The Rover, or, The Banished Cavaliers
By Aphra Behn

  • Transcription, correction, editorial commentary, and markup by Staff and Research Assistants at the University of Virginia, Sara Brunstetter, John O'Brien
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Sources

London : Printed for John Amery , 1677 Our text is based on the Text Creation Partnership’s digital edition, which was produced from microfilm scans of the copy of the first print edition of 1677, published by the London printer John Amery, that is held at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. Page images are taken from this copy, with the exception of the title page, which appears to be missing in the Huntington's copy. The title page here is taken from the copy of the first edition at the Senate House Library, University of London, and appears courtesy of that library. This edition was annotated and edited for use in the Literature in Context project by University of Virginia students in ENEC 3400, Restoration and Eighteenth Century British Theatre, in the fall of 2016, and has been further edited and annotated by John O'Brien and Sara Brunstetter.

Editorial Statements

Research informing these annotations draws on publicly-accessible resources, with links provided where possible. Annotations have also included common knowledge, defined as information that can be found in multiple reliable sources. If you notice an error in these annotations, please contact lic.open.anthology@gmail.com.

Original spelling and capitalization is retained, though the long s has been silently modernized and ligatured forms are not encoded.

Hyphenation has not been retained, except where necessary for the sense of the word.

Page breaks have been retained. Catchwords, signatures, and running headers have not. Where pages break in the middle of a word, the complete word has been indicated prior to the page beginning.

Materials have been transcribed from and checked against first editions, where possible. See the Sources section.


Citation

Behn, Aphra. , Printed for John Amery , 1677 . Literature in Context: An Open Anthology. https://anthologydev.lib.virginia.edu/work/Behn/behn-rover. Accessed: 2020-04-05T23:06:59.347Z
i THE
ROVER.
OR,
The Banish't Cavaliers.
As it is ACTED
AT
His Royal Highness
THE
Duke's Theatre.
Licensed July 2d 1677.
ROGER L'ESTRANGE.n001an001aRoger L'Estrange had the title of "Licensor of the Press" in England at this time; he was in effect the official government censor for all printed material. He had the right to inspect printing presses and to intercept any printed matter that he suspected of being seditious, libellous, or blasphemous. The presence of his name here on the title page indicates that he had read through the play and found nothing objectionable in it. It's interesting to note that while L'Estrange's name is here in the place where we might expect to find the name of the author, Behn's is not. It was actually typical of printed playtexts in this period that they did not identify the author of the play; the success of a play was seen to lie much more in the skill of the performers and the theater company than of the author (much as in modern Hollywood movies, where the names of stars are well known, but the screenwriters are usually obscure.) L'Estrange was not the "author" of this play in a modern sense, but the prominence of his name here "authorizes" its publication in another sense, as a play approved by the state authorities. Moreover, this play was, as the title page also announces, staged in one of the two official state-licensed theaters, in this case the one sponsored by the Duke of York, the brother of King Charles, who was the sponsor of the other state-licensed theater in London. - [UVAstudstaff]
LONDON,
Printed FOR John Amery, at the Peacock, against
St. Dunstan's Church in Fleet-street
. 1677
Page i

