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PROLOGUES AND EPILOGUES.
From the Latin, preserved by Macrobius.
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TO THE GOOD-NATURED MAN. As puffing quacks some caitiff wretch procure To swear the pill, or drop, has wrought a cure — Thus, on the stage, our play-wrights still depend, For epilogues and prologues, on some friend Who knows each art of coaxing up the town; And make full many a bitter pill go down. Conscious of this, our bard has gone about And teased each rhyming friend to help him out. “An epilogue — things can't go on without it; It could not fail, would you but set about it.” “Young man,” cries one — a bard laid up in clover — “ Alas! young man, my writing days are over ; Let boys play tricks and kick the straw; not I: Your brother doctor there perhaps may try.” “What, I! dear sir,” the doctor interposes ; "What, plant my thistles, sir, among his roses ! No, no; I've other contests to maintain ; '. To-night I head our troops at Warwick-lane : Go, ask your manager.” “Who, me ? — your pardon; These things are not our forte at Covent Garden.” Our author's friends, thus placed at happy distance, Give him good words, indeed, but no assistance: As some unhappy wight, at some new play, At the pit-door stands elbowing away, While oft, with many a smile, and many a shrug, He eyes the centre, where his friends sit snug — His simpering friends, with pleasure in their eyes, Sink as he sinks, and as he rises rise : He nods, they nod; he cringes, they grimace; But not a soul will budge to give him place.
Since, then, unhelped, our bard must now conform
TO THE SISTER, A COMEDY, BY MRS. CHARLOTTE LENNOX. What! five long acts — and all to make us wiser ! Our authoress sure has wanted an adviser. Had she consulted me, she should have made Her moral play a speaking masquerade ; Warmed up each bustling scene, and in her rage Have emptied all the green-room on the stage: My life on 't, this had kept her play from sinking ; Have pleased our eyes, and saved the pain of thinking. Well, since she thus has shown her want of skill, What if I give a masquerade ? — I will. But how ? ay, there's the rub! (pausing]—I've got my cue : The world 's a masquerade ! the maskers, you, you, you.
[To Boxes, Pit, and Gallery. Lud! what a group the motley scene discloses — False wits, false wives, false virgins, and false spouses ! Statesmen with bridles on; and, close beside them, Patriots in party-colored suits that ride them. There Hebes, turned of fifty, try once more To raise a flame in Cupids of three-score. These in their turn, with appetites as keen, Deserting fifty, fasten on fifteen. Miss, not yet full fifteen, with fire uncommon, Flings down her sampler, and takes up the woman;
The little urchin smiles, and spreads her lure,
PROLOGUE TO ZOBEIDE.
A TRAGEDY, BY JOSEPH CRADOCK.