The Libertine (2004) Script

Allow me to be frank at the commencement

You will not like me.

The gentlemen will be envious and the ladies will be repelled.

You will not like me now and you will like me a good deal less as we go on .

Ladies, an announcement.

I am up for it.

All the time.

That is not a boast or an opinion .

It is bone-hard medical fact.

I put it round, you know.

And you will watch me putting it round and sigh for it.


It is a deal of trouble for you and you are better off watching and drawing your conclusions from a distance than you would be if I got my tarse up your petticoats.

Gentlemen, do not despair.

I am up for that as well.

And the same warning applies.

Still your cheesy erections till I've had my say, but later when you shag, and later you will shag, I shall expect it of you, and I will know if you have let me down .

I wish you to shag with my homuncular image rattling in your gonads.

Feel... how it was for me, how it is for me.

And ponder.

Was that shudder the same shudder he sensed?

Did he know something more profound?

Or is there some wall of wretchedness that we all batter with our heads at that shining live-long moment?

That is it.

That is my prologue.

Nothing in rhyme.

No protestations of modesty. You were not expecting that, I hope.

I am John Wilmot.

Second Earl of Rochester.

And I do not want you to like me.

Wren's upset. The clergy approved the most conventional design for the cathedral.

Now he feels there's no room for artistic manoeuvre.

Put a sub-clause in the warrant.

"Variations in the design are to be ornamental rather than essential."

Then he can do what he wants.


There are representations for you to be more careful in public.

Perhaps a bodyguard.

Whose idea is that? Your brother.


No-one's going to kill me if it means having him on the throne.

-Next. Danby says the army is costing too much.

It's Danby's job to balance the books.

If he thinks it's good economics to disband the army and be invaded by the French, he can look for another position .

Anything else?

You asked me to remind you about the Earl of Rochester.

When did I banish him?

Three months ago.

For how long? A year.

Bring him back. Now.

John .

Be attentive to your wife. She's not accustomed to London .

Mother, I shall in all things endeavour to serve her... and you .

Serve God.

You must not fear London.

It is not London I fear.

You abducted me in a coach like this when I was still a virgin heiress.

And did you like abduction ?


Speak of it.

John ! This is not the place.

Speak to me of abduction .

I was 18.

And worth two and a half thousand a year.

You ambushed me, bundled me from my coach, and drove me away.

The King thrust you in the tower for it.

And I dug in my heels and spurned and shunned the other men .

I would only embrace my dear abductor.

Dryden's new play.

Here, Chas, grab a wodge.

Dryden couldn't write a laundry list.


Johnny! Johnny.

We were pining for you Even now we're pining.

When I wake in the country, I dream of being in London, and then when I get here, it's full of people like you .

Johnny. This reign's a shambles, do you not think?

My father risked life and limb hiding that thing Charles up an oak tree.

Has he forgiven you?

He's forgiven me. I shan't forgive him.

Why did he banish you this time?

Well, it is a fine morning. I'm walking through the galleries.

The King is walking through the galleries. I'm splendidly alone.

The King is surrounded by a slow-moving troop...

..of Mediterraneans.

The wife's family. And he must make show of me.

Behold, the Earl of Rochester, the wit.

The poet. Pray, let us have some of your muse.

What am I to do?

Then I recall in my pocket I have a sketch of something rustic with nymphs.

I pull it out and deliver.

"In the isle of Britain, long since famous grown For breeding the best cunts in Christendom..."

Rat me, thinks I, this is not the piece of paper I had supposed.

The King's eyes are more piercing than I can remember.

The jaws of his entourage are decidedly earthbound.

This piece of paper is not covered merely with the thump and slop of congress.

This poem is an attack on the monarchy itself.

Culminating in depiction of the royal mistress striving to flog the flaccid royal member into a state of excitement.

"This you'd believe had I but time to tell you, The pains it cost to poor laborious Nelly.

Whilst she employs hands, fingers, mouth and thighs, Ere she can raise the member she enjoys.

All monarchs I hate, and the thrones they sit on, From the hector of France to the cully of Britain ."

It's damn good, though, Johnny.

Course it's good. That's not the point. The point is he couldn't appreciate it.

It took me nearly an hour to write it, just to please him.

Three months in the fucking country at the height of the season . Missed all the good plays.

Boring old Rowley. We love you, Johnny.

Give us a stanza and we'll laugh in the King's place.

To Etherege, I drink a pledge.

His life has run the gamut.

He's penned naught good since She Would If She Could.

He would if he could but he cannot Well, Johnny, it is a damn well said thing, but it ain't true, do you see?

Oh, but it is true, Georgie.

You think you can still enjoy the town's esteem for something you wrote seven years ago.

You can't be promising for ever George Sooner or later you must do something But that's what I'm saying. I have written a new play.


Written a new play has he?

All those afternoons he was pretending to slope off and roger his mistress like a decent chap, he was lurking in his rooms, poking away at a play.

That is disgusting, George.

Disgusting and shameful.

What's it about, your play?

A satire on Dryden ?

Pox o' Dryden . It's about you .

And in your play, do you tell the truth about me?

Well, I've attempted to show you ... Yes?

Well, I enjoy your company. You've made me endearing.

Well, only the public can ... Don't smarm around, George.

You're an endearing sort of...chap.

So, you haven't told the truth.


We don't want to go frightening people.

Now, how about a real play?

The Duke's have the new Otway.

Oh, I have high hopes of young Tom Otway.

Let me finish him off, sir.

This fellow is my servant. He has just filched two shillings from my coat pocket.

