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BOOK THE SEVENTH.
PROLOGUES AND EPILOGUES.
$1. Epilogue to A Woman killed with Your kind opinion by revealing now Kindness. 1617.
The cause of that great storm which clouds N honest crew, disposed to be merry,'
his brow; AN
Came to a tavern by, and call'd for wine : And his close murmurs, which, since meant The drawer brought it, (smiling like a cherry,) And told them it was pleasant, neat, and fine. I cannot think or mannerly or true! “Taste it,” quoth one; he did : “O fie!" Well; I begin to be resolv'd, and let (quoth he:)
My melancholy tragic Monsieur fret; “This wine was good : now't runs too hear Let him the several harmless weapons use the lee."
Of that all-daring trifle call'd his Muse.
Yet I'll inform you what, this very day, Another sipp'd to give the wine his due,
Twice, before witness, I have heard him say; And said unto the rest it drank too flat; The third said it was old; the fourth too new;
Which is, that you are grown excessive proud;
For ten times more of wit, than was allow'd “ Nay," quoth the fifth,“ the sharpness likes Your silly ancestors in twenty year, me not."
Y' expect should in two hours be given you Thus, gentlemen, you see how in one hour,
here: The wine was new, old, flat, sharp, sweet, For they, he swears, to th’ theatre would come and sour !
Ere they had din'd, to take up the best room; Unto this wine do we allude our play; (grave: There sit on benches, not adoro'd with mats,
Which some will judge too trivial, some too And graciously did vail their high-crown'd hats You, as our guests, we entertain this day, To every half-dress'd player, as he still
And bid you welcome to the best we have. Through th' hangings peep'd to see how the Excuse me then; good wine may be disgrac'd, house did fill. When ev'ry sev'ral mouth has sundry taste. Good, easy-judging souls! with what delight
They would expect a gig or target fight; 2. Prologue to the Unfortunate Lovers. A furious tale of Troy, which they ne'er thought Spoken at Black-Friars. 1643. DAVENANT. Was weakly written, so 'twere strongly fought;
WERE you but half so humble to confess, Laugh'd at a clinch, the shadow of a jest, As you are wise to know, your happiness; And cry'd, “A passing good one, I protest !" Our author would not grieve to see you sit Such dull and humble-witted people were Ruling, with such unquestion'd power, his wit: Even your forefathers, whom we govern'd here; What would I give, that I could still preserve And such had you been too, he swears, had not My loyalty to him, and yet deserve
The poets taught you how t' unweave a plot,
And trace the winding scenes; taught you t'| The silly rogues are all undone, my dear, admit
(wit. I'gad, not one of sense that I saw there.” What was true sense, not what did sound like Thus to himself he'd reputation gather Thus they have arm'd you 'gainst themselves Of wit, and good acquaintance, but has neither. to fight,
(write. Wit has, indeed, a stranger been, of late ; Made strong and mischievous from what they ’Mongst its pretenders,nought so strange as that. You have been lately highly feasted here, Both houses, too, so long a fast have known, With two great wits,* that grac'd our theatre. That coarsest nonsense goes most glibly down. But, if to feed you often with delight Thus, though this trifler never wrote before, Will more corrupt, than mend, your appetite; Yet, faith, he ventured on the common score : He vows to use you, which he much abhors, Since nonsense is so generally allow'd, As others did your homely ancestors. He hopes that this may pass amongst the crowd. Ø 3. Epilogue to the Cutter of Coleman- $ 5. Epilogue to Aurengzebe. 1676. DRYDEN. Street, spoken by the Person who acted Cut
A PRETTY task ! and so I told the fool, ter. 1656. COWLEY.
Who needs would undertake to please by rule: METHINKS a vision bids me silence break, He thought, that, if his characters were good,
[Without his Peruke. The scenes entire, and freed from noise and And some words to this congregation speak ;
blood, So great and gay a one I ne'er did meet At the fifth monarch's court in Coleman-Street; The words not forcd, but sliding into rhymn
The action great, yet circumscrib’d by time, But yet I wonder much not to espy a
The passions rais'd and calm'd by just degrees, Brother in all this court, call'd Zephaniah.
As tides are swellid, and then retire to seas; Bless me! what are we ? what may this place be ? He thought in hinting these his bus'ness done, For I begin my vision now to see,
Though he, perhaps, has fail'd in ev'ry one. That this is a mere theatre-Well then,
But, after all, a poet must confess, It't be e'en so, I'll Cutter be again.
