Janet Todd (ed.), The Pickering Masters: The Works of Aphra Behn, Vol. 7: The Plays: 1682–1696

Find Location in text

Main Text

pg 418NOTES

Running headlines contain the page numbers to which the notes refer.

s.d. = stage direction



Mowbray] Henry Howard, who became 7th Duke of Norfolk in 1684, was a Protestant convert despite the staunch Catholicism of many in his family. Behn may well have received financial encouragement from him, since she went on to mention him as her patron, 'Maecena of my Muse, my Patron Lord' in her Pindarick Poem on the Coronation (Works of Aphra Behn, vol. 1, no. 67). Howard was also styled Lord Mowbray and was summoned to Parliament in 1679 under that title.

l. 6 in War and Peace] The description has puzzled Behn biographers. It may underline Behn's connection with her alleged foster-brother, Thomas Colepeper, who was distantly related through the Sidneys to the Howards or it may point to a closer connection yet undiscovered.

l. 15 Forein Shores] This reference may be to Behn's encounter with another Howard, Lord Stafford, in the Low Countries during the Second Dutch War when she was sent as a spy to Antwerp, but there is no record of Stafford's being fêted in the streets on this occasion. The allusion is more likely to be to Arundel's father, another Henry Howard, who had spent much time in Venice; after the Restoration he was eager to become the British ambassador there but was prevented by his Catholicism. None the less, he was much appreciated for his 'passionate devotion' to the republic and Behn may have heard his praises.

l. 29 distracted Country] The Popish Plot and Exclusion Crisis had wracked the country.

l. 34 Constancy or Loyalty] In the next reign Norfolk's loyalty was less steadfast and he famously refused to carry the sword of state into James II's Catholic chapel. In 1688, he joined William of Orange and raised a regiment in his support.

l. 36 President] precedent

l. 38 Not guilty] reference to the trial of the Catholic William Howard, Viscount Stafford, who was imprisoned in the Tower during the Popish Plot in November 1678 and executed on 29 December 1680. Some of his family in the Lords voted for his death, but, although Protestant, Henry Howard did not.

l. 42 service done it] Behn's enormous respect for Stafford is best expressed in 'A Pastoral to Mr. Stafford, under the Name of Silvio' (Works of Aphra Behn vol. 1, no. 64) and in Poem to Sir Roger L'Estrange (no. 82).

l. 56 go weep] Shakespeare's Hamlet, Act III, Scene ii. From this point to the end, the text is squashed together in the CUL copy, suggesting that the material on the reception of the play was added after the rest of the dedication had gone to the printer's.

pg 419

l. 57 in the Town] The prompter Downes' comments and Shadwell's attack attest to the popularity of The City-Heiress. Behn was correct in noting that the Tories were now on the ascendant, after a difficult time during the period of the Popish Plot.

l. 65 Rabble] The support of the London crowd and especially the Wapping mob for Shaftesbury and Monmouth was a frequent allegation of the Tories.


Nokes] James Nokes was a major comedian of the Restoration theatre and one of the original actors of the Duke's Company, acting from 1659 until just after Behn's death. He had performed in many Behn plays, including her early The Amorous Prince, as well as in The Feign'd Curtizans, The Second Part of the Rover and The False Count. Dryden regarded him as one of the best comedians of the Restoration stage.

Commonwealthsmen] Behn follows the Tory habit of equating Whigs with the old supporters of the Commonwealth before the Restoration.

Betterton] Thomas Betterton was the leading actor of the Duke's Theatre, as well as being a playwright, theatre manager, with a share in the Duke's Company from 1660, and trainer of actors. He had acted in Behn's plays from the beginning with The Forc'd Marriage and more recently had starred in Abdelazer and Sir Patient Fancy.

Lee] Anthony Leigh had recently played in The Feign'd Curitzans and he had acted the title role in Behn's Sir Patient Fancy. He often acted in a comic duo with Nokes.

Williams] The young Joseph Williams (b. c. 1663) had already played a wide range of parts for the Duke's Company including Friendly in Behn's The Revenge. He went on to play Bacon in The Widdow Ranter.

Boman] John Bowman, actor and popular singer, would play in Behn's The Luckey Chance and The Widdow Ranter.

Jevon] Thomas Jevon, a great mimic, was one of the most celebrated comedians of the age. He had played in Behn's The Rover and would go on to perform in The Luckey Chance and The Emperor of the Moon.

Barry] Elizabeth Barry was one of the most famous actresses of the Restoration. She starred in many of Behn's plays in parts that may well have been written explicitly for her. She had been Hellena in The Rover and La Nuche in The Second Part of the Rover.

Butler] Charlotte Butler, actor and singer, had a scandalous reputation and it was thus comic that she should play the part of the virgin, Charlot, in the play. Butler alludes to this in the epilogue, which she also spoke. She had made her début in a Behn play with The Revenge.

Corror] Elizabeth or Betty Currer had recently played Lady Fancy in Sir Patient Fancy. She was famous for spirited roles.

Norice] Mrs Norris was presumably the wife of the actor, Henry Norris. She played small character parts, including Callis in The Rover, Phillipa in The Feign'd Curtizans and Mrs Dunwell in The Revenge. This seems to have been one of her final appearances on the stage.

Lee] Elinor Leigh played Moretta, the servant of Angellica in The Rover. She may have been the wife of Anthony Leigh and have had the maiden name of Dixon. She was listed as acting in September of 1670 and continued until about 1707.


Otway] the playwright Thomas Otway (1652–85), friend of Behn who gave him a pg 420part in her first play The Forc'd Marriage. He was most famous as a tragedian, author of Venice Preserv'd (1682) and The Orphan (1680).

l. 10 glout] make eyes at

l. 11 convenient] one of the many names for a whore

l. 18 In reverend shape] The allusion is to Titus Oates. As a reward for his information about the Popish Plot, Oates was lodged in Whitehall and he moved around in considerable state.

l. 23 Oaths were true] Dryden sees Oates's perjuries as similarly dangerous in Absalom and Achitophel Part I.

l. 31 Ananias] See Act V. It was a name often used by Tories, including Behn, for a hypocritical Puritan. cf. The Roundheads and The Feign'd Curtizans. Titus Oates pretended to have obtained a doctorate from the University of Salamanca.

l. 36 no Feast] This refers to the Whig feast planned by Shaftesbury and opposition Whigs for April 1682. Tickets were a guinea each. At the last minute, the King forbade the gathering. The events and the disappointment of the Whigs were much mocked by the Tories.


SCENE I] In several plays but especially in first edition of The City Heiress, the acts and scenes have frequently been given as 'Act the First, Scene the First'. These have been standardised to 'ACT I. SCENE I.'

s.d. bare] bare-headed

l. 32 value no man] In A Mad World, My Masters, Sir Bounteous Progress is a 'knight of thousands'.

l. 54 Fasting-nights] In A Mad World, My Masters, Follywit, before he was bewitched, had gone 'all in black, swore but o'Sundays, never came home drunk but upon Fasting nights'.

l. 63 Pope and the French King] The Tories, including Behn, associated the Whigs with coffee-houses, treason, nationalism, and anti-Catholicism.

l. 70 overtaken] drunk

l. 76 death to boast] The Act for 'suppressing the detestable sins of Incest, Adultery and Fornication' came into effect on 24 June 1650 under Oliver Cromwell. Incest carried the death penalty while fornication and adultery demanded three months' imprisonment. Bawds should be whipped and branded for the first offence and killed for the second. See Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum ed. C. H. Firth and R. S. Rait (London, 1911), vol. II. cf. The Roundheads

l. 98 Forty One] the year of the Grand Remonstrance presented by the House of Commons to the Crown to express its grievances and the execution of Charles I's chief minister, the Earl of Strafford. Preparations for war between King and Parliament followed over the next months; so it was often taken as the end of royal power. cf. The False Count

ll. 98–9 Bishops Lands] There was much indignation among royalists at the sequestration of Church lands. cf. 'Rump Rampant' (1660): 'They had manacled their hands / With Kings and Bishops Lands, / And ruined the whole Nation. . . .' There was also much anger at the return of the lands after the Restoration, as can be seen from the Preface to John Eachard's The Grounds and Occasions of the Contempt of the Clergy and Religion Enquired into (1670): 'I have neither lost Kings nor Bishops Lands, that should incline me to a surly and quarrelsom complaining: As many be, who would have been glad enough to see His Majesty restored, and woud have endured Bishops daintily well, had they lost no Money by their coming in.' cf. The Roundheads. In this scene there may be some mockery of Shadwell's The Woman Captain (performed in 1679), which opened with a young royalist preparing to squander the inheritance of a Puritan father.

pg 421

l. 107 hark] Here and throughout this text, I have changed 'heark' to 'hark'.

l. 111 open house] In A Mad World, My Masters, Sir Bounteous Progress 'keeps a house like his name, bounteous, open for all comers'.

l. 115 guttle] flatter; cf. 'gutling' used for 'guzzling' in the prologue to The False Count

l. 125 Cadet] younger son or member of a younger branch of a house

l. 173 two at once] Behn describes this predicament in her poem 'Song: On her Loving Two Equally' (Works of Aphra Behn, vol. 1, no. 34).

l. 191 old Orthodox you] Sir Timothy is being presented as a Dissenter.

l. 196 Porrage] Sir Timothy was acting as an occasional conformist, while expressing his true opinion when he called the Book of Common Prayer by the contemptuous Dissenting nickname of 'porridge'.

l. 211 Prester John] a legendary Christian king supposedly reigning in the Far East, so a strange subject

l. 215 young Heirs] In The Guardian, Camillo criticises Durazzo for his 'too much indulgence / To the exorbitant waste of young Caldoro'.

l. 223 Merchants Book] cf. The Guardian, Durazzo: 'they would have me / Train my Ward a hopeful youth, to keep / A Merchants book.'

l. 226 grant Leases] cf. The Guardian, Durazzo: 'while I fell / His woods, grant Leases'

l. 228 Guardians] cf. The Guardian, 'Poverty, old age, and aches of all seasons / Light on such heathenish Guardians!'

l. 233 accuse him with] Up to this point the scene continues to follow closely Act I, Scene I of The Guardian, where Durazzo is taken to task for his treatment of his nephew.

ll. 260–61 Tory-rory] a wild Tory. The term 'Tory' for the political grouping had only just come in to use.

ll. 309–10 Opinion. . . Wish that way] In The Guardian, Adorio blames Caliste for being 'too honest, / And like your mother, too strict and religious, / And talk too soon of marriage'. 'Opinion' here means 'reputation'.

l. 325 least Conditions] The scene is following The Guardian, Act I, Scene I, where Durazzo overhears Adorio and Caliste conversing in much the same way.

l. 328 Hot-cockles] sexual slang, used also in The Luckey Chance. The game of hot cockles required a player to lie down blindfolded and guess who had hit him. The 1682 edition reads 'Legend'.

l. 338 Beauties] The 1682 edition reads 'Beauty'.

l. 348 his Mother] cf. The Guardian, Durazzo: 'I am now thinking if ere in the dark, / Or drunk I met his mother?'

l. 357 rook] gambling term: cheat

l. 375 [sir charles]] The 1682 edition reads 'Sir Anth.'.

l. 379 sacred Honour] cf. The Guardian, where Caldoro blames Adorio for seeking to undermine 'The fortress of your honor'

l. 381 quite spoil'd] cf. The Guardian, where Durazzo exclaims at this point, 'My Nephew is an ass'. The conversation between Sir Charles and Wilding continues to follow that between Caldoro and Adorio in The Guardian.

l. 410 a Farce] cf. The Guardian, where Durazzo exclaims 'After a whining Prologue, who would have look'd for / Such a rough Catastrophe?'

l. 419 like ruddy Fruit] In The Guardian, Durazzo also suggests, to Caldoro though at greater length, that he retire to the country and find a woman there.

l. 434 wept] Here and in line 435, the 1682 edition reads 'weept'.

l. 442 like a Witch] A test of a witch entailed her being watched for twenty-four hours while held in an uncomfortable posture. During this time her familiar was supposed to come to suck her blood. cf. The Dutch Lover

pg 422ACT II. SCENE I.

l. 42 Stair-case] The 1682 edition reads 'Sair-case'.

l. 114 dead lift] emergency (from a horse exerting itself at a weight too heavy to move) cf. The Emperor of the Moon.

l. 101 do your] The 1682 edition reads 'does your'.

l. 142 Love-Merchants] Behn uses the same phrase in the first stanza of 'To Lysander, on some Verses he writ, and asking more for his Heart than 'twas worth' (Works of Aphra Behn, vol. 1, no. 43).

ll. 155–6 Writings. . . Thomas] the proof that he is to inherit from his uncle; also a marriage contract

s.d. Goes out with Fopington] In the 1682 edition, this stage direction is placed in the middle of Wilding's speech after 'Farewel'.

l. 217 and] The 1682 edition reads 'and and'.


l. 33 New] The 1682 edition reads 'Now'.

l. 47 i'th'Pit, behind the Scenes] the front benches of the pit where fops and wits traditionally sat; men (such as Pepys) frequently visited actresses in the tiring-room, although at one stage the King tried to stop the practice.

l. 48 Lilly] William Lilly (1660–1681), celebrated astrologer, published many pamphlets of prophecy, as well as Christian Astrology modestly treated in three Books (1647).

l. 71 flamm'd off] fobbed off, cheated

l. 77 Poynt] lace

l. 101 Lusum] Lewisham, south of London

l. 122 in ure] in practice. The 1682 edition begins a new line with 'Prithee'.

l. 125 betawder] a word seemingly peculiar to Behn, presumably to do oneself up in tawdry finery

l. 127 Spanish Paint] Rouge and patches were fashionable among court circles.

l. 130 prew] prim

l. 130 Conventicle] a Dissenting meeting. In A Mad World, My Masters, the whore is told to keep 'A sincere carriage, a religious eyebrow'.

l. 131 rant] behave boisterously; cf. Ranter in The Widdow Ranter

l. 143 Sea-coal-smoak] London was notoriously polluted from the coal fires. cf. Evelyn's Diary concerning a frost: 'London, by reason of the excessive coldnesse of the aire hindring the ascent of the smoke, was so filld with the fuliginous steame of the Sea-Coale, that hardly could one see crosse the streete. . .' (vol. IV, p. 363).

SCENE Changes to a Chamber

s.d. retiring] The 1682 stage directions read 'Enter L. Gall. Closet to them; Wilding delivers the Fan. . .'.

l. 195 purchas'd] like a shop sign signifying what goods are sold inside, cf. 'Post-script' to The Rover: 'I. . . hang out the Sign of Angellica. . . to give Notice where a great part of the Wit dwelt.'

ll. 212–13 seditiously petitioning] reference to the huge number of petitions the Earl of Shaftesbury procured to support the Exclusion Bill

ll. 271–2 beat thee before her] cf. The Guardian, Act IV, Scene I.

l. 298 Souse] sou, small amount of money

l. 301 Tuberose] The 1682 edition reads 'Tuberuse'; tuberose was an expensive and fashionable perfume.

l. 308 reprimand] The 1682 edition reads 'reprimond'.

pg 423

ll. 310–11 good bye] The 1682 edition reads 'good buy' here and 'buy' in line 316 below.

l. 318 swindge] swinge: thrash, chastise

l. 349 janting] gadding about

l. 379 service] The 1682 edition begins a new line with 'And, Sir. . .'.

l. 381 Association] supposedly a Whig organisation, much attacked by Tories. When Shaftesbury was arrested in 1681, plans for an 'association' were allegedly found among his papers.


l. 38 catechize] The 1682 edition reads 'chastize'.

l. 69 Patent] patent of knighthood. The buying of knighthoods was much mocked from Jacobean drama onwards. The practice had been rife under James I. See also The Feign'd Curtizans.

l. 81 Lejerdemain] trickery or sleight of hand

l. 81 Japan-Cabinet] lacquered cabinet

l. 110 Commendation] The 1682 edition reads 'Commendations'.

l. 134 In amaze] The 1682 edition reads 'In a maze'.

l. 137 Gown-men] clergymen

l. 151 take fortune by the forelock] Fortune was imagined as bald except for a single lock in the front which had to be grabbed.

l. 164 (under the Rose.)] in confidence

l. 188 Ignoramus] This method of acquittal had been made infamous by the experience of the Earl of Shaftesbury. Shaftesbury had used the turmoil of the Popish Plot to increase hostility to James, Duke of York, as heir to the throne and he was indicted for high treason in November, 1681. The grand jury, carefully chosen from among his supporters, threw out the bill with the usual noncomittal declaration of 'ignoramus'. The Tories saw the acquittal as abundant evidence of Whig corruption of the law. cf. The Roundheads

l. 205 Burgess] Sir Timothy is using the legalistic civic language, so much beloved of the City officers in their contests with the Crown.

l. 206 jolly Swain] Charlotte Butler, who was playing Charlot, was a singer and dancer as well as an actress; consequently several songs are introduced into this play as well as dances. Butler later went on to sing in Dryden and Purcell's King Arthur.

l. 246 bate ye an Ace] make the slightest abatement

l. 250 Royal Duke of Albany] i. e. James, Duke of York

l. 267–8 Commonwealth] There was much contempt in England for the United Provinces, which elected its stadholder. The Dutch were often likened to the Interregnum English Puritans.

l. 273 Poland] a roll call of Protestants

l. 278 King] The Tories constantly mocked Shaftesbury for his supposed desire to be elected King of Poland in 1675 when Jan Sobieski was actually chosen. Both Dryden in The Medal and Otway in Venice Preserv'd refer to the incident.

l. 315 Tantivie] reckless, supposedly derived from the sound of a hunting horn according to Johnson's Dictionary

ll. 321–2 Absolom and Achitophel] Dryden's famous political satire aimed primarily at the machinations of Shaftesbury and Monmouth. Wilding is being blamed for the famous Tory propaganda of the time.

l. 322 claw'd] beaten

l. 349 Stand and Deliver] the traditional demand of a highwayman or footpad

l. 364 that noo] Charlot is using the language Behn elsewhere employs for the Scots, a sort of approximation of Scottish pronunciation. cf. The Roundheads.

pg 424

l. 369 she is!] The 1682 edition reads 'she is?'.

l. 392 of yours] The 1682 edition reads 'if yours'.

l. 405 excellency] The 1682 edition reads 'excellently'.

l. 432 lookt Babies] gaze at one's own reflection in another person's eyes

l. 514 odde Reckoning] The 1724 edition and Montague Summers emend this to 'old', which may make better sense.

l. 524 dance] Here Charlotte Butler danced with Jevon, who had been a dancing master before he went on the stage.

l. 539 through-stitcht] thorough

ll. 541–2 Caper under the Triple Tree] swing on the gallows (referring to its three parts)


l. 3 Mercury] an unlicensed newspaper. The first foreign periodical circulated in England in the late sixteenth century and was called Mercurius, hence the use of the name for any news-sheet.

l. 8 bonne Mine] good mien, manner or appearance

l. 10 Oyster-woman] oyster seller, proverbial for her raucous voice

l. 21 Holder forth] preacher

l. 23 flamm] flam, humbug

l. 35 Hackney] whore

l. 60 we met] a quotation from a song attributed to Rochester called 'The Happy Night', later owned by the Duke of Buckingham.

l. 107 Cue] The 1682 edition reads 'Que'.

l. 120 fisking and gigiting] moving briskly and scampering around

l. 134 Rakeshame] profligate

l. 189 so e'er] The 1682 edition reads 'soere'.

