fash. Sir, if you'll take my advice, we'll go a shorter

way to work. I find whoever this spark is, he knows

nothing of my being privately here ; so if you pretend to 

receive him civilly, he'll enter without suspicion ; and as

soon as he is within the gate, we'll whip up the drawbridge

upon his back, let fly the blunderbuss to disperse his crew,

and so commit him to jail. 73

Sir Tun. Egad, your lordship is an ingenious person,

and a very great general; but shall we kill any of 'em or not ?

Fash. No, no ; fire over their heads only to fright 'em ;

I'll warrant the regiment scours when the colonel's a



Sir Tun. Then come along, my boys, and let your

courage be great for your danger is but small.



The Gate before Sir TUNBELLY CLUMSEY'S


Enter Lord FOPPINGTON, with LA VEROLE and Servants.

Lord Fop. A pax of these bumpkinly people ! will they

open the gate, or do they desire I should grow at their

moat- side like a willow ? [To the Porter.] Hey, fellow

prithee do me the favour, in as few words as thou canst find

to express thyself, to tell me whether thy master will admit

me or not, that I may turn about my coach, and be


Porter. Here's my master himself now at hand, he's of

age, he'll give you his answer. 9

Enter Sir TUNBELLY and his Servants. 

Sir Tun. My most noble lord, I crave your pardon for

making your honour wait so long; but my orders to my

servants have been to admit nobody without my knowledge,

for fear of some attempt upon my daughter, the times being

full of plots and roguery.

Lord Fop. Much caution, I must confess, is a sign of

great wisdom : but, stap my vitals, I have got a cold enough

to destroy a porter ! He, hem

Sir Tun. I am very sorry fort, indeed, my lord ;

but if your lordship please to walk in, we'll help

you to some brown sugar-candy. My lord, I'll show you

the way. 21

IO2 The RELAPSE ; [ACT iv.

Lord Fop. Sir, I follow you with pleasure.

{Exit with Sir TUNBELLY CLUMSEY. As Lord

FOPPINGTON'S Servants go to follow him in,

they clap the door against LA VEROLE.

Servants, [ Within.} Nay, hold you me there, sir.

La V'er. Jernie die, qrfest-ce que veut dire fa ?

Sir Tun. [ Within.} Fire, porter.

Porter. [Fires.} Have among ye, my masters.

La Ver. Ah, je suis mart !

[The Servants all run off.

Porter. Not one soldier left, by the mass ! 


A Hall in the same.

Enter Sir TUNBELLY CLUMSEY, BULL, Constable, Clerk,

and Servants, with Lord FOPPINGTON, disarmed.

Sir Tun. Come, bring him along, bring him along !

Lord Fop. What the pax do you mean, gentlemen ! Is

it fair-time, that you are all drunk before dinner ?

Sir Tun. Drunk, sirrah ! Here's an impudent rogue

for you ! Drunk or sober, bully, I'm a justice of the peace,

and know how to deal with strollers.

Lord Fop. Strollers !

Sir Tun. Ay, strollers. Come, give an account of

yourself; what's your name, where do you live ? do you

pay scot and lot ? are you a Williamite, or a Jacobite ?

Come. 1 1

Lord Fop. And why dost thou ask me so many impertinent questions ?


Sir Tun. Because I'll make you answer 'em before I

have done with you, you rascal you !

Lord Fop. Before Gad, all the answer I can make thee

to 'em, is, that thou art a very extraordinary old fellow,

stap my vitals !

Sir Tun. Nay, if you are for joking with deputy lieutenants, we'st know how to deal with you. \To Clerk.] Here,

draw a warrant for him immediately. 21 

Lord Fop. A warrant ! What the devil is't thou wouldst

be at, old gentleman ?

Sir Tun. I would be at you, sirrah (if my hands

were not tied as a magistrate), and with these two

double fists beat your teeth down your throat, you dog

you !

Lord Fop. And why wouldst thou spoil my face at that


Sir Tun. For your design to rob me of my daughter,

villain. 3 1

Lord Fop. Rab thee of thy daughter ! Now do I begin

to believe I am a-bed and asleep, and that all this is but a

dream. If it be, 'twill be an agreeable surprise enough to

waken by and by ; and instead of the impertinent company

of a nasty country justice, find myself perhaps in the arms

of a woman of quality. [To Sir TUNBELLY.] Prithee, old

father, wilt thou give me leave to ask thee one question ?

Sir Tun. I can't tell whether I will or not, till I know

what it is. 40

Lord Fop. Why, then it is, whether thou didst not write

to my lord Foppington to come down and marry thy

daughter ?

Sir Tun. Yes, marry did I ; and my lord Foppington

IO4 The RELAPSE ; [ACT iv.

is come down, and shall marry my daughter before she's a

day older.

Lord Fop. Now give me thy hand, dear dad ; I thought 

we should understand one another at last.

Sir Tun. This fellow's mad. Here, bind him hand and

foot. \They bind him down.

Lord Fop. Nay, prithee, knight, leave fooling ; thy jest

begins to grow dull. 52

Sir Tun. Bind him, I say, he's mad. Bread and water,

a dark room, and a whip may bring him to his senses


Lord Fop. [Aside.] Egad ! if I don't waken quickly, by

all I can see, this is like to prove one of the most impertinent dreams that ever I dreamt in my life.

Enter Miss HOYDEN and Nurse.

Hoyd. \Going up to him.'] Is this he that would have

run away with me ? Fo ! how he stinks of sweets ! Pray,

father, let him be dragged through the horse-pond.

Lord Fop. \Aside^\ This must be my wife by her

natural inclination to her husband. 63

Hoyd. Pray, father, what do you intend to do with him ?

hang him ?

Sir Tun. That at least, child.

Nurse. Ay, and it's e'en too good for him too.

Lord Fop. \AsideJ\ Madame la gouvernante, I presume.

Hitherto this appears to me to be one of the most

extraordinary families that ever man of quality matched

into. 71

Sir Tun. What's become of my lord, daughter ?

Hoyd. He's just coming, sir. 


Lord Fop. \AsideI\ My lord ! what does he mean by

that now ?

Enter Young FASHION and LORY.

[Seeing him.] Stap my vitals, Tarn ! now the dream's out.

Fash. Is this the fellow, sir, that designed to trick me

of your daughter ?

Sir Tun. This is he, my lord ; how do you like him ?

Is not he a pretty fellow to get a fortune ? 80

Fash. I find by his dress he thought your daughter

might be taken with a beau.

Hoyd. O gemini ! Is this a beau ? let me see him

again. Ha ! I find a beau's not such an ugly thing


Fash. [Aside.] Egad, she'll be in love with him

presently ; I'll e'en have him sent away to jail. [ To Lord

FOPPINGTON.] Sir, though your undertaking shows you are

a person of no extraordinary modesty, I suppose you han't

confidence enough to expect much favour from me ? 90

Lord Fop. Strike me dumb, Tarn, thou art a very

impudent fellow !

Nurse. Look, if the varlet has not the frontery to call

his lordship plain Thomas ! 

Bull. The business is, he would feign himself mad, to

avoid going to jail.

Lord Fop. \Aside.~\ That must be the chaplain, by his

unfolding of mysteries.

Sir Tun. Come, is the warrant writ ?

Clerk. Yes, sir. 100

Sir Tun. Give me the pen, 111 sign it. So now,

constable, away with him.

io6 The RELAPSE ;


Lord Fop. Hold one moment, pray, gentlemen. My

lord Foppington, shall I beg one word with your lordship ?

Nurse. O ho, it's my lord with him now! See how

afflictions will humble folks.

Hoyd. Pray, my lord, don't let him whisper too close,

lest he bite your ear off.

Lord Fop. I am not altogether so hungry as your ladyship is pleased to imagine. {Aside to Young FASHION.]

