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SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER;
THE MISTAKES OF A NIGHT.
London: Printed for F. Newbery, in St. Paul's Church-yard. 1773. 8vo.
Price 18. 6d.
“She Stoops to Conquer; or, The Mistakes of a Night: a Coinedy," was acted
for the first time at Covent Garden Theatre (then under the management of the elder Colman) on the 15th of March, 1773, and ran twelve nights—the theatre closing for the season with it on the 31st of May. The leading incident of the piece, the mistaking a gentleman's house for an inn, is said to have been borrowed from a blunder of the author himself while travelling to school at Edgeworthstown. Its first MS. title was “The Old House a New Inn,” but this was soon rejected. The title, it is suggested (Forster ii. 374), may hare originated in one of Dryden's well-known couplets :
“The prostrate loon, when he lowest lies,
But kneels to conquer, and but stoops to rise.”
TO SAMUEL JOHNSON, LL.D.
Dear Sir, —
By inscribing this slight performance to you, I do not mean so much to compliment you as myself. It may do me some honor to inform the public that I have lived many years in intimacy with you. It may serve the interests of mankind also to inform them that the greatest wit may be found in a character without impairing the most unaffected piety.
I have, particularly, reason to thank you for your partiality to this performance. The undertaking a comedy, not merely sentimental, was very dangerous;' and Mr. Colman, who saw this piece in its various stages, always thought it so. However, I ventured to trust it to the public; and, though it was necessarily delayed till late in the season, I have every reason to be grateful.
I am, dear sir,
1 “With Steele the unlucky notion began of setting Comedy to reform the morals, instead of imitating the manners, of the age. Fielding slyly glances at this, when he makes Parson Adams declare · The Conscious Lovers' to be the only play fit for a Christian to see, and as good as a sermon.”—Forster's Goldsmith, vol. ii. p. 116.