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TO THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD.
ISCORD, and plots, which have undone our age, With the fame ruin have o'erwhelm'd the stage. Our houfe has fuffer'd in the common woe,
We have been troubled with Scotch rebels too.
Our brethren are from Thames to Tweed departed,
And of our fifters, all the kinder-hearted,
To Edinburgh gone, or coach'd, or carted.
With bonny bluecap there they act all night
For Scotch half-crown, in English three-pence hight.
One nymph, to whom fat Sir John Falftaff's lean,
There with her fingle perfon fills the scene.
Another, with long ufe and age decay'd,
Div'd here old woman, and rose there a maid.
Our trufty door-keepers of former time
There ftrut and fwagger in heroic rhyme.
Tack but a copper-lace to drugget fuit,
And there's a hero made without dispute:
And that, which was a capon's tail before,
Becomes a plume for Indian emperor.
But all his fubjects, to exprefs the care
Of imitation, go, like Indians, bare:
Lac'd linen there would be a dangerous thing;
It might perhaps a new rebellion bring;
The Scot, who wore it, would be chofen king.
But why fhould I thefe renegades defcribe,
When you yourselves have feen a lewder tribe?
Teague has been here, and, to this learned pit,
With Irish action flander'd English wit:
You have beheld fuch barbarous Macs appear,
As merited a second maffacre:
Such as, like Cain, were branded with difgrace,
And had their country ftamp'd upon their face.
When ftrolers durft prefume to pick your purfe,
We humbly thought our broken troop not worse.
How ill foe'er our action may deserve,
Oxford's a place where wit can never starve.
TO THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD.
HOUGH actors cannot much of learning boast,
Of all who want it, we admire it most:
We love the praises of a learned pit,
As we remotely are ally'd to wit.
We speak our poets' wit; and trade in ore,
Like thofe, who touch upon the golden shore:
Betwixt our judges can distinction make,
Difcern how much, and why, our poems take:
Mark if the fools, or men of fense, rejoice;
Whether th' applause be only found or voice.
When our fop gallants, or our city folly,
Clap over-loud, it makes us melancholy:
We doubt that scene which does their wonder raise,
And, for their ignorance, contemn their praise.
Judge then, if we who act, and they who write,
Should not be proud of giving you delight.
London likes grofsly; but this nicer pit
Examines, fathoms all the depths of wit;
The ready finger lays on every blot;
Knows what should justly please, and what should not.
Nature herself lies open to your view;
You judge by her, what draught of her is true,
Where outlines false, and colours seem too faint,
Where bunglers dawb, and where true poets paint,
But, by the facred genius of this place,
By every Muse, by each domestic grace,
Be kind to wit, which but endeavours well,
And, where you judge, prefumes not to excel.
Our poets hither for adoption come,
As nations fued to be made free of Rome::
Not in the fuffragating tribes to ftand,
But in your utmoft, laft, provincial band.
If his ambition may thofe hopes pursue,
Who with religion loves your arts and you,
Oxford to him a dearer name fhall be,
Than his own mother univerfity.
Thebes did his green, unknowing, youth engage;
He chooses Athens in his riper age.
CONSTANTINE THE GREAT.
[By Mr. N. LEE, 1683.]
OUR hero's happy in the play's conclufion;
The holy rogue at last has met confufion:
Though Arius all along appear'd a faint,
The laft act fhew'd him a true Proteftant.
Eufebius (for you know I read Greek authors)
Reports, that, after all these plots and flaughters,
The court of Conftantine was full of glory,
And every Trimmer turn'd addreffing Tory.
They follow'd him in herds as they were mad:
When Clause was king, then all the world was glad.
Whigs kept the places they poffeft before,
And most were in a way of getting more;
Which was as much as faying, Gentlemen,
Here's power and money to be rogues again.
Indeed, there were a fort of peaking tools,
(Some call them modeft, but I call them fools)
Men much more loyal, though not half so loud;
poor devils were caft behind the crowd.
For bold knaves thrive without one grain of sense,
But good men ftarve for want of impudence.
Befides all these, there were a fort of wights,
I think my author calls them Teckelites,
Such hearty rogues against the king and laws,
They favour'd ev'n a foreign rebel's cause..
When their own damn'd defign was quafh'd and aw'd,
At least, they gave it their good word abroad.
As many a man, who, for a quiet life,
Breeds out his bastard, not to nose his wife;
Thus o'er their darling plot these Trimmers cry;
And though they cannot keep it in their eye,
They bind it prentice to Count Teckeley.
They believe not the laft plot; may I be curft,
If I believe they e'er believ'd the first.
No wonder their own plot no plot they think;
The man, that makes it, never smells the ftink.
And now it comes into my head, I'll tell
Why these damn'd Trimmers lov'd the Turks fo well.
Th' original Trimmer, though a friend to no man,
Yet in his heart ador'd a pretty woman;
He knew that Mahomet laid up for ever
Kind black-ey'd rogues, for every true believer; And, which was more than mortal man e'er tasted, One pleasure that for threefcore twelvemonths lafted: To turn for this, may furely be forgiven:
Who'd not be circumcis'd for fuch a heaven?
TO THE DISAPPOINTMENT: OR, THE MOTHER IN FASHION.
[By Mr. SOUTHERNE, 1684.]
Spoken by Mr. BETTERTON.
OW comes it, gentlemen, that now a-days,
When all of you fo fhrewdly judge of plays,
Our poets tax you still with want of sense?
All prologues treat you at your own expence.
Sharp citizens a wiser way can go;
you fools, but never call you fo.
They, in good-manners, feldom make a flip,
But treat a common whore with ladyfhip:
But here each faucy wit at random writes,
And ufes ladies as he uses knights.