Henry Duffet (fl.1674-78)


fl.1678 [prob. orig. Duffy] b. Ireland; worked as milliner in London; his burlesques incl. Empress of Morocco (1674), a burlesque of Settle’s farce; The Spanish Rogue (1674), a comedy reputed indecent and dedicated to Nell Gwynn; The Mock Tempest (Drury Lane, 1675), performed in opposition to Dryden and Davenant’s adaption of Shakespeare’s Tempest (1974); also Psyche Debauch’d (1678), a travesty of a play by Shadwell; castigated as beneath contempt in Biographia Dramatica; his New Poems, Songs, Prologues and Epilogues (1676) contains lovers’ plaints, some to Irish airs; other works incl. Beauties’ Triumph, a mask. CAB ODNB JMC OCIL

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           “Come All You Pale Lovers

Come all you pale lovers that sigh and complain,
While your beautiful tyrants but laugh at your pain,
Come practice with me
To be happy and free,
In spite of inconstancy, pride, or disdain.
I see and I love, and the bliss I enjoy
No rival can lessen nor envy destroy.

My mistress so fair is, no language or art
Can describe her perfection in every part;
Her mien’s so genteel,
With such ease she can kill,
Each look with new passion she captures my heart.

Her smiles, the kind message of love from her eyes,
When she frowns ’tis from others her Same to disgniae.
Thus her scorn or her spite
I convert to delight,
As the bee gathers honey wherever he flies.

My vows she receives from her lover unknown,
And I fancy kind answers although I have none.
How blest should I be
If our hearts did agree,
Since already I find so much pleasure alone.
I see and I love, and ttie bliss I enjoy
No rival can lessen nor envy destroy.

—Given in Irish Literature (Washington: CUA 1904), pp.948-49.

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Peter Kavanagh, Irish Theatre (Tralee: 1946), Chp. VIII, ‘Thomas Duffett’, [sic], The Spanish Rogue, dedicated to Nell Gwyn, ‘contains 3 lines which one would hardly have expected from the mouth of a woman’ (Genest). The Empress of Morocco was a burlesque of Settle’s play of that title; instead of Settle’s nobles we are given lowly characters, Epistemon tells Pantgruel that he saw Cleopatra hawking onions in Hades [168]. The Amorous Old Woman is set in Pisa. The Mock Tempest, of which Langbaine said, ‘writ on purpose to draw company from the other theatre, where there was great resort about that time to see that reviv’d Comedy call’d the Tempest, then much in vogue.’ He also relates that when acted in Dublin ‘several ladies and persons of the best quaity left the house, such ribaldry pleasing none but the rabble.’ Duffett evidently had an amazing capacity to find a double-entendre, but is finally dismissed by Langbaine as a ‘wit of the third rate.’ He was probably born Duffy. (pp.168-69.)

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