The Rover (HarperPerennial Classics)
The Rover (HarperPerennial Classics)
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Faithful and handsome, the Englishman Belvile is in love with the Italian lady Florinda, who is betrothed to another. Willmore, the rover, is in love with Hellena, sister of Florinda and destined for the convent. And Angellica Bianca, a courtesan, is in love with Willmore. Against the backdrop of Naples during Carnival time, this varied cast of characters pursue life, honour, and pleasure in this comedic drama.
Author and playwright Aphra Behn created a clearly male-centric world in The Rover, but does not dismiss the power of her female characters, who are willing to go to extreme measures to fulfill their desires. The Rover was written for profit at a time when Behn had lost her source of income, but became one of the most popular plays of the Restoration era, and it is still studied and widely performed in modern times.
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new desire in me—come let’s be gay and wanton—and, gentlemen, study, study what you want, for here are friends,—that will supply, gentlemen,—hark! what a charming sound they make—’tis he and she gold whilst here, shall beget new pleasures every moment. BLUNT But hark ye, sir, you are not married, are you? WILLMORE All the honey of matrimony, but none of the sting, friend. BLUNT ’Sheartlikins, thou’rt a fortunate rogue. WILLMORE I am so, sir, let these inform you.—Ha, how sweetly they chime!
dissembles so heartily—alas, good captain, what pains you have taken—now were I ungrateful not to reward so true a servant. WILLMORE Poor soul! that’s kindly said, I see thou bearest a conscience—come then for a beginning show me thy dear face. HELLENA I’m afraid, my small acquaintance, you have been staying that swinging stomach you boasted of this morning; I remember then my little collation would have gone down with you, without the sauce of a handsome face—is your stomach so queasy now?
it. The spiteful light will lead me to no happiness. Tomorrow is Antonio’s, and perhaps guides him to my undoing;—oh that I could meet this rival, this powerful fortunate. WILLMORE What then? BELVILE Let thy own reason, or my rage instruct thee. WILLMORE I shall be finely informed then, no doubt; hear me, colonel—hear me—show me the man and I’ll do his business. BELVILE I know him no more than thou, or if I did, I should not need thy aid. WILLMORE This you say is Angellica’s house, I
nun, than be obliged to marry as you would have me, if I were designed for’t. PEDRO Do not fear the blessing of that choice—you shall be a nun. HELLENA Shall I so? you may chance to be mistaken in my way of devotion—a nun! yes I am like to make a fine nun! I have an excellent humour for a grate; no, I’ll have a saint of my own to pray to shortly, if I like any that dares venture on me. PEDRO [Aside.] Callis, make it your business to watch this wildcat. As for you, Florinda, I’ve only tried
should I mean? Thou know’st there’s but one way for a woman to oblige me. BELVILE Don’t profane—the maid is nicely virtuous. WILLMORE Who pox, then she’s fit for nothing but a husband; let her e’en go, colonel. FREDERICK Peace, she’s the colonel’s mistress, sir. WILLMORE Let her be the devil; if she be thy mistress, I’ll serve her—name the way. BELVILE Read here this postscript. [Gives him a letter.] WILLMORE [Reads.] “At ten at night—at the garden gate—of which, if I cannot get the key, I