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Here's good Accommodation in the Pit,
The Grave demurely in the midst may
And so the hot Burgundian on the side,
Ply Vizard Mask, and o’er the Benches ftride:
Here are convenient upper Boxes too,
For those that make the most triumphant show,
All that keep Coaches must not fit below.
There Gallants, you betwixt the A&ts retire,
And at dull Plays have something to admire :
We who look up, can your Addresses mark;
And see the Creatures coupled in the Ark :
So we expect the Lovers, Braves, and Wits,
The gaudy House with Scenes, will serve for Cits,
A PROLOGUE Spoken at the opening of the New House, March 26, 1674.
Written by Mr. Dryden.
Will send you half unsatisfy'd away ;
When, fall’n from your expected Pomp, you
find A bare Convenience only is design'd. You who each Day can Theatres behold, Like Nero's Palace, shining all with Gold, Our mean ungilded Stage will scorn, we fear, And for the homely Room, disdain the Chear.' Yet now cheap Druggets to a Mode are grown, Is better than to be by tarnish'd gawdry known. They who are by your favours wealthy made, With mighty Sums may carry on the Trade: We, broken Bankers, half destroy'd by Fire, With our small Stock to humble Roofs retire, Pity our Loss, while you their Pomp admire. For Fame and Honour we no longer strive, We yield in both, and only beg to live,
Unable to support their vast Expence,
who build, and treat with such Magnificence ;
That like th' ambitious Monarchs of the Age,
They give the Law to our provincial Srage:
Great Neighbours envioufly promore Excefs,
While they impose their Splendor on the less. 1
But only Fools, and they of vaft Estate,
Th’extremity of Modes will imitate,
The dangling Knee-fringe, and the Bib-Cravat,
Yet if some Pride with want may be allow'd,
We in our Plainness may be juftly proud :
Our Royal Master will'd it fhould be fo,
Whate'er he's pleas'd to own, ean need no fhow :
That facred Name gives Ornament and Grace,
And, like his Stamp, makes basest Mecals pass.
'Twere Folly now a stately Pile to raise,
To build a Play-house while you throw down Plays.
Whilft Scenes, Machines, and empty Opera's reign,
And for the Pencil you the Pen disdain.
While Troops of famish'd Frenchmen hither drive,
And laugh at those upon whose Alms they live :
Old English Authors vanish, and give place
To these new Conqu’rors of the Norman Race;
Mere tamely than your Fathers you fubmit,
You're now grown Vaffais to 'em in your Wit:
Mark, when they play, how our fine Fops advance
The mighty Merits of these Men of France,
Keep time, cry Ben, and humour the Cadence:
Well, please your felves, but fure 'ris understood,
That French Machines have ne'er done England good:
I wou'd not prophesie our Houses Fare :
But while vain Shows and Scenes you over-rate,
'Tis to be fear'd-----
That as a Fire the former Houfe oʻerthrow,
Machines and Tempefts will destroy the new.
EPILOGU E, by the same Author.
"Hough what our Prologue said was sadly true,
Yet, Gentlemen, our homely House is new,
A Charm that seldom fails with, wicked, you.
A Country Lip may have the Velvet touch,
Tho' she's no Lady, you may think her fuch,
A strong Imagination may do much.
But ġou, loud Sirs, who tho’your Curls look big,
Criticks in plumo and white vallancy Wig,
Who lolling on our foremost Benches fit,
And still charge firt, (the true forlorn of Wir)
Whose favours, like the Sun, warm where you roul,
like him, have neither Heat nor Soul ;
So may your Hat's your Forekops never press,
Untouch'd your Ribbons, facred be your dress';
So may you slowly to old Age advance,
And have tho Éxcufe of Youth for Ignorance.
So may Fop corner full of Noise remain,
And drive far off the dull attentive Train ;
So may yout Midnight Scowiings happy prove,
And Morning Batt’ries forcé yolur way to love ;
So may not France your warlike Hands recal,
But leave you by each others 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 fome Merit plead,
And urge whát by themselves has oft been faid:
Our House relieves the Ladies from the frights
Of ill-pav'd Streets, and long dark Winter Nights :
The Flanders Horses from cold bleak Road,
Where Bears in Furs daré fcarcely look abroad.
The Audience from worn Plays and Fuftian Stuff
Of Rhimė, more nauseous than three Boys in Buff
Though in their House the Poets Heads 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 ablér Men who may.
If they thou'd fail, for last recruits we breed
A Troop of frisking Monsieurs to succeed :
(You know the French sure Cards at time of need.)
An E PIL OG U E.
Written by: Mr. DRYDEN;
ER E you but half so wise as y'are severe,
To his green Years your Censures you would suit,
Not blast the Blossom, but expect the Fruit.
The Sex that best does pleasure understand,
Will always chuse to err on t'other hand.
They check not him that's awkard in delight,
But clap the young Rogue's Check, and set him righte -
Thus heart'nd 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, no Arbaces write...
But hopp'd about, and short Excursions made
And each were 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 bloom on Christmas-day..
A fender Poet must have time to grow,
And spread and burnish as his Brothers do.
Who still looks lean, sure with some Pox is curft,
But no Ma can be Falstaff fat at first.
Then damn not, but indulge his ftew'd 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.
An Epilogue for the King's House.
Written by Mr. DRYDEN.
But just peep up, and then pop down again.
Let those who call us wicked, change their Sense,
For never Men liv'd more on Providence.
Not Lott'ry Cavaliers are half so poor,
Nor broken Cits, nor a Vacation Whore.
Not Courts, nor Courtiers living on the Rents
Of the three last ungiving Parliaments.
So wretched, that if Pharaoh could Divine,
He might have fpard his Dream of seven lean Kine,
And chang'd his Vision for the Muses Nine.
The Comet, that they say portends a Dearth,
Was but a Vapour drawn from Play-house Earth :
Pent there fince our last Fire, and Lilly says,
Forelhews our change of State, and thin Third-daysa
'Tis not our want of Wit that keeps us poor,
For then the Printer's Press would suffer more.
Their Pamphleteers each Day their Venom fpit,
They thrive by Treason, and we starve by Wit.
Confess the truth, which of you has not laid [Looking
Four farthings out to buy the Hatfeld Maid? above.
Or which is duller yet, and more wou'd spite us,
Democritus his Wars with Heraclitus.
Such are the Authors who have run us down,
And exercis'd you Criticks of the Town.
Yet these are Pearls to your Lampooning Rhimes,
Y'abuse your selves more dully than the Times.
Scandal, the Glory of the English Nation,
Is worn to Raggs, and scribbled out of Fashion.
Such harmless Thrusts, as if, like Fencers wise,
They had agreed their Play before their Prize :
Faith, they may hang their Harps upon the Willows,
'Tis just like Children when they box with Pillows,