They’re forc’d to stop, and their own Farces quit,
T’admire the Merry-Andrews of the Pit;
But if your Mirth so grate the Critick’s ear,
Your Love will yet more Harlequin appear.
—You everlasting Grievance of the Boxes,
You wither’d Ruins of stum’d Wine and Poxes;
What strange Green-sickness do you hope in Women
Should make ’em love old Fools in new Point Linen?
The Race of Life you run off-hand too fast,
Your fiery Metal is too hot to last;
Your Fevers come so thick, your Claps so plenty,
Most of you are threescore at five and twenty.
Our Town-bred Ladys know you well enough,
Your courting Women’s like your taking Snuff;
Out of mere Idleness you keep a pother,
You’ve no more need of one than of the other.
Wou’d you be quit of their insipid noise,
And vain pretending take a Fool’s advice;
Of the faux Braves I’ve had some little trial,
There’s nothing gives ’em credit but Denial:
As when a Coward will pretend to Huffing,
Offer to fight, away sneaks Bully-Ruffian,
So when these Sparks, whose business is addressing,
In Love pursuits grow troublesom and pressing;
When they affect to keep still in your eye, |
When they send Grisons every where to spy, |
And full of Coxcomb dress and ogle high; |
Seem to receive their Charge, and face about,
I’ll pawn my life they never stand it out.
Harry Bellmour, having killed his man in a duel, flies to Brussels, perforce leaving behind him Leticia, to whom he is affianced. During his absence Sir Feeble Fainwou’d, a doting old alderman and his rival, having procured his pardon from the King to prevent it being granted if applied for a second time, and keeping this stratagem secret, next forges a letter as if from the Hague which describes in detail Bellmour’s execution for killing a toper during a tavern brawl. He then plies his suit with such ardour that Leticia, induced by poverty and wretchedness, reluctantly consents to marry him. On the wedding morning Bellmour returns in disguise and intercepts a letter that conveys news of the arrival of Sir Feeble’s nephew, Frank, whom his uncle has never seen. The lover straightway resolves to personate the expected newcomer, and he is assisted in his design by his friend Gayman, a town gallant, who having fallen into dire need is compelled to lodge, under the name of Wasteall, with a smith in Alsatia. His estate has been mortgaged to an old banker, Sir Cautious Fulbank, whose wife Julia he loves, and to her he pretends to have gone to Northamptonshire to his uncle’s death bed. He is discovered, unknown to himself, in his slummy retreat by Bredwel, Sir Cautious’ prentice, who has to convey him a message with reference to the