SCENE Changes

s.d. Changes] The 1682 edition placed this direction after the entry of Sir Charles and Sir Anthony Meriwill.

l. 289–90 'bye. . . 'bye] The 1682 edition reads ''buy. . . 'buy'.

l. 312 Toledo] a sword, i.e. strike him

l. 313 Whe] an expletive used frequently in Behn's plays, e.g. The Rover

l. 315 whipping Tom] a person punished for another's faults

l. 328 Masalina's Fire] Cupid as provoker of love, Venus as goddess of Love, and Messalina, licentious wife of the Emperor Claudius, as insatiable lust

l. 336 Why, is she asleep?] The 1682 edition reads 'Why is she asleep?'.

l. 354 Gorget] necklace or collar

l. 374 as thy Eyes] This vision of Cupid was a favourite one of Behn's, occurring also in The Rover, where it was based on a description in Killigrew's Thomaso.

s.d. passing] making sword passes at each other

l. 444 nown] The 1682 edition reads 'none'.

l. 451 Domestick Intelligence] news sheets

l. 470 critical minute] The notion of the critical minute was much used in libertine poetry about sex, e.g. Nathaniel Lee's 'Love's Opportunity Neglected', in which the willing mistress was played with until her desire was heightened and 'her Passion was done'. This gallantry serves the man ill, for he has 'slighted the Critical Minute of Love'.

l. 511 small Beer] weak diluted beer

s.d. Breeches] The 1682 edition reads 'Breeeches'.

l. 539 'Bye] The 1682 edition reads ''Buy'.

pg 425ACT V. SCENE I.

s.d. dark Lanthorns] lanterns that are shut to hide the light, cf. The Feign'd Curtizans

l. 9 Love and Play] Wilding is here quoting from Behn herself: 'he saw how at her length she lay, / He saw her rising Bosom bare; / Her loose thin Robes, through which appear / A Shape design'd for Love and Play', Works of Aphra Behn, vol. 1, 'The Disappointment', no. 28, stanza vii.

l. 31 Uncle's chief Pimp] cf. Act II, Scene IV of A Mad World, My Masters: 'Gag that gaping rascal, tho' he be my grandsire's chief gentleman'.

l. 36 conscious] The 1682 edition reads 'contious'.

l. 36 secret] The 1682 edition reads 'secred'.

s.d. Enter sensure] There may be mockery of Shaftesbury here, since it was claimed that, when his house was searched for incriminating evidence, a notorious woman was found under his bed.

l. 47 Richard Baxter] (1615–91) a Presbyterian divine who, none the less, became a royal chaplain under Charles II. He fell foul of James II, was vilified by Judge Jeffreys, and in 1685 was imprisoned for criticising the Anglican Church. Baxter wrote much devotional literature and published many sermons. Given her later enthusiasm for Jeffreys and James II, Behn is unlikely to have approved of him.

s.d. Night-gown] cf. A Mad World, My Masters, where Sir Bounteous enters at this stage in the plot in his nightgown (Act II, Scene IV)

s.d. Night-cap] The 1682 edition reads 'Night-caps'.

l. 79 good Cause] a reference to the so-called Good Old Cause, a term used for the political aims of the parliamentarians of the first Civil War in the 1640s. It was the subtitle of Behn's play The Roundheads.

l. 91 is that all] cf. A Mad World, My Masters, where Follywit exclaims, 'Money, money, we come for money' and Sir Bounteous replies 'Is that all you come for?'

l. 101 disturb'd] This part of the play follows closely the Middleton text. cf. Act II, Scene IV, Sir Bounteous: 'Oh, not so loud, Sir, you're too shrill a gentleman. I have a lord lies in my house; I would not for the world his honor should be disquieted'.

l. 115 City-Charter] There was much dispute over the City of London's Charter. It had been revoked in 1683 after quarrels between the aldermen who chose Whig sheriffs while Charles II favoured Tory ones. The dispute continued until 1688, when James II restored the City Charter. cf. The Luckey Chance

l. 123 Sequestration] reference to the sequestrating of royalist and Church lands in the Interregnum; see also The Roundheads

l. 125 Crape-Gown-orums] clergymen; they often wore crape, a kind of thin worsted.

s.d. [Some]] The 1672 edition reads 'They'.

l. 153 the last man] cf. A Mad World, My Masters, Follywit: 'You know what follows now: one villain binds his fellows. . . .' Hoboy: 'But if we bind one another, how shall the last man be bound?' Follywit: 'Pox on't, I'll have the footman 'scape. . . for he. . . lies in's clothes to be first ready i'th'morning. The horse and he lies in litter together; that's the right fashion of your bonny footman. . . .'

l. 162 Cue] The 1682 edition reads 'Que'.

ll. 174–5 cam'st thou to escape] cf. A Mad World, My Masters: 'Ah, poor honest footman, how didst thou 'scape this massacre?'

l. 176 E'en] The 1682 edition reads 'Ene'.

ll. 181–2 unbound before his Lordship] cf. A Mad World, My Masters, Act II, Scene VI, Sir Bounteous: '. . . nothing afflicts me so much, my poor geometrical pg 426footman, as that barbarous villains should lay violence upon my lord. Ah, that binding of my lord cuts my heart in two pieces. . . .'

l. 186 Sarazan] cf. A Mad World, My Masters, Act II, Scene VI, Sir Bounteous: 'If I be not asham'd to look my lord i'th'face, I'm a Saracen. . . .'

SCENE Changes to Wilding's Chamber

l. 198 who they shou'd be] cf. A Mad World, My Masters, Act II, Scene VI, Follywit: 'Can you not guess what they should be, Sir Bounteous?'

l. 204 neerer than you imagine] cf. A Mad World, My Masters, Act II, Scene VI, Follywit: 'How? fie, fie, believe it not, sir; these lie not far off, I warrant you.'

l. 207 at Dinner-time] cf. A Mad World, My Masters, Sir Bounteous: 'This is the commodity of keeping open house, my Lord. . . .'

SCENE Changes to Diana's Chamber

l. 240 kind Nose and Chin] the two related and close together as in the elderly

l. 285 Infantas] Sir Timothy's geography is hazy, since he expects as King of Poland to receive love letters from Spanish or Portuguese princesses.

SCENE Changes to a Street

ll. 322–3 Chitterling] smallest intestines of a pig, so catgut, which is both intestines of a sheep or horse and the strings of an instrument

l. 338 meet] The 1682 edition reads 'meets'.

s.d. Balconey] The 1682 edition reads 'Belconey'.

l. 361 Murrain] plague

l. 362 e'en] The 1682 edition reads 'en'e'.

l. 366 Discoverer] a name given to the witnesses for Titus Oates during the Popish Plot trials

SCENE Changes to a Chamber

l. 401 Cully. . . rook] victim. . . cheat

s.d. dresswell] The 1682 edition reads 'Enter Sir Anth. Wild. and Dress.'.

l. 468 mumpt] tricked

l. 468 heart of grace] The 1682 edition reads 'heart a grace'.

l. 540 Polish Embassadour then incognito] cf. A Modest Vindication of the Earl of S———y (1682), in which the Polish ambassadors are described as being sent 'post incognito' with the imperial crown and sceptre in a cloak bag

l. 556 Guildhall-speech] The Guildhall was the meeting-place for the Corporation of the City of London. As an alderman or representative of a ward, Sir Timothy would have given speeches there.

l. 558 Salamancha] another reference to Titus Oates, who claimed to be a doctor from Salamanca

l. 594 Cæsar] Charles II


boteler] one of the variants of Butler

l. 10 Trincaloes] reference to the character in Davenant and Dryden's version of Shakespears's The Tempest; in this Trincalo chooses Sycorax, Caliban's sister, as his bride, but is outwitted by Stephano who takes her instead.

l. 13 Indentures] poor clergymen who have agreed to pay out their first year's income for the privilege of having a benefice

l. 19 Fop-corner] area close to the stage in the pit, where wits and sparks sat; it was often mentioned in prologues and epilogues.

l. 22 Fee-simple] property in absolute possession of the actors

l. 46 Musquetoon] a short musket, or a soldier armed with one



Essay of my Infant-Poetry] Behn claims to have written the play in her youth in Surinam; presumably she implies that the dedication was also written at that time. By 1679 she had had at least twelve plays published.

l. 10 many and distant Shores] This sounds like more than Surinam. It may include visits to the Continent before the Restoration, as well as to Virginia and Barbados on the voyages to and from Surinam.

l. 15 Noble Patronage] In fact Behn did come before the public without an acknowledged patron in the early 1670s, although she later claimed that the Earl of Rochester had helped her with his advice. Her first dedicatee was Nell Gwyn for The Feign'd Curtizans in 1679.

l. 17 being an American] The statement has puzzled biographers. Possibly Behn's stay in the New World was longer than has been supposed, or possibly her husband's connnections with America gave her this identity. Or it might simply mean that Behn had written the play in the New World which was not famous for literature. There had been at least one colonial woman before her who had published literary work — Anne Bradstreet — but this evidently did not make the New World a glamorous location. Despite the fact that, in her work, The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung up in America (1650), Bradstreet referred to the Sidneys with whom Behn was tangentially connected through her alleged foster-brother Thomas Colepeper, Aphra Behn made no mention of her in any of her published writings, accepting only Katherine Philips as her modern literary forerunner.

l. 18 Muses seldom inhabit there] This was a common anxiety in the colonies 'unrefined from their original Barbarisme' where people could not achieve 'polishings'. The words are by Robert Sanford who spent his 'whole puerility and adolescence' in the West Indies; see Surinam Justice. In the Case Of several persons proscribed by certain Usurpers of Power in that Colony…. (London, 1662).

l. 23 loose Age of Censure] It is interesting to see Behn with all these scruples. Very quickly she had in fact learnt to fight back against any attacks on her reputation and literary practice.


l. 6 from Paris brought] There was much criticism of the cultural influence of France seen to be the source of foppishness, false wit and venereal disease.

l. 12 unman our Youth] Foppishness was associated also with effeminacy and homosexuality.

l. 24 Women, Wine, Religion, and Disease] references to the French mistresses of Charles II, the much hated Louise de Keroualle, Duchess of Portsmouth, and Hortense, Duchess of Mazarine; to wine imported from France and much attacked for its competition with English ales; to Roman Catholicism most problematically in the heir James Duke of York who had been influenced in his choice by his French mother; and to the pox, thought to be especially French

l. 36 Rencounter] The 1683 edition reads 'Rancounter'.

l. 37 Tartarian War] The pit of the theatre is comically called Tartarus, the mythological infernal regions. There were many brawls there.

l. 38 Pit the Field] This is probably an allusion to an event of 23 June 1679 when Behn's friend, the playwright Thomas Otway who had had a brief period with the militia in Flanders, attended the theatre and encountered the blustering John Churchill in altercation with Orange Betty. When the crack of a cane was heard pg 428Otway challenged Churchill, and the pair allegedly battled it out with Otway coming off best in most accounts.

l. 45 Half Crown] the price of admission to the pit

l. 46 Equip] give me back


l. 4 Whe] Montague Summers changes this exclamation to 'Why' but it is written so in several Behn plays including The Rover.

l. 44 against] The 1683 edition reads ''gainst' but the metre requires the 'against' of the 1724 edition.

l. 74 Amazon] a race of warlike women whose right breasts were cut off so that they could better hurl javelins and use bows

l. 78 Damon, I cannot blame your will] The song appeared later in Poems upon Several Occasions, where it was entitled 'Song. The Invitation', see Works of Aphra Behn, vol. 1, no. 20. The most interesting change from the version here to the one in the poetry collection occurs in line 9: where here it is the shepherd actively caressing the shepherdess, in the collection it is the shepherdess who takes the initiative. Presumably here the song is sung offstage since Lyces, the supposed singer, enters after the song has been sung.

l. 95 Lord o'th'May] a young man chosen to preside over May-day celebrations

l. 144 not] Montague Summers changes 'not' to 'that' which makes better sense of the line but 'not' seems more appropriate later when Vallentio declares that Urania insisted on being a prisoner.


l. 24 veils] The 1683 edition reads 'vails'.

l. 53 man] The 1683 edition reads 'mam'.

l. 62 Letters] The 1683 edition reads 'Lettets'.

l. 73 I hope it is not Love] cf. Clara's sexual awakening in Fletcher's Love's Cure in Act II, Scene II.

l. 129 Ideas] The 1683 edition reads 'Idea's'.

l. 131 Diana] the huntress and goddess of the moon

l. 133 Great Goddess] cf. La Calprenède's Cléopâtre: 'Great Goddess…pardon to a stranger the errour he may have committed against your Divinity; had I known this sacred place, I would not have prophan'd it by my presence.'

l. 148 have another] The 1683 edition reads 'have a another'.

l. 155 Whom happy] The 1683 edition reads 'Whose happy'.

l. 196 like Aeneas] The Trojan prince Aeneas bore his old father Anchises on his back when Troy was in flames after its fall.

l. 241 me cruel, is unkind] The 1683 edition reads 'me, cruel is unkind'.


ll. 12–13 grows…/ And will be active] Montague Summers emends this to 'grows../ I will be active' but the sense of the 1683 edition is clear.

l. 40 Shore] The 1683 edition reads 'Shoar'.

l. 143 what I am to do?] cf. Lucio in Love's Cure who, after his first experience of kissing a woman other than his mother, asks 'is there any / Pleasure beyond it?'


l. 17 veil'd] The 1683 edition reads 'vail'd'.


l. 54 Antick] old, decorated, a favourite Behn word, usually signifying wild

pg 429

l. 103 murmuring Spring] The pastoral landscape is straight out of La Calprenède who also has murmuring springs and branching rivulets.

s.d. Attendants] The 1683 edition reads 'Attendance'.

l. 226 To the Princess] The 1683 edition reads 'To the King'.

s.d. Lysander] The 1683 edition reads: 'Thers. bows. All go out but Ther. Hon. Manent Thers. Hon. Lysander.'.


s.d. Apartment] The apparent courtship of Thersander and Olympia is a discovery scene with the shutters that formed the chamber for the first part of Scene IV opened. Presumably they close again and then either open to allow the scene behind to function as Cleomena's space or remain closed to allow the space to be in front where she had just before been meeting the Queen and Honorius. The latter seems most likely since her space appears to represent a public space into which Thersander can reasonably walk.


s.d. geron] Geron, the old tutor, seems the phantom of the play since, in the 1683 edition, he is missed out of the dramatis personae, again here, and on several other occasions where he should enter.

l. 2 God] The 1683 edition reads 'Gods'.

