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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 "four 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 perormance at the Opéra Comique, London, April 23, 1881.

This operetta is a satire upon the aesthetic movement of the nineteenth century in England. In particular, some have suggested that the central character, Bunthorne, was intended to satirize Oscar Wilde, but this identification is probably retrospective: there is a far better case that Reginald Bunthorne, described as a "Fleshly Poet", is based on Algernon Swinburne, who was far more famous than Wilde in 1881 and was 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.


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 card game.
Patience is also the name of a Middle English poem.

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