The Convent of Pleaſure. A Comedy.
Act I. Scene I.Enter Three Gentlemen.
Tom, Where have you been, you look ſo ſadly of it?
I have been at the Funeral of the Lord Fortunate; who has left his Daughter, the Lady Happy, very rich, having no other Daughter but her.
If ſhe be ſo rich, it will make us all Young Men, ſpend all our Wealth in fine Clothes, Coaches, and Lackies, to ſet out our Wooing hopes.
If all her Wooers be younger Brothers, as moſt of us Gallants are, we ſhall undo our ſelves upon bare hopes, without Probability: But is ſhe handſome, Tom?
Yes, ſhe is extream handſome, young, rich, and virtuous.
Faith, that is too much for one Woman to poſſeſs.
Not, if you were to have her.
No, not for me; but in my Opinion too much for any other Man.
Scene II.Enter the Lady Happy, and one of her Attendants.
Madam, you being young, handſome, rich, and virtuous, I hope you will not caſt away thoſe gifts of Nature, Fortune, and Heaven, upon a Perſon which cannot merit you?
Let me tell you, that Riches ought to be beſtowed on ſuch as are poor, and want means to maintain themſelves; and Youth, on thoſe that are old; Beauty, on thoſe that are ill-favoured; and Virtue, on thoſe that are vicious: So that if I ſhould place my gifts rightly, I muſt Marry one that’s poor, old, ill-favoured, and debauch’d.
Nay, Heaven doth not only allow of it, but commands it; for we are commanded to give to thoſe that want.
Surely, Madam, you do but talk, and intend not to go where you ſay.
Yes, truly, my Words and Intentions go even together.
But ſurely you will not incloyſter your ſelf, as you ſay.
Why, what is there in the publick World that ſhould invite me to live in it?
More then if you ſhould baniſh your ſelf from it.
Put the caſe I ſhould Marry the beſt of Men, if any beſt there be; yet would a Marry’d life have more croſſes and ſorrows then pleaſure, freedom, or hapineſs: nay Marriage to thoſe that are virtuous is a greater reſtraint then a Monaſtery. Or, ſhould I take delight in Admirers? they might gaze on my Beauty, and praiſe my Wit, and I receive nothing from their eyes, nor lips; for Words vaniſh as ſoon as ſpoken, and Sights are not ſubſtantial. Beſides, I ſhould loſe more of my Reputation by their Viſits, then gain by their Praiſes. Or, ſhould I quit Reputation and turn Courtizan, there would be more loſt in my Health, then gained by my Lovers, I ſhould find more pain then B Plea- 4B1v 4 Pleaſure; beſides, the troubles and frights I ſhould be put to, with the Quarrels and Brouilleries that Jealous Rivals make, would be a torment to me; and ’tis only for the ſake of Men, when Women retire not: And ſince there is ſo much folly, vanity and falſhood in Men, why ſhould Women trouble and vex themſelves for their ſake; for retiredneſs bars the life from nothing elſe but Men.
O yes, for thoſe that incloiſter themſelves, bar themſelves from all other worldly Pleaſures.
The more Fools they.
Will you call thoſe Fools that do it for the gods ſake?
No Madam, it is not for the gods ſake, but for opinion’s ſake; for, Can any Rational Creature think or believe, the gods take delight in the Creature’s uneaſie life? or, Did they command or give leave to Nature to make Senſes for no uſe; or to croſs, vex and pain them? for, What profit or pleaſure can it be to the gods to have Men or Women wear coarſe Linnen or rough Woollen, or to flea their skin with Hair-cloth, or to eat or ſawe thorow their fleſh with Cords? or, What profit or pleaſure can it be to the gods to have Men eat more Fiſh then Fleſh, or to faſt? unleſs the gods did feed on ſuch meat themſelves; for then, for fear the gods ſhould want it, it were fit for Men to abſtein from it: The like for Garments, for fear the gods ſhould want fine Clothes to adorn themſelves, it were 5B2r 5 were fit Men ſhould not wear them: Or, what profit or pleaſure can it be to the gods to have Men to lie uneaſily on the hard ground, unleſs the gods and Nature were at variance, ſtrife and wars; as if what is diſpleaſing unto Nature, were pleaſing to the gods, and to be enemies to her, were to be friends to them.
But being done for the gods ſake, it makes that which in Nature ſeems to be bad, in Divinity to be good.
It cannot be good, if it be neither pleaſure, nor profit to the gods; neither do Men any thing for the gods but their own ſake.
But when the Mind is not imployed with Vanities, nor the Senſes with Luxury; the Mind is more free, to offer its Adorations, Prayers and Praiſes to the gods.
I believe, the gods are better pleaſed with Praiſes then Faſting; but when the Senſes are dull’d with abſtinency, the Body weakned with faſting, the Spirits tir’d with watching, the Life made uneaſie with pain, the Soul can have but little will to worſhip: only the Imagination doth frighten it into active zeal, which devotion is rather forced then voluntary; ſo that their prayers rather flow out of their mouth, then ſpring from their heart, like rain-water that runs thorow Gutters, or like Water that’s forced up a Hill by Artificial Pipes and Ciſterns. But thoſe that pray not unto the gods, or praiſe them more in proſperity then adver- 6B2v 6 adverſity, more in pleaſures then pains, more in liberty then reſtraint, deſerve neither the happineſs of eaſe, peace, freedom, plenty and tranquillity in this World, nor the glory and bleſſedneſs of the next. And if the gods ſhould take pleaſure in nothing but in the torments of their Creatures, and would not prefer prayers that are offer’d with eaſe and delight, I ſhould believe, the gods were cruel: and, What Creature that had reaſon or rational underſtanding, would ſerve cruel Maſters, when they might ſerve a kind Miſtreſs, or would forſake the ſervice of their kind Miſtreſs, to ſerve cruel Maſters? Wherefore, if the gods be cruel, I will ſerve Nature; but the gods are bountiful, and give all, that’s good, and bid us freely pleaſe our ſelves in that which is beſt for us: and that is beſt, what is moſt temperately uſed, and longeſt may be enjoyed, for exceſs doth waſt it ſelf, and all it feeds upon.
In my opinion your Doctrine, and your Intention do not agree together.
You intend to live incloiſter’d and retired from the World.
’Tis true, but not from pleaſures; for, I intend to incloiſter my ſelf from the World, to enjoy pleaſure, and not to bury my ſelf from it; but to incloiſter my ſelf from the incumbred cares and vexations, troubles and perturbance of the World.
But if you incloiſter your ſelf, How will you enjoy the company of Men, whoſe converſation is thought the greateſt Pleaſure?
Men are the only troublers of Women; for they only croſs and oppoſe their ſweet delights, and peaceable life; they cauſe their pains, but not their pleaſures. Wherefore thoſe Women that are poor, and have not means to buy delights, and maintain pleaſures, are only fit for Men; for having not means to pleaſe themſelves, they muſt ſerve only to pleaſe others; but thoſe Women, where Fortune, Nature, and the gods are joined to make them happy, were mad to live with Men, who make the Female ſex their ſlaves; but I will not be ſo inſlaved, but will live retired from their Company. Wherefore, in order thereto, I will take ſo many Noble Perſons of my own Sex, as my Eſtate will plentifully maintain, ſuch whoſe Births are greater then their Fortunes, and are reſolv’d to live a ſingle life, and vow Virginity: with theſe I mean to live incloiſter’d with all the delights and pleaſures that are allowable and lawful; My Cloiſter ſhall not be a Cloiſter of reſtraint, but a place for freedom, not to vex the Senſes but to pleaſe them.C For 8 C1v 8
For every Senſe ſhall pleaſure take,
And all our Lives ſhall merry make:
Our Minds in full delight ſhall joy,
Not vex’d with every idle Toy:
Each Seaſon ſhall our Caterers be,
To ſearch the Land, and Fiſh the Sea;
To gather Fruit and reap the Corn,
That’s brought to us in Plenty’s Horn;
With which we’l feaſt and pleaſe our tast,
But not luxurious make a waſt.
Wee’l Cloth our ſelves with ſofteſt Silk,
And Linnen fine as white as milk.
Wee’l pleaſe our Sight with Pictures rare;
Our Noſtrils with perfumed Air.
Our Ears with ſweet melodious Sound,
Whoſe Subſtance can be no where found;
Our Taſt with ſweet delicious Meat,
And ſavory Sauces we will eat:
Variety each Senſe ſhall feed,
And Change in them new Appetites breed.
Thus will in Pleaſure’s Convent I
Live with delight, and with it die.
Act II. Scene I.Enter Monſieur Take-pleaſure, and his Man Dick.
Dick, Am I fine to day?
Yes, Sir, as fine as Feathers, Ribbons, Gold, and Silver can make you.
Doſt thou think I ſhall get the Lady Happy?
Not if it be her fortune to continue in that name.
Becauſe if ſhe Marry your Worſhip ſhe muſt change her Name; for the Wife takes the Name of her Husband, and quits her own.
Faith, Dick, if I had her wealth I ſhould be Happy.
It would be according as your Worſhip would uſe it; but, on my conſcience, you would be more happy with the Ladie’s Wealth, then the Lady would be with your Worſhip.
Why ſhould you think ſo?
Becauſe Women never think themſelves happy in Marriage.
You are miſtaken; for Women never think themſelves happpy until they be Married.
The truth is, Sir, that Women are always unhappy in their thoughts, both before and after Marriage; 10C2v 10 Marriage; for, before Marriage they think themſelves unhappy for want of a Husband; and after they are Married, they think themſelves unhappy for having a Husband.
Indeed Womens thoughts are reſtleſs.
Gentlemen, I perceive you are all prepared to Woo.
Yes faith, we are all prepared to be Wooers. But whom ſhall we get to preſent us to the Lady Happy?
We muſt fſet on bold faces, and preſent our ſelves.
Faith, I would not give my hopes for an indifferent portion.
The truth is, We are all ſtuft with Hopes, as Cuſhions are with Feathers.
O Gentlemen, Gentlemen, we are all utterly undone.
Why, what’s the matter?
Why, the Lady Happy hath incloiſter’d her ſelf, with twenty Ladies more.
The Devil ſhe hath?
The gods forbid.
Whether it was the devil or the gods that have perſwaded her to it, I cannot tell; but gone in ſhe is.
I hope it is but a blaſt of Devotion, which will ſoon flame out.
O Madam Mediator, we are all undone, the Lady Happy is incloiſter’d.
Yes, Gentlemen, the more is the pitty.
Is there no hopes?
Let us fſee the Clergy to perſwade her out, for the good of the Commonwealth.
Alas Gentlemen! they can do no good, for ſhe is not a Votreſs to the gods but to Nature.
If ſhe be a Votreſs to Nature, you are the only Perſon fit to be Lady Prioreſs; and ſo by your power and authority you may give us leave to viſit your Nuns ſometimes.
Not but at a Grate, unleſs in time of Building, or when they are ſick; but howſoever, the Lady Happy is Lady-Prioreſs her ſelf, and will admit none of the Maſculine Sex, not ſo much as to a Grate, for ſhe will ſuffer no grates about the Cloiſter; ſhe has alſo Women-Phyſicians, Surgeons and Apothecaries, and ſhe is the chief Confeſſor her ſelf, and D gives 12D1v 12 gives what Indulgences or Abſolutions ſhe pleaſeth: Alſo, her Houſe, where ſhe hath made her Convent, is ſo big and convenient, and ſo ſtrong, as it needs no addition or repair: Beſides, ſhe has ſo much compaſs of ground within her walls, as there is not only room and place enough for Gardens, Orchards, Walks, Groves, Bowers, Arbours, Ponds, Fountains, Springs and the like; but alſo conveniency for much Proviſion, and hath Women for every Office and Employment: for though ſhe hath not above twenty Ladies with her, yet ſhe hath a numerous Company of Female Servants, ſo as there is no occaſion for Men.
If there be ſo many Women, there will be the more uſe for Men: But pray Madam Mediator, give me leave, rightly to underſtand you, by being more clearly informed: you ſay, The Lady Happy is become a Votreſs to Nature; and if ſhe be a Votreſs to Nature, ſhe muſt be a Miſtreſs to Men.
By your favour, Sir, ſhe declares, That ſhe hath avoided the company of Men, by retirement, meerly, becauſe ſhe would enjoy the variety of Pleaſures, which are in Nature; of which, ſhe ſays, Men are Obſtructers; for, inſtead of increaſing Pleaſure, they produce Pain, and, inſtead of giving Content, they increaſe Trouble; inſtead of making the Femal- Sex Happy, they make them Miſerable; for which, ſhe hath baniſhed the Maſculine Company for ever.
