She Would if She Could



  • A comedy by George Etherege, first performed at Lincoln'sInn Fields Theatre, London, in 1668. Much influenced by Molière,it was the first English comedy of manners to be written entirelyin prose.

    In the play Sir Oliver and Lady Cockwood, together with SirJoslin Jolley and his nieces Ariana and Gatty, travel from their countryhomes to London, seeking dubious pleasures. Lady Cockwood pursuesMr Courtal who, with his friend Freeman, escorts the three women tothe Bear Tavern in Drury Lane. Sir Joslin and Sir Oliver also arriveat the tavern, where Sir Oliver, too drunk to recognize his own wife,dances with her. The ladies flee home with their men friends. WhenSir Oliver arrives, Courtal and Freeman attempt to hide but are discoveredand matched with the nieces. For her part, Lady Cockwood resolvesto "give over the great business of the town" and attendto her own family.