Look you, Tam, I am sensible I have not been so kind to

you as I ought, but I hope you'll forget what's passed, and

accept of the five thousand pounds I offer ; thou mayst

live in extreme splendour with it, stap my vitals ! 114

Fash. It's a much easier matter to prevent a disease 

than to cure it ; a quarter of that sum would have secured

your mistress ; twice as much won't redeem her.

{Leaving him.

Sir Tun. Well, what says he ?

Fash. Only the rascal offered me a bribe to let him go.

Sir Tun. Ay, he shall go, with a pox to him ! Lead

on, constable.

Lord Fop. One word more, and I have done.

Sir Tun. Before Gad ! thou art an impudent fellow, to

trouble the court at this rate after thou art condemned ; but

speak once for all. 125

Lord Fop. Why then, once for all; I have at last

luckily called to mind that there is a gentleman of this

country, who I believe cannot live far from this place, if he

were here, would satisfy you, I am Navelty, baron of

Foppington, with five thousand pounds a year, and that

fellow there, a rascal not worth a groat.

Sir Tun. Very well ; now, who is this honest gentleman


you are so well acquainted with ? {To Young FASHION.]

Come, sir, we shall hamper him.

Lord Fop. "Pis sir John Friendly. 135

Sir Tun. So ; he lives within half a mile, and came

down into the country but last night; this bold-faced

fellow thought he had been at London still, and so quoted

him ; now we shall display him in his colours : I'll send for 

sir John immediately. [To a Servant.] Here, fellow, away

presently, and desire my neighbour he'll do me the favour

tostep over, upon an extraordinary occasion. \Exit Servant.]

And in the meanwhile you had best secure this sharper in the


Constable. An't please your worship, he may chance to

give us the slip thence. If I were worthy to advise, I think

the dog-kennel's a surer place. 147

Sir Tun. With all my heart ; anywhere.

Lord Fop. Nay, for Heaven's sake, sir ! do me the favour

to put me in a clean room, that I mayn't daub my clothes.

Sir Tun. O, when you have married my daughter, her

estate will afford you new ones. Away with him !

Lord Fop. A dirty country justice is a barbarous magistrate, stap my vitals !

[Exit Constable with Lord FOPPINGTON.

Fash. [Aside.] Egad, I must prevent this knight's coming,

or the house will grow soon too hot to hold me. [To Sir

TUNBELLY.] Sir, I fancy 'tis not worth while to trouble sir

John upon this impertinent fellow's desire : I'll send and

call the messenger back. 159

Sir Tun. Nay, with all my heart ; for, to be sure, he

thought he was far enough off, or the rogue would never

have named him. 

1 08 The RELAPSE ; [ACT iv.

Re-enter Servant.

Ser. Sir, I met sir John just lighting at the gate ; he's

come to wait upon you.

Sir Tun. Nay, then, it happens as one could wish.

fash. [Aside.'] The devil it does ! Lory, you see how

things are, here will be a discovery presently, and we shall

have our brains beat out; for my brother will be sure to

swear he don't know me : therefore, run into the stable,

take the two first horses you can light on, I'll slip out at the

back door, and we'll away immediately. 171

Lory. What, and leave your lady, sir ?

fash. There's no danger in that as long as I have taken

possession ; I shall know how to treat with ; em well enough,

if once I am out of their reach. Away ! I'll steal after thee.

\Exil LORY ; his master follows him out at

one door, as Sir JOHN FRIENDLY enters

at father.


Sir Tun. Sir John, you are the welcomest man alive;

I had just sent a messenger to desire you'd step over, upon

a very extraordinary occasion. We are all in arms here.

Sir John. How so? 179 

Sir Tun. Why, you must know, a finical sort of a tawdry

fellow here (I don't know who the devil he is, not I) hearing,

1 suppose, that the match was concluded between my lord

Foppington and my girl Hoyden, comes impudently to the

gate, with a whole pack of rogues in liveries, and would have

passed upon me for his lordship : but what does I ? I comes

up to him boldly at the head of his guards, takes him by the

throat, strikes up his heels, binds him hand and foot,


dispatches a warrant, and commits him prisoner to the

dog-kennel. 189

Sir John. So ; but how do you know but this was my

lord ? for I was told he set out from London the day before

me, with a very fine retinue, and intended to come directly


Sir Tun. Why, now to show you how many lies people

raise in that damned town, he came two nights ago post,

with only one servant, and is now in the house with me. But

you don't know the cream of the jest yet ; this same rogue

(that lies yonder neck and heels among the hounds), thinking

you were out of the country, quotes you for his acquaintance,

and said if you were here, you'd justify him to be lord

Foppington, and I know not what. 191

Sir John. Pray will you let me see him ?

Sir Tun. Ay, that you shall presently. [To a Servant.]

Here, fetch the prisoner. [Exit Servant.

Sir John. I wish there ben't some mistake in the

business. Where's my lord ? I know him very well.

Sir Tun. He was here just now. [To BULL.] See for

him, doctor, tell him sir John is here to wait upon him. 

\Exit BULL.

Sir John. I hope, sir Tunbelly, the young lady is not

married yet. 200

Sir Tun. No, things won't be ready this week. But why

do you say you hope she is not married ?

Sir John. Some foolish fancies only, perhaps I'm


Re-enter BULL.

Bull. Sir, his lordship is just rid out to take the air.



Sir Tun. To take the air ! Is that his London breeding,

to go take the air when gentlemen come to visit him ?

Sir John. Tis possible he might want it, he might not

be well, some sudden qualm perhaps.

Re-enter Constable, &<:., with Lord FOPPINGTON.

Lord Fop. Stap my vitals, I'll have satisfaction ! 210

Sir John. [Running to him.'] My dear lord Foppi ngton !

Lord Fop. Dear Friendly, thou art come in the critical

minute, strike me dumb ! 

Sir John. Why, I little thought I should have found

you in fetters.

Lord Fop. Why, truly the world must do me the justice

to confess, I do use to appear a little more degage : but this

old gentleman, not liking the freedom of my air, has been

pleased to skewer down my arms like a rabbit. 220

Sir Tun. Is it then possible that this should be the true

lord Foppington at last ?

Lord Fop. Why, what do you see in his face to make you

doubt of it ? Sir, without presuming to have any extraordinary

opinion of my figure, give me leave to tell you, if you had

seen as many lords as I have done, you would not think it

impossible a person of a worse taille than mine might be a

modern man of quality.

Sir Tun. Unbind him, slaves ! My lord, I'm struck

dumb, I can only beg pardon by signs ; but if a sacrifice will

appease you, you shall have it. Here, pursue this Tartar,

bring him back. Away, I say ! A dog ! Oons, I'll cut off

his ears and his tail, I'll draw out all his teeth, pull his skin

over his head and and what shall I do more ? 234


Sir John. He does indeed deserve to be made an

example of.

Lord Fop. He does deserve to be chartre,* stap my

vitals !

Sir Tun. May I then hope I have your honour's

pardon ?

Lord Fop. Sir, we courtiers do nothing without a bribe : 

that fair young lady might do miracles.

Sir Tun. Hoyden ! come hither, Hoyden.

Lord Fop. Hoyden is her name, sir ?

Sir Tun. Yes, my lord. 245

Lord Fop. The prettiest name for a song I ever heard.

Sir Tun. My lord here's my girl, she's yours, she has

a wholesome body, and a virtuous mind; she's a woman

complete, both in flesh and in spirit ; she has a bag

of milled crowns, as scarce as they are, and fifteen

hundred a year stitched fast to her tail : so, go thy

ways, Hoyden.

Lord Fop. Sir, I do receive her like a gentleman.

Sir Tun. Then I'm a happy man, I bless Heaven, and

if your lordship will give me leave, I will, like a good

Christian at Christmas, be very drunk by way of thanksgiving.

Come, my noble peer, I believe dinner's ready; if your

honour pleases to follow me, I'll lead you on to the attack

of a venison-pasty. [Exit.

Lord Fop. Sir, I wait upon you. Will your ladyship do

me the favour of your little finger, madam? 261

Hoyd. My lord, I'll follow you presently, I have a little

business with my nurse.