Her Heretical Opinions ought not to be ſuffer’d 13D2r 13 ſuffer’d, nor her Doctrine allow’d; and ſhe ought to be examined by a Maſculine Synod, and puniſh’d with a ſevere Husband, or tortured with a deboiſt Husband.
The beſt way, Gentlemen, is to make your Complaints, and put up a Petition to the State, with your deſires for a Redreſs.
Your Counſel is good.
We will follow it, and go preſently about it.
Scene II.Enter the Lady Happy, with her Ladies; as alſo Madam Mediator.
Ladies, give me leave to deſire your Confeſſion, whether or no you repent your Retirement.
Moſt excellent Lady, it were as probable a repentance could be in Heaven amongſt Angels as amongſt us.
Now Madam Mediator, let me ask you, Do you condemn my act of Retirement?
I approve of it with admiration and wonder, that one that is ſo young ſhould be ſo wiſe.
Now give me leave to inform you, how I have order’d this our Convent of Pleaſure; firſt, I have 14D2v 14 have ſuch things as are for our Eaſe and Conveniency; next for Pleaſure, and Delight; as I have change of Furniture, for my houſe; according to the four Seaſons of the year, eſpecially our Chambers: As in the Spring, our Chambers are hung with Silk-Damask, and all other things ſuitable to it; and a great Looking- Glaſs in each Chamber, that we may view our ſelves and take pleaſure in our own Beauties, whilſt they are freſh and young; alſo, I have in each Chamber a Cup- board of ſuch plate, as is uſeful, and whatſoever is to be uſed is there ready to be imployed; alſo, I have all the Floor ſtrew’d with ſweet Flowers: In the Summer I have all our Chambers hung with Taffety, and all other things ſuitable to it, and a Cup-board of Purſeline, and of Plate, and all the Floore ſtrew’d every day with green Ruſhes or Leaves, and Ciſterns placed neer our Beds-heads, wherein Water may run out of ſmall Pipes made for that purpoſe: To invite repoſe in the Autumn, all our Chambers are hung with Gilt Leather, or Franchipane; alſo, Beds and all other things ſuitable; and the Rooms Matted with very fine Mats: In the Winter our Chambers muſt be hung with Tapeſtry, and our Beds of Velvet, lined with Sattin, and all things ſuitable to it, and all the Floor ſpread over with Turkie Carpets, and a Cup-board of Gilt Plate; and all the Wood for Firing to be Cypreſs and Juniper; and all the Lights to be Perfumed Wax; alſo, the Bedding and Pillows are ordered accordingcording 15E1r 15 cording to each Seaſon; viz. to be ſtuft with Feathers in the Spring and Autumn, and with Down in the Winter, but in the Summer to be only Quilts, either of Silk, or fine Holland; and our Sheets, Pillows, Table-Clothes and Towels, to be of pure fine Holland, and every day clean; alſo, the Rooms we eat in, and the Veſſels we feed withal, I have according to each Seaſon; and the Linnen we uſe to our Meat, to be pure fine Diaper, and Damask, and to change it freſh every courſe of Meat: As for our Galleries, Stair-Caſes, and Paſſages, they ſhall be hung with various Pictures; and, all along the Wall of our Gallery, as long as the Summer laſts, do ſtand, upon Pedeſtals, Flower-pots, with various Flowers; and in the Winter Orange-Trees: and my Gardens to be kept curiouſly, and flouriſh, in every Seaſon of all ſorts of Flowers, ſweet Herbs and Fruits, and kept ſo as not to have a Weed in it, and all the Groves, Wilderneſſes, Bowers and Arbours pruned, and kept free from dead Boughs Branches or Leaves; and all the Ponds, Rivolets, Fountains, and Springs, kept clear, pure and freſh: Alſo, we will have the choiſeſt Meats every Seaſon doth afford, and that every day our Meat, be dreſt ſeveral ways, and our drink cooler or hotter according to the ſeveral Seaſons; and all our Drinks freſh and pleaſing: Change of Garments are alſo provided, of the neweſt faſhions for every Seaſon, and rich Trimming; ſo as we may be accoutred properly, E and 16E1v 16 and according to our ſeveral paſtimes: and our Shifts ſhall be of the fineſt and pureſt Linnen that can be bought or ſpun.
None in this World can be happier.
Now Ladies, let us go to our ſeveral Paſtimes, if you pleaſe.
Scene III.Enter Two Ladies.
Madam, how do you, ſince you were Married?
Very well, I thank you.
I am not ſo well as I wiſh I were.
Ladies, do you hear the News?
Why there is a great Foreign Princeſs arrived, hearing of the famous Convent of Pleaſure, to be one of Nature’s Devotes.
What manner of Lady is ſhe?
She is a Princely brave Woman truly, of a Maſculine Preſence.
But, Madam Mediator, Do they live in ſuch Pleaſure as you ſay? for they’l admit you, a Widow, although not us, by reaſon we are Wives.
In ſo much Pleaſure, as Nature never knew, 17E2r 17 knew, before this Convent was: and for my part, I had rather be one in the Convent of Pleaſure, then Empereſs of the whole World; for every Lady there enjoyeth as much Pleaſure as any abſolute Monarch can do, without the Troubles and Cares, that wait on Royalty; beſides, none can enjoy thoſe Pleaſures They have, unleſs they live ſuch a retired or retreated life free from the Worlds vexations.
Well, I wiſh I might ſee and know, what Pleaſures they enjoy.
If you were there, you could not know all their Pleaſure in a ſhort time, for their Varieties will require a long time to know their ſeveral Changes; beſides, their Pleaſures and Delights vary with the Seaſons; ſo that what with the ſeveral Seaſons, and the Varieties of every Seaſon, it will take up a whole life’s time.
But I could judg of their Changes by their ſingle Principles.
But they have Variety of one and the ſame kind.
But I ſhould ſee the way or manner of them.
That you might.
Scene IV.Enter Monſieur Adviſer, Courtly, Take-pleaſure, and Facil.
Is there no hopes to get thoſe Ladies out of their Convent?
No faith, unleſs we could ſet the Convent on fire.
For Jupiter’s ſake, let us do it, let’s every one carry a Fire-brand to fire it.
Yes, and ſmoak them out, as they do a Swarm of Bees.
Let’s go preſently about it.
Stay, there is a great Princeſs there.
