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So may your midnight scowrings happy prove,
And morning batt’ries force your way to love ;
So may not France your warlike hands recal,
But leave you by each other's swords to fall :
As you come here to ruffle vizard punk,
When sober, rail, and roar when you are drunk.
But to the wits we can some merit plead,
And

urge what by themselves has oft been said:
Our house relieves the ladies from the frights
Of ill-pav'd streets, and long dark winter nights;
The Flanders horses from a cold bleak road,
Where bears in furs dare scarcely look abroad;
The audience from worn plays and fustian stuff,
Of rhime, more nauseous than three boys in buff.
Tho in their house the

appear, We hope we may presume their wits are here. The best which they reserv’d they now will play, For, like kind cuckolds, tho w'have not the

way To please, we'll find you abler men who may. If they Mould fail, for last recruits we breed A troop of frisking Monsieurs to succeed: You know the French fure cards at time of need.

poets heads

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POET

OETS, your subjects, have their parts assign'd

T’unbend, and to divert their sov’reign's mind:
When tir’d with following nature, you think fit
To seek repose in the cool shades of wit,
And, from the sweet retreat, with joy survey
What rests, and what is conquer’d, of the way.
Here, free yourselves from envy, care, and strife,
You view the various turns of human life:
Safe in our scene, thro dangerous courts you go,
And, undebauch'd, the vice of cities know.
Your theories are here to practice brought,
As in mechanic operations wrought ;
And man,

the little world, before you fet,
As once the sphere of chrystal shew'd the great.
Blest sure are you above all mortal kind,
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your inind: Content to see, and thun, those ills we show, And crimes on theatres alone to know.

If to your

you can fuit

1

With joy we bring what our dead authors writ,
And beg from you the value of their wit :
That Shakespear's, Fletcher's, and great Johnson's

claim,
May be renew'd from those who gave

them fame. None of our living poets dare appear ; For muses so severe are worshipp'd here, That, conscious of their faults, they shun the eye, And, as prophane, from facred places fly, Rather than see the offended God, and die: We bring no imperfections, but our own ; Such faults as made are by the makers shown: And you have been so kind, that we may boast, The greatest judges still can pardon most. Poets must stoop, when they would please our pit, Debas'd even to the level of their wit ; Disdaining that, which yet they know will take, Hating themselves what their applause must make. But when to praise from you they would aspire, Tho they like eagles mount, your Jove is higher. So far your knowlege all their power transcends, As what should be beyond what is extends.

PROLOGUE to CIR C E.

[By Dr. DAVENANT, 1675.]

WER

ERE

you

but half so wise as you're severe, Our youthful poet should not need to fear: To his green years your censures you would suit, Not blast the blossom, but expect the fruit, The fex, that best does pleasure understand, Will always choose to err on t'other hand. They check not him that's aukward in delight, But clap the young rogue's cheek, and set him

right. Thus hearten'd well, and Aleth'd upon

his

prey; The youth may prove a man another day. Your Ben and Fletcher, in their first young flight, Did no Volpone, nor no Arbaces write ; But hopp'd about, and short excursions made From bough to bough, as if they were afraid, And each was guilty of some Nighted maid. Shakespear's own muse her Pericles first bore; The prince of Tyre was elder than the Moore: 'Tis miracle to see a first good play; All hawthorns do not bloomi on Christmas-day.

A sender poet must have time to grow,
And spread and burnish as his brothers do.
Who still looks lean, sure with some pox is curst:
But no man can be Falstaff-fat at first.
Then damn but indulge his rude essays,
Encourage him, and bloat him up with praise,
That he may get more bulk before he dies :
He's not yet fed enough for sacrifice.
Perhaps, if now your grace you will not grudge,
He may grow up to write, and you to judge.

not,

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As Jupiter I made my court in vain ; l'il now aflume

my

native shape again,
I'm weary to be so unkindly us’d,
And would not be a God to be refus'd.
Siate grows uneasy when it hinders love ;
A glorious burden, which the wise remove.

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