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Ld F. O Heavens ! what's the matter? Where Cart. You need not fear, madam ; you have is my wife?
charms to fix inconstancy itself. Sir P. All turn'd topsy-turvy, as sure as a gun. Lady P. O dear, you make me blush. Ld F. How do you mean? My wife?
LA F. Come, my dear, shall we take leave of Sir P. The strangest posture of affairs my lord and lady? Ld F. What, my wife?
Cyn. They'll wait upon your lordship presently. Sir P. No, no, I mean the family. Yourl: dy's Lady F. Mr Brisk, my coach shall set you affairs may be in a very good posture; I sav her down. go into the garden with Mr Brisk.
All. What's the matter? Ld F. How? Where? when? what to do? [A great shriek from the corner of the stage.
Sir P. I suppose they have been laying their heads together.
Enter Lady ToucHWOOD, and runs out affrightLI F. How?
ed, my Lord after her, like a parson. Sir P. Nay, only about poetry, I suppose, my
Lady T. I'm betrayed Save me, help me! lord---making couplets.
La Ý: Now what evasion, strumpet ?' Ld F. Couplets!
Lady T. Stand off, let me go. Sir P. O, here they come !
Ld T. Go, and thy own infamy pursue thee
You stare as you were all amazed I do not wonEnter Lady Froth and BRISK.
der at it But too soon you'll know mine and Brisk. My lord, your humble servant; Sir Paul, that woman's shame. yours—The finest night
Lady F. My dear, Mr Brisk and I have been Enter MELLEFONT, disguised in a parson's hastar-gazing I don't know how long.
bit, and pulling in MASKWELL. Sir P. Does it not tire your ladyship? Are not Mel. Nay, by heaven you shall be seen-Care. you weary with looking up?
less, your hand-Do you hold down your head ? Lady F. O no; I love it violently-My dear, Yes, I am your chaplain ; look in the face of your you are melancholy.
injured friend, thou wonder of all falsehood. Ld F. No, my dear, I am but just awake. Ld T. Are you silent, monster ? Lady F. Snuff some of my spirit of hartshorn. Mel. Good heavens ! how I believed and loved
Ld F. I have some of my own, thank you, my this man ! Take him hence, for he is a disease dear.
to my sight. Lady F. Well, I swear, Mr Brisk, you under- Ld T. Secure that manifold villain. stand astronomy like an old Egyptian.
(Serdunts seize him. Brisk. Not comparably to your ladyship ; you Care. Miracle of ingratitude ! are the very Cynthia of the skies, and queen of Brisk. This is all very surprising, let me perish. stars.
Lady F. You know I told you Saturn fooked Lady F. That's because I have no light, but a little more angry than usual. what's by reflection from yoli, who are the sun. Ld 1. We'll think of punishment at leisure,
Brisk. Madam, you have eclipsed me quite; but let me hasten to do justice, in rewarding virlet me perish, I cannot answer that.
tue and wronged innocence. - Nephew, I hope I Lady F. No matter-Hark’e, shall you and I have your pardon and Cynthia's. make an almanack together ?
Mel. We are your lordship's creatures. Brisk. With all my soul-Your ladyship has Ld T. And be each other's comfort:-Let me made me the man in it already, I am so full of join your hands. Unwearied nights and wishthe wounds which you have given.
ing days attend you both; mutual love, lasting Lady F. O, finely taken! I swear now you are health, and circling joys, tiead round each happy even with me Parnassus ! you have an infi- yeur of your long lives. nite deal of vit.
Sir P. So he has, gads-bưd, and so has your Let secret villainy from hence be warned, ladyship
Howe'er in private mischiefs are conceived, Enter Lady PLYANT, CARELESS, and CYNTHIA.
Torture and shame attend their open birth;
Like vipers in the womb, base treachery fies Lady P. You tell me most surprising things Still gnawing that whence first it did arise ; Bless ine, who would ever trust a man? Oh, my No sooner born, but the vile parent dies. beart aches for fear they should be all leceita
[Ereunt omnes. alike!
