Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

Por eter are you bound to curse those quacks Are qualify'd to be destroy'd by Fate,
That undertook to cure your happy cracks;

For other mortals to take warning at.
For, though no art can ever make them sound, As if the antique laws of tragedy
The tampering cost you threescore thousand pound. Did with our own municipal agree,
How high might you have liv'd, and play'd, and lost, And serv'd, like cobwebs, but t ensnare the
Yet been no more undone by being choust,

weak, Nor forc'd upon the king's account to lay

And give diversion to the great to break; All that, in serving him, you lost at play! To make a less delinquent to be brought For nothing but your brain was erer found

To answer for a greater person's fault, To suffer sequestration, and compound.

And suffer all the worst the worst approver Yet yon ’ave an imposition laid on brick,

Can, to excuse and save himself, discover.
For all you then laid out at Beast or Gleek;

No longer shall dramatics be contin'd
And when you ’ve rais'd a sum, straight let it fly, To draw true images of all mankind;
By understanding low, and venturing high; To punish in effigie criminals,
Until you have reduc'd it down to tick,

Reprieve the innocent, and hang the false;
And then recruit again from lime and brick. But a club-law to execute and kill,

For nothing, whomsoe'er they please, at will,
To terrify spectators froin committing
The crimes they did, and suffer'd for, unwitting.

These are the reformations of the stage,
UPON CRITICS,

Like other reformations of the age,
THO JUDGE OF MODERN PLAYS PRECISELY BY THE RULES

On purpose to destroy all wit and sense,
OF THE ANCIENTS.

As th' other did all law and conscience;

No better than the laws of British plays, WHOEVER will regard poetic fury,

Confirm'd in th' ancient good king Howell's days; When it is once found ideot by a jury,

Who made a general council regulate And every pert and arbitrary fool

Men's catching women by the-you know what, Can all poetic licence orer-rule;

And set down in the rubric at what time Assume a barbarous tyranny, to handle

It should be counted legal, when a crime; The Muses worse than Ostrogoth and Vandal; Declare when 'twas, and when 'twas not a sin, Make them submit to verdict and report,

And on what days it went out or came in. And stand or fall to th' orders of a court ?

An English poet should be try'd b'bis peers, Much less be sentenc'd by the arbitrary

And not by pedants and philosophers, Proceedings of a witless plagiary,

Incompetent to judge poetic fury, That forges old records and ordinances

As butchers are forbid to b’ of a jury;
Against the right and property of fancies,

Besides the most intolerable wrong
More false and nice than weighing of the weather, To try their matters in a foreign tongue,
To th' hundredth atom of the lightest feather, By foreign jurymen, like Sophocles,
Or measuring of air upon Parnassus,

Or tales, falser than Euripides;
With cylinders of Torricellian glasses;

When not an English native dares appear Reduce all tragedy, by rules of art,

To be a witness for the prisoner ; Back to its antique theatre, a cart,

When all the laws they use t' arraign and try And make them henceforth keep the beaten roads The innocent and wrong'd delinquent by, Of reverend choruses and episodes;

Were made b' a foreign lawyer and his pupils, Reforn and regulate a puppet play,

To put an end to all poetic scruples, According to the true and ancient way,

And, by th' advice of virtuosi Tuscans, That pot an actor shall presume to squeak,

Determin'd all the doubts of socks and buskins; Unless he have a licence for 't in Greek;

Gave judgment on all past and future plays,
Nor Whittington henceforward sell his cat in As is apparent by Speroni's case,
Plain volgar English, without mewing Latin: Which Lope Vega first began to steal,
No pudding shall be suffer'd to be witty,

And after him the French filou Corneille;
Unless it be in order to raise pity;

And since our English plagiaries nim Not Devil in the puppet-play b' allow'd

And steal their far-fet criticisms from him, To roar and spit fire, but to fright the crowd, And, by an action falsely laid of trover, Unless some god or demon chance t' have piques

The lumber for their proper goods recover, Agaist an ancient family of Greeks;

Enough to furnish all the lewd impeachers
That other men may tremble, and take warning,

Of witty Beaumont's poetry and Fletcher's;
How such a fatal progeny they ’re born in ; Who, for a few misprisions of wit,
For none but such for tragedy are fitted,

Are charg'd by those who ten times worse commit; That have been ruin'd only to be pity'd:

And, for misjudging some unhappy scenes, And only those held proper to deter,

Are censur'd for 't with more unlucky sense; Who've had th' ill luck against their wills to err.

