Patience; or, Bunthorne's Bride is a satire by W. S. Gilbert with music by Arthur Sullivan on the aesthetic movement and the soldiers of the 35th Dragoon Guard. The play deals with two rival poets, the grouchy, effeminate and decadent Bunthorne, and the kind and gentle but vain and vapid Grosvenor.Patience, a dairy maid who knows nothing of love, is told it is the only truly unselfish emotion, and so sets out to find such truly selfless love. The other characters are a male chorus of manly and dashing but dim dragoons, and a female chorus of languid and pretentious but charming maidens.
This work provides examples of
Abhorrent Admirer: Lady Jane to Bunthorne. (While he wouldn't give any of his female admirers the time of day, he considers her the absolute worst.)
Affectionate Parody: The show makes fun of the "aesthetic movement" as popularized by Oscar Wilde, but Wilde himself was a fan and even went on tour in America to help publicize the show. (It helped that G&S's producer, Richard D'Oyly Carte, was also Wilde's booking agent.)
Silly Rabbit, Romance Is for Kids!: Our female lead does not love, and is happy because she does not love (in both senses of the clause). She does admit love eventually ("I had no idea it was a duty!"). But after a third character is forced to renounce it, most of the other characters decide that romantic love is irrelevant. And, until the end, love is depicted as nothing but painful.
The Ingenue: Patience is woefully naive when it comes to matters of love, which is a major plot point.
Unwanted Harem: Played with. Bunthorne affects an interest in aesthetic poetry because he thinks it will get him an (un)wanted harem, and this actually works quite well... until the handsome Grosvener shows up, causing the ladies to immediately transfer their affections.
Grosvener: Yes yes—I am aesthetic
All the Ladies: Then, we love you!
Dragoons: They love him! Horror!
Bunthorne and Patience: They love him! Horror!
Grosvener: They love me! Horror! Horror! Horror!
Viewers Are Geniuses: If you get even half the references in "If You Want a Receipt for that Popular Mystery," you may consider yourself remarkably well-read.
What Is This Thing You Call Love?: The eponymous character specifically does not, in the beginning, understand why all the other women love when it is clear that Love Hurts. When it is explained to her, she immediately sets out to fall in love: