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PROLOGUES AND EPILOGUES.

THE PROLOGUE
OF LABERIUS, A ROMAN KNIGHT AND FARCE-WRITER.

From the Latin, preserved by Macrobius.
WHAT! no way left to shun the inglorious stage,
And save from infamy my sinking age ?
Scarce half alive, oppressed with many a year,
What in the name of dotage drives me here?
A time there was, when glory was my guide —
Nor force nor fraud could turn my steps aside ;
Unawed by power, and unappalled by fear,
With honest thrift I held my honor dear :
But this vile hour disperses all my store,
And all my hoard of honor is no more —
For, ah ! too partial to my life's decline,
Cæsar persuades, submission must be mine!
Him I obey, whom heaven itself obeys;
Hopeless of pleasing, yet inclined to please.
Here, then, at once I welcome every shame,
And cancel at three-score a life of fame ;
No more my titles shall my children tell;
The old buffoon will fit my name as well ;
This day beyond its term my fate extends,
For life is ended when our honor ends.

* . *

EPILOGUE

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 bide the “pelting of this pitiless storm” —
Blame where you must, be candid where you can,
And be each critic the good-natured man.

EPILOGUE

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,
And tries to kill, ere she's got power to cure.
Thus 'tis with all -— their chief and constant care
Is to seem everything but what they are.
Yon broad, bold, angry spark, I fix my eye on,
Who seems to have robbed his visor from the lion ;
Who frowns, and talks, and swears, with round parade,
Looking, as who should say, damme ! who's afraid ?

[Minicking.
Strip but this visor off, and sure I am
You'll find his lionship a very lamb.
Yon politician, famous in debate,
Perhaps, to vulgar eyes, bestrides the state ;
Yet, when he deigns his real shape to assume,
He turns old woman, and bestrides a broom.
Yon patriot, too, who presses on your sight,
And seems to every gazer all in white,
If with a bribe his candor you attack,
He bows, turns round, and whip — the man 's a black !
Yon critic, too — but whither do I run ?
If I proceed, our bard will be undone !
Well, then, a truce, since she requests it too :
Do you spare her, and I'll for once spare you.

PROLOGUE TO ZOBEIDE.

A TRAGEDY, BY JOSEPH CRADOCK.
In these bold times, when learning's sons explore
The distant climate, and the savage shore —
When wise astronomers to India steer,
And quit for Venus many a brighter here —

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