The Rover, by Aphra Behn

Act II.

Scene I. The Long Street.

Enter Belvile and Frederick in Masquing–Habits, and Willmore in his own Clothes, with a Vizard in his Hand.

Willmore. But why thus disguis’d and muzzl’d?

Belvile. Because whatever Extravagances we commit in these Faces, our own may not be oblig’d to answer ’em.

Willmore. I should have chang’d my Eternal Buff too: but no matter, my little Gipsy wou’d not have found me out then: for if she should change hers, it is impossible I should know her, unless I should hear her prattle — A Pox on’t, I cannot get her out of my Head: Pray Heaven, if ever I do see her again, she prove damnable ugly, that I may fortify my self against her Tongue.

Belvile. Have a care of Love, for o’ my conscience she was not of a Quality to give thee any hopes.

Willmore. Pox on ’em, why do they draw a Man in then? She has play’d with my Heart so, that ’twill never lie still till I have met with some kind Wench, that will play the Game out with me — Oh for my Arms full of soft, white, kind — Woman! such as I fancy Angelica.

Belvile. This is her House, if you were but in stock to get admittance; they have not din’d yet; I perceive the Picture is not out.

Enter Blunt.

Willmore. I long to see the Shadow of the fair Substance, a Man may gaze on that for nothing.

Blunt. Colonel, thy Hand — and thine, Fred. I have been an Ass, a deluded Fool, a very Coxcomb from my Birth till this Hour, and heartily repent my little Faith.

Belvile. What the Devil’s the matter with thee Ned?

Blunt. Oh such a Mistress, Fred. such a Girl!

Willmore. Ha! where? Fred. Ay where!

Blunt. So fond, so amorous, so toying and fine! and all for sheer Love, ye Rogue! Oh how she lookt and kiss’d! and sooth’d my Heart from my Bosom. I cannot think I was awake, and yet methinks I see and feel her Charms still — Fred. — Try if she have not left the Taste of her balmy Kisses upon my Lips — [Kisses him.]

Belvile. Ha, ha, ha! Will. Death Man, where is she?

Blunt. What a Dog was I to stay in dull England so long — How have I laught at the Colonel when he sigh’d for Love! but now the little Archer has reveng’d him, and by his own Dart, I can guess at all his Joys, which then I took for Fancies, mere Dreams and Fables — Well, I’m resolved to sell all in Essex, and plant here for ever.

Belvile. What a Blessing ’tis, thou hast a Mistress thou dar’st boast of; for I know thy Humour is rather to have a proclaim’d Clap, than a secret Amour.

Willmore. Dost know her Name?

Blunt. Her Name? No, ’sheartlikins: what care I for Names? — She’s fair, young, brisk and kind, even to ravishment: and what a Pox care I for knowing her by another Title?

Willmore. Didst give her anything?

Blunt. Give her! — Ha, ha, ha! why, she’s a Person of Quality — That’s a good one, give her! ’sheartlikins dost think such Creatures are to be bought? Or are we provided for such a Purchase? Give her, quoth ye? Why she presented me with this Bracelet, for the Toy of a Diamond I us’d to wear: No, Gentlemen, Ned Blunt not every Body — She expects me again to night.

Willmore. Egad that’s well; we’ll all go.

Blunt. Not a Soul: No, Gentlemen, you are Wits; I am a dull Country Rogue, I.

Frederick. Well, Sir, for all your Person of Quality, I shall be very glad to understand your Purse be secure; ’tis our whole Estate at present, which we are loth to hazard in one Bottom: come, Sir, unload.

Blunt. Take the necessary Trifle, useless now to me, that am belov’d by such a Gentlewoman —’sheartlikins Money! Here take mine too.

Frederick. No, keep that to be cozen’d, that we may laugh.

Willmore. Cozen’d! — Death! wou’d I cou’d meet with one, that wou’d cozen me of all the Love I cou’d spare to night.

Frederick. Pox ’tis some common Whore upon my Life.

Blunt. A Whore! yes with such Clothes! such Jewels! such a House! such Furniture, and so attended! a Whore!