When all their worst miscarriages delight, Whence only such as are of middling sizes,

And please more than the best that pedants Between morality and venial vices,

write.

"This warm invective was very probably occa- find some few inaccuracies to censure in this comsigned by Mr. Rymer, historiographer to Charles II. position; but the reader of taste will either overwho censured three tragedies of Beaumont's and look or pardon them for the sake of the spirit that Fletcher's The cold,

vere critic may perhaps runs through it.

UPON

PROLOGUE
TO THE

PHILIP NYE'S THANKSGIVING BEARDI,
QUEEN OF ARRAGON,

A BEARD is but the vizard of a face,

That Nature orders for no other place ; ACTED BEFORE THE DUKE OP YORK, UPON HIS BIRTH-DAY.

The fringe and tassel of a countenance,

That hides his person from another man's, Sir, while so many nations strive to pay

And, like the Roman habits of their youth, The tribute of their glories to this day,

Is never worn until his perfect growth; That gave them earnest of so great a sum

A privilege no other creature has, Of glory (from your future acts) to come,

To wear a natural mask upon his face, And which you have discharg'd at such a rate,

That shifts its likeness every day he wears, That all succeeding times must celebrate;

To fit some other persons' characters, We, that subsist by your bright influence,

And by its own mythology implies,
And have no life but what we own from thence,

That men were born to live in some disguise.
Come humbly to present you, our own way,
With all we have, (beside our hearts) a play.

This satisfy'd a reverend man, that clear'd

His disagreeing conscience by his beard.
But, as devoutest men can pay no more
To deities than what they gave before,

He 'ad been preferr'd i'th' army, when the church

Was taken with a Why not? in the lurch; We bring you only what your great commands

When primate, metropolitan, and prelates, Did rescue for us from engrossing hands,

Were turn'd to officers of horse and zealots, That would have taken out administration

From whom he held the most pluralities Of all departed poets' goods i' th' nation;

Of contributions, donatives, and salaries; Or, like to lords of manors, seiz'd all plays Was held the chiefest of those spiritual trumpets, That come within their reach, as wefts and strays, That sounded charges to their fiercest conibats; And claim'd a forfeiture of all past wit,

But in the desperatest of defeats But that your justice put a stop to it.

Had never blown as opportune retreats, 'Twas well for us, who else must have been glad

Until the synod orderd his departure
T'admit of all who now write new and bad;

To London, from his caterwauling quarter,
For, still the wickeder some authors write,
Others to write worse are encourag'd by 't;

To sit among them, as he had been chosen,

And pass or null things at his own disposing : And though those fierce inquisitors of wit,

Could clap up souls in limbo with a rote, The critics, spare no flesh that ever writ,

And for their fees discharge and let them out; But, just as tooth-drawers, find, among the rout, Which made some grandees bribe him with the p'ace Their own teeth work in pulling others out; Of holding-forth upon thanksgiving-days; So they, decrying all of all that write,

Whither the members, two imd two abreast, Think to erect a trade of judging by 't.,

March'd to take in the spoils of all the feast; Small poetry, like other heresies,

But by the way repeated the oh-hones By being persecuted multiplies;

Of his wild Irish and chromatic tones; But here they 're like to fail of all pretence;

His frequent and pathetic hums and haws, For he that writ this play is dead long since,

He practis'd only ť animate the cause, And not within their power; for bears are said With which the sisters were so prepossest, To spare those, that lie still and seein but dead.

