THE WEDDING RING A COMIC OPERA, performed at the THEATRE ROYAL DRURY LANE.

LONDON; Printed for T. Becket in the Strand. MDCCLXXIII Price 1s.

THE WEDDING RING, A COMIC OPERA. IN TWO ACTS. AS IT PERFORMED AT THE THEATRE ROYAL IN DRURY-LANE.

LONDON: Printed for T. BECKET, in the STRAND. MDCCLXXIII. [PRICE ONE SHILLING.]

DRAMATIS PERSONAE.

MEN.
PANDOLFO,
Mr. BANNISTER.
HENRICO,
Mr. DAVIES.
ZERBINO,
Mr. VERNON.
WOMEN.
FELICIA,
Mrs. SMITH,
LISSETTA,
Mrs. WRIGHTEN.

TO THE PUBLICK.

THE reader will perceive at first sight that the hint of this piece is borrowed from an Italian Opera, entitled, Il Filofofo di Campagna. There is also a circumstance from Moliere, which, except about twenty lines taken from different publications, and thrown occasionally into the songs, are the only pas­sages in it that have ever appeared either on the stage, or in print.

Indeed conscious of my own inability, I should have collected all the materials, had it been practicable; but attempting this with­out success, and being unwilling to throw away a subject than which 'tis hardly possible to conceive any thing more operatical, I de­termined to make a tryal of what I could do to it myself, and this in no respect with a view of setting myself up for an author, but merely from a desire of assisting my reputa­tion as a musician.

And now I should very little deserve the [Page ii] pains they have taken for me, if I did not in the warmest manner acknowledge my ob­ligations to the performers, to whose merit I am convinced I owe a considerable share of that applause the WEDDING RING has been favoured with.

I have little more to say concerning the piece. The dialogue is given for nothing more than such as would immediately arise from the situations; and if the songs are found to be irregular, I would beg leave to remark, that they were written so (the comic ones especially) on purpose, it being very often necessary, that the measure should halt in order to give a novelty to the expression of the musick. And having said thus much, such as it is, I take the liberty of submitting this trifle to the public; to that public to whom I have such infinite obligations, whose humanity and generosity I have so lately ex­perienced, and to whose amusement it will always be my greatest pride, that I have the honour of endeavouring to contribute.

C. Dibdin.

[Page]THE WEDDING RING.

ACT I.

SCENE I.

A Library, with doors opening into other apartments.—A table, with writings; Pandolfo reading a will, and afterwards Lissetta enters with chocolate.
PANDOLFO.
"I Give and bequeath to Zerbino my son,
"My estates, and effects, one and all, when I'm gone:
"And first, the estates, that were mortgag'd to me,
"By a card'nal, a monk, a count, and grandee,
"Worth in all, fifty thousand piastres, or more,
▪And for which I advanc'd something less than a score;
"Next, sold e're possess'd, the estates of an heir,
"Consisting of houses in charming repair;
"Which were left him long since by an over-fond grannum,
"And are worth, at the least, a thousand per annum."
Good fortunes, I'faith! next come watches, and rings,
Aigrettes—solitaires—by no means bad things,
Of which, some were pawn'd, some detain'd, and some plunder'd,
From widows, and heirs, little short of a hundred;
These, and all his possessions, without one omission,
Are giv'n to this Spark, on the following condition:
"In hopes, that my son will to virtue incline;
"And lead a life careful and honest, like mine;
"Abstaining from usury, avarice, and fraud;
"In short, treading just in the path that I trod;
▪I say, in the hope, that of this he'll take care;
▪I constitute, will, and appoint, him my heir."

[Page 2]All these possessions has old Zerbino left his son, who I intend shall marry my daughter. Let me see now what the whole will amount to—fifty thousand piastres—a thousand a year—watches—rings—aigrettes—solitaires—no less, I warrant, than to the value of—

Lis.

Sir, here's your chocolate, and Sig. Zerbino has sent—

Pan.

He has been a near miserable fellow.

Lis.

Sig. Zerbino, Sir?

Pan.

A very sad fellow.

Lis.

Well, this is the first word upon that sub­ject I ever heard out of your mouth.

Pan.

But, however, that's nothing to the pre­sent business, his son may make a good husband notwithstanding.

Lis.

Oh, I begin to conceive you. Sir, will you hear me?

Pan.

It shall be concluded directly.

(Takes a pinch of snuff.
Lis.
(Removing the snuff-box, and putting the cho­colate in the place of it)

I'll try to make you feel, if I can't make you hear.

Pan.

I don't think she could possibly have done better.

(Going to take another pinch of snuff, he dips his finger and thumb into the chocolate.)

What the devil's that?

Lis.

Only a little innocent method I took to make you understand I was here, Sir.

Pan.

You impudent jade, how dare you serve me such a trick?

Lis.
[Page 3]

Why, Sir, I have been bawling this half hour to you, but you was so wrapt up in your deeds and settlements, and stuff, that I might have stood here till to-morrow morning, if I had not taken the way I did.

Pan.

So you have been overhearing what I read.

Lis.

Indeed, Sir, 'tis no secret; we all know well enough that you want to marry my young lady to a spark with more money than understanding, and I suppose you was contriving now to load her with riches, in return for the happiness you intend to deprive her of.

Pan.

Did ever any body hear such insolence?

Lis.

Lord, Sir, what insolence; 'tis no more than what every body says, and 'tis a great shame, especially when there are so many reasons to pre­vent it.

Pan.

What's that? Do you know any thing that will prevent it?

Lis.

O yes to be sure; you go the way to make me tell you any thing.

Pan.

Go, you fool! what could you tell me?

Lis.

Why I would not tell you any thing if it was ever so much in my power; but I'll tell you what, I'll keep every thing from you that I can.

Pan.

I wonder what possesses me that I bear all this. Hear me, Mrs. Impudence, send your mis­tress to me, and let me have no more of this be­haviour, if you expect to stay in my family.

Lis.

Very well, Sir, you may do as you please; you are not content I find with preventing my young lady's happiness, but you want to rob her of the only friend she has in the world.

Pan.

Why don't you do what I order you?

Lis.
[Page 4]

I am going, Sir.

Pan.

And yet now if you knew any thing that—

Lis.

Don't ask me, for I won't tell you a word about it.

