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The Poetical Works of John Dryden, Vol II by John Dryden

Part 3 out of 7

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So gentle a love, so fervent a fire,
My soul does inspire;
That treasure, that treasure alone,
I beg for my own.
Your love let me crave;
Give me in possessing
So matchless a blessing;
That empire is all I would have.
Love's my petition,
All my ambition;
If e'er you discover
So faithful a lover,
So real a flame,
I'll die, I'll die,
So give up my game.

* * * * *

VIII.

RONDELAY.

1 Chloe found Amyntas lying,
All in tears upon the plain;
Sighing to himself, and crying,
Wretched I, to love in vain!
Kiss me, dear, before my dying;
Kiss me once, and ease my pain!

2 Sighing to himself, and crying,
Wretched I, to love in vain!
Ever scorning and denying
To reward your faithful swain:
Kiss me, dear, before my dying;
Kiss me once, and ease my pain:

3 Ever scorning, and denying
To reward your faithful swain:
Chloe, laughing at his crying,
Told him, that he loved in vain:
Kiss me, dear, before my dying;
Kiss me once, and ease my pain!

4 Chloe, laughing at his crying,
Told him, that he loved in vain:
But repenting, and complying,
When he kiss'd, she kiss'd again:
Kiss'd him up before his dying;
Kiss'd him up, and eased his pain.

* * * * *

IX.

A SONG.

1 Go tell Amynta, gentle swain,
I would not die, nor dare complain:
Thy tuneful voice with numbers join,
Thy words will more prevail than mine.
To souls oppress'd and dumb with grief,
The gods ordain this kind relief;
That music should in sounds convey,
What dying lovers dare not say.

2 A sigh or tear perhaps she'll give,
But love on pity cannot live.
Tell her that hearts for hearts were made,
And love with love is only paid.
Tell her my pains so fast increase,
That soon they will be past redress;
But ah! the wretch that speechless lies,
Attends but death to close his eyes.

* * * * *

X.

A SONG TO A FAIR YOUNG LADY, GOING OUT OF TOWN IN THE SPRING.

1 Ask not the cause, why sullen Spring
So long delays her flowers to bear;
Why warbling birds forget to sing,
And winter storms invert the year:
Chloris is gone, and fate provides
To make it Spring, where she resides.

2 Chloris is gone, the cruel fair;
She cast not back a pitying eye;
But left her lover in despair,
To sigh, to languish, and to die:
Ah, how can those fair eyes endure
To give the wounds they will not cure?

3 Great God of love, why hast thou made
A face that can all hearts command,
That all religions can evade,
And change the laws of every land?
Where thou hadst placed such power before,
Thou shouldst have made her mercy more.

4 When Chloris to the temple comes,
Adoring crowds before her fall;
She can restore the dead from tombs,
And every life but mine recall.
I only am by Love design'd
To be the victim for mankind.

* * * * *

XI.

SONGS IN THE "INDIAN EMPEROR."

I.

Ah, fading joy! how quickly art thou past!
Yet we thy ruin haste.
As if the cares of human life were few,
We seek out new:
And follow Fate, which would too fast pursue.
See how on every bough the birds express,
In their sweet notes, their happiness.
They all enjoy, and nothing spare;
But on their mother Nature lay their care:
Why then should man, the lord of all below,
Such troubles choose to know,
As none of all his subjects undergo?
Hark, hark, the waters fall, fall, fall,
And with a murmuring sound
Dash, dash upon the ground,
To gentle slumbers call.

II.

I look'd, and saw within the book of fate,
When many days did lour,
When lo! one happy hour
Leap'd up, and smiled to save the sinking state;
A day shall come when in thy power
Thy cruel foes shall be;
Then shall thy land be free:
And then in peace shall reign;
But take, O take that opportunity,
Which, once refused, will never come again.

* * * * *

XII.

SONG IN THE "MAIDEN QUEEN."

I feed a flame within, which so torments me,
That it both pains my heart, and yet contents me:
'Tis such a pleasing smart, and I so love it,
That I had rather die than once remove it.

Yet he for whom I grieve shall never know it:
My tongue does not betray, nor my eyes show it.
Not a sigh, not a tear, my pain discloses,
But they fall silently, like dew on roses.

Thus, to prevent my love from being cruel,
My heart's the sacrifice, as 'tis the fuel:
And while I suffer this to give him quiet,
My faith rewards my love, though he deny it.

On his eyes will I gaze, and there delight me;
Where I conceal my love no frown can fright me:
To be more happy, I dare not aspire;
Nor can I fall more low, mounting no higher.

* * * * *

XIII.

SONGS IN "THE CONQUEST OF GRANADA."

I.

Wherever I am, and whatever I do,
My Phyllis is still in my mind;
When angry, I mean not to Phyllis to go,
My feet, of themselves, the way find:
Unknown to myself I am just at her door,
And when I would rail, I can bring out no more,
Than, Phyllis too fair and unkind!

When Phyllis I see, my heart bounds in my breast,
And the love I would stifle is shown;
But asleep or awake I am never at rest,
When from my eyes Phyllis is gone.
Sometimes a sad dream does delude my sad mind;
But, alas! when I wake, and no Phyllis I find,
How I sigh to myself all alone!

Should a king be my rival in her I adore,
He should offer his treasure in vain:
Oh, let me alone to be happy and poor,
And give me my Phyllis again!
Let Phyllis be mine, and but ever be kind,
I could to a desert with her be confined,
And envy no monarch his reign.

Alas! I discover too much of my love,
And she too well knows her own power!
She makes me each day a new martyrdom prove,
And makes me grow jealous each hour:
But let her each minute torment my poor mind,
I had rather love Phyllis, both false and unkind,
Than ever be freed from her power.

II.

HE. How unhappy a lover am I,
While I sigh for my Phyllis in vain:
All my hopes of delight
Are another man's right,
Who is happy, while I am in pain!

SHE. Since her honour allows no relief,
But to pity the pains which you bear,
'Tis the best of your fate,
In a hopeless estate,
To give o'er, and betimes to despair.

HE. I have tried the false medicine in vain;
For I wish what I hope not to win:
From without, my desire
Has no food to its fire;
But it burns and consumes me within.

SHE. Yet, at least, 'tis a pleasure to know
That you are not unhappy alone:
For the nymph you adore
Is as wretched, and more;
And counts all your sufferings her own.

HE. O ye gods, let me suffer for both;
At the feet of my Phyllis I'll lie:
I'll resign up my breath,
And take pleasure in death,
To be pitied by her when I die.

SHE. What her honour denied you in life,
In her death she will give to your love.
Such a flame as is true
After fate will renew,
For the souls to meet closer above.

* * * * *

XIV.

SONG OF THE SEA-FIGHT, IN AMBOYNA.

Who ever saw a noble sight,
That never view'd a brave sea-fight!
Hang up your bloody colours in the air,
Up with your fights, and your nettings prepare;
Your merry mates cheer, with a lusty bold spright.
Now each man his brindace, and then to the fight.
St George, St George, we cry,
The shouting Turks reply.
Oh, now it begins, and the gun-room grows hot,
Ply it with culverin and with small shot;

Hark, does it not thunder? no, 'tis the guns' roar,
The neighbouring billows are turn'd into gore;
Now each man must resolve to die,
For here the coward cannot fly.
Drums and trumpets toll the knell,
And culverins the passing bell.
Now, now they grapple, and now board amain;
Blow up the hatches, they're off all again:
Give them a broadside, the dice run at all,
Down comes the mast and yard, and tacklings fall;
She grows giddy now, like blind Fortune's wheel,
She sinks there, she sinks, she turns up her keel.
Who ever beheld so noble a sight,
As this so brave, so bloody sea-fight!

* * * * *

XV.

INCANTATION IN OEDIPUS.

TIR. Choose the darkest part o' th' grove,
Such as ghosts at noonday love.
Dig a trench, and dig it nigh
Where the bones of Laius lie;
Altars raised, of turf or stone,
Will th' infernal powers have none,
Answer me, if this be done?

ALL PR. 'Tis done.

TIR. Is the sacrifice made fit?
Draw her backward to the pit:
Draw the barren heifer back;
Barren let her be, and black.

Cut the curl'd hair that grows
Full betwixt her horns and brows:
And turn your faces from the sun,
Answer me, if this be done?

ALL PR. 'Tis done.

TIR. Pour in blood, and blood-like wine,
To Mother Earth and Proserpine:
Mingle milk into the stream;
Feast the ghosts that love the steam:
Snatch a brand from funeral pile:
Toss it in to make them boil;
And turn your faces from the sun,
Answer me, if this be done?

ALL PR. 'Tis done.

* * * * *

XVI.

SONGS IN ALBION AND ALBANIUS.

I.

Cease, Augusta! cease thy mourning,
Happy days appear,
Godlike Albion is returning,
Loyal hearts to cheer!
Every grace his youth adorning,
Glorious as the star of morning,
Or the planet of the year.

II.

Albion, by the nymph attended,
Was to Neptune recommended,
Peace and plenty spread the sails:
Venus, in her shell before him,
From the sands in safety bore him,
And supplied Etesian gales.
Archon on the shore commanding,
Lowly met him at his landing,
Crowds of people swarm'd around;
Welcome, rang like peals of thunder,
Welcome, rent the skies asunder,
Welcome, heaven and earth resound.

III.

Infernal offspring of the Night,
Debarr'd of heaven your native right,
And from the glorious fields of light,
Condemn'd in shades to drag the chain,
And fill with groans the gloomy plain;
Since pleasures here are none below,
Be ill our good, our joy be woe;
Our work t' embroil the worlds above,
Disturb their union, disunite their love,
And blast the beauteous frame of our victorious foe.

IV.

See the god of seas attends thee,
Nymphs divine, a beauteous train:
All the calmer gales befriend thee
In thy passage o'er the main:
Every maid her locks is binding,
Every Triton's horn is winding,
Welcome to the watery plain.

V.

Albion, loved of gods and men,
Prince of Peace too mildly reigning,
Cease thy sorrow and complaining,
Thou shalt be restored again:
Albion, loved of gods and men.

Still thou art the care of heaven,
In thy youth to exile driven:
Heaven thy ruin then prevented,
Till the guilty land repented:
In thy age, when none could aid thee,
Foes conspired, and friends betray'd thee.
To the brink of danger driven,
Still thou art the care of heaven.

* * * * *

XVII.

SONGS IN KING ARTHUR.

Where a battle is supposed to be given behind the scenes, with drums,
trumpets, and military shouts and excursions; after which, the Britons,
expressing their joy for the victory, sing this song of triumph.

I.

Come, if you dare, our trumpets sound;
Come, if you dare, the foes rebound:
We come, we come, we come, we come,
Says the double, double, double beat of the thundering drum.
Now they charge on amain,
Now they rally again:
The gods from above the mad labour behold,
And pity mankind, that will perish for gold.
The fainting Saxons quit their ground,
Their trumpets languish in the sound:
They fly, they fly, they fly, they fly;
Victoria, Victoria, the bold Britons cry.
Now the victory's won,
To the plunder we run:
We return to our lasses like fortunate traders,
Triumphant with spoils of the vanquish'd invaders.

II.

MAN SINGS.

O sight, the mother of desires,
What charming objects dost thou yield!
'Tis sweet, when tedious night expires,
To see the rosy morning gild
The mountain-tops, and paint the field!
But when Clarinda comes in sight,
She makes the summer's day more bright;
And when she goes away, 'tis night.

CHORUS.

When fair Clarinda comes in sight, &c.

WOMAN SINGS.

'Tis sweet the blushing morn to view;
And plains adorn'd with pearly dew:
But such cheap delights to see,
Heaven and nature
Give each creature;
They have eyes, as well as we;

This is the joy, all joys above,
To see, to see,
That only she,
That only she we love!

CHORUS.

This is the joy, all joys above, &c.

III.

Two daughters of this aged stream are we;
And both our sea-green locks have comb'd for thee;
Come bathe with us an hour or two,
Come naked in, for we are so:
What danger from a naked foe?
Come bathe with us, come bathe, and share
What pleasures in the floods appear;
We'll beat the waters till they bound,
And circle round, around, around,
And circle round, around.

IV.

Ye blustering brethren of the skies,
Whose breath has ruffled all the watery plain,
Retire, and let Britannia rise,
In triumph o'er the main.
Serene and calm, and void of fear,
The Queen of Islands must appear:
Serene and calm, as when the Spring
The new-created world began,
And birds on boughs did softly sing
Their peaceful homage paid to man;
While Eurus did his blasts forbear,
In favour of the tender year.
Retreat, rude winds, retreat
To hollow rocks, your stormy seat;
There swell your lungs, and vainly, vainly threat.

V.

Foe folded flocks, on fruitful plains,
The shepherd's and the farmer's gains,
Fair Britain all the world outvies;
And Pan, as in Arcadia, reigns,
Where pleasure mix'd with profit lies.

Though Jason's fleece was famed of old,
The British wool is growing gold;
No mines can more of wealth supply;
It keeps the peasant from the cold,
And takes for kings the Tyrian dye.

VI.

Fairest isle, all isles excelling,
Seat of pleasures and of loves;
Venus here will choose her dwelling,
And forsake her Cyprian groves.

Cupid from his favourite nation
Care and envy will remove;
Jealousy, that poisons passion,
And despair, that dies for love,

Gentle murmurs, sweet complaining,
Sighs, that blow the fire of love;
Soft repulses, kind disdaining,
Shall be all the pains you prove.

Every swain shall pay his duty,
Grateful every nymph shall prove;
And as these excel in beauty,
Those shall be renown'd for love.

* * * * *

XVIII.

SONG OF JEALOUSY, IN LOVE TRIUMPHANT.

What state of life can be so blest
As love, that warms a lover's breast?
Two souls in one, the same desire
To grant the bliss, and to require!
But if in heaven a hell we find,
'Tis all from thee,
O Jealousy!
'Tis all from thee,
O Jealousy!
Thou tyrant, tyrant Jealousy,
Thou tyrant of the mind!
All other ills, though sharp they prove,
Serve to refine, and perfect love:
In absence, or unkind disdain,
Sweet hope relieves the lover's pain.
But, ah! no cure but death we find,
To set us free
From Jealousy:
O Jealousy!
Thou tyrant, tyrant Jealousy,
Thou tyrant of the mind!

