The Rover (HarperPerennial Classics)
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Faithful and handsome, the Englishman Belvile is in love with the Italian lady Florinda, who is betrothed to another. Willmore, the rover, is in love with Hellena, sister of Florinda and destined for the convent. And Angellica Bianca, a courtesan, is in love with Willmore. Against the backdrop of Naples during Carnival time, this varied cast of characters pursue life, honour, and pleasure in this comedic drama.
Author and playwright Aphra Behn created a clearly male-centric world in The Rover, but does not dismiss the power of her female characters, who are willing to go to extreme measures to fulfill their desires. The Rover was written for profit at a time when Behn had lost her source of income, but became one of the most popular plays of the Restoration era, and it is still studied and widely performed in modern times.
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and then be as mad to get free again. FLORINDA Yes, Valeria; we shall see her bestride his baggage-horse, and follow him to the campaign. HELLENA So, so; now you are provided for, there’s no care taken of poor me—but since you have set my heart a wishing, I am resolved to know for what. I will not die of the pip, so I will not. FLORINDA Art thou mad to talk so? Who will like thee well enough to have thee, that hears what a mad wench thou art? HELLENA Like me! I don’t intend, every he that
woman; I’m a dog if it be not a very wench.— FLORINDA He’s come!—hah—who’s there? WILLMORE Sweet soul, let me salute thy shoestring. FLORINDA ’Tis not my Belvile—good Heavens, I know him not.—who are you, and from whence come you? WILLMORE Prithee—prithee, child—not so many hard questions—let it suffice I am here, child—Come, come kiss me. FLORINDA Good gods! what luck is mine? WILLMORE Only good luck, child, parlous good luck—Come hither,—’tis a delicate shining wench,—by this hand she’s
upon my brother’s suspicion, that the business on the Molo was a plot laid between him and I. VALERIA I said all this, and told him your brother was now gone to his devotion, and he resolves to visit every church till he find him; and not only undeceive him in that, but caress him so as shall delay his return home. FLORINDA Oh Heavens! he’s here, and Belvile with him too. [They put on their vizards.] [Enter DON PEDRO, BELVILE, WILLMORE. BELVILE and DON PEDRO seeming in serious discourse.]
(made by some either very malicious or very ignorant) that ’twas Thomaso altered; which made the booksellers fear some trouble from the proprietor of that admirable play, which indeed has wit enough to stock a poet, and is not to be pieced or mended by any but the excellent author himself; that I have stolen some hints from it may be a proof, that I valued it more than to pretend to alter it: had I had the dexterity of some poets who are not more expert in stealing than in the art of concealing,
in Pamplona. ANGELLICA Don Pedro! my old gallant’s nephew! When his uncle died, he left him a vast sum of money; it is he who was so in love with me at Padua, and who used to make the general so jealous. MORETTA Is this he that used to prance before our window and take such care to show himself an amorous ass? If I am not mistaken, he is the likeliest man to give your price. ANGELLICA The man is brave and generous, but of a humour so uneasy and inconstant, that the victory over his heart is as