They could remember nothing of the rest.

سه

TO THE DUTCHESS.

" As our poet has thought fit to bestow so mary

verses upon this trumpeter of sedition, it may, pero EPILOGUE TO THE SANIE.

haps, be no thankless office to give the reader some further information about him, than what merelv relates to his beard.--He was educated at Oxforci,

first in Brazen Nose College, and afterwards in Madan, the joys of this great day are due, Magdalen Hall; where, under the influence of a No less than to your royal lord, to you;

puritanical tutor, he received the first tincture of And, while three mighty kingdoms pay your part, sedition and disgust to our ecclesiastical establishYou have, what 's greater than them all, his ment. After taking his degrees, he went into orders, heart;

but soon left England to go and reside in Holland, That heart that, when it was his country's guard, where he was not very likely to lessen those preThe fury of two elements outdar'd,

judices which he had already imbibed.

In the And made a stubborn haughty enemy

year 1640, he returned home, became a furious The terronr of his dreadful conduct Ay;

presbyterian, and a zealous stickler for the parliaAnd yet you conquerd it—and made your charms ment; and was thought considerable enough, in Appear no less victorious than his arms;

his way, to be sent by bis party into Scotland, to For which you oft have triumph'd on this day, encourage and spirit-up the cause of the covenant ; And many more to come Heaven grant you may! in defence of which he wrote several pamphlets. But, as great princes use, in solemn times

However, as his zeal arose from self-interest and Of joy, to pardon all but heinous crimes,

ambition, when the independents began to have the If we have sinn'd without an ill intent,

ascendant, and power and profit ran in that chan. And done below what really we meant,

nel, he faced about, and became a strenuous We humbly ask your pardon for 't, and pray preacher on that side; and in this situation he was You would forgive, in honour of the day.

when he fell under the lash of Butler's satire.

UPON

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

He thought upon it, and resolv'd to put
His beard into as wonderful a cut,

SATIRE
And, for the further service of the women,
Tabate the rigidness of his opinion;
And, but a day before, had been to find

THE WEAKNESS AND MISERY OF MAN.
The ablest virtuoso of the kind,

Who would believe that wicked Earth,
With whom he long and seriously conferr'd
On all intrigues that might concern his beard;

Where Nature only brings us forth
By whose advice he sate for a design

To be found guilty and forgiven,
In little drawn, exactly to a line,

Should be a nursery for Heaven;
That if the creature chance to have occasion

When all we can expect to do
To undergo a thorough reformation,

Will not pay half the debt we owe,
It might be borne conveniently about,

And yet more desperately dare,

As if that wretched trifle were
And by the meanest artist copy'd out.
This dune, he sent a journeyman sectary

Too much for the eternal Powers,
He ad brought up to retrieve, and fetch, and carry, Not only slight what they enjoin,

Our great and mighty creditors,
To find out one that had the greatest practice,
To prune and bleach the beards of all fanatics,

But pay it in adulterate coin?
And set their most confusid Jisorders right,

We only in their inercy trust,
Not by a new design, but newer light;

To be more wicked and unjust;
Who usid to share the grandees of their sticklers,

All our devotions, vows, and prayers,
And crop the worthies of their conventiclers;

Are our own interest, not theirs ;
To whom he show'd his new-invented draught,

Our offerings, when we come t'adore,
And told him how 'twas to be copy'd out.

But begging presents to get more ;
Quoth he, “ Tis but a false and counterfeit,

The purest business of our zeal
And scandalous device of human wit,

Is but to err, by meaning well,
That 's abs lutely forbidden in the Scripture,

And make that meaning do more harm
To make of any carnal thing the picture.”

Than our worst deeds, that are less warm;
Quoth th'other saint, “ You must leave that to us, Does not believe himself he errs.

