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THE LADY OF PLEASURE. A COMEDY. BY JAMES
Sir Thomas Bornewell expostulates with his lady on her extra
vagance and love of pleasure.
BornewELL. Aretina, his lady.
Are. I am angry with myself;
To be so miserably restrain’d in things,
Wherein it doth concern your love and honour.
To see me satisfied.
Bor. In what, Aretina,
Dost thou accuse me? have I not obey'd
All thy desires, against mine own opinion ;
Quitted the country, and remov'd the hope
Of our return, by sale of that fair lordship
We liv'd in : chang'd a calm and retire life
For this wild town, compos'd of noise and charge ?
Are. What charge, more than is necessary
For a lady of my birth and education ?
Born. I am not ignorant how much nobility
Flows in your blood, your kinsmen great and powerful
In the state ; but with this lose not your memory
Of being my wife : I shall be studious,
Madam, to give the dignity of your birth
All the best ornaments which become my fortune;
But would not flatter it, to ruin both,
And be the fable of the town, to teach
Other men wit by loss of mine, employ'd
To serve your vast expences.
Are. Am I then
Brought in the balance ? so, sir.
Bor. Though you weigh
Me in a partial scale, my heart is honest :
And must take liberty to think, you have
Obeyd no modest counsel to effect,
Nay study ways of pride and costly ceremony ;
Yoir change of gaudy furniture, and pictures,
Ofthis Italian master, and that Dutchman's;
Your mighty looking-glasses, like artillery
frought home on engines ; the superfluous plate
Antick and novel; vanities of tires,
Four score pound suppers for my lord your kinsman,
Banquets for t’other lady, aunt, and cousins;
And perfumes, that exceed all ; train of servants,
To stifle us at home, and shew abroad
More motly than the French, or the Venetian,
About your coach, whose rude postilioni
Must pester every narrow lane, till passengers
And tradesmen curse your choaking up their stalls,
And common cries pursue your ladyship
For hind'ring of their market.
Are, Have you done, sir?
Bor. I could accuse the gaity of your wardrobe,
And prodigal embroideries, under which,
Rich satins, plushes, cloth of silver, dare.
Not shew their own complexions; your jewels,
Able to burn out the spectators' eyes,
And shew like bonfires on you by the tapers :
Something might here be spared, with safety of
Your birth and honour, since the truest wealth
Shines from the soul, and draws up just admirers.
I could urge something more.
Are. Pray, do. I like
Your homily of thrift.
Bor. I could wish, madam, You would not game so much.
Are. A gamester, too!
Bor. But are not come to that repentance yet, Should teach you skill enough to raise your profit;
You look not through the subtilty of cards,
And mysteries of dice, nor can you save
Charge with the box, buy petticoats and pearls,
And keep your family by the precious income;
Nor do I wish you should : my poorest servant
Shall not upbraid my tables, nor his hire
Purchas'd beneath my honour: you make play
Not a pastime but a tyranny, and vex
Yourself and my estate by 't.
Are. Good, proceed.
- Bor. Another game you have, which consumes more
Your fame than purse, your revels in the night,
Your meetings, call’d the ball, to which appear,
As to the court of pleasure, all your gallants
And ladies, thither bound by a subpæna ..
Of Venus and small Cupid's high displeasure :
'Tis but the Family of Love, translated
Into more costly sin; there was a play on't;
And had the poet not been brib’d to a modest
Expression of your antic gambols in't,
Some darks had been discover'd; and the deeds too ;
In time he may repent, and make some blush,
To see the second part danc'd on the stage.
My thoughts acquit you for dishonouring me
By any foul act; but the virtuous know,
'Tis not enough to clear ourselves, but the.
Suspicions of our shame.
· Are. Have you concluded
Your lecture ?
Bor. I have done; and howsoever
My language may appear to you, it carries
No other than my fair and just intent
To your delights, without curb to their modest
And noble freedom.
Are. I'll not be so tedious
In my reply, but, without art or elegance,
Assure you I keep still my first opinion;
And though you veil your avaricious meaning
With handsome names of modesty and thrift,
I find you would intrench and wound the liberty
I was born with. Were my desires unprivileged
By example; while my judgment thought 'em fit,
You ought not to oppose : but when the practice
And tract of every honourable lady
Authorize me, I take it great injustice
To have my pleasures circumscrib’d and taught me.'17
117 This dialogue is in the very spirit of the recriminating scenes between Lord and Lady Townley in the Provoked Husband. It is difficult to believe, but it must have been Vanbrugh's proto. type.
J. M‘CREERY, Printer,