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Ant.

Then healths to every friend,
The night's repast shall end,
With a heart at ease, merry, merry glees,
Can never fail to please.

Clara.

Nor, while we are so joyous,
Shall anxious fear annoy us,

Let us laugh and play, so blythe and gay,
Till we banish care away.

Jerome. For generous guests, like these,

Accept the wish to please,

So we'll laugh and play, so blythe and gay,
Your smiles drive care away.

THE END

THE

BELLE'S STRATAGEM;

A COMEDY,

IN FIVE ACTS;

By Mrs. COWLEY.

AS PERFORMED AT THE THEATRES ROYAL,

DRURY LANE AND COVENT GARDEN.

PRINTED UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE MANAGERS

FROM THE PROMPT BOOK.

WITH REMARKS

BY MRS. INCHBALD.

LONDON:

PRINTED FOR LONGMAN, HURST, REES, AND ORME,

PATERNOSTER ROW.

WILLIAM SAVAGE, PRINTER,

LONDON.

REMARKS.

This comedy appeared on the stage in 1780; it was extremely attractive for two seasons, and still holds a place in the catalogue of those plays, which are generally performed every year.

Its greatest charm is, that it is humorous, without ever descending to that soyrce of humour, easy of access, and which is placed among characters in low life.

The persons of importance in this drama are all elegant, or, at least, well bred; and, while they excite mirth, they create also an interest in their behalf, which is-assisted to the end of the piece by à variety of forcible and pleasing occurrences.

The incident, from which the play takes its title, is, perhaps, the least pleasing, and the least probable, of any amongst the whole; still, this stratagem, as the foundation of a multiplicity of others, far better conceived and executed, has a claim to the toleration of the reader, and will generally obtain admiration from the auditor, by the skill of the actress who imitates a simpleton. The dialogue of this play is very good; abound

ing in excellent satire, with a most perfect description of the modes and manners of the fashionable world.

If Doricourt should remind the reader of Sir Harry Wildair, or Valentine in “ Love for Love," it is the only character in the work, that does not appear original-Sir George and Lady Frances Touchwood, are more particularly new than the rest.

The second plot, in which they are the principals, is, to many spectators and readers, much more interesting than the first. It is assuredly more refined and more natural, though neither so bold nor so brilliant,

The love of Sir George and his wife is fervent, yet reasonable; they are fond, but not foolish; and with all their extreme delicacy of opinions, never once express their thoughts, either in ranting, affected, or insipid, sentences.

Lady Frances, being protected at the masquerade, delights some auditors, as much as Doricourt's falling violently in love there; and though neither of these events, traced through all their meanders, may appear strictly within the bounds of likelihood, yet dramatic probability is seldom for a moment lost; which is the happy art of alluring the attention of an audience, from the observation of every defect, and of fixing it solely upon every beauty which the dramatist displays.

To explain this remark-- who does not scorn that romantic passion, which is inflamed to the highest ardour, by a few hours conversation with a woman

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