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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.
So may your midnight scowerings happy prove,
And morning batteries force your way to love;
So may not France your warlike hands recall,

V.
But leave you by each other's swords to fall:
As you come here to rufile vizará punk,
When sober, rail, and roar when you are drunk.

[BY DR. DAVENANT, 1675.)
But to the wits we can some merit plead,
And urge what by themselves has oft been said : Were you but half so wise as you 're severe,
Our house relieves the ladies from the frights Our youthful poet should not need to fear:
Of ill-pav'd streets, and long dark winter nights; To his green years your censures you would suit,
The Flanders horses from a cold bleak road, Not blast the blossom, but expect the fruit.
Where bears in furs dare scarcely look abroad; The sex, that best does pleasure understand,
The audience from worn plays and fustian stuff, Will always choose to err on t' other hand:
Of rhyme, more nauseous than three boys in buff. They check not him that's awkward in delight,
Though in their house the poets' heads appear, But clap the young rogue's cheek, and set him right.
We hope we may presume their wits are here. Thus hearten'd well, and flesh'd upon his prey,
The best which they reserv'd they now will play, The youth may prove a man apother day.
Por, like kind cuckolds, though we've not the way Your Ben and Fletcher, in their first young flight,
To please, we 'll find you abler men who may. Did no Volpone, nor no Arbaces write:
If they should fail, for last recruits we breed But hopp'd about, and short excursions made
A troop of frisking Mounsieurs to succeed: From bough to bough, as if they were afraid,
You know the French sure cards at time of need. And each was guilty of some slighted maid.

Shakspeare's own Muse her Pericles first bore;
The prince of Tyre was elder than the Moor:

'Tis miracle to see a first good play;
IV.

All hawthorns do not bloom on Christmas-day.
A slender poet must have time to grow,

And spread and burnish as his brothers do.
TO THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD, 1674. Who still looks lean, sure with some pox is curt:

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.
What rests, and what is conquerd, of the way.
Here, free yourselves from envy, care, and strife,
You view the various turns of human life:

VI.
Safe in our scene, through dangerous courts you go,
And, undebauch'd, the vice of cities know.

EPILOGUE
Your theories are here to practice brought,

INTENDED TO HAVE BEEN SPOKEN BY THE LADY HEX. As in mechanic operations wrought;

MAR. WENTWORTH, WHEN CALISTO WA
And man, the little world, before you set,
As once the sphere of crystal show'd the great.
Blest sure are you above all mortal kind,

As Jupiter I made my court in vain;
If to your fortunes you can suit your mind : I 'll now assume my native shape again.
Content to see, and shun, those ills we show, I'ın weary to be so unkindly usd,
And crimes on theatres alone to know.

And would not be a god to be refus'd.
With joy we bring what our dead authors writ, State grows uneasy when it hinders love;
And beg from you the value of their wit: [claim, A glorious burthen, which the wise remove.
'That Shakspeare's, Fletcher's, and great Jonson's Now as a nymph I need not sue, nor try
May be renew'd from those who gave them fame. The force of any lightning but the eye.
None of our living poets dare appear;

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.

PROLOGUE

SPOKEN BY MR. HART.

ACTED AT

COURT.

EPILOGUE

'Tis here that sovereign power 'admits dispute;
Beauty sometimes is justly absolute.

VIII.
Our sullen Catos, whatsoe'er they say,
Ev'n while they frown and dictate laws, obey.
You, mighty sir, our bonds more easy make,

TO MITHRIDATES, KING OF PONTUS.
And gracefully, what all must suffer, take:
Above those forms the grave affect to wear;

[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 ;
To bind your friends, and to disarm your foes,

But glorious beauty is not to be sold :
Or, if it be, 'tis at a rate so high,
That nothing but adoring it should buy.

Yet the rich cullies may their boasting spare ;
VII.

They purchase but sophisticated ware.
EPILOGUE

'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 ;

IX.
But there goes more to a substantial ass:

PROLOGUE TO CÆSAR BORGIA,
Something of man must be expos'd to view,
That, gallants, they may more resemble you.

[BY MR. N. LEE, 1680.]
Sir Fopling is a fool so nicely writ,
The ladies would mistake him for a wit;

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.
His sword-knot this, his cravat that design'd; You love to hear of some prodigious tale,
And this, the yard-long snake he twirls behind. The bell that toll'd alone, or Irish whale.
From one the sacred periwig he gain'd,

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

PROLOGUE

EPILOGUE

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,
But, mark their feast, you shall behold such pranks; Decoctions of a barley-water Muse :
The pope says grace, but 'tis the Devil gives thanks. A meal of tragedy would make you sick,

Unless it were a very tender chick.
Some scenes in sippets would be worth our time;

Those would go down ; some love that's poach'd in
X.
If these should fail-

[rhyme; We must lie down, and, after all our cost,

Keep holiday, like watermen in frost;
TO SOPHONISBA, AT OXFORD, 1680.

While you turn players on the world's great stage,

And act yourselves the farce of your own age.
Thespis, the first professor of our art,
At country wakes sung ballads from a cart.
To prove this true, if Latin be no trespass,
Dicitur et plaustris vexisse Poemata Thespis.