l. 8 nod] The 1683 edition reads 'nood'.

l. 103 Orsames] The 1683 edition gives this speech to Geron, which can certainly not be the case.


l. 15 Lawrel…Cypress] The laurel traditionally crowned the victor; the gloomy cypress was associated with death.

l. 28 Agripian] natives of Bythinia


l. 160 hand] Montague Summers changes this to 'end'.

l. 214 require] The 1683 edition reads 'requires'.


s.d. Flat Wood] Behn had first used this term in The Dutch Lover, her first play on the new Dorset Garden stage with its greater opportunity for the use of scenery. Presumably the wood was painted on shutters which were drawn off to allow a discovery scene of fighting.


s.d. Sword] The 1683 edition follows 'Sword' with 'They all descend.'.


l. 8 Those] The 'ose' of this word has been written in by a seventeenth-century hand in the CUL copy of the 1683 edition.

l. 39 Iris] Messenger of Juno and goddess of the rainbow, Iris had variegated coloured wings.


l. 16 I left Amintas] In the 1683 edition the words are followed by a question mark.

pg 430[ACT IV.] SCENE V.

l. 88 on Holy-days] The London mob was especially menacing to the government on such days as the November Accession Day of Elizabeth I when it unleashed the always latent anti-Catholicism. There was considerable fear that the enthusiasm would turn into unrest and rebellion.

ll. 144–5 vent it somewhere] Tory propaganda invariably portrayed the London crowds as fickle and arbitrary.

l. 147 long Staff and Bilboe] weapons; 'bilbo' at this time was often used for the sword of a thug.

l. 153 Civil Wars] another dig at the London mob which in the late 1670s was seen as repeating the rebellious 1640s


s.d. Enter cleomena] In the 1683 edition this stage direction comes after the King's exclamation at her beauty.


l. 9 Father] The 1683 edition reads 'Farther'.


l. 21 a Dream] in echo of the Calderòn play La Vida es sueño

l. 23 hear] The 1683 edition reads 'here'.

s.d. bearing] The 1683 edition reads 'tearing'.

l. 32 2 citizen] Here and below the 1683 edition reads 'GOREL'.

l. 37 little more terrably] In this scene Behn may have recalled her own experience on first seeing King Charles after the Restoration. Pepys too for all his royalism commented on the basic ordinariness of royalty.

l. 48 not Reason renders just] Charles II did not need to learn this lesson in the early 1660s when Behn was allegedly writing the first draft of the play but by 1679 his son the Duke of Monmouth certainly did.


s.d. J. Wright] James Wright, a lawyer and lover of the theatre, was also a miscellaneous writer.

l. 215 Kneels] It is not entirely clear to whom this stage direction belongs although it is most likely to be to the Queen. Orsames has just declared his problems with further kneeling, although it would be appropriate for him to kneel to his mother, as Olympia has prompted. The Queen, however, has need of kneeling to ask forgiveness of her imprisonment of her son.

s.d. second exile into Flanders] a reference to the the Duke of York's exile in Flanders during the furore of the Popish Plot and Exclusion Crisis. He and the Duchess had left England on 3 March, going first to Antwerp, then to The Hague to visit his daughter and son-in-law, Mary and William of Orange, and then to Brussels. He was summoned back to London in August when Charles fell suddenly ill. He returned to Brussels later to bring back the Duchess and in late October he left for Scotland.


l. 23 for his security] There had been an election in the Spring of 1679 which brought in many newly named 'Whigs'. The new Parliament had immediately started agitating for the exclusion of the Catholic James from the throne. It was at this juncture that Charles suggested his brother leave the country for a time. Behn always associated arbitrariness not with the King but with Parliament.

l. 31 that t' obey] an obvious dig at the Duke of Monmouth who was opposing his father in the Exclusion Crisis


s.d. Marquess of WORCESTER] Charles, Marquis of Worcester (1661–98), second son of the Duke of Beaufort

l. 17 Duke of Beauford] Henry Somerset, Duke of Beaufort (1629–1700) was a staunch Tory and ardent royalist.

l. 18 President] precedent

l. 33 Billet Deux] French: love letters

l. 42 acted in France] The main source of Behn's play was the French Arlequin Empereur dans la lune staged in Paris in March 1684. This was based on Italian commedia dell'arte productions with some French scenes added. The French scenario by Fatouville was printed later in 1684.

l. 48 from the Original] This claim was not entirely true since there are quotations from and echoes of Arlequin Empereur dans la lune. Most of the dialogue is however original.

l. 49 Sacred Memory] Behn is claiming that she had been writing the play for Charles II who was known to enjoy such farces. She had been interrupted by his death in 1685.

l. 53 flourishing State] Behn had in the 1680s become much interested in the classical theory that a flourishing theatre indicated a flourishing state.

l. 56 Coffee-houses, &c] The parallels with both the Popish Plot years and the 1640s are clear here.

l. 59 fanatical] The Puritans and nonconformist sects were opponents of the theatre.

l. 66 Johnson's] In the Restoration Ben Jonson, William Shakespeare, and John Fletcher were considered the three great English dramatists from the pre-Interregnum period.

l. 67 one] The flourishing of patronage and the theatre in Elizabethan and Jacobean periods is contrasted with the present. Between 1660 and 1682 there had been two theatres, the King's and the Duke's. Now there was only one, the United Company, which operated in the two locations of Drury Lane and Dorset Garden. So dire was the situation that even this one Company had financial difficulties.


Underhill] Cave Underhill, a lugubrious comic from the old Duke's Company, had played in many of Behn's works. For example he was Blunt in The Rover and Sir Signall Buffoon in The Feign'd Curtizans. Variants of the name 'Baliardo' denoting a stupid person were often used in commedia dell'arte, while the foolish doctor or scientist, pompous and dressed in black, was one of the leading stock characters.

Lee] Anthony Leigh, one of the comics of the Dorset Garden theatre, was often coupled with Nokes, as in The Rover. His career got going after 1676. Scaramouch is the Pierrot figure. With his opponent Harlequin he was one of the most famous stock characters of commedia dell'arte. Behn had used the figure in The Second Part of the Rover.

Powel] George Powell (1668?–1714), playwright and actor, was the son of an elder actor Powell, hence called 'Younger'. His role in The Emperor of the Moon was his first certain one although he probably acted before. He would appear also in The Widdow Ranter after Behn's death. He was a handsome man who played many heroic parts; off the stage his dissipated life got him into much trouble and he had many brushes with the law. Powell was often coupled with pg 432his friend William Mountfort who wrote a prologue for his first play in 1690. Cinthio was a common commedia name for a young lover.

Mumford] William Mountfort c.1664–92 was a leading tragedian, first husband of Susannah née Percevall. Like Powell he was a playwright and an actor, as well as a singer and dancer, but his promising career was cut short in 1692 when he was murdered by a man who suspected him as a rival for the affections of the chaste Anne Bracegirdle. As a child he had played Jack, the barber's man in The Revenge.

Jevern] Thomas Jevon was a popular comedian from the old Duke's Company. He was a great mimic and often spoke prologues and epilogues to comic effect. He had appeared in The Rover, The Revenge, The Roundheads and The City-Heiress.

Cooke] Sarah Cooke, daughter of a herb seller if the lampoons are to be believed, was an actress with the United Company; she usually played tragic parts. According to the semi-fictional Memoirs of Count Grammont, as a young woman she was at the centre of a court scandal concerning the lesbian Miss Hobart, one of the Maids of Honour to the Duchess of York in the 1660s. Through Rochester she became an actress with the King's Company and spoke Behn's prologue to Rochester and Beaumont's Valentinian. She played throughout the 1670s. She joined the United Company in 1682.

Mrs. Mumford] Susannah Mountfort (later Verbruggen), daughter of the actor Thomas Percevall, had already played in Behn's Luckey Chance. She would become one of most influential actresses of the 1690s and the leading comedienne of the United Company. She tended to play hoydens and breeches parts using comic country accents. Southerne created the title role of Sir Anthony Love for her. Cibber in his Apology proclaimed her 'Mistress of more variety of Humour, than I knew in any one Woman Actress'.

Cory] Katherine Corey née Mitchell, born 1635, was one of the first women performers on the Restoration stage; she had an extremely long career stretching over thirty years. Pepys called her a fine actress. Initially she was with the King's Company, tending to play comic roles of nurses, servants, governesses, scolds and bawds. The role of Mopsophil, the Columbine figure, was her first in a Behn play. She went on to act in The Widdow Ranter as Mrs. Flirt.

keplair and gallileus] Johannes Kepler (1571–1630) and Galileo Galilei (1564–1642) were famous proponents and originators of the new science. Both used telescopes to make their astronomical discoveries. Feared by the Church, the new astronomy was much mocked and exploited in fantastic stories of moon voyages and star visitors.


l. 4 Heroick Strain] a reference to the heroic tragedies of the 1660s and 1670s written by, for example, John Dryden and Robert Howard

l. 13 appear] the sort of intrigue comedy, inaugurated by George Etherege in particular, which flourished with Wycherley, Otway and Behn in the 1670s

l. 20 Woman without Vizard] a woman wishing a reputation for modesty, or a prostitute. Both wore masks.

l. 22 Forgetting] '[T]hat's certain' could be the end of the spectator's speech or the beginning of the next observation.

l. 27 Farce] Both Behn and her friend Edward Ravenscroft wrote farcical plays in the 1670s and early 1680s.

l. 30 th'speaking Head] This device seems to be a reference to the speaking head mentioned in the Newdigate Newsletter of 26 March 1687: 'A Country man haveing invented a head & soe contrived it that whatever language or tune you speak in the Mouth of it is Repeated distinctly and Audibly'. The theatrical pg 433contrivance seems to have been manipulated through a trapdoor from under the forestage. Its voice was meant to be loud and, though provided by another actor, was intended as a magic echo of Jevon's. Stentor was the name of the Greek warrior with a voice the power of fifty men together.

l. 31 Sice] sixpence, presumably the price of hearing the original speaking head

s.d. Sawny] This popular Scots song began 'Sawny was tall, and of noble race'. It appeared in John Playford's Choice Ayres and Songs of 1681.

l. 37 Cheat] Jane Spencer gives this line to Jevon, so that it becomes a complaint that the actor speaking Stentor has broken the illusion by asking Jevon to speak louder, instead of simply repeating his words.

s.d. indirectly] not quite repeating the words

l. 39 Northern Strain] The echo or speaking head presumably has a Scottish or North country accent. 'Sawny' is elsewhere subtitled 'A Northern Song'.

l. 41 Puppets Show] Puppet shows were extremely popular in Restoration London.

l. 48 her own] The 1687 edition reads 'her nown'.

l. 50 Frible] fribble, a ridiculous trivial person

l. 51 Kids] presumably mocking City people who tend to believe in any dramatic action even of puppets

l. 53 Dog Hector, and the Bull] reference to bull-baiting and dog-fighting


s.d. sings]] Presumably it is Elaria singing since she passes her lute to Mopsophil at the end of the song.

l. 1 faithless Maid] The song was printed in 1700 by Thomas Cross, with music by Henry Purcell.

l. 18 her Heart] These sentiments were often expressed by Behn, cf. 'The Golden Age' and 'Desire', Works of Aphra Behn, vol. 1, nos 21 and 81.

l. 26 Mermidons] comic reference to the Myrmidons, followers of Achilles at the siege of Troy; used for hired ruffians

l. 30 Roger] a typical name for a male servant

l. 39 Pimp!] The 1687 edition reads 'Pimp?'.

l. 43 Weapon or Sympathetick Powder] powder supposed to cure through a correspondence — applied to the weapon not the person

l. 82 Quick-sottish] a play on the name Don Quixote, Cervantes' much fooled hero

l. 89 Machiavel] a reference to the Florentine political writer Niccolò Machiavelli

l. 92 Lucian's Dialogue of the Lofty Traveller] The second edition of Behn's play changes this to Dialogue of Icaromenippus. This was a dialogue by the classical writer Lucian in which the character Menippus describes his journey to the moon. The work had been translated by Ferrand Spence in 1684.

l. 94 The Man in the Moon] This was written by Francis Godwin, Bishop of Llandaff in 1629 under the Spanish pseudonym, Domingo Gonsales.

l. 96 Discourse of the World in the Moon] This was by Cyrano de Bergerac. A second English version by A. Lovell was printed in the same year as Behn's play.

l. 99 Sir John Mandivel] Sir John Mandeville was the name taken by a French compiler of exotic travels in the fourteenth century. The book which has some factual elements and many fantastic ones was translated into several languages and became extremely popular.

l. 109 Caballists of the Rosacrusian Order] Cabalists were members of secret societies, for example the semi-fictional mystical Rosicrucians or brothers of the pg 434rosy cross who claimed arcane knowledge which could prolong life and transmute base metals into gold. The society was supposedly founded in 1484 but it was first mentioned in 1614.

l. 122 Scopes] The mingling of new scientific inventions like the microscope and telescope with the old horoscope, the observation of the planets usually to discover their influences on someone, was typical of works mocking science. It is possible, however, that another instrument was referred to, for in 1696 there is reference to a planisphere called a horoscope.

l. 125 Ma tres chear] French: my dear. The 1687 edition reads 'Matres chear'.

l. 129 Plumeys] young men called after their gay plumed hats

l. 133 tout au toore] French: all around

l. 149 Cannons] The 1687 edition reads 'ChevaveCannous'. The sense is 'Cavalier, fair-haired, no more face-patches, or powder, or ribbons and lace'. 'Cannons' were huge breeches adorned with ribbons and lace. cf. Pepys 24 May 1660: 'Up and made myself as fine as I could, with the linen stockings on and wide canons that I bought the other day…'.

l. 163 Moon-calfs] idiots, whose birth has been affected by the moon

l. 164 Governante and Keeper] Mopsophil, the governess, and Scaramouch, the guard


s.d. long] In Arlequin Empereur there is a huge mounted telescope.

l. 13 at distance] seems from far away to have closed eyes

s.d. bare] bare-headed

l. 24 Caballa] The esoteric doctrine of Jewish tradition, as well as a secret society or cabal, given significance because of its use for the group of powerful ministers in the 1660s and 70s.

l. 24 Eutopia] ideal place of happiness but also sounding like 'utopia', nowhere, the title of Thomas More's famous sixteenth-century fantasy

l. 31 intelligence] information. The 1687 edition reads 'intleligence' here and 'intleligent' below.

l. 32 Dæmons] inferior spirits

l. 34 Count of Gabalis] a character in the Abbé Nicolas Pierre de Montfaucon's comic description of the Rosicrucians in Le comte de Gabalis, ou Entretiens sur les sciences (Paris, 1670), translated into English as Count Gabalis: Or, the Extravagant Mysteries of the Cabalists, Exposed in Five Pleasant Discourses (1680)

l. 38 Vulgar Mortals] Much of this Rosicrucian doctrine comes from Count Gabalis. The point is that four types of spirits, salamanders, nymphs, gnomes and sylphs, should copulate with mortals.

l. 39 Deietical] The nonsensical word simply suggests Charmante's learning.

l. 51 shapes] in bodies that can be seen

l. 58 carnal thought] This Rosicrucian notion was especially mocked since the object of abstinence was greater sexual experience with spirits.

l. 65 Tryal] The 1687 edition precedes this line with 'Char.'.

s.d. shows to the Audience] is revealed to the audience

l. 77 figure] The 1687 edition reads 'fuger'. cf. the same usage in The Feign'd Curtizans.

l. 79 Alikin] possibly a diminutive of Alif, Aleph or Allah

l. 95 mighty minds are] These examples of the conqueror Alexander and the Celtic magician Merlin are based on those in Count Gabalis where Alexander was fathered by a sylph.

ll. 100–101 Dæmon or Devil] Gabalis mentions the love of Numa Pompilius for Egeria; Zoroaster or Zarathustra, sage of the ancient Persian religion, who was pg 435said to be the son of Noah's wife with a salamander; Hermes Trismegistus, legendary alchemist; and Thomas Aquinas, the medieval theologian, said to be an authority on the correspondence between mortal and spirit. Apuleius was the Roman author of the satirical The Golden Ass and was also accused of being a magician; Albertus Magnus, teacher of Aquinas, was a thirteenth-century scholastic philosopher who reconciled Aristotelian thought to Christianity; Virgil was the famous Roman poet of the Aeneid. The Zilphid is the sylph.

l. 111 Iredonozar] The name comes from Godwin's Man in the Moon where all the monarchs of the moon, who have derived from the earth, are called Irdonozur.

s.d. Hedges] presumably painted shutters or cut-out bushes behind which Harlequin has hidden shortly after his entry with his master Charmante

l. 153 Transitories mortal] Possibly 'mortal' is here an adjective for 'Transitories' or possibly there should be a comma between the words, so that Scaramouch is being addressed as 'mortal'. The 1724 edition has 'transitory Mortal'.

s.d. on the Stage] This sort of miming scene was extremely popular in commedia dell'arte.

l. 163 my own Sword] stabbing himself. To caper is to dance.