I'm not such a fool, when I'm snub'd at this rate,
Of matters, with which I'm entrusted, to prate;
The secrets I'm told,
Are as safe as old gold;
And however some folks it may teaze,
My mind is my own,
And I shall as I please;
Though you threat me,
And beat me,
And like a slave, treat me,
Conceal it, or let it alone.
To be sure, 'tis no bus'ness of mine;
But put any one else in my stead;
Let them serve a good humour'd young lady
With gifts and promises ready;
Who begs of her lover
No word may be said;
And then, let her father
Come threat'ning, which rather
Would fright one, than make one discover;
I say, in this case,
Let who will, take my place,
And see to which side they'd incline.

SCENE II.

PANDOLFO, FELICIA, LISSETTA.
Pan.

I would fain persuade myself, that all the chattering of this wench, is no more than the com­mon cant of creatures in her situation; and yet Felicia's disingenuous behaviour has half convinc'd me, that there's a lover in the case. When she comes I shall be better able to judge, and in the mean time I'll go and send an invitation to Zer­bino.

FELICIA.
I saw, what seem'd a harmless child,
With wings, and bow,
And aspect mild;
Who sob'd, and sigh'd, and pin'd,
And beg'd I would some boon bestow,
On a poor little boy, stone blind.
Not aware of the danger, too soon I comply'd,
For exulting he cry'd,
And drew from his quiver a dart;
My pow'r you shall know,
Then levell'd his bow,
And wounded me—right in the heart.

I understood, Sir, you desired to see me, but I find you are busy.

Pan.

Only labouring for thee, Felicia. I am contriving the securest method of adding the vast possessions of Sig. Zerbino to the estate of our family.

Fel.
[Page 6]

But why should you do that, Sir? have not we fortune sufficient already?

Pan.

To be sure fifteen thousand crowns a year, well paid, is no contemptible thing; but, as I told you, I am desiring this for you.

Fel.

I can't see how I am concern'd in it, Sir.

Pan.

Why thus: Zerbino's father was my par­ticular friend; and I can't bear to think that all his vast wealth should be lavish'd away in equi­pages, courtezans, and such sort of expences; so out of friendship to the young man, and with a view to your interest at the same time, I intend to make him my son-in-law.

Lis.

There, Madam, you'll believe me another time.

Pan.

He is this morning arrived from Florence, where he has been to take possession of a large estate, and I have sent to invite him here.

Lis.

Oh, Sir, you might have sav'd yourself that trouble, for he has sent to invite himself.

Pan.

Then I'll go and hasten him. I dare swear you'll be glad to see him.

Lis.

How little you know of the matter!

Pan.

What's that you say?

Lis.

I, Sir! nothing, I did not speak a word.

Fel.

Heavens! what shall I do?

(sighing.)
Pan.

What do you sigh for?

Fel.

I did not sigh, Sir.

Lis.

Law, Ma'am, now can you say so? she did sigh, Sir; and I've a great mind to tell you what it was for.

Fel.

Hold your tongue, Lissetta, for shame!

Lis.

Why, Ma'am, you know very well what I say is truth; you do sigh for something, and I should sigh too, if I was in your place.

Pan.

Why I must confess, Felicia, to be in­genuous, [Page 7] you don't seem to enter cordially into this proposal of mine.

Fel.

Sir, if in compliance with any request of your's, I was sure to be miserable, I don't remem­ber to have given the least room for a suspicion that I should refuse it.

Lis.

Lord, Ma'am! how can you, begging your pardon, be so foolish? I would not make myself miserable to oblige all the fathers in the world.

Pan.

Will you hold your tongue? 'tis you that have spoilt her.

Lis.

I spoil her! I am sure I am always giving her good advice.

Fel.

I beg, Lissetta, you'll not treat my father in this familiar manner.

Pan.

Come, come, I'll cut the matter very short; you'll have a visit from Zerbino within this half hour, and you may guess what sort of behaviour I expect from you to the man I intend for your husband.

When we come to the age of threescore,
By our maxims in vain we set store;
A girl in her teens,
Will find out the means
To fret us, and plague us, and teaze out our hearts;
Till our giant wit,
Is forc'd to submit,
To her puny arts.
Like bells that eternally jangle,
You may scold, you may fight, you may wrangle;
If they're set on't, you'll see
They masters will be;
Nay, though you secure them as safe as your pelf,
They'll lead you the life of the devil himself.

SCENE III.

FELICIA, LISSETTA, and afterwards HENRICO.
Fel.

Was ever poor creature thus harress'd and tormented!

Lis.

You are tormented enough that's certain, and stand in great need of advice.

Fel.

'Tis too true, and I have no friend in the world to give it me.

Lis.

No, Ma'am! to be sure 'tis not much in my power to be your friend; but if Sig. Henrico was to hear you, what would he say?

Fel.

Why will you be always talking to me of him?

Lis.

Because, Ma'am, I love to please you.

Fel.

Heigh ho!

Lis.

I say, Ma'am, don't you think he'd be able to give you advice?

Fel.

What advice would he give me, while my father remains so inflexible? or if he could, how can I see him?

Lis.

Should you like to see him? and would you not be angry if I was to bring it about?

Fel.

Dear girl, don't trifle with me!

Lis.

Why then, jesting apart, you may see him now if you choose it.

Fel.

How, Lissetta.

Lis.

By opening that door. Before your father came in here, I took an opportunity unobserved of poping your lover into that closet.

Fel.
[Page 9]

Without my leave! what must he think of me.

Lis.

Bless me, Madam! is this a time to stand upon ceremony? you know your opportunities are few enough, therefore don't lose this.

Fel.

Well, but Lissetta.

Lis.

Oh madam! indeed I must call him out—Sir—Sir—Sig. Henrico.

Hen.

Is the coast clear?

Lis.

Yes, yes, you may venture.

Fel.

Indeed, Lissetta, I shan't easily forgive this.

Hen.

Let me intreat you, Felicia, to forgive her, if there is any indiscretion, I am the cause of it; and believe me I would not have taken this method of seeing you, so well I know your delicacy, if I had not been forced to it by the last necessity.

Fel.

It would be ridiculous, Henrico, to deny that I am pleased with your attention to me; but what can it avail? my father is obstinately bent on this hateful marriage—

Hen.

Shall I tamely stand by, in the moment you are so kind to confess a partiality for me, and see you sacrificed in so cruel a manner?

