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PLOLOGUE TO CIRCE.
A country lip may have the velvet touch;
That, conscious of their faults, they shun the eye, Though she's no lady, you may think her such: And, as profane, from sacred places fly, A strong imagination may do much.
Rather than see th' offended God, and die. But you, loud sirs, who through your curls look big, We bring no imperfections, but onr own; Critics in plume and white vallancy wig,
Such faults as made are by the makers shown: Who lolling on our foremost benches sit,
And you have been so kind, that we may boast, And still charge first, the true forlorn of wit; The greatest judges still can pardon most. Whose favours, like the Sun, warm where you roll, Poets inust stoop, when they would please our pit, Yet yon, like him, have neither heat nor soul; Debas'd even to the level of their wit; So may your hats your foretops never press, Disda ning that, which yet they know will take, Untouch'd your ribbons, sacred be your dress; Hating themselves what their applause must make. So may you slowly to old age advance,
But when to praise from you they would aspire, And have th' excuse of youth for ignorance : Though they like eagles mount, your Jove is higher. So may Fop-corner full of noise remain,
So far your knowledge all their power transcends, And drive far off the dull attentive train;
As what should be beyond what is extends.
[BY DR. DAVENANT, 1675.)
Shakspeare's own Muse her Pericles first bore;
'Tis miracle to see a first good play;
All hawthorns do not bloom on Christmas-day.
And spread and burnish as his brothers do.
But no man can be Falstaff-fat at first.
Then damn not, but indulge his rude essays, Ports, your subjects, have their parts assign'd Encourage him, and bloat him up with praise, 'T'' unbend, and to divert their sovereign's mind:
That he may get more bulk before he dies: When tir'd with following Nature, you think fit
He's not yet fed enough for sacrifice. To seek repose in the cool shades of Wit,
Perhaps, if now your grace you will not grudge, And, from the sweet retreat, with joy survey
He may grow up to write, and you to judge.
INTENDED TO HAVE BEEN SPOKEN BY THE LADY HEX. As in mechanic operations wrought;
MAR. WENTWORTH, WHEN CALISTO WA
As Jupiter I made my court in vain;
And would not be a god to be refus'd.
Beauty and youth more than a god command; For Muses so severe are worshipp'd here,
No Jove could e'er the force of these withstand.
SPOKEN BY MR. HART.
'Tis here that sovereign power 'admits dispute;
TO MITHRIDATES, KING OF PONTUS.
[BY MR. N. LEE, 1678.] For 'tis not to be wise to be severe.
You 've seen a pair of faithful lovers die: True wisdomn may some gallantry admit,
And much you care; for most of you will cry, And soften business with the charms of wit.
'Twas a just judgment on their constancy. These peaceful triumphs with your cares you bought, For, Heaven be thank'd, we live in such an age, And from the midst of fighting nations brought. When no man dies for love, but on the stage: You only hear it thunder from afar,
And er'n those martyrs are but rare in plays; And sit in peace the arbiter of war:
A cursed sign how much true faith decays. Peace, the loath'd manna, which hot brains de- Love is no more a violent desire ; spise,
'Tis a mere metaphor, a painted fire. You knew its worth, and made it early prize :
In all our sex, the vame examin'd well, And in its happy leisure sit and see
'Tis pride to gain, and vanity to tell. The promises of more felicity:
In woman, 'tis of subtle interest made: Two glorious nymphs of your own godlike line,
Curse on the punk that made it first a trade! Whose morning rays like noontide strike and
She first did Wit's prerogative remove, shine:
And made a fool presume to prate of love. Whom you to suppliant monarchs shall dispose,
Let honour and preferment go for gold ;
But glorious beauty is not to be sold :
Yet the rich cullies may their boasting spare ;
They purchase but sophisticated ware.
'Tis prodigality that buys deceit,
Where both the giver and the taker cheat. TO THE MAN OF MODE ; OR, SIR FOPLING FLUTIER. Men but refine on the old balf-crown way:
And women fight, like Swissers, for their pay. (BY SIK GEORGE ETHEREGE, 1676.] Most modern wits such monstrous fools have shown, They seem not of Heaven's making, but their own. Those pauseous harlequins in farce may pass ;
PROLOGUE TO CÆSAR BORGIA,
[BY MR. N. LEE, 1680.]
Tr’ unhappy man, who once has trail'd a pen, And, when he sings, talks loud, and cocks, would Lives not to please himself, but other men; cry,
Is always drudging, wastes his life and blood, “I vow, methinks, he's pretty company:
Yet only eats and drinks what you think good. So brisk, so gay, so travell’d, so refin'd,
What praise soe'er the poetry deserve, As he took pains to graff upon his kind."
Yet every fool can bid the poet ståtve. True fops help Nature's work, and go to school, That fumbling letcher to revenge is bent, To file and finish God Almighty's fool.
Because he thinks himself or whore is meant : Yet none Sir Fopling him, or him can call; Name but a cuckold, all the city swarms; He's knight o'th' shire, and represents you all. From Leadenhall to Ludgate is in arms: From each he meets he culls whate'er he can; Were there no fear of Antichrist or France, Legion 's his name, a people in a man.
In the blest time poor poets live by chance. His bulky folly gathers as it goes,
Either you come not here, or, as you grace And, rolling o'er you, like a snowball grows. Some old acquaintance, drop into the place, His various modes from various fathers follow; Careless and qualmish with a yawning face : One taught the toss, and one the new French You sleep o'er wit, and by my troth you may; wallow.
Most of your talents lie another way.
News is your food, and you enough provide, Which wind ne'er blew, nor touch of hat profan'd. Both for yourselves, and all the world beside. Another's diving bow he did adore,
One theatre there is of vast resort, Which, with a shog, casts all the hair before, Which whilome of Requests was call’d the Court; Till he with full decorum brings it back,
But now the great Exchange of News 'tis hight, And rises with a water-spaniel shake.
And full of hum and buz from noon till night. As for his songs, the ladies' dear delight,
Up stairs and down you run, as for a race, These sure he took from most of you who write. And each man wears three nations in his face. Yet every man is safe from what he fear'd; So big you look, though claret you retrench, For no one fool is hunted from the herd.
That, arm’d with bottled ale, you huff the French
But all your entertainment still is fed
Noise, madness, all unreasonable things, By villains in your own dull island bred.
That strike at sense, as rebels do at kings. Would you return to us, we dare engage
The style of forty-one our poets write, To show you better rogues upon the stage. And you are grown to judge like forty-eight. You know no poison but plain ratsbane here ; Such censures our mistaking audience make, Death 's more refin'd, and better bred elsewhere. That 'tis almost grown scandalous to take. They have a civil way in Italy
They talk of fevers that infect the brains; By smelling a perfume to make you die;
But nonsense is the new disease that reigns. A trick would make you lay your snuff-box by. Weak stomacbs, with a long disease opprest, Murder 's a trade, so known and practis'd there, Cannot the cordials of strong wit digest. That 'tis infallible as is the chair.
Therefore thin nourishment of farce ye choose,
Unless it were a very tender chick.
Those would go down ; some love that's poach'd in
[rhyme; We must lie down, and, after all our cost,
Keep holiday, like watermen in frost;
While you turn players on the world's great stage,
And act yourselves the farce of your own age.
TO A TRAGEDY CALLED TAMERLANE.
(BY MR. SAUNDERS.] But 'tis the talent of our English nation, Still to be plotting some new reformation:
LADIES, the beardless author of this day And few years hence, if anarchy goes on,
Commends to you the fortune of his play, Jack Presbyter shall here erect his throne,
A woman wit has often grac'd the stage; Knock out a tub with preaching once a day, But he 's the first boy-poet of our age. And every prayer be longer than a play.
Early as is the year his fancies blow, Then all your heathen wits shall go to pot, Like young Narcissus peeping through the snow. For disbelieving of a Popish-plot:
Thus Cowley blossom'd soon, yet flourish'd long; Your poets shall be us'd like infidels,
This is as forward, and may prove as strong. And worst the author of the Oxford bells:
Youth with the fair should always favour find, Nor should we 'scape the sentence, to depart, Or we are damn'd dissemblers of our kind. Ev’n in our first original, a cart.
What 's all this love they put into our parts? No zoalous brother there would want a stone, 'Tis but the pit-a-pat of two young hearts. To maul us cardinals, and pelt pope Joan : Should hag and grey-beard make such tender moan, Religion, learning, wit, would be supprest, Faith, you 'd ev'n trust them to themselves aloue, Rags of the whore, and trappings of the beast : And cry, “Let's go, here's nothing to be done." Scot, Suarez, Tom of Aquin, must go down, Since love's our business, as 'tis your delight, As chief supporters of the triple crown ;
The young, who best can practise, best can write. And Aristotle's for destruction ripe;
What though he be not come to his full power, Some say, he call'd the soul an organ-pipe, He's mending and improving every hour. Which, by some little help of derivation,
You, sly she-jockies of the box and pit,
Are pleas'd to find a hot unbroken wit:
Faint and unnerv'd he runs into a sweat,
And always fails you at the second heat.
If yet there be a few that take delight
TO THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD, 1681.
Our poets their fled parts may draw from hence, Thus Heaven, that could constrain us to obey,
PROLOGUE TO THE EARL OF Essex.
[BY MR. J. BANKS, 1682.]
SPOKEN TO THE KING AND QUEEN AT THEIR COMING TO And though the first was sacrific'd before, These volumes doubly will the price restore.
When first the ark was landed on the shore, Our poet bade us hope this grace to find,
And Heaven had vow'd to curse the ground no more; To whom by long prescription you are kind.
When tops of hills the longing patriarch saw, He, whose undaunted Muse, with loyal rage,
And the new scene of Earth began to draw; Has never spar'd the vices of the age,
The dove was sent to view the waves' decrease,
And first brought back to man the pledge of peace.
We have before our eyes the royal dove,
Still innocent as harbinger of love:
The ark is open'd to dismiss the train,
And people with a better race the plain.
And for the seeming substance leave the true? In those cold regions which no summers cheer,
Why should he quit for hopes his certain good,
And loath the manna of bis daily food ? Where brooding darkness covers half the year,
Must England still the scene of changes be,
Tost and tempestuous, like our ambient sea ?
Must still our weather and our wills agree?
Without our blood our liberties we have: And stars grow paler at th' approach of day,
Who that is free would fight to be a slave? The longing crowds to frozen mountains run;
Or, what can wars to after-times assure, Happy who first can see the glimmering Sun:
Of which our present age is not secure? The surly savage offspring disappear,
All that our monarch would for us ordain, And curse the bright successor of the year.
Is but t' enjoy the blessings of his reign. Yet, though rough bears in covert seek defence,
Our land 's an Eden, and the main 's our fence, White foxes stay, with seeming innocence:
While we preserve our state of innocence: That crafty kind with daylight can dispense.
That lost, then beasts their brutal force employ, Still we are throng'd so full with Reynard's race,
And first their lord, and then themselves destroy. That loyal subjects scarce can find a place: Thus modest Truth is cast behind the crowd:
What civil broils have cost, we know too well;
Oh ! let it be enough that once we fell !
And every heart conspire, and every tongue,
Still to have such a king, and this king long.
FOR THE KING'S HOUSE.
We act by fits and starts, like drowning men, A tyrant's power in rigour is exprest;
But just peep up, and then pop down again.
Nor broken cits, nor a vacation whore.
So wretched, that, if Pharaoh could divine,
He might have spar'd his dream of seven lean kine, The prince that brings forgiveness in his hand! And chang'd his vision for the Muses nine. Thus angels on glad messages appear :
The comet, that, they say, portends a dearth, Their first salute commands us not to fear: Was but a vapour drawn from play-house earth:
Pent there since our last fire, and, Lilly says, The word is given, and with a loud hazza
But after he's once saved, to make amends, Such are the authors, who have run us down, In each succeeding health they damn his friends: And exercis'd you critics of the town.