l. 164 Rats-bane] rats poison or arsenic

l. 165 Weasand] throat

l. 168 dye that Death] This notion is taken from 'Scene du desespoir' in Arlequin Empereur. The licentious sixteenth-century writer Pietro Aretino was supposed to have died in a fit of laughing.


s.d. groping] to indicate darkness

l. 23 Boremes] bouts-rimés, rhymes given to a person who must make a poem from them. cf. Arlequin Empereur where bouts-rimés are mentioned.

s.d. can turn] The trick with the tablets and the lover's jealousy occurs in less expanded form in Arlequin Empereur and is called by Gheradi 'Scene d'Isabelle & Columbine'. Isabelle complains, 'Est-il sous le ciel une plus malheureuse personne? Je tiens mes tablettes. Je les mets sur ma table: & dans le temps que je dispose mon imagination a quelques bouts rimes, un diable, oui, Colombine, un diable invisible ecrit sur mes tablettes des vers sur les memes rimes. En ce moment Cinthio entre dans ma chambre, surprend mes tablettes, & veut absolument que ces vers m'ayent ete donnes par un rival: plus je cahe a le desabuser, plus il s'obstine a le croire. . .'.

l. 34 Sighs] The 1687 edition reads '[Har. Writes as before. / [Har.writes.]———And answer'd only with my Sighs./ [She turns and takes the Tablet.' I have followed Montague Summers in moving the stage directions.

l. 53 Character] handwriting

l. 62 Maluruse] French: miserable me, echoing Arlequin Empereur

l. 65 Humme] gallant man. The 1687 edition reads 'Huome'.

s.d. Pulls out his Keys;] The 1687 edition reads 'Pulls out his;'.

l. 76 A Cross and Figure of Three] The work of alchemists like Paracelsus and Thomas Vaughan abounds in crosses and signs.

l. 85 Calash] light carriage with low wheels

l. 94 League and Covenant] the wording reminiscent of the Solemn League and Covenant of the Scots Presbyterians in 1643

s.d. Fleut Deux] flute-douce, a high-pitched flute

l. 101 Bone Ame] French: good friend

l. 130 Closet's open] where Charmante is already hidden

l. 138 Gog Magog] Gog and Magog were giant effigies in London, burnt in the Fire in 1666.

pg 436

l. 141 dub'd a Knight.] The citizens and their wives are mocked for worshipping the statues as source of money and titles.

l. 154 Pegasus] legendary flying horse


s.d. Antick Dance] Such dances were used for interludes. The word 'Antick' sometimes meaning bizarre, sometimes old, suggested that the dancers wore strange costumes.

l. 24 Fidles Treat] fiddlers' food

SCENE Changes to the Street

s.d. Flambeau] The 1687 edition reads 'Flambeaux', torches.

s.d. Campaign Coat] military coat

l. 35 Deceptio visus] Latin: visual error, or as Scaramouch has it 'error of the eyes'. The phrase is also used in The Debauchee.

SCENE Changes to the Inside of the House

s.d. [florinda]] The mention of Florinda earlier suggests that she is the lady who enters with Elaria and Bellemante here. The 1687 edition misses her out and gives her speeches simply to 'Lady'.

l. 70 A la Gothic and Uncomune] pseudo-French: in the gothic style and unusual

s.d. Harpsicals] harpsichord or possibly, since this is a large instrument, the small virginals

s.d. Figure Dance] a formal dance, presumably danced by the main characters rather than the 'Anticks'

l. 126 doctor (without.)] Here and below the 1687 edition has Without before the character's name.

l. 127 pedro (without.)] The 1687 edition reads 'Without Peter'. Here and below, 'Peter' has been changed to 'Pedro'.

s.d. in his Hand] The tableau is not in Arlequin Empereur but it did feature in another commedia dell'arte production, 'Arlequin Jason ou la Toison d'or' where the actors whom Medea had turned to stone are released and descend from their pedestals.

l. 155 Vertuoso] scholar, here a Rosicrucian devotee

l. 158 tuning of the Spheres] The motion of the spheres in the hollow globes round the earth was supposed to cause music.

l. 164 what Story's this?] the story illustrated in the tapestry

s.d. Perspective] magnifying glass

l. 140 go round] become common knowledge. The 1687 edition has no exit for Mopsophil at this point but later editions add it and it is clearly necessary.

l. 252 Gallanicus] The 1688 edition emends this to 'Galenists'. Galen, the Greek physician and writer of medical works, gave his name to physicians in general.

SCENE Draws off

s.d. Night-Gowns] as so often no location is given but Montague Summers adds 'Bellemante's Chamber'

SCENE The Garden

l. 301 en Cavalier] like a cavalier, with grace and elegance

l. 318 lief] The 1687 edition reads 'live'.

l. 325 true Blew] constant, the colour associated formerly with the Scots Presbyterians but more recently with the Whigs

ll. 328–9 bob] cheat

pg 437

l. 336 shotten Herring] an old herring

l. 338 Zany] a fool but also the servant character in the commedia dell'arte

l. 357 Property] tool

s.d. [Harlequin]] The 1687 edition reads 'her'.

l. 371 young Ladies] The 'Scene de la fille de chambre' in Arlequin Empereur is behind this scene but Behn elaborates on Harlequin's alleged earlier employers. In Arlequin Empereur Arlequin pretends to be a fille de chambre and he offers his services. He describes his last mistress who was a woman of great 'proprete' and never left her room. He is asked if he has ever served 'des Comtesses, des Marquisses, des Duchesses' and replies he has served 'un commandeur dont j'etois femme de chambre'.

l. 374 dapper Leg] neat bow, appropriate for a man

l. 394 Brokad de or] mantuas or head dresses of gold brocade

l. 394 Gathers] decorated with lace up to the gathering at the waist

ll. 401–2 Vice Reigne] The scene is set in Naples which was under the Spanish crown between 1503 and 1707. There may be a dig at Charles II's most powerful mistress, Louise, Duchess of Portsmouth, who was famously extravagant.

l. 448 Jupiter] Jupiter adopted various disguises, most famously a swan, to copulate with mortal women.

l. 424 Ebula] In Godwin's Man in the Moon the Ebula stone given by a moon character to Gonzales was extremely beautiful and allowed Gonzales to weigh half his natural weight; so he could fly into the air.

l. 479 Olympus Top] Parnassus was the mountain of the poets; Hymettus an Attican mountain; Geranius a mountain close to Corinth; Acrocorinthus the top of Corinth; Taygetus, a high mountain; and Olympus the mountain home of the gods. . . . gods. A similar account of Rosicrucian transport occurs in John Heydon's New Method . . . (1658 and 1672): 'Rosie Crucians . . . have arrived also to the power of working miracles . . . as being transported where they please . . .' p. 539. This transport is of Hermetic origin.

l. 496 dead Lift] emergency (from a horse exerting itself at a weight too heavy to move)


s.d. towards the Stage] Harlequin presumably comes through the wings and moves to the forestage. Real animals were occasionally used on the Restoration stage, as when Joe Haines famously delivered an epilogue on a donkey in Drury Lane in 1697; possibly a real horse was used here.

l. 3 Siege Voglant] light carriage with two wheels

l. 18 an] The 1687 edition reads 'and'.

s.d. a Cart] The scene is reminiscent of 'Scene du fermier de Donfront': 'Arlequin pendant ce temps change de juste-au-corps & de chapeau, & paroit en boulanger, avec une chemisette rouge & un bonnet blanc de laine; & son souflet se trouve change en charette'.

SCENE Changes to the Doctors House

s.d. Apothecaries Shop] In Arlequin Empereur Arlequin pretends to be an apothecary: 'Arlequin sortant d'une chaise a porteur, qui en s'ouvrant represente la boutique d'un Apotiquaire.' See Le Théâtre Italien, 1741, I, 168–75. The trick is also reminiscent of the antics of the Earl of Rochester, already alluded to in the scenes of the mountebank in The Second Part of the Rover.

l. 62 Communitive] probably generous. The word is part of Scaramouch's comically pretentious Latinate speech.

pg 438

l. 65 Gallenical and Paracelsian Phænomena's] matters described by the classical physician Galen and the medieval alchemist and physician Paracelsus

l. 66 Vulnerary] curative

l. 70 Ocular and Aurial] eye and ear

l. 86 speculation] by observation

l. 89 Lunar Mundus] map of the Moon world

l. 92 Terra Incognita] unknown land

l. 97 Forlorn Hope] body of men chosen to begin a military attack or form an advance party

l. 102 Novel] news

l. 112 Scaturigo] Latin: spring

l. 115 enode] explain

l. 119 Generous Water] garbled version of alchemy: Ceruberates is from cerulean suggesting blue and Crocus suggests yellow. In alchemy the yellow stage follows the blue. Generous is both rich and copious. Water here indicates both the spring water and urine.

l. 123 pallid] The 1687 edition reads 'palled'.

l. 123 Filia Solis is breeding] Alchemy routinely used the language of breeding and the body for the arrival of the philosopher's stone. If the material, probably in a flask, is pale then filia solis, daughter of the sun, is breeding. See Rulandus, A Lexicon or Alchemical Dictionary (Frankfurt, 1612) and Basilius Valentinus, Occulta Philosophia (Frankfurt, 1603).

l. 126 Balneo] The faeces are the dregs, and the balneo (from Latin: balneum) the bath of water.

l. 128 Zenith and Nader] Zenith and nadir are astronomical terms for the highest and lowest points of the sky, so height and depth.

l. 129 Islington] a place then just north of London with medicinal springs

l. 133 Amalgena] nonsensically used alchemical terms. The Crows Head is the black stage of the alchemical process, the onset of which signals the nigredo, the first stage of the work. Lac Virginis is virgin's milk, an alchemical term for mercurial water which washes and coagulates without manual labour; Amalgena or amalgama is a mingling of mercury and other metal, usually gold or silver. Behn may here have been leaning on Ben Jonson's The Alchemist where in Act II these terms also occur. See also Thomas Vaughan, Coelum Terrae; or, the Magician's Heavenly Chaos (London 1650).

ll. 138–9 Fema Materia] The collected edition of 1724 changes this to prima materia, so the original substance to which everything could be reduced in alchemy. Either term would do since Scaramouch is increasingly talking nonsense.

l. 144 Urinam Vulcani] urine of Vulcan, the smithy god often invoked in alchemy

l. 144–5 Calibrates] The 1724 edition changes this to 'calybeates', impregnates with iron.

l. 146 Calor] degree of heat. Vulcan's urine puts iron into a person's excrement in proportion to the original body heat.

ll. 154–5 Stercus Proprius] his own faeces

l. 159 Costive] constipated

ll. 159–60 Load-stone ad Anum] magnet to the anus

l. 162 per Visera] through the entrails

l. 197 consequential Finis] important end

l. 200 in a Halter] on a lead

l. 202 Primum Mobile] prime mover. In the old Ptolemaic astronomy this was the sphere that moved the other spheres.

pg 439

s.d. half Sword Parry] swords very close together and crossed

l. 231 fit] punish

l. 237 Phisnomy] physiognomy, face indicating character

l. 244 projecting Fires] projection as the final stage of alchemy and suggesting Baliardo's enthusiasms

l. 245 Guzman of Salamanca] the rogue Guzman in the Spanish romance by Mateo Aleman, translated into English as The Rogue. In the seventeenth century Guzman became a synonym for trickery. The reference to Salamanca probably reminded the audience of Titus Oates who claimed to have had a doctorate from the university there.

l. 246 Signum Mallis] pseudo-Latin: sign of evil

l. 252 Lanthorn Jaws] long thin jaws

l. 256 Sceliton] skeleton, referring to the thin actor Jevon

l. 256 Jack of Lent] Lent was the season of fasting, Jack a generic name for a common man or a knave.

l. 260 Glister-pipe] The clyster-pipe was used for enemas, a suitable instrument for an apothecary.

l. 261 dirty Boots] Harlequin as a farmer

l. 292 Let me alone] leave all matters to me

l. 333 Quantity] The discussion of women's drinking is based on the 'Scene de la fille de chambre' in Arlequin Empereur in which Arlequin as fille de chambre claims 'she' has to drink a lot of wine.

l. 334 as 'tis here] In Arlequin Empereur in 'Scene dernière' Arlequin, acting the emperor, describes the lunar world and the doctor and Columbine echo 'c'est tout comme ici'. Behn misses out a good deal of the satire against women to be found in Arlequin Empereur.

l. 345 ParkMallToore] St James's Park, the Mall in the park and the circuit of Hyde Park were all fashionable places where one would wish to be seen in London.

l. 380 exhaling] drawing up earthly vapours. Using the sun's activity for space travel occurs in Cyrano de Bergerac's Voyage to the Moon.

ll. 385–6 dropt into the Sea] cf. 'Scene de l'Ambassade, et du Voyage d'Arlequin dans l'empire de la lune' where Arlequin describes falling into a lake, being fished up and served as a fish to the moon emperor, Le Théâtre Italien 1741, I, 155–6

l. 391 Spitchcock'd] prepared like an eel for eating, cut in pieces and dressed in bread crumbs and herbs

SCENE The Last

s.d. Scenes and Lights] Some of this scene is based on the last scene of Arlequin Empereur but Behn's is far more spectacular. 'Scenes' refers to paintings.

s.d. Zodiack] Presumably the chariots are descending platforms, and the actors look upstage with telescopes towards where the zodiac machine, another platform, will appear.

l. 458 disappear'd] The chariots have been pulled off into the wings taking the actors playing Kepler and Galileo with them.

l. 474 Helicon] river of Parnassus, mountain of poets

ll. 474–5 by Post] very quickly

l. 476 store of] many

l. 500 fixt Signs unhinging] separating themselves from their fixed orbits

l. 510 Aries] This begins the list of the signs of the zodiac. Aries bleats and leaps as a ram.

l. 524 Happiness] the slow pace at which respectful love turns into happiness

pg 440

l. 526 Virgo] The 1687 edition reads 'his' but makes the sign feminine below.

l. 539 she turns] The platform is turned to let each sign descend.

s.d. Globe of the Moon] It seems likely that one of the earlier platforms would have to be used to present this descent. The reference later to the chariot is probably to this same device.

l. 551 IO'S] exulting shouts

l. 555 Silvia] This and subsequent names are simply generic pastoral names.

l. 561 panting God] Apollo pursued Daphne who was turned into a reed to avoid him.

s.d. descend and land] This seems not a new stage direction but a more detailed repetition of the earlier more general one. The descent of the chariot occurs during the previous song. Alternatively there could be some sort of contraption like a chariot coming out of the 'Globe of the Moon'. At the end of the descent or entrance the platform-chariot would probably be drawn off to allow room for the subsequent action and drawing off of scenes.

l. 584 Stentraphon] from Stentor, loud voiced, so a speaking trumpet. In the early twentieth century a stentorphone was a loud speaker.

l. 585 Delphick Oracles] The Greek gods spoke to humanity through the oracles, especially the famous one at Delphi.

l. 598 destroy'd her] Zeus killed his beloved Semele when, responding to her 'ambitious' wish to see him in his true shape, he appeared to her in his glory and burnt her up.

s.d. on the other side] presumably the chariots used earlier by Kepler and Galileo

s.d. Helmets] The use of the stentorian voice and the interruption here echo the prologue.

l. 615 Knights of the Sun] In the last scene of Arlequin Empereur the knights of the sun overcome Arlequin.

s.d. at Barriers] as if a barrier were set up for a tournament with lances

l. 661 all my Books] echoing Cervantes' disillusioned Don Quixote, and Prospero in The Tempest : 'I'll drown my books'

l. 663 Lies] The 1687 edition reads 'Leys'.

l. 672 nothing yet] The Greek philosopher Socrates was supposed to have concluded that he knew nothing except that he was ignorant.


l. 4 Chapon Boüillé] boiled capon

l. 17 Pickeroons] Picaroons were rogues, sea-robbers or corsairs.

l. 30 Armies in the Field] The notion that writers were essential to the health of a state is one much repeated by Behn in the 1680s. See The Second Part of the Rover and The Luckey Chance.

l. 35 Augustus] James II



Laurence Lord Hyde, Earl of Rochester] The second son of Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, Charles II's Chancellor, Laurence Hyde became the Earl of Rochester in 1684 and High Treasurer of the Exchequer in 1685. He was outmanoeuvred by the Secretary of State, the Earl of Sunderland, and angered James II, his brother-in-law, by resisting conversion to Roman Catholicism. He was forced from court in 1687.

pg 441

l. 6 Universe] Increasingly through the 1680s Behn had become interested in the classical theory that a flourishing theatre indicated a flourishing state. cf. also the dedication to The Emperor of the Moon.

l. 9 Cardinal Richelieu] Richelieu (1585–1642) was the chief minister of Louis XIII of France. He was known as a patron of the theatre.

l. 17 Modern Politician] possibly the Whig politician the Earl of Shaftesbury, now dead, but before his death constantly satirised by Tory writers

l. 19 Abbot of Aubignac] François Hedelin (1604–76), French playwright and critic, author of La pratique du theatre (1657)

l. 49 busy] The 1687 edition reads 'buisy'.