For the most wretched and perverse
T agree what 's lawful, or what scandalous,
For, till it is determind by our vote,

Our holiest actions have been
'Tis either lawful, scandalous, or not:

Th’ effects of wickedness and sin;
Which, since we have not yet agreed upon,

Religious houses made compounders
Is left indifferent to avoid or own."

For th' horrid actions of the founders;
Quoth be, “ My conscience never shall agree

Steeples that totter'd in the air,
To do it, till I know what 'tis to be ;

By letchers sinn'd into repair ;
For though I use it in a lawful time,

As if we had retain'd no sign
What if it after should be made a crime?

Nor character of the divine
“ 'Tis true we fought for liberty of conscience,

And heavenly part of human nature,
'Gainst human constitutions, in our own sense,

But only the coarse earthy matter.
Which I 'm resolv'd perpetually tavow,
And make it lawful whatsoe'er we do;

other little sketches upon the same subject, but Then do your office with your greatest skill,

none worth printing, except the following one may And let th' event befal us how it will.”

be thought passable, by way of note.
This said, the nice barbarian took his tools, This reverend brother, like a goat,
To prune the zealot's tenets and his jowles ;

Did wear a tail upon his throat,
Talk'd on as pertinently as he snipt,

The fringe and tassel of a face,
A hundred times for every hair he clipt;

That gives it a becoming grace,
Until the Beard at length began t'appear,

But set in such a curious frarne,
And reassume its antique character,

As if 'twere wrought in filograin,
Grew more and more itself, that art might strive, And cut so even, as if 't had been
And stand in competition with the life;

Drawn with a pen upon his chin.
For some have doubted if 'twere made of snips No topiary hedge of quickset
Of sables, glewd and fitted to his lips,

Was e'er so neatly cut or thick set,
And set in such an artificial frame,

That made beholders more admire,
As if it had been wrought in filograin,

Than China-plate that 's made of wire ;
More subtly filld and polish'd than the gin

But being wrought so regular
That Vulcan caught bimself a cuckold in;

In every part, and every hair,
That Lachesis, that spins the threads of Fate, Who would believe it should be portal
Could not have drawn it out more delicate.

To unconforming-inward mortal ?
Bat being desigo'd and drawn so regular,

And yet it was, and did dissent
Ta scrupulous punctilio of a hair,

No less from its own government,
Who could imagine that it should be portal

Than from the church's, and detest
To selfish, inward-unconformning mortal?

That which it held forth and profest ;
And yet it was, and did abominate

Did equally abominate
The least compliance in the church or state, Conformity in church and state;
And froin itself did equally dissent,

And, like an hypocritic brother,
As from religion and the government ?.

Profess'd one thing and did another;

As all things, where they 're most profest, i I lind among Butler's manuscripts several Are found to be regarded least.

Our universal inclination

Hence bloody wars at first began, Tends to the worst of our creation ;

The artificial plague of man, As if the stars conspir'd t'imprint,

That from his own invention rise, In our whole species, by instinct,

To scourge his own iniquities; A fatal brand and signature

That, if the heavens should chance to spare Of nothing else but the impure.

Supplies of constant poison'd air, The best of all our actions tend

They might not, with unfit delay, To the preposterousest end,

For lingering destruction stay ; And, like to mongrels, we 're inclin'd

Nor seek recruits of Death so far, To take most to th' ignobler kind;

But plague themselves with blood and war. Or monsters, that have always least

And if these fail, there is no good Of th’ human parent, not the beast.

Kind Nature e'er ou man bestow'd, Hence 'tis we 've no regard at all

But he can easily divert Of our best half original;

To his own misery and hurt; But, when they differ, still assert

Make that which Heaven meant to bless The interest of th' ignobler part;

Th’ungrateful world with, gentle Peace, Spend all the time we have upon

With luxury and excess, as fast The vain capriches of the one,

As war and desolation, waste; But grudge to spare one hour to know

Promote mortality, and kill, What to the better part we owe.

