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We beg you, firs, to beg your men, that they
Would please to give you leave to hear the play.
Next in the play-houfe fpare your precious lives;
Think, like good chriftians, on your bearns and wives:
Think on your fouls; but by your lugging forth,
It feems you know how little they are worth.
If none of these will move the warlike mind,
Think on the helpless whore you leave behind.
We beg you, laft, our scene-room to forbear,
And leave our goods and chattels to our care.
Alas! our women are but washy toys,
And wholly taken up in ftage employs :
Poor willing tits they are: but yet I doubt
This double duty foon will wear them out.
Then you are watch'd befides with jealous care;
What if my lady's page should find you there?
My lady knows t' a tittle what there's in ye;
No paffing your gilt fhilling for a guinea.
Thus, gentlemen, we have fumm'd up in short
Our grievances, from country, town, and court:
Which humbly we fubmit to your good pleasure;
But first vote money, then redress at leisure.
THE PRINCESS OF CLEVES.
[By Mr. N. LEE, 1689.]
LADIES! (I hope there's none behind to hear
I long to whisper fomething in your ear: A fecret, which does much my mind perplex: There's treafon in the play againft our fex.
A manthat's false to love, that vows and cheats,
And kiffes every living thing he meets.
A rogue in mode, I dare not fpeak too broad,
One that does fomething to the very bawd.
Out on him, traitor, for a filthy beaft;
Nay, and he's like the pack of all the rest.
None of them stick at mark; they all deceive.
Some Jew has chang'd the text, I half believe;
There Adam cozen'd our poor grandame Eve.
To hide their faults, they rap out oaths, and tear:
Now, though we lye, we're too well-bred to swear.
So we compound for half the fin we owe,
But men are dipt for foul and body too;
And, when found out, excufe themfelves, pox cant them,
With Latin ftuff, Perjuria ridet Amantûm."
I'm not book-learn'd, to know that word in vogue,
But I fufpect 'tis Latin for a rogue.
I'm fure, I never heard that fcritch-owl hollow'd
In my poor ears, but feparation follow'd.
How can fuch perjur'd villains e'er be saved?
Achitophel's not half fo falfe to David.
With vows and foft expreffions to allure,
They stand, like foremen of a shop, demure:
No fooner out of fight, but they are gadding,
And for the next new face ride out a-padding.
Yet, by their favour, when they have been kiffing,
We can perceive the ready money miffing.
Well! we may rail; but 'tis as good ev'n wink;
Something we find, and fomething they will fink.
But fince they're at renouncing, 'tis our parts, their diamonds, as they trump our hearts.
EPILOGUE TO THE SAME.
A Qualm of confcience brings me back again,
To make amends to you bespatter'd men.
We women love like cats, that hide their joys,
By growling, fqualling, and a hideous noife.
I rail'd at wild young fparks; but, without lying,
Never was man worfe thought on for high-flying.
The prodigal of love gives each her part,
And fquandering fhows, at leaft, a noble heart.
I've heard of men, who, in some lewd lampoon,
Have hir'd a friend, to make their valour known.
That accufation ftraight this question brings;
What is the man that does fuch naughty things?
The spaniel lover, like a sneaking fop,
Lies at our feet: he's scarce worth taking up.
'Tis true, fuch heroes in a play go far;
But chamber-practice is not like the bar.
When men fuch vile, such faint, petitions make,
We fear to give, because they fear to take;
Since modefty's the virtue of our kind,
Pray let it be to our own fex confin'd.
When men ufurp it from the female nation,
'Tis but a work of fupererogation —
We fhew'd a princefs in the play, 'tis true,
Who gave her Cæfar more than all his due;
Told her own faults: but I fhould much abhor
To choose a husband for my confeffor.
You fee what fate follow'd the faint-like fool,
For telling tales from out the nuptial fchool.
Our play a merry comedy had prov'd,
Had fhe confefs'd fo much to him fhe lov'd.
True Prefbyterian wives the means would try;
But damn'd confeffing is fiat Popery.
PROLOGUE TO THE WIDOW RANTER.
[By Mrs. BEHN, 1690.]
EAVEN fave you, gallants, and this hopeful age;
Ye're welcome to the downfall of the stage:
The fools have labour'd long in their vocation;
And vice, the manufacture of the nation,
O'erftocks the town fo much, and thrives so well,
That fops and knaves grow drugs, and will not fell.
In vain our wares on theatres are shown,
When each has a plantation of his own.
His caufe ne'er fails; for whatfoe'er he spends,
There's ftill God's plenty for himself and friends.
Should men be rated by poetic rules,
Lord! what a poll would there be rais'd from fools!
Mean time poor wit prohibited must lie,
As if 'twere made fome French commodity.
Fools you will have, and rais'd at vaft expence;
And yet, as foon as feen, they give offence.
when none would cry, That oaf was me;
But now you ftrive about your pedigree.
Bauble and cap no fooner are thrown down,
But there's a mufs of more than half the town.
Each one will challenge a child's part at least;
A fign the family is well increas'd.
Of foreign cattle there's no longer need,
When we're fupply'd fo faft with English breed.
Well! flourish, countrymen, drink, swear, and roar;
Let every free-born fubject keep his whore,
And wandering in the wilderness about,
At end of forty years not wear her out.
But when you fee these pictures, let none dare
To own beyond a limb or fingle share :
For where the punk is common, he's a fot,
Who needs will father what the parish got.
TO ARVIRAGUS AND PHILICIA REVIVED.
[By LODOWICK CARLELL, Efq.]
Spoken by Mr. HART.
WITH fickly actors and an old house too,
We're match'd with glorious theatres and new, And with our alehoufe fcenes, and cloaths bare wom, Can neither raise old plays, nor new adorn.