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THE LITTLE FRENCH
Gardiner, Lovelace, and Hills, in their Commendatory Verses, ascribe this Comedy to Fletcher;
but more credible witnesses, the Prologue and Epilogue, mention it as a joint production. Its first publication was in the folio of 1647. The greatest applause was always bestowed on this play, and it used to be frequently performed, till modern refinement banished it from the Theatres. In 1749, some of the scenes were selected for a farce, and acted under the title of this Comedy,
PROLOGUE. To promise much before a play begin, And such a play as shall (so should plays do) And when 'tis done ask pardon, were a sin Imp time's dull wings, and make you merry We'll not be guilty of; and to excuse
too. Before we know a fault, were tu abuse 'Twas to that purpose writ, so we intend it; The writers and ourselves : For I dare say And we have our wish'd ends, if you comWe all are fool'd if this be not a play,
PERSONS REPRESENTED. Dixant, a Gentleman that formerly loved, SAMPSON, a foolish Advocate, Kinsman to l'erand still pretends to love Lumira.
(taign, CLEREMONT, a merry Gentleman, his Friend. GENTLEMEN, CHAMPERNEL, a laine old Gentleman, Hus CLIENTS. band to Lamira.
SERVANTS. Vertaign, a Nobleman and a Judge. LAMIRA, Wife lo Champernel, and Daughter BEAUPRE, Son to Verlaign.
to Vertuign. VERDONE, Nephew to Champernel.
ANABELL, Nicce to Champernel. LA Writ, a wrangling Advocate, or the
Nursy to Lamira.
[mira. Little Lawyer.
CHARLOTTE, Wuiting-gentlewoman to LuSCENE, France,
For th'honour of our country, and our princo,
Pours itself out with prodigal expence
Upon our mother's lap, the earth that bred us,
For every trifle. And these private duels,
Which had their first original from the French, Din. I care not;
And for which, to this day, we're justly cene I wear a sword!
sur'd, Cler. And wear discretion with it, Are banisti'd from all civil governments: Or cast it off; let that direct your arın;
Scarce three in Venice, in as many years; 'Tis madness else, not valour, and inore base In Florence they are rarer ; and in all Than to receive a wrong.
The fair dominions of the Spanish king Din. Why, would you
They are ne'er heard of. Nay those neighSit down with a disgrace, and thank the doer? bour countries, We are not stoicks, and that passive courage Which gladly imitate our other follies, Is only now commendable in lacquies, And come at a dear rate to buy them of us, Peasants, and tradesmen, not in men of rank Begin now to detest them. And quality, as I am.
Din, Will you end yet? [late kings, Cler. Do not cherish
Cler. And I have beard that some of our That daring vice, for which the whole age For the lie, wearing of a mistress' favour, The blood of our buld youth, that heretofore A cheatat cardsor dice, and such-like causes, Was spent in honourable action,
Have lost as many gallant gentlemen Or to defend or to enlarge the kingdom, As might have met the Great Turk in the field, VOL. II,
With confidence of a glorious victory: I have seen fools and fighterschain'd together, And shall we then
And the fighters had the upper-hand, and Din. No more, for shame, vo more
(been Are you become a patron' tour 'Tis a new one, ”The poor sots laughing at 'em. What I have No more on't, burn it, give it to some orator, It skills not; what I will be is resolvid on. To help him to enlarge his exercise:
Din. Why, then you'll fight no more? With such a one it might do well, and profit Cler. Such is my purpose. The curate of the parish; but for Cleremont, Din. On nu occasion ? The bold and undertaking Cleremont,
Cler. There you stayger me. [and blood To talk thus to his friend, bis friend that Soine kind of wrongs there are, which flesh knows him,
Live a protested coward, or be call'd one: Cler. Why, what know you
Cler. Words are but words?. Din. Why, if thou hast forgot thyself, I'll Din. Nor wouldst thou take a blow? tell thee,
Cler. Not from my friend, tho' drunk; and And not look back, to speak of what thou wert I think much less.
[from an enemy, At fifteen, for at those years I have heard Din. There's some hope of thee left then, Thou wast flesh'd, and enter'd bravely. Wouldst thou hear me behind my back disCler. Well, sir, well!
