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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,
He'd recommend her as a special breeder.
To lend a wife, few here would scruple make ;
But, pray, which of you all would take her back?
Though with the stoic chief our stage may ring,
The stoic husband was the glorious thing.
The man had courage, was a sage, 'tis true,
And lov'd his country—but what's that to you?
Those strange examples ne'er were made to fit ye,
But the kind cuckold might instruct the city:
There, many an honest man may copy Cato,
Who ne'er saw naked sword, or look'd in Plato.

If, after all, you think it a disgrace,
That Edward's miss thus perks it in your face;
To see a piece of failing flesh and blood,
In all the rest so impudently good;
Faith, let the modest matrons of the town
Come here in crowds, and stare the strumpet down.

PROLOGUE TO THOMSON'S SOPHONISBA.'

When Learning, after the long Gothic night,
Fair, o'er the western world, renew'd its light,
With arts arising, Sophonisba rose;
The tragic Muse, returning, wept her woes.

· 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.

PROLOGUE

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
Had brav'd the Goth, and many a Vandal slain,
Lay fortune-struck, a spectacle of woe!
Wept by each friend, forgiven by every foe;
Was there a generous, a reflecting mind,
But pitied Belisarius old and blind?
Was there a chief but melted at the sight?
A common soldier but who clubb'd his mite?
Such, such emotions should in Britons rise,
When press'd by want and weakness Dennis lies;
Dennis ! who long had warr'd with modern Huns,
Their quibbles routed, and defied their puns;
A desperate bulwark, sturdy, firm, and fierce,
Against the gothic sons of frozen verse :
How chang'd from him who made the boxes groàn,
And shook the stage with thunders all his own!
Stood up to dash each vain pretender's hope,
Maul the French tyrant, or pull down the Pope !
If there's a Briton then, true bred and born,
Who holds dragoons and wooden shoes in scorn;
If there's a critic of distinguish'd rage;
If there's a senior who contemns this age ;
Let him to-night his just assistance lend,
And be the critic's, Briton's, old man's friend.

MACER."

& CHARACTER.

When simple Macer, now of high renown,
First sought a poet's fortune in the town,
'Twas all th' ambition his high soul could feel
To wear red stockings, and to dine with Steele:
Some ends of verse his betters might afford,
And

gave the harmless fellow a good word.
Set up with these he ventur’d on the town,
And with a borrow'd play outdid poor Crowne. 2
There he stopp'd short, nor since has wrií a tittle,
But has the wit to make the most of little;
Like stunted hide-bound trees, that just have got
Sufficient

sap

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.

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