Belvile. Why yes, Sir, they are Whores, tho they’ll neither entertain you with Drinking, Swearing, or Baudy; are Whores in all those gay Clothes, and right Jewels; are Whores with great Houses richly furnisht with Velvet Beds, Store of Plate, handsome Attendance, and fine Coaches, are Whores and errant ones.

Willmore. Pox on’t, where do these fine Whores live?

Belvile. Where no Rogue in Office yclep’d Constables dare give ’em laws, nor the Wine-inspired Bullies of the Town break their Windows; yet they are Whores, tho this Essex Calf believe them Persons of Quality.

Blunt. ’Sheartlikins, y’are all Fools, there are things about this Essex Calf, that shall take with the Ladies, beyond all your Wits and Parts — This Shape and Size, Gentlemen, are not to be despis’d; my Waste tolerably long, with other inviting Signs, that shall be nameless.

Willmore. Egad I believe he may have met with some Person of Quality that may be kind to him.

Belvile. Dost thou perceive any such tempting things about him, should make a fine Woman, and of Quality, pick him out from all Mankind, to throw away her Youth and Beauty upon, nay, and her dear Heart too? — no, no, Angelica has rais’d the Price too high.

Willmore. May she languish for Mankind till she die, and be damn’d for that one Sin alone.

Enter two Bravoes, and hang up a great Picture of Angelica’s, against the Balcony, and two little ones at each side of the Door.

Belvile. See there the fair Sign to the Inn, where a Man may lodge that’s Fool enough to give her Price. [Will. gazes on the Picture.]

Blunt. ’Sheartlikins, Gentlemen, what’s this?

Belvile. A famous Curtezan that’s to be sold.

Blunt. How! to be sold! nay then I have nothing to say to her — sold! what Impudence is practis’d in this Country? — With Order and Decency Whoring’s established here by virtue of the Inquisition — Come let’s be gone, I’m sure we’re no Chapmen for this Commodity.

Frederick. Thou art none, I’m sure, unless thou could’st have her in thy Bed at the Price of a Coach in the Street.

Willmore. How wondrous fair she is — a Thousand Crowns a Month — by Heaven as many Kingdoms were too little. A plague of this Poverty — of which I ne’er complain, but when it hinders my Approach to Beauty, which Virtue ne’er could purchase. [Turns from the Picture.]

Blunt. What’s this? — [Reads] A Thousand Crowns a Month! —’Sheartlikins, here’s a Sum! sure ’tis a mistake. — Hark you, Friend, does she take or give so much by the Month!

Frederick. A Thousand Crowns! Why, ’tis a Portion for the Infanta.

Blunt. Hark ye, Friends, won’t she trust?

Brav. This is a Trade, Sir, that cannot live by Credit.

Enter Don Pedro in Masquerade, follow’d Stephano.

Belvile. See, here’s more Company, let’s walk off a while. [Pedro Reads.]

[Exeunt English.]

Enter Angelica and Moretta in the Balcony, and draw a Silk Curtain.

Pedro. Fetch me a Thousand Crowns, I never wish to buy this Beauty at an easier Rate. [Passes off.]

Angelica. Prithee what said those Fellows to thee?

Brav. Madam, the first were Admirers of Beauty only, but no purchasers; they were merry with your Price and Picture, laught at the Sum, and so past off.

Angelica. No matter, I’m not displeas’d with their rallying; their Wonder feeds my Vanity, and he that wishes to buy, gives me more Pride, than he that gives my Price can make me Pleasure.

Brav. Madam, the last I knew thro all his disguises to be Don Pedro, Nephew to the General, and who was with him in Pampelona.

Angelica. Don Pedro! my old Gallant’s Nephew! When his Uncle dy’d, he left him a vast Sum of Money; it is he who was so in love with me at Padua, and who us’d to make the General so jealous.

Moretta. Is this he that us’d to prance before our Window and take such care to shew himself an amorous Ass? if I am not mistaken, he is the likeliest Man to give your Price.

Angelica. The Man is brave and generous, but of an Humour so uneasy and inconstant that the victory over his Heart is as soon lost as won; a Slave that can add little to the Triumph of the Conqueror: but inconstancy’s the Sin of all Mankind, therefore I’m resolv’d that nothing but Gold shall charm my Heart.

Moretta. I’m glad on’t; ’tis only interest that Women of our Profession ought to consider: tho I wonder what has kept you from that general Disease of our Sex so long, I mean that of being in love.