His art's like physic, but a happy guess.
[Puts on his Peruke. Your pleasure on your fancy must depend; Not Cutter the pretended cavalier;
The lady's pleas'd, just as she likes her friend. For, to confess ingenuously here
No song ! no dance! no show! he fears you'll To you, who always of that party were,
say, I never was of any; up and down
You love all naked beauties, but a play. I roll’d, a very rake-hell of this town.
He much mistakes your methods to delight, But now my follies and my faults are ended, And, like the French, abhors our target fight: My fortune and my mind are both amended ;
But those damn'd dogs can never be i' th' right. And, if we may believe one who has fail'd before, True English hate your Monsieurs' paltry arts ; Our author says he'll mend—that is, he'll For you are all silk-weaverst in your hearts. write no more.
Bold Britons, at a brave bear-garden fray, 0 4. Prologue to Alcibiades. 1675. Otway. Are rous'd, and, clatt'ring sticks, cry, " Play, NEVER did rhymer greater hazards run,
play, play !"
Mean time, your fribbling foreigner will stare, 'Mongst us by your severity undone;
And mutter to himself, “Ah, gens barbare!" Though we, alas ! to oblige ye, have done most, And, 'gad, 'tis well he mutters, well for him; And bought ye pleasures at our own sad cost; Our butchers else would tear him limb from Yet all our best endeavors have been lost.
limb. So oft a statesman lab’ring to be good, 'Tis true, the time may come, your sons may be His honesty's for treason understood ; Infected with this French civility : Whilst some false, flattering minion of the court But this in after-ages will be done; Shall play the traitor, and be honor'd for't.
Our poet writes a hundred years too soon. To you, known judges of what's sense and wit, This age comes on too slow, or he too fast ; Our author swears he gladly will submit ;
And early springs are subject to a blast. But there's a sort of things infest the pit,
Who would excel, when few can make a test That would be witty spite of nature too, Betwixt indifferent writing and the best ? And, to be thought so, haunt and pester you. For favors cheap and common who would strive, Hither, sometimes, those would-be wits repair, Which, like abandon'd prostitutes, you give ? In quest of you ; where, if you don't appear,
Yet, scatter'd here and there, I some behold, Cries one-“Pugh! D-n me, what do we do Who can discern the tinsel from the gold : here ?"
To these he writes; and, if by them allow'd, Straight up he starts, his garniture then puts "Tis their prerogative to rule the crowd; In order, so he cocks, and out he struts
For he more fears (like a presuming man) To the coffee-house, where he about him looks; Their votes who cannot judge, than theirs Spies friend; cries, “ Jack-I've been to-night
who can. at th' Duke's;
† Alluding to the rivalry of the Spitalfields manu. * Beaumont and Fletcher.
factures with those of France.
$ 6. Epilogue to the Duke of Guise. 1683. Grave, solemn things, (as graces are to feasts,)
Spoken by Mrs. Cook. DRYDEN. Where poets begg'd a blessing from their guests. Much time and trouble this poor play has cost, But now no more like suppliants we come! And, 'faith, I doubted once the cause was lost. A play makes war, and prologue is the drum. Yet no one man was meant, nor great nor Arm'd with keen satire, and with pointed wit,
We threaten you, who do for judges sit, Our poets, like frank gamesters,* threw at all. To save our plays; or else we'll damn your pit. They took no single aim
But, for your comfort, it falls out to-day, But, like bold boys, true to their prince and We've a young author, and his first-born play: hearty,
So, standing only on his good behaviour, Huzza'd, and fir'd broadsides at the whole party. He's very civil, and entreats your favor. Duels are crimes; but, when the cause is right, Not but the man has malice, would he show it: In battle every man is bound to fight :
But, on my conscience, he's a bashful poet; For what should hinder me to sell my skin
You think that strange: no matter; he'll out Dear as I could, if once my heart were in ? Se defendendo never was a sin.
Well, I'm his advocate : by me he prays you, 'Tis a fine world, my masters--right or wrong, (I don't know whether I shall speak to please The Whigs must talk, and Tories hold their you,) tongue.