Footnotes

a001aRoger L'Estrange had the title of "Licensor of the Press" in England at this time; he was in effect the official government censor for all printed material. He had the right to inspect printing presses and to intercept any printed matter that he suspected of being seditious, libellous, or blasphemous. The presence of his name here on the title page indicates that he had read through the play and found nothing objectionable in it. It's interesting to note that while L'Estrange's name is here in the place where we might expect to find the name of the author, Behn's is not. It was actually typical of printed playtexts in this period that they did not identify the author of the play; the success of a play was seen to lie much more in the skill of the performers and the theater company than of the author (much as in modern Hollywood movies, where the names of stars are well known, but the screenwriters are usually obscure.) L'Estrange was not the "author" of this play in a modern sense, but the prominence of his name here "authorizes" its publication in another sense, as a play approved by the state authorities. Moreover, this play was, as the title page also announces, staged in one of the two official state-licensed theaters, in this case the one sponsored by the Duke of York, the brother of King Charles, who was the sponsor of the other state-licensed theater in London.
a001A brand of patent medicine
a002A cabal is a secret or private group similar to a political junto or faction. The word was often used in this period as an acronym of the first letters in the names for the King's five privy counselors: Chudleigh, Arlington, Buckingham, Ashley, and Lauderdale. Source: Oxford English Dictionary
a003To judge or give an opinion. Source: Oxford English Dictionary
a004That is, correct.
a005Satire upon another individual. Source: Oxford English Dictionary
a006Indulgence or excess of pleasure. Source: Oxford English Dictionary
a007May Day is a traditional spring festival, and a "Citt" is a citizen of London, which was a position associated with middle-class tradesmen and merchants. So the idea here is that new plays are currently stuffed with wits and debauched people like cits, who would sweatily crowd themselves into coaches that were designed to accommodate richer people.
a008It was common in this period for books to include advertisements for other titles sold by the same bookseller. We have preserved this in our edition to give the fullest flavor of what a reader of 1677 would have seen when they picked up the text.
a009St Dunstan is a famous Church located on Fleet Street in London, then as now at the center of the publishing industry in London. Booksellers in London often set up shop adjacent to churches, as is the case here.
a010The "King's Suit" would be an indictment by the government.
a011A pirate or a ship captain who spends must of his time wandering and roaming. Source: Oxford English Dictionary
a012One of Behn's first significant changes to her source play by Thomas Killigrew is moving the action from Madrid to Naples, rendering the action perhaps even more exotic than in the original. At this time, Naples was ruled by Spain, which explains why so many characters in the play have been traveling back and forth between Naples and places like Madrid and Pamplona. Image: Claude Vernet, View of the Bay of Naples, 1747 (Wikimedia Commons)
a013A rover is a pirate, or a person who aimlessly wanders and roams. The Cavaliers were the supporters of the Stuart King Charles I in the English Civil War between him and the Parliament, and after that, supporters of his son, Charles II, who went into exile when the Stuarts lost the Civil War in 1659. This reference thus sets the play some time in the 1650s, when the monarchy's supporters were scattered across Europe, as these men are, trying to make their fortunes and/or biding their time in the hopes of returning to England some day. First staged in 1677, The Rover is thus a kind of historical play, looking back on an era a couple of decades earlier. It was based on an earlier play, Thomas Killigrew's Thomaso, or the Wanderer, which was written around 1654 while Killigrew was living in Madrid. Killigrew's play seems to have been autobiographical, reflecting his life as a Royalist exile, a supporter of the Stuart monarchy who was living on the European continent in the 1650s while England was ruled by Oliver Cromwell and the Commonwealth government. Upon the return of the Stuart monarchy in 1660, Killigrew received a patent to open a theater in London as a reward for his loyalty to Charles II. He published Tomaso in 1664, but never staged it, perhaps recognizing that it was far too long and disjointed to work on stage. We do not know how Behn come to rework the play for performance, but it seems entirely possible that this was at the request of Killigrew, who was the patent-holder of the Duke's Theater. There are places where Behn follows Killigrew's play closely, but she made many changes, compressing the original, and shifting the scene from Madrid to Naples. Perhaps most notably, she beefs up the female roles of Angelica Bianca and Hellena. Hellena is such an interesting and dynamic character in Behn's version of the story that the audience is left wondering in the end who the real rover of the play is: Willmore or Hellena? Behn's play has been popular with audiences ever since it was first staged in 1677, and is now probably the most-frequently-performed of her works.