A thief and a rogue.

My lord you express i Haven't quite got the hang of the reign yet, have you?

I will not employ a thief. Then I will.

How much was your master paying you? Six shillings a week, sir.

Who talks of thieving?

George, give him £5.

Buy a brown livery and report to me at the Duke's Theatre.

He will steal your gold.

I hope so.

If he turned honest after coming into my orbit, then I am not the malicious planet I had hoped.

Now begone, sir.

And will your lordship be paying? Credit.

I only use coin vulgarised with the monarch's head for transactions with servants.

I am ever your humble servant.

No, Mr Ratcliffe, you are the very prince of drapery.

The prince is always happy to see the King's head.

But not to carry i around in his pocket Credit then .


Join us.


This is Billy Downs Billy this is the Earl of Rochester

How old are you, Mr Downs?

1 8, my lord.

Young man, you will die of this company.

Do not laugh. I'm serious.

Mr Ratcliffe, this hangs very well.

My lord, I saw you just now with the gent's servant.

Did you think I dispensed wisely in the matter?

If the fool run off with the gold, then you prove a point, but at your loss.

If he return in your livery, then you've gained a servant who is a known cheat.

So you prove a different point, but again at your own expense.

You summarise well, Mr Downs.

And in such a manner, I deduce you were trained at one of the "count the angels on a pinhead" Cambridge colleges.

King's, was it not?

It was, my lord.

King's, yes.

And yet you do not draw the moral of the incident.

Which is?

That any experiment of interest in life will be carried out at your own expense. Mark it well.

My lord!

My Lord Rochester.

You've come back.

In your livery, my lord.

Then you are turned honest. I cannot support that.

I regret the deed's honesty.

My lord.

But I considered that if I performed it and fell into your service, I would have more...enjoyment of life.

You see, this fellow has the hang of the reign .

I like this fellow exceedingly. What is your name?


Like master, like servant.

Well, Alcock,

you shall drink and shag more than any serving man in the kingdom.

Go at once and spend the rest of the money on a whore, a large, greasy one.

Then when you are done, return here to me.

Now begone.

Rochester! Disgrace!


Rochester! Missed you Lord Rochester!

He is risen !

My lord!

My lord!

Impertinent bastard!


My Lord Rochester!

Rochester, you are a cunt, sir!

I smell a rotten odour I'll suck it for you Johnny if you promise not to marry me!

Johnny said "cunt" to the King!

I'm going to brazen my arse at them.

They've all seen it.

Well, they can bloody well put up with it again .

Johnny said "cunt" to the King!

Johnny said "cunt" to the King.

Johnny said "cunt" to the King!

My lord.

Dear Jane.

Give you your first London spurt of the summer.

I brought the wife with me. Bit of a waste.

Shooting good jism up the lawful.

Ladies and gallants all, the King!

Oh, freeze my piss, if the royal finger ain't beckoning me.

How exciting.

Did you miss me?

I missed the money.


Don't like a whore with sentiment.

I could have ignored your poem, Johnny, but I made a fuss about it for a reason .

I won't hide anything from you .

The country's on the brink. People are still reeling from the fire, the plague.

The Catholics are plotting the Dutch are a bunch of bastards and the French are ten times worse and there's no money I can only get funds by crawling to Parliament or plotting against them.

And I don't want to lock antlers with them head on in the way my father did.

"Head on ?" That's quite good.

When you first came to court Johnny you were a boy of 18 A certain flippancy a whiff of impertinence This was acceptable But we're ten years down the road and the view is different The tone has to change.

I have to look responsible, sober.

I want you with me.

That's why I brought you back.

I want you to take on a new role.

Here? In the playhouse?

No, the House of Lords.

Your father spirited me out of England when my life was at stake, so I looked after him and after you .

You put me in the Tower. And I let you out The time has come for you to pay your dues.

People listen to you, Johnny.

If you took your seat in the Lords, you could make great speeches that would influence events.

Anyone can oppose.

It's fun to be against things.

But there comes a time when you have to start being for things as well.

Your Majesty.

Mr Etherege.

Take a nibble?

I've had my dinner, thank you, madam.


Is this thy plighted faith?

Is this thy truth?

Oh too unkind!

False and unconstant youth!

Madam, believe not but my brother's just. ROCHESTER: Who's she?

She's Lizzie Barry.

And she just won't do.

You wrong his honour by this mean distrust.


That does alleviate my griefs and give my wearied soul a soft and kind reprieve.

Which ever to forget would be as hard and as impossible as to reward.

Serving you my happiness secures.

Since equally with yours my hopes are crossed.

Of all but sorry and sad despair.

Lizzie. Lizzie!

On stage.

You must take your bow for the public.

Why do you persist in doing the opposite of what you are told?

If girls like you do not do what they are told, then it is all up with our sex on the stage.

You cannot ignore the advice of them that know!

Now, acknowledge your audience.

They can kiss my arse.

She's a good fuck, but she costs.

She gives a nice gobble, but she won't do the full wibbly-wobbly.

She does it with me. She does not!

Mary, if I may say so...

..a statuesque performance.

Bursting with Grecian promise.

Mrs Barry, the work we did beforehand, did it mean nothing to you?

That is correct, Mr Harris.

Molly, I cannot teach those who will not be disposed to learn .

Mr Etherege, how do you do, sir? Well, Mr Harris.

Was not my Lord Rochester in wih you? Darted off Did you care for the play?

The play was well enough.

Most of the acting, too.

Mrs Barry.

She has been dismissed.

I bring word from Mr Betterton .