He prays—0, bless me! what shall I do now? They must do all they can
Hang me if I know what he prays, or how! forsooth, must bear a Christian mind, And 'twas the prettiest prologue, as he wrote it : And fight like boys with one hand tied behind : Well, the deuce take me, if I ha'n't forgot it Nay, and when one boy's down,'twere wondrouso, Lord! for Heaven's sake excuse the play, wise
Because, you know, if it be damn’d to-day, To cry, “ Box fair, and give him time to rise !" I shall be hang'd for wanting what to say. When fortune favors, none but fools will dally: For my sake then-but I'm in such confusion, Would any of you, sparks, if Nan or Mally
I cannot stay to hear your resolution. [Runs off. Tipp'd you th' inviting wink, stand, “ Shall I, shall I ?"
Ø 8. Prologue to the Royal Mischief. 1696. A trimmer cried, (that heard me tell the story,)
PRIOR. “ Fie, Mistress Cook ! 'faith, you're too rank a LADIES, to you, with pleasure, we submit Tory!
(cases; This early offspring of a virgin-wit. (fears: Wish not Whigs hang'd, but pity their hard From your good nature nought our authoress You women love to see men make wry faces.” Sure you'll indulge, if not the Muse, her years ; “Pray, sir," said I, “ don't think me such a Freely, the praise she may deserve, bestow;
Pardon, not censure, what you can't allow; I say no more, but give the devil his due." Smile on the work, be to her merits kind, “Lenitives," says he, “best suit with our con- And to her faults, whate'er they are, be blind. dition."
(cian.” Let critics follow rules; she boldly writes “ Jack Ketch,” says I, “ 's an excellent physi- What Natare dictates, and what Love iodites. “ I love no blood." "Nor I, sir, as I breathe; By no dull forms her queen and ladies move, But hanging is a fine dry kind of death." But court their heroes, and agnize their love. “We trimmers are for holding all things even.” Poor maid! she'd have (what e'en no wife Yes, just like him that hung 'twixt hell and would crave) heaven."
A husband love his spouse beyond the grave : Have we not had men's lives enough already?" And, from a second marriage to deter, (are. “Yes, sure; but you're for holding all things Shows you what horrid things step-mothers steady.
[brother, Howe'er, to constancy the prize she gives, Now, since the weight hangs all on one side, And, though the sister dies, the brother lives. You trimmers should, to poise it, hang on Bless'd with success, at last he mounts a throne, t'other.
(ing, Enjoys at once his mistress and a crown. Damn'd neuters, in their middle way of steer- Learn, ladies, then, from Libaraxa's fate, Are neither fish nor flesh, nor good red-herring: What great rewards on virtuous lovers wait. Not Whigs nor Tories they, nor this nor that; Learn too, if Heaven and Fate should adverse Nor birds, nor beasts, but just a kind of bat;
(love) A twilight animal, true to neither cause, |(For Fate and Heaven don't always smile on With Tory wings, but Whiggish teeth and Learn with Zelinda to be still the same, claws.”
Nor quit your first for any second flame i 07. Prologue to the Old Bachelor. 1693. Whatever fate, or death, or life, be given,
Dare to be true; submit the rest to Hea ren. How this vile world is chang’d! In former $ 9. Prologue to the Constant Couple. 1700. days
FARQUHAR. Prologues were serious speeches before plays ;
Poets will think nothing so checks thyir fury, * This play was written jointly by Dryden and Lee. As wits, cits, beaux and women, for their jury.
Our spark's half-dead to think what medleys Wit is the wine; but 'tis so scarce the true,
(doom. Poets, like vintners, balderdash and brew.
[French cheese. play,
Your rakes love haut-gouts, like your damn'd
Or your French virgin-pullet, garnish'd round
An opera, like an oglio, nicks the age ;
[from thence. You can dispense with slender stage-coach fare.
Wild-fowl is lik’d in play-house all the year.
This favor crav'd, up let the music strike :
doors, Employs it on a brace of-honorable whores: Ø 11. Prologue on the proposed Union of the While their good bulky mother pleas'd sits by,
Two Houses. 1703. FARQUHAR. Bawd-regent of the bubble gallery. .
Now all the world's ta’en up with state af.
(told him, Have long contended, and made stout essays, Snaps rope like thread; but when his fortune's Which should be monarch absolute in plays. He'll hear, perhaps, of rope will one day hold Long has the battle held with bloody strife,
Where many ranting heroes lost their life;
The audience look'd, and shook its awful
For force of numbers, and poetic spell,
We've rais'd the ancient heroes too from hell,
FARQUHAR. To lead our troops ; and on this bloody field LIKE hungry guests a sitting audience looks: You've seen great Cæsar fight, great Pompey Plays are like suppers ; poets
are the cooks : yield. The founders you : the table is the place : Vast sums of treasure too we did advance, The carvers we: the prologue is the grace : To draw some mercenary troops from France; Each act a course ; each scene a diff'rent dish : Light-footed rogues, who, when they got their Though we're in Lent, I doubt you're still for pay, flesh.
