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You might have held the pretty head aside, Peep'd in your fans, been serious, thus, and cry'd, The Play may pass-but that strange creature,
I can't-indeed now-I so hate a whore
Just as a blockhead rubs his thoughtless skull,
"How strangely you expose yourself, my dear!" 10 But let me die, all raillery apart,
Our sex are still forgiving at their heart;
There are, 'tis true, who tell another tale, That virtuous ladies envy while they rail; Such 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
Tells us, that Cato dearly lov'd his Wife:
Faith, let the modest matrons of the town
Come here in crouds, and stare the strumpet down.
Ver. 44. Who ne'er saw] A sly and oblique stroke on the suicide of Cato; which was one of the reasons, as I have been informed, why this epilogue was not spoken. Warton.
Ver. 46. Edward's Miss] Sir Thomas More says, she had one accomplishment uncommon in a woman of that time; she could read and write.
THOMSON, in his Epilogue to Tancred and Sigismunda, severely censures the flippancy and gaiety of modern Epilogues, as contrary to those impressions intended to be left on the mind by a well-written Tragedy. The last new part Mrs. Oldfield took in tragedy was in Thomson's Sophonisba; and it is recorded that she spoke the following line,
Not one base word of Carthage for thy soul,
in so powerful a manner, that Wilkes, to whom it was addressed, was astonished and confounded. Mrs. Oldfield was admitted to visit in the best families. George II. and Queen Caroline, when Princess of Wales, condescended sometimes to converse with her at their levees. And one day the Princess asked her, if she was married to General Churchill? "So it is said, may it please your Highness, but we have not owned it yet." Her Lady Betty Modish and Lady Townly have never yet been equalled. She was universally allowed to be well-bred, sensible, witty, and geneShe gave poor Savage an annual pension of fifty pounds; and it is strange that Dr. Johnson seems rather to approve of Savage's having never celebrated his benefactress in any of his poems. Warton.
Mrs. Oldfield must have had an uncommon degree of effrontery if she could have been prevailed on to speak the foregoing Epilogue. She probably declined it from a sense of the additional impropriety it would acquire by her delivery of it.
"Lamented Oldfield! who with grace and ease