The Roaring Girl – Prologue

Return to Dramatis Personæ

A play expected long makes the audience look
For wonders, that each scene should be a book,
Compos’d to all perfection; each one comes
And brings a play in’s head with him: up he sums
What he would of a roaring girl have writ;
If that he finds not here, he mews at it.
Only we entreat you think our scene
Cannot speak high, the subject being but mean:
A roaring girl whose notes till now never were
Shall fill with laughter our vast theatre;
That’s all which I dare promise: tragic passion,
And such grave stuff, is this day out of fashion.
I see attention sets wide ope her gates
Of hearing, and with covetous list’ning waits,
To know what girl this roaring girl should be,
For of that tribe are many. One is she
That roars at midnight in deep tavern bowls,
That beats the watch, and constables controls;
Another roars i’th’daytime, swears, stabs, gives braves,
Yet sells her soul to the lust of fools and slaves.
Both these are suburb roarers. Then there’s beside
A civil city roaring girl, whose pride,
Feasting, and riding, shakes her husband’s state,
And leaves him roaring through an iron grate.
None of these roaring girls is ours: she flies
With wings more lofty. Thus her character lies;
Yet what need characters, when to give a guess
Is better than the person to express?
But would you know who ’tis? Would you hear her name?
She is call’d mad Moll; her life, our acts proclaim.

Proceed to the next scene


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