False in thy glass all objects are,
Some set too near, and some too far;
Thou art the fire of endless night,
The fire that burns, and gives no light.
All torments of the damn'd we find
In only thee,
O Jealousy!
Thou tyrant, tyrant Jealousy,
Thou tyrant of the mind!

* * * * *

XIX.

SONG. FAREWELL, FAIR ARMIDA.

Farewell, fair Armida, my joy and my grief,
In vain I have loved you, and hope no relief;
Undone by your virtue, too strict and severe,
Your eyes gave me love, and you gave me despair;
Now call'd by my honour, I seek with content
The fate which in pity you would not prevent:
To languish in love, were to find by delay
A death that's more welcome the speediest way.
On seas and in battles, in bullets and fire,
The danger is less than in hopeless desire; 10
My death's-wound you give, though far off I bear
My fall from your sight--not to cost you a tear:
But if the kind flood on a wave should convey,
And under your window my body should lay,
The wound on my breast when you happen to see,
You'll say with a sigh--it was given by me.

* * * * *

XX.

ALEXANDER'S FEAST; OR, THE POWER OF MUSIC.

AN ODE, IN HONOUR OF ST CECILIA'S DAY.

1 'Twas at the royal feast, for Persia won
By Philip's warlike son:
Aloft in awful state
The godlike hero sate
On his imperial throne:
His valiant peers were placed around;
Their brows with roses and with myrtles bound
(So should desert in arms be crown'd).
The lovely Thais, by his side,
Sate like a blooming Eastern bride
In flower of youth and beauty's pride.
Happy, happy, happy pair!
None but the brave,
None but the brave,
None but the brave deserves the fair.

CHORUS.

Happy, happy, happy pair!
None but the brave,
None but the brave,
None but the brave deserves the fair.

2 Timotheus, placed on high
Amid the tuneful quire,
With flying fingers touch'd the lyre:
The trembling notes ascend the sky,
And heavenly joys inspire.
The song began from Jove,
Who left his blissful seats above
(Such is the power of mighty love).
A dragon's fiery form belied the god:
Sublime on radiant spires he rode,
When he to fair Olympia press'd:
And while he sought her snowy breast:
Then, round her slender waist he curl'd,
And stamp'd an image of himself, a sovereign of the world.
The listening crowd admire the lofty sound,
A present deity, they shout around,
A present deity, the vaulted roofs rebound:
With ravish'd ears
The monarch hears,
Assumes the god,
Affects to nod,
And seems to shake the spheres.

CHORUS.

With ravish'd ears
The monarch hears,
Assumes the god,
Affects to nod,
And seems to shake the spheres.

3 The praise of Bacchus then, the sweet musician sung;
Of Bacchus ever fair and ever young:
The jolly god in triumph comes;
Sound the trumpets; beat the drums;
Flush'd with a purple grace
He shows his honest face:
Now give the hautboys breath; he comes, he comes.
Bacchus, ever fair and young,
Drinking joys did first ordain;
Bacchus' blessings are a treasure,
Drinking is the soldier's pleasure:
Rich the treasure,
Sweet the pleasure;
Sweet is pleasure after pain.

CHORUS.

Bacchus' blessings are a treasure,
Drinking is the soldier's pleasure:
Rich the treasure,
Sweet the pleasure;
Sweet is pleasure after pain.

4 Soothed with the sound the king grew vain;
Fought all his battles o'er again;
And thrice he routed all his foes; and thrice he slew the slain.
The master saw the madness rise;
His glowing cheeks, his ardent eyes;
And while he heaven and earth defied,
Changed his hand, and check'd his pride.
He chose a mournful muse
Soft pity to infuse:
He sung Darius great and good,
By too severe a fate,
Fallen, fallen, fallen, fallen,
Fallen from his high estate,
And weltering in his blood;
Deserted, at his utmost need,
By those his former bounty fed;
On the bare earth exposed he lies,
With not a friend to close his eyes.
With downcast looks the joyless victor sate,
Revolving in his alter'd soul
The various turns of chance below;
And now and then a sigh he stole;
And tears began to flow.

CHORUS.

Revolving in his alter'd soul
The various turns of chance below;
And now and then a sigh he stole;
And tears began to flow.

5 The mighty master smiled, to see
That love was in the next degree:
'Twas but a kindred sound to move,
For pity melts the mind to love.
Softly sweet, in Lydian measures,
Soon he soothed his soul to pleasures.
War, he sung, is toil and trouble;
Honour, but an empty bubble;
Never ending, still beginning,
Fighting still, and still destroying:
If the world be worth thy winning,
Think, O think it worth enjoying:
Lovely Thais sits beside thee,
Take the good the gods provide thee.
The many rend the skies with loud applause;
So Love was crown'd, but Music won the cause.
The prince, unable to conceal his pain,
Gazed on the fair
Who caused his care,
And sigh'd and look'd, sigh'd and look'd,
Sigh'd and look'd, and sigh'd again:
At length, with love and wine at once oppress'd,
The vanquish'd victor sunk upon her breast.

CHORUS.

The prince, unable to conceal his pain,
Gazed on the fair
Who caused his care,
And sigh'd and look'd, sigh'd and look'd,
Sigh'd and look'd, and sigh'd again:
At length, with love and wine at once oppress'd,
The vanquish'd victor sunk upon her breast.

6 Now strike the golden lyre again:
A louder yet, and yet a louder strain.
Break his bands of sleep asunder,
And rouse him, like a rattling peal of thunder.
Hark, hark, the horrid sound
Has raised up his head:
As awaked from the dead,
And amazed, he stares around.
Revenge, Revenge, Timotheus cries,
See the Furies arise:
See the snakes that they rear,
How they hiss in their hair,
And the sparkles that flash from their eyes!
Behold a ghastly band,
Each a torch in his hand!
Those are Grecian ghosts, that in battle were slain,
And unburied remain
Inglorious on the plain:
Give the vengeance due
To the valiant crew.
Behold how they toss their torches on high,
How they point to the Persian abodes,
And glittering temples of their hostile gods.
The princes applaud, with a furious joy;
And the king seized a flambeau with zeal to destroy;
Thais led the way,
To light him to his prey,
And, like another Helen, fired another Troy.

CHORUS.

And the king seized a flambeau with zeal to destroy;
Thais led the way,
To light him to his prey,
And, like another Helen, fired another Troy.

Thus, long ago,
Ere heaving bellows learn'd to blow,
While organs yet were mute;
Timotheus, to his breathing flute,
And sounding lyre,
Could swell the soul to rage, or kindle soft desire.
At last divine Cecilia came,
Inventress of the vocal frame;
The sweet enthusiast, from her sacred store,
Enlarged the former narrow bounds,
And added length to solemn sounds,
With nature's mother-wit, and arts unknown before.
Let old Timotheus yield the prize,
Or both divide the crown;
He raised a mortal to the skies;
She drew an angel down.