[second Din. But yesterday thou wast the common Cler. D’you think I am a rogue? They Of all that only knew thee; thou hadst bills that should do it Set up on every post, to give thee notice Had better been boru dumb. Where any difference was, and who were par
Din. Or in thy presence, And as, to save the charges of the law, (ties. See me o'er-charg'd with oods? Poor men seek arbitrators, tbou wert chosen, Cler. I'd fall myself first. By such as knew thee net, to compound quar Din. Wouldst thou endure thy mistress be rels :
And thou sit quiet? [ta'en from thee, But thou wert so delighted with the sport, Cler. There you touch my honour; That if there were no just cause, thou wouldst No Frenchinan can cndure that. make one,
Din. Plague upon thee ! [dar'st sufier Or be engag’d thyself. This goudly calling Why dost thou talk of peace then, that Th’hast follow'd tive-and-twenty years, and Nothing, or in thyself, or in thy friend, studied
That is unmanly?
For wearing stammel breeches3; or this game. Th'hast had strange dreams, or rather visions.
[nothing: Cler. Yes, sir,
For playing a thousand pounds, thai owes me
· Are you become a patron too? 'Tis a new one,
No more on't, burn it, give it to some orator.] Patron, here, has its Latin meaning, i. e. a pleader, or advocate; but the word speech, declumation, harangue, or something to that effect, must be understood, to inake the following live sense; and it is highly probable that a whole line is lost, which might have been something like the following:
Are you become a patron too? Ilow long
No more on't, &c. Seuuid. Are you become a patron too ?' 'Tis a new one.) We suspect patron to be a corruption of pattern, a word which would give good sense to the passage, and comes very near inat admitted into the text.
9 Words are but words.] After Cleremont has said this, which seems to assert that he would not mind being called a coward, nor make that a cause of tighting, Dinant goes on as if he had said directly the contrary; and perhaps a line may here be lost again tu the following import;
Words are but words, but coward is a name
I could not brook,
3 Stammel breeches.fi. e. Red breeches. Mr. Syınpson has given an explanation of the word from Ben Jonson, more clear than what we have in dictionaries, Octavo edition,
• Red-hood the first that does appear
• In stammel; scarlet is too dear, It is highly probable that red breeches were in vur Authors' time wore only by smarts, and were esteemed coxcomical. In that age of duelling, therefore, a sneer upon this topic miylig have produced bloodshed, Scoard,
For this man's taking up a common wench On a new tally. 'Foot, do any thing,
I'll second you.
(For this way they nust pass) to speak my
wrongs, To th' cutting of a rascal's throat, or so,
And do it boldly.
Cier. Were thy tongue a cannon,
Cler. This is fine fiddling.
Beuupre, und Verdone.
AN EPITUALAMION SONG AT THE WEDDING,
Tsick, Come away; bring on the bride,
And place her by her lover's side.
You fair troop of maids attend her,
Pure and holy thoughts befriend her.
Blush, and wish, you virgiits all,
Many such fair nights may fall.
Chorus. Ilymen, fill the house with joy,
All thy sacred fires employ:
Bless the bed with holy love,
Now, fair orb of beauty, inove.
Vert. This is strange rudeness !
Din. 'Tis courtship, balanced withinjuries!
Your cheeks with blushes, if in your sear’d
There yet remain so much of honest blood
To make the colour. First, to you, my lord,
Alive into her
grave. Cler. I know him ; he has been
Champ. How! to her grave ? anon.-
You that allow'd me liberal access,
You that are rich, and, but in this, held wise
That as a father should have looh'd upon
In lawful pleasures, than the parting from
Mr. Steerens bath collected the following examples of the use of this word, in a note at
"In Fleicher's Woman-flatcr:
“ Humble herself in an old stamel petticoat."
“ They wear stammel cloaks instead of scarlet."
“ Some stamel weaver, or some butcher's son."