  • I.e., mis en chartre, sent to jail.

1 1 2 The RELAPSE ; [ACT iv.

Lord Fop. Your ladyship's most humble servant. Come,

sir John ; the ladies have des affaires. 

{Exit with Sir JOHN FRIENDLY.

Hoyd. So, nurse, we are finely brought to bed ! what

shall we do now ?

Nurse. Ah, dear miss, we are all undone ! Mr. Bull,

you were used to help a woman to a remedy. {Crying.

Bull. Alack-a-day ! but it's past my skill now, I can do

nothing. 271

Nurse. Who would have thought that ever your invention

should have been drained so dry ?

Hoyd. Well, I have often thought old folks fools, and

now I'm sure they are so ; I have found a way myself to

secure us all.

Nurse. Dear lady, what's that ?

Hoyd. Why, if you two will be sure to hold your tongues,

and not say a word of what's past, I'll e'en marry this lord

too. 280

Nurse. What ! two husbands, my dear ?

Hoyd. Why, you have had three, good nurse, you may

hold your tongue.

Nurse. Ay, but not altogether, sweet child.

Hoyd. Psha ! if you had, you'd ne'er a thought much


Nurse. Oh, but 'tis a sin, sweeting !

Bull. Nay, that's my business to speak to, nurse. I do

confess, to take two husbands for the satisfaction of the

flesh, is to commit the sin of exorbitancy ; but to do it for 

the peace of the spirit, is no more than to be drunk by

way of physic. Besides, to prevent a parent's wrath, is to

avoid the sin of disobedience ; for when the parent's angry,


the child is froward. So that upon the whole matter, I do

think, though miss should marry again, she may be


Hoyd. Ecod, and I will marry again then ! and so

there's an end of the story. {Exeunt.



London. COUPLER'S Lodgings.


Coup. Well, and so sir John coming in

Fash. And so sir John coming in, I thought it might be

manners in me to go out, which I did, and getting on horseback as fast as I could, rid away as if the devil had been at

the rear of me. What has happened since, Heaven


Coup. Egad, sirrah, I know as well as Heaven.

Fash. What do you know ?

Coup. That you are a cuckold. 

Fash. The devil I am ! By who? 10

Coup. By your brother.

Fash. My brother ! which way ?

Coup. The old way ; he has lain with your wife.

Fash. Hell and furies ! what dost thou mean ?

Coup. I mean plainly ; I speak no parable.

Fash. Plainly ! thou dost not speak common sense, I

cannot understand one word thou sayest.

Coup. You will do soon, youngster. In short, you left

your wife a widow, and she married again.

Fash. It's a lie. 20

Coup. Ecod, if I were a young fellow, I'd break your

head, sirrah.


Fash. Dear dad, don't be angry, for I'm as mad as Tom

of Bedlam.

Coup. When I had fitted you with a wife, you should

have kept her.

Fash. But is it possible the young strumpet could play

me such a trick ?

Coup. A young strumpet, sir, can play twenty tricks.

Fash. But prithee instruct me a little farther ; whence

comes thy intelligence ? 31 

Coup. From your brother, in this letter ; there, you may

read it.

Fash. [Reads.'}

DEAR COUPLER, [Pulling off his hat.'] 1 have only time

to tell thee in three lines, or thereabouts, that here has been

the devil. That rascal Tarn, having stole the letter thou hadst

formerly writ for me to bring to sir Tunbelly, formed a damnable design upon my mistress, and was in a fair way of

success when I arrived. But after having suffered some

indignities (in which I have all daubed my embroidered coat],

I put him to flight. I sent out a party of horse after him,

in hopes to have made him my prisoner, which if I had done,

I would have qualified him for the seraglio, stap my

vitals ! 44

The danger I have thus narrowly 'scaped has made me

fortify myself against farther attempts, by entering immediately into an association with the young lady, by which we

engage to stand by one another as long as we both shall


In short, the papers are sealed, and the contract is signed,

so the business of the lawyer is acheve; but I defer the divine

I 2

1 1 6 The RELAPSE ; [ACT v.

part of the thing till I arrive at London, not being willing

to consummate in any other bed but my own.


'Tt's passible I may be in tawn as soon as this letter,

far I find the lady is so violently in love with me, I have 

determined to make her happy with all the dispatch that is

practicable, without disardering my coach-harses.

So, here's rare work, i'faith ! 59

Lory. Egad, Miss Hoyden has laid about her bravely !

Coup. I think my country-girl has played her part as

well as if she had been born and bred in St. James's parish.

Fash. That rogue the chaplain !

Lory. And then that jade the nurse, sir !

Fash. And then that drunken sot Lory, sir ! that could

not keep himself sober to be a witness to the marriage.

Lory. Sir with respect I know very few drunken sots

that do keep themselves sober.

Fash. Hold your prating, sirrah, or I'll break your

head ! Dear Coupler, what's to be done? 70

Coup. Nothing's to be done till the bride and bridegroom come to town.

Fash. Bride and bridegroom ! death and furies ! I

can't bear that thou shouldst call 'em so.

Coup. Why, what shall I call 'em, dog and cat ?

Fash. Not for the world, that sounds more like man

and wife than t'other.

Coup. Well, if you'll hear of 'em in no language, we'll

leave 'em for the nurse and the chaplain.

Fash. The devil and the witch ! 80

Coup. When they come to town 


Lory. We shall have stormy weather.

Coup. Will you hold your tongues, gentlemen, or not ?

Lory. Mum !

Coup. I say when they come, we must find what stuff

they are made of, whether the churchman be chiefly composed of the flesh, or the spirit ; I presume the former. For

as chaplains now go, 'tis probable he eats three pound of beef

to the reading of one chapter. This gives him carnal

desires, he wants money, preferment, wine, a whore ; therefore we must invite him to supper, give him fat capons,

sack and sugar, a purse of gold, and a plump sister. Let

this be done, and 111 warrant thee, my boy, he speaks truth

like an oracle. 94

Fash. Thou art a profound statesman I allow it; but

how shall we gain the nurse ?

Coup. Oh ! never fear the nurse, if once you have got

the priest ; for the devil always rides the hag. Well, there's

nothing more to be said of the matter at this time, that I

know of; so let us go and inquire if there's any news of our

people yet, perhaps they may be come. But let me tell

you one thing by the way, sirrah, I doubt you have been an

idle fellow ; if thou hadst behaved thyself as thou shouldst

have done, the girl would never have left thee. \Exeunt.


BERINTHIA'S Apartment.

Enter her Maid, passing the stage, followed by WORTHY.

Wor. Hem, Mrs. Abigail! is your mistress to be spoken 


Abig. By you, sir, I believe she may.

Wor. Why 'tis by me I would have her spoken with.

1 1 8 The RELAPSE ; [ACT v.

Abig. I'll acquaint her, sir. [Exit.

Wor. One lift more I must persuade her to give me,

and then I'm mounted. Well, a young bawd and a

handsome one for my money ; 'tis they do the execution ;

I'll never go to an old one, but when I have occasion for a

witch. Lewdness looks heavenly to a woman, when an

angel appears in its cause; but when a hag is advocate,

she thinks it comes from the devil. An old woman has

something so terrible in her looks, that whilst she is

persuading your mistress to forget she has a soul, she

stares hell and damnation full in her face. 1 5


Ber. Well, sir, what news bring you ?

Wor, No news, madam ; there's a woman going to

cuckold her husband.

Ber. Amanda ?

Wor. I hope so.

Ber. Speed her well !

Wor. Ay, but there must be more than a God-speed, or

your charity won't be worth a farthing.

Ber. Why, han't I done enough already ?

Wor. Not quite. 25

Ber. What's the matter? 

Wor. The lady has a scruple still, which you must remove.

Ber. What's that ?

Wor. Her virtue she says.

Ber. And do you believe her ?

