[BY SIR JOHN VANBRUGH:]
[LOVE'S LAST SHIFT; OR]
THE FOOL IN FASHION
[BY COLLEY CIBBER]
[A room in LOVELESS'S country house.]
Enter LOVELESS, reading.
LOV. 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 seemed all consumed in joy,
Where the false face of luxury displayed such charms 5 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,
My thoughts unbent from all the cares of life, 10 Content with fortune, Eased from the grating duties of dependence,
From envy free, ambition under foot,
The raging flame of wild destructive lust
Reduced to a warm pleasing fire of lawful love, 15 My life glides on, and all is well within.
LOV. (meeting her kindly). How does the happy
cause of my content, my dear Amanda?
You find me musing on my happy state,
And full of grateful thoughts to heaven, and you.
AMAN. Those grateful offerings heaven can't receive 20 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 favors out,
And shower 'em on your head for ever. 25
LOV. The largest boons that heaven thinks fit to
To things it has decreed shall crawl on earth,
Are in the gift of women formed like you.
Perhaps, when time shall be no more,
When the aspiring soul shall take its flight, 30 And drop this pond'rous lump of clay behind it, It may have appetites we know not of,
And pleasures as refined 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) 35 Is folded in my arms, and rooted in my heart.
AMAN. There let it grow for ever.
LOV. Well said, Amanda -- let it be for ever --
Would heaven grant that -----
AMAN. 'Twere all the heaven I'd ask.
But we are clad in black mortality, 40 And the dark curtain of eternal night At last must drop between us.
LOV. It must:
That mournful separation we must see.
A bitter pill it is to all;
But doubles its ungrateful taste, 45 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.
LOV. Can you then doubt my constancy, Amanda? 50 You'll find 'tis built upon a steady basis --
The rock of reason now supports my love,
On which it stands so fixed,
The rudest hurricane of wild desire
Would, like the breath of a soft slumb'ring babe, 55 Pass by, and never shake it.