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“ The play may pass—but that strange creature,
Shore, I can't-indeed now-I so hate a whore” Just as a blockhead rubs his thoughtless skull, And thanks his stars he was not born a fool; So from a sister sinner you shall bear, “How strangely you expose yourself, my dear!" But let me die, all raillery apart, Our sex are still forgiving at their heart; And, did not wicked custom so contrive, We'd be the best good-natur'd things alive.
There are, 'tis true, who tell another tale, That virtuous ladies envy while they rail ; Sach rage without betrays the fire within ; In some close corner of the soul they sin; Still hoarding up, most scandalously nice, Amidst their virtues a reserve of vice. The godly dame, who fleshly failings damns, Scolds with her maid, or with her chaplain crams. Would you enjoy soft nights and solid dinners? Faith, gallants, board with saints, and bed with
sinners. Well, if our author in the wife offends, He has a husband that will make amends : He draws him gentle, tender, and forgiving ; And sure such kind good creatures may be living. In days of old, they pardon'd breach of vows, Stern Cato's self was no relentless spouse : Plu— Plutarch, what's his name that writes his life? Tells us, that Cato dearly lov'd his wife:
Yet if a friend, a night or so, should need her,
If, after all, you think it a disgrace,
PROLOGUE TO THOMSON'S SOPHONISBA.'
When Learning, after the long Gothic night,
· The first part of this Prologue was written by Pope, the conclusion by Mallet.
With her th' Italian scene first learn'd to glow, And the first tears for her were taught to flow : Her charms the Gallic Muses next inspir'd; Corneille himself saw, wonder'd, and was fir'd.
What foreign theatres with pride have shown, Britain, by juster title, makes her own. When freedom is the cause, 'tis hers to fight, And hers, when freedom is the theme, to write. For this a British Author bids again The Heroine rise, to grace the British scene : Here, as in life, she breathes her genuine flame, She asks, what bosom has not felt the same? Asks of the British Youth- -is silence there? She dares to ask it of the British Fair. To-night our homespun Author would be true, At once to Nature, History, and you. Well pleas'd to give our neighbours due applause, He owns their learning, but disdains their laws, Not to his patient touch, or happy flame, 'Tis to his British heart he trusts for fame. If France excel him in one freeborn thought, The Man, as well as Poet, is in fault. Nature! informer of the poet's art, Whose force alone can raise or melt the heart, Thou art his guide; each passion, every line, Whate'er he draws to please, must all be thine. Be thou his judge: in every candid breast Thy silent whisper is the sacred test.
TO A PLAY FOR MR. DENNIS'S BENEFIT, IN 1733, WHEN
HE WAS OLD, BLIND, AND IN GREAT DISTRESS,
A LITTLE BEFORE HIS DEATH.
As when that hero, who in each campaign
When simple Macer, now of high renown,
gave the harmless fellow a good word.
at once to bear and rot. Now he begs verse, and what he gets commends, Not of the wits his foes, but fools his friends.
So some coarse country wench, almost decay'd, Trudges to town, and first turns chambermaid ; Awkward and supple each devoir to pay, She flatters her good lady twice a day; Thought wondrous honest, though of mean degree, And strangely lik’d for her simplicity :
Either James Moore Smith, or, more probably, Ambrose Philips.
John Crowne, the author of various dramas, contemporary with Dryden.