Wor. No, but I believe it's what she takes for her

virtue ; it's some relics of lawful love. She is not yet fully

satisfied her husband has got another mistress ; which


unless I can convince her of, I have opened the trenches in

vain ; for the breach must be wider, before I dare storm the

town. 36

Ber. And so I'm to be your engineer ?

Wor. I'm sure you know best how to manage the


Ber. What think you of springing a mine ? I have a

thought just now come into my head, how to blow her up

at once.

Wor. That would be a thought indeed.

Ber. Faith, I'll do't ; and thus the execution of it shall

be. We are all invited to my lord Foppington's to-night to

supper ; he's come to town with his bride, and makes a ball,

with an entertainment of music. Now, you must know, my

undoer here, Loveless, says he must needs meet me about

some private business (I don't know what 'tis) before we go

to the company. To which end he has told his wife one

lie, and I have told her another. But to make her amends,

I'll go immediately, and tell her a solemn truth. 52

Wor. What's that ?

Ber. Why, I'll tell her, that to my certain knowledge 

her husband has a rendezvous with his mistress this afternoon ; and that if she'll give me her word she'll be satisfied

with the discovery, without making any violent inquiry after

the woman, I'll direct her to a place where she shall see 'em

meet. Now, friend, this I fancy may help you to a

critical minute. For home she must go again to dress.

You (with your good breeding) come to wait upon us to the

ball, find her all alone, her spirit inflamed against her

husband for his treason, and her flesh in a heat from some

contemplations upon the treachery, her blood on a fire, her

1 20 The RELAPSE ; [ACT v.

conscience in ice ; a lover to draw, and the devil to drive.

Ah, poor Amanda ! 66

Wor. _Kneeling.~] Thou angel of light, let me fall down

and adore thee !

Ber. Thou minister of darkness, get up again, for I hate

to see the devil at his devotions.

Wor. Well, my incomparable Berinthia, how shall I

requite you ?

Ber. Oh, ne'er trouble yourself about that : virtue is its

own reward. There's a pleasure in doing good, which sufficiently pays itself. Adieu ! 75

Wor. Farewell, thou best of women !

_Exeunt several ways.


Aman. Who was that went from you ?

Ber. A friend of yours. 

Aman. What does he want ?

Ber. Something you might spare him, and be ne'er the


Aman. I can spare him nothing but my friendship ; my

love already's all disposed of: though, I confess, to one

ungrateful to my bounty. 84

Ber. Why, there's the mystery ! You have been so

bountiful, you have cloyed him. Fond wives do by their

husbands, as barren wives do by their lapdogs ; cram 'em

with sweetmeats till they spoil their stomachs.

Aman. Alas ! had you but seen how passionately fond

he has been since our last reconciliation, you would have

thought it were impossible he ever should have breathed an

hour without me.


Ber. Ay, but there you thought wrong again, Amanda ;

you should consider, that in matters of love men's eyes are

always bigger than their bellies. They have violent

appetites, 'tis true, but they have soon dined. 96

Aman. Well ; there's nothing upon earth astonishes me

more than men's inconstancy.

Ber. Now there's nothing upon earth astonishes me less,

when I consider what they and we are composed of : for

nature has made them children, and us babies. Now,

Amanda, how we used our babies you may remember. We

were mad to have 'em as soon as we saw 'em ; kissed 'em

to pieces as soon as we got 'em ; then pulled off their

clothes, saw 'em naked, and so threw 'em away. 105 

Aman. But do you think all men are of this temper?

Ber. All but one.

Aman. Who's that ?

Ber. Worthy.

Aman. Why, he's wear)' of his wife too, you see.

Ber. Ay, that's no proof.

Aman. What can be a greater ?

Ber. Being weary of his mistress.

Aman. Don't you think 'twere possible he might give

you that too ? 115

Ber. Perhaps he might, if he were my gallant ; not if he

were yours.

Aman. Why do you think he should be more constant

to me, than he would to you ? I'm sure I'm not so


Ber. Kissing goes by favour ; he likes you best.

Aman. Suppose he does : that's no demonstration he

would be constant to me. 123

1 2 2 The RELAPSE ; [ACT v.

Ber. No, that I'll grant you : but there are other

reasons to expect it. For you must know after all,

Amanda, the inconstancy we commonly see in men of

brains, does not so much proceed from the uncertainty of

their temper, as from the misfortunes of their love. A man 

sees perhaps a hundred women he likes well enough for an

intrigue, and away ; but possibly, through the whole course

of his life, does not find above one who is exactly what he

could wish her : now her, 'tis a thousand to one, he never

gets. Either she is not to be had at all (though that

seldom happens, you'll say), or he wants those opportunities

that are necessary to gain her ; either she likes somebody

else much better than him, or uses him like a dog, because

he likes nobody so well as her. Still something or other

Fate claps in the way between them and the woman they

are capable of being fond of : and this makes them wander

about from mistress to mistress, like a pilgrim from town

to town, who every night must have a fresh lodging, and's

in haste to be gone in the morning. 142

Aman. Tis possible there may be something in what

you say ; but what do you infer from it as to the man we

were talking of?

Ber. Why, I infer, that you being the woman in the

world the most to his humour, 'tis not likely he would quit

you for one that is less.

Aman. That is not to be depended upon, for you see

Mr. Loveless does so. 150

Ber. What does Mr. Loveless do ?

Aman. Why, he runs after something for variety, I'm

sure he does not like so well as he does me.

Ber. That's more than you know, madam.


Aman. No, I'm sure on't. I'm not very vain,

Berinthia, and yet I'd lay my life, if I could look into his

heart, he thinks I deserve to be preferred to a thousand of 


Ber. Don't be too positive in that neither ; a million to

one but she has the same opinion of you. What would you

give to see her? 161

Aman. Hang her, dirty trull ! Though I really believe

she's so ugly she'd cure me of my jealousy.

Ber. All the men of sense about town say she's handsome.

Aman. They are as often out in those things as any


Ber. Then I'll give you farther proof all the women

about town say she's a fool. Now I hope you're convinced ?

Aman. Whate'er she be, I'm satisfied he does not like

her well enough to bestow anything more than a little

outward gallantry upon her. 171

Ber. Outward gallantry ! [Aside.} I can't bear this.

[Aloud.] Don't you think she's a woman to be fobbed off

so. Come, I'm too much your friend to suffer you should

be thus grossly imposed upon by a man who does not

deserve the least part about you, unless he knew how to set

a greater value upon it. Therefore, in one word, to my

certain knowledge, he is to meet her now, within a quarter

of an hour, somewhere about that Babylon of wickedness,

Whitehall. And if you'll give me your word that you'll be

content with seeing her masked in his hand, without pulling her headclothes off, I'll step immediately to the person

from whom I have my intelligence, and send you word

whereabouts you may stand to see 'em meet. My friend

and I'll watch 'em from another place, and dodge 'em to

1 24 The RELAPSE ; [ACT v. 

their private lodging ; but don't you offer to follow 'em, lest

you do it awkwardly, and spoil all. I'll come home to you

again as soon as I have earthed 'em, and give you an

account in what corner of the house the scene of their

lewdness lies. 190

Aman. If you can do this, Berinthia, he's a villain.

Ber. I can't help that ; men will be so.

Aman. Well, I'll follow your directions, for I shall never

rest till I know the worst of this matter.

Ber. Pray, go immediately and get yourself ready then.

Put on some of your woman's clothes, a great scarf and a

mask, and you shall presently receive orders. [Calls.]

Here, who's there ? get me a chair quickly.

Enter Servant.

Ser. There are chairs at the door, madam.

Ber. 'Tis well ; I'm coming. [Exit Servant.

Aman. But pray, Berinthia, before you go, tell me how

I may know this filthy thing, if she should be so forward (as

I suppose she will) to come to the rendezvous first ; for

methinks I would fain view her a little. 204

Ber. Why, she's about my height ; and very well shaped.

Aman. I thought she had been a little crooked ?

