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COMEDY.

By MRS. CENTLIVRE.

ADAPTED FOR

THEATRICAL REPRESENTATION,

AS PERFORMED AT THE

THEATRES - ROYAL,

DRURY-LANE, AND COVENT-GARDEN.

REGULATED FROM THE PROMPT-BOOKS,

By Permission of the Managers.

“ The Lines distinguished by inverted Cominas, are omitted in the Representation."

And those printed in Italics are the additions of the Theatres.

LONDON:

Printed

for the Proprietors, under the Direction of
JOHN BELL, British Library, STRAND,
Dookseller to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.

MDCCXCI.

SUSANNAH CENTLIVRE.

From a situation in her Infancy so obscure that no traces are left to speak of any instruction she ever received, with penury driving her from one place to another a pensioner upon chance, SuSANNAH by the help of much sprightliness and beauty forced herself into three nuptials for her charms, and an admiration of her talents, to which the Stage seems in no haste to affix a boundary.

She married as early as sixteen-We hope that was her first connection; though her Biographers pick up a Cambridge Student by the way side, and send her in the male habit to College with him, where they tell us she resided a considerable time. -If she married at sixteen, one should conceive her composed of the inflammable materials of the Spanish females.

A single year compelled her to look abroad for a second husband; and she soon captivated a gentleman whose name was CARROL: him she is said to have tenderly loved. He, however, lost his life in a duel, about a year and a half after their marriage. She was driven again upon expedients, and tried the Stage. She wrote a Tragedy, called the Perjur'd Husband ; she even attempted the profession of an Actress-We learn, however, that she was unsuccessful. At length, plenty sought after her in the shape of Mr. Joseph CentLIVRE He was Her Majesty's Cook; and with him she lived happily until the time of her death, on the ist of December 1723,

Her Plays are in number nineteen, as follows : Perjur'd Husband

1700 Bickerstaff's Burying, N.D. Love's Contrivances 1703 Marplot

1711 Beau's Duel 1703 Perplex'd Lovers

1712 Stolen Heiress

1703
Wonder

1713 Gamester

1705
Gotbam Ele&tion

1715 Basset Table

1706 Wife Well Managed 1715 Love at a Venture 1706 Cruel Gift

1717 Platonic Lady

1707 Bold Stroke for a Wife 1718 Busy Body 1709 firtifice

1721 Man's Bewitcb'd

1710

THE BUSY BODY.

Mrs. Centlivre, after the taste of Mrs. APHRA Behn, was a Writer of that Comedy, which

may

be termed the intriguing Drama - built upon chancemedley and situation, mistakes, closets, veils, balco... nies, old guardians, and young profigates, with a set of ladies who seem bound by no other laws than their inclinations.

I know, positively, no one of her plays which, morally speaking, may not do mischief; but they have bustle, they have business, and carrying the commercial passion with them into their amusements, the English love that their drama should be crowded with cha. raller, and that its personages should be all people in plentiful business.

What may, when her outset in life is considered, be deemed surprising, is, that her Comed es all evidence very forcibly for her acquirements in learning-her assiduity must have augmented with her years,

" Vires acquirit eundo.”

For the modern languages were obviously her own; and of Latin she seems to have had more than to fe

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