Angelica. A kind, but sullen Star, under which I had the Happiness to be born; yet I have had no time for Love; the bravest and noblest of Mankind have purchas’d my Favours at so dear a Rate, as if no Coin but Gold were current with our Trade — But here’s Don Pedro again, fetch me my Lute — for ’tis for him or Don Antonio the Vice–Roy’s Son, that I have spread my Nets.

Enter at one Door Don Pedro, and Stephano; Don Antonio and Diego [his page], at the other Door, with People following him in Masquerade, antickly attir’d, some with Musick: they both go up to the Picture.

Antonio. A thousand Crowns! had not the Painter flatter’d her, I should not think it dear.

Pedro. Flatter’d her! by Heaven he cannot. I have seen the Original, nor is there one Charm here more than adorns her Face and Eyes; all this soft and sweet, with a certain languishing Air, that no Artist can represent.

Antonio. What I heard of her Beauty before had fir’d my Soul, but this confirmation of it has blown it into a flame.

Pedro. Ha!

Page. Sir, I have known you throw away a Thousand Crowns on a worse Face, and tho y’are near your Marriage, you may venture a little Love here; Florinda — will not miss it.

Pedro. Ha! Florinda! Sure ’tis Antonio. [aside.]

Antonio. Florinda! name not those distant Joys, there’s not one thought of her will check my Passion here.

Pedro. Florinda scorn’d! and all my Hopes defeated of the Possession of Angelica! [A noise of a Lute above. Ant. gazes up.] Her Injuries by Heaven he shall not boast of.

[Song to a Lute above.]


When Damon first began to love,

He languisht in a soft Desire,

And knew not how the Gods to move,

To lessen or increase his Fire,

For Caelia in her charming Eyes

Wore all Love’s Sweet, and all his Cruelties.


But as beneath a Shade he lay,

Weaving of Flow’rs for Caelia’s Hair,

She chanc’d to lead her Flock that way,

And saw the am’rous Shepherd there.

She gaz’d around upon the Place,

And saw the Grove (resembling Night)

To all the Joys of Love invite,

Whilst guilty Smiles and Blushes drest her Face.

At this the bashful Youth all Transport grew,

And with kind Force he taught the Virgin how

To yield what all his Sighs cou’d never do.

Antonio. By Heav’n she’s charming fair!

[Angelica throws open the Curtains, and bows to Antonio, who pulls off his Vizard, and bows and blows up Kisses. Pedro unseen looks in his Face.]

Pedro. ’Tis he, the false Antonio!

Antonio. Friend, where must I pay my offering of Love? [To the Bravo.] My Thousand Crowns I mean.

Pedro. That Offering I have design’d to make, And yours will come too late.

Antonio. Prithee be gone, I shall grow angry else, And then thou art not safe.

Pedro. My Anger may be fatal, Sir, as yours; And he that enters here may prove this Truth.

Antonio. I know not who thou art, but I am sure thou’rt worth my killing, and aiming at Angelica.

[They draw and fight.]

Enter Willmore and Blunt, who draw and part ’em.

Blunt. ’Sheartlikins, here’s fine doings.

Willmore. Tilting for the Wench I’m sure — nay gad, if that wou’d win her, I have as good a Sword as the best of ye — Put up — put up, and take another time and place, for this is design’d for Lovers only.

[They all put up.]

Pedro. We are prevented; dare you meet me to morrow on the Molo? For I’ve a Title to a better quarrel, That of Florinda, in whose credulous Heart Thou’st made an Int’rest, and destroy’d my Hopes.

Antonio. Dare? I’ll meet thee there as early as the Day.

Pedro. We will come thus disguis’d, that whosoever chance to get the better, he may escape unknown.

Antonio. It shall be so.

[Ex. Pedro and Stephano.]

Who shou’d this Rival be? unless the English Colonel, of whom
I’ve often heard Don Pedro speak; it must be he, and time he
were removed, who lays a Claim to all my Happiness.

[Willmore having gaz’d all this while on the Picture, pulls down a little one.]

Willmore. This posture’s loose and negligent, The sight on’t wou’d beget a warm desire In Souls, whom Impotence and Age had chill’d. — This must along with me.