Fel.

What would you do?

Hen.

Boldly demand you of your father; my fortune is not despicable; my family unexception­able; and why should not I stand a chance of sup­planting this Zerbino.

Fel.

'Tis impossible, my father would never con­sent to it.

Hen.

Have I your leave to try?

Fel.

Upon condition you'll leave me now, I give it you; for I am frighten'd out of my senses lest my father should return.

Lis.

Come, Sir, I think my lady has consented [Page 10] to a good deal; if we don't take care to be prudent every thing will be spoil'd, you had better, there­fore, let me conduct you out; but above all things remember the instructions I gave you this morning.

Hen.

Must I then leave you Felicia?

Fel.

You see 'tis absolutely necessary.

Hen.

In the afternoon I'll see your father, till when I shall be all anxiety and inquietude.

The trav'lers, that through desarts ride,
By conduct of some friendly star;
When clouds obscure their trusty guide,
Out of their course must wander far.
So I, with pensive care and pain,
In absence still must stray;
'Till you, my star, shine out again,
And light me on my way.

SCENE IV.

FELICIA.

I am terrified to death at my situation; I have not the courage to refuse my father, and yet find it impossible to comply with his cruel request. Why indeed should I comply with it? Is there the least prospect of happiness for me if I do; and does not reason, every thing forbid my being com­pell'd to give my hand to a man I cannot love. But then is not this the request of a tender and indulgent father, who has always made my happi­ness his constant study; and even now wishes this union from no one motive, but to see me plac'd in a still superior situation? alas, how weak and vain! as if felicity was the ceriain consequence of splen­dour; and that all the pleasures and enjoyments of life follow'd in the train of the great. For my part, I must have a new mind before I can enter­tain such sentiments; and cou'd wish to be left to the peaceable enjoyment of content, though I shou'd be oblig'd to seek for it in a cottage.

Happy the nymph who ne'er can know
Distractions which from riches grow,
Remov'd at distance from the great,
Who willing lives in low estate.
One fountain is her mirrour, and her drink,
And if she's pleas'd, what others think
It matters not—of joy secure,
Blest in the little heav'n has sent,
Her only pride is that she's poor;
Poor but content.

SCENE V.

ZERBINO and LISSETTA.
Lis.
(Speaking as she comes on)

Oh, 'tis impossible for any thing to be better contrived.—Let me see how I go on—Henrico is guarded against all that can happen; I have told him that when he comes in the afternoon he must expect to be snub'd by us all; nothing now remains but to get rid of this Zerbino, and instruct my mistress in her part. She is gone into her dressing-room I see—how lucky—by that means, when this creature comes, he'll be left to my management, and if I don't give a good account of him I'll be content to be thought the arrantest novice in love-affairs that ever liv'd.

Ser.

Sig. Zerbino is come to wait on my young lady.

Lis.

Oh, very well, my lady desires you'll shew him in here. I'll send him packing I'll warrant him.

Zer.

Bless me! what makes me tremble so?

Lis.

He's frighten'd out of his wits.

Zer.

What ails me?

Lis.

When does he intend to speak, I wonder?

Zer.

I don't know what to say to her; I wish she'd speak first.

Lis.

I see if I don't break the ice, we shall wait till the old gentleman returns, and then all would be spoilt.—Your servant, Signor Zerbino.

Zer.

Ma'am your most humble servant.—Pray Ma'am are you Signora Filicia?

Lis.

I hope, Sir, there's nothing in my appearance [Page 13] should make you suspect I am not the mistress of the house!

Zer.

Oh no! not the least in the world.—She has a fine spirit, I can see that already.

Lis.

Pray Sir, where did you leave my father?

Zer.

He's only just stept to the notary about the writings; he'll be here presently.

Lis.

Will he,—then I must make good use of my time. What writings, pray Sir?

Zer.

Why, don't you know what I am come about.

Lis.

Yes, yes it has been sufficiently din'd in my ears, I have been teaz'd and worried to death with it.

Zer.

By your father I suppose.

Lis.

B [...] I have behav'd with a becoming spirit; does he imagine, that I'll suffer an obstinate old fellow like him, to controul my inclinations as he thinks proper; no, no, most young ladies of fashion; like me, take delight in tormenting their fathers, and I love to behave like other people.

Zer.

Yes, ye told me you was always torment­ing him.

Lis.

He did, and do you think, Zerbino, he goes the way to prevail on me? if it was not that there's something genteel and winning in your car­riage and behaviour, I declare, out of contradic­tion to him, I should order a servant to turn you out of the house.

Zer.

I am sure, Ma'am, I am very much obliged to you.

Lis.

Sir, you are oblig'd to nothing but your own merit, that to be sure has won upon me; but however, if it was possible for you to be twenty times more lovely and agreeable than you are—

Zer.
[Page 14]

Lord you jeer me.

Lis.

Upon my word I am serious; I say, Sir, if such a thing was possible, and I really believe it is not, it would not avail any thing with me, for I beg you to take notice, that I don't give you my consent out of love, but pure obstinacy.

Zer.

Oh, then you do consent.

Lis.

What have I in my flurry been guilty of! Oh, Zerbino! you'll despise me for yielding so easily; you should not have been so solicitous.

Zer.

How solicitous? why, I hardly said any thing at all.

Lis.

No! did not you implore me to soften the rigour of your sufferings, and with eyes all full of tenderness, beg me to have pity on you.

Zer.

If I did, I don't remember it.

Lis.

Ah, this is always the case, the moment a man knows his power he abuses it; however, Sir, I think, since I have been so condescending, you ought, at least, to say something handsome to me now on the subject.

Zer.

Why, for that matter, I've a vast deal to say to you, but I dont know how it is, I've such a prodigious pleasure in your company, that when­ever I go to speak I can't get out a word for the life of me.

Lis.

There never was so pretty a thing said in this world; entirely owing, I suppose, to your re­spect for me.

Zer.

Oh, yes, all owing to my respect for you.

Lis.

Well, it is impossible for any thing to be more gallant.

Zer.

I like her a great deal better than I thought I should.

Lis.

But as you are such a passionate and tender [Page 15] lover, I dare say you have not neglected a most material thing in gallantry.

Zer.

Lord, what's that?

Lis.

To write some verses on me.