Ber. O no, she's as straight as I am. But we lose time ;

come away. [Exeunt.


Young FASHION'S Lodgings.

Enter Young FASHION, meeting LORY. 

Fash. Well, will the doctor come ?

Lory. Sir, I sent a porter to him as you ordered me.


He found him with a pipe of tobacco and a great tankard of

ale, which he said he would dispatch while I could tell three,

and be here.

Fash. He does not suspect 'twas I that sent for him.

Lory. Not a jot, sir ; he divines as little for himself as

he does for other folks.

Fash. Will he bring nurse with him ?

Lory. Yes. 10

Fash. That's well ; where's Coupler ?

Lory. He's half-way up the stairs taking breath; he

must play his bellows a little, before he can get to the



Fash. Oh, here he is. Well, Old Phthisic, the doctor's


Coup. Would the pox had the doctor ! I'm quite out

of wind. [To LORY.] Set me a chair, sirrah. Ah ! [Sits

down.~\ [To Young FASHION.] Why the plague canst

not thou lodge upon the ground-floor ? 20

Fash. Because I love to lie as near heaven as I can. 

Coup. Prithee, let heaven alone; ne'er affect tending

that way ; thy centre's downwards.

Fash. That's impossible ! I have too much ill-luck in

this world to be damned in the next.

Coup. Thou art out in thy logic. Thy major is true, but

thy minor is false ; for thou art the luckiest fellow in the


Fash. Make out that.

Coup. I'll do't : last night the devil ran away with the

parson of Fatgoose living. 3 1

1 26 The RELAPSE ; [ACT v.

Fash. If he had run away with the parish too, what's

that to me ?

Coup. I'll tell thee what it's to thee. This living is

worth five hundred pounds a-year, and the presentation of

it is thine, if thou canst prove thyself a lawful husband to

Miss Hoyden.

Fash. Sayest thou so, my protector? Then, egad, I

shall have a brace of evidences here presently.

Coup. The nurse and the doctor ? 40

Fash. The same. The devil himself won't have interest

enough to make 'em withstand it.

Coup. That we shall see presently. Here they come.

Enter Nurse and BULL; they start back, seeing Young


Nurse. Ah, goodness, Roger, we are betrayed !

Fash. [Laying hold on 'em.] Nay, nay, ne'er flinch for

the matter, for I have you safe. Come, to your trials

immediately ; I have no time to give you copies of your

indictment. There sits your judge.

Both. [Kneeling.] Pray, sir, have compassion on us.

Nurse. I hope, sir, my years will move your pity ; I am

an aged woman. 51

Coup. That is a moving argument indeed.

Bull. I hope, sir, my character will be considered ; I

am Heaven's ambassador.

Coup. Are not you a rogue of sanctity ?

Bull. Sir (with respect to my function), I do wear a


Coup. Did not you marry this vigorous young fellow to a

plump young buxom wench ?


Nurse. \Aside to BULL.] Don't confess, Roger, unless

you are hard put to it indeed. 61

Coup. Come, out with't ! Now is he chewing the cud of

his roguery, and grinding a lie between his teeth.

Bull. Sir, I cannot positively say I say, sir, positively I cannot say

Coup. Come, no equivocations, no Roman turns upon

us. Consider thou standest upon Protestant ground, which 

will slip from under thee like a Tyburn cart ; for in this

country we have always ten hangmen for one Jesuit.

Bull. \To Young FASHION.] Pray, sir, then will you but

permit me to speak one word in private with nurse. 7 1

Fash. Thou art always for doing something in private

with nurse.

Coup. But pray let his betters be served before him for

once : I would do something in private with her myself.

Lory, take care of this reverend gownman in the next room

a little. Retire, priest. [Exit LORY with BULL.] Now,

virgin, I must put the matter home to you a little : do you

think it might not be possible to make you speak truth ?

Nurse. Alas, sir ! I don't know what you mean by

truth. 8 1

Coup. Nay, 'tis possible thou mayest be a stranger to it.

Fash. Come, nurse, you and I were better friends when,

we saw one another last ; and I still believe you are a very

good woman in the bottom. I did deceive you and your

young lady, 'tis true, but I always designed to make a very

good husband to her, and to be a very good friend to you.

And 'tis possible, in the end, she might have found herself

happier, and you richer, than ever my brother will make

you. 90

128 The RELAPSE ;

[ACT V. 

Nurse. Brother ! why is your worship then his lordship's

brother ?

Fash. I am ; which you should have known, if I durst

have stayed to have told you; but I was forced to take

horse a little in haste, you know.

Nurse. You were indeed, sir : poor young man, how he

was bound to scour for't ! Now won't your worship be

angry, if I confess the truth to you ? When I found you

were a cheat (with respect be it spoken), I verily believed

miss had got some pitiful skip-jack * varlet or other to her

husband, or I had ne'er let her think of marrying again. 101

Coup. But where was your conscience all this while,

woman? Did not that stare in your face with huge

saucer-eyes, and a great horn upon the forehead ? Did not

you think you should be damned for such a sin ? Ha ?

Fash. Well said, divinity ! press that home upon her.

Nurse. Why, in good truly, sir, I had some fearful

thoughts on't, and could never be brought to consent, till

Mr. Bull said it was a peckadilla, and he'd secure my soul

for a tithe-pig. ITO

Fash. There was a rogue for you !

Coup. And he shall thrive accordingly ; he shall have a

good living. Come, honest nurse, I see you have butter in

your compound ; you can melt. Some compassion you can

have of this handsome young fellow.

Nurse. I have, indeed, sir.

Fash. Why then, I'll tell you what you shall do for me.

You know what a warm living here is fallen ; and that it 

  • The name of skip- jack was properly applied to "youths who ride

horses up and down for the sight of purchasers. " NARES.


must be in the disposal of him who has the disposal of miss.

Now if you and the doctor will agree to prove my marriage,

I'll present him to it, upon condition he makes you his

bride. 122

Nurse. Naw the blessing of the Lord follow your good

worship both by night and by day ! Let him be fetched in

by the ears ; I'll soon bring his nose to the grindstone.

Coup. [Aside.] Well said, old white-leather ! [Aloud.]

Hey, bring in the prisoner there !

Re-enter LORY with BULL.

Coup. Come, advance, holy man. Here's your duck

does not think fit to retire with you into the chancel at this

time ; but she has a proposal to make to you in the face of

the congregation. Come, nurse, speak for yourself, you are

of age. 132

Nurse. Roger, are not you a wicked man, Roger, to set

your strength against a weak woman, and persuade her it

was no sin to conceal miss's nuptials ? My conscience flies

in my face for it, thou priest of Baal ! and I find by woful

experience, thy absolution is not worth an old cassock ;

therefore I am resolved to confess the truth to the whole

world, though I die a beggar for it. But his worship overflows with his mercy and his bounty ; he is not only pleased

to forgive us our sins, but designs thou sha't squat thee

down in Fatgoose living ; and which is more than all, has

prevailed with me to become the wife of thy bosom. 143

Fash. All this I intend for you, doctor. What you are to 

do for me I need not tell you.

Bull. Your worship's goodness is unspeakable. Yet

there is one thing seems a point of conscience ; and


1 30 The RELAPSE ; [ACT v.

conscience is a tender babe. If I should bind myself, for

the sake of this living, to marry nurse, and maintain her

afterwards, I doubt it might be looked on as a kind of

simony. 151

Coup. [.Rising upJ\ If it were sacrilege, the living's

worth it : therefore no more words, good doctor ; but with

the parish [Giving Nurse to him.} here take the parsonage-house. 'Tis true, 'tis a little out of repair ; some

dilapidations there are to be made good ; the windows are

broke, the wainscot is warped, the ceilings are peeled, and

the walls are cracked ; but a little glazing, painting, whitewash, and plaster, will make it last thy time.

Bull. Well, sir, if it must be so, I shan't contend. What

Providence orders, I submit to. 161

Nurse. And so do I, with all humility.

