Love in a Wood; The Gentleman Dancing-Master; The Country Wife; The Plain Dealer

By William Wycherley; Peter Dixon | Go to book overview

Epilogue Spoken by Flirt

The ladies first I am to compliment,
Whom (if he could) the poet would content,
But to their pleasure then they must consent.
Most spoil their sport still by their modesty,

And when they should be pleased, cry out 'O fie!' 5
And the least smutty jest will ne'er pass by. But City damsel ne'er had confidence
At smutty play to take the least offence,
But mercy shows--to show her innocence.

Yet lest the merchants' daughters should today 10
Be scandalized, not at our harmless play, But our Hippolyta, since she's like one
Of us bold flirts of t'other end o'th' town,
Our poet, sending to you (though unknown)
His best respects by me, does frankly own 15
The character to be unnatural: Hippolyta is not like you at all.
You, while your lovers court you, still look grum,
And, far from wooing, when they woo, cry 'Mum';
And if some of you e'er were stol'n away, 20
Your portion's fault 'twas only (I dare say).

Thus much for him the poet bid me speak, Now to the men I my own mind will break.
You good men o'th' Exchange, on whom alone

We must depend, when sparks to sea am gone,∘ 25
Into the pit already you are come--∘ 'Tis but a step more to our tiring-room,
Where none of us but will be wondrous sweet
Upon an able love of Lumber Street.∘
You we had rather see between our scenes∘ 30
Than spendthrift fops with better clothes and miens; Instead of laced coats, belts, and pantaloons,
Your velvet jumps, gold chains, and grave fur gowns;∘
Instead of periwigs, and broad cocked hats,∘
Your satin caps, small cuffs, and vast cravats.∘ 35

-189-

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