" That fellow in the stuimel hose is one of them."
is mentioned in Ph. Holland's Translation of Pliny's Nat. Ilist, and is also incre styled
the light-red and fresh lusty gallant, p. 260 and 201. See also Stammel in Ainsworth's
+ Caroch'd.] This word is derived from the French carosse, a coach. In The Custom of the
Have one foot in the grave, yet study profit, · Was my share in another; these fairjewels, As if you were assur'd to live here ever; Coming ashore, I got in such a village, What poor end had you in this choice? In what " The maid, or matron kill'd, from whom they Deserve I your contempt? My house, and ho
were ravish’d.' nours,
The wines you drink are guilty too; for this, At all parts equal yours, my fame as fair, This Candy wine, three merchants were unAnd, not to praise myself, the city ranks me done ; In the first file of her most hopeful gentry. These suckets break as many more: In brief, But Champernel is rich, and needs a nurse, All you
shall wear, or touch, or see, is purAnd not your gold; and, add to that, he's chas'd
By lawless force, and you but revel in [ers. His whole estate in likelihood to descend The tears and groans of such as werc the ownUpon your family: Here was providence, Champ: 'Tis false, most basely false ! I grant, but in a nobleman base thrift.
Vert. Let losers talk. No merchants, nay, no piratės, sell for bond Din. Lastly, those joys, those best of joys,
which Hymen Their countrymen ; but you, a gentleman, Freely bestotvs on such that come to tie To save a little gold, have sold your daughter
The sacred knot he blesses, won unto it To worse than slavery.
By equal love, and mutual affection, Cler. This was spoke home indeed. Not blindly led with the desire of riches, Beau. Sir, I shall take some other time to Most miserable you shall never taste of!
This marriage-night you'll meet a widow's bed, That this harsh language was deliver'd to Or, failing of those pleasures all brides look for, An old man, but my father.
Sin in your wish it were so ! Din. At your pleasure.
Chump. Thou’rt a villain, Cler. Proceed in your design; let me alone A base, malicious slanderer! To answer him, or any man.
Cler, Strike him. Verdone. You presume
Din. No, he's not worth a blow. Too much upon your name, but may be co Champ. Oh, that I had thee sroom zen'd.
In some close vault, that only would yield Din. But for you, most unmindful of my To me to use my sword, to thee no bope service,
To run away, I'd make thee on thy knees (For now I may upbraid you, and with honour, Bite out the tongue that wrong’d me! Since all is lost; and yet I am a gainer, Vert. Pray you have patience. In being deliver'd from a torment in you,
Lum. This day I am to be your sovereign; For such you must have been) you, to whom Let me command you. nature
Champ. I am lost with rage, Gave with a liberal hand most excellent form; And know not what I am myself, nor you. Your education, language, and discourse, Away! dare such as you, that love the smoke And judgment to distinguish; when you shall Of peace, more than the fire of glorious war, With feeling sorrow understand how wretched Aud, like unprofitable drones, teed on And miserable you have made yourself, Your grandsires' labours, (that, as I am now, And but yourself have nothing to accuse, Were gathering-bees, and filld their bive, Can you with hope from any beg compassion?
actions ? But you will say, you serv'd your father's plea With brave triumphant spoils) censure our sure,
You object my prizes to me! Had you seen Forgetting that unjust commands of parents The horror of a sea-fight, with whit danger Are not to be obey'd ; or, that you're rich, I inade them mine; the fire I fearless fonght And that to wealth all pleasures else are ser in,
(straight vants :
[chas'il, Andquench’ditin mine enemies' blood, which Yet, but consider how this wealth was pur Like oil pour'd out on’te, made it burnanew; 'Twill trouble the possession.
My deck blown up, with noise enough to mock Champ. You, sir, know
The loudest thunder, and the desperate tools I got it, and with honour.
That boarded me, sent, to defy the teinpests Din. But from whom?
That were against me, to the angry sea, Remember that, and how! You'll come indeed Frighted with men thrown o'er; no victory, To houses bravely furnish’d, but demanding But in despite of the four elements, Where it was bought, this soldier will not lie, The tire, the air, the sea, and sands hid in it, But answer truly, “This rich cloth of arras To be achiev’d; you would confess, poor men, 'I made my prize in such a ship; this plate (Tho' hopeless such an honourable way $ Suckets.] i. e. Banqueting dishes. Seward.
Like oil pour'd out on't, made it burn anew.] I would choose to read."like oil pour'd on it;" but I believe the old reading may give the same idea. The metaphor is a litiie difficult here; the blood both quenches and makes the fire burn anew; but quenches, here, must only signify to abute the fire for a moment, and then the whole is clear, Sewurd.