Zer.

Why, I could not myself, but I gave a famous poet a hundred piastres to do it for me, because I'd have 'em done in the best manner; I have got 'em set to music too, and I'd sing 'em in a great stile if you would not be affronted.

Lis.

Oh, I'm enchanted, pray let me hear 'em. Now for something fine and ridiculous.

ZERBINO.
The Grand Turk with his wives, and his mufties, and mutes,
In his shining alcoves, in his grottos, and shades,
May carouse to the cymbals, or dance to the flutes,
Or sleep to the music of falling cascades;
Or mew up his concubines in his Seraglio,
Or, deck'd with a pompous regalia;
While to every subject his word is a law,
May direct the divan,
And keep all to a man,
From Vizier to slave, of the bow-string in awe.
But I ev'n high'r,
Than this, would aspire.
And of harsh sounding cymbals, and delicate flutes,
Which please the Grand Turk, and his mufties, and mutes,
And grottos, and bow'rs, and cascades, and alcoves,
With baths and perfumes, amber, cassia and cloves,
And much more, having you, I've my choice;
All that's pleasing to me,
In your person I see;
All that's musical, hear in your voice;
And compar'd to your love, or your good opinion,
What's pow'r, or title, or wealth, or dominion.
Lis.
[Page 16]

Sir, you give me very great proofs of your affection indeed, and if it was not for a certain de­licacy and decorum which you must have remark'd in me, and which I always so strictly preserve, I don't know but I should consent to be married to­morrow morning.

Zer.

Oh let us be married to-morrow morning by all means; see here I have brought The WED­DING RING on purpose, pray let me put it on your finger.

Lis.

Really, Sir, you have such insinuating ways there's no refusing you any thing; but, Sig. Zer­bino, the grand point is, how are we to live after we are married?

Zer.

Oh, we shan't disagree about that, I war­rant you, I shall be be the most loving creature in the world.

Lis.

Then I'm afraid we shall disagree; I shall expect a great deal of indulgence.

Zer.

Lord, you shall do whatever you please.

Lis.

Yes, yes, I must make a point of that, for my father's severity has hitherto kept me in the saddest subjection in the world; he gives me so little liberty that it makes me half mad, and I have a hundred times wish'd that he would marry me to any body that I might be out of this constraint; thank heaven you come very happily for that end, and I shall henceforward prepare to take diversions, and make up for the time I have lost; I don't in­tend to be unreasonable; I believe what with pub­lic amusements, gaming, visits, company, treats, [Page 17] walks, balls, and a ciscesbeo, I shall be pretty well satisfied.

I will have my humour, I'll please all my senses,
I'll neither be stinted in love, nor expences;
I'll dress with profusion, I'll game without measure,
You shall have the bus'ness, and I'll have the pleasure.
By every incentive I'll rouse inclination,
More changing, capricious, and vain, than the fashion;
In short, I'll take care by the bent of my carriage,
To shew you the sweets and the comforts of marriage.

SCENE VI.

ZERBINO, PANDALFO, afterwards LISSETTA and FELICIA.
Pan.

Well, Zerbino, have you seen her?

Zer.

Yes, I have seen her.

Pan.

And what sort of a reception has she given you?

Zer.

Oh, I never was so happy in my life! if she could eat gold she should have it; you told me she'd put on her melancholy airs, and I should be frown'd at, and truly it made me a little afraid at first. But I never saw any thing so coming, and so good-natur'd in all my life.

Pan.

Why, did not she refuse you?

Zer.

Refuse me! why, bless your heart, she's quite in love with me?

Pan.

'Tis impossible!

Zer.

Impossible! what, do you think it impos­sible for any body to be in love with me?

Pan,

Oh, no, I don't mean that.

Zer.

E'cod, if you did, I believe you'd find yourself very much mistaken.

Pan.

Well, well, but explain this matter.

Zer.

Why, I can't explain it any more than I have; you desir'd me to come and make love to your daughter, by that time I had been here five minutes, she was as fond of me as any thing can be; before we parted I gave her The WEDDING [Page 19] RING, and we are to be married to-morrow morning.

Oh how my heart is leaping, and skipping,
And bounding, as if from its seat 'twould come out
My head is grown giddy, my heels are a tripping,
And all my five senses are put to the rout.
Pan.
I hope she's sincere.
I'll call her again:
Felicia! Felicia!
(Goes off.)
Lis.
Good Sir, 'tis in vain,
(Coming on.)
You'll not make her hear.
Zer.
The old man, I see,
Is as anxious as me.
Lis.
Who call'd me—Zerbino, wast thee?
Zer.
No, Ma'am, 'twas your father.
Lis.
I rather
Had hopes it was you.
Pan.
Felicia!
Zer.
He's calling you now.
Lis.
Then adieu.
Zer.
And why so?
Lis.
But a whim,
I'm asham'd to confess my affection to him;
But you, on my truth may for ever rely.
Zer.
Was ever a lover so happy as I!
Enough, love, enough.
Lis.
Here he comes, I'll steal off,
(Goes off.)
Pan.
[Page 20]
Where, where, can she be?
(Comes on.)
Zer.
He, he, he, he, he,
She was here, Sir, this minute.
Pan.
The deuce must be in it!
Zer.
'Tis true, and she told me,
'Twas joy to behold me;
In short, she grows kinder and kinder.
Pan.
I must and will find her.
Felicia.
(Goes off.)
Lis.
Zerbino, you'd better be gone;
(Comes on.)
You'll speak to the priest, let me see you anon:
Mean time to my father don't mention a word
Where I am.
Zer.
I'm not quite so absurd;
'Tis enough you command me!
Lis.
Adieu, then.
Zer.
Adieu.
Think kindly of me, I'll think kindly of you.
(LISSITTA goes off.)
Zer.
I've seen her again, Sir.
Pan.
I've search'd the house round
And can't see her,
Zer.
'Tis true,
Nor you won't; bnt I've no time to waste:
I'm going on business requires some haste.
Pan.
But you'll come back again!
Zer.
Back again—to be sure.
Pan.
Mean time I'll attend you, dear son, to the door.
(Go off.)
Fel.
[Page 21]
Hold up, my poor heart,
(FELICIA and LISSETTA comes on)
What a difficult part,
Lissetta, you've giv'n me to play.
Lis.
Here, here, take the Ring,
And seem every thing
Your father can wish, that's the way—
I'll insure you success,
And Hymen shall bless—
Fel.
Hush, hush, girl, he's here.
Pan.
Felicia, my dear,
(Comes on.)
Where was you?
Fel.
Dear Sir, in my room.
Pan.
And have you been kind
To your lover?
Fel.
You'll find
That my lover will scarcely complain of his doom.
Pan.
You've confess'd an affection,
Fel.
To his care and protection,
Myself I would gladly resign.
Pan.
I'm out of my wits!
Lis.
How well the plot hits!
Pan.
Was 'ere so complying a daughter as mine?
Fel.
Was 'ere situation so cruel as mine?
Fel.
Was ever man gull'd like this master of mine?
END OF THE FIRST ACT.

