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XXXVII.

EPILOGUE TO HENRY II.

[By Mr. MOUNTFORT, 1693.]

Spoken by Mrs. BRACEGIRDLE.

TH

HUS you the fad catastrophe have seen,
Occafion'd by a mistress and a queen.
Queen Eleanor the proud was French, they fay;
But English manufacture got the day.

Jane Clifford was her name, as books aver:
Fair Rofamond was but her Nom de guerre.
Now tell me, gallants, would you lead your life
With fuch a mistress, or with fuch a wife?
If one must be your choice, which d'ye approve,
The curtain lecture, or the curtain love?
Would ye be godly with perpetual ftrife,
Still drudging on with homely Joan your wife:
Or take your pleasure in a wicked way,

Like honest whoring Harry in the play?
I guess your minds: the mistress would be taken,
And nauseous matrimony fent a packing.
The devil's in you all; mankind's a rogue;
You love the bride, but you deteft the clog.
After a year, poor spouse is left i' th' lurch,
And you, like Haynes, return to mother-church.
Or, if the name of Church comes crofs your
Chapels of ease behind our scenes you find.
The playhouse is a kind of market-place;
One chaffers for a voice, another for a face:

mind,

Nay,

}

Nay, fome of you, I dare not fay how many,
Would buy of me a pen'worth for your penny.
Ev'n this poor face, which with my fan I hide,
Would make a shift my portion to provide,
With fome small perquifites I have befide.
Though for your love, perhaps, I fhould not care,
I could not hate a man that bids me fair.
What might enfue, 'tis hard for me to tell;
But I was drench'd to-day for loving well,
And fear the poison that would make me swell.

}

XXXVIII.

A PROLOGUE.

GA

ALLANTS, a bafhful poet bids me fay,
He's come to lose his maidenhead to-day.
Be not too fierce; for he's but green of age,
And ne'er, till now, debauch'd upon the ftage.
He wants the fuffering part of refolution,
And comes with blufhes to his execution.
Ere you deflower his Mufe, he hopes the pit
Will make some settlement upon his wit.
Promise him well, before the play begin:
For he would fain be cozen'd into fin.
"Tis not but that he knows you mean to fail;
But, if you leave him after being frail,
He 'll have, at least, a fair pretence to rail:
To call you base, and fwear you us'd him ill,
And put you in the new deferters bill.
Lord, what a troop of perjur❜d men we see;
Enow to fill another Mercury!

}

But

But this the ladies may with patience brook:
Theirs are not the first colours you forsook.
He would be loth the beauties to offend;
But, if he should, he's not too old to mend.
He's a young plant, in his firft year of bearing;
But his friend fwears, he will be worth the rearing.
His glofs is ftill upon him: though 'tis true
He's yet unripe, yet take him for the blue.
You think an apricot half green is beft;

There's sweet and four, and one fide good at least.
Mangos and limes, whofe nourishment is little,
Though not for food, are yet preferv'd for pickle.
So this green writer may pretend, at least,
To whet your ftomachs for a better feast.
He makes this difference in the fexes too;
He fells to men, he gives himself to you.
To both he would contribute fome delight;

A mere poetical hermaphrodite.

Thus he's equipp'd, both to be woo'd, and woo;
With arms offenfive and defenfive too;
'Tis hard, he thinks, if neither part will do.

}

XXXIX.

PROLOGUE TO ALBUMAZAR.

To
O fay, this Comedy pleas'd long ago,
Is not enough to make it pass you now.
Yet, gentlemen, your ancestors had wit;
When few men cenfur'd, and when fewer writ.

And

And Jonfon, of thofe few the beft, chofe this,

3 As the best model of his master-piece:

Subtle was got by our Albumazar,
That Alchemift by this Aftrologer;

Here he was fashion'd, and we may fuppofe
He lik'd the fashion well, who wore the clothes.
But Ben made nobly his what he did mould;
What was another's lead, becomes his gold:
Like an unrighteous conqueror he reigns,
Yet rules that well, which he unjustly gains.
But this our age fuch authors does afford,
As make whole plays, and yet scarce write one word:
Who, in this anarchy of wit, rob all,

And what's their plunder, their poffeffion call:
Who, like bold padders, fcorn by night to prey,
But rob by fun-fhine, in the face of day:
Nay fcarce the common ceremony use

Of, Stand, Sir, and deliver up your Muse;
But knock the Poet down, and, with a grace,
Mount Pegasus before the owner's face.
Faith, if you have fuch country Toms abroad,
"Tis time for all true men to leave that road.
Yet it were modeft, could it but be faid,
They ftrip the living, but these rob the dead;
Dare with the mummies of the Mufes play,
And make love to them the Ægyptian way;
Or, as a rhyming author would have said,
Join the dead living to the living dead.
Such men in Poetry may claim fome part:
They have the licence, though they want the art?

And

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And might, where theft was prais'd, for Laureats stand,
Poets, not of the head, but of the hand.
They make the benefits of others studying,
Much like the meals of politic Jack-Pudding,
Whose dish to challenge no man has the courage;
'Tis all his own, when once he has spit i' th' porridge.
But, gentlemen, you're all concern'd in this;
You are in fault for what they do amiss:
For they their thefts ftill undiscover'd think,
And durft not steal, unless you please to wink.
Perhaps, you may award by your decree,
They should refund; but that can never be.
For fhould you letters of reprifal feal,

Thefe men write that which no man elfe would steal,

XL.

AN

EPILOGUE.

Yo

OU faw our wife was chafte, yet throughly try'd. And, without doubt, y' are hugely edify'd; For, like our hero, whom we fhew'd to-day, You think no woman true, but in a play. Love once did make a pretty kind of show: Efteem and kindnefs in one breast would grow: But 'twas Heaven knows how many years ago. Now fome small-chat, and guinea expectation, Gets all the pretty creatures in the nation: In Comedy your little felves you meet; 'Tis Covent Garden drawn in Bridges-street.

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