’Tis true, but when that Princeſs is gone, we will ſurely do it.
Yes, and be puniſh’d for our Villany.
It will not prove Villany, for we ſhall do Nature good ſervice.
Why, ſo we do Nature good ſervice, when we get a Wench with Child, but yet the Civil Laws do puniſh us for it.
They are not Civil Laws that puniſh Lovers.
But thoſe are Civil Laws that puniſh Adulterers.
Thoſe are Barbarous Laws that make Love Adultery.
No, Thoſe are Barbarous that make Adultery Love.
Well, leaving Love and Adultery, They are fooliſh Women that vex us with their Retirement.
Well, Gentlemen, although we rail at the Lady Happy for Retiring, yet if I had ſuch an Eſtate as ſhe, and would follow her Example; I make no doubt but you would all be content to encloiſter your ſelves with me upon the ſame conditions, as thoſe Ladies incloiſter themſelves with her.
Not unleſs you had Women in your Convent.
Nay, faith, ſince Women can quit the pleaſure of Men, we Men may well quit the trouble of Women.
But is there no place where we may peak into the Convent?
No, there are no Grates, but Brick and Stone-walls.
Let us get out ſome of the Bricks or Stones.
Alas! the Walls are a Yard-thick.
But nothing is difficult to Willing-minds.
My Mind is willing; but my Reaſon tells me, It is impoſſible; wherefore, I’le never go about it.
Faith, let us reſolve to put our ſelves in F Wo- 20F1v 20 Womens apparel, and ſo by that means get into the Convent.
We ſhall be diſcover’d.
Who will diſcover Us?
We ſhall diſcover our Selves.
We are not ſuch fools as to betray our Selves.
We cannot avoid it, for, our very Garb and Behaviour; beſides, our Voices will diſcover us: for we are as untoward to make Courtſies in Petticoats, as Women are to make Legs in Breeches; and it will be as great a difficulty to raiſe our Voices to a Treble- ſound, as for Women to preſs down their Voices to a Baſe; beſides, We ſhall never frame our Eyes and Mouths to ſuch coy, diſſembling looks, and pritty ſimpering Mopes and Smiles, as they do.
But we will go as ſtrong luſty Country- Wenches, that deſire to ſerve them in Inferiour Places, and Offices, as Cook-maids, Landry-maids, Dairy- maids, and the like.
I do verily believe, I could make an indifferent Cook-maid, but not a Laundry, nor a Dairy- maid; for I cannot milk Cows, nor ſtarch Gorgets, but I think I could make a pretty ſhift, to waſh ſome of the Ladies Night-Linnen.
But they imploy Women in all Places in their Gardens; and for Brewing, Baking and making all ſorts of things; beſides, ſome keep their Swine, and twenty 21F2r 21 twenty ſuch like Offices and Employments there are which we ſhould be very proper for.
O yes, for keeping of Swine belongs to Men; remember the Prodigal Son.
Faith, for our Prodigality we might be all Swin-heards.
Alſo we ſhall be proper for Gardens, for we can dig, and ſet, and ſow.
And we are proper for Brewing.
We are more proper for Drinking, for I can drink good Beer, or Ale, when ’tis Brew’d; but I could not brew ſuch Beer, or Ale, as any man could drink.
Come, come, we ſhall make a ſhift one way or other: Beſides, we ſhall be very willing to learn, and be very diligent in our Services, which will give good and great content; wherefore, let us go and put theſe deſignes into execution.
Nay, faith, let us not trouble our Selves for it, ’tis in vain.
Act III. Scene I.Enter the Princeſs, and the Lady Happy, with the rest of the Ladies belonging to the Convent.
Madam, Your Highneſs has done me much Honour, to come from a Splendid Court to a retired Convent.
Sweet Lady Happy, there are many, that have quit their Crowns and Power, for a Cloiſter of Reſtraint; then well may I quit a Court of troubles for a Convent of Pleaſure: but the greateſt pleaſure I could receive, were, To have your Friendſhip.
I ſhould be ungrateful, ſhould I not be not only your Friend, but humble Servant.
I deſire you would be my Miſtreſs, and I your Servant; and upon this agreement of Friendſhip I deſire you will grant me one Requeſt.
Any thing that is in my power to grant.
Why then, I obſerving in your ſeveral Recreations, ſome of your Ladies do accouſtre Themſelves in Maſculine-Habits, and act Lovers-parts; I deſire you will give me leave to be ſometimes ſo accouſtred and act the part of your loving Servant.
I ſhall never deſire to have any other loving Servant then your Self.
Nor I any other loving Miſtreſs then Your- Self.
More innocent Lovers never can there be,
Then my moſt Princely Lover, that’s a She.
Nor never Convent did ſuch pleaſures give,
Where Lovers with their Miſtreſſes may live.
May it pleaſe your Highneſs, the Play is ready to be Acted.
Noble Spectators, you ſhall ſee to night
A Play, which though’t be dull, yet’s ſhort to ſight;
For, ſince we cannot pleaſe your Ears with Wit,
We will not tyre your limbs, long here to ſit.
Scene II.Enter Two mean Women.
O Neighbour well met, where have you been?
I have been with my Neighbour the Cobler’s Wife to comfort her for the loſs of her Husband, who is run away with Goody Mettle the Tinker’s Wife.
I would to Heaven my Husband would run away with Goody Shred the Botcher’s Wife, for he lies all day drinking in an Ale-houſe, like a drunken Rogue as he is, and when he comes home, he beats me all black and blew, when I and my Children are almoſt ſtarved for want.
Truly Neighbour, ſo doth my Husband; and ſpends not only what he gets, but what I earn with the ſweat of my brows, the whilſt my Children cry for bread, and he drinks that away, that ſhould feed my ſmall Children, which are too young to work for themſelves.
But I will go, and pull my Husband out of the Ale-houſe, or I’le break their Lattice-windows down.
Come, I’le go and help; for my Husband is there too: but we ſhall be both beaten by them.
I care not: for I will not ſuffer him to be drunk, 25G2r 25 drunk, and I and my Children ſtarve; I had better be dead.
Scene III.Enter a Lady and her Maid.
Oh, I am ſick!
You are breeding a Child, Madam.
I have not one minutes time of health.
Scene IV.Enter Two Ladies.
Why weep you, Madam?
Have I not cauſe to weep when my Husband hath play’d all his Eſtate away at Dice and Cards, even to the Clothes on his back?
