The Old Bachelor "Married In Haste, We May Repent At Leisure"

William Congreve

"Married In Haste, We May Repent At Leisure"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: The old bachelor, Heartwell, who professes to despise all womankind, is secretly in love with Sylvia, who is Vainlove's castoff mistress. Heartwell tries to seduce Sylvia, but she plays upon him to the extent that he agrees to marry her. Vainlove, however, has other plans for her. Heartwell turns up at her house to marry her, and mistakes Bellmour, dressed as Tribulation Spintext, a Puritan minister, for a genuine minister; Bellmour is on his way home from an unsuccessful attempt to seduce Laetitia, old Fondlewife's wife. He, aware of Vainlove's intention to marry Sylvia to Sir Joseph Wittol, a simple Knight, goes through with the performing of a marriage ceremony between Sylvia and Heartwell. Sharper, two hours after the supposed marriage, indicates to Heartwell that Sylvia's character is highly questionable. Pretending ignorance of the mock marriage, Sharper says that he will go to visit Sylvia himself. But Heartwell warns him to stay away from his house, admitting that he has been married to Sylvia for two hours. Sharper, in soliloquy at the end of the scene, says that people marry in haste and repent at leisure.

Oh, an age, an age! I have been married these two hours.
My old bachelor married! that were a jest! ha! ha! ha!
Death! d'ye mock me! Hark ye, if either you esteem my friendship or your own safety, come not near that house–that corner house–that hot brothel; ask no questions. [Exit.]
Mad, by this light!
Thus grief still treads upon the heels of pleasure;
Married in haste, we may repent at leisure.