Coup. Why, that now was spoke like good people.

Come, my turtle-doves, let us go help this poor pigeon to

his wandering mate again ; and after institution and induction, you shall all go a-cooing together. \Exeunt.


LOVELESS'S Lodgings.

Enter AMANDA in a scarf, &, as just returned, her Woman 

following her.

Aman. Prithee what care I who has been here ?

Worn. Madam, 'twas my lady Bridle and my lady


Aman. My lady Fiddle and my lady Fad die ! What

dost stand troubling me with the visits of a parcel of

impertinent women ? When they are well seamed with the


small-pox, they won't be so fond of showing their faces.

There are more coquettes about this town

Worn. Madam, I suppose they only came to return your

ladyship's visit, according to the custom of the world. 10

Aman. Would the world were on fire, and you in the

middle on't ! Begone ! leave me ! {Exit Woman.] At

last I am convinced. My eyes are testimonies of his falsehood. The base, ungrateful, perjured villain !

Good gods ! what slippery stuff are men compos'd of !

Sure the account of their creation's false,

And 'twas the woman's rib that they were form'd of.

But why am I thus angry ?

This poor relapse should only move my scorn.

'Tis true, 20

The roving flights of his unfinish'd youth

Had strong excuses* from the plea of nature ;

Reason had thrown the reins loose on his neck,

And slipp'd him to unlimited desire.

If therefore he went wrong, he had a claim

To my forgiveness, and I did him right.

But since the years of manhood rein him in,

And reason, well digested into thought, 

Has pointed out the course he ought to run ;

If now he strays, 30

Twould be as weak and mean in me to pardon,

As it has been in him t' offend. But hold :

'Tis an ill cause indeed, where nothing's to be said fort.

  • The old editions read " excuse." I have followed Leigh Hunt,

whose substitution of the plural for the singular saves the metre, without altering the sense.

K 2

132 The RELAPSE;

My beauty possibly is in the wane ;

Perhaps sixteen has greater charms for him :

Yes, there's the secret. But let him know,

My quiver's not entirely emptied yet,

I still have darts, and I can shoot 'em too ;

They're not so blunt, but they can enter still :

The want's not in my power, but in my will. 40

Virtue's his friend ; or, through another's heart,

I yet could find the way to make his smart.

[Going off, she meets WORTHY.

Ha ! he here !

Protect me, Heaven ! for this looks ominous. 


Wor. You seem disorder'd, madam;

I hope there's no misfortune happen'd to you ?

Aman. None that will long disorder me, I hope.

Wor. Whate'er it be disturbs you, I would to Heaven

'Twere in my power to bear the pain,

Till I were able to remove the cause. 50

Aman. I hope ere long it will remove itself.

At least, I have given it warning to be gone.

Wor. Would I durst ask, where 'tis the thorn torments

you !

Forgive me, if I grow inquisitive ;

'Tis only with desire to give you ease.

Aman. Alas ! 'tis in a tender part.

It can't be drawn without a world of pain :

Yet out it must ;

For it begins to fester in my heart.

Wor. If 'tis the sting of unrequited love, 6


Remove it instantly :

I have a balm will quickly heal the wound.

Aman. You'll find the undertaking difficult :

The surgeon, who already has attempted it,

Has much tormented me. 

War. I'll aid him with a gentler hand,

If you will give me leave.

Aman. How soft soe'er the hand may be,

There still is terror in the operation.

Wor. Some few preparatives would make it easy, 70

Could I persuade you to apply 'em.

Make home reflections, madam, on your slighted love :

Weigh well the strength and beauty of your charms :

Rouse up that spirit women ought to bear,

And slight your god, if he neglects his angel.

With arms of ice receive his cold embraces,

And keep your fire for those who come in flames.

Behold a burning lover at your feet,

His fever raging in his veins !

See how he trembles, how he pants ! 80

See how he glows, how he consumes !

Extend the arms of mercy to his aid ;

His zeal may give him title to your pity,

Although his merit cannot claim your love.

Aman. Of all my feeble sex, sure I must be the weakest,

Should I again presume to think on love. [Sighing.]

Alas ! my heart has been too roughly treated.

Wor. 'Twill find the greater bliss in softer usage.

Aman. But where's that usage to be found ?

Wor. 'Tis here,

Within this faithful breast ; which if you doubt, 90

1 34 The RELAPSE ; [ACT v. 

I'll rip it up before your eyes ;

Lay all its secrets open to your view ;

And then, you'll see 'twas sound.

Atnan. With just such honest words as these, the worst

of men deceived me.

Wor. He therefore merits all revenge can do ;

His fault is such,

The extent and stretch of vengeance cannot reach it.

Oh ! make me but your instrument of justice ;

You'll find me execute it with such zeal, 100

As shall convince you I abhor the crime.

Aman. The rigour of an executioner

Has more the face of cruelty than justice :

And he who puts the cord about the wretch's neck.

Is seldom known to exceed him in his morals.

Wor. What proof then can I give you of my truth ?

Aman. There is on earth but one.

Wor. And is that in my power ?

Aman. It is :

And one that would so thoroughly convince me,

I should be apt to rate your heart so high, no

I possibly might purchase'! with a part of mine.

Wor. Then Heaven, thou art my friend, and I am blest ;

For if 'tis in my power, my will I'm sure

Will reach it. No matter what the terms 

May be, when such a recompense is offer'd.

Oh ! tell me quickly what this proof must be !

What is it will convince you of my love ?

Aman. I shall believe you love me as you ought,

If from this moment you forbear to ask

Whatever is unfit for me to grant. 120


You pause upon it, sir. I doubt, on such hard terms,

A woman's heart is scarcely worth the having.

War. A heart, like yours, on any terms is worth it ;

Twas not on that I paus'd. But I was thinking

[.Drawing nearer to her.

Whether some things there may not be,

Which women cannot grant without a blush,

And yet which men may take without offence.

[Taking her hand.

Your hand, I fancy, may be of the number :

Oh, pardon me ! if I commit a rape [Kissing it eagerly.

Upon't ; * and thus devour it with my kisses. 130

Aman. O Heavens ! let me go.

Wor. Never, whilst I have strength to hold you


[Forcing her to sit down on a couch.

My life, my soul, my goddess Oh, forgive me !

Aman. Oh whither am I going ? Help, Heaven, or I 

am lost.

Wor. Stand neuter, gods, this once, I do invoke


Aman. Then save me, virtue, and the glory's thine.

Wor. Nay, never strive.

Aman. I will, and conquer too.

My forces rally bravely to my aid, [Breaking from him.

And thus I gain the day.

Wor. Then mine as bravely double their attack ; 140

[Seizing her again.

  • " Upon it," in the early editions, in which much of this scene is

printed as prose. Nevertheless, it is written in metre, and I have

ventured, in this instance, to follow Leigh Hunt in printing the whole

scene uniformly as verse.

136 The RELAPSE; [A CT V.

And thus I wrest it from you. Nay, struggle not ;

For all's in vain : or death or victory ;

I am determined.

Aman. And so am I : [Rushing from him.

Now keep your distance, or we part for ever.

Wor. [Offering again.] For Heaven's sake !

Aman. [Going.'] Nay then, farewell !

Wor. Oh stay ! and see the magic force of love.

[Kneeling, and holding by her clothes. 

Behold this raging lion at your feet,

Struck dead with fear, and tame as charms can make


What must I do to be forgiven by you? 150

Aman. Repent, and never more offend.

Wor. Repentance for past crimes is just and easy ;

But sin no more's a task too hard for mortals.

Aman. Yet those who hope for heaven

Must use their best endeavours to perform it.

Wor. Endeavours we may use, but flesh and blood are


In t'other scale ; and they are ponderous things.

Aman. Whate'er they are, there is a weight in resolution

Sufficient for their balance. The soul, I do confess,

Is usually so careless of its charge, 160

So soft, and so indulgent to desire,

It leaves the reins in the wild hand of nature,

Who like a Phaeton, drives the fiery chariot,

And sets the world on flame.

