The Mourning Bride "Nor Hell A Fury, Like A Woman Scorned"

William Congreve

"Nor Hell A Fury, Like A Woman Scorned"

Context: This quotation bears a resemblance to a line in a slightly earlier play, Colley Cibber's Love's Last Shift (1696), "We shall find no fiend in hell can match the fury of a disappointed woman." Here Almeria, Princess of Granada, mourns the death of her secret husband, supposedly lost at sea. Her father, to her distress, intends to marry her off to Garcia, a favorite, not knowing of his daughter's marriage to Alphonso, son of the enemy king of Valencia. Almeria's father has brought home captives from a swift campaign against the Moors: one captive is a warrior named Osmyn, actually Almeria's husband in disguise; another captive is Zara, the Moorish queen, madly in love with Osmyn-Alphonso. Now that her husband is dead, she intends having Osmyn as her own. To complicate matters, King Manuel, Almeria's father, falls in love with Zara, his royal captive. He frees her from her chains, avows his love, gives her his royal signet, and plans to marry her. Zara goes to the dungeons, using the ring as her passport, to free Osmyn-Alphonso. There she discovers Almeria clasped in Osmyn-Alphonso's arms. Not knowing of their marriage, but blinded by jealousy and chagrin, Zara swears vengeance upon the man she loves:

Vile and ingrate! too late thou shalt repent
The base Injustice thou hast done my love:
Yes, thou shalt know, spite of thy past Distress,
And all those Ills which thou so long hast mourn'd;
Heav'n has no Rage, like Love to Hatred turn'd,
Nor Hell a Fury, like a Woman scorn'd.