GRAND CHORUS.

At last, divine Cecilia came,
Inventress of the vocal frame;
The sweet enthusiast, from her sacred store,
Enlarged the former narrow bounds,
And added length to solemn sounds,
With nature's mother-wit, and arts unknown before.
Let old Timotheus yield the prize,
Or both divide the crown;
He raised a mortal to the skies;
She drew an angel down.

* * * * *

XXI

THE SECULAR MASQUE.[45]

_Enter_ JANUS.

_Janus_. Chronos, Chronos, mend thy pace;
An hundred times the rolling sun
Around the radiant belt has run
In his revolving race.
Behold, behold the goal in sight,
Spread thy fans, and wing thy flight.

_Enter_ CHRONOS, _with a scythe in his hand, and a globe
on his back; which he sets down at his entrance_.

_Chronos_. Weary, weary of my weight,
Let me, let me drop my freight,
And leave the world behind.
I could not bear, 10
Another year,
The load of human kind.

_Enter_ MOMUS, _laughing_.

_Momus_. Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! well hast thou done
To lay down thy pack,
And lighten thy back.
The world was a fool, ere since it begun,
And since neither Janus nor Chronos, nor I,
Can hinder the crimes,
Or mend the bad times,
'Tis better to laugh than to cry. 20

_Chorus of all three_. 'Tis better to laugh than to cry.

_Janus_. Since Momus comes to laugh below,
Old time begin the show,
That he may see, in every scene,
What changes in this age have been.

_Chronos_. Then goddess of the silver bow begin.

[_Horns, or hunting-music within._]

_Enter_ DIANA.

_Diana_. With horns and with hounds, I waken the day,
And hie to the woodland walks away;
I tuck up my robe, and am buskin'd soon,
And tie to my forehead a waxing moon; 30
I course the fleet stag, unkennel the fox,
And chase the wild goats o'er summits of rocks;
With shouting and hooting we pierce through the sky,
And Echo turns hunter, and doubles the cry.

_Chorus of all_. With shouting and hooting we pierce through the sky,
And Echo turns hunter, and doubles the cry.

_Janus_. Then our age was in its prime:

_Chronos_. Free from rage:

_Diana_.--And free from crime.

_Momus_. A very merry, dancing, drinking, 40
Laughing, quaffing, and unthinking time.

_Chorus of all_. Then our age was in its prime,
Free from rage, and free from crime,
A very merry, dancing, drinking,
Laughing, quaffing, and unthinking time.

[_Dance of Diana's attendants_.]

_Enter_ MARS.

_Mars_. Inspire the vocal brass, inspire;
The world is past its infant age:
Arms and honour,
Arms and honour,
Set the martial mind on fire, 50
And kindle manly rage.
Mars has look'd the sky to red;
And Peace, the lazy god, is fled.
Plenty, peace, and pleasure fly;
The sprightly green,
In woodland walks, no more is seen;
The sprightly green has drunk the Tyrian dye.

_Chorus of all._ Plenty, peace, &c.

_Mars._ Sound the trumpet, beat the drum;
Through all the world around, 60
Sound a reveillie, sound, sound,
The warrior god is come.

_Chorus of all._ Sound the trumpet, &c.

_Momus._ Thy sword within the scabbard keep,
And let mankind agree;
Better the world were fast asleep,
Than kept awake by thee.
The fools are only thinner,
With all our cost and care:

But neither side a winner, 70
For things are as they were.

_Chorus of all_. The fools are only, &c.

_Enter_ VENUS.

_Venus_. Calms appear when storms are past;
Love will have his hour at last:
Nature is my kindly care;
Mars destroys, and I repair;
Take me, take me, while you may,
Venus comes not every day.

_Chorus of all_. Take her, take her, &c.

_Chronos_. The world was then so light, 80
I scarcely felt the weight;
Joy ruled the day, and Love the night.
But, since the queen of pleasure left the ground,
I faint, I lag,
And feebly drag
The ponderous orb around.

_Momus_. All, all of a piece throughout;
[_Pointing to Diana_.] Thy chase had a beast in view;
[_To Mars_.] Thy wars brought nothing about;
[_To Venus_.] Thy lovers were all untrue. 90

_Janus_. 'Tis well an old age is out.

_Chronos_. And time to begin a new.

_Cho. of all_. All, all of a piece throughout;
Thy chase had a beast in view:
Thy wars brought nothing about;
Thy lovers were all untrue.
'Tis well an old age is out,
And time to begin a new.

_Dance of huntsmen, nymphs, warriors, and lovers_.

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 45: This Masque, with the song of a scholar and his mistress,
was performed in 1700, for the author's benefit, with the play of the
Pilgrim, altered by Sir John Vanbrugh, his fortune and health being at
that time in a declining state.]

* * * * *

XXII.

SONG OF A SCHOLAR AND HIS MISTRESS,

WHO, BEING CROSSED BY THEIR FRIENDS, FELL MAD FOR ONE ANOTHER; AND NOW
FIRST MEET IN BEDLAM.

[Music within.]

_The Lovers enter at opposite doors, each held by a keeper._

_Phillis_. Look, look I see--I see my love appear!
'Tis he--'Tis he alone;
For, like him, there is none:
'Tis the dear, dear man, 'tis thee, dear.

_Amyntas_. Hark! the winds war;
The foamy waves roar;
I see a ship afar:
Tossing and tossing, and making to the shore:
But what's that I view,
So radiant of hue,
St Hermo, St Hermo, that sits upon the sails?
Ah! No, no, no.
St Hermo never, never shone so bright;
'Tis Phillis, only Phillis, can shoot so fair a light;
'Tis Phillis, 'tis Phillis, that saves the ship alone,
For all the winds are hush'd, and the storm is overblown.

_Phillis_. Let me go, let me run, let me fly to his arms.

_Amyntas_. If all the fates combine,
And all the furies join,
I'll force my way to Phillis, and break through the charm.

[_Here they break from their keepers, run to each other,
and embrace_.]

_Phillis_. Shall I marry the man I love?
And shall I conclude my pains?
Now bless'd be the powers above,
I feel the blood bound in my veins;
With a lively leap it began to move,
And the vapours leave my brains.

_Amyntas_. Body join'd to body, and heart join'd to heart,
To make sure of the cure,
Go call the man in black, to mumble o'er his part.

_Phillis_. But suppose he should stay--

_Amyntas_. At worst if he delay,
'Tis a work must be done,
We'll borrow but a day,
And the better, the sooner begun.

_Cho. of both_. At worst if he delay, &c.

[_They run out together hand in hand._]

* * * * *

PROLOGUES AND EPILOGUES.

I.

PROLOGUE TO THE RIVAL LADIES.