I've had such already. This is quite another.

You have obtained a reprieve for me.

Yes, madam, but there is a price.

This is your first season on the London stage.

It is, my lord.

Mrs Barry, you must acquire the trick of ignoring those who do not like you .

In my experience, those who do not like you fall into two categories, the stupid and the envious.

The stupid will like you in five years' time, the envious never.

With my training you will become the best the most fascinating actress on the London stage I shall come to the theatre tomorrow.

What are you up to, Johnny? She can't act.

She has neither the cadence of the heroic nor the posture.

I will wager you 20 guineas she will become the finest actress on our stage.

This is the prick talking, not the head.

Knob her and have done.

Is it a wager?

My dear friend, you do not have 20 guineas.

Is it a wager?

We've missed the fuck. Can we get a drink?

There's a new toping house hard by called Deaf Marion's.

The Cambridge boy knows his books by heart.

Lead on, King's.


My lord.

Something rotten has got into my guts.

I trust it's not me, my lord.

No, Alcock, it is not. Not yet.

We should mark the front lawn at Adderbury for pall-mall.

I had always thought it a foolish game.

Depends on who you play with.

The King plays with a common prostitute, not his wife.

The Portuguese have little flair for outdoor pursuits.

Except navigating, of course.

I mean that the etiquette of it is singular.

I know what you mean .

You must always be ace, king and jack, my dear.

But heaven has not disposed your cards so.

ETHEREGE: Johnny! It's your shot!

I'm not playing!

Oh, but you are, John .

You are if I say you are.

The most advanced scientific instrument in western Europe.

It costs 60 000 pounds It tells the time in every corner of the globe Understand?

That is achievement.

The man who did that was not continually pissed for the last three years.

What do you want from me?

Writing something profound that will stand as a monument to my reign .

You're my literary giant.

Dryden ? Plodder.

But look what he's achieved.

Elizabeth had her Shakespeare.

You can be mine.

Give me a major work of literature and I'll give you 500 guineas.

When would you like it? Friday?

Don't fuck it up, John .

I love you .

Mrs Barry!

I cannot let you have long. I must prepare Tamburlaine.

There's a great deal of setting up Mrs Barry.

..and a deal of taking down .

My Lord Rochester.

I'm come as I said I would.

Will you have me lift my skirt?

Or do you have a mind to raise it by your own endeavours?

I'm come to train you your acting.

So you said when we first met, but your reputation being what it is, I thought you meant something different.

I have, I hope, many reputations.

I am come, I say, to train you ... in your stage acting Never in my life have I heard you spoken of as an actor.

That does not deter me from spreading my insights to others I thought it would not. Then we shall begin You are familiar with the plays of Mr Etherege?

There are but two my lord -Not for long, I fear.

The Comical Revenge or Love In A Tub Have you seen Mrs Betterton playing Graciana?

Yes, I'm her understudy. lndeed.

Act Two, Scene Two.

I shall play Beaufort.

Graciana, why do you condemn your love?

Your beauty without that, alas, would prove but my destruction .

An unlucky star prognosticating ruin and despair.

You mistake.

'Tis not my love I blame, but my discretion .

Here the active flame should yet a longer time have been concealed.

Too soon too soon I fear i was revealed Our weaker sex glories in surprise.

We boast the sudden conquests of our eyes.

But men esteem a foe that dares contend One that with noble courage does defend a wounded heart.

The victories they gain, they prize by their own hazard and their pain .

That was not Elizabeth Barry. That was Mrs Betterton .

An understudy must imiate not create Yesterday you created Yesterday I was dismissed.

But you played truthfully It costs too much to play the truth.

I do not think you have considered this speech at all Well, how would you have me do it?

Let us consider now.

What does it mean, that speech that Mrs Betterton mangled so?

Graciana means that she has given away the secrets of her heart too freely.

Something that a gentlewoman must not do to a gentleman .

Why not? Because men will take love for granted and then not prize it.

And is our author right? Do you believe that?

I believe men are hurdles that must be negotiated.

Is that all? Do you never feel passion for us?

I've counterfeited passion in gentlemen's beds if that is your meaning.

Counterfeit will not serve you on the stage Yesterday I was jeered and taunted by 400 ruffians.

I know that will not serve me.

And so you will take their word against both of ours and traffic in falsehood from now on ?

I don't know Then let us gain knowledge. To the speech again .

You played it sweetly Graciana is not innocent or she would not have such insight If you had ever loved a man you would say that speech with regret Because you would fear the loss of him.

And supposing I have loved?

Then show me in the speech.

Sir, you mistake.

'Tis not my love I blame.

But my discretion .

Here the active flame should yet a longer time have been concealed.

Too soon, too soon I fear it was revealed.

Our weaker sex glories in surprise. We boast the sudden conquests of our eyes.

But men esteem a foe that dares contend.

One that with noble courage does defend a wounded heart.

The victories they gain, they prize by their own hazard and their pain .


Was there improvement?

Did you think so?

I wish to know your thoughts.

It was better.

But now you're too angry.

Of course I'm fucking angry! You walk into this theatre in your 30-shilling boots telling me how I should set about my work! I warn you, I have a temper.

And I have been known to strike out with the first object at hand.

If that be a property blade, some have sharper edges than is needful, so have a care.


To die onstage at the hands of a beautiful woman .

I am no such!

I think I can make you an actress of truth, not a creature of artifice.

I can do this.

But I cannot train you unless you give a little towards me.

It's not in my nature to give.

I have my talent and I'm jealous of it.