So God begins, but still the Devil ends. Yet these are pearls to your lampooning rhymes, What if some one, inspir'd with zeal, should call, Y abuse yourselves more dully than the times. Come, let's go cry, “God save bim at Whitehall ?" Scandal, the glory of the English nation,
His best friends would not like this over care, Is worn to rags and scribbled out of fashion. Or think him e'er the safer for this prayer. Such harmless thrusts, as if, like fencers wise, Five praying saints are by an act allow'd; They had agreed their play before their prize. But not the whole church-militant in crowd. Faith, they may hang their harps upon the willows; Yet, should Heaven all the true petitions drain 'Tis just like children when they box with pillows. Of Presbyterians, who would kings maintain, Then put an end to civil wars for shame;
Of forty thousand, five would scarce remain. Let each knight-errant, wbo has wrong'd a dame, 'Throw down his pen, and give her, as he can, The satisfaction of a gentleman.
EPILOGUE TO THE SAME.
A VIRCIN poet was serv'd up to day,
Who, till this hour, ne'er cackled for a play.
He's neither yet a Whig nor Tory boy: TO THE LOYAL BROTHER; OR, THE PERSIAN PRINCE.
But, like a girl whom several would enjoy, [BY MR. SOUTHERNE, 1682.]
Begs leave to make the best of his own natural
toy. Poets, like lawful monarchs, rul'd the stage, Were I to play my callow author's game, Till critics, like damnd Whigs, debauch'd our age. The king's house would instruct me by the name. Mark how they jump: critics would regulate There's loyalty to one; I wish no more: Our theatres, and Whigs reform our state: A commonwealth sounds like a common whore. Both pretend love, and both (plague rot them!) Let husband or gallant be what they will, hate.
One part of woman is true Tory still. The critic humbly seems advice to bring;
If any factious spirit should rebel, The fawning Whig petitions to the king:
Our sex, with ease, cau every rising quell. But one's advice into a satire slides;
Then, as you hope we should your failings hide, T'other's petition a remonstrance hides.
An honest jury for our play provide. These will no taxes give, and those no pence; Whigs at their poets never take offence; Critics would starve the poet, Whigs the prince. They save dull culprits who have murder'd sense. The critic all our troops of friends discards; Though nonsense is a nauseous heavy mass, Just so the Whig would fain pull down the guards. The vehicle call'd Faction makes it pass. Guards are illegal, that drive foes away,
Paction in play 's the commonwealth-man's bribe; As watchful shepherds that fright beasts of prey. The leaden farthing of the canting tribe: Kings, who disband such needless aids as these, Thougla void in payment laws and statutes make it, Are safe—as long as e'er their subjects please : The neighbourhood, that knows the man, will And that would be till next queen Bess's night:
take it. Which thus grave penny chroniclers indite. 'Tis Faction buys the votes of half the pit; Sir Edmundbury first, in woful wise,
Their's is the pension-parliament of wit. Leads up the show, and milks their maudlin eyes. In city clubs their venom let them vent; There's not a butcher's wife but dribs her part, For there 'tis safe in its own element. And pities the poor pageant from her heart; Here, where their madness can have no pretence, Who, to provoke revenge, rides round the fire, Let them forget themselves an hour of sense. And, with a civil congé, does retire:
In one poor isle, why should two factions be? But guiltless blood to ground must never fall; Small difference in your vices I can see: There's Antichrist behind, to pay for all.
In drink and drabs both sides too well agree. The punk of Babylon in pomp appears,
Would there were more preferments in the land: A lewd old gentleman of seventy years :
If places fell, the party could not stand: Whose age in vain our mercy would implore; Of this damn'd grievance every Whig complains: For few take pity on an old cast-whore.
They grunt like hogs till they have got their grains. The Devil, who brought him to the shame, takes Mean time you see what trade our plots advance; part;
We send each year good money into France; Sits cheek by jowl, in black, to cheer his heart; And they that know what merchandize we need, Like thief and parson in a Tyburn-cart.
Send o'er true Protestants to mend our breed.