ACT II.

SCENE I.

The Scene continues.
PANDALFO, HENRICO, afterwards FELICIA and LISSETTA.
Pan.

Sir, I won't hear a single word more.

Hen.

What are your objections?

Pan.

Sir, I shall keep my objections to myself, and you must and shall be satisfied with my refu­sing you without telling you why.

Hen.

Was ever any thing to unreasonable. But, Sir, if it should so happen, that the lady is not averse to my proposal, would you still persist in refusing me?

Pan.

I believe, if you stay till you get her con­sent, your patience will be pretty well exercis'd.

Hen.

Will you promise me your's, Sir, upon condition that I am so fortunate to succeed with her?

Pan.

Ay, ay, with all my heart; I believe I may very securely make that promise.

Hen.

Sir, I am the happiest man in the world!

Pan.

What then you really have the modesty to imagine it practicable?

Hen.

Why, yes, Sir, I confess I have.

Pan.

Then, know to your confusion, that she has given her consent to another, and that she wears on her finger, at this minute, a WEDDING RING, in token of her having promised to marry him.

Hen.

Well, Sir, since it is so, will you, as the [Page 22] last request I have to make you, allow me to hear a confirmation of this from your daughter?

Pan.

What, then you don't believe me?

Hen.

I don't absolutely say that; but it would be a satisfaction to me, I confess, to hear it from the young lady herself.

Pan.

Oh, Sir, you shall have that satisfaction in a minute, for here she comes.—Felicia, here's a strange importunate sort of a gentleman, who has the audacity to expect my consent to his mar­riage with you; I told him of the promise you made me, and nothing, forsooth, will satisfy him but hearing it from your mouth.

Hen.

Indeed, Madam, what I heard from your father might well surprise me, I was in doubt, I own; and that final sentence, which determines the fate of my unbounded passion, must be so sen­sibly felt by me, that it can be no offence if I desire a repetition of it.

Fel.

Sir, I'd have it known, that fate has pre­sented two objects to my view, which inspiring me with different sentiments, agitate all the passions of my soul, one, by a reasonable choice whereto honour engages me—

Pan.

And your father's consent.

Fel.

Possesses all my esteem and love.

Pan.

That's my choice.

Fel.

And the other, in return for his affection, has all my anger and aversion.

Pan.

That's you.

Fel.

To see myself the wife of one is all my desire.

Pan.

That's my good girl.

Fel.

And I'd rather lose my life than be married to the other.

Pan.
[Page 24]

Pray, Sir, are you contented?

Fel.

Sir, he must be contented, and if he has the love for me, he pretends, he ought not to re­pine at his fate.

Hen.

Ma'am, so far from repining, I admire your sincerity, and shall endeavour to behave in this affair as I ought.

Fel.

I know, 'tis highly improper for young women to own their love so freely; but in the con­dition fate has plac'd me, these liberties may be allow'd, and I can without a blush confess, that I have declared my real sentiments.

Hen.

Very well, Ma'am, your meaning's plain enough, I understand what 'tis you urge me too, and shall remove from your sight him who gives you this great disturbance.

Fel.

You can't oblige me more agreeably.

Hen.
The poor exile, who, leaving his friends and his home,
Leaves more than his life, more than fortune, or fame;
Is doom'd, without hope, thus unpity'd to roam,
His suff'rings unmourn'd, and forgotten his name.
But justice condemn'd him, his sentence is past,
His fate is pronounc'd, and he must be resign'd;
With fortune he struggles indeed—but at last,
To her rigid will, learns to fashion his mind.

SCENE II.

PANDOLFO, FELICIA, and LISSETTA.
Pan.

Poor young man—a very great proof of his affection indeed—rather than make you un­happy, he bears his own torments without seeming to suffer any, truly I pity him.

Fel.

Indeed, Sir, it's more than I do.

Pan.

Nay, but that's too cruel.

Fel.

Sir, I assure you, if you knew, what my sentiments are of him, you would not think him such an object of pity.

Pan.

Nay, but consider, he had an affection for you.

Lis.

Very true, Sir, in my opinion, she ought to follow your advice, and not treat him with so much ill-nature.

Pan.

We don't want you, Ma'am, to give your opinion about it.

Lis.

Lord, Sir, you won't be pleased let one talk how one will; did not you say, my young lady treated him too cruelly? and would not any body in the world say the same? is there any com­parison now between him and Signor Zerbino? Oh, Ma'am, your father is perfectly in the right; shew more compassion to Henrico by all means.

Pan.

And who the devil gave you the liberty of advising my daughter.

Lis.

Sure, Sir, there's no harm in speaking one's mind; I have said no more than what I actually think of the matter, and you can't do better than first of all to marry your daughter to Henrico, and afterwards, as a reward for my faithful services, prevail upon Zerbino to marry me.

Pan.
[Page 36]

I never heard such a piece of impudence since I was born, but I am angry with myself for listening to it. Felicia, I am going to see that Zerbino makes all the necessary preparations, and shall be with you again in half an hour.

Lis.

If that's the case, Ma'am, I must run ready to break my neck that I may be with him before hand.

Fel.

Indeed, Lissetta, I dread the consequence of this disingenuous behaviour.

Lis.

Oh, Ma'am, If you don't exert a little spi­rit we are undone: I have taken care to apprise Henrico of all that's going forward; and poor Zerbino—if he does not repent his gallantry—I have such a battery to play off against him; nay, I'll make both him and your father principal actors in this plot of ours, even without their knowledge.

Fel.

I have no doubt of either your talents or good wishes for me, Lissetta, but take care you don't provoke my father.

