The London merchant
Mrs. Millwood is beautiful, intelligent, and ambitious, but London gives her no means of support except to seduce men. Love for her leads eighteen-year-old Barnwell to deceit, theft, and murder. "What are your laws," Mrs. Millwood asks, "but the fool's wisdom and the coward's valor, the instrument and screen of all your villainies by which you punish in others what you act out yourselves, had you been in their circumstances? The judge who condemns the poor man for being a thief had been a thief himself, had he been poor. Thus you go on deceiving and being deceived, harassing, plaguing, and destroying one another, but women are your universal prey." First performed in 1731, "The London Merchant" became on of the most popular plays of the century. A chronicler of the age, Theophilus Cibber called it "almost a new species of tragedy."
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25 BARNWELL A. W. Ward abhor arts ballad Barnwell's Bl-G omit BLUNT born bosom cause Cibber Cl omits Cl-G Colley Cibber crimes cruel cursed dear murdered death despair Drama dreadful Drury Lane Dryden's Enter Exeunt Exit eyes fair farewell fate father fear friendship George Barnwell George Lillo grief guilt happy heart Heaven honor hope horror innocence Iwis Jane Shore Keeper Lillo's live London Merchant lost LUCY maid mankind MARIA master mercy MILLWOOD Millwood's house mistress murder never Nicholas Rowe pain pardon passion peace pity play Poet Laureate pound pray present punish quoth ruin Sarah scene servant shame sorrow soul South Sea Company speech stage sure Susannah Centlivre Tamerlane tears thee Theophilus Cibber there's THOROWGOOD Thou shalt thought tragedy TRUEMAN uncle unhappy Unto virtue weep whither woman worst wretch youth