As fast as arms, by sitting still; As, in all compound substances,

Like earthquakes, slay without a blow, The greater still devours the less;

And, only moving, overthrow; So, being born and bred up near

Make law and equity as dear Our earthy gross relations here,

As plunder and free-quarter were, Far from the ancient nobler place

Aud fierce encounters at the bar Of all our high paternal race,

Undo as fast as those in war; We now degenerate, and grow

Enrich bawds, whores, and usurers, As barbarous, and mean, and low,

Pimps, scriveners, silenc'd ministers, As modern Grecians are, and worse,

That get estates by being undone To their brave nobler ancestors.

For tender conscience, and have none. Yet, as no barbarousness beside

Like those that with their credit drive Is half so barbarous as pride,

A trade, without a stock, and thrive ; Nor any prouder insolence

Advance men in the church and state Than that which has the least pretence,

For being of the meanest rate, We are so wretched to profess

Rais'd for their double-guild deserts, . A glory in our wretchedness;

Before integrity and parts ; To vapour sillily, and rant,

Produce more grievious complaints Of our own misery and want,

For plenty, than before for wants, And grow vain-glorious on a score

And make a rich and fruitful year We ought much rather to deplore;

A greater grievance than a dear; Who, the first moment of our lives,

Make jests of greater dangers far, Are but condemn'd, and giv'n reprieves ;

Than those they trembled at in war; And our great'st grace is not to know

Till, unawares, they 've laid a train When we shall pay them back, nor how;

To blow the public up again ; Begotten with a vain caprich,

Rally with horrour, and, in sport, And live as vainly to that pitch.

Rebellion and destruction court, Our pains are real things, and all

And make fanatics, in despight Our pleasures but fantastical;

Of all their madness, reason right, Diseases of their own accord,

And vouch to all they have foreshown, But cures come difficult and hard.

As other monsters oft have done, Our noblest piles, and stateliest rooms,

Although from truth and sense as far, Are but outhouses to our tombs;

As all their other maggots are: Cities, though e'er so great and brave,

For things said false, and never meant, But mere warehouses to the grave.

Do oft prove true by accident. Our bravery 's but a vain disguise,

That wealth, that bounteous Fortune sends To hide us from the world's dull eyes,

As presents to her dearest friends, The remedy of a defect,

Is oft laid out upon a purchase With which our nakedness is deckt;

Of two yards long in parish-churches, Yet makes as swell with pride, and boast,

And those too-happy men that bought it As if we ’d gain’d by being lost.

Had liv'd, and happier too, without it: All this is nothing to the evils

For what does vast wealth bring but cheat, Which men, and their confederate devils,

Law, luxury, disease, and debt; Inflict, to aggravate the curse

Pain, pleasure, discontent, and sport,
On their own hated kind much worse;

An easy-troubled life, and short'?
As if by Nature they'd been serv'd
More gently than their fate deserv'd,
Take pains (in justice) to invent,

'Though this satire seems fairly transcribed for And study their own punishment;

the press, yet, ou a vacancy in the sheet opposite That, as their crimes should greater grow,

to this line, I find the following verses, which proSo might their owu inflictions too.

bably were intended to be added; but as they are

UPON

UPON THE LICENTIOUS AGE OF CHARLES II.

205 But all these plagues are nothing near

Is lost in both, and breaks his blade Those, far more cruel and severe,

Upon the anvil where 'twas made: Unhappy man takes pains to find,

For, as abortions cost more pain Tinflict himself upon his mind :

Than vigorous births, so all the vain And out of his own bowels spins

And weak productions of man's wit, A rack and torture for his sins;

That aim at purposes unfit, Torments himself in vain, to know

Require more drudgery, and worse,
That most which he can never do;

Than those of strong and lively force.
And, the more strictly 'tis deny'd,
The more he is unsatisfy'd;
Is busy in finding scruples out,
To languish in eternal doubt ;