'Tis much desired, you judges of the town
Would pass a vote to put all prologues down:
For who can show me, since they first were writ,
They e'er converted one hard-hearted wit?
Yet the world's mended well; in former days
Good prologues were as scarce as now good plays.
For the reforming poets of our age,
In this first charge, spend their poetic rage:
Expect no more when once the prologue's done:
The wit is ended ere the play's begun. 10
You now have habits, dances, scenes, and rhymes;
High language often; ay, and sense, sometimes.
As for a clear contrivance, doubt it now;
They blow out candles to give light to the plot.
And for surprise, two bloody-minded men
Fight till they die, then rise and dance again,
Such deep intrigues you're welcome to this day:
But blame yourselves, not him who writ the play;
Though his plot's dull, as can be well desired,
Wit stiff as any you have e'er admired: 20
He's bound to please, not to write well; and knows
There is a mode in plays as well as clothes;
Therefore, kind judges....

A SECOND PROLOGUE ENTERS.

2. Hold; would you admit
For judges all you see within the pit?

1. Whom would he then except, or on what score?

2. All who (like him) have writ ill plays before;
For they, like thieves condemn'd, are hangmen made,
To execute the members of their trade.
All that are writing now he would disown,
But then he must except--even all the town;
All choleric, losing gamesters, who, in spite,
Will damn to-day, because they lost last night;
All servants, whom their mistress' scorn upbraids;
All maudlin lovers, and all slighted maids;
All who are out of humour, all severe;
All that want wit, or hope to find it here.

* * * * *

II.

PROLOGUE TO THE INDIAN QUEEN.

As the music plays a soft air, the curtain rises slowly and discovers an
Indian boy and girl sleeping under two plantain-trees; and, when the
curtain is almost up, the music turns into a tune expressing an alarm,
at which the boy awakes, and speaks:

BOY. Wake, wake, Quevira! our soft rest must cease,
And fly together with our country's peace!
No more must we sleep under plantain shade,
Which neither heat could pierce, nor cold invade;
Where bounteous nature never feels decay,
And opening buds drive falling fruits away.

QUE. Why should men quarrel here, where all possess
As much as they can hope for by success?--
None can have most, where nature is so kind,
As to exceed man's use, though not his mind. 10

BOY. By ancient prophecies we have been told,
Our world shall be subdued by one more old;--
And, see, that world already's hither come.

QUE. If these be they, we welcome then our doom!
Their loots are such, that mercy flows from thence,
More gentle than our native innocence.

BOY. Why should we then fear these, our enemies,
That rather seem to us like deities?

QUE. By their protection, let us beg to live;
They came not here to conquer, but forgive. 20
If so, your goodness may your power express,
And we shall judge both best by our success.

* * * * *

III.

EPILOGUE TO THE INDIAN QUEEN.

SPOKEN BY MONTEZUMA.

You see what shifts we are enforced to try,
To help out wit with some variety;
Shows may be found that never yet were seen,
'Tis hard to find such wit as ne'er has been:
You have seen all that this old world can do,
We therefore try the fortune of the new,
And hope it is below your aim to hit
At untaught nature with your practised wit:
Our naked Indians, then, when wits appear,
Would as soon choose to have the Spaniards here. 10
'Tis true, you have marks enough, the plot, the show,
The poet's scenes, nay, more, the painter's too;
If all this fail, considering the cost,
'Tis a true voyage to the Indies lost:
But if you smile on all, then these designs,
Like the imperfect treasure of our minds,
Will pass for current wheresoe'er they go,
When to your bounteous hands their stamps they owe.

* * * * *

IV.

EPILOGUE TO THE INDIAN EMPEROR,

BY A MERCURY.

To all and singular in this full meeting,
Ladies and gallants, Phoebus sends ye greeting.
To all his sons, by whate'er title known,
Whether of court, or coffee-house, or town;
From his most mighty sons, whose confidence
Is placed in lofty sound, and humble sense,
Even to his little infants of the time,
Who write new songs, and trust in tune and rhyme
Be 't known, that Phoebus (being daily grieved
To see good plays condemn'd, and bad received) 10
Ordains your judgment upon every cause,
Henceforth, be limited by wholesome laws.
He first thinks fit no sonnetteer advance
His censure farther than the song or dance,
Your wit burlesque may one step higher climb,
And in his sphere may judge all doggrel rhyme;
All proves, and moves, and loves, and honours too;
All that appears high sense, and scarce is low.
As for the coffee wits, he says not much;
Their proper business is to damn the Dutch: 20
For the great dons of wit--
Phoebus gives them full privilege alone,
To damn all others, and cry up their own.
Last, for the ladies, 'tis Apollo's will,
They should have power to save, but not to kill:
For love and he long since have thought it fit,
Wit live by beauty, beauty reign by wit.

* * * * *

V.

PROLOGUE TO SIR MARTIN MARR-ALL.

Fools, which each man meets in his dish each day,
Are yet the great regalios of a play;
In which to poets you but just appear,
To prize that highest, which cost them so dear:
Fops in the town more easily will pass;
One story makes a statutable ass:
But such in plays must be much thicker sown,
Like yolks of eggs, a dozen beat to one.
Observing poets all their walks invade,
As men watch woodcocks gliding through a glade:
And when they have enough for comedy,
They stow their several bodies in a pie:
The poet's but the cook to fashion it,
For, gallants, you yourselves have found the wit.
To bid you welcome, would your bounty wrong;
None welcome those who bring their cheer along.

* * * * *

VI.

PROLOGUE TO THE TEMPEST.

As when a tree's cut down, the secret root
Lives under ground, and thence new branches shoot;
So from old Shakspeare's honour'd dust, this day
Springs up and buds a new reviving play:
Shakspeare, who (taught by none) did first impart
To Fletcher wit, to labouring Jonson art.
He, monarch like, gave those, his subjects, law;
And is that nature which they paint and draw.
Fletcher reach'd that which on his heights did grow,
While Jonson crept, and gather'd all below. 10
This did his love, and this his mirth digest:
One imitates him most, the other best.
If they have since outwrit all other men,
'Tis with the drops which fell from Shakspeare's pen.
The storm, which vanish'd on the neighbouring shore,
Was taught by Shakspeare's Tempest first to roar.
That innocence and beauty, which did smile
In Fletcher, grew on this enchanted isle.
But Shakspeare's magic could not copied be;
Within that circle none durst walk but he. 20
I must confess 'twas bold, nor would you now
That liberty to vulgar wits allow,
Which works by magic supernatural things:
But Shakspeare's power is sacred as a king's.
Those legends from old priesthood were received,
And he then writ, as people then believed.
But if for Shakspeare we your grace implore,
We for our theatre shall want it more:
Who, by our dearth of youths, are forced to employ
One of our women to present a boy; 30
And that's a transformation, you will say,
Exceeding all the magic in the play.
Let none expect in the last act to find,
Her sex transform'd from man to womankind.
Whate'er she was before the play began,
All you shall see of her is perfect man.
Or, if your fancy will be further led
To find her woman--it must be a-bed.

* * * * *

VII.

PROLOGUE TO TYRANNIC LOVE.

