« AnteriorContinuar »
PROLOGUE to SOPHONISBA
at Oxford, 1680. T Helpis, the