Reference > The Library > Helen Rex Keller > Reader’s Digest of Books

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
H. R. Keller.  The Reader’s Digest of Books.
The Mourning Bride
William Congreve (1670–1729)
Mourning Bride, The, by William Congreve. This, the only serious play written by Congreve, was produced in 1697, and was most successful. Lugubrious is a cheerful term by which to characterize it. Almeria, the daughter of Manuel, King of Granada, while in captivity marries Alphonso, the son of Anselmo, King of Valencia. In a battle with Manuel, Anselmo is captured, Alphonso drowned, and Almeria returned to her father. He insists upon her marriage with Garcia, the son of Gonzalez, his favorite. Manuel captures Zara, an African princess, and with her two Moors, Osmyn and Heli. Almeria finds that Osmyn is Alphonso; and Zara, overhearing them, is led by her jealousy to induce the King to allow her mutes to strangle him, and to give orders that none but her mutes shall have access to him. Gonzalez, to secure a mute’s dress, kills one, and finds on him a letter from Zara to Alphonso, telling him she has repented and will help him to escape. Manuel orders Alphonso to be executed at once; and to prove Zara’s treachery, places himself in chains in Alphonso’s place to await her coming. Gonzalez, to make sure of Alphonso’s death, steals down and kills him. Meeting Garcia, he learns that Alphonso has escaped, and that he has killed the King instead of Alphonso. The King’s head is cut off and hid, so that his death may not be known. Zara, thinking that it is the body of Alphonso, poisons herself; and Alphonso, storming the palace, reaches Almeria in time to prevent her from taking the remainder of the poison. Two quotations from this play have become almost household words: the first, “Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast”; and the second, “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned; nor hell a fury, like a woman scorned.”  1

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