Collection No. 77: No One's Enemy But His Own, by Arthur Murphy

Publication Details | Synopsis | Secondary Commentary |Varieties & Dialects | Other

Publication details

Author: Murphy, Arthur
Author dates: 1727-1805
Title: No One’s Enemy but His Own

First played: 1764
First published: 1764, for P. Vaillant [etc.] 95 p.
C18th availability: Available from ECCO (1764)

Modern availability: Available from LION (1997)

Genre: Comedy

Character types: French; Classical

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See "Secondary Commentary".

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Secondary commentary

A) Bode, Robert F. ‘Arthur Murphy: December 27, 1727-June 18, 1805.’ Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 89: Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Dramatists, Third Series. Edited by Paula R. Backscheider, University of Rochester. The Gale Group, 1989. LiteratureResourceCenter. 29 May 2008.

"Murphy's next plays, No One's Enemy But his Own and What We Must All Come To, were performed at Covent Garden on 9 January 1764. Careless, a wealthy and handsome young man, is the character referred to in the title No One's Enemy But His Own. The plot turns on the consequences of his chief faults of fickleness and loquaciousness. In the course of the play he abandons Lucinda, pursues Hortensia, and then finally pursues Lucinda again for marriage, and he courts the young wife of his sixty-year-old friend Sir Philip Figurein for less honorable purposes. Because he freely confides his conduct of these activities to his supposed friend Wisely, he is outmaneuvered in his pursuit of all three ladies and exposed for his faithlessness to friends and mistresses alike. The source of the play is contemporary French play by Voltaire; however, Murphy here as before so alters the original that it is more than an adaptation. The character of Sir Philip Figurein, a gentleman with a passion for dancing, has no counterpart in Voltaire's play; in fact, John P. Emery says he 'seems to be unique in drama." Sir Philip is said to be drawn from life, having in fact an identifiable original, the case with many characters in Murphy's other comedies and farces as well."

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Varieties & Dialects

Overview of varieties / dialects

La Jeunesse, a French barber, speaks with a French accent and vocabulary; Sir Philip Figurein inserts Latin and French terms into otherwise Standard English.

Varieties / dialects

Variety: La Jeunesse (French barber)
a. Sample of dialect
[page 8]
Monsieur, I have de honour of make you such wig as by gar was never seen.

And I, Sir, have brought you such a suit of cloaths---I shall so admire them when your honour has them on. The greatest pleasure of my life is to admire my own cloaths.

By gar, me go to de Mall every Sunday, on purpose to see my wig walk by.

Gentlemen, ye are both eminent in your vocations.

Ah, Sir! you will be such a handsome bride-groom in this suit.---Will your honour please to try it on?

You adapt your work so perfectly to my person, Mr. Crib, that I am sure it fits me.---Monsieur La Jeunesse, you may try on the wig.

De tout mon coeur---a ça---wid dis wig you will look comme un ange .---Dis wig! pardie, it is not wig, it is head of hair---a ça.---Has it de honour of being easy on de head?

b.1 Orthography: “de”, “dis”
b.2 Grammar: “me go to de Mall”; “de honour of make you”; “it is not wig, it is head of hair”
b.3 Vocabulary: “by gar”; French: “de tout mon cœur”; “comme un ange”; “pardie” ; “a ca”
c. Nationality: French
d. Character profile: French barber
e. Consistency of representation: consistent

Variety: Sir Philip
a. Sample of dialect
[page 35]

Ay, Sir, Vive la dance .---Well, you'll be at the ball to-night.---Wisely, I am sorry we are to lose you.---
[Moves in a minuet step to Careless.]
Careless, you won't fail.--- Nunc pede libero pulsanda tellus .---La loll loll.

b.1 Orthography
b.2 Grammar
b.3 Vocabulary: Latin: Nunc pede libero pulsanda tellus; French: Vive la dance; Wordless singing: “la loll loll”
c. Nationality: English
d. Character profile: a gentleman who lives for dance
e. Consistency of representation: otherwise speaks StE

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Narrative comments on varieties and dialects


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Other points of interest


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©2008 Arden Hegele