XII.
But Æschylus, says Horace in some page,
Was the first mountebank that trod the stage :
Yet Athens never knew your learned sport

TO A TRAGEDY CALLED TAMERLANE.
Of tossing poets in a tennis-court.

(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,
Shall then be prov'd a pipe of inspiration.

Are pleas'd to find a hot unbroken wit:
By management he may in time be made,
But there's no hopes of an old batter'd jade;

Faint and unnerv'd he runs into a sweat,
XI.

And always fails you at the second heat.

A PROLOGUE.

XIII.

PROLOGUE

.

If yet there be a few that take delight
In that which reasonable men should write ;
To them alone we dedicate this night.
The rest may satisfy their curious itch
With city gazettes, or some factious speech,
Or whate'er libel, for the public good,
Stirs up the shrovetide crew to fire and blool.
Remove your benches, you apostate pit,
Ai. I take, above, twelve pennyworth of wit;
Go back to your dear dancing on the rope,
Or see what's worse, the Devil and the Pope.
The plays that take on our corrupted stage,
Methinks, resemble the distracted age;

TO THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD, 1681.
The fam'd Italian Muse, whose rhymes advance
Orlando, and the Paladins of France,
Records, that, when our wit and sense is flown,
'Tis lodg'd within the circle of the Moon,
In earthen jars, which one, who thither soar'd,
Set to his nose, snuff'd up, and was restor'd.
Whate'er the story be, the moral 's true;
The wit we lost in town, we find in you.

THE HOUSE.

LAND, 1682.

Our poets their fled parts may draw from hence, Thus Heaven, that could constrain us to obey,
And fill their windy heads with sober sense. (With reverence if we might presume to say)
When London votes with Southwark's disagree, Seems to relax the rights of sovereign sway:
Here may they find their long-lost loyalty. Permits to inan the choice of good and ill,
Here busy senates, to th' old cause inclin'd, And makes us happy by our own free will.
May snuff the votes their fellows left behind :
Your country neighbours, when their grain grows
May come, and find their last provision here: [dear,
Whereas we cannot much lament our loss,

XV.
Who neither carry'd back, nor brought one cross.

PROLOGUE TO THE EARL OF Essex.
We look'd what representatives would bring;
But they help'd us, just as they did the king.

[BY MR. J. BANKS, 1682.]
Yet we despair not; for we now lay forth
The Sibyls' books to those who know their worth;

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,
Here finding nothing that his spleen can raise,
Is forc'd to turn his satire into praise.

And first brought back to man the pledge of peace.
'Tis needless to apply, when those appear,
Who bring the olive, and who plant it here.

We have before our eyes the royal dove,
XIV.

Still innocent as harbinger of love:

The ark is open'd to dismiss the train,
PROLOGUE

And people with a better race the plain.
TO HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS, UPON HIS FIRST APPEARANCE AT Tell me, ye powers, why should vain man pursue,
THE DUKE'S THEATRE, AFTER HIS RETURN FROM SCOT- With endless toil, each object that is new,

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,
To hollow caves the shivering natives go;

Tost and tempestuous, like our ambient sea ?
Bears range abroad, and hunt in tracks of snow.
But when the tedious twilight wears away,

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 !
Truth speaks too low; Hypocrisy too loud.
Let them be first to flatter in success;

And every heart conspire, and every tongue,
Duty can stay, but Guilt has need to press;

Still to have such a king, and this king long.
Once, when true zeal the sons of God did call,
To make their solemn show at Heaven's Whitehall,
The fawning Devil appear'd among the rest,

XVI.
And made as good a courtier as the best.
The friends of Job, who rail'd at him before,

AN EPILOGUE
Came cap in hand when he had three times more.

FOR THE KING'S HOUSE.
Yet late repentance may, perhaps, be true;
Kings can forgive, if rebels can but sue;

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.
The father yearns in the true prince's breast. Let those who call us wicked change their sense ;
We grant, an o'ergrown Whig 10 grace can mend; For never men liv'd more on Providence.
But most are babes, that know not they offend. Not lottery cavaliers are half so poor,
The crowd, to restless motion still inclin'd,

Nor broken cits, nor a vacation whore.
Are clouds, that tack according to the wind. Not courts, nor 'courtiers living on the rents
Driven by their chiefs they storms of hailstones pour; Of the three last ungiving parliaments :
Then mourn, and soften to a silent shower.

So wretched, that, if Pharaoh could divine,
O welcome to this much offending land,

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
Foreshows our change of state, and thin third days. The mitred moppet from his chair they draw:
"Tis not our want of wit that keeps us poor; On the slain corpse contending nations fall:
For then the printer's press would suffer more. Alas! what 's one poor pope among them all!
Their pamphleteers each day their venom spit ; He burps : now all true hearts your triumphs
They thrive by treason, and we starve by wit.

ring:
Confess the truth, which of you has not laid And next, for fashion, cry, “God save the king !"
Four farthings out to buy the Hatfield Maid? A needful cry in midst of such alarms,
Or, which is duller yet, and more would spite us, When forty thousand men are up in arms.
Democritus's wars with Heraclitus?

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.

XVIII.

EPILOGUE TO THE SAME.
XVII.

A VIRCIN poet was serv'd up to day,
PROLOGUE

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.

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