a015A contraction of "I pray thee," similar to "I beg of you." Source: Oxford English Dictionary
a016Be delighted or glad to. Source: Oxford English Dictionary
a017Exclamation of anger or disapproval at perceived mistreatment. Source: Oxford English Dictionary
a018The ruler or governor of a province. Source: Oxford English Dictionary
a019Spanish for an English person.
a020Fine or noble. Source: Oxford English Dictionary
a021Intended or designated. Source: Oxford English Dictionary
a022The season before Lent, filled with celebration and festivity. A modern equivalent would be Mardi Gras in New Orleans or Carnivale in Rio de Janeiro. Hellena is going to take advantage of the opportunity provided by this brief season of festivity before heading to a convent rather than marry a man she loathes.
a023Well proportioned. Source: Oxford English Dictionary
a024Pamplona is a city in the north of Spain, but it's not clear what military action is being referred to here. There was a siege of Pamplona in 1521, but that was more than a century before the events depicted in the play. More generally, however, it was true that during the 1650s, the time during which the action of the play takes place, many English cavaliers were hiring themselves out as mercenary soldiers to armies in contintental Europe, including Spain, so placing military action at Pamplona is quite plausible. This is a detail that Behn is lifting from Killigrew's play, so she probably has nothing particularly significant in mind with the reference.
a025French cavalry. Source: Oxford English Dictionary
a026Carnival disguise
a027It was customary in prominent families for the father to exert control over whom the daughter marries. This was true in England, but setting the play in Italy enables Behn to stage the conflict between the young women's wishes and their father's control without openly criticizing her own culture.
a028Ranked. Source: Oxford English Dictionary
a029Or "jointure." The property or money given to the wife in marriage. Source: Oxford English Dictionary. The amount of a jointure would have been negotiated before the marriage by the two families involved.
a030The West Indies or, more generally, the Americas. Source: Oxford English Dictionary
a031Riches, or money-bags. Source: Oxford English Dictionary
a032That is, he is probably impotent.
a033Hottest part of the summer. Source: Oxford English Dictionary
a034King of Pamplona during the 10th Century. Hellena's joke is that Don Vincentio's furniture is going to be very old and outdated--like himself.
a035Fool. Source: Oxford English Dictionary
a036Personal attendant. Source: Oxford English Dictionary
a037Score denotes twenty, thus threescore indicates sixty.
a038Hostel de Dieu is French for Hostel or Hospital of God. The Hostel de Dieu was a hospital that served the poor operating under a religious order. Source: Wikipedia
a039A poor or diseased person. Source: Oxford English Dictionary
a040Gambia, a region on the west coast of Africa where Europeans were active in the slave trade from this period well into the 19th century.
a041Referring to the costume of court jesters, who wore bells on their heads and carried bawbles. Source: Oxford English Dictionary
a042The period immediately after the carnival in the spring; a time of fasting and penance. Source: Oxford English Dictionary.
a043A cloistered nun would only be allowed to greet visitors from the world outside the convent through a grate.
a0035Colonel
a0036Fredrick is implying that those who partake in Lent are melencholy and unsatisfied, the traits that Belville is already displaying, several days before Lent has officially started.
a0037Interest
a038Pursue courtship
a0039"A notable strong flavor or smell" (Oxford English Dictionary)
a0040Sauce
a0041Over
a0042"To find fault with one; to fix on some small offense as censurable" (Dictionary of Phrase and Fable)
a0043This would be Prince Charles, who would become King Charles II at the Restoration of the Stuart monarchy in 1660.
a044pedlers (Oxford English Dictionary)
a045Willmore is reading one of the "papers" pinned on the dresses of the women, which have enigmatic statements vaguely hinting at the womens' sexual availability.
a046The double-entendre is pretty obvious here.