I have as much cauſe to weep then as you; for, though my Husband hath not loſt his Eſtate at play, yet he hath ſpent it amongſt his Whores; and is not content to keep Whores abroad, but in my houſe, under my roof, and they muſt rule as chief Miſtreſſes.
But my Husband hath not only loſt his own Eſtate, but alſo my Portion; and hath forced me with threats, to yield up my Jointure, ſo that I muſt 26G2v 26 muſt beg for my living, for any thing I know as yet.
If all Married Women were as unhappy as I, Marriage were a curſe.
No doubt of it.
Scene V.Enter a Lady, as almoſt diſtracted, running about the Stage, and her Maid follows her.
Oh! my Child is dead, my Child is dead, what ſhall I do, what ſhall I do?
You muſt have patience, Madam.
Who can have patience to loſe their only Child? who can! Oh I ſhall run mad, for I have no patience.
Scene VI.Enter a Citizen’s Wife, as into a Tavern, where a Buſh is hung out, and meets ſome Gentlemen there.
Pray Gentlemen, is my Husband, Mr. Negligent here?
He was, but he is gone ſome quarter of an hour ſince.
Could he go, Gentlemen?
Yes, with a Supporter.
Out upon him! muſt he be ſupported? Upon my credit Gentlemen, he will undo himſelf and me too, with his drinking and careleſneſs, leaving his Shop and all his Commodities at ſix’s and ſeven’s; and his Prentices and Journey-men are as careleſs and idle as he; beſides, they cozen him of his Wares. But, was it a He or She-Supporter, my Husband was ſupported by?
A She-ſupporter; for it was one of the Maid- ſervants, which belong to this Tavern.
Out upon him Knave, muſt he have a She-ſupporter, in the Devil’s name? but I’le go and ſeek them both out with a Vengeance.
Pray, let us intreat your ſtay to drink a cup of Wine with us.
I will take your kind Offer; for Wine may chance to abate Cholerick vapours, and pacifie the Spleen.
That it will; for Wine and good Company are the only abaters of Vapours.
It doth not abate Vapours ſo much as cure Melancholy.
In truth, I find a cup of Wine doth comfort me ſometimes.
It will cheer the Heart.
Yes, and enlighten the Underſtanding.
Indeed, and my underſtanding requires enlightening.
Scene VII.Enter a Lady big with Child, groaning as in labour, and a Company of Wommen with her.
Oh my back, my back will break, Oh! Oh! Oh!
Is the Midwife ſent for?
Yes, but ſhe is with another Lady.
Oh my back! Oh! Oh! Oh! Juno, give me ſome eaſe.
Scene VIII.Enter two Ancient Ladies.
I have brought my Son into the World with great pains, bred him with tender care, much pains and great coſt; and muſt he now be hang’d for killing a Man in a quarrel? when he ſhould be a comfort and ſtaff of my age, is he to be my ages affliction?
I confeſs it is a great affliction; but I have had as great; having had but two Daughters, and them fair ones, though I ſay it, and might have matched them well: but one of them was got with Child to my great diſgrace; th’ other run away with my Butler, not worth the droppings of his Taps.
Who would deſire Children, ſince they come to ſuch miſfortunes?
Scene IX.Enter one Woman meeting another.
Is the Midwife come, for my Lady is in a ſtrong labour?
No, ſhe cannot come, for ſhe hath been with a Lady that hath been in ſtrong labour theſe three days of a dead child, and ’tis thought ſhe cannot be delivered.
Come away, the Midwife is come.
Is the Lady deliver’d, ſhe was withall?
Yes, of life; for ſhe could not be delivered, and ſo ſhe died.
Pray tell not our Lady ſo: for, the very fright of not being able to bring forth a Child will kill her.
Scene X.Enter a Gentleman who meets a fair Young Lady.
Madam, my Lord deſires you to command whatſoever you pleaſe, and it ſhall be obey’d.
I dare not command, but I humbly intreat, I may live quiet and free from his Amours.
He ſays he cannot live, and not love you.
But he may live, and not lie with me.
He cannot be happy, unleſs he enjoy you.
And I muſt be unhappy, if he ſhould.
He commanded me to tell you that he will part from his Lady for your ſake.
Heaven forbid, I ſhould part Man and Wife.
Lady, he will be divorced for your ſake.
Heaven forbid I ſhould be the cauſe of a Divorce between a Noble Pair.
You had beſt conſent; for, otherwiſe he will have you againſt your will.
I will ſend his Lordſhip an anſwer to morrow; pray him to give me ſo much time.
I ſhall, Lady.
I muſt prevent my own ruin, and the ſweet virtuous Ladies, by going into a Nunnery; wherefore, I’le put my ſelf into one to night:
There will I live, and ſerve the Gods on high,
And leave this wicked World and Vanity.
Marriage is a Curſe we find,
Eſpecially to Women kind:
From the Cobler’s Wife we ſee,
To Ladies, they unhappie be.
L. Happyto the Prin.Princess
Pray Servant, how do you like this Play?
My ſweet Miſtreſs, I cannot in conſcience approve of it; for though ſome few be unhappy in Marriage, yet there are many more that are ſo happy as they would not change their condition.
O Servant, I fear you will become an Apoſtate.
Not to you ſweet Miſtreſs.
There is no hopes of diſſolving this Convent of Pleaſure.
Faith, not as I can perceive.
We may be ſure, this Convent will never be diſſolved, by reaſon it is ennobled with the company of great Princeſſes, and glorified with a great Fame; but the fear is, that all the rich Heirs will make Convents, and all the Young Beauties aſſociate themſelves in ſuch Convents.
You ſpeak reaſon; wherefore, let us endeavour to get Wives, before they are Incloiſter’d.
Act IV. Scene I.Enter Lady Happy dreſt as a Shepherdeſs; She walks very Melancholy, then ſpeaks as to her ſelf.
My Name is Happy, and ſo was my Condition, before I ſaw this Princeſs; but now I am like to be the moſt unhappy Maid alive: But why may not I love a Woman with the ſame affection I could a Man?
No, no, Nature is Nature, and ſtill will be
The ſame ſhe was from all Eternity.
My deareſt Miſtreſs, do you ſhun my Company? is your Servant become an offence to your ſight?
No, Servant! your Preſence is more acceptable to me then the Preſence of our Goddeſs Nature, for which ſhe, I fear will puniſh me, for loving you more then I ought to love you.