And though I give you credit that you and you alone in all the town have seen it, I am not so dazzled by the lord and master in you that I cannot resent you .


You are right.

I am intent on doing something that no other has yet done.

And I lost my purpose yesterday with fear of the pit.

But I will conquer them.

And it shall not be said when I have my fame and my £2 a week that Lord Rochester took to me and touched me with the shining wing of his genius and so turned me into a little corner of his greatness. No!

I shall be valued for me and for what I knew I could do upon this stage!

And for what l, Lizzie I... I took the heat of my own soul and moulded it and turned it into a wondrous thing and so triumphed.

If I can help you to that triumph, I'm not so devoted to the trumpeting of my own works that I would wish to take credit.

So you say now.

But in the ale house, when the play is done, and the talk is of my Cleopatra, will you not glide towards your cronies with a "l taught her that piece of business" or "She could not be heard in the gallery until I instructed her in a trick or two"?

Madam I offer my services If you see no advantage in them, they can as easy be withdrawn .

You could buy my slit for a pound a night, sir.

I would not mind that.

But I think you would not have it so.

What I think you want is power over me, which I do bridle at.

For it is only I who can do what you say I can do.

If you wish to play a part in this I would strongly know why Ask yourself what you want from the theatre.

I want the passionate love of my audience I want when I make a sweep of my arm to carry their hearts away.

And for when I die, for them to sigh for never seeing me again .

Till the next afternoon .

There is your answer.

I want to be one of that multitude.

I wish to be moved.

I cannot feel in life.

I must have others do it for me here in the theatre.

You are spoken of as a man with a stomach for life.

I am the cynic of our golden age.

This bounteous dish, which our great Charles and our great God have, more or less in equal measure, placed before us, sets my teeth permanently on edge.

Life has no purpose. It is everywhere undone by arbitrariness.

I do this and it matters not a jot if I do the opposite.

But in a playhouse, every action, good or bad, has its consequences.

Drop a handkerchief and it will return to smother you .

The theatre is my drug.

And my illness is so far advanced that my physic must be of the highest quality.

Oh, my lord, on those conditions, I endeavour to do what you want.

What I want is that we meet again tomorrow to consider Ophelia.


Mr Betterton will revive Hamlet next month and you will play Ophelia.

Ophelia then if you wish.

But let us not neglect the lesson in Mr Etherege's speech.

And what is that?

That women should ever view men with suspicion .

I shall be happy to return and address our work with that instruction written on the inside of my skull.

Do me now. JANE: How?


Trembling, confused, despairing, limber, dry, A wishing, weak, unmoving lump I lie.


..dart of love, whose piercing point, oft tried, With virgin blood 1 0,000 maids have dyed, Now languid lies in this unhappy hour.

Shrunk up...

..and sapless, like a withered flower.

I have a feeling this is going nowhere I have that feeling too.

I've met this woman .

Lizzie Barry That new actress?

She ain't no looker There is spirit in her.

When a gent sees the spirit and not the eyes or the tits, then a gent is in trouble

Would you call me a cynic, Jane?

I'd call you a man who pretends to like life more than he does.

Is that a cynic?

I'm just a moll-sack, I don't do questions

If I am a cynic, how have I fallen in love with a plain woman, whom I do not know?

You saw her on stage.

All the colours and them poems they say.

Gives them a glow You've seen her out of the theatre? -No.

Well, then it's not her. It's the theatre.

That or Or what?

They say men fall three times.

First is calf love.

Second is the one you marry.

And third?

Third Third is your deathbed bride.

You sniff her, you sniff your own shroud.


How you have cheered me.

Go home and sleep.

I don't want to sleep. Then go home and think.

I don't ever want to think again . John .

Don't make me care for you .

I'd rather you came your fetch over my face than leave me with that, a lump of caring.

Now go home and forget.

Much wine had passed wih grave discourse Of who fucks who and who does worse When I who still take care to see Drunkenness relieved by lechery Went out into St James' Park To cool my head and fire my heart But though St James has the honour on 'Tis consecrate to prick and cunt There by a most incestuous birth Strange woods spring from the teeming earth And nightly now beneath their shade Are buggeries rapes and incests made

Mr Huysmans.

Perhaps a bottle and a glass would be handsome adornments to your composition?

They are not appropriate objects in a family portrait, my lord.

Mr Huysmans, here is another thought.

You see that monkey yonder dancing to the fiddle?

Can't help but notice how human these creatures are I would sit that monkey on a pile of solemn volumes, and place in her hand a scrap of paper as if it were a poem she'd just written, do you see?

And while she is offering the poem to me, I am crowning her with the bays.

I find Lady Rochester a more elegant and interesting subject.

You are wide of the point, sir.

Elegance, interest, all very well in their way.

But what do they illuminate?

Am I not then an apt partner for you to sit with?

You are apt, Elizabeth. You are very apt.

But you would rather be painted with a monkey?

It is of a muchness.

You are both apt in your different ways.

In this portrait I am no better than a monkey who knows the names of his ancestors.

And I?

A gaudy female monkey, gloating over the opulence of your cage.

I love London .

Everyone catches its generous spirit so quickly. lndeed.

I do not mean to upset people, Alcock, but I have to speak my mind, because what is in my mind is always more interesting than what is happening in the world outside my mind.

Makes you impossible to live with, though, do you see?

Did I once praise you for your blunt manner?

It was your reason for employing me.

It could as easy be your grounds for dismissal.

Now, get me the monkey.

John .

John, I could bear our marriage more easily if there were no pretence.

If I were merely a housekeeper and a conduit for the noble line.