Self-love, which, never rightly understood,
Makes poets still conclude their plays are good,
And malice in all critics reigns so high,
That for small errors, they whole plays decry;
So that to see this fondness, and that spite,
You'd think that none but madmen judge or write,
Therefore our poet, as he thinks not fit
To impose upon you what he writes for wit;
So hopes, that, leaving you your censures free,
You equal judges of the whole will be: 10
They judge but half, who only faults will see.
Poets, like lovers, should be bold and dare,
They spoil their business with an over care;
And he, who servilely creeps after sense,
Is safe, but ne'er will reach an excellence.
Hence 'tis, our poet, in his conjuring,
Allow'd his fancy the full scope and swing.
But when a tyrant for his theme he had,
He loosed the reins, and bid his muse run mad:
And though he stumbles in a full career, 20
Yet rashness is a better fault than fear.
He saw his way; but in so swift a pace,
To choose the ground might be to lose the race.
They, then, who of each trip the advantage take,
Find but those faults, which they want wit to make.

* * * * *

VIII.

EPILOGUE TO THE WILD GALLANT,

WHEN REVIVED.

Of all dramatic writing, comic wit,
As 'tis the best, so 'tis most hard to hit,
For it lies all in level to the eye,
Where all may judge, and each defect may spy.
Humour is that which every day we meet,
And therefore known as every public street;
In which, if e'er the poet go astray,
You all can point, 'twas there he lost his way.
But, what's so common, to make pleasant too,
Is more than any wit can always do. 10
For 'tis like Turks, with hen and rice to treat;
To make regalios out of common meat.
But, in your diet, you grow savages:
Nothing but human flesh your taste can please;
And, as their feasts with slaughter'd slaves began,
So you, at each new play, must have a man.
Hither you come, as to see prizes fought;
If no blood's drawn, you cry, the prize is nought.
But fools grow wary now: and, when they see
A poet eyeing round the company, 20
Straight each man for himself begins to doubt;
They shrink like seamen when a press comes out.
Few of them will be found for public use,
Except you charge an oaf upon each house,
Like the train bands, and every man engage
For a sufficient fool, to serve the stage,
And when, with much ado, you get him there,
Where he in all his glory should appear.
Your poets make him such rare things to say,
That he's more wit than any man i' th' play: 30
But of so ill a mingle with the rest,
As when a parrot's taught to break a jest.
Thus, aiming to be fine, they make a show,
As tawdry squires in country churches do.
Things well consider'd, 'tis so hard to make
A comedy, which should the knowing take,
That our dull poet, in despair to please,
Does humbly beg, by me, his writ of ease.
'Tis a land-tax, which he's too poor to pay;
You therefore must some other impost lay. 40
Would you but change, for serious plot and verse,
This motley garniture of fool and farce,
Nor scorn a mode, because 'tis taught at home,
Which does, like vests, our gravity become,
Our poet yields you should this play refuse:
As tradesmen, by the change of fashions, lose,
With some content, their fripperies of France,
In hope it may their staple trade advance.

* * * * *

IX.

PROLOGUE.

SPOKEN THE FIRST DAY OF THE KING'S HOUSE ACTING AFTER THE FIRE OF
LONDON.

So shipwreck'd passengers escape to land,
So look they, when on the bare beach they stand,
Dropping and cold, and their first fear scarce o'er,
Expecting famine on a desert shore.
From that hard climate we must wait for bread,
Whence even the natives, forced by hunger, fled.
Our stage does human chance present to view,
But ne'er before was seen so sadly true:
You are changed too, and your pretence to see
Is but a nobler name for charity. 10
Your own provisions furnish out our feasts,
While you the founders make yourselves the guests.
Of all mankind beside fate had some care,
But for poor Wit no portion did prepare,
'Tis left a rent-charge to the brave and fair.
You cherish'd it, and now its fall you mourn,
Which blind unmanner'd zealots make their scorn,
Who think that fire a judgment on the stage,
Which spared not temples in its furious rage.
But as our new-built city rises higher, 20
So from old theatres may new aspire,
Since fate contrives magnificence by fire.
Our great metropolis does far surpass
Whate'er is now, and equals all that was:
Our wit as far does foreign wit excel,
And, like a king, should in a palace dwell.
But we with golden hopes are vainly fed,
Talk high, and entertain you in a shed:
Your presence here, for which we humbly sue,
Will grace old theatres, and build up new. 30

* * * * *

X.

EPILOGUE TO THE SECOND PART OF THE CONQUEST OF GRANADA.

They who have best succeeded on the stage,
Have still conform'd their genius to their age.
Thus Jonson did mechanic humour show,
When men were dull, and conversation low.
Then comedy was faultless, but 'twas coarse:
Cobb's tankard was a jest, and Otter's horse.
And, as their comedy, their love was mean;
Except, by chance, in some one labour'd scene,
Which must atone for an ill-written play.
They rose, but at their height could seldom stay. 10
Fame then was cheap, and the first comer sped;
And they have kept it since, by being dead.
But, were they now to write, when critics weigh
Each line, and every word, throughout a play,
None of them, no not Jonson in his height,
Could pass, without allowing grains for weight.
Think it not envy, that these truths are told:
Our poet's not malicious, though he's bold.
'Tis not to brand them, that their faults are shown,
But, by their errors, to excuse his own. 20
If love and honour now are higher raised,
'Tis not the poet, but the age is praised.
Wit's now arrived to a more high degree:
Our native language more refined and free.
Our ladies and our men now speak more wit
In conversation, than those poets writ.
Then, one of these is, consequently, true:
That what this poet writes comes short of you,
And imitates you ill (which most he fears),
Or else his writing is not worse than theirs. 30
Yet though you judge (as sure the critics will),
That some before him writ with greater skill,
In this one praise he has their fame surpass'd,
To please an age more gallant than the last.

* * * * *

XI.

PROLOGUE TO AMBOYNA.[46]

As needy gallants in the scrivener's hands,
Court the rich knave that gripes their mortgaged lands,
The first fat buck of all the season's sent,
And keeper takes no fee in compliment:
The dotage of some Englishmen is such,
To fawn on those who ruin them--the Dutch.
They shall have all, rather than make a war
With those who of the same religion are.
The Straits, the Guinea trade, the herrings too,
Nay, to keep friendship, they shall pickle you. 10
Some are resolved not to find out the cheat,
But, cuckold-like, love him who does the feat:
What injuries soe'er upon us fall,
Yet, still the same religion answers all:
Religion wheedled you to civil war,
Drew English blood, and Dutchmen's now would spare:
Be gull'd no longer, for you'll find it true,
They have no more religion, faith--than you;
Interest's the god they worship in their state;
And you, I take it, have not much of that. 20
Well, monarchies may own religion's name,
But states are atheists in their very frame.
They share a sin, and such proportions fall,
That, like a stink, 'tis nothing to them all.
How they love England, you shall see this day;
No map shows Holland truer than our play:
Their pictures and inscriptions well we know;
We may be bold one medal sure to show.
View then their falsehoods, rapine, cruelty;
And think what once they were, they still would he: 30
But hope not either language, plot, or art;
'Twas writ in haste, but with an English heart:
And least hope wit; in Dutchmen that would be
As much improper, as would honesty.

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 46: 'Amboyna:' a play written against the Dutch.]

* * * * *

XII.

EPILOGUE TO AMBOYNA.