Brav. What means this rudeness, Sir? — restore the Picture.

Antonio. Ha! Rudeness committed to the fair Angelica! — Restore the Picture, Sir.

Willmore. Indeed I will not, Sir.

Antonio. By Heav’n but you shall.

Willmore. Nay, do not shew your Sword; if you do, by this dear Beauty — I will shew mine too.

Antonio. What right can you pretend to’t?

Willmore. That of Possession which I will maintain — you perhaps have 1000 Crowns to give for the Original.

Antonio. No matter, Sir, you shall restore the Picture..

Angelica. Oh, Moretta! what’s the matter? [Ang. and Moret. above.]

Antonio. Or leave your Life behind.

Willmore. Death! you lye — I will do neither.

Angelica. Hold, I command you, if for me you fight.

[They fight, the Spaniards join with Antonio, Blunt laying on like mad. They leave off and bow.]

Willmore. How heavenly fair she is! — ah Plague of her Price.

Angelica. You Sir in Buff, you that appear a Soldier, that first began this Insolence.

Willmore. ’Tis true, I did so, if you call it Insolence for a Man to preserve himself; I saw your charming Picture, and was wounded: quite thro my Soul each pointed Beauty ran; and wanting a Thousand Crowns to procure my Remedy, I laid this little Picture to my Bosom — which if you cannot allow me, I’ll resign.

Angelica. No, you may keep the Trifle.

Antonio. You shall first ask my leave, and this.

[Fight again as before.]

Enter Belv. and Fred. who join with the English.

Angelica. Hold; will you ruin me? — Biskey, Sebastian, part them.

[The Spaniards are beaten off.]

Moretta. Oh Madam, we’re undone, a pox upon that rude Fellow, he’s set on to ruin us: we shall never see good days, till all these fighting poor Rogues are sent to the Gallies.

Enter Belvile, Blunt and Willmore, with his shirt bloody.

Blunt. ’Sheartlikins, beat me at this Sport, and I’ll ne er wear Sword more.

Belvile. The Devil’s in thee for a mad Fellow, thou art always one at an unlucky Adventure. — Come, let’s be gone whilst we’re safe, and remember these are Spaniards, a sort of People that know how to revenge an Affront.

Frederick. You bleed; I hope you are not wounded. [To Will]

Willmore. Not much:— a plague upon your Dons, if they fight no better they’ll ne’er recover Flanders. — What the Devil was’t to them that I took down the Picture?

Blunt. Took it! ’Sheartlikins, we’ll have the great one too; ’tis ours by Conquest. — Prithee, help me up, and I’ll pull it down. —

Angelica. Stay, Sir, and e’er you affront me further, let me know how you durst commit this Outrage — To you I speak, Sir, for you appear like a Gentleman.

Willmore. To me, Madam? — Gentlemen, your Servant. [Belv. stays him.]

Belvile. Is the Devil in thee? Do’st know the danger of entring the house of an incens’d Curtezan?

Willmore. I thank you for your care — but there are other matters in hand, there are, tho we have no great Temptation. — Death! let me go.

Frederick. Yes, to your Lodging, if you will, but not in here. — Damn these gay Harlots — by this Hand I’ll have as sound and handsome a Whore for a Pattcoone. — Death, Man, she’ll murder thee.

Willmore. Oh! fear me not, shall I not venture where a Beauty calls? a lovely charming Beauty? for fear of danger! when by Heaven there’s none so great as to long for her, whilst I want Money to purchase her.

Frederick. Therefore ’tis loss of time, unless you had the thousand Crowns to pay.

Willmore. It may be she may give a Favour, at least I shall have the pleasure of saluting her when I enter, and when I depart.

Belvile. Pox, she’ll as soon lie with thee, as kiss thee, and sooner stab than do either — you shall not go.

Angelica. Fear not, Sir, all I have to wound with, is my Eyes.

Blunt. Let him go, ’Sheartlikins, I believe the Gentlewomen means well.

Belvile. Well, take thy Fortune, we’ll expect you in the next Street. — Farewell Fool — farewell —

Willmore. B’ye Colonel — [Goes in.]

Frederick. The Rogue’s stark mad for a Wench.


Scene II. A Fine Chamber.