Can Lovers love too much?
Yes, if they love not well.
Can any Love be more vertuous, innocent and harmleſs then ours?
I hope not.
Then let us pleaſe our ſelves, as harmleſs Lovers uſe to do.
How can harmleſs Lovers pleaſe themſelves?
Why very well, as, to diſcourſe, imbrace and kiſs, ſo mingle ſouls together.
But innocent Lovers do not uſe to kiſs.
Not any act more frequent amongſt us Women-kind; nay, it were a ſin in friendſhip, ſhould not we kiſs: then let us not prove our ſelves Reprobates.
Theſe my Imbraces though of Femal kind,
May be as fervent as a Maſculine mind.
Fair Shepherdeſs do not my Suit deny,
O grant my Suit, let me not for Love die:
Pity my Flocks, Oh ſave their Shepherd’s life;
Grant you my Suit, be you their Shepherd’s Wife.
How can I grant to every ones requeſt?
Each Shepherd’s Suit lets me not be at reſt;
For which I wiſh, the Winds might blow them far,
That no Love-Suit might enter to my Ear.
Good Dame unto your Daughter ſpeak for me.
Perſwade her I your Son in Law may be:
I’le ſerve your Swine, your Cows bring home to Milk;
Attend your Sheep, whoſe Wool’s as ſoft as Silk;
I’le plow your Grounds, Corn I’le in Winter ſow,
Then reap your Harveſt, and your Graſs I’le mow;
Gather your Fruits in Autumn from the Tree.
All this and more I’le do, if y’ ſpeak for me.
My Daughter vows a ſingle life,
And ſwears, ſhe n’re will be a Wife;
But live a Maid, and Flocks will keep,
And her chief Company ſhall be Sheep.
My Shepherdeſs, your Wit flies high,
Up to the Skie,
And views the Gates of Heaven,
Which are the Planets Seven;
Sees how fixt Stars are plac’d,
And how the Meteors waſt;What 35 K1r 35
What makes the Snow ſo white,
And how the Sun makes light;
What makes the biting Cold
On every thing take hold;
And Hail a mixt degree,
’Twixt Snow and Ice you ſee
From whence the Winds do blow;
What Thunder is, you know,
And what makes Lightning flow
Like liquid ſtreams, you ſhow.
From Skie you come to th’ Earth,
And view each Creature’s birth;
Sink to the Center deep,
Where all dead bodies ſleep;
And there obſerve to know,
What makes the Minerals grow;
How Vegetables ſprout,
And how the Plants come out;
Take notice of all Seed,
And what the Earth doth breed;
Then view the Springs below,
And mark how Waters flow;
What makes the Tides to riſe
Up proudly to the Skies,
And ſhrinking back deſcend,
As fearing to offend.
Alſo your Wit doth view
The Vapour and the Dew,K In 36 K1v 36
In Summer’s heat, that Wet
Doth ſeem like the Earth’s Sweat;
In Winter-time, that Dew
Like paint’s white to the view,
Cold makes that thick, white, dry;
As Ceruſſe it doth lie
On th’ Earth’s black face, ſo fair
As painted Ladies are;
But, when a heat is felt,
That Froſty paint doth melt.
Thus Heav’n and Earth you view,
And ſee what’s Old, what’s New;
How Bodies Tranſmigrate,
Lives are Predeſtinate.
Thus doth your Wit reveal
What Nature would conceal.
All thoſe that live do know it,
That you are born a Poet,
Your Wit doth ſearch Mankind,
In Body and in Mind;
The Appetites you meaſure,
And weigh each ſeveral Pleaſure;
Do figure every Paſſion,
And every Humor’s faſhion;
See how the Fancie’s wrought,
And what makes every Thought;
Fadom Conceptions low,
From whence Opinions flow;Ob- 37 K2r 37
Obſerve the Memorie’s length,
And Underſtanding’s ſtrength
Your Wit doth Reaſon find,
The Centre of the Mind,
Wherein the Rational Soul
Doth govern and controul,
There doth ſhe ſit in State,
Predeſtinate by Fate,
And by the Gods Decree,
That Sovereign She ſhould be.
And thus your Wit can tell,
How Souls in Bodies dwell;
As that the Mind dwells in the Brain,
And in the Mind the Soul doth raign,
And in the Soul the life doth laſt,
For with the Body it doth not waſt;
Nor ſhall Wit like the Body die,
But live in the World’s Memory.
May I live in your favour, and be poſſeſt with your Love and Perſon, is the height of my ambitions.
I can neither deny you my Love nor Perſon.
In amorous Paſtoral Verſe we did not Woo.
As other Paſtoral Lovers uſe to doo.
Which doth expreſs, we ſhall more conſtant be,
And in a Married life better agree.
We ſhall agree, for we true Love inherit,
Join as one Body and Soul, or Heav’nly Spirit.
L. Happyto the Princ.Princess
Let me tell you, Servant, that our Cuſtome is to dance about this May-Pole, and that Pair which Dances beſt is Crown’d King and Queen of all the Shepherds and Shepherdeſſes this year: Which Sport if it pleaſe you we will begin.
Nothing, Sweeteſt Miſtreſs, that pleaſes you, can diſpleaſe me.
You’ve won the prize; and juſtly; ſo we all
Acknowledg it with joy, and offer here
Our Hatchments up, our Sheep-hooks as your due,
And Scrips of Corduant, and Oaten pipe;
So all our Paſtoral Ornaments we lay
Here at your Feet, with Homage to obay
All your Commands, and all theſe things we bring
In honour of our dancing Queen and King;For 39 L1r 39
For Dancing heretofore has got more Riches
Then we can find in all our Shepherds Breeches;
Witneſs rich Holmby: Long then may you live,
And for your Dancing what we have we give.
The Jolly Waſſel now do bring,
With Apples drown’d in ſtronger Ale,
And freſher Syllibubs, and ſing;
Then each to tell their Love-ſick Tale:
So home by Couples, and thus draw
Our ſelves by holy Hymen’s Law.
What have I on a Petticoat, Oh Mars! thou God of War, pardon my ſloth; but yet remember thou art a Lover, and ſo am I; but you will ſay, my Kingdom wants me, not only to rule, and govern it, but to defend it: But what is a Kingdom in compariſon of a Beautiful Miſtreſs? Baſe thoughts flie off, for I will not go; did not only a Kingdom, but the World want me.
