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Ben

As originally acted in Lincoln’s-inn Fields, 1695. -Sir Sampson Legend

Mr. Underhill. Valentine

Mr. Betterton. - Scandal

Mr. Smith. - Tattle

Mr. Bowman

Mr. Doggelt. - Foresight

Mr. Sandford. - Jeremy.

Mr. Bower. - Trapland

Mr. Triffusis. Buckram

Mr. Freeman. Angelica.

Mrs. Bracegirdle. Mrs. Foresight

Mrs. Bowman. Mrs. Frail.

Mrs. Barry - Miss Prue.

Mrs. Aylett. Nurse

Mrs. Leigh, Jenny

Mrs. Lawson.

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1813

Drury Lane. Covent Garden, Sir Sampson Legend Mr. Lovegrove. Mr. Blanchard. Valentine

Mr. Elliston. Mr. C. Kemble. Scandal

Mr. Holland. Mr. Barrymore. Tattle

Mr. Palmer, Mr. Jones. Ben

Mr. Bannister. Mr. Emery. Foresight Mr. Dowton. Mr. Matthews. Jere

Mr. Decamp. Mr. Farley. Trapland

Mr. Penley, Mr. Atkins, Buckram

Mr. Maddocks. Angelica

Mrs. Davison. Mrs. H. Jobastone. Mrs. Foresight Mrs. Orger. Mrs. Egerton. Mrs. Frail

Mrs. Harlowe. Mrs. Gibbs. Miss Prue

Mrs. Edwin. Mrs. Jordan. Nurse

Mrs. Sparks. Mrs. Davenport Jenny

Miss Jones. Mrs. Hibbert. A Steward, Officers, Sailors, and several Attendants.

SCENE-LONDON.

.

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ONE.

Mr. Under Mr. Bettentes Mr. Smith Mr. Bows Mr. Dogret Mr Sandort Mr. Bower Mr. Trifesi Mr. Freema Mr. Braai Hrs. Borne Vis

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grow devilish fat

SCENE I. A Chamber.
VALENTINE discovered reading, JEREMY waiting,

Several Books upon the Table.
Val. JEREMY!
Jer. Sir.

Val. Here, take away; I'll walk a turn, and digest
what I have read.
Jer. You'll

upon

this [Aside, and taking away the Books. Val. And, d'ye lear? go you to breakfast, There's a page doubled down in Ěpictetus, that is a feast for an emperor.

Jer. Was Epictetus a real cook, or did be only write receipts?

Val. Read, read, sirrah, and refine your appetite; learn to live apon instruction'; feast your mind, and mortify your flesh. Read, and take your nourishment in at your eyes; shut up your mouth, and chew the cud of understanding. So Epictetus advises,

paper diet!

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Jer. O Lord! I have heard much of him, when I waited upon a gentleman at Cambridge. Pray what was that Epictetus?

Val. A very rich man--not worth a groat. Jer. Humph! and so be has made a very fine feast, where there is nothing to be calen?

Val. Yes.

Jer. Sir, you're a gentleman, and probably understand this tine feeding;

but, if you please, I had rather be at board-wages. Does your Epictetus, or your Seneca here, or any of these poor rich rogues, teach you how to pay your debts without money? Will they shut

up the mouths of your creditors? Will Plato be bail for you? or Diogenes, because he understands confinement, and lived in a tub, go to prison for you? Slife, sir, what do you mean to mew yourself up here with three or four musty books, in commendation of starving and poverty?

Val. Wby, sirrah, I have no money, you know it; and therefore resolve to rail at all that have: and in that I but follow the examples of the wisest and wittiest men in all ages-these poets and philosopbers, whom you nalgrally hate, for just such another reason; because they abound in sense, and you are a fool.

Jer. Ay, sir, I am a fool, I know it: and yet, heaven help me, l'ın poor enough to be a wit.--Bat I was always a fool, when I told you what your expenses would bring you to; your coaches and your liveries; your treats and your balls; your being in love with a lady that did not care a farthing for you in your

prosperily; and keeping company with wits, that cared for nothing but your prosperity, and now when you are poor, bate you as much as they do one another."

