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SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER

OR

THE MISTAKES OF A NIGHT.

A COMEDY BY OLIVER GOLDSMITH

AS ACTED AT THE

THEATRE-ROYAL, COVENT-GARDEN

(First printed in 1773]

DEDICATION

TO SAMUEL JOHNSON, LL.D.

DEAR SIR,

By inscribing this slight performance to you, I do not mean so much to compliment you as myself. It may do me some honour to inform the public, that I have lived many years in intimacy with you. It may serve the interests of mankind also to inform them, that the greatest wit may be found in a character, without impairing the most unaffected piety.

I have, particularly, reason to thank you for your partiality to this performance. The undertaking a Comedy, not merely sentimental, was very dangerous ; and Mr. Colman, who saw this piece in its various stages, always thought it so. However, I ventured to trust it to the public; and, though it was necessarily delayed till late in the season, I have every reason to be grateful.

I am,

Dear Sir,

Your most sincere
Friend and admirer,

OLIVER GOLDSMITH.

PROLOGUE.

BY DAVID GARRICK, ESQ.

Enter MR. WOODWARD, dressed in black, and holding a

Handkerchief to his Eyes. Excuse me, Sirs, I pray - I can't yet speak — I'm crying now and have been all the week. “ 'Tis not alone this mourning suit,' good masters: ' I've that within for which there are no plasters! 5 Pray, would you know the reason why I'm crying? The Comic Muse, long sick, is now a-dying ! And if she goes, my tears will never stop; For as a play’r, I can't squeeze out one drop; I am undone, that's all - shall lose

my

bread 10 I'd rather, but that's nothing - lose my head.

When the sweet maid is laid upon the bier.
Shuter and I shall be chief mourners here.
To her a mawkish drab of spurious breed,

Who deals in Sentimentals, will succeed ! 15 Poor Ned and I are dead to all intents;

We can as soon speak Greek as Sentiments !
Both nervous grown, to keep our spirits up,
We now and then take down a hearty cup.

What shall we do? If Comedy forsake us !
20 They'll turn us out, and no one else will take us.

But, why can't I be moral? — Let me try
My heart thus pressing - fix'd my face and eye —

With a sententious look, that nothing means,
(Faces are blocks in sentimental scenes)
Thus I begin – All is not gold that glitters,
Pleasures seem sweet, but prove a glass of bitters.
When ign'rance enters, folly is at hand :
Learning is better far than house and land.
Let not your virtue trip, who trips may stumble,
And virtue is not virtue, if she tumble.'

5

IO

15

I give it up — morals won't do for me;
To make you laugh, I must play tragedy.
One hope remains - hearing the maid was ill,
A Doctor comes this night to show his skill.
To cheer her heart, and give your muscles motion,
He, in Five Draughts prepar'd, presents a potion :
A kind of magic charm - for be assur'd,
If you will swallow it, the maid is cur'd:
But desperate the Doctor, and her case is,
If you reject the dose, and make wry faces !
This truth he boasts, will boast it while he lives,
No pois’nous drugs are mix'd in what he gives.
Should he succeed, you'll give him his degree;
If not, within he will receive no fee!
The College you, must his pretensions back,
Pronounce him Regular, or dub him Quack.

20

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