The Mourning Bride

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Frontispiece of The Mourning Bride published in 1703

The Mourning Bride is a tragedy written by British playwright William Congreve. It premiered in 1697 at Betterton's Co., Lincoln's Inn Fields. The play centres on Zara, a queen held captive by Manuel, King of Granada, and a web of love and deception which results in the mistaken murder of Manuel who is in disguise, and Zara's also mistaken suicide in response.


There are two very widely known quotations in the play; from the opening to the play:

Music has charms to soothe a savage breast,[1]

The word "breast" is often misquoted as "beast" and "has" sometimes appears as "hath".

Also often repeated is a quotation of Zara in Act III, Scene VIII:

Heav'n has no Rage, like Love to Hatred turn'd,
Nor Hell a Fury, like a Woman scorn'd.[1]

This is usually paraphrased as "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."


  1. ^ a b From text at [1]. See also Quotes from The Mourning Bride.


  • Erskine-Hill, H., Lindsay, A. (eds), William Congreve: The Critical Heritage, Routledge (1995).
  • Congreve, W., The Works of Mr. Congreve: Volume 2. Containing: The Mourning Bride; The Way of the World; The Judgment of Paris; Semele; and Poems on Several Occasions, Adamant Media (2001), facsimile reprint of a 1788 edition published in London.
  • Mackenzie, D., The Works of William Congreve: Volume I, OUP Oxford (2011), v. 1, pp.5-94.

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