Vál. Well; and now I am poor, I have an opportunity to be revenged ou them all; I'll pursue Angelica with inore love than ever, and appear more notoriously her admirer in this restraint, than when I openly rivalled the rich fops that made court to her. So shall my poverty be a mortification to her pride, and perhaps make lier conipassionate the love which has principally

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9 reduced me to this lowness of fortune. And for the wits, I'm sure I am in a condition lo be even with them.

Jer. Nay, your condition is pretty even with theirs, that's the truth on't.

Val. I'll take some of their trade out of their hands. Jer. Now heaven of mercy continue the tax upon paper !_You don't mean to write?

Val. Yes, I do; I'll write a play. Jer. Hem!--Sir, if you please to give me a small certificate of three lines-only to certify those whom it may concern, that the bearer hereof, Jeremy Fetch by name, bas for tbe

space of

seven

years truly and faithfully served Valentine Legend, esquire; and that he is not now turned away for'any misdemeanor; but does voluntarily dismiss his master from any future authority over him.

Val. No, sirrah, you shall live with me still. Jer. Sir, it's impossible-I may die with you, starve with you, or be damned with your works : but to live, even three days, the life of a play, I no more expect it than to be canonized for a muse after my decease.

Val. You are witty, you rogne, I shall want your help -l'll have you learn to cuake couplets, to lay the ends of acts. D'ye hear? get the maids to crambo in an evening, and learn the knack of rhyming; you may arrive at the height of a song sent by an unknown hand, or a chocolate-house lampoon.

Jer. But, sir, is this the way to recover your father's
favour? Why, sir Sampson will be irreconcilable. If
your younger brother should come from sea, he'd never
look upon you again. You're undone, sir; you're
ruined; you won't have a friend left

naine,
spiril of famine appears to me--sometimes like a de-
cayed porter, worn out with pimping, and carrying
billet-doux and songs; not like other porters for hire,
but for the jest's sake.- Now like a thin chairman,
melted down to half his proportion, with carrying a
poet upon tick, to visit some great fortune ; and his
fare to be paid him, like the wages of sin, either at the
day of inarriage, or the day of death,

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you turn poet. I never think the lines the world, if

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Enter SCANDAL. Scan. What! Jeremy holding forth!

Val. The rogue has, with all the wit he could muster up, been declaiming against wit.

Scan. Ay? Why then I'ın afraid Jeremy has wit; for wherever it is, it's always contriving its own ruin.

Jer. Why, so I have been telling my master, sir.Mr. Scandal, for heaven's sake, sir, try if you can dissuade bim from turning poet.

Scan. Poet! He shall turn soldier first, and rather depend upun the outside of his head than the lining! Why, wbat the devil! has not your poverty made you enemies enough? Must you needs show your wit to get more?

Jer. Ay, more indeed; for who cares for any body that has more wit than himself?

Scan. Jeremy speaks like an oracle. Don't you see how worthless great men, and dull rich rogues, avoid a witty man of small fortune? Why, he looks like a writ of inquiry into their titles and estates, and seems, conmissioned by heaven to seize the better half.

Val. Therefore I would rail in my writings, and be revenged.

Scan. Rail! at whom? the whole world? Impotent and vain! Who would die a martyr to sense, in a coun: try where the religion is folly? You may stand at bay for awhile; but when the full cry is against you, you shan't bave fair play for your life. If you can't be fairly run down by the hounds, you will be treacherously shot by the huntsmen. No, turn flatterer, quack, lawyer, any thing but poet. A modern poet is worse, more servile, tinorous, aud fawning, than any I have named : without you could retrieve the ancient honours of the name, recall the stage of Athens, and be allowed the force of open, honest satire.

Val. You are as inveterate against our poets, as if your character had been lately exposed upon the

stage. -Nay, I am not violently bent upon the trade. (A Knocking] Jeremy, see who's there. [Exit Jeremy)

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