Lis.

Never fear, Ma'am, I have conducted you so far on your voyage with safety, and I warrant you I am pilot good enough to bring you fafe to land.

Fel.

Heaven send it.

Lis.

Besides, who would not run a little risk for so handsome a man as Sig. Henrico?

Fel.

Indeed, Lissetta, he deserves every thing.

When first the youth his fears forsook,
And that he lov'd I fondly heard,
What sweetness, was in ev'ry look!
What eloquence, in ev'ry word!
From her whole store, to make me bless'd,
Did fortune bid me choose;
How gladly would I all the rest
For love, and him, refuse.

SCENE III.

An Apartment in Zerbino's House.
ZERBINO, HENRICO, afterwards LISSETTA.
Hen.

Is your name, Zerbino, Sir?

Zer,

Yes, Sir, that's my name.

Hen.

Then you are the man I was looking for.

Zer.

Pray, Sir, what's your bus'ness?

Hen.

Oh, Sir, I shall tell you my bus'ness in as brief a manner as possible; it seems you have made proposals of marriage to Felicia, Sig. Pandolfo's daughter.

Zer.

No, I did not, 'twas her father made pro­posals to me.

Hen.

Well, that no matter, proposals were made, and pray, Sir, what do you expect as a portion with her?

Zer.

Oh, I am to take her without a portion.

Hen.

Indeed you are not.

Zer.

No?

Hen.

No? I am to pay you her portion.

Zer.

Are you, and pray what portion are you to pay me?

Hen.

I am afraid you won't like it.

Zer.

Not like it, why so—what is it to be;

Hen.

Blows—wounds—and death.

Zer.

A very pretty portion indeed; I had rather be without it, I thank you.

Hen.

Nay, Sir, don't hesitate, you see I am pre­par'd to pay you and take the portion, or I'll break off the match.

Zer.

You break off the match! for what?

Hen.
[Page 38]

For what?

Zer.

Ay, tell me that?

Hen.

Because I am in love with the lady myself—because she returns my passion—because—be­cause her father has consented to our marriage—

Zer.

Her father has consented to your marriage.

Hen.

He has, and if you dare even to think of her I'll tear you to atoms.

Zer.

And all this is most certainly true.

Hen.

Death and fire! have you any doubt of it?

Zer.

Why, I can't say but your arguments are very convincing, and yet now if you would but talk a little cool about this affair—

Hen.

Cool! can a man, jealous of his honour, and affronted like me talk cool?—Sir!—

Zer.

Sir!

Hen.

I have but one short word to say to you; renounce all claim to the lady, this instant, or tremble at the consequence.

Zer.

Indeed, Sir, you are very hasty; only let me get over my fright a little; I never saw you in all my life before, and how do I know but all this may be—

Hen.

A lie! I suppose.

Zer.

Oh, no, indeed I did not say a lie.

Hen.

But you mean't it, and I'll not be trifled with, therefore, if you value your safety, do as I command you.

Zer,

Oh, I'll do any thing in the world if you will only give me a little breath, and change that terrible countenance; Oh, as sure as I am alive here comes Felicia herself.

Hen.

Ah, fond girl, do you follow him to his house? by Heav'n! I suspected this, but I will be revenged!

Lis.
[Page 39]

Protect me, Zerbino.

Zer.

Oh, I am as much frigten'd at him as you can be.

Hen.

You've neither of you cause to fear; for you Madam, your infidelity be your punishment; and for you, Sir, you are going to punish yourself; but as I have still some regard left for Sig. Pandol­fo, I'll take care he shall not be made a dupe of, therefore I insist upon your giving this lady your hand, before me, and promising to marry her.

Zer.

That I will, with all my heart, and shall be glad to be friends with you so easily.

Lis.

And as for me, I own, the height of my ambition is to become the wife of Sig. Zerbino.

Hen.

I am satisfied.

SCENE IV.

ZERBINO, LISSETTA.
Zer.

E'cod he frighten'd me devilishly at first, but he has behaved very well upon the whole, has not he?

Lis.

I do assure you, Zerbino, I am very much in doubt about that: he is a very insinuating man, and had, before I came out, persuaded my father into such a plot, that I am afraid we shall find a great many difficulties to get over yet.

Zer.

Why you surprise me!

Lis.

You must know that this cavalier is very well born, and says my father to me, soon after you went away—you'll pardon me for repeating his words—Zerbino has a great deal of money to be sure, but then it was all got by rapine and usury; and to say truth, he is little better than sprung from a dunghill: now I have been con­sidering this, and am come to an absolute resolu­tion not to let you marry him.

Zer.

Your father say this!

Lis.
[Page 40]

These very words—I was thunder struck at them, as you may well guess, and for heaven's sake, dear Sir, said I, with tears in my eyes, why would you let me see and converse with him? why would you let me listen to his insinuating addresses, which have won my affections, and made it im­possible for me to obey you?

Zer.

Dear, kind creature!—well, what did he say to that?

Lis.

Oh, he continued unmov'd; says he—in a more resolute tone than ever I heard him speak to me in my life—you must conquer your affections; I have heard of a gentleman well born, and nearly related to the Doge of Venice, and am so ashamed that I never thought of this man for my son-in-law, that I shan't be content with merely marrying you to my friend Henrico, but you must consent to punish Zerbino for having presum'd to think of you.

Zer.

To punish me! and pray how does he mean to do that?

Lis.

I am almost asham'd to tell you.

Zer.

Oh, I beg of you to tell me.

Lis.

Why he intends—to trap you into marriage with my maid.

Zer.

With your maid!

Lis.

With my maid: he is to pass her upon you for me when you come to our house; and as a proof of what I tell you, he forc'd from me that Ring you were so gallant ro present me with, and gave it to her the better to carry on his scheme.

Zer.

What a deceitful world this is!

Lis.

To be sure she is a relation of ours, and every body thinks her a very smart girl—but I'll assure the minx—to pretend to my lover.

Zer.

Ay, indeed—but suppose we were to go [Page 41] and be married directly, that you know would put an end to every thing.

Lis.

It must not be; I would not have my father think I am so afraid of him, therefore come at the time you intended, and I'll warrant every thing shall go as I'd have it.

Zer.

Oh, you may depend upon me.

Lis.