l. 9 through-stitcht] complete, from a stitch that went right through the cloth

l. 9 full Third Day] i.e. good payment from the third night's profits, the traditional recompense for the playwright

l. 18 natural Colour] a blush rather than cosmetic paint

l. 23 Rook for a Cully] a card-sharper or a cheat for a victim

ll. 37–8 Dr. Davenant] Charles Davenant (1656–1714), eldest son of Sir William Davenant, who received the patent for the Duke's Company after the Restoration. Charles was co-owner of the United Company, which put on The Luckey Chance; he was also an M.P. and helped in the licensing of plays.

l. 41 Sir Roger L'Estrange] licenser of published works throughout most of the Restoration and a man much admired by Behn for his propagandist efforts for the royal government, see Poem to Sir Roger L'Estrange, no. 82 in Works of Aphra Behn vol. 1.

l. 42 Mr. Killigrew] Charles Killigrew (1655–1725), co-owner of the United Company and Master of the Revels. He was reponsible for the content of performed plays.

l. 51 Mr. Leigh] Anthony Leigh, the famous comic actor who played Sir Feeble. Anthony Leigh had become established in the Duke's Company only after 1676, and he often worked in a duo with Nokes. He had already played in Behn's The Feign'd Curtizans, The False Count and Sir Patient Fancy. The offending action is specified in the stage-directions.

l. 54 Oedipus] a play of 1678 by Nathaniel Lee and Dryden; in Act II, Scene I, Oedipus enters sleep-walking in his shirt.

ll. 58–59 City Politicks] John Crowne's Tory play performed in the season of 1682–3. The Lady Mayoress, and the Old Lawyers Wife are two characters who make their husbands cuckolds.

l. 63 the London Cuckolds] a popular play of Behn's friend, Edward Ravenscroft, performed in 1681. It has three cuckolds in it.

l. 64 Sir Courtly Nice] John Crowne's comedy from 1685; the Taylor to the young Lady uses double entendres in his talk with the young woman and her aunt in Act II, Scene II.

ll. 64–5 Sir Fopling] Etherege's Man of Mode; or, Sir Fopling Flutter (1676). The hero, Dorimant, sleeps with Belinda and then describes the pleasure.

l. 65 Valentinian] Rochester's revision of Beaumont and Fletcher's earlier play was performed in 1684 after the Earl's death. Behn wrote a prologue for it in which she declared it untouchable because of its celebrated authors. The play concerns the rape of Lucina by the emperor Valentinian.

l. 68 The Moor of Venice] Shakespeare's Othello, one of the first plays to be performed on the Restoration stage

l. 68 The Maids Tragedy] a popular play by Beaumont and Fletcher, revived in the Restoration; in it the King forces a marriage between Amintor and Evadne pg 442his mistress (written Eucedne in the 1687 edition) and indulges in bawdy remarks about the wedding night and the failure of consummation.

l. 72 coarse] The 1787 edition reads 'course'.

ll. 105–6 Wills Coffee House] a famous London coffee house in Covent Garden kept by Will Unwin. It had a wits' room upstairs. Since Dryden usually presided there this may be a reference to him, but a 'Wit of the Town' does not sound like the Laureate.


Nokes] James Nokes was one of the major comedians of the Restoration theatre. The first role he played in the new theatre of Dorset Garden was Monsieur de Paris in The Gentleman-Dancing-Master by Wycherley. He appeared in several of Behn's plays, including Sir Patient Fancy, The Feign'd Curtizans, The City-Heiress and The Second Part of The Rover.

Betterton] The 1686 edition reads 'Batterton'. Thomas Betterton was both theatre manager and leading actor of the Duke's Theatre. He appeared in many of Behn's plays including Abdelazer, The Feign'd Curtizans, The City-Heiress and Sir Patient Fancy.

Kenestone] Edward Kynaston (1643–1712), a leading actor of the King's Company, was much lampooned for an alleged homosexual affair with the Duke of Buckingham. He married in 1691. After the theatre merger in 1682 he performed regularly with the United Company. The 1687 edition reads 'presses for Sir Feeble's Nephew'.

Jevon] Thomas Jevon was a popular comedian from the old Duke's Company. He was a great mimic and often spoke prologues and epilogues to comic effect, as he does in this play and in The Emperor of the Moon. He had played in many of Behn's works including The City-Heiress.

Harris] Joseph Harris c. 1650–c. 1715, actor and singer, worked with the United Company from 1685 to the season of 1694–95. He went on to play Colonel Downright in The Widdow Ranter.

Bowman] John Bowman, actor and singer. As a boy in about 1673 he had joined the Duke's Company and often sang before the King. He had played in The City-Heiress and would go on to play in The Widdow Ranter.

Barry] Elizabeth Barry, one of the most famous actresses of the Restoration, worked often with Aphra Behn, who may well have tailored her parts to Barry's talents. Barry had played the small role of Leonora in Abdelazer and then went on to act major roles in The Rover, The Second Part of the Rover, and The City-Heiress. Cook] Sarah Cooke, acted with the United Company, having moved there from the King's Company. She usually played tragic parts. She spoke Behn's prologue to Rochester and Fletcher's Valentinian and also acted in Behn's Emperor of the Moon.

Mo[u]ntford] Susannah Mountfort was the daughter of the actor Thomas Percevall. She would become one of most influential actresses of the 1690s and the leading comedienne of the United Company. Mountford tended to play resourceful girls and breeches parts, but she could also play low life comic characters. Southerne created the title role of Sir Anthony Love for her. She played in The Emperor of the Moon and, as Mrs Verbruggen, went on to act in The Younger Brother.

Powel] Mary Powell married the actor George Powell in 1686. After acting in The Luckey Chance, she was absent from the theatre for a decade, possibly through pregnancies and child-rearing. She began acting again in the mid 1690s and appeared in The Younger Brother.


l. 1 Old Plays] The amalgamated United Company had access to all the old plays formerly split between the Duke's and the King's Companies. Consequently the new Company tended to stage earlier plays, a cheaper option than accepting new works.

l. 20 quit cost] give some financial return

l. 29 the Mall, the Ring, the Pit] The Mall was a fashionable walk bordered by trees in St. James's Park, often mentioned in Restoration plays e.g. Otway's The Souldier's Fortune; the Ring was a circular drive in Hyde Park, cf. The Man of Mode; the pit was the theatre.


l. 1 in yonder East] an echo of Romeo and Juliet Act II, Scene ii, so indicating the lover. Time was frequently indicated by dialogue in the theatre, since it was difficult to suggest it through lighting.

l. 5 rigid Laws] Killing in a duel was supposed to be punishable by death although royal pardons could be obtained. The 'Proclamation against Duelling' of 1680, however, declared that there would be no more royal pardons for those who broke the law.

s.d. Enter phillis] The 1687 edition has this stage direction before the song.

l. 53 closing] coming close in to each other as they fight

l. 58 Whither] The 1687 edition reads 'Whether'.

l. 73 Starter] a soppy or changeable person

l. 75 Charter] There was much dispute over the City of London's Charter. It had been revoked in 1683 after quarrels between the aldermen who chose Whig sheriffs while Charles II favoured Tory ones. The dispute continued until 1688, when James II restored the City Charter.

l. 83 Finsbury Hero] Finsbury Fields was where archery was practised. The phrase continues the archery metaphor which had described Leticia as a mark for men.

l. 91 Dugion] dudgeon, dagger or its hilt, so his sexual organs

ll. 95–7 Authority] There seems no reason why these lines and those below, 'I saw...Visits' (lines 108–11), 'Now...Friendship' (lines 113–14), and 'I see...Julia' (lines 116–17) should be printed as verse except to give seriousness to Belmour and Gayman.

l. 119 wilt] The 1687 edition reads 'wo't'.

l. 125 presented] both the giving of expensive gifts and the presenting of arms. Gayman has had to mortgage his estate to Julia's husband.

l. 129 broke] both sexually worn out and bankrupt

l. 153 Gorgon's Head] The mythological Gorgons turned those who looked on them to stone. Gayman suggests Sir Feeble will be a cuckold and have a head that will grow horns.

l. 157 Newgate] one of the main prisons of London, close to the Old Bailey, used for criminals sentenced to death. It had been burnt in the Fire and rebuilt by Wren in 1672.

l. 159 Press Yard] the area in the prison from where condemned prisoners were taken for execution

l. 159 Mr. Barnardine in the Play] reference to Shakespeare's Measure for Measure: 'You must rise and be hanged, Master Barbardine' (Act IV, Scene ii) or to Davenant's The Law against Lovers, performed in 1661, a jumbled version of the Shakespeare play

l. 164 Sacred Vow] Behn's insistence on the importance of voluntary vows over pg 444arranged marriage, runs throughout her plays from The Forc'd Marriage to this one.

l. 201 Common-wealth] The United Provinces formed a republic under an ostensibly elected stadholder. English royalists mocked it for its lack of powerful central government.

l. 203 Snicker Snee] a fight with knives, cf. The Dutch Lover.

l. 209 Spittle Sermon] the Easter sermon preached at St Bride's Church in Fleet Street, originally an endowment of the Priory of St. Mary Spittle. The sermons were attended by the Lord Mayor and Corporation in full regalia.

l. 224 St. Omers] French city famous for its seminary, where many English Catholics were educated. Sir Feeble's nephew is more likely to have come from Protestant Holland but perhaps the reference might have been made to remind the audience of the arch imposter, Titus Oates, who claimed to have studied in St. Omers in his Catholic phase.

l. 246 Duelling) Belmour has been bribing people to obtain his pardon, but since he is the first trangressor after the new act, he is in a difficult position.


l. 6 I am] The 1687 edition reads 'am I'.

l. 50 Alsatia] a notorious area of Whitefriars, a sanctuary where debtors were immune from arrest. In 1688 Thomas Shadwell staged The Squire of Alsatia, set in Whitefriars and using Alsatian slang.

ll. 64–5 Billingsgate] the raucous voice of a woman who sells fish near Billingsgate dock

l. 79 Condition] This speech is set as part verse, part prose, presumably to give dignity and seriousness to the description.

l. 86 Cabin] a small section of a room made by the bed's being built into the wall

l. 87 Dornex] Dornick, a fabric made in the Flemish town of Doornick

l. 91 Henry the Eighth] Shakespeare's Henry VIII had many crowd scenes, for example Elizabeth's christening.


SCENE III.] The grandeur of Restoration productions of the scene is attested to by Pepys in his Diary and by the references in The Rehearsal.

l. 1 Joan Sanderson] a round-dance in which dancers were taken into the ring with the invitation 'welcome Joan or John Sanderson' and a kiss from the dancers of the opposite sex. The dance was also referred to in The Roundheads, Act IV.

l. 2 Kiss Leticia] The 1687 edition reads 'So to the rest.'

l. 8 quench his fire] a favourite Restoration image, much used by Behn, of the sun god Phoebus Apollo going to or rising from the bed of the nymph Thetis, so signifying dawn and dusk.

l. 11 Then, then] The 1687 edition reads 'Then thou'.

l. 18 Haunce in Kelder] 'hans in the cellar', meaning baby in the womb. The 1687 edition prints this in black letter.

l. 28 pledge me] In royalist plays, old City knights were frequently presented as uxorious and given to infantile talk to endear themselves to their wives.

l. 31 Fubs] a term of endearment, for a small chubby woman, most famously used by Charles II for his mistress, Louise de Keroualle

l. 38 touse...blowze] fondle and disorder the clothes of women

l. 39 Apple John] an apple that could be kept for a long time, so perhaps reddish with wrinkles

pg 445

l. 46 Saint Martins Trumpery] cheap and imitation jewellery. At the church of St Martin le Grand in Holborn, bankrupt goldsmiths produced fake and illegal goods.

l. 68 Banns] The 1687 edition reads 'Banes'.

l. 75 Witnesses] a reference to the witnesses in the Popish Plot brought from St. Omers

l. 79 Devil to the Collier] proverbial expression for likeness, both being black

ll. 110–11 hundred thousand Men] in the anxious days of the Popish Plot there were rumours of French invasions from Catholic Ireland and vast forces massing there to enter England

l. 117 Salamanca Doctor] Titus Oates falsely claimed to have a doctorate from Salamanca in Spain. cf. The City-Heiress, Act V.

l. 139 wouldst] The 1687 edition reads 'wo't' here and in the next line.

l. 139 free o'th'City] Sir Feeble has the freedom of the City of London but does not wish his wife to be free with men.

l. 140 Twire] leering look, used also in The Feign'd Curitzans

l. 146 prinking] decking up, smartening

l. 151 He tickles] The 1687 edition reads 'ha, ha, ha, he! tickles'.


s.d. Campaign Coat] a soldier's coat from a military campaign

l. 23 Docity] teachableness, ingenuity, a rare use, though paralleled in The Feign'd Curtizans

l. 24 laid in Lavender] pawned

l. 27 black Art] magic; Gayman seems much associated with this desperate measure throughout the play.

l. 36 who's] The 1687 edition reads 'whose'.

ll. 49–50 La[u]nderesses Scores] laundresses bills; the 1687 edition reads 'Landeresses, Scores'.

ll. 57–8 Norwich Mantua] The 1687 edition reads 'Mantue'; Norwich was a centre for elaborate weaving, especially with silk.

l. 58 postle Spoons] Apostle spoons are small spoons with the figures of the Apostles on the handles. It is fitting that the husband the landlady is deceiving with her pawning has only the Judas spoon left.

l. 62 George Tavern] probably the George in Whitefriars, mentioned in Act IV

l. 67 slaber Chops] slobbering chops

l. 81 Basket Hilt...Sir Guy of Warwick] a basket shaped bit protecting the hand as it gripped the hilt of an old-fashioned sword; Sir Guy of Warwick was a hero of romance and the nickname for a broadsword.

ll. 97–8 your Health] This and the previous line are written out as if in verse in the 1687 edition.

l. 114 lose] The 1687 edition reads 'loose'.

l. 121 Assafetida] a resinous gum, used as an anti-spasmodic in medicine

l. 129 Caudle Cup] drinking cup for caudle, a cordial of warm spiced gruel mixed with wine or ale

l. 146 (Reads)] The 1687 edition reads 'gives him a Letter, he reads./ Gayman reads. Receive...'.

l. 148 Adieu] In the 1687 edition, 'adieu' is written as a stage direction.

l. 168 Fields of Lincolns-Inn] Lincolns Inn Fields was notorious as a place of vagabonds and thieves. It had also housed one of the patent theatres, but was not open during the time when The Luckey Chance was presumably being written.

pg 446[ACT II.] SCENE II.

s.d. distance behind her] The stage direction comes during Leticia's last two lines in the 1687 edition.

l. 54 wouldst] The 1687 edition reads 'wo't'.

l. 56 dull Priests] Vows exchanged could be considered binding and so invalidate a later contract, providing there was no consummation of the later relationship.

l. 67 our Flight] The 1687 edition begins a new line with 'Mean time'.

l. 102 screw] The 1687 edition reads 'scrue'.

ll. 146–7 Seraglio] The 1687 edition reads 'Seraglia'.

l. 148 for Countenance] for appearance's sake

l. 149 Janus, or a Spread-Eagle] The Roman god Janus looked in both directions with his two faces; in heraldry the spread eagle was sometimes represented with two heads.

l. 181 Cloris...Philander] two of Behn's most favoured pastoral names: Cloris is the heroine of the poem 'The Disappointment' and Philander the rake of Love-Letters between a Nobleman and his Sister, see vol. 1, no. 28 and vol. 2.

l. 197 lose] The 1687 edition reads 'loose'.

l. 202 in his Quonundrum] The 1687 edition reads 'Qunnundrum'. A gad-bee in the brain was proverbial for being out of one's wits and a conundrum was a whimsy or simply a word for anything.

l. 209 Posset] drink of hot milk curdled with ale or wine

l. 211 t'other Dance] the sexual; cf. Thomas Heywood's A Woman Killed with Kindness 'would she dance 'The shaking of the sheets...'.'

l. 217 toss the Stocken] the wedding custom of throwing the bride's stocking to the guests

s.d. Gayman stealing out] The 1687 edition reads 'stealing out Gayman.'.


s.d. Second Song before the Entry] presumably so called because of the song of the musicians in Act I, Scene I; the song was sung before the actors came on to the stage.

s.d. Mr. Cheek] Thomas Cheek, a song-writer who also wrote songs for Southerne's dramatization of Behn's Oroonoko

l. 12 prefer] The 1687 edition reads 'prefers'.

l. 21 Bandstrings] strings tying a man's bands or collar, often ornamented with tassels; Sir Feeble is cursing them for being difficult to unfasten.

l. 28 yare] ready and brisk

l. 43 Presenting] giving expensive presents

l. 49 sighd] The 1687 edition reads 'sight'.

l. 59 Livery and Seisin of her Body] Livery of seisin was a legal term for the delivery of property to the new owner.

l. 70 trusd] The 1687 edition reads 'trust'.

l. 82 throw open my Gown] This action apparently shocked the female audience. See the preface.