COULD poets but foresee how plays would take, | The vizor masks that are in pit and gallery, Then they could tell what epilogues to make; Approve or damn the repartee and raillery. Whether to thank or blame their audience most: The lady critics, who are better read, But that late knowledge does much hazard cost, Inquire if characters are nicely bred; 'Till dice are thrown, there's nothing won, nor If the soft things are penned and spoke with lost.
grace: So till the thief has stolen, he cannot know They judge of action too, and time and place; Whether he shall escape the law or no.
In which we do not doubt but they're discerning, But poets run much greater hazards far, For that's a kind of assignation learning. Than they who stand their trials at the bar ; Beaux judge of dress; the witlings judge of songs; The law provides a curb for its own fury, The cuckoldom, of ancient right, to cits belongs. And suffers judges to direct the jury.
Thus poor poets the favour are denied, But in this court, what difference does appear ! Even to make exceptions, when they're tried. For every one's both judge and jury here ; 'Tis hard that they must every one admit: Nay, and what's worse, an executioner.
Methinks I see some faces in the pit, All have a right and title to some part,
Which must of consequence be foes to wit. Each choosing that in which he has most art. You who can judge, to sentence may proceed; The dreadful men of learning all confound, But though he cannot write, let him be freed, Unless the fable's good and moral sound. At least, from their contempt who cannot read.
The husbandman in vain renews his toil, We hope there's something that may please each To cultivate each year a hungry soil ;
taste, And fondly hopes for rich and generous fruit, And though of homely fare we make the feast, When what should feed the tree devours the Yet you will find variety at least.
There's humour, which for cheerful friends we Th’unladen boughs, he sees, bode certain dearth,
got, Unless transplanted to more kindly earth. And for the thinking party there's a plot. So, the poor husbands of the stage, who found We've something too to gratify ill-nature, Their labours lost upon ungrateful ground, (If there be any here)—and that is satire ; This last and only remedy have proved, Though satire scarce dares grin, 'tis grown so And hope new fruit from ancient stocks removed.
mild, Well may they hope, when you so kindly aid, Or only shews its teeth, as if it smiled. Well plant a soil which you so rich have made. As asses thistles, poets mumble wit, As Nature gave the world to man's first age, And dare not bite, for fear of being bit. So from your bounty we receive this stage ; They hold their pens, as swords are held by fools, The freedom man was born to, you've restored, And are afraid to use their own edge-tools. And to our world such plenty you afford,
Since the Plain Dealer's scenes of manly rage, It seems like Eden, fruitful of its own accord. Not one has dared to lash this crying age. But since in paradise frail flesh gave way,
This time, the poet owns the bold essay And when but two were inade, both went astray ; Yet hopes there's no ill-manners in his play: Forbear your wonder, and the fault forgive, And he declares by me, he has designed If, in our larger family, we grieve
Affront to none; but frankly speaks his mind. One falling Adam, and one tempted Eve. And, should the ensuing scenes not chance to We who remain would gratefully repay,
hit, What our endeavours can, and bring this day
He offers but this one excuse -'twas writ The first-fruit offering of a virgin play :
Before your late encouragement of wit.
A Steward, Officers, Suilors, and several Serdants.
Val. Well! and now I am poor, I have an opSCENE I.–VALENTINE in his Chamber read- portunity to be revenged on them all; I'll puring; JEREMY waiting. Several Books upon
sue Angelica with more love than ever, and apthe Tuble.
pear more notoriously her admirer in this re
straint, than when I openly rivalled the rich fops Val. Jeremy!
that made court to her. So shall my poverty be Jer. Sir.
a mortification to her pride, and perhaps make Val. Here, take away! I'll walk a turn, and di- her compassionate the love, which has princigest what I have read.
pally reduced me to this lowness of fortune. And Jer. You'll grow devilish fat upon this paper for ihe wits, I'm sure I am in a condition to be diet! (Aside, and taking away the books. even with them.
Val. And, d’ye hear ? go you to breakfast- Jer. Nay, your condition is pretty even with There's a page doubled down in Epictetus, that theirs, that's the truth on't. is a feast for an emperor.
