In his Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the English Stage the Reverend Jeremy Collier singled out Congreve as one of the chief offenders, and took exception to a number of passages in The Old Bachelor. To this Congreve made a rather ineffective reply, in the course of which he remarked of his first comedy: 'When I wrote it, I had little thoughts of the stage; but did it, to amuse myself, in a slow recovery from a fit of sickness.' He regretted, he said, that he had allowed himself to be drawn in to the business of playwriting — 'a difficult and thankless study' —and so to become involved 'in a perpetual war with knaves and fools'. If Congreve thought he had disposed of Collier satisfactorily, he was mistaken; for Collier had at his command the gift of witty repartee that was so much prized in the period.
'What his disease was,' Collier replied, 'I am not to inquire; but it must be a very ill one to be worse than the remedy.'
See William Congreve, Amendments of Mr. Collier's False and Imperfect Citations (1699), p. 39;
Jeremy Collier, A Defence of the Short View (1699), p. 42.
|« NEXT »||« 17th Century Anecdotes »||« All Anecdotes »||« Humour »||« Library »|