A Poet once the Spartans led to fight,
And made them conquer in the muse's right;
So would our poet lead you on this day,
Showing your tortured fathers in his play.
To one well born the affront is worse, and more,
When he's abused and baffled by a boor:
With an ill grace the Dutch their mischiefs do,
They've both ill nature and ill manners too.
Well may they boast themselves an ancient nation,
For they were bred ere manners were in fashion,
And their new commonwealth has set them free,
Only from honour and civility.
Venetians do not more uncouthly ride,
Than did their lubber state mankind bestride;
Their sway became them with as ill a mien,
As their own paunches swell above their chin:
Yet is their empire no true growth, but humour,
And only two kings' touch can cure the tumour.
As Cato did his Afric fruits display,
So we before your eyes their Indies lay:
All loyal English will, like him, conclude,
Let Caesar live, and Carthage be subdued!

* * * * *

XIII.

PROLOGUE.

SPOKEN AT THE OPENING OF THE NEW HOUSE, MARCH 26, 1674.

A plain-built[47] house, after so long a stay,
Will send you half unsatisfied away;
When, fallen from your expected pomp, you find
A bare convenience only is design'd.
You, who each day can theatres behold,
Like Nero's palace, shining all with gold,
Our mean ungilded stage will scorn, we fear,
And, for the homely room, disdain the cheer.
Yet now cheap druggets to a mode are grown,
And a plain suit, since we can make but one, 10
Is better than to be by tarnish'd gawdry known.
They, who are by your favours wealthy made,
With mighty sums may carry on the trade:
We, broken bankers, half destroy'd by fire,
With our small stock to humble roofs retire:
Pity our loss, while you their pomp admire.
For fame and honour we no longer strive,
We yield in both, and only beg to live:
Unable to support their vast expense,
Who build and treat with such magnificence; 20
That, like the ambitious monarchs of the age,
They give the law to our provincial stage.
Great neighbours enviously promote excess,
While they impose their splendour on the less.
But only fools, and they of vast estate,
The extremity of modes will imitate,
The dangling knee-fringe, and the bib-cravat.
Yet if some pride with want may be allow'd,
We in our plainness may be justly proud:
Our royal master will'd it should be so; 30
Whate'er he's pleased to own, can need no show:
That sacred name gives ornament and grace,
And, like his stamp, makes basest metals pass.
'Twere folly now a stately[48] pile to raise,
To build a playhouse, while you throw down plays;
While scenes, machines, and empty operas reign,
And for the pencil you the pen disdain:
While troops of famish'd Frenchmen hither drive,
And laugh at those upon whose alms they live:
Old English authors vanish, and give place 40
To these new conquerors of the Norman race.
More tamely than your fathers you submit;
You're now grown vassals to them in your wit.
Mark, when they play, how our fine fops advance
The mighty merits of their men of France,
Keep time, cry _Bon_, and humour the cadence.
Well, please yourselves; but sure 'tis understood,
That French machines have ne'er done England good.
I would not prophesy our house's fate:
But while vain shows and scenes you over-rate, 50
Tis to be fear'd--
That as a fire the former house o'erthrew,
Machines and tempests will destroy the new.

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 47: This Prologue was written for the King's company, who had
just opened their house in Drury-lane.]

[Footnote 48: The reflection on the taste of the town in these four
lines is levelled at the Duke's company, who had exhibited the siege of
Rhodes, and other expensive operas, and were now getting up the operas
of Psyche, Circe, &c.]

* * * * *

XIV.

PROLOGUE TO THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD, 1674.

SPOKEN BY MR HART.

Poets, your subjects have their parts assign'd
To unbend, and to divert their sovereign's mind:
When tired with following nature, you think fit
To seek repose in the cool shades of wit,
And, from the sweet retreat, with joy survey
What rests, and what is conquer'd, of the way.
Here, free yourselves from envy, care, and strife
You view the various turns of human life:
Safe in our scene, through dangerous courts you go,
And, undebauch'd, the vice of cities know. 10
Your theories are here to practice brought,
As in mechanic operations wrought;
And man, the little world, before you set,
As once the sphere[49] of crystal show'd the great.
Blest, sure, are you above all mortal kind,
If to your fortunes you can suit your mind:
Content to see, and shun, those ills we show,
And crimes on theatres alone to know.
With joy we bring what our dead authors writ,
And beg from you the value of their wit: 20
That Shakspeare's, Fletcher's, and great Jonson's claim,
May be renew'd from those who gave them fame.
None of our living poets dare appear;
For Muses so severe are worshipp'd here,
That, conscious of their faults, they shun the eye,
And, as profane, from sacred places fly,
Rather than see the offended God, and die.
We bring no imperfections but our own;
Such faults as made are by the makers shown:
And you have been so kind, that we may boast, 30
The greatest judges still can pardon most.
Poets must stoop, when they would please our pit,
Debased even to the level of their wit;
Disdaining that, which yet they know will take,
Hating themselves what their applause must make.
But when to praise from you they would aspire,
Though they like eagles mount, your Jove is higher.
So far your knowledge all their power transcends,
As what _should be_ beyond what _is_ extends.

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 49: 'Sphere,' &c.: referring to the macrocosm--the universe;
and the microcosm--man]

* * * * *

XV.

PROLOGUE TO "CIRCE," A TRAGIC OPERA;

BY DR DAVENANT,[50] 1675.

Were you but half so wise as you're severe,
Our youthful poet should not need to fear:
To his green years your censures you would suit,
Not blast the blossom, but expect the fruit.
The sex, the best does pleasure understand,
Will always choose to err on the other hand.
They check not him that's awkward in delight,
But clap the young rogue's cheek, and set him right.
Thus hearten'd well, and flesh'd upon his prey,
The youth may prove a man another day. 10
Your Ben and Fletcher, in their first young flight,
Did no Volpone, nor Arbaces write;
But hopp'd about, and short excursions made
From bough to bough, as if they were afraid,
And each was guilty of some Slighted Maid.
Shakspeare's own muse her Pericles first bore;
The Prince of Tyre was elder than the Moor:
'Tis miracle to see a first good play;
All hawthorns do not bloom on Christmas-day.
A slender poet must have time to grow, 20
And spread and burnish, as his brothers do.
Who still looks lean, sure with some pox is cursed:
But no man can be Falstaff-fat at first.
Then damn not, but indulge his rude essays;
Encourage him, and bloat him up with praise,
That he may get more bulk before he dies:
He's not yet fed enough for sacrifice.
Perhaps, if now your grace you will not grudge,
He may grow up to write, and you to judge.

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 50: Son of Sir William Davenant, and author of several
political pieces, much esteemed.]

* * * * *

XVI.

EPILOGUE,

INTENDED TO HAVE BEEN SPOKEN BY THE LADY HEN. MAR. WENTWORTH, WHEN
"CALISTO"[51] WAS ACTED AT COURT.