My father is coming to you presently, and I would advise you to tell him all this, only don't say how you came to know it.

Zer.

Yes, yes, I'll tell him.

Lis.

Good b'ye, Zerbino.

Zer.

Well, but Felicia.

Lis.

What do you say?

Zer.

Won't you give me one kiss before you go?

Lis.

Lord, how can you ask such a thing?

Zer.

You must indeed.

(kisses her.)
Lis.
You impudent man you!
Nay, prithee, how can you?
Indeed, I'll assure you,
Will nothing then cure you?—
Nay, now I declare I shall never endure you.
You teaze one to death,
I'm quite out of breath,
I hate and abhor this horse-play;
Besides, 'tis not right,
To see one this fright,
Lord, what do you think folks will say;
I own too much room,
You have had to presume,
Or you ne'er with these freedoms would teaze me;
For though they might please me,
And with patience I bore 'em;
Yet at least in one's carriage,
On this side of marriage!
One ought to keep up a decorum.

SCENE V.

ZERBINO and PANDOLFO.
Zer.

How violently she loves me—Well done Sig. Pandolfo—Who would have believed it—Here he comes—I'll seem melancholy.

Pan.

Well, Zerbino, I could not bear my Im­patience, so I came that we may conclude this business as soon as possible.

Zer.

Yes, you seem rather in a hurry, indeed.

Pan.

How happy shall I be when I once see you married!

Zer.

To your daughter's maid—I'm very much oblig'd to you.

Pan.

What's the matter, Zerbino? You look dull.

Zer.

No, not at all, I was only thinking what a strange sort of a world this is.

Pan.

Why what complaint can you have against the world? Has any one done you an ill office?

Zer.

How his conscience flies in his face. Why I can't say but I have been rather ill treated.

Pan.

Ay—How?

Zer.

You shall judge. Do you know one Sig. Henrico?

Pan.

Yes, I know him very well. Has he treated you ill?

Zer.

He's well born I believe.

Pan.

Yes, yes, he's well born; he is related to the Doge of Venice.

Zer.

The very words Felicia told me; and he has made proposals to marry your daughter, has not he?

Pan.
[Page 33]

I thought that was coming. Why how came you to know it?

Zer.

Oh, a friend informed me; and I'll tell you What I have been thinking of Signior Pandolfo, that for all I have a great deal of money, since it was got by rapine and usury, and since I am little better than sprung from a dunghill, I ought not to aspire to the honour of being our son-in-law.

Pan.

You astonish me very much by this dis­course.

Zer.

I am sure I don't know why you should be astonished about it.

Pan.

What does it tend to?

Zer.

You don't know I suppose.

Pan.

How should I unless you tell me?

Zer.

Why then I'll disguise it no longer—'Tis you have used me ill; the same friend that told me Sig. Henrico wanted to marry Felicia, told me you had consented to it, and that you was determined to punish me for presuming to think of her, and a great deal more.

Pan.

Was there ever such a strange parcel of stuff heard of?

Zer.

Well, let it be ever so strange, you don't contradict it I find.

Pan.

Zerbino, I should not bear such an Impu­tation so easily if I was certain you had been im­posed upon; I suppose this is some contrivance of my daughter and her maid.

Zer.

The maid indeed may have some hand it, but I am sure it's no contrivance of your daughter's.

Pan.

Well, let the contrivance be whose it will, I'm determin'd to have it explain'd.

Zer.

I'll tell you how it may be very easily ex­plain'd.

Pan.
[Page 34]

How?

Zer.

Why let us all come face to face.

Pan.

With all my heart, I don't care how soon; and when we do, I'm sure you will find these wo­men at the bottom of it.

Of woman to tell you my mind,
And I speak from the experience I've had,
Not two out of fifty you'll find,
Be they daughters or wives,
But are plague of our lives,
And enough to make any man mad.
The wrong and the right,
Being set in their sight,
They're sure to take hold of the wrong;
They'll cajole and they'll whimper,
They'll whine, and they'll snivel,
They'll coax, and they'll simper—
In short, they're the devil;
And so there's an end of my song.

SCENE VI.

ZERBINO.

I never saw such a turn, in my life—Ah, Sig. Pandolfo, you did not know what you was setting your wit to—how soon I found him out—and how nettled he was—as if I would not believe Fe­licia sooner than him—I don't wonder now at this fine blustering spark's coming so soon to himself, when he knew he was so secure of the father—and this after all is the regard he pays to the memory of his old friend; in the morning he was dining [Page 35] that in my ears, and how much he should be obliged to me; and when the notary was reading over all the list of my estates, tenements, valleys, houses, barns, mortgages and stocks, I could have betted 'em all to a single piastre, that if the Doge of Venice himself had offered to have been his son-in-law, he would have refus'd him for me; and now to use me in this manner. I am very much deceiv'd if he does not repent it—what the deuce docs he want to make of me—

Can such usage be borne?
Indeed—I'll be sworn,
He fancies to make me a tool;
A lacquey, an ass,
But I'll not let it pass,
No, no, I'm not quite such a fool.
'Tis all in my head, and no longer I'll stay,
But go and see how the nail drives;
If I find he desires to be friends,
And strives
For this conduct to make some amends,
Not a syllable have I to say:
But if he thinks
To palm on me this minx,
Whose story's, I warrant, well taught her—
Lord, how I will use him!
I'll scold him, revile him, reproach and abuse him,
And then run away with his daughter.

SCENE THE LAST.

A large saloon in Pandolfo's house, with folding doors on each side, which being thrown open, discover two different views of Venice.
HENRICO, FELICIA, LISSETTA, afterwards PAN­DOLFO, after him ZERBINO, and then HENRICO again, who comes forward, after having concealed himself.
Fel.

Oh, Henrico, what have you persuaded me too? I tremble to think how my father will be insenc'd when he finds we have impos'd upon him.

Hen.

I can't see that we have any great danger to apprehend; he voluntarily gave me his promise to day, that I shou'd marry you if you did not object to it.

Lis.

So he did, I overheard him; and if I had not, I'd say I had, if there was a necessity for it.

Hen.

Besides, when he sees this Zerbino make himself so ridiculous—

Lis.

Which, thanks to my ingenuity, he will very shortly.

Hen.

I then have no doubt but every thing will go in our favour.

Fel,

The very thing you build upon I am afraid of.