a047An hospital for people suffering from an infectious disease (Oxford English Dictionary)
a048A husband who is being cheated on by his wife; traditionally, cuckolds were said to wear horns as a sign of their being mastered by another, more virile man.
a049Essex was frequently a butt of jokes for Londoners, who saw it as a rural backwater.
a050or Piazza; a public space or market square
a051The joke here is that the hangman has beaten the Frenchman in their contest, just as the French beat the Dutch in theirs: a reference to an incident in 1672, when Nieuwerbrug (New Bridge), a Dutch garrison post on a branch of the Rhine, fell to the French.
a052A mixture of sharp wit and sarcastic comments
a053The Roman goddess of love, sex, fertility, and victory, Venus was, according to mythology, born of sea-foam.
a054the Old Testament
a055In the book of Judges, Jephtha, having won a major military victory, vows to God that he will sacrifice the first thing he sees on his return home. When he arrives, his daughter rushes out to greet him, and he realizes that he must kill his daughter to fulfill his vow. She agrees, but asks for a reprieve of two months to visit friends in the mountains and to lament the fact that she will die a virgin.
a056that is, Peru, where slaves worked in silver mines
a057A female servant responsible for performing many household responsibilities, including laundry. See Joanna Martin, Wives and Daughters: Women and Children in the Georgian Country House. London: Hambledon and London, 2004.
a058castrate
a059a "Paduana" is someone who comes from the city of Padua. Many critics have noted that Angellica Bianca shares initials with Aphra Behn.
a060a simple mask; pictures attatched at the following link: https://finds.org.uk/database/artefacts/record/id/402520
a061risk in a single ship
a062membership or characteristic of a lower social class (OED)
a063shortening of often (OED)
a064travelling or roaming (OED)
a065also spelled cozening, it means cheating, deceitful or fraudulent (OED)
a066a pirate or privateer (OED)
a067in dress or attire (OED)
a068in hiding or a place of confinement, like a cage (OED)
a069Of a person, a person's will: undisciplined, ungoverned; unmanageable, rebellious (OED)
a070A wench (OED)
a071A small wooden peg or pin used to stop the vent-hole of a barrel or cask; a vent-peg; a similar peg inserted into and controlling the opening or tube of a faucet and used to regulate the flow of liquor (OED)
a072Jumbled mixture of liquors e.g. beer and wine
a073A general name for a class of white wines formerly imported from Spain and the Canaries (OED)
a074A friar of the order of St. Francis, of the new rule of 1528 (OED)
a075Bringing together, comparison (OED)
a076Of a person that has deliberately broken an oath (OED)
a077The front part of a helmet, covering the face but provided with holes or openings to admit of seeing and breathing, and capable of being raised and lowered;(OED)
a078The action of interceding or pleading on behalf of (rarely against),(OED)
a079To emit, give, or heave a sigh(OED)
a080An article of value used for adornment, chiefly of the person / possibly a picture of her (OED)
a081Phrase meant to suggest that a promise or vow to be "paid" can be counterfeited or easily passed from one to another (O'Brien in class / wikipedia)
a082Temporary rest or cessation from physical or mental exertion in order to recover one's energy (OED)
a083unmask
a084she and he respectively
a085his womanizing has ended with her
a086A pouch, bag, wallet, usually of leather. (OED)
a087Italian for: A wench; ‘a showy wanton’ (OED)
a088 why (http://www.bookwolf.com/Wolf/pdf/AphraBehn-TheRover.pdf)
a089sleep with
a090refers to taking an oath on the bible / Oath: A solemn or formal declaration invoking God (or a god, or other object of reverence) as witness to the truth of a statement, or to the binding nature of a promise or undertaking (OED)
a091a long time / A period of existence, and related senses.(OED)
a092Dull: Not quick in intelligence or mental perception; slow of understanding; not sharp of wit(OED)
a093Senses relating to diseases characterized by pocks(OED). Referencing a sort of curse on his vow
a094 "hark ye"= (ref:http://www.bookwolf.com/Wolf/pdf/AphraBehn-TheRover.pdf). To give ear or listen to. (OED)
a095he thinks he has chased his lady into the arms of another man. To rouse the birds that they may fly into the net held by some one else(OED)
a096metaphor to understand and subdue loves troubling nature by drinking one's self to sleep
a097his plan to sleep with her is near completion. Compass: To plan, contrive, devise (OED). Also: navigational reference meaning close in proximity: A compass divided into 360 degrees is the most common unit of measurement. Each degree is divided into 60 minutes, each minute into 60 seconds...those units are used for precise locations using latitude and longitude.(http://www.compassdude.com/compass-units.php)
a098why