SCENE Changes to the Bedchamber

l. 109 Hey] The 1687 edition reads 'H'e''.

l. 109 Daphne] In mythology, the nymph Daphne ran from Apollo to escape being raped. She was turned into a laurel tree. See Ovid's Metamorphoses, Book I. Behn often referred to the story of Daphne, most comically at the end of her poem 'The Disappointment', Works of Aphra Behn, vol. 1.

l. 128 up in Arms] Because of the Popish Plot, people were the more willing to pg 447believe in the possibility of dangerous rioting. There were anti-Catholic riots most years in the late 1670s and early 1680s, including 1686 when the play was performed.

l. 130 Guild-Hall] the centre of the administration of the City of London

l. 141 Voice] vote

l. 145 his Majesty's ...Safety] The King was now James II; Charles II had been supposedly threatened with assassination in both the Popish Plot and the Rye House Plot of 1683.

l. 150 'bye] The 1687 edition reads 'b'u'y'.

l. 157 lose] The 1687 edition reads 'loose'.

SCENE Changes to a wash-House, or out-House

s.d. Dark-lanthorn] a lantern that has been darkened to allow secret movement

l. 169 pert] Here and in subsequent speeches the character tags of the 1687 edition read 'Old Woman'.

SCENE A Chamber

s.d. woman] The 1687 edition reads 'Women'.

SONG] The song was sung by John Bowman in the 1686 production. He also played Bredwell. The song is printed in John Playford's Theatre of Music 1687, p. 84, which identifies John Blow as the composer of the music and Mr. Ousley (Robert Wolselely) as the writer of the words.

l. 199 slug[gi]sh] The 1687 edition reads 'slugesh'.

l. 208 fines] refines

s.d. shepherd] Here and below, the 1687 edition reads 'Man'.

ll. 261–2 essential Beauty] the gold

SCENE In the same House

s.d. The flat Scene] presumably a stock stage property, perhaps a pair of shutters painted to look like a hall

s.d. Ca-a-pee] head to foot

l. 265 at] The 1687 edition reads 'at at'.

l. 267 innocent Intrigue] The word 'innocent' is presumably used to indicate that Julia's plan for Gayman did not include a sexual act.

s.d. dick] The 1687 edition reads 'Boy'.

l. 280 lose five hundred Ginneys] the money stolen by Julia for Gayman. The 1687 edition reads 'loose five hundred'.

ll. 328–9 Hot-Cockles] The game of hot cockles required a player to lie down blindfolded and guess who had hit him. Also sexual slang: Cockle was sometimes used for vagina.

l. 357 Premunire] A premunire was a writ issued against a person for an offence. In this case the old men were liable to the same penalty of cuckolding.

l. 371 Scandalum Magnatum] a statute protecting persons of high rank or office from slander

l. 379 Gargantua] a folk-lore giant, hero of Rabelais' History of Gargantua and Pantagruel (1532/3–62)

l. 380 Tale of a Tub] a tall tale

l. 389 ad an'] The 1687 edition reads 'ad and'.

l. 392 seemingly] without the audience hearing

s.d. to the Door] Bredwell comes through the door and turns back to speak to Gayman, who remains out of sight.

s.d. Undress] loose informal wear

pg 448

l. 417 Monument] The Monument to the Fire of London, which blamed the Catholics for the outbreak, was a column of over 200 feet.

l. 419 London Bridge at full Tide] The river Thames under London Bridge was dangerous at high tide.

SCENE The Street

l. 438 only to my Arms] Here and in the preceding line, the 1687 edition is corrupt and some letters are difficult to make out, but the meaning is clear enough. 'Too' has been emended to 'to'.

l. 439 Noise] The 1687 edition reads 'Noiss'.

l. 463 Prolonging] postponing

l. 497 for] The 1687 edition reads 'fot'.

l. 500 Embraces, in a Fidlestick] irritation at the fuss over, and the elaborate language covering copulation

l. 507 We'll] The 1687 edition reads 'Wee'l'.


l. 75 Proserpine] queen of the underworld and wife of Pluto

ll. 78–9 hung by Geometry] hung in an angular way or by magic, presumably referring to curtains

l. 90 Enterprize:] The 1687 edition reads 'Enterprizei'.

ll. 114–15 Sir-reverence] Sir Cautious is complaining of not being addressed by his title courteously, but the term 'sir reverence' was also used for a turd.

l. 140 this Day out] The term of Wastall or Gayman's loan is over and Sir Cautious has the right to seize his land in lieu of money.

l. 149 Indentures] binding agreements

l. 156 lest] The 1687 edition reads 'least'.

l. 166 George in White Fryars] The George Tavern existed in Whitefriars between 1648 and 1699.

l. 178 Prentices and Cashiers to play] He persuades apprentices and young clerks in counting houses to gamble and lose money.

ll. 181–2 Amsterdam and Leyden Libels] two Dutch towns known for their publishing, works attacking the Stuart royalist government often derived, along with libels on particular people who were unable to prosecute since they could not discover the author

l. 186 New-market Road] the road to Newmarket where the races were held. The reference may recall the Rye House Plot, a plot to assassinate Charles II and the Duke of York as they returned to London from Newmarket.

l. 188 robs Hedges] takes washing from hedges where it was laid out to dry

l. 197 pads] He is a footpad or a highwayman.

l. 223 sport a Dye] throw dice

l. 224 Teaster] tester, small coin worth about 6d

l. 228 top upon him] cheat or trick

l. 232 half in kelter] out of sorts

l. 246 Trincolo] This is an adaptation of Stephano's remark on his wife in Dryden and Davenant's adaptation of Shakespeare's The Tempest, which feature both Trinculo and Stephano as comic characters.

l. 267 Cousin] The 1687 edition reads 'Cosien'.

l. 276 of his Inches] of his height. There may well have been difference in height between Bredwell, played by John Bowman, and Thomas Jevon, who was notably thin and was probably tall.

l. 277 middle Gallery] of the theatre; prostitutes rather than ladies tended to sit there.

pg 449

l. 278 Foreman] of a jury in the City

ll. 279–80 Point Cravat] cravat made of lace

l. 331 Amadis de Gaul] a late fifteenth- and sixteenth-century cycle of chivalric romance

l. 335 Mum,] The 1687 edition reads 'Mun'.

l. 344 lose] The 1687 edition reads 'loose' here and 4 lines below.

l. 347 unmercifully] The 1687 edition reads 'ummercifully'.

l. 350 Fly] a familiar spirit to help him

l. 367 worth nothing] The commodity imagery for women has been used throughout the play. 'Nothing' may here suggest the female genitals.

l. 377 lose] The 1687 edition reads 'loose' here and below in lines 381 and 395.

ll. 396–7 'tis Breath--'tis Air--'tis nothing] cf. Shakespeare's Henry IV Part I, Act V, Scene i, where Falstaff muses on honour in much the same way.

ll. 403–4 Cato...Hortensius] In Plutarch's Lives, Cato the Younger gives his wife to Quintus Hortensius and takes her back after the latter's death.

l. 405 Precedent] The 1687 edition reads 'President'.

l. 409 to have----to hold] echoing the marriage service in the Book of Common Prayer

l. 413 sound] whole and free from venereal infection

l. 417 Gazet] The London Gazette, a newspaper in which Lady Henrietta Berkeley had been noted as missing; see Love-Letters between a Nobleman and his Sister, Works of Aphra Behn, vol. 2.

l. 427 Cater Tray] a four and a three

s.d. Sets up] scores or counts scores

l. 470 Wife's crackd] The 1687 edition reads 'Wifez rackd'. 'Cracked' could mean both financially broken and sexually ruined.


l. 34 undress it] The baby talk and the desire to undress the young wife marks several of Behn's old City husbands; cf. in Sir Patient Fancy.

l. 77 thy dear] The 1687 edition reads 'my dear'.

l. 102 poor Old man] This sympathetic feeling is new for a young woman in a Behn play and probably suggests changing taste; cf. Sir Patient Fancy.


l. 25 Who's] The 1687 edition reads 'Whose'.

l. 32 can't intend] am unable

l. 58 Circle] drawn by a magician, inside which a person could be safe from magic

l. 77 Cerberuses] Cerberus was the three-headed dog guarding the entrance to the underworld.

l. 84 Pantamogan] an imaginary devil, using the sound of the Dutch 'hogan mogan', high mightiness, much mocked by the English

SCENE Lady Fulbank's Anti-chamber

l. 91 will...call'd] an echo again of Henry IV Part I, where Hotspur mocks Glendower's claim to call up spirits at will

l. 178 do you Reason] do the right thing by you

l. 179 Pound Sir--] This speech is followed by '[Aside.' in the 1687 edition.

SCENE Changes to a Bed-Chamber

s.d. a Bed-Chamber] This appears to be a second discovery scene.

pg 450SCENE Draws over

s.d. Draws over] Presumably shutters painted to display a room are closed over the bed chamber scene.

l. 200 Claim to] Pert has entered into a marriage contract like Julia and Leticia, but she has the advantage of having a written contract, as appears below. Bearjest has been trying to ignore the agreement.

SCENE Changes to the Anti-Chamber

l. 215 Wital] wittol, a man complaisant about his wife's adultery, contented cuckold

l. 216 Print at Snow-hill] a hill in Holborn; lampoons were printed and sold there.

l. 217 Sign of Cuckolds Haven] with cuckold horns on his head. Cuckolds Haven was a point on the Thames.

l. 252 Intail'd Cuckoldom] Sir Cautious always thinks in property terms: he has an inheritance or old house of cuckoldom, to which he is now legal heir (entailed on him).

l. 257 silly Indians] an echo of Othello, Act V, Scene ii, where Othello 'Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away...'

s.d. Antick manner] wildly

l. 316 ere] The 1687 edition reads 'e'er'.

l. 390 No Sir] The important reply remains ambiguous, and Julia may consent to have what she wanted, Gayman wait for her, or she may be keeping her independence from both husband and lover.

l. 405 heard the news before] another surprising response since so much has been made of Gayman's poverty


EPILOGUE] In the CUL 1687 edition, the epilogue is printed at the beginning after the prologue.

l. 4 Nice and Flutter] foppish characters from Crowne's Sir Courtley Nice (1685) and Etherege's The Man of Mode; or, Sir Fopling Flutter (1676)

l. 6 Craffey] a fop who believes himself a poet in Crowne's City Politics (1683); he portrayed as intending to answer Dryden's Absalom and Achitophel.

l. 10 After math] The 1687 edition reads 'After Mach'.

l. 14 en Cavalier] like a fine gentleman; in John Cutts's poem 'La Muse Cavalier', the amateur gentleman poet is praised.

l. 15 whiffling] trifling

l. 17 Poll] The 1687 edition reads 'Pole'.

l. 24 shier] sheer, undiluted

l. 30 Bulkers give, and Tubs must cure] The pains of love are physical rather than spiritual: prostitutes give venereal disease and sweating-tubs cure it.

l. 33 Politick Fetch] clever trick

l. 34 Jack Ketch] generic for hangman. It was Jack Ketch who bungled the Duke of Monmouth's execution.

ll. 39–40 Satyr on Poetry] just possibly a reference to the Earl of Mulgrave's Essay on Poetry or, more likely, to Robert Gould's 'A Satyr against the Play-House 1685'. Gould frequently attacked Behn for indecency.

l. 43 Atome Fights] reference to Lucretius' notion of a world formed by moving atoms; Behn had read and been impressed by Lucretius' De Rerum Natura which she read in Thomas Creech's translation, see Works of Aphra Behn, vol. 1, no. 11.




St. Paul's-Church-Yard] This is the kind of list with which Behn would not usually have been associated. She constantly criticised Shadwell and Shaftesbury.


Welldon] There were several Welldons or Weldons in London. One possibility is Catherine Weldon, née Mantell, of Carleton Street who married James in 1675; another is Margaret Weldon, née Walker, formerly of Bushey in Hertfordshire.

l. 9 Religion] The emphasis on hospitality inevitably ties the dedicatee to the widow Ranter in the play.

ll. 21–2 Country-Justice] probably referring to Act III, Scene I

l. 25 Bacon] This scene continues to be missing from the printed text. Since he had read and appreciated this scene, which was not acted, either G. J. was careless in what he presented to the printer or he did not actually see the work through the press. The missing section survives nowhere else.

l. 29 Caresses] The carelessness of the entire printing extended to the dedication which left spaces in the middle of words and substituted wrong letters. Here the 1690 edition prints 'Cdresses'.

l. 37 Transported] Behn, too snobbishly, insists on the criminal background of most Virginians.


Bowman] The actors were presumably not chosen by Behn but she had used many of them before like John Bowman, Joseph Williams, Joseph Harris, and Cave Underhill. The Indian Queen was played by Anne Bracegirdle, her first adult appearance in a Behn play. The part of Ranter was taken by Betty Currer. The part of Hazard was taken by the famous actor John Baptista Verbruggen, his first appearance in a Behn play.

[Colonel]] The 1690 edition reads 'Colonel . . . a Loyall Honest Coun.'.


l. 6 will not sell] are so common and their mockery so habitual that no one wants to hear it

l. 9 Cruse] When this passage was used before Shadwell's play, it read 'cruse'. The Widdow Ranter had 'Cause', changed here to 'Cruse', a small earthen pot or jar.

l. 12 Pole] poll tax, revenue

l. 14 French Commodity] The flow of French goods into the country was restricted. The reference is also to venereal disease, usually regarded as peculiarly French.

l. 20 Muss] 'Bauble and Cap' are associated with infants; Muss was a child's game involving scrambling for things.

l. 21 Child's part] claim paternity

l. 23 Forreign Cattle] again mainly a reference to France as the home of foolishness, but also xenophobically taking in any country outside Britain

l. 28 wear her out] In Exodus, the Israelites wander for forty years in the wilderness. Copulation with the same whore (punk) is as dreary and the result is the birth of idiots. There is no need to claim the idiots on the stage since they have been conceived by many. The political point is enigmatic. It was forty years since the beheading of Charles I.

pg 452ACT I. SCENE I.

s.d. Port-mantle] portmanteau, case for travellers

l. 2 James-Town] On the James River, the town was settled in 1607 and was the capital of the Virginian colony at the time of Bacon's revolt.

l. 9 woundly] by His wounds, i. e. extremely

l. 20 Cogue] small wooden drinking cup

ll. 41–2 Groom-Porters] official of the royal household who regulated gaming

l. 45 my fortune] Hazard's purpose in coming to the colony is very similar to the historical Bacon's.

l. 47 Sharping] cheating, swindling

ll. 47–8 Cully in] take in, cheat

l. 49 Flats and Bars] fixed cards and loaded dice with which to cheat

ll. 49–50 take up goods. . . Fathers] to take promissory notes on an heir's inheritance and charge a huge fee on the father's death

l. 52 the better of the lay] to increase the stakes or wager

l. 56 any thing] The 1690 edition repeats the words.

l. 59 she] The 1690 edition reads 'shs'.

l. 67 Character] handwriting

l. 79 bought from the Ship] Many immigrants had the cost of their passage paid on arrival by someone needing a servant, for whom they would then work without wages until they had paid off the cost of their fare and keep. Convicts and the poor were often auctioned to bidders. Colonel Ranter had bought the woman he later married.

l. 82 Gallant] fine and amorous

l. 101 new Governours] Sir William Berkeley was the governor during Bacon's Rebellion. When he was recalled in 1677, the newly appointed governor Lord Colepeper was reluctant to set off for Virginia. When he did arrive, Colepeper stayed only for a short time, then returned to England. When ordered back, Colepeper spent a year without moving from England; he was then removed from the post. Whilst in England, he ruled Virginia through deputies.

l. 107 Ruled by a Councill] The colony of Virginia followed English models for its institutions. The executive was vested in a governor appointed by the crown and assisted by a council and an assembly of burgesses. The councillors, who held many of the most lucrative offices, were appointed by the governor; the burgesses were elected by freeholders.

l. 108 transported Criminals] men and women legally condemned to exile in a colony

ll. 109–10 Places of Authority] The English were outraged at the upstart nature of men who sat in the administrative bodies of Virginia and the confounding of ranks that was possible so far from Britain. As early as 1618, one observer wrote, 'our cowkeepers here of James citty on Sundays goes accoutered all in fresh flaming silke and a wife of one than in England had professed the black art not of a scholler but of a collier in Croyden weares her rough bever hatt with a faire perle hatband, and a silken suite. . . '.

l. 111 take upon 'em] accept responsibilities of a status

l. 118 Alexander. . . Romulus] The exploits, whether historical or mythical, of Alexander the Great in conquering lands from the Mediterranean to India, and of Romulus in founding Rome, were well-known to seventeenth-century readers from North's translation of Plutarch's Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans (1597).