[rough ; Took to their heels-Allons-and ran away. Satire's the sauce, high-season'd, sharp, and Here you have seen great Philip's conqu’ring Kind masks and beaux, I hope you're pepper son,
Who in twelve years did the whole world o'er
Flere has he fought, and found a harder job | But yet, I see, she does your fury dread,
CIBBER. Because no worlds are left to conquer more. SINCE plays are but a kind of public feasts, But if we may judge small from greater things, Where tickets only make the welcome guests; The present times may show what union Methinks, instead of grace, we should prepare ) I feel the danger of united kings. [brings, Your tastes in prologue, with your bill of fare. ) ve grow one, then slav'ry must ensue When you foreknow each course, though this lo poets, players, and, my friends, to you.
may tease you,
[you. For, to one house confin'd, you then must 'Tis five to one but one o'th' five may please praise
First, for the critics, we've your darling cheer, Both cursed actors, and confounded plays. Faults without number, more than sense can Then leave us as we are, and next advance
bear; Bravely to break the tie 'twixt Spain and You’re certain to be pleas'd where errors arè. France.
From your displeasure I dare vouch we're safe;
You never frown but where your neighbours 0 12. Epilogue to the Beau's Duel. 1703.
Now, you that never know what spleen or hate You see, gallants, 't has been our poet's care, Who, for an act or two, are welcome gratis, To show what beaux in their perfection are ; 'That tip the wink, and so sneak out with nunBy nature cowards, foolish; useless tools,
quam satis ; Made men by tailors, and by women, fools : For your smart tastes we've toss'd you up a fop, A fickle, false, a singing, dancing crew; We hope the newest that's of late come up; Nay, now we hear they've smiling-masters too. The fool, beau, wit, and rake, so mix'd be Just now a Frenchman, in the dressing-room, carries, From teaching of a beau to smile, was come. He seems a ragout piping-hot from Paris. He show'd five guineas-Wasn't he rarely, But, for the softer sex, whom most we'd move,
We've what the fair and chaste were form'd Thus all the world by smiles are once betray'd. for-love : The statesman smiles on them he would undo, Anartless passion, fraught with hopes and fears, The courtier's smiles are very seldom true, And nearest happy when it most despairs. The lover's smiles too many do believe, For masks, we've scandal, and for beaux, And women smile on then, they would deceive. French airs. When tradesmen sınile, they safely cheat with To please all tastes, we'll do the best we can; ease ;
For the galleries, we've Dicky and Will PinAnd smiling lawyers never fail of fees.
[fare ; The doctor's look the patient's pains beguiles, Now, sirs, you're welcome, and you know your The sick man lives if the physician sıniles. But pray, in charity, the founder spare, Thus smiles with interest hand in hand do go, Lest you destroy at once the poet and the He surest 'strikes, that smiling gives the blow. play'r. Poets, with us, this proverb do defy : We live by smiles, for if you frown we die. 14. Prologue to the Twin Rivals. 1706. To please you then shall be our chief endeav
[An alarm sounded.] And all we ask, is but your smiles for ever. With drums and trumpets, in this warring
[Going. age, Hold—I forgot-the author bid me say, A martial prologue should alarm the stage. She humbly begs protection for her play: New plays, ere acted, a full audience here, 'Tis yours-she dedicates it to you all, Seem towns invested, when a siege they fear. And you're too gen'rous, sure, to let it fall; Prologues are like a forlorn hope, sent out She hopes the ladies will her cause maintain, Before the play, to skirmish and to scout : Since virtue here has been her only aim. Our dreadful foes, the critics, when they spy, The beaux, she thinks, won't fail to do her They cock, they charge, they fire-then back right,
[fight. they fly. Since here they're taught with safety how to The siege is laid ; there gallant chiefs abound; She's sure of favor from the men of war, Here, foes intrench'd; there, glitt'ring troops A soldier is hier darling character :
around; To fear their murmurs, then, would be absurd, And the loud batt'ries roar
r-from yonder rising They only mutiny when not preferr'd.