Enter Willmore, Angelica, and Moretta.

Angelica. Insolent Sir, how durst you pull down my Picture?

Willmore. Rather, how durst you set it up, to tempt poor amorous Mortals with so much Excellence? which I find you have but too well consulted by the unmerciful price you set upon’t. — Is all this Heaven of Beauty shewn to move Despair in those that cannot buy? and can you think the effects of that Despair shou’d be less extravagant than I have shewn?

Angelica. I sent for you to ask my Pardon, Sir, not to aggravate your Crime. — I thought, I shou’d have seen you at my Feet imploring it.

Willmore. You are deceived, I came to rail at you, and talk such Truths, too, as shall let you see the Vanity of that Pride, which taught you how to set such a Price on Sin. For such it is, whilst that which is Love’s due is meanly barter’d for.

Angelica. Ha, ha, ha, alas, good Captain, what pity ’tis your edifying Doctrine will do too good upon me — Moretta, fetch the Gentleman a Glass, and let him survey himself, to see what Charms he has — and guess my Business. [Aside in a soft tone.]

Moretta. He knows himself of old, I believe those Breeches and he have been acquainted ever since he was beaten at Worcester.

Angelica. Nay, do not abuse the poor Creature. —

Moretta. Good Weather-beaten Corporal, will you march off? we have no need of your Doctrine, tho you have of our Charity; but at present we have no Scraps, we can afford no kindness for God’s sake; in fine, Sirrah, the Price is too high i’th’ Mouth for you, therefore troop, I say.

Willmore. Here, good Fore–Woman of the Shop, serve me, and I’ll be gone.

Moretta. Keep it to pay your Landress, your Linen stinks of the Gun–Room; for here’s no selling by Retail.

Willmore. Thou hast sold plenty of thy stale Ware at a cheap Rate.

Moretta. Ay, the more silly kind Heart I, but this is at an Age wherein Beauty is at higher Rates. — In fine, you know the price of this.

Willmore. I grant you ’tis here set down a thousand Crowns a Month — Baud, take your black Lead and sum it up, that I may have a Pistole-worth of these vain gay things, and I’ll trouble you no more.

Moretta. Pox on him, he’ll fret me to Death:— abominable Fellow, I tell thee, we only sell by the whole Piece.

Willmore. ’Tis very hard, the whole Cargo or nothing — Faith, Madam, my Stock will not reach it, I cannot be your Chapman. — Yet I have Countrymen in Town, Merchants of Love, like me; I’ll see if they’l put for a share, we cannot lose much by it, and what we have no use for, we’ll sell upon the Friday’s Mart, at — Who gives more? I am studying, Madam, how to purchase you, tho at present I am unprovided of Money.

Angelica. Sure, this from any other Man would anger me — nor shall he know the Conquest he has made — Poor angry Man, how I despise this railing.

Willmore. Yes, I am poor — but I’m a Gentleman, And one that scorns this Baseness which you practise. Poor as I am, I would not sell my self, No, not to gain your charming high-priz’d Person. Tho I admire you strangely for your Beauty, Yet I contemn your Mind. — And yet I wou’d at any rate enjoy you; At your own rate — but cannot — See here The only Sum I can command on Earth; I know not where to eat when this is gone: Yet such a Slave I am to Love and Beauty, This last reserve I’ll sacrifice to enjoy you. — Nay, do not frown, I know you are to be bought, And wou’d be bought by me, by me, For a mean trifling Sum, if I could pay it down. Which happy knowledge I will still repeat, And lay it to my Heart, it has a Virtue in’t, And soon will cure those Wounds your Eyes have made. — And yet — there’s something so divinely powerful there — Nay, I will gaze — to let you see my Strength. [Holds her, looks on her, and pauses and sighs.] By Heaven, bright Creature — I would not for the World Thy Fame were half so fair as is thy Face. [Turns her away from him.]

Angelica. His word go thro me to the very Soul. [Aside.] — If you have nothing else to say to me.

Willmore. Yes, you shall hear how infamous you are — For which I do not hate thee: But that secures my Heart, and all the Flames it feels Are but so many Lusts, I know it by their sudden bold intrusion. The Fire’s impatient and betrays, ’tis false — For had it been the purer Flame of Love, I should have pin’d and languish’d at your Feet, E’er found the Impudence to have discover’d it. I now dare stand your Scorn, and your Denial.