Val. I'll take some of their trade out of their Jer. Was Epictetus a real cook, or did he only hands. write receipts ?
Jer. Now Heaven of mercy continue the tax Val Read, read, sirrah, and refine your ap- upon paper !-You don't mean to write? petite ; learn to live upon instruction ; feast your Val. Yes, I do; I'll write a play. mind, and mortify your flesh. Read, and take Jer. Hem !-Sir, if you please to give me a your nourishinent in at your eyes; shut up your small certificate of three lines-only to certify mouth, and chew the cud of understanding. So those whom it may concern, That the bearer Epictetus advises.
hereof, Jeremy Fetch by name, has, for the space Jer. O Lord! I have heard much of him, of seven years, truly and faithfully served Valenwhen I waited upon a gentleman at Cambridge. tine Legend, Esquire; and that he is not turned Pray what was that Epictetus?
away for any misdeineanour, but does voluntaVal. A very rich man—not worth a groat. rily disiniss his master from any future authority Jer. Humph! and so he has made a very fine
over him feast, where there is nothing to be eaten.
Val. No, sirrah; you shall live with me still. Valo Yes.
Jer. Sir, it's impossible—I may die with you, Jur. Sir, you're a gentleman, and probably un- starve with you, or be damned with your works : derstand this fine feeding: but, if you please, I but to live, even three days, the life of a play, I had rather be at board wages. Does your Epic- no more expect it, than to be canonized for a tetus, or your Seneca here, or any of these poor muse after my decease. rich rogues, teach you how to pay your debts Vul. You are witty, you rogue, I shall want without money? Will they shut up the mouths your help—I'll have you learn to make couplets, of your creditors ? Will Plato be bail for you? to tag the ends of acts. D’ye hear? get the maids or Diogenes, because he understands confine. to crambo in an evening, and learn the knack of ment, and lived in a tub, go to prison for. you ? rhyining; you may arrive at the height of a song Slife, sir, what do you mean to mew yourself up sent by an unknown hand, or a chocolate-house here with three or four musty books in com-. lampoon. mendation of starving and poverty ?
Jer. But, sir, is this the way to recover your Val. Why, sirrah, I have no money, you know father's favour? Why, Sir Sampson will be irreit; and therefore resolve to rail at all that have: concileable. If your younger brother should come and in that I but follow the examples of the from sea, he'd never look upon you again. You're wisest and wittiest men in all ages-these poets undone, sir; you're ruined; you won't have a and philosophers, whom you naturally hate, for friend left in the world, if you turn poet—Ah, just such another reason ; because they abound pox confound that Will's coffee-house, it has in sense, and you are a fool.
ruined more young men than the Royal Oak lotJer. Ay, sir, I am a fool, and I know it: and tery!-Nothing thrives that belongs to it. The yet, Heaven help me, I'm poor enough to be a man of the house would have been an alderman wit. But I was always a fool, when I told you by this time, with half the trade, if he had set up what your expences would bring you to; your in the city:-For my part, I never sit at the door, coaches and your liveries ; your treats and your that I don't get double the stojnach that I do at balls ; your being in love with a lady that did not a horse-race. The air upon Banstead Downs is care a farthing for you in your prosperity; and nothing to it for a whetter; yet I never see it, but keeping company with wits, that cared for no- the spirit of famine appears to me-sometimes thing but your prosperity, and now, when you are like a decayed porter, worn out with pimping, poor, hate you as much as they do one another. and carrying billet-doux and songs; not like other
porters for hire, but for the jest's sake. Now, on the stage. - Nay, I am not violently bent uplike a thin chairman, melted down to half his on the trade.—[One knocks.] Jeremy, see who's proportion, with carrying a poet upon tick, to there. (Jer. goes to the door.)—But tell me what visit some great fortune ; and his fare to be paid you would have me do ?-What do the world him, like wages of sin, either at the day of mar- say of me, and my forced confinement ? riage, or the day of death.