a099addressing his clothes, in England he could be "A magistrate appointed to hear minor cases, grant licences, etc" (OED)
a100his job or orders; Authority committed or entrusted to a person (OED)
a101luckiest rogue
a102darkness necessary to setup the robbery of Blunt
a103in a short time; soon (CollinsDictionary)
a104trick; an exploit(OED)
a105animal trap (OED), if she had been trapped by Blunt's love
a106That has been mollified; appeased, conciliated; †softened, rendered soft or supple; †made less severe; mitigated (OED)
a107A stringed musical instrument, much in vogue from the 14th to the 17th centuries. Source: Oxford English Dictionary
a108short pants / Breeches are distinguished from trousers by coming only just below the knee (OED)
a109The first actual pocket watch was "said to have occurred in 1675 when Charles II of England introduced waistcoats (Wikipedia).This would have been an incredibly exepensive item.
a110refers to Queen Elizabeth I, reigned from 1558-1603.The quarrel from "Eighty Eight" seems to refer to the Spanish Armada, which was destroyed in 1588
a111Seems to refer to a sewer into which he entered
a112A bunch of flowers or herbs, especially those having a sweet smell-OED
a113A noise or disturbance, a 'row', a tumult
a114imbued or transfused
a115reference to the common law of taking your victim as you find them http://definitions.uslegal.com/t/thin-skull-rule/
a116A variant spelling of Picaroon meaning a rogue or a scoundrel
a117a warship
a118a canon at the bow or stern of an armed ship used in pursuit Source: Merriam-Webster
a119jostles (Dictionary.com)
a120Of a person: that has committed or is guilty of perjury; that has deliberately broken an oath, promise, etc. (OED)
a121Clogged, cumbered, burdened (OED)
a122To utter indistinctly or inarticulately, as if with toothless gums; to mumble, mutter (OED)
a123Double meaning: to play and to behave in a sexually promiscuous way
a124A wicked woman (OED)
a125"Dwelling or situated beyond, or pertaining to the far side of, the mountains (orig. and in reference to Italy, the Alps...hence, foreign...occupied by a non-Italian." This word could also have, "the connotation [of] 'uncouth, unpolished, barbarous'." ("tramontane, adj. and n." OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2016. Web. 5 December 2016.
a126"In a parlous manner; esp. perilously, dangerously; precariously; desperately," ("parlously, adv." OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2016. Web. 5 December 2016.)
a127"A term applied originally by country people to an elderly man or one whose position entitled him to respect." Or, "Used simply as a title of address, often with not intimation of respect," ("gaffer, n." OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2016. Web. 5 December 2016.)
a128"A word meant to frighten or terrify; a word that causes dread," († bug-word | bug's-word, n. OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2016. Web. 5 December 2016.)
a129"A kind of linen tape, formerly much used for various purposes," ("inkle, n." OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2016. Web. 5 December 2016.)
a130"A bag of bay leaves used in cooking." (Canfield, J. D., and Sneidern M.-L. Von. The Broadview Anthology of Restoration and Early Eighteenth-Century Drama. Peterborough, Ont: Broadview Press, 2004. Print)
a131A look or view ("cast, n." OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2016. Web. 5 December 2016.).
a132A religious meeting of an unsanctioned or clandestine nature ("conventicle, n." OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2016. Web. 5 December 2016.).
a133Hypocritical ("ˈcanting, adj.2." OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2016. Web. 5 December 2016.).
a134A major London theater in which the Shakespeare company performed during the winter until 1642, when all the playhouses were closed (Gurr, Andrew. "London’s Blackfriars Playhouse and the Chamberlains Men’." Inside Shakespeare: Essays on the Blackfriars Stage (2006): 17-33.).
a135Head ("noddle, n.1." OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2016. Web. 5 December 2016.).
a136A foppish, affected type of man ("spark, n.2." OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2016. Web. 5 December 2016.).
a137James Stokes and Anthony Leigh were celebrated comic actors of the period, often appearing alongside one another (Chernaik, Warren. “Nokes , James (c.1642–1696).” Warren Chernaik Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. Oxford: OUP, 2004. Online ed. Ed. David Cannadine. Jan. 2008. 5 Dec. 2016).
a138The Rover borrows heavily from Thomas Killigrew's Thomaso, or, The Wanderer, though Behn seems to minimize the extent to which she borrowed from it here (DeRitter, Jones. "The Gypsy," The Rover", and the Wanderer: Aphra Behn's Revision of Thomas Killigrew." Restoration: Studies in English Literary Culture, 1660-1700 10.2 (1986): 82-92.).