As Jupiter I made my court in vain;
I'll now assume my native shape again.
I'm weary to be so unkindly used,
And would not be a god to be refused.
State grows uneasy when it hinders love;
A glorious burden, which the wise remove.
Now, as a nymph I need not sue, nor try
The force of any lightning but the eye.
Beauty and youth more than a god command;
No Jove could e'er the force of these withstand. 10
'Tis here that sovereign power admits dispute;
Beauty sometimes is justly absolute.
Our sullen Catos, whatsoe'er they say,
Even while they frown, and dictate laws, obey.
You, mighty sir,[52] our bonds more easy make,
And gracefully, what all must suffer, take:
Above those forms the grave affect to wear;
For 'tis not to be wise to be severe.
True wisdom may some gallantry admit,
And soften business with the charms of wit. 20
These peaceful triumphs with your cares you bought,
And from the midst of fighting nations brought.
You only hear it thunder from afar,
And sit in peace the arbiter of war:
Peace, the loathed manna, which hot brains despise.
You knew its worth, and made it early prize:
And in its happy leisure sit and see
The promises of more felicity:
Two glorious nymphs,[53] of your own godlike line,
Whose morning rays like noontide strike and shine: 30
Whom you to suppliant monarchs shall dispose,
To bind your friends, and to disarm your foes.

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 51: 'Calisto:' a Masque, written by Crowne, Dryden's rival and
Rochester's protege; this Epilogue was through Rochester's influence
rejected.]

[Footnote 52: This part of the Epilogue is addressed to the King.]

* * * * *

XVII.

PROLOGUE TO "AURENGZEBE."

Our author, by experience, finds it true,
'Tis much more hard to please himself than you;
And out of no feign'd modesty, this day
Damns his laborious trifle of a play;
Not that it's worse than what before he writ,
But he has now another taste of wit;
And, to confess a truth, though out of time,
Grows weary of his long-loved mistress, Rhyme.
Passion's too fierce to be in fetters bound,
And nature flies him like enchanted ground: 10
What verse can do, he has perform'd in this,
Which he presumes the most correct of his;
But spite of all his pride, a secret shame
Invades his breast at Shakspeare's sacred name:
Awed when he hears his godlike Romans rage,
He, in a just despair, would quit the stage;
And to an age less polish'd, more unskill'd,
Does, with disdain, the foremost honours yield.
As with the greater dead he dares not strive,
He would not match his verse with those who live: 20
Let him retire, betwixt two ages cast,
The first of this, and hindmost of the last.
A losing gamester, let him sneak away;
He bears no ready money from the play.
The fate which governs poets, thought it fit
He should not raise his fortunes by his wit.
The clergy thrive, and the litigious bar;
Dull heroes fatten with the spoils of war:
All southern vices, heaven be praised, are here;
But wit's a luxury you think too dear. 30
When you to cultivate the plant are loth,
'Tis a shrewd sign, 'twas never of your growth;
And wit in northern climates will not blow,
Except, like orange trees, 'tis housed with snow.
There needs no care to put a playhouse down,
'Tis the most desert place of all the town:
We, and our neighbours, to speak proudly, are,
Like monarchs, ruin'd with expensive war;
While, likewise English, unconcern'd you sit,
And see us play the tragedy of wit. 40

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 53: The Duke of York's two daughters, Mary and Ann.]

* * * * *

XVIII.

EPILOGUE TO "THE MAN OF MODE; OR, SIR FOPLING FLUTTER;"

BY SIR GEORGE ETHEREGE, 1676.

Most modern wits such monstrous fools have shown,
They seem not of Heaven's making, but their own.
Those nauseous harlequins in farce may pass;
But there goes more to a substantial ass:
Something of man must be exposed to view,
That, gallants, they may more resemble you.
Sir Fopling is a fool so nicely writ,
The ladies would mistake him for a wit;
And, when he sings, talks loud, and cocks, would cry,
I vow, methinks, he's pretty company: 10
So brisk, so gay, so travell'd, so refined,
As he took pains to graff upon his kind.
True fops help nature's work, and go to school
To file and finish God Almighty's fool.
Yet none Sir Fopling him, or him can call;
He's knight o' the shire, and represents ye all.
From each he meets he culls whate'er he can;
Legion's his name, a people in a man.
His bulky folly gathers as it goes,
And, rolling o'er you, like a snow-ball grows. 20
His various modes from various fathers follow;
One taught the toss, and one the new French wallow:
His sword-knot this, his cravat that design'd;
And this the yard-long snake he twirls behind.
From one the sacred periwig he gain'd,
Which wind ne'er blew, nor touch of hat profaned.
Another's diving bow he did adore,
Which with a shog casts all the hair before,
Till he, with full decorum, brings it back,
And rises with a water-spaniel shake. 30
As for his songs, the ladies' dear delight,
These sure he took from most of you who write.
Yet every man is safe from what he fear'd;
For no one fool is hunted from the herd.

* * * * *

XIX.

EPILOGUE TO "ALL FOR LOVE."

Poets, like disputants, when reasons fail,
Have one sure refuge left--and that's to rail.
Fop, coxcomb, fool, are thunder'd through the pit;
And this is all their equipage of wit.
We wonder how the devil this difference grows,
Betwixt our fools in verse, and yours in prose:
For, 'faith, the quarrel rightly understood,
'Tis civil war with their own flesh and blood.
The threadbare author hates the gaudy coat;
And swears at the gilt coach, but swears afoot: 10
For 'tis observed of every scribbling man,
He grows a fop as fast as e'er he can;
Prunes up, and asks his oracle, the glass,
If pink and purple best become his face.
For our poor wretch, he neither rails nor prays;
Nor likes your wit, just as you like his plays;
He has not yet so much of Mr Bayes.
He does his best; and if he cannot please,
Would quietly sue out his writ of ease.
Yet, if he might his own grand jury call, 20
By the fair sex he begs to stand or fall.
Let Caesar's power the men's ambition move,
But grace you him who lost the world for love!
Yet if some antiquated lady say,
The last age is not copied in his play;
Heaven help the man who for that face must drudge,
Which only has the wrinkles of a judge.
Let not the young and beauteous join with those;
For should you raise such numerous hosts of foes,
Young wits and sparks he to his aid must call; 30
'Tis more than one man's work to please you all.

* * * * *

XX.

PROLOGUE TO "LIMBERHAM."

True wit has seen its best days long ago;
It ne'er look'd up, since we were dipp'd in show:
When sense in doggerel rhymes and clouds was lost,
And dulness flourish'd at the actors' cost.
Nor stopp'd it here; when tragedy was done,
Satire and humour the same fate have run,
And comedy is sunk to trick and pun.
Now our machining lumber will not sell,
And you no longer care for heaven or hell;
What stuff can please you next, the Lord can tell. 10
Let them, who the rebellion first began
To wit restore the monarch, if they can;
Our author dares not be the first bold man.
He, like the prudent citizen, takes care
To keep for better marts his staple ware;
His toys are good enough for Sturbridge fair.
Tricks were the fashion; if it now be spent,
'Tis time enough at Easter to invent;
No man will make up a new suit for Lent.
If now and then he takes a small pretence, 20
To forage for a little wit and sense,
Pray pardon him, he meant you no offence.
Next summer, Nostradamus tells, they say,
That all the critics shall be shipp'd away,
And not enow be left to damn a play.
To every sail beside, good heaven, be kind:
But drive away that swarm with such a wind,
That not one locust may be left behind!

* * * * *

XXI.

EPILOGUE TO "MITHRIDATES, KING OF PONTUS;"

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