SATIRE
Sees spectres in the dark, and ghosts,
And starts, as horses do at posts,
And, when his eyes assist him least,

TUE LICEVTIO'S AGE OF CHARLES IT.
Discerns such subtle objects best.
On hypothetic dreams and visions

Tis a strange age we 've liv'd in, and a lewd, Grounds everlasting disquisitions,

As e'er the Sun in all his travels view'd; And raises endless controversies

An age as vile as ever Justice urg'd, On vulgar theorems and hearsays;

Like a fantastic letcher, to be scourg'd; Grows positive and confident,

Nor has it scap'd, and yet has only learn'd, In things so far beyond th' extent

The more 'tis plagued, to be the less concern'd. Of human sense, he does not know

Twice have we seen two dreadful judgments rage, Whether they be at all or no,

Enough to fright the stubborn'st-hearted age; And doubts as much in things that are

The one to mow vast crowds of people down, As plainly evident and clear;

The other (as then needless) half the town; Disdains all useful sense, and plain,

And two as mighty miracles restore To apply to th' intricate and vain ;

What both had ruin'd and destroy'd before; And cracks his brains in plodding on

In all as unconcern'd, as if they 'ad been That, which is never to be known;

But pastimes for diversion to be seen, To pose himself with subtleties,

Or, like the plagues of Egypt, meant a curse, And bold no other knowledge wise;

Not to reclaim us, but to make us worse. [head) Although, the subtler all things are,

Twice have men turn'd the World (that silly blockThey 're but to nothing the more near;

The wrong side outward, like a juggler's pocket, And, the less weight they can sustain,

Shook out hypocrisy as fast and loose The more he still lays on in vain,

As e'er the Devil could teacb, or singers use, And hangs his soul upon as nice

And on the other side at once put in And subtle curiosities,

As impotent iniquity and sin. As one of that vast multitude,

As sculls that have been crack'd are often found That on a needle's point have stood;

Upon the wrong side to receive the wound;
Weighs right and wrong, and true and false, And like tobacco-pipes at one end hit,
Upon as nice and subtle scales,

To break at th’ other still that 's opposite:
As those that turn upon a plane

So men, who one extravagance would shun, With th' hundredth part of half a grain,

Into the contrary extreme have run; And still the subtler tbey move,

And all the difference is, that, as the first The sooner false and useless prove.

Provokes the other freak to prove the worst, So man, that thinks to force and strain,

So, in return, that strives to render less Beyond its natural sphere, his brain,

The last delusion, with its own excess, In vain torments it on the rack,

And, like two unskill'd gamesters, use one way, And, for improving, sets it back;

With bungling t’ help out one another's play. Is ignorant of his own extent,

For those who heretofore sought private holes, And that to which his aims are bent;

Secure in the dark to damn their souls,

Wore vizards of hypocrisy to steal not regularly inserted, I choose rather to give them Now bring their crimes into the open Sun,

And slink away in masquerade to Hell, by way of note.

For all mankind to gaze their worst upon, For men ne'er digg'd so deep into

As eagles try their young against his rays, The bowels of the Earth below,

To prove if they 're of generous breed or base; Por metals, that are found to dwell

Call Heaven and Earth to witness how they've aim'd, Near neighbour to the pit of Hell,

With all their utmost vigour, to be damn'd, And have a magic power to sway

And by their own examples, in the view The greedy souls of men that way,

Of all the world, striv'd to damn others too; But with their bodies have been fain

On all occasions sought to be as civil To fill those trenches up again;

As possible they could this grace the Devil, When bloody battles have been fought

To give him no unnecessary trouble, For sharing that which they took out:

Nor in small matters use a friend so noble, For wealth is all things that conduce

But with their constant practice done their best To man's destruction or his use;

T'improve and propagate his interest : A standard both to buy and sell

For men have now made vice so great an art, All things from Heaven down to Hell.

The matter of fact 's become the slightest part ;

« ПредишнаНапред »