Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Patience is the ability and willingness to wait a long time or to carry out a task that takes a long time, especially one that is by itself not heavy, but boring. It also means not easily getting angry or not showing anger in situations of human communication where the other is unreasonable. It is commonly referred to as a virtue, though it is not one of the traditional theological or cardinal virtues.
Patience, or Bunthorne's Bride, is a comic Gilbert and Sullivan operetta in two acts, with music by composer Arthur S. Sullivan and libretto by William S. Gilbert. First performed at the Opéra Comique, London, April 23, 1881, it moved to the 1292-seat Savoy Theatre on October 10, 1881 where it was the first theatre production in the world to be lit by electric light. Henceforth, the G&S comic operas would be known as the "Savoy Operas" and both fans and performers of G&S would come to be known as "Savoyards."
This comic opera is a satire upon the aesthetic movement of Nineteenth Century England. In particular, many have accepted that the central character, Bunthorne, was intended to satirize Oscar Wilde, but this identification is probably retrospective: there is a better case that Reginald Bunthorne, a "Fleshly Poet", is based on Algernon Swinburne, who was more famous than Wilde in 1881 and who had been assailed for immorality by Robert Buchanan (under the pseudonym of Thomas Maitland) in an article called "The Fleshly School of Poetry ", published in the Contemporary Review for October, 1871. While Gilbert may or may not have intended to satirize Swinburne, the makeup and costume adopted by the first Bunthorne, George Grossmith, used the hair style and monocle of the painter, J. M. Whistler, the velvet jacket of Swinburne and the knee-breeches of Wilde.
Impressario Richard D'Oyly Carte, who built the Savoy Theatre, partnered with G&S and served as producer of all the G&S shows, was also the booking manager for Oscar Wilde. It was he who despatched Oscar, in all the glory of his green carnation and knee-breeches, to New York and points west to enlighten Americans on the English Aesthetic Movement and, incidentally, to build up the box office for Patience. Wilde even agreed to attend one of the early performances of Patience, with suitable publicity arranged by Helen Lenoir, who would become the second Mrs. D'Oyly Carte.
Patience was originally conceived by W. S. Gilbert as a tale of rivalry between two curates and of the groupies who attended upon them. The plot and even some of the dialogue was lifted straight out of Gilbert's Bab Ballad, The Rival Curates. Some remnants of that version survive in the final text of Patience. Bunthorne says of Grosvenor, "Your style is much too sanctified--your cut is too canonical!" Later, Grosvenor agrees to change his lifestyle by saying, "I do it on compulsion!" the very words used by the Reverend Hopley Porter in the Ballad. During the course of writing the libretto, however, Gilbert took note of the criticism he had received for his very mild satirizing of a clergyman in The Sorcerer, and looked around for an alternate pair of rivals. The aesthetes proved to be a gift to topsy-turvydom.
- Place: Act I, in front of Castle Bunthorne
Act I: A group of "lovesick maidens" mope about, dramatically sighing as they inform the audience that they're one and all in love with the aesthetic poet Bunthorne. Lady Jane, the oldest and plainest of the ladies, informs them that Bunthorne, far from returning their affections, has his heart set on the milkmaid Patience. The young woman in question appears, laughing at the affectations of the ladies and teasing them about the impending visit of their former sweethearts, the Dragoon Guards. On cue, the Dragoons appear, only to be coldly rebuffed and mocked by the poetically-obsessed ladies. In contrast, when the poet Bunthorne arrives and announces himself to be in the throes of poetical composition, the ladies throng around him. Thus jilted, the Dragoons retreat in some disarray.
When Bunthorne is finally left alone, he reveals to the audience that his poetical "aesthetic" mannerisms are a put-on, designed to attract attention rather than for any artistic merit. He demonstrates this when Patience appears and he attempts to woo her. Patience turns him down on the grounds that she knows nothing of love. Later, Patience raises this same topic with Lady Angela, one of Bunthorne's lovelorn followers; Lady Angela rhapsodizes upon love as the one truly unselfish pursuit in the world. Impressed by this eloquence, Patience promises to fall in love at the earliest opportunity.
Said opportunity is provided by one Archibald Grosvenor, a former playmate of Patience who has now become another poet of the aesthetic school. Being a handsome fellow, he's had no shortage of female company, but he retains a special fondness for Patience. The two declare themselves quite inclined to love one another, but are brought up short by the realization that their perfections mean that loving one another is a selfish act, and therefore impossible; thus, they must part. Patience goes forth to encounter Bunthorne in the act of raffling himself off among his lady followers, and proposes to unselfishly sacrifice herself by loving him. A delighted Bunthorne accepts immediately. The jilted ladies, in turn, encounter Grosvenor, and finding him even more aesthetic than Bunthorne, become his partisans instead, to Bunthorne's dismay.
Act II: Patience confesses her affections for Grosvenor to Bunthorne, who is naturally furious at the revelation. Confronting Grosvenor, Bunthorne threatens him with a dire curse unless he undertakes to become a perfectly ordinary young man. Grosvenor, intimidated, agrees to do so. This plot backfires, however, when Grosvenor reappears as an ordinary man; all of the ladies follow him into ordinariness, becoming "matter-of-fact young girls." Patience realizes that Grosvenor has lost his perfection in her eyes - and therefore, it's completely unselfish for her to marry him, which she undertakes to do without delay. The ladies, following suit, return to their old boyfriends among the Dragoons. In the spirit of fairness, a Duke among the Dragoons chooses Lady Jane as his paramour, for her very lack of appeal. Bunthorne is left to the love he has claimed (falsely) to desire most of all: poetry and flowers.
Patience is also the name of a Middle English poem.
Patience is also the name of an album by George Michael released on March 16, 2004. George Michael has announced that it will be his final album commercially released on BBC Radio 1 in March 2004. For more information, see Patience (album)
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