Scan. The world behaves itself, as it uses to Val. Very well, sir; can you proceed ? do on such occasions. Some pity you, and con
Jer. Sometimes like a bílked bookseller, with demn your father ; others excuse him and blame a meagre terrified countenance, that looks as if you. Only the ladies are merciful, and wish you he had written for himself, or were resolved to well: since love and pleasurable expence lave turn author, and bring the rest of his brethren been your greatest faults.. into the same condition. And, lastly, in the form
JEREMY returns. of a worn-out punk, with verses in her hand, which her vanity bad preferred to settlements,
Val. How now? without a whole tatter to her tail, but as ragged Jer. Nothing new, sir. I have dispatched as one of the muses ; or as if she was carrying some half a dozen duns with as much dexterity her linen to the paper-mill, to be converted into as an hungry judge does causes at dinner-time. folio books of warning to all young maids, not Val. What answer have you given them? to prefer poetry to good sense; or lying in the Scan. Patience, I supposeanthe old receipt ? arms of a needy wit, before the embraces of a Jer. No, faith, sir: I have put them off so long wealthy fool.
with patience and forbearance, and other fair
words, that I was forced to tell them in plain Enter SCANDAL.
downright EnglishScan. What ! Jeremy holding forth?
Val. What? Val. The rogue has (with all the wit he could Jer. That they should be paid. muster up) been declaiming against wit.
Val. When? Scan. Ay? Why then I'm afraid Jeremy has Jer. To-morrow. wit; for, wherever it is, it's always contriving its Val. And how the devil do you mean to keep own ruin.
Jer. Why so I have been telling my master, Jer. Keep it! not at all : it has been so very sir. Mr Scandal, for Heaven's sake, sir, try if you much stretched, that I reckon it will break of can dissuade him from turning poet!
course by to-morrow, and nobody be surprised at Scan. Poet! He shall turn soldier first, and ra. the matter !--[Knocking.)-Again, sir! If you ther depend upon the outside of his head, than don't like my negociation, will you be pleased to the lining! Why, what the devil! has not your answer these yourself? poverty made you enemies enough? must you Val. See who they are. (Exit JEREMY.) By needs shew your wit to get more?
this, Scandal, you may see what it is to be great. Jer. Ay, more indeed: for who cares for any Secretaries of state, presidents of the council, body that has more wit than himself?
and generals of an army, lead just such a life as Scan. Jeremy speaks like an oracle. Don't I do; have just such crowds of visitants in a you see how worthless great men, and dull rich morning, all soliciting of past promises ; which rogues, avoid a witty man of small fortune ? are but a civiller sort of duns, that lay claim to Why, he looks like a writ of inquiry into their voluntary debts. titles and estates; and seems commissioned by Scan. And you, like a truly great man, having Heaven to seize the better half.
engaged their attendance, and promised more Val. Therefore I would rail in my writings, than ever you intended to perform, are more and be revenged.
perplexed to find evasions, than you would be to Scan. Rail ! at whom? the whole world? Im- invent the honest means of keeping your word, potent and vain! Who would die a martyr to and gratifying your creditors. sense, in a country where the religion is folly? val. Scandal, learn to spare your friends, and You may stand at bay for a while; but, when do not provoke your enemies. This liberty of the full cry is against you, you sha'n't have fair your tongue will one day bring confinement on play for your life. If you cann't be fairly run down your body, my friend. by the hounds, you will be treacherously shot by the huntsmen. No, turn pimp, flatterer, quack,
Enter JEREMY. lawyer, parson, be chaplain to an atheist, or Jer. O, sir, there's Trapland the scrivener, stallion to an old woman, any thing but poet. with two suspicious fellows like lawful pads, that A modern poet is worse, more servile, timorous, would knock a man down with pocket tipstaves ! and fawning, than any I have named, without And there's your father's steward, and you could retrieve the ancient honours of the the nurse, with one of your children from Twitname, recal the stage of Athens, and be allowed 'nam. the force of open honest satire.
Val. Pox on her! could she find no other time Val. You are as inveterate against our poets, to fling my sins in my face ? Here! give her this, as if your character had been lately exposed up- (Gives money.) and bid her trouble me no more;