O Nature, O you gods above,
Suffer me not to fall in Love;
O ſtrike me dead here in this place
Rather then fall into diſgrace.
What, Lady Happy, ſolitary alone! and Muſing like a diſconſolate Lover!
No, I was Meditating of Holy things.
Holy things! what Holy things?
Why, ſuch Holy things as the Gods are.
By my truth, whether your Contemplation be of Gods or of Men, you are become lean and pale ſince I was in the Convent laſt.
Come my ſweet Miſtreſs, ſhall we go to our Sports and Recreations?
Beſhrew me, your Highneſs hath ſported too much I fear.
Why, Madam Mediator, ſay you ſo?
Becauſe the Lady Happy looks not well, ſhe is become pale and lean.
Madam Mediator, your eyes are become dim with Time; for my ſweet Miſtreſs appears with greater ſplendor then the God of Light.
For all you are a great Princeſs, give me leave to tell you,
I am not ſo old, nor yet ſo blind,
But that I ſee you are too kind.
Well, Madam Mediator, when we return from our Recreations, I will ask your pardon, for ſaying, your eyes are dim, conditionally you will ask pardon for ſaying, my Miſtreſs looks not well.
I Am the King of all the Seas,
All Watry Creatures do me pleaſe,
Obey my Power and Command,
And bring me Preſents from the Land;
The Waters open their Flood-gates,
Where Ships do paſs, ſent by the Fates;
Which Fates do yearly, as May-Dew,
Send me a Tribute from Peru,From 42 L2v 42
From other Nations beſides,
Brought by their Servants, Winds and Tides,
Ships fraught and Men to me they bring;
My Watery Kingdom lays them in.
Thus from the Earth a Tribute I
Receive, which ſhews my power thereby:
Beſides, my Kingdom’s richer far
Then all the Earth and every Star.
I feed the Sun, which gives them light,
And makes them ſhine in darkeſt night,
Moiſt vapour from my breſt I give,
Which he ſucks forth, and makes him live,
Or elſe his Fire would ſoon go out,
Grow dark, or burn the World throughout.
What Earthly Creature’s like to me,
That hath ſuch Power and Majeſtie?
My Palaces are Rocks of Stone,
And built by Nature’s hand alone;
No baſe, diſſembling, coz’ning Art
Do I imploy in any part,
In all my Kingdom large and wide,
Nature directs and doth provide
Me all Proviſions which I need,
And Cooks my Meat on which I feed.
My Cabinets are Oyſter-ſhells,
In which I keep my Orient-Pearls,
To open them I uſe the Tide,
As Keys to Locks, which opens wide,The 43 M1r 43
The Oyſter-ſhells then out I take;
Thoſe, Orient-Pearls and Crowns do make;
And modeſt Coral I do wear,
Which bluſhes when it touches air.
On Silver-Waves I ſit and ſing,
And then the Fiſh lie liſtening:
Then ſitting on a Rocky ſtone,
I comb my Hair with Fiſhes bone;
The whil’ſt Apollo, with his Beams,
Doth dry my Hair from wat’ry ſtreams.
His Light doth glaze the Water’s face,
Make the large Sea my Looking-Glaſs;
So when I ſwim on Waters high,
I ſee my ſelf as I glide by:
But when the Sun begins to burn,
I back into my Waters turn,
And dive unto the bottom low:
Then on my head the Waters flow,
In Curled waves and Circles round;
And thus with Waters am I Crown’d.
Beſides, within the Waters deep,
In hollow Rocks my Court I keep;
Of Amber-greece my Bed is made,
Whereon my ſofter Limbs are laid,
There take I Reſt; and whil’ſt I ſleep,
The Sea doth guard, and ſafe me keep
From danger; and, when I awake,
A Preſent of a Ship doth make.M No 44 M1v 44
No Prince on Earth hath more reſort,
Nor keeps more Servants in his Court;
Of Mare-maids you’re waited on,
And Mare-men do attend upon
My Perſon; ſome are Councellors,
Which order all my great Affairs;
Within my wat’ry Kingdom wide,
They help to rule, and ſo to guide
The Common-wealth; and are by me
Prefer’d unto an high degree.
Some Judges are, and Magiſtrates,
Decide each Cauſe, and end Debates;
Others, Commanders in the War;
And ſome to Governments prefer;
Others are Neptun’s Prieſts which pray
And preach when is a Holy-day.
And thus with Method order I,
And govern all with Majeſty;
I am ſole Monarch of the Sea,
And all therein belongs to me.
We Watery Nymphs Rejoyce and Sing
About God Neptune our Sea’s King;
In Sea-green Habits, for to move
His God-head, for to fall in love.
That with his Trident he doth ſtay
Rough foaming Billows which obay:
And when in Triumph he doth ſtride
His manag’d Dolphin for to ride.
All his Sea-people to his wiſh,
From Whale to Herring ſubject Fiſh,
With Acclamations do attend him,
And pray’s more Riches ſtill to ſend him.
Act V. Scene I.Enter the Princeſs and the Lady Happy; The Princeſs is in a Man’s Apparel as going to Dance; they Whiſper then the Lady Happy takes a Ribbon from her arm, and gives it to the Princeſs, who gives her another inſtead of that, and kiſſes her hand. They go in and come preſently out again with all the Company to Dance, the Muſick plays; And after they have Danced a little while, in comes Madam Mediator wringing her hands, and ſpreading her arms; and full of Paſſion cries out.
O Ladies, Ladies! you’re all betrayed, undone, undone; for there is a man diſguiſed in the Convent, ſearch and you’l find it.
You may make the ſearch, Madam Mediator; but you will quit me, I am ſure.
By my faith but I will not, for you are moſt to be ſuſpected.
But you ſay, the Man is diſguiſed like a Woman, and I am accouſtred like a Man.
Fidle, fadle, that is nothing to the purpoſe.
What came you here for?
May it pleaſe your Highneſs, The Lords of your Council ſent me to inform your Highneſs, that your Subjects are ſo diſcontented at your Abſence, that if your Highneſs do not return into your Kingdom ſoon, they’l enter this Kingdom by reaſon they hear you are here; and ſome report as if your Highneſs were reſtrained as Priſoner.
So I am, but not by the State, but by this Fair Lady, who muſt be your Soveraigneſs.
But ſince I am diſcover’d, go from me to the Councellors of this State, and inform them of my being here, as alſo the reaſon, and that I ask their leave I may marry this Lady; otherwiſe, tell them I will have her by force of Arms.