Hen.

Well, but my dear Felicia, you have gone on thus far chearfully, and now you drop.

Fel.

Consider what I hazard, I may lose my father's affection, that's all I fear, and you should not blame me; for if I am not capable of dis­charging [Page 37] my duty as a daughter, what security can you have for my making you a good wife?

Lis.

That's all very true Ma'am, but its nothing to the bus'ness in hand, we must to our posts; for my part I know well enough what I have to do; you, Sig. Henrico, must get into your old hiding place; and do you Ma'am look as prim and as demure as if you knew nothing of what's going forward.

Hen.
The merchants that with weary toiling,
Are India of its treasure spoiling,
Well might indeed their traffic prize;
If rubies, pearls, and saphires they could find,
Like your dear lips, your teeth, your eyes,
Or orient gold as precious as your mind.
Fel.
A thousand cruel doubts distress me,
On every side they thronging press me,
I fear,
I know not why;
And though, Henrico, thou art near,
I tremble, droop, and sigh.
Hen
Ah, cease! ah, cease! by heav'n I vow,
'Till life be past,
My love shall last,
As pure as now.
Fel.
Then wherefore this pain,
Why should I complain?
Both.
Love befriending,
Joy attending,
On all our hopes shall smile;
In thee my love delighting,
Requited, and requiting,
Each night, and day,
That rowls away,
With pleasure we'll beguile.
Pan.
[Page 38]

Felicia, what can be the meaning of a strange story I have heard from Zerbino?

Fel.

Nay, Sir, how should I know?

Pan.

I am convinc'd he could not mean to im­pose upon me, and yet, upon reflection, I hardly think you could have been guilty of so much du­plicity at the very time I had every reason in the world to believe you was perfectly obedient to my will.

Fel.

Let me understand you, Sir.

Pan.

It does not signify repeating the matter, he'll be here in a few minutes himself, and then—Oh, here he comes—Zerbino, I am glad to see you; let us now clear up this affair; you say you was informed that I intended to refuse you my daughter, and give her to Sig. Henrico.

Zer.

I was.

Pal.

Will you be content if I give her to you now, and call in friends to witness it?

Zer.

I don't desire any better.

Pal.

Then take her hand, and I hope you'll both be happy.

Zer.

Sig. Pandolfo, I did not think you was ca­pable of using me so ill.

Pan.

Why, is the man mad?

Zer.

No, Sir, I am not mad, nor such a fool as you think me; I find it's all true, and perhaps you may repent it.

Pan.

Repent, what?

Zer.

Why offering me your daughter's maid. Do you think I can't see she's dizen'd out that way on purpose?

Pan.

Why Fool—Ideot—

Lis.

Oh you have found it out, have you!

Pan.

What would you have?

Zer.

Why I would have you keep your promise of marrying me to your daughter; here she stands [Page 39] by me, frightened out of her wits, and poor soul! I don't wonder it.

Pan.

My daughter! that's her maid.

Zer.

I knew well enough you would say so; but your daughter, or not your daughter, I'll marry her, and no body else.

Pan.

Why I tell you you are imposed upon.

Zer.

If I am, 'tis by no body but you, and you are only mad that your scheme did not take.

Pan.

Was ever man thus abus'd! I could find in my heart to let him continue in his ignorance, to punish him.

Lis.

Don't spoil a poor girl's fortune, Sir; you see he does not deserve your daughter, bestow her then on Henrico.

Pan.

I thank you for the hint; I made him a kind of promise this afternoon, and I declare if he was here I'd give him her hand this moment.

Hen.

Sir, I take you at your word, and hope you'll never have cause to repent your promise.

Fel.

And can you, Sir, forgive my having de­ceiv'd you?

Pan.

Felicia, you have not deceived me more than I have dcceiv'd myself; I therefore not only forgive you, but confess I was rightly serv'd for opposing your inclinations.

Lis.

And now I drop my disguise. I assum'd the character of my young lady to prevent you, Sig. Zerbino, from interrupting her happiness, it has answer'd my end and I am sufficiently re­warded.

Hen.

Come, come, Lissetta, you are two dif­fident, this gentleman made a promise to marry you before me.

Zer.

I made a promise to marry her before you?

Hen.
[Page 40]

Sir, you know you did.

Zer.

Well then, if I did, I'll tell you what—I'll keep it—she has wit enough in all conscience, and she ought to be made a gentlewoman of; and as for money, I have enough for us both, so let's have no more misunderstandings, but for the fu­ture be all friends—what d'ye say?

Pan.

I accept your proposal with pleasure; since things have turn'd out in this manner, and Lissetta, is in some sort a relation of mine, my friendship and countenance you may command upon all occasions: for my part I am perfectly convinc'd, that two young people who have an af­fection for each other are able to baffle all the pre­caution in the world. And for the future, I wou'd no more attempt to oppose the decrees of love than I wou'd the decrees of fate.

Pan.
As light'ning shoots from place to place,
Which through the clouds we wond'ring trace,
Or darts a beam from Phaebus' face,
Whose flight no eye discovers;
Or from the moon a silver ray,
Will, glittering, on a river play;
So pointed arrows wing their way,
To wound the heart of lovers.
Lis.
I am your voucher, here's the pair,
But trust me they may thank my care;
Remember, Sir, the carrier,
Who, praying, did endeavour
To help his team along the road,
Cries out, this time is ill bestow'd;
Friend, clap your shoulders to the load,
Or you'll stay here for ever.
Hen.
[Page 41]
What will you say in excuse?
Your maxims are in little use;
Too oft we find 'tis wealth profuse
The female heart bewitches;
But you, an instance rare, remove
The shameful prejudice; and prove,
Though riches, most, prefer to love,
Some love, prefer, to riches.
Fel.
Zerbirto, take your Wedding Ring,
Of serious, sacred use—a thing
That us'd, or well, or ill, will bring
To mortals joy or sorrow:
It sav'd us both to day—ah, think,
From a rude precipice's brink,
Where, plunging, we were sure to sink
In misery to-morrow.
Zer.
I see it, and the Ring once more
To its right owner thus restore;
By whom 'twas won, it should be wore,
Trust me I'll prove no rover;
And now if fortune kindly sends,
That we have pleas'd these best of friends,
I've gain'd my most ambitious ends,
And all my cares are over.
THE END.

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