Yet still the sovereignty is in the mind,

Whene'er it pleases to exert its force.


Perhaps you may not think it worth your while

To take such mighty pains for my esteem ; 

But that I leave to you.

You see the price I set upon my heart ; 1 70

Perhaps 'tis dear : but, spite of all your art,

You'll find on cheaper terms we ne'er shall part.*


Wi>r. Sure there's divinity about her !

And sh'as dispens'd some portion on't to me.

For what but now was the wild flame of love,

Or (to dissect that specious term) the vile,

The gross desires of flesh and blood,

Is in a moment turned to adoration.

The coarser appetite of nature's gone, and 'tis,

Methinks, the food of angels I require. 1 80

How long this influence may last, Heaven knows ;

But in this moment of my purity,

I could on her own terms accept her heart.

Yes, lovely woman ! I can accept it.

For now 'tis doubly worth my care.

Your charms are much increas'd, since thus adorn'd.

When truth's extorted from us, then we own

The robe of virtue is a graceful habit.

Could women but our secret counsels scan,

Could they but reach the deep reserves of man, 190

They'd wear it on, that that of love might last ;

For when they throw off one, we soon the other cast.

Their sympathy is such

The fate of one, the other scarce can fly ;

They live together, and together die. \Exit.

  • Bargain ; agree. 

138 The RELAPSE; [ACT v.


A Room in Lord FOPPINGTON'S House.

Enter Miss HOYDEN and Nurse.

Hoyd. But is it sure and certain, say you, he's my lord's

own brother ?

Nurse. As sure as he's your lawful husband.

Hoyd. Ecod, if I had known that in time, I don't know

but I might have kept him : for, between you and I, nurse,

he'd have made a husband worth two of this I have. But

which do you think you should fancy most, nurse ?

Nurse. Why, truly, in my poor fancy, madam, your

first husband is the prettier gentleman.

Hoyd. I don't like my lord's shapes, nurse. 10

Nurse. Why, in good truly, as a body may say, he is but

a slam.

Hoyd. What do you think now he puts me in mind of?

Don't you remember a long, loose, shambling sort of a

horse my father called Washy ?

Nurse. As like as two twin-brothers !

Hoyd. Ecod, I have thought so a hundred times : faith,

I'm tired of him.

Nurse. Indeed, madam, I think you had e'en as good

stand to your first bargain. 20

Hoyd. Oh, but, nurse, we han't considered the main thing

yet. If I leave my lord, I must leave my lady too; and

when I rattle about the streets in my coach, they'll only say,

There goes mistress mistress mistress what ? What's this

man's name I have married, nurse ? 

Nurse. 'Squire Fashion.

Hoyd. 'Squire Fashion is it ? Well, 'Squire, that's better


than nothing. Do you think one could not get him made a

knight, nurse?

Nurse. I don't know but one might, madam, when the

king's in a good humour. 31

Hoyd. Ecod, that would do rarely. For then he'd be as

good a man as my father, you know.

Nurse. By'r Lady, and that's as good as the best of 'em.

Hoyd. So 'tis, faith ; for then I shall be my lady, and

your ladyship at every word, and that's all I have to care for.

Ha, nurse, but hark you me ; one thing more, and then I

have done. I'm afraid, if I change my husband again, I

shan't have so much money to throw about, nurse. 39

Nurse. Oh, enough's as good as a feast. Besides,

madam, one don't know but as much may fall to your share

with the younger brother as with the elder. For though

these lords have a power of wealth indeed, yet, as I

have heard say, they give it all to their sluts and their

trulls, who joggle it about in their coaches, with a murrain

to 'em ! whilst poor madam sits sighing, and wishing, and

knotting, and crying, and has not a spare half-crown to buy

her a Practice of Piety.* 48

Hoyd. Oh, but for that don't deceive yourself, nurse. For

this I must say for my lord, and a {Snapping her fingers'}

for him ; he's as free as an open house at Christmas. For

this very morning he told me I should have two hundred a 

year to buy pins. Now, nurse, if he gives me two hundred

a year to buy pins, what do you think he'll give me to buy

fine petticoats ?

  • A manual of devotion.

140 The RELAPSE; [A CT V.

Nurse. Ah, my dearest, he deceives thee faully, and he's

no better than a rogue for his pains ! These Londoners

have got a gibberidge with 'em would confound a gipsy.

That which they call pin-money is to buy their wives everything in the 'varsal world, down to their very shoe-ties. Nay,

I have heard folks say, that some ladies, if they will have

gallants, as they call 'em, are forced to find them out of their

pin-money too. 63

Hoyd. Has he served me so, say ye ? Then I'll be his

wife no longer, so that's fixed. Look, here he comes, with all

the fine folk at's heels. Ecod, nurse, these London ladies

will laugh till they crack again, to see me slip my collar, and

run away from my husband. But, d'ye hear ? Pray, take

care of one thing : when the business comes to break out,

be sure you get between me and my father, for you know

his tricks ; he'll knock me down.

Nurse. I'll mind him, ne'er fear, madam. 72



Lord Fop. Ladies and gentlemen, you are all welcome.

Loveless, that's my wife ; prithee do me the favour to

salute her; and dost hear, [Aside to hint] if thau hast a

mind to try thy fartune, to be revenged of me, I won't take

it ill, stap my vitals ! 

Love. You need not fear, sir ; I'm too fond of my own

wife to have the least inclination to yours.

\All salute Miss HOYDEN.

Lord Fop. [Aside.] I'd give a thousand paund he

would make love to her, that he may see she has

sense enough to prefer me to him, though his own wife


has not. [Viewing him.'] He's a very beastly fellow, in

my opinion. 84

Hoyd. [Aside.] What a power of fine men there are in

this London ! He that kissed me first is a goodly gentleman, I promise you. Sure those wives have a rare time on't

that live here always.

Enter Sir TUNBELLY CLUMSEY, with Musicians,

Dancers, Grc.

Sir Tun. Come, come in, good people, come in ! Come,

tune your fiddles, tune your fiddles ! [To the hautboys. ,]

Bagpipes, make ready there. Come, strike up. [Sings.

For this is Hoyden's wedding-day,

And therefore we keep holiday,

And come to be merry.

Ha ! there's my wench, i'faith. Touch and take, I'll warrant

her ; she'll breed like a tame rabbit. 96

Hoyd. [Aside.] Ecod, I think my father's gotten drunk

before supper. 

Sir Tun. [To LOVELESS and WORTHY.] Gentlemen,

you are welcome. [Saluting AMANDA and BERINTHIA.]

Ladies, by your leave. [Aside.'] Ha ! they bill like turtles.

Udsookers, they set my old blood a-fire ; I shall cuckold

somebody before morning.

Lord Fop. [To Sir TUNBELLY.] Sir, you being master

of the entertainment, will you desire the company to sit ?

Sir Tun. Oons, sir, I'm the happiest man on this side

the Ganges !

Lord Fop. [Aside.'] This is a mighty unaccountable

old fellow. [To Sir TUNBELLY.] I said, sir, it would be convenient to ask the company to sit. no

142 The RELAPSE; [ACT v.

Sir Tun. Sit? with all my heart. Come, take your

places, ladies; take your places, gentlemen. Come, sit down,

sit down; a pox of ceremony ! take your places.

[ They sit, and the masque begins.

Dialogtie between CUPID and HYMEN.

Cup. Thou bane to my empire, thou spring of contest,

Thou source of all discord, thou period to rest,

Instruct me, what wretches in bondage can see,

That the aim of their life is still pointed to thee.

Hym. Instruct me, thou little, impertinent god,

From whence all thy subjects have taken the mode

To grow fond of a change, to whatever it be, 120

And I'll tell thee why those would be bound who are free.


For change, we're for change, to whatever it be,

We are neither contented with freedom nor thee.

Constancy's an empty sound,

Heaven, and earth, and all go round,

All the works of Nature move,

And the joys of life and love

Are in variety.

