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

By William Wycherley; Peter Dixon | Go to book overview

Prologue
Spoken by the Plain Dealer

I the Plain Dealer am to act today,∘ And my rough part begins before the play. First, you who scribble, yet hate all that write, And keep each other company in spite,

As rivals in your common mistress, fame, 5
And with faint praises one another damn--∘ 'Tis a good play (we know) you can't forgive, But grudge yourselves the pleasure you receive. Our scribbler therefore bluntly bid me say
He would not have the wits pleased here today. 10
Next, you, the fine loud gentlemen o'th'pit, Who damn all plays, yet, if y'ave any wit, 'Tis but what here you sponge and daily get; Poets, like friends to whom you are in debt,
You hate: and so rooks laugh, to see undone 15
Those pushing gamesters whom they live upon. Well, you are sparks, and still will be i'th'fashion: Rail then at plays, to hide your obligation. Now, you shrewd judges who the boxes sway,
Leading the ladies' hearts, and sense, astray, 20
And, for their sakes, see all, and hear no play, Correct your cravats, foretops, lock behind, The dress and breeding of the play ne'er mind; Plain dealing is, you'll say, quite out of fashion;
You'll hate it here, as in a dedication. 25
And your fair neighbours, in a limning poet∘ No more than in a painter will allow it. Pictures too like, the ladies will not please: They must be drawn too, here, like goddesses,∘
You, as at Lely's too, would truncheon wield,∘ 30
And look like heroes, in a painted field; But the coarse dauber of the coming scenes, To follow life, and nature, only means-- Displays you as you are; makes his fine woman
A mercenary jilt, and true to no man. 35
His men of wit and pleasure of the age,∘

-290-

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

Table of contents

  • The Country Wife and Other Plays i
  • Oxford English Drama ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements vi
  • Introduction vii
  • Note on Staging xxii
  • Note on the Texts xxv
  • Select Bibliography xxix
  • A Chronology of William Wycherley xxxiii
  • Love in a Wood,∘ - Or, St James's Park 1
  • [dedicatory Epistle] to Her Grace the Duchess of Cleveland.∘ 2
  • Prologue∘ 5
  • Epilogue 95
  • The Gentleman Dancing-Master 97
  • Prologue 99
  • Epilogue Spoken by Flirt 189
  • The Country Wife 191
  • Prologue Spoken by Mr Hart 193
  • Epilogue Spoken by Mrs Knepp∘ 282
  • The Plain Dealer∘ 283
  • [dedicatory Epistle] to My Lady B-----∘ 289
  • Prologue Spoken by the Plain Dealer 290
  • Epilogue 399
  • Explanatory Notes 400
  • Glossary 467
  • Selection of Oxford World's Classics 487
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