Moretta. Sure she’s bewitcht, that she can stand thus tamely, and hear his saucy railing. — Sirrah, will you be gone?

Angelica. How dare you take this liberty? — Withdraw. [To Moret] — Pray, tell me, Sir, are not you guilty of the same mercenary Crime? When a Lady is proposed to you for a Wife, you never ask, how fair, discreet, or virtuous she is; but what’s her Fortune — which if but small, you cry — She will not do my business — and basely leave her, tho she languish for you. — Say, is not this as poor?

Willmore. It is a barbarous Custom, which I will scorn to defend in our Sex, and do despise in yours.

Angelica. Thou art a brave Fellow! put up thy Gold, and know, That were thy Fortune large, as is thy Soul, Thou shouldst not buy my Love, Couldst thou forget those mean Effects of Vanity, Which set me out to sale; and as a Lover, prize My yielding Joys. Canst thou believe they’l be entirely thine, Without considering they were mercenary?

Willmore. I cannot tell, I must bethink me first — ha, Death, I’m going to believe her. [Aside.]

Angelica. Prithee, confirm that Faith — or if thou canst not — flatter me a little, ’twill please me from thy Mouth.

Willmore. Curse on thy charming Tongue! dost thou return My feign’d Contempt with so much subtilty? [Aside.] Thou’st found the easiest way into my Heart, Tho I yet know that all thou say’st is false. [Turning from her in a Rage.]

Angelica. By all that’s good ’tis real, I never lov’d before, tho oft a Mistress. — Shall my first Vows be slighted?

Willmore. What can she mean? [Aside.]

Angelica. I find you cannot credit me. [In an angry tone.]

Willmore. I know you take me for an errant Ass, An Ass that may be sooth’d into Belief, And then be us’d at pleasure. — But, Madam I have been so often cheated By perjur’d, soft, deluding Hypocrites, That I’ve no Faith left for the cozening Sex, Especially for Women of your Trade.

Angelica. The low esteem you have of me, perhaps May bring my Heart again: For I have Pride that yet surmounts my Love. [She turns with Pride, he holds her.]

Willmore. Throw off this Pride, this Enemy to Bliss, And shew the Power of Love: ’tis with those Arms I call be only vanquisht, made a Slave.

Angelica. Is all my mighty Expectation vanisht? — No, I will not hear thee talk — thou hast a Charm In every word, that draws my Heart away. And all the thousand Trophies I design’d, Thou hast undone — Why art thou soft? Thy Looks are bravely rough, and meant for War. Could thou not storm on still? I then perhaps had been as free as thou.

Willmore. Death! how she throws her Fire about my Soul! [Aside.] — Take heed, fair Creature, how you raise my Hopes, Which once assum’d pretend to all Dominion. There’s not a Joy thou hast in store I shall not then command: For which I’ll pay thee back my Soul, my Life. Come, let’s begin th’ account this happy minute.

Angelica. And will you pay me then the Price I ask?

Willmore. Oh, why dost thou draw me from an awful Worship, By shewing thou art no Divinity? Conceal the Fiend, and shew me all the Angel; Keep me but ignorant, and I’ll be devout, And pay my Vows for ever at this Shrine. [Kneels, and kisses her Hand.]

Angelica. The Pay I mean is but thy love for mine. — Can you give that?

Willmore. Intirely — come, let’s withdraw: where I’ll renew my Vows — and breathe ’em with such Ardour, thou shalt not doubt my Zeal.

Angelica. Thou hast a Power too strong to be resisted.

[Ex. Will. and Angelica.]

Moretta. Now my Curse go with you — Is all our Project fallen to this? to love the only Enemy to our Trade? Nay, to love such a Shameroon, a very Beggar; nay, a Pirate–Beggar, whose Business is to rifle and be gone, a No–Purchase, No–Pay Tatterdemalion, an English Piccaroon; a Rogue that fights for daily Drink, and takes a Pride in being loyally lousy — Oh, I could curse now, if I durst — This is the Fate of most Whores.

Trophies, which from believing Fops we win,

Are Spoils to those who cozen us again.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:51