Cup. Were love the reward of a painstaking life,

Had a husband the art to be fond of his wife, 130

Were virtue so plenty, a, wife could afford,

These very hard times, to be true to her lord,

Some specious account might be given of those

Who are tied by the tail, to be led by the nose.


But since 'tis the fate of a man and his wife,

To consume all their days in contention and strife ;

Since, whatever the bounty of Heaven may create her,

He's morally sure he shall heartily hate her,

I think 'twere much wiser to ramble at large,

And the volleys of love on the herd to discharge. 140

Hym. Some colour of reason thy counsel might bear,

Could a man have no more than his wife to his share :

Or were I a monarch so cruelly just, 

To oblige a poor wife to be true to her trust ;

But I have not pretended, for many years past,

By marrying of people, to make 'em grow chaste.

I therefore advise thee to let me go on,

Thou'lt find I'm the strength and support of thy throne ;

Forhadst thou but eyes, thou wouldst quickly perceive it,

How smoothly the dart 1 50

Slips into the heart

Of a woman that's wed ;

Whilst the shivering maid

Stands trembling, and wishing, but dare not receive it.


For change, we're for change, to whatever it be,

We are neither contented with freedom nor thee.

Constancy's an empty sound,

Heaven, and earth, and all go round,

All the works of Nature move,

And the joys of life and love 160

Are in variety.

{End of the masque.

144 The RELAPSE ; [ACT v.

Sir Tun. So ; very fine, very fine, i'faith ! this is something like a wedding. Now, if supper were but ready, I'd

say a short grace ; and if I had such a bedfellow as Hoyden

to-night I'd say as short prayers. 


How now ! what have we got here ? a ghost ? Nay, it

must be so, for his flesh and blood could never have

dared to appear before me. {To Young FASHION.] Ah,

rogue !

Lord Fop. Stap my vitals, Tam again ? 170

Sir Tun. My lord, will you cut his throat ? or shall I ?

Lord Fop. Leave him to me, sir, if you please. Prithee,

Tam, be so ingenuous now as to tell me what thy business is


Fash. 'Tis with your bride.

Lord Fop. Thau art the impudentest fellow that Nature

has yet spawned into the warld, strike me speechless !

Fash. Why, you know my modesty would have starved

me ; I sent it a-begging to you, and you would not give it a

groat. 1 80

Lord Fop. And dost thau expect by an excess of

assurance to extart a maintenance fram me ?

Fash. {Taking Miss HOYDEN by the hand.~\ I do intend

to extort your mistress from you, and that I hope will prove


Lord Fop. I ever thaught Newgate or Bedlam would be

his fartune, and naw his fate's decided. Prithee, Loveless,

dost know of ever a mad doctor hard by ?

Fash. There's one at your elbow will cure you presently.

{To BULL.] Prithee, doctor, take him in hand quickly. 190 


Lord Fop. Shall I beg the favour of you, sir, to pull

your fingers out of my wife's hand ?

Fash. His wife ! Look you there ; now I hope you

are all satisfied he's mad.

Lord Fop. Naw is it nat passible far me to penetrate

what species of fally it is thau art driving at !

Sir Tun. Here, here, here, let me beat out his brains,

and that will decide all.

Lord Fop. No; pray, sir, hold, we'll destray him presently accarding to law. 200

Fash. \To BULL.] Nay, then advance, doctor : come,

you are a man of conscience, answer boldly to the questions

I shall ask. Did not you marry me to this young lady

before ever that gentleman there saw her face ?

Bull. Since the truth must out I did.

Fash. Nurse, sweet nurse, were not you a witness to it ?

Nurse. Since my conscience bids me speak I was.

Fash. [To Miss HOYDEN.] Madam, am not I your

lawful husband ?

Hoyd. Truly I can't tell, but you married me first. 210

Fash. Now I hope you are all satisfied ?

Sir Tun. {Offering to strike him, is held by LOVELESS

and WORTHY.] Oons and thunder, you lie !

Lord Fop. Pray, sir, be calm ; the battle is in disarder, 

but requires more canduct than courage to rally our forces.

Pray, dactor, one word with you. {Aside to BULL.]

Look you, sir, though I will not presume to calculate your

notions of damnation fram the description you give us of

hell, yet since there is at least a passibility you may have a

pitchfark thrust in your backside, methinks it should not be

worth your while to risk your saul in the next warld, for the


1 46 The RELAPSE ; [ACT v.

sake of a beggarly yaunger brather, who is nat able to make

your bady happy in this. 222

Bull. Alas ! my lord, I have no worldly ends ; I speak

the truth, Heaven knows.

Lord Fop. Nay, prithee, never engage Heaven in the

matter, for by all I can see, 'tis like to prove a business for

the devil.

Fash. Come, pray, sir, all above-board; no corrupting of

evidences, if you please. This young lady is my lawful wife,

and I'll justify it in all the courts of England ; so your lordship (who always had a passion for variety) may go seek a

new mistress if you think fit. 232

Lord Fop. I am struck dumb with his impudence, and

cannot pasitively tell whether ever I shall speak again or


Sir Tun. Then let me come and examine the business

a little, I'll jerk the truth out of 'em presently. Here, give

me my dog-whip.

Fash. Look you, old gentleman, 'tis in vain to make a

noise ; if you grow mutinous, I have some friends within 

call, have swords by their sides above four foot long ; therefore be calm, hear the evidence patiently, and when the jury

have given their verdict, pass sentence according to law.

Here's honest Coupler shall be foreman, and ask as many

questions as he pleases. 245

Coup. All I have to ask is, whether nurse persists in her

evidence ? The parson, I dare swear, will never flinch from


Nurse. [To Sir TUNBELLY, kneeling.'] I hope in Heaven

y our worship will pardon me : I have served you long and

faithfully, but in this thing I was overreached ; your woRship,

however, was deceived as well as I, and if the wedding dinner had been ready,

you had put madam to bed to

him with your own hands.

Sir Tun. But how durst you do this, without acquainting

of me? 256

Nurse. Alas ! if your worship had seen how the poor

thing begged, and prayed, and clung, and twined about me,

like ivy to an old wall, you would say, I who had suckled

it and swaddled it, and nursed it both wet and dry, must

have had a heart of adamant to refuse it.

Sir Tun. Very well !

Fash. Foreman, I expect your verdict.

Coup. Ladies and gentlemen, what's your opinions ?

All. A clear case ! a clear case !

Coup. Then, my young folks, I wish you joy. 

Sir Tun. [To Young FASHION.] Come hither, stripling ;

if it be true then, that thou hast married my daughter,

prithee tell me who thou art ? 269

Fash. Sir, the best of my condition is, I am your son-inlaw ; and the worst of it is, I am brother to that noble peer


Sir Tun. Art thou brother to that noble peer ? Why,

then, that noble peer, and thee, and thy wife, and the nurse,

and the priest may all go and be damned together ! [Exit.

Lord Fop. [Aside.'] 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 Tarn,

since things are thus fallen aut, prithee give me leave to wish

148 The RELAPSE; [A CT V.

thee jay ; I do it de bon axur, strike me dumb ! You have

married a woman beautiful in her person, charming in

her airs, prudent in her canduct, canstant in her inclinations,

and of a nice marality, split my windpipe ! 286

Fash. Your lordship may keep up your spirits with your

grimace if you please ; I shall support mine with this lady,

and two thousand pound a-year. [Taking Miss HOYDEN'S


Come, madam :

We once again, you see, are man and wife,

And now, perhaps, the bargain's struck for life.

If I mistake, and we should part again, 

At least you see you may have choice of men :

Nay, should the war at length such havoc make,

That lovers should grow scarce, yet for your sake,

Kind Heaven always will preserve a beau :

[Pointing to Lord FOPPINGTON.

You'll find his lordship ready to come to.

Lord Fop. Her ladyship shall stap my vitals, if I do.

\Exeunt omnes.