O the Lord! I hope you will not bring an Army, to take away all the Women; will you?
No, Madam Mediator, we will leave you behind us.
Scene II.Enter Madam Mediator lamenting and crying with a Handkerchief in her hand. Written by my Lord Duke.
O Gentlemen, that I never had been born, we’re all undone and loſt!
Why, what’s the matter?
Matter? nay, I doubt, there’s too much Matter.
How, never ſuch a Miſtake; why we have taken a Man for a Woman.
Why, a Man is for a Woman.
Fidle fadle, I know that as well as you can tell me; but there was a young Man dreſt in Woman’s Apparel, and enter’d our Convent, and the Gods know what he hath done: He is mighty handſome, and that’s a great Temptation to Virtue; but I hope all is well: But this wicked World will lay aſperſion upon any thing or nothing; and therefore I doubt, all my ſweet young Birds are undone, the Gods comfort
But could you never diſcover it? nor have no hint he was a Man?
No truly, only once I ſaw him kiſs the Lady Happy; and you know Womens Kiſſes are unnatural, and me-thought they kiſſed with more alacrity then Women uſe, a kind of Titillation, and more Vigorous.
Why, did you not then examine it?
Why, they would have ſaid, I was but an old jealous fool, and laught at me; but Experience is a great matter; If the Gods had not been merciful to me, he might have faln upon me.
Why, what if he had?
Nay, if he had I care not: for I defie the Fleſh as much as I renounce the Devil, and the pomp of this wicked World; but if I could but have ſav’d my young ſweet Virgins, I would willingly have ſacrificed my body for them; for we are not born for our ſelves but for others.
’Tis piouſly ſaid, truly, lovingly and kindly.
Nay, I have read the Practice of Piety; but further they ſay, He is a Foreign Prince; and they ſay, They’re very hot.
Why, you are Madam Mediator, you muſt mediate and make a Friendſhip.
Ods body what do you talk of Mediation, I doubt they are too good Friends; Well, this will be news for Court, Town and Country, in private Letters, in the Gazette, and in abominable Ballets, before it be long, and jeered to death by the pretending but, good Gentlemen, keep this as a Secret, and let not me be the Author, for you will hear abundantly of it before it be long.
But, Madam Mediator, this is no Secret, it is known all the Town over, and the State is preparing to entertain the Prince.
Lord! to ſee how ill news will fly ſo ſoon abroad?
Ill news indeed for us Wooers.
We only wooed in Imagination but not in Reality.
But you all had hopes.
We had ſo; but ſhe only has the fruition: for it is ſaid, the Prince and ſhe are agreed to Marry; and the State is ſo willing, as they account it an honour, and hope ſhall reap much advantage by the Match.
Yes, yes; but there is an old and true Saying, 50N2v 50 Saying, There’s much between the Cup and the Lip.
Scene III.Enter the Prince as Bridegroom, and the Lady Happy as Bride, hand in hand under a Canopy born over their heads by Men; the Magiſtrates march before, then the Hoboys; and then the Bridal-Gueſts, as coming from the Church, where they were Married. All the Company bids them joy, they thank them.
Although your Highneſs will not ſtay to feaſt with your Gueſts, pray Dance before you go.
We will both Dance and Feaſt before we go; come Madam let us Dance, to pleaſe Madam Mediator.
Now, Noble Friends, Dance you; and the Princeſs, and I, will reſt our ſelves.
L. Happyſpeaks to L.Lady Vertue.
Lady Vertue, I perceive you keep Mimick ſtill.
L. Happyto the Princ.Prince
Sir, this is the Mimick I told you of.
L. Happyto Mimick.
Mimick, will you leave your Lady and go with me?
I am a Married Man, and have Married my Ladies Maid Nan, and ſhe will keep me at home do what I can; but you’ve now a Mimick of your own, for the Prince has imitated a Woman.
What you Rogue, do you call me a Fool?
Not I, pleaſe your Highneſs, unleſs all Women be Fools.
Is your Wife a Fool?
Man and Wife, ’tis ſaid, makes but one Fool.
I have an humble Petition to your Highneſs.
Riſe; What Petition is that?
That your Highneſs would be pleaſed to divide the Convent in two equal parts; one for Fools, and th’ other for Married Men, as mad Men.
I’le divide it for Virgins and Widows.
That will prove a Convent of Pleaſure indeed; they will never agree, eſpecially if there be ſome diſguiſed Prince amongſt them; but you had better beſtow it on old decrepit and bed-rid Matrons, and then it may be call’d the Convent of Charity, if it cannot poſſibly be named the Convent of Chaſtity.
Well, to ſhew my Charity, and to keep your Wife’s Chaſtity, I’le beſtow my bounty in a Preſent, on the Condition you ſpeak the Epilogue. Come, Noble Friends, let us feaſt before we part.
An Epilogue ſays he, the devil an Epilogue have I: let me ſtudy.He queſtions and anſwers Himſelf.
I have it, I have it; No faith, I have it not; I lie, I have it, I ſay, I have it not; Fie Mimick, will you lie? Yes, Mimick, I will lie, if it be my pleaſure: But I ſay, it is gone; What is gone? The Epilogue; When had you it? I never had it; then you did not loſe it; that is all one, but I muſt ſpeak it, although I never had it; How can you ſpeak it, and never had it? I marry, that’s the queſtion; but words are nothing, and then an Epilogue is nothing, and ſo I may ſpeak nothing; Then nothing be my Speech.
Noble Spectators by this Candle-light,
I know not what to ſay, but bid, Good Night:
I dare not beg Applauſe, our Poeteſs then
Will be enrag’d, and kill me with her Pen;
For ſhe is careleſs, and is void of fear;
If you diſlike her Play ſhe doth not care.
But I ſhall weep, my inward Grief ſhall ſhow
Through Floods of Tears, that illegiblep:jrowley.bri#unknown.zzx Through my Eyes will flow.
And ſo poor Mimick he for ſorrow die.
And then through pity you may chance to cry:
But if you pleaſe, you may a Cordial give,
Made up with Praiſe, and ſo he long may live.
The Actors Names.
Monſieur Take-pleaſure, and Dick his Man.
Two mean Women.
A Lady, and her Maid.
A diſtracted Lady, and her Maid.
A Citizen’s Wife.
Two Ancient Ladies.
A Gentleman and a Young Lady.