ll. 144–6 Madams. . . Mistris] 'Madam' was used as a matter of courtesy to a woman of some social standing, whether married or not. 'Mistris' implied a lower social status. Although Virginians traditionally see themselves as descendants of cavaliers, the bulk of the early settlers who came in the seventeenth pg 453century were either felons and indentured servants or from the middling and lower ranks. They brought ideas of social rank from England. One of the elements in Bacon's Manifesto was that a few people of poor 'Extraction and 'vile' education had improperly risen to great wealth and prominence in the colony. The 1690 edition reads 'Mistrls'.

l. 152 Nants] brandy from the town of Nantes in France

l. 155 us] The 1690 edition reads 'ns'. The whole text is marked by upside down and sideways letters.

l. 156 petticoat] petticoat tails or dry tea biscuits. Also metonymy for women.

l. 159 shier-Brandy] undiluted

l. 161 Paulter] sham or false

l. 161 English French wine] English wine pretending to be a French import

l. 176 Hoggerds] This could either be a contraction of hogherds, i.e. swineherds, or hoggets, young boars.

l. 181 Life-guard man] Dr Dunce had been a shoer and doctor of horses before he went 'broke' i.e. went bankrupt. He then became a soldier of the royal bodyguard.

l. 182 Bishop] Dr Dunce forged a document appointing him as a minister of religion.

l. 183 Substantiall Orthodox] a conservative Anglican

l. 188 fain to keep an Ordinary] obliged to run a tavern. The 1690 edition reads 'keep on Ordinary'.

l. 191 trusting. . . Broke] Oliver Cromwell's funeral in 1658 was a magnificent affair, but many of the bills were never paid. Mrs. Flirt's father must either have supplied mourning cloth which was not paid for or have speculated on the commodity.

l. 194 Honour] The 1690 edition reads 'Honours'.

l. 195 Excise-man. . . Kings money] Customs officer who embezzled the payments of customs duty which should have gone to the Royal Exchequer

l. 196 Groat] coin worth very little, about 4d–6d

ll. 199–200 Scandalum Magnatum] a statute protecting a person of high rank of office from slander

ll. 202–3 running the Country] travelling round the county

l. 203 Newgate] the principal criminal prison in London. Many prisoners were transported to the colonies from there.

l. 206 Cart's tale] the back of a cart, to which an offender would be tied for whipping

l. 206 turned Evidence] became an informer

s.d. bear the Bob] sing the chorus. The 1690 edition reads 'Bo'.

l. 219 Justice. . . Corum] quorum; originally Justices of the Peace of especial learning or ability necessary to make a bench, later applied to all J.P.s. See also Act III, Scene I.

l. 234 Back] The 1690 edition reads 'Pack'.

l. 240 Club] fair share

l. 246 Covent-Garden Bully] a thug or pimp working round Covent Garden

l. 247 broken Citizen. . . Factor] middle-ranking person who has gone bankrupt and turned to peddling the goods of others


l. 13 Ravisht] seized as well as assaulted

l. 18 huft] bullied or cheated

l. 23 make] The first edition reads 'have'.

l. 36 thrum'd] torn or cut into pieces

pg 454

l. 47 [whimsey]] The 1690 edition reads 'Dunce'.

l. 60 Hector] The heroic Trojan warrior whose exploits and tragic death had been described by Homer and Virgil was by now a familiar name to people with no classical knowledge. They associated him sometimes with strength in a fight and at other times with loud boasting. In the second half of the seventeenth century the name was frequently given to disorderly and pugnacious young men in the streets of London.

l. 77 [whimsey]] The 1690 edition reads 'Whiff'.

l. 82 dispatcht] killed

l. 83 punctillio] a minute detail of conduct

l. 92 Sevana] a grassy plain. This is an example of Behn's use of words specifically associated with America. The same word is used in Oroonoko.


l. 2 in Fresco] in the open air on horseback like a man

l. 10 Bridewell] house of correction for vagabonds and prostitutes

l. 10 shoving the Tumbler] being tied to the tail of a cart and whipped. The 1690 edition reads 'shoving the Fumbler'.

l. 11 Lifting or filing the Cly] stealing or picking pockets

l. 16 Lay him thick] beat him a great deal

l. 28 Maukish] off colour and without appetite

l. 31 Regalio] a choice meal

l. 39 fusty] peevish and dull

l. 40 Stock-fish] dried cod

ll. 52–3 makes me an Infidell] makes me lose faith and become an unbeliever in love

l. 77 Poynts] twisted tags for fastening garments, used instead of buttons

l. 77 Chafferer] dealer, agent

l. 100 Fortune de la garr] French: fortune of war. Hazard had of course come from gambling not fighting.


SCENE I] In this scene, and at various other points in the play, the effect is heightened by some of the characters, especially Bacon, speaking in language which modulates in and out of blank verse, though never set out as such. It is not known what Aphra Behn's intentions were since she did not see the play through the press. In Southerne's Oroonoko, which derives in some part from The Widdow Ranter, the hero talks in blank verse although the other characters do not.

l. 27 Madam!] The 1690 edition reads 'Madam?'.

s.d. Anticks] fantastic and grotesque dances

l. 54 possibly] The 1690 edition reads 'possible'.

l. 90 considering caps] 'To put on a considering cap' is to think something over.

l. 91 nip] The 1690 edition reads 'knip'.

ll. 142–3 view. . . presumptuous] The 1690 edition reads 'veiw' and 'prseumptious'.


l. 1 Treater] an entertainer and hostess of feasts

l. 39 Sharper] swindler

l. 39 lay his Knife aboard] live off the widow and lie with her

l. 41 Salt and Battery] assault and battery, i.e. an attack with blows

l. 42 Swinging fine] swingeing, very large

pg 455

l. 44 swing'd] hanged

l. 50 Tun of Nants] barrel of brandy

l. 51 Mundungus] evil-smelling tobacco

l. 66 highland Varlet] The 1690 edition reads 'high Land-Vallet'.

l. 74 Court of Aldermen] In London this consisted of the representatives of the different wards. As in other English cities, the position of alderman was prestigious and was often held by successful and established businessmen.

l. 80 Mor-blew, More-Dee] French oaths

l. 81 Louvre …. White-Hall] the palaces respectively of the French and English kings

l. 82 Clap] The 1690 edition reads 'Cap' but 'Clap' makes more sense. A swinging cap would then be a bad case of venereal disease.

l. 86 is the] The 1690 edition has reversed the words to read 'the is'.

l. 87 Billet Doux] French: love letters. The 1690 edition reads 'Deaxs'.

l. 98 Troupers] go bankrupt and become soldiers in a troop of cavalry

l. 101 Ludgate] originally one of the principal gates of the City, later an area famous for merchants especially mercers. It also housed Ludgate Prison for debtors.

l. 109 kid-Naper] one who stole and carried off children and others to provide servants for the American plantations

l. 120 paultroon] coward or rascal


l. 20 Maw] stomach

l. 23 Wife] The 1690 edition reads 'Whiff'.


s.d. timerous] The 1690 edition reads 'Timerouse'. The names are as variously spelled as other words in this careless edition.

l. 18 [brag]] The 1690 edition seems unsure whether or not to call the messenger Brag. The first speech is labelled 'Mes. ', the second and subsequent ones 'Brag.'.

l. 32 Exasperated] The 1690 edition reads 'Exasperared'.

l. 39 Mobile] mob or rabble

l. 52 Rake-Hells] scoundrels

l. 66 hear] The 1690 edition reads 'here'.

l. 88 Herds] The 1690 edition reads 'Heards'.

l. 99 Bob] a blow of the fist, so a jibe

l. 127 Wellman] The 1690 edition reads 'Wlelman'.

l. 129 Barbicu] to barbecue or grill over a fire, an early example of this American word

l. 138 Roystering Hector] See note to [Act I,] Scene II, line 60.

l. 140 Bull of Bashan] See Psalm 22. 12, 'strong bulls of Bashan have compassed me round'. They were taken as symbolic of cruelty and rage.


l. 5 hallow him to the Gallows] shout him to execution. cf. Cromwell's comment to Lambert when they were enthusiastically received: 'These very persons would shout just as much if you and I were going to be hanged. '

l. 8 De Wit] Johan De Witt (1625–72), a famous Dutch statesman. He supported a republic in opposition to the House of Orange. During his rule De Witt raised the United Provinces to naval and commercial power and was popular with the pg 456people when Louis XIV invaded the country, however, he and his brother were seized by the mob and torn to pieces.

l. 11 Rods in piss] Twigs were soaked in urine ready for use in whipping.

l. 42 writ of Ease] a certificate of discharge from employment

l. 48 Brewers Tally. . . Stick] The amount of a debt was marked by notches on a stick; the stick was then split down the middle, so that each party had legal proof of the transaction.

ll. 51–2 Doltons Country-Justice] Michael Dalton, The Countrey Iustice, Conteyning the practise of the Iustices of the Peace. . . . . Gathered for the better helpe of such Iustices of Peace as have not beene much conuersant in the studie of the lawes of this realme (London, 1618). Throughout the seventeenth century new editions appeared with additional material. The first edition of The Rover contained this advertisement among others, 'Some books printed this year': 'The Country Justice, Containing the practice of the Justices of the Peace, in and out of their Sessions, with an Abridgment of all Statutes relating thereunto to this present Year 1677. By Michael Dalton Esq; Fol. price bound 12s.'.

l. 56 Board] council-table

l. 57 Docket] a list of causes for trial or the names of the people with the causes

l. 66 Affidavit Viva voce] An affidavit is specifically a written statement confirmed by oath to be used as judicial proof. These witnesses are said, absurdly, to have made their written statements by word of mouth.

l. 72 Cagg] keg or small barrel

l. 75 Jade] hussy. The 1690 edition reads 'Jude'.

l. 85 Worships] The 1690 edition reads 'Whrships'.

ll. 90–91 Scandalum Magnatum] See note to Act I, Scene I, lines 199–200.

l. 95 Ordinary] tavern

l. 112 se defendendo] Latin: in self-defence

l. 118 he swears in Court] In his Country Justice, Dalton says that every one who swears in the hearing of a Justice of the Peace should pay 12d for the use of the poor.

l. 124 have] The 1690 edition repeats the word.

l. 133 wear no Peruke] should not wear a wig and so disguise himself

l. 160 Amour] The 1690 edition reads 'Armour'.

l. 169 Arrival] The 1690 edition reads 'Carrival'.


s.d. Buff, Scarf and Feathers] military coat made of buff leather, band worn by soldiers across the body, military plumes

l. 35 Termagant] a violent and overbearing person (originally a pagan god)

l. 61 cock] to strut about and behave in a boastful way

l. 74 Fire the Town] The historical Bacon actually did burn down Jamestown.

l. 83 Brigantine . . . Shallop] Both were types of boat which could be used for passage between larger vessels and the shore.

l. 168 speaks like a Gorgon] The three loathsome Gorgons of Greek mythology had no need to speak since their piercing gaze turned anyone who looked at them to stone.

l. 179 Rugid] shaggy or rough coated

l. 221 Servile] The 1690 edition readers 'Serval'.


s.d. ridicuous Postures] Richard Blome in The Present State of his Majesties Isles and Territories in America (London, 1687) describes the 'monstrously painted' figures of the Native Americans with horns and coloured loose hair, dancing and pg 457'exercising several Antick Tricks' and making a 'hellish noise', p. 186. He speaks of the 'devilish Mysteries' of the religion.

s.d. . . . Tawarapah] There is as yet no evidence to connect this and most of the other 'Indian' words in the play to any Native American language.

l. 1 the God, of our Quiocto] Quiocos were the second tier in a hierarchy of Indian deities; they could bring harm and had to be placated by gifts. Wooden images of them were kept in temples called 'quicosan'. Blome mentions the images in the king's house in Virginia, 'one of a Bear, another a Dragon, the third a Leopard, and the fourth a Giant', p. 185.

s.d. Antickly] grotesquely and strangely

l. 15 interpritation] The enigmatic and equivocal nature of prophecies was much mocked in Behn's translation of Fontenelle's History of Oracles published in 1688. See Works of Aphra Behn, vol. 4.

l. 18 fell] fierce


s.d. Battle-Axes] The 1690 edition reads 'Battle-Axis'.

l. 8 in my] The 1690 edition reads 'my in'.

l. 18 starter] deserter

l. 44 Romantick humour] Bacon's insistence on theatrical heroic behaviour l. 50 Breath'd a Vein] lanced, so as to let blood. Bacon claims that the wound becomes beneficial to him.

l. 58 Divinity] ability to foresee the future

l. 62 like Cæsar. . . weep] According to Plutarch, when Julius Caesar was presented with the head of the defeated Pompey, he turned away and wept.

l. 71 Pile] small stronghold

l. 76 Cadees] cadets or gentlemen who enlisted without a commission in order to learn the profession and earn promotion

l. 78 Peach] impeach, give evidence against

l. 85 wo't] would

l. 98 Benefit of the Clergy] Exemptions for those in holy orders from the jurisdiction of secular courts, for many years extended to all who proved they could read, were not entirely abolished until the early nineteenth century.

s.d. Feathers on his Head] Timerous has scavanged the clothes and weapons of a dead Indian to make it appear he is a conqueror. The manoeuvre is reminiscent of Falstaff in Henry IV Part I, Act V, Scene iv.

l. 105 Equipage] war gear which Timerous has put on

l. 123 Shaw] dismissive exclamation, pshaw

l. 125 Hempen Cravat-String] a rope round his neck, to be hanged

s.d. offer to Fight] The use of the name, Dareing, might have been a tribute to the Dering family of Kent. Charles Dering was a rakish man and a noted duellist in 1687. The comic fight with Ranter might have referred to Dering's obstreperous desire to fight in the theatre. In 1682 there had been a rumour that he was married to the very independent Elizabeth Barry, who Behn may have hoped would play Ranter. His family was pleased to learn that the rumour was unfounded.


l. 208 rally] tease

l. 250 she] In the 1690 edition, the comma seems to have slipped from the previous line to become an apostrophe after 'she'.

l. 252 lay him on] thrash him

l. 259 Virago] aggressive woman, Amazon

pg 458ACT V. SCENE I.

l. 1 We] The 1690 edition repeats the word.

l. 13 Cadeeing] playing at being a soldier

l. 14 Hawks Meat] easy prey

l. 31 top Tobacco] The best tobacco crop was gained by taking only the top.

l. 35 Horse Officer] cavalry member

l. 38 shoot!] The 1690 edition reads 'shoot?'.

l. 39 to?] The 1690 edition reads 'too'.

s.d. like a Fury] in Greek mythology one of the avenging Erinyes

s.d. Flambeaux] torches

s.d. prickt on] prodded on with sword tips

l. 142 Cyphers] mere nothings

l. 149 in Humour] not always in the mood for courage

SCENE A Thick Wood

ll. 177–8 Pauwmungian] probably a reference to the Pamunkey Indians whose territory was the Virginian coastal plain

l. 200 Poyson'd Arrows to the head] put the archers with poisoned arrows in the front of the ranks

l. 230 mone] moan, complaint

l. 255 rubbing off] removing themselves, deserting

l. 259 untruss a point] unfasten their clothes, especially breeches, to relieve themselves behind a hedge

l. 287 Hannibal] Hannibal, the great Carthaginian general, killed himself in 183 BC rather than fall into the hands of the Romans.

l. 310 Cassius] In the struggle for power after the assassination of Julius Caesar, the forces of Brutus and Cassius fought those of Mark Antony and Octavius Caesar at Philippi in 42 BC. Cassius killed himself during the battle, probably under the mistaken impression that his side had already lost. Not only the action but also the language is here reminsicent of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Act V, Scene iii. Langbaine declared of Behn's Bacon, 'his Catastrophe is founded on the known story of Cassius, who perished by the Hand of his freed-Man. . . believing his Friend Brutus vanquished. '

l. 319 agreement] Act V has been much mutilated and there are remnants of other exchanges in the text. To make sense of the exchanges here I have cut the following after 'agreement':


Dar. You shall be oblig'd Ex. Dar. Dunc. Dull. and Tim. as Fear. goes out, a Souldier meets him


Sould. What does your Honour intend to do with Whim and Whiff, who are Condemn'd by a Councel of War.

Enter Dareing, Dullman Tim. Fearless and Officers.

l. 331 Inter] The 1690 edition reads 'Interr'.

l. 333 only by] The 1690 edition reads 'by only by'.


l. 343 shall think it fit] The 1690 edition seems to be missing some lines here since the transition from one couple to the other is abrupt.

s.d. speaks to Downright] This stage direction follows 'think it fit' in the 1690 edition. But it seems more likely that the conversation between Wellman and Downright, if it is to occur here, should be about Friendly and Downright's pg 459daughter Chrisante than about Hazard and Surelove. I have therefore placed it just before the address to Friendly and Chrisante.

l. 349 Clouts] swaddling clothes. This speech seems to need some additions and is partly addressed to Chrisante and partly to Friendly.

l. 375 spark it] show off

l. 387 Proverbs] Out of the frying pan into the fire; he that's born to be hanged shall never drown.


EPILOGUE] For additional footnotes to this much used piece, see the prologue to Abdelazer.

l. 29 his visits] The pronouns and possessives relating to the author have not been changed to the feminine forms as they were when the verses were used in the 1693 edition of Abdelazer.

l. 32 Basset] Basset has been substituted for Beast of the original suggesting a change in relative popularity of the card games.


l. 4 Covent-Garden] Covent Garden and its Piazza were fashionable areas for living, but in Behn's time there was already an unlicensed market there. It was close to the theatre.

l. 6 Pyrates of the Pit] the voracious critics or the printers' scribes who took down a play to publish without paying the author

l. 7 Vizard-Masks] masks worn both by fashionable ladies and by prostitutes

l. 8 Privateers] armed private vessels, licensed to attack and capture ships of hostile nations

l. 9 clap. . . French Commissions] a reference to captured English soldiers being forced to fight for the French and to men getting venereal disease from women

l. 19 Game] prostitution and sex

l. 23 Bug-words] words meant to frighten, uncouth language. The Virginians did have an earthy way of speaking. In 1634 'A Character Defamation' action described an Edward Drew prefering a petition against Joane Butler for 'calinge of his wife common Cunted hoare'.

l. 25 savour'ly] with gusto or enjoyment

l. 31 Mundungus] 'Stinking tobacco' (Johnson's Dictionary)

l. 41 Iniskelling] In August 1689 a comparatively small number of Protestant men from Enniskillen in Northern Ireland, loyal to the regime of William and Mary, managed to defeat the predominantly Catholic forces under James II.

l. 7 Farce] a pun, since the word could mean slapstick comedy and stuffing

l. 8 Green-Sickness] an anaemic disease often believed to affect adolescent girls, chlorosis

l. 8 crumpt Tobacco-pipes] curved tobacco pipes. Tobacco was once thought to be medicinal. Pepys wrote in his diary for June 29 1661, 'Mr Chetwind, by chawing of tobacco, is become very fat and lusty, whereas he was consumptive'.

l. 10 Infernal Judges] In Greek mythology, Minos and Rhadamanthys were believed to sit in judgement over spirits entering the Underworld.

l. 16 tenderness] orgasm, cf. Dryden's reference to fumbling male lovers in The Conquest of Granada

ll. 23–4 Fate of Bees. . . remains] cf. the same image in Dryden's Essay on Dramatick Poesie

l. 30 Nursing] feeding and raising, through their admission fees



Codrington] Christopher Codrington, soldier and scholar, was born in Barbados in 1668. He was a gentleman commoner in Oxford in 1685 and later became a probationary fellow of All Souls. In 1694 and 1695 he fought under William III in Flanders and in the latter year he also gave the Oxford University oration to the King on his visit. In 1697 he became Commander-in-Chief of the Leeward Island but does not seem to have distinguished himself in that capacity and he retired to a bookish life in Barbados where he died in 1710.

l. 2 Merit] The 1696 edition reads 'it's evident, Merit'.

l. 12 Generosity] Whatever he was in life, Codrington was certainly generous in death since he left All Souls' College £10,000, along with £6,000 worth of books.

l. 21 Chymera's] wild fancies. The name comes from the mythical fire- breathing Greek monster made up of parts of various animals. Both Gildon and Behn were interested in ancient philosophy and seem to have taken a similar lofty view of Stoicism. See Behn's dedication to Seneca Unmasqued, Works of Aphra Behn, vol. 4, pp. 5–9.

l. 24 Emperic] one who relies only on observation and experiment, often used for a quack doctor

l. 26 Lucian. . .Hermotimus] Hermotimus was an ancient prophet who claimed that his soul could leave his body and return. Lucian wrote Hermotimus, Or, Concerning the Sects, a sustained attack on Stoicism, in which Hermotimus is persuaded to become an 'ordinary man'.

l. 65 Verbruggen] The famous actor John Baptista Verbruggen probably started acting with the United Company in 1689; his role as Hazard in The Widdow Ranter was therefore one of his earliest parts. He was a very popular player and much in demand for the speaking of prologues. The habit of reading parts when there had not been time to learn them was noted in Pepys (2 Feb 1669). From 1705 to 1707 Verbruggen played Willmore in The Rover.

l. 70 and] The 1696 edition reads 'aad'.

An ACCOUNT of the life of the Incomparable Mrs. BEHN.

s.d. An ACCOUNT . . .] For a discussion of this 'Account' in relation to the other 'Memoirs' see the 'General Introduction' in Works of Aphra Behn, vol. 1.

l. 23 Tragedy] Southerne's very popular dramatisation of Oroonoko in the previous year, 1695

l. 29 Flanders] The 1695 edition reads 'Flauders'.

l. 67 Revolution] the Glorious Revolution of 1688 which brought William and Mary to power

l. 69 her Epitaph] 'Here lies a Proof that Wit can never be / Defence enough against Mortality.'

l. 76 Rochester] John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, rake, poet, wit, and acquaintance of Aphra Behn who may have based the character of Willmore in The Rover and The Second Part of the Rover partly on him. The quotation is from Rochester's epilogue to Charles Davenant's Circe (1677), and refers to 'Malitious Criticks'.


DRAMATIS PERSONAE] The actors were of course not chosen by Behn, but she had used some before, for example George Powell in The Emperor of the Moon, Mrs. Powell in The Luckey Chance, and Susannah Verbruggen, then Mrs. Mountfort, in The Luckey Chance and The Emperor of the Moon.


l. 20 Sir Roger] comic name for clergyman after Sir Roger, a character in Beaumont and Fletcher's popular play The Scornful Lady

l. 30 Box appear] It is a measure of Behn's achievement over the previous decades that a lady writing for the theatre should be actually expected and welcomed.

l. 32 Orphan play] The same image occurs in Dryden's prologue and epilogue to the posthumous The Widdow Ranter printed separately in 1689.


l. 5 Lincolns-Inn-Fields] a London square west of Lincoln's Inn, sometimes used for executions and often frequented by vagrants

l. 44 Cullies] dupes

l. 86 Endimion. . .Cynthia] Endymion was a shepherd boy beloved and pursued by Cynthia (Diana), goddess of the moon. On her request Zeus gave him one wish and he wished for eternal sleep and youth.

l. 110 wax Babies] dolls

l. 123 Runnings] flowings and dischargings of the body

l. 130 Frederick] The 1696 edition reads 'Predrick'

l. 156 Cadet] member of a younger branch of a family

l. 161 Chaffer] bargain, haggle

l. 190 Ghent] Behn had been in Antwerp in the 1660s and may well have been in Ghent as well. She frequently describes young girls entering convents, see Love-Letters (Works of Aphra Behn, vol. 2) and The History of the Nun (vol. 3).

l. 214 writ] The 1696 edition reads 'write'.

l. 217 Southampton-Square] now Bloomsbury Square, a fashionable area of London, cf. The Town-Fopp

l. 219 Let me see] The 1696 edition reads 'GEORGE Let me see – Daughter to a Deceas'd Lord, a Maid,

Opening the tablets, reads.

l. 227 resign] The 1696 edition reads 'resign'.


s.d. Caudle] Here the 1696 edition reads Candle which makes little sense. A caudle was a warm drink or thin gruel sweetened and spiced, often given to the sick.

s.d. Rake-hell's Life] This is presumably the section added by Charles Gildon.

s.d. Motteux] Peter Motteux, a French Huguenot immigrant, was a writer of songs, masques and light sketches. He was also a translator, especially known for his Don Quixote.

l. 15 The Rose] a famous tavern in Great Russell Street, Covent Garden

l. 17 scours] assaults. See Shadwell's The Scowrers (1691) for a description of drunken rampaging gentry.

l. 19 the] The 1696 edition reads 'tue'.

l. 47 Tierce] large vessel of claret

l. 53 Bousing] drinking

l. 65 Guelphs. . .Gibelins] the two great parties or factions in Italian politics in the Middle Ages, cf. The False Count

l. 74 Sternold] The sixteenth-century Thomas Sternhold, with John Hopkins, was the author of the metrical version of psalms sung often in church. It had become synonymous with doggerel.

l. 75 Billmen in Flannel] The watchmen carried bills; these were a kind of sword or axe with a wooden handle.

pg 462

l. 79 Will's Coffee] the famous coffee house much associated with wits and writers, such as Dryden. cf. preface to The Luckey Chance

ll. 93–4 Third Day] The payment for the playwright came from the takings of the third day at the theatre. cf. preface to The Luckey Chance

l. 116 Old Adam] water; cf. The Second Part of the Rover

ll. 116–17 Pilgrims Progress, The Country Justices Calling] Behn does not mention Bunyan's work which was published in 1678 but she does allude to Michael Dalton's very popular The Countrey Iustice. . . (1618) in The Widdow Ranter. It was advertised in the first edition of The Rover.

l. 120 Three Fatal Sisters] in Greek mythology the three goddesses of fate supposedly determining human life

l. 151 Bubble] dupe or gull

l. 159 Bravery] The 1696 edition reads 'Beavery'.

l. 172 Inclination] The 1696 edition reads 'Iuclination'.

ll. 177–8 misrepresented . . . Dance] The 1696 edition reads 'mis-represented us. Give me leave to present you a Dance'.

l. 185 Calf] The 1696 edition reads 'Calf?'. The reference is to the parable of the fatted calf in Luke 15.

l. 189 Nick. . .Old Fellow] pun on 'nick' as the critical moment and the devil

l. 191 Whom] In the 1696 edition 'Whom' starts a new sentence.

l. 215 twang] The 1696 edition reads 'Chap'. but since the chaplain and Mr.Twang seem the same person I have emended the tag.

l. 234 Picts] The 1696 edition reads 'Pickts'; the Picts were one of the ancient peoples inhabiting north Britain. They supposedly painted or tattooed themselves.


l. 3 souse] sou, a very small amount

l. 6 Son] The 1696 edition reads 'Sun'.

l. 22 Look ye] The 1696 edition precedes this by the stage direction '(Alone)'.

ll. 32–3 Rhinoceros] A rhinoceros was displayed to public view in 1684 which implies a composition for the play after that date.

l. 33 Inch of Candle] George will be auctioned. The reference is to the practice of allowing bids at an auction for as long as an inch of candle burns.

l. 36 Dog-Star] The Dog Star was in the sky during July and August and was associated with oppressive heat.

l. 39 the Proverb] See the Book of Common Prayer: 'Therefore, if any man can show any just cause why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter hold his peace.'

l. 55 an Evidence] a witness. The term was much used and achieved much notoriety in the period of the Popish Plot when it frequently meant lying.

ll. 66–7 Indian Houses] Jews were traditionally money-lenders; in the Indian houses, offices of the East India Company, goods from India were displayed for sale.

l. 72 Termer] a person who came up to the law courts in term time only, suggesting a naive countryman or someone intent on intrigue and trickery

l. 76 the Mall] a walk bordered by trees in St. James's Park

l. 77 end] This might better be 'enter'.

l. 78 Caesar … overcame] reference to Julius Caesar's famous phrase for the conquest of Gaul, 'veni, vidi, vici'


l. 48 Groom Porters] official of the royal household who regulated gaming; George is accused of gambling to obtain money.

pg 463

l. 61 Coarse] The 1696 edition reads 'Course'.

l. 83 Bred] The 1696 edition reads 'Breed'.

ll. 85–6 Cheap-side] a famous London trading street running from the Poultry to St. Paul's and Newgate Street, noted for goldsmiths, linen-drapers and haberdashers

l. 91 depart] The 1696 edition reads 'depart'.

l. 96 Pimp] The 1696 edition reads 'Pump'.

l. 167 contrive] The 1696 edition reads 'tontrive'.


l. 2 Bassett-Table] Basset was a card game especially fashionable from the 1690s. See the prologue added to the 1693 edition of Abdelazer compared with the same work used as an epilogue for The Widdow Ranter: in the latter, basset has replaced another card game, beast, in popularity.

l. 13 one another] This stage direction is followed by 'Sir Mer. together' in the 1696 edition.

l. 36 Tendre] tenderness, using the assumed language of French 'précieuse' writers on love

s.d. The End of the Second Act] At this point in the text the 1696 edition prints:

  •                A SONG
  • Sung by Sir Rowland in the Second Act.
  •                To TERESIA.
  •      THO the young prize Cupid's Fire
  •      'Tis more val[u]'d by the Old;
  •      The Sun's warmth we now admire,
  •      More than when the Season's cold.

Presumably the song was sung by Sir Rowland in a part of the play which Gildon omitted since it is hard to see where it could reasonably fit. It might possibly come after Lady Youthly's capitulation to Sir Rowland's demand for Teresia in Act II, Scene I, before all but Teresia exit.


s.d. Dialogue] The 'Dialogue' probably functioned as an entr'acte and may have been supplied by Gildon.

l. 69 Terra Incognita] This mapping of the stages and aspects of love echoes the famous Carte du Tendre in Mlle. de Scudéry's Clélie (1654). Behn used the device in her Voyage to the Island of Love in Works of Aphra Behn, vol. 1.

l. 76 Philosophers Stone] a reputed substance that could change metals into gold, the object of alchemy

l. 111 Gust] inclination

l. 162 Queen Bess in the Westminster-Cupboard] It was a custom for a wax image of a dead monarch to be made and dressed in his or her clothes; often this image was carried in the funeral procession.


s.d. SCENE [II.]] Here and in subsequent scenes the 1696 edition reads 'SCENE the Second', 'SCENE the Third' and so on.

l. 43 Lover's Hour] Behn's often repeated phrase and sentiment; see reference to the hour of the 'berger' in The Feign'd Curtizans and Sir Patient Fancy.


l. 2 Whither] The 1696 edition reads 'Whether'.

l. 15 Sack-Butts] casks of wine

pg 464

l. 21 Church-Buckets] buckets kept in parish churches to be used in case of fire

s.d. . . . Trunks] The 1696 edition reads 'Enter Men with Trunks'.

l. 73 Tester] coin of small value

l. 78 Mirmidons] comic reference to the Myrmidons, followers of Achilles at the siege of Troy, used for hired ruffians; cf. The Emperor of the Moon

l. 84 drink up the Sun] drink until the sun rises


l. 30 motion. [Aside] You know not] The 1696 edition reads 'motion, you know not'.

l. 62 out-charm] The 1696 edition reads 'out-charms'.

l. 160 permit me] The 1696 edition reads 'permit thee'. 'Me' seems to fit the sense better.

l. 198 hark] The 1696 edition reads 'heark'.

SCENE Draws off

SCENE Draws off] for this and the following discovery scenes cf. The Plain Dealer

s.d. Enters] Presumably George remains at the door from where he comments on the proceedings.

l. 306 Elephant . . . Castle] The Elephant and Castle is a well-known area of London, its name a corruption of the Infanta of Castile.

l. 336 Cresida] a reference to the famous story told by Boccaccio, Chaucer and Shakespeare, of the Trojan lovers Troilus and Cressida brought together by Pandarus from whose name 'pander' was derived

l. 336 Vi & Armis] Latin: by force of arms

l. 339 Ruff on] The young men are very eager to age the older women: Lady Youthly was associated with Elizabeth I, Lady Blunder here with Arthur's queen Guinevere.


l. 46 goes out] The 1696 edition reads 'passes out'.


s.d. george] The 1696 edition reads 'Lejere' here. In the first line of the speech below, 'Lydia' is written in place of 'Mirtilla'.

l. 63 she that off] There seems to be something missing in the 1696 edition at this point.

[ACT V.] SCENE Discovers mirtilla and manage

l. 125 lest] The 1696 edition reads 'least'.

SCENE My lady youthly's

l. 221 Tour] A tower was a high head-dress worn by women, cf. The False Count.

l. 225 Fontange] tall way of piling up and doing the hair, named after a mistress of Louis XIV, Madame de Fontanges

l. 227 Coventry Blue] blue thread manufactured in Coventry, used in embroidery

l. 250 Tawdrums] Behn would have met the pejorative word in Marston's Dutch Courtesan, the source of her The Revenge.

l. 263 Insolence] The 1696 edition adds a question mark.

l. 300 precedent] The 1696 edition reads 'President'.


l. 7 Band] Much was made in the 1670s of the different sartorial habits of the courtiers and the City merchants who were regarded as old-fashioned by the courtiers. 'Band' or collar was often used metonymically for a merchant or a Nonconformist: see The Character of A Coffee-House (1673) where 'the precise diminutive Band' is mentioned, cf. The Dutch Lover

l. 16 Dr.] debtor

l. 18 Alsatian, or Solicitor] a criminal living in the sanctuary of Alsatia (Whitefriars) or a beggar

l. 24 Fough how he stinks] The 1696 edition reads 'Fough he how he stinks'.

l. 30 can't] The 1696 edition reads 'cann't'.

l. 34 alas] In the 1696 edition this word is preceded by a round bracket: '(alas'.

l. 40 Mony] In the 1686 edition the epilogue was placed after the prologue and was followed by 'Dramatis Personae'.

logo-footer Copyright © 2019. All rights reserved.
Access is brought to you by Log out