But when you're away you write so beguilingly of how you love me and...

..I do not think you mean to torture me, but it is a torture to be informed of passion from a distance and then in the flesh to be so reviled.

You know I always mean to be well when we are together, but after a few weeks, I find I have no gift for it.

In my mind I am somewhere else.

Then cut me out of your heart completely and have done.

Do not command me to do something beyond my power.

Is the fault mine? If I were a better wife... would you not need the whorehouse and the inn ?

Every man needs the whorehouse and the inn .

But it's not the inn or a whore that I see in your eyes. It's some other creature.

The playhouse.

An actress.

And when your eyes shone the other day, they were shining for her.

They were.

I see I am more of an obstacle to your London life than I supposed.

I'll be gone by the morning.

My lord.

How is Ophelia in this scene?

Well, she's mad. She's out of her wits.

There are many ways to be out of your wits.


Well, there's grief.

And drink.

And love.

So I hear.

These different states, how would you show them?

Show them?

Their physical manifestation .

Close your eyes.

Close your eyes.

Oh, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's eye, tongue, sword and I Again Oh, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown .

The courtier's, soldier's... Again .

Oh, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown . The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye...

Again Eye tongue sword Again!

Oh, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown. is here o'erthrown The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's...

Again. What was wrong?

You know what was wrong. Again.

She has done this speech 20 times this afternoon.

And she will do it 20 more.

No-one has worked like this in the history of the theatre Exactly. Oh, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye, tongue, sword...

and I of ladies most deject and wretched that sucked the honey of his music vows

O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown .

The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye, tongue, sword, and I, of ladies most deject and wretched that sucked the honey of his music vows

O, woe is me.

To see what I have seen .

O, see what I see.

And there's some fennel for you and columbine.

And there's rue for you .

And here's some for me.

We may call it herb of grace o' Sundays.

O, you must wear your rue with a difference.

He is gone He is gone

And we... cast away, moan .

God have mercy on his soul And of all ye Christian souls No-one likes a clever bastard.

I pray God God be wi' ye

Well, Lizzie, my congratulations.

Thank you, Mr Harris.

Will you take the air with me?

I was thinking... a drink.

Lord Rochester left at the curtain .

Then I shall take the air alone.

Good night.

Go on!

My lord.



John Madam, this driveway will not do.

Good afternoon, my lord.

You sent no warning of your arrival.

The road is not functional and the grounds are a swamp.

If you were here more often, you'd know that Oxfordshire is not a dry county.

It is a good thing that John devote himself to the House. I will not hear him reproved for it. lunderstood that he was devoting himself to an engagement in the theatre.

That would not be appropriate for a man of breeding.

Anyone can drink.

Only a few can match my determination .

We who are nobility rise above the calls of the flesh.

It is true.

We have our strength of will, do we not?

I hope we do.

But supposing we are perverse, and use our will to bad ends?

Then we search deep inside ourselves, and we tear out the evil.

Tear deeper, Mother.

Lizzie Barry!

Lizzie Barry!

Lizzie Barry!

I ran away from your love and now I run towards it Test my love in any way you see fit!

Test me!

I will not fail!


Get back some of the money I lost on Lizzie "Horseface" Barry.

Yes, how is that little caper going, Johnny?

I hear she charges by the minute.

Come on, Johnny. All gentlemen together.

You're not a gentleman, George.

You were trained as a lawyer. And you write plays for money.

Oh, yes. And what about your commission from the King? Does that not count?

That is quite different.

"Different"? Of course.

May one enquire how the great work progresses?

Written the first line yet?

I, at least, do not plagiarise the wit of my friends and pass it off as my own .

Come on, Johnny, be fair.


What was the wager ?

The wager was 1 5 guineas.

My Lord, the actress Elizabeth Barry's outside.

She will wait.

She's very insistent.

She is a whore and she will wait!

It's a made hand!

I was not good in the play this afternoon .

I craved reassurance.

All I could think about was you .

You see, that is where there is still imbalance between us.

Because you demand so much of me and so little of yourself.

You took my small gift and polished it until it shone.

Yet your own great gift you just throw away.


You see? I went too far.

A trait which in you is fascinating, but in me is a fault.

ROCHESTER: "And wit was his vain, frivolous pretence, of pleasing others at his own expense."

Lizzie Barry.

Read me some more.

KlNG CHARLES ll: I keep coming back to the French There they are, the envy of Europe. They keep a nice class of brothel.

Of course. They're a bunch of cunts. That's not the point.

I need money and they can provide it, and I won't hide it from you, Johnny, things are bad.

I can't get money out of Louis unless I dissolve Parliament and I can't get money out of Parliament unless I fight Louis.

Well, choose. lneed money from both of them.

You spoke of a big challenge.

Louis's sent in a new ambassador. Cultivated type.

Here's my plan .

Your great work, we stage it to welcome him to London .

Big gesture of friendship.

And we show we're better than they are.

A spectacle with some really profound writing.

You're the man for it.

Will you do it for me?

At Betterton's next spring when the season's finished.

You're desperate.

What we need to celebrate is life itself.

Well, I'm obviously the man for that.

Good. I'll send Chiffinch to talk to you about the money.

Costumes, settings, something really splendid.

Splendid, yes.

And unusual.

There, John .


Fruit from South America...growing here.

Dazzles the mind.

Do you see what can be done with knowledge and application ?

"I eat to swive and swive to eat again ."

lnk! Ink!

Bring me ink!

Not "drink", lump. Ink!

Alcock, did I not leave you in the country?

I walked back, my lord.

Back again?

Back again.

Sceptres bear. Fear.

I'm worried. This French business couldn't be more important.

What's he doing?

He's writing.

- For the first time since I've known him But what?

Sublime thoughts.

Philosophy in verse.

I believe he is on the verge of greatness.

You've read some?

He shares everything with me.

You should wear more jewellery.

LlZZlE: I cannot provide for i on my wages CHARLES ll: Does not the Earl provide?

The Earl is not one of life's providers.

But the King is.

If you want the best, you may receive it from me.

I shall be everything you wish me to be.

I wish you to be my eyes and ears on his earlship.

I am his lover.

But I am your true subject.

Then you'll serve me in this matter?

Yes, I will.

And we shall both...profit.

Does the writing of the play go well, my lord?

Alcock, try not to be a cunt.

We will do this until you get it right.

My lord, Alice Twooney has sent word.

Her child is sick and she shan't come.

What was to be her role?

- She was playing little Clytoris. Of course Alcock!

This is your moment. You will stand in for her. -No, my lord.

I beg your pardon . I'm Alcock.

Little Clytoris is beyond my range.


I am not a visible person .

Do not cross me.

Madam, your dildos are not to compare with what I've seen . lndeed, they're paltry ware.

Short dildos leave the pleasure half undone.

I'm sorry, my lord, I do have a question .

Are you sure this entertainment will be fitting for both the occasion and the company?

Molly, the entire piece has been devised with the French in mind.

In Paris, fornication in the streets with total strangers is compulsory.

Oh, beg pardon, my lord, my most southerly venture is Epsom.

HARRlS: My lord!

I asked for no interruptions.

My suit is one of the utmost urgency.

The stage direction at the end of this scene requires, in my opinion, some authorial exposition .

It seems straightforward enough.

Yes. Um...

"Then dance six naked men and women, the men doing obedience to the women's cunts, kissing and touching them often .

The women in like manner to the men's pricks, kissing and dandling their cods, and then fall to fucking, after which the women sigh and the men look simple, and so sneak off."

The end of the second act A strong scene.

An eminently playable scene, and, though I say it myself, a climactic one.

And will the kind of equipment that young lady has in her hand be available to gentlemen for...

..strapping around the middle for the execution of this scene?

I had not envisaged you to be so encumbered.

I feel the scene should be given the flesh.

And will we give...two performances on the day?

No, Mr Harris.

Oh, I am glad to hear that from the author.

With the dress rehearsal, the court performance and the public showing, I envisage three.

Right. I don't know if you've met my regular understudy, Mr Lightman .

He's a most dependable fellow.

Sir, you have the honour of playing my understudy.

Well, I shall take this opportunity to withdraw from the engagement.

You are one of life's understudies!

If tonight goes wrong, we'll be at war within a week.

Have faith.

Whatever else may go wrong, your words will command admiration .

They always do.

Lizzie. You're looking pale.

Molly, work the magic of your art on Mrs Barry.

There's the French ambassador.

No. Makes me weepy.

* All you ladies of Merrie England who have been to kiss the duchess's hand

* Pray did you lately observe in the show

* A noble Italian called Signor Dildo?

I weep, but from a different end.

* Who helped to conduct her over the Main

* But now she cries out, "To the Duke I will go"

* "I have no more need for Signor Dildo!"

* The good Lady Southesk broke into a laugh Very good, this Italian workmanship.

People pay more for quality.

* The fops were undone, did their graces but know

* The discretion and vigour of Signor Dildo I'd like to meet the man who wrote this.

* Then away with these nasty devices and show

* How you rate the just merits of Signor Dildo

* Ooh, aah, Signor Dildo

* Ooh, aah, Signor Dildo

* Ooh, aah, Signor Dildo

Thus in the zenith of my lust I reign .

I eat to swive and swive to eat again .

Let other monarchs who their sceptres bear to keep their subjects less in love than fear be slaves to crowns My nation shall be free. My pintle only shall my sceptre be.

My laws shall act more pleasure than command and with my prick, I'll govern all the land.

Chas, tell me this ain't happening.

He's gonna get his prick out any second. I can feel it in my water.

It's very amusing, because in France he would be executed for this.

ROCHESTER: The King commands all men from humid cunt to humane arsonist Buggery we choose and buggery we'll allow I do proclaim the manly arse so firm shall be the sole recipient of sperm !

CHARLES ll: Lord Rochester, this portrayal of yours...

..would it be based on a particular monarch?

No, Your Highness.

My character is far too fantastic a creation ever to have drawn breath.

Now resume your seat. You're intruding on my stage.

No, you're intruding on mine.

I hand you a chance to show your shining talent and what do you give me in return ?

A pornographic representation of a royal court where the men deal only in buggery and the women's sole object of interest is the dildo!

A monument to your reign .


Disappear? People don't disappear.

Monsieur Barrillon.

Your Majesty, it is with regret that I must make my return to France tout de suite.

I hate racing.

The sport of kings? The sport of peasants!

Come on, Georgie. You like it when you win .

I must have seen the backside of £60 today.

I could have bought a horse.

Vanishing Spark. Why did you let me bet on a horse called Vanishing Spark?

What the fuck?


Gents spare a drink for a couple of chums?

Where've you been ?

Our show was such a success in the capital, we had to undertake an extensive tour of the provinces.

Now, where's the fucking drink?

Come on, Charlie, get out your winnings.

CHARLlE: This is i gentlemen !

This is the residence of the whore personally recommended by Mr Dryden himself, who glories in the name of Molly Noakes Well, what are we waiting for?

- Open up, keepers of the gate! Molly!


Molly... Molly!

Gentlemen ? ROCHESTER: Where's Molly?

DOWNS: We want Molly and we want her fast.

Young man, you are pissing on my top boots.

Yes, fellow. But you are a whorehouse doorstep man and we are the cream of the country.

I am Constable of the Watch.

Dryden can't even write a shag map.

You, sir, are a rogue and a liar.



Now, then, gentlemen ...

I do believe there's been a small species of error.

We are Johnny! Johnny!





My eyes!

Johnny, please...


I told you .

CHARLES ll: It's been six months Where the fuck is he?

Find him Your Majesty.

I find myself at the gates of death almost blind and utterly lame Scarce wih the reasonable hope of ever seeing you again With my sickness it seems the world has turned hateful of me But I will rise again to right this injustice and take back your heart

The mercury cures the pox, but it scrambles the mind.

Poses a problem for a gent, does it not?

The prick or the brain ?

Shh. Johnny, shush.

He's been seen in Cheapside, accompanied by a serving man and a whore.

If he's very drunk, he'll be no problem.

If he's a bit drunk, be careful.

What if he's sober?

You've got the wrong man .

Ladies and gents!

Gather near !

Listen well.

For I got a doctor's cure to sell.

Mouth, stomach, knees and toes.

All be cured by Dr Bendo.

Little chicken.



In honestus.



In flatuo. In flatuo.

The French, Parliament, his syphilitic earlship.

I'm being pissed on from half a dozen directions at once, and it don't accord with my majestic dignity.

We have three confirmed sightings. Our sources are impeccable.

Take me to them. Now.

I've shut up shop for the day.

I had to turn 40 people away.

I think it mean work cozening citizens of their money.

We made £80 today.

We are here for our recreation .

We're here cos we can't show our faces.

Do you ever think...on our Lord Jesus Christ?

He was cast like me into the wilderness.

He was scorned and reviled.

He was betrayed by his followers.

I believe that in most respects, his life was of a different character from yours.

He would have brought Billy Downs back from death.

Ach, these are wandering thoughts.

Leave me.




Argh ! Johnny!

Leave him alone!

On your knees.

I'm not impressed.

It has taken you six months to find me.

You think in six months I've given you more than five minutes' thought?

Those Parliament bastards are trying to shaft me again wih the new bill to exclude my successors Subtle. lnstead of chopping kings' heads off, you pick and choose the ones you want.

That's my civil war. Not you .

Mr Etherege is packing out the Dorset Gardens with you as the greatest spark on Earth.

The East End is throwing down its purse for you to be a quack doctor.

And the town has you branded as a coward who leaves his friend to die in a brawl.

All men would be cowards... if they only had the courage.

The boy died and you ran off.

I have to go too far, do you see?

I must always exceed or I do not feel like I'm alive.

And that's why the great epic about my reign became a squalid little play about knobbing.

And that's why Downs died.

I thought about putting you in the Tower.

I even considered putting your head on a spike.

But I've decided on something worse.

I'm going to ignore you I will no longer encourage any hope in my breast for you .

I am condemning you to be you, for the rest of your days

How I hate the country.



The shelves are empty, my lord.

Go to the cellars, cunt!

I said, find me a fucking drink.

Are you unable to discharge your duties as housekeeper?

ALCOCK: I fear this is the last my lord Elizabeth, why has the cellar not been replenished?

Leave us.

Leave us!

My lady.

I am ever your last resort. When your mistress has kicked you into the street and the last whore in Covent Garden refuses to attend to you, then and only then do you come to me!

I think you will never be a contented woman until you are a much-respected widow.

And I am hard at work on doing you that last good service.

I don't want you to die! I want you to live, and live differently!

Ow! Stop it!


Why? If it's good for you, is it not good for me, too?

It is not good for me. Why then do you pursue that path?

When were you last a sober man ?

Three years...

No, four...

Four years ago.

Five. Five.

And are you not, John, a rational man ?

Has not your intellect been widely praised?

It has.

So, this man of intellect, this rational man, knowing that five years of constant drinking have rendered his body feeble and his spirit low, what would this man of intellect do?

You seek to trap me like a cunning lawyer! What would he do?

He would desist! Cunt!

Yes, he would desist. And those he loved, would they not show their love by beseeching him to desist?

It is not so simple, my darling.

I've heard men say that the devil is in you .

If that be so, I know how he made his entrance.

He has suffered much both in sickness and in reputation .

You're a man of God.

Bring my son to him.

My son, God has seen fit to visit these terrible diseases on you .

But it torments me less as a mother to see you die in agony in the arms of God...

..than live an atheist.


If God wants men to have faith,

why does he not make us more disposed to believe?

Most men are so disposed.

But not me.

Because you set your reason against religion .

I despised reason.

You clung to reason .

You laughed in the face of God with the aid of reason .

Speak me that speech again .

Those words from lsaiah.

"And he is despised and rejected of men .

A man of sorrows...

..and acquainted with grief."

And we hid our faces from him.

God, raise me from this bed to do what I must do

We've taken soundings. It's very close. We may be 1 5 votes short.

The House cannot give way to the King on this matter!

Then get me 1 5 votes.

And I believe it will not!

Hear, hear!

The Earl of Rochester.



My lord...

..the bill before us would seek to bar the King's brother from succeeding to the throne on the grounds that he is a Catholic.

And for this reason i has been said that no good Protestant can speak against this bill.

And yet, sir, I cannot forbear to offer some objections against it.

But the question will arise in the minds of some lords here present... to whether I am indeed...

..a good Protestant.

No man here will question, I hope,

my goodness... any one of the three chief pursuits of our age, the scribbling of verses, the emptying of bottles, and the filling of wenches.

There may be those with a claim to be as good as I, but taking these three pursuits simultaneously...

..and, sir, I have so taken them, and can vouch that considerable manual dexterity is required, I cannot be equaled, let alone bettered.

So, let not my goodness be questioned.

It is not so many years since our present king's father

..was killed on a kind of stage, outside the walls of this very building.

And, in time, his murderers were condemned and themselves executed.

But... were they condemned without being heard?

They were not.

In spite of the certainty of their guilt and the horrid weight of their cowardly crime, they were allowed the due process of law.

But what is suggested before this House... that we condemn that murdered king's second son with less shrift than was given to his killers.

My lord, let us have justice.

When the time arrives for our good and present king to be taken from us

let then his Catholic brother be impeached in this House in the normal way.

And if he be found wanting, then let his head be chopped off at the neck...

if the House feel that is what he meris

For my part I shall believe my oath of allegiance to the throne to be a thing inviolable...

..and that whatever the faith of the successor to the throne, his pre-eminence in the royal lineage must hold sway over all other considerations.

Sir, my humble motion ... that the monarchy... be upheld...

..and this meddlesome and fractious bill be thrown out forever.

Hear, hear!

Kings are kings! You can't pick and choose!

Throw it out! Throw it out!

He spoke for us all!


You did it.

You finally did something for me.

I didn't do it for you .

I did it for me.

Your Majesty, we won .

By 40 votes.

There you are, Johnny.

You did it.


I've brought in the Earl to gawp at my triumph.

Authors have a place, Mr Etherege. It is in the garret.

I do not like them cluttering up my theatre.

Lizzie won't see him. She won't see Johnny. This is the only way.

I don't want her upset.

I could have written a splendid play.

No, you couldn't.

The Man Of Mode.

The spirit of the age caught for all time.

I did it.

You didn't, because you don't have the gift.

Gentle George.

What is he doing here? Don't blame me.

John, I'll see you after. I'll be at Long's.

Very well. Lockett's?



I saw the first two acts.

And you didn't like me?

To the contrary.

I could bear your brilliance no longer.

Mr Harris, you are playing me.

The understudy has become the actor.

My lord, I heard news of your death six months ago and experienced a spasm of regret.

But your subsequent resurrection has quite cured my grief.

I am nature, and you are art.

Let us see how we compare.

Mr Harris has a quick change and you will let him be.

Here we have him, your Restoration gent.

He's not pissed his breeches today and he can walk in a straight line for 200 yards without falling on his face and retching.

Now, look you upon this picture and on this He has not washed He cannot walk And he most certainly will not be able to raise either the price of his dinner or his own pintle.

I must be got into my nightgown .

This is what I envy in you stage people.

You make time seem so important.

I must change my clothes now!

I must make my entrance now!

But life is not a succession of urgent nows.

It is a listless trickle of Why should I's.

You're on .

MOLLY: Five minutes only, Mrs Barry.

lnever wanted you for a mistress, Lizzie.

I wanted you for my wife.

You have no understanding, do you?

It was not being your mistress that I was tired of, John .

I was tired of you .

I did not wish to be your wife.

I do not wish to be anyone's wife.

I wish to continue being the creature I am.

London walks into this theatre to see me.

Not George's play, nor Mr Betterton .

They want me, and they want me over and over again .

I will not swap my certain glory for your undependable love.

I wanted you to have my child.

I had your child.

A daughter.

When the theatres were closed in the summer.

By the start of the season I was flat enough to play Desdemona in a nightgown .

MOLLY: Two minutes, Mrs Barry, please.

What is her name?



The child of our passion .

When I bred my other children, I placed no value on human life at all, and... you send me away.

And I cannot go back to where I was before.

I shall never forgive you for teaching me to love life.

If I taught you that, then our account is settled.

Your lesson to me was my livelihood.

And mine to you was life itself.

We have no need to meet again .


If you are in London, and you have half a crown in your pocket, you may see me there.

For the rest, I hope I shall always be in your heart, sometimes in your thoughts, but never in your debt.

I am 33...

..years old.

I am dying.

I have tried to speak the truth.

But I have been betrayed.


..speak to me of abduction .

I was 18.

And worth two and a half thousand a year.

You ambushed me, bundled me into your coach and rattled me away.

The King thrust...

* If underneath death's cold wing

* His restless soul should fly He charmed the tenderest virgins with delight.

And with his style did fiercest blockheads fright.

* Beyond the grasp of fools

* T'would meet with the bliss they deny

* So stand for him

* Kneel for him

* As he lies low in kneaded clay

* Pray for him who prayed too late

* That he might shine on Judgement Day So, there he lies at the last.

The deathbed convert.

The pious debauchee.

Could not dance half a measure, could I?

Give me wine, I'd drain the dregs and toss the empty bottle at the world.

Show me our Lord Jesus in agony, and I mount the cross and steal his nails for my own palms.

There I go, shuffling from the world, my dribble fresh upon a Bible.

I look upon a pinhead... and I see angels dancing.


Do you like me now?

Do you like me now?

Do you like me now?

Do you like me... now?

* Christe Eleison

* O Domine Deus

* Dona nobis pacem

* O Domine Deus

* Dona nobis pacem

* O Domine Deus

* Dona nobis pacem

* O Domine Deus

* Dona nobis pacem