The Rover, by Aphra Behn


THE banisht Cavaliers! a Roving Blade!

A popish Carnival! a Masquerade!

The Devil’s in’t if this will please the Nation,

In these our blessed Times of Reformation,

When Conventicling is so much in Fashion.

And yet–

That mutinous Tribe less Factions do beget,

Than your continual differing in Wit;

Your Judgment’s (as your Passions) a Disease:

Nor Muse nor Miss your Appetite can please;

You’re grown as nice as queasy Consciences,

Whose each Convulsion, when the Spirit moves,

Damns every thing that Maggot disapproves

With canting Rule you wou’d the Stage refine,

And to dull Method all our Sense confine.

With th’ Insolence of Common-wealths you rule,

Where each gay Fop, and politick brave Fool

On Monarch Wit impose without controul.

As for the last who seldom sees a Play,

Unless it be the old Black–Fryers way,

Shaking his empty Noddle o’er Bamboo,

He crys — Good Faith, these Plays will never do.

–Ah, Sir, in my young days, what lofty Wit,

What high-strain’d Scenes of Fighting there were writ:

These are slight airy Toys. But tell me, pray,

What has the House of Commons done to day?

Then shews his Politicks, to let you see

Of State Affairs he’ll judge as notably,

As he can do of Wit and Poetry.

The younger Sparks, who hither do resort,


Pox o’ your gentle things, give us more Sport;

–Damn me, I’m sure ’twill never please the Court.

Such Fops are never pleas’d, unless the Play

Be stuff’d with Fools, as brisk and dull as they:

Such might the Half–Crown spare, and in a Glass

At home behold a more accomplisht Ass,

Where they may set their Cravats, Wigs and Faces,

And practice all their Buffoonry Grimaces;

See how this — Huff becomes — this Dammy — flare–

Which they at home may act, because they dare,

But — must with prudent Caution do elsewhere.

Oh that our Nokes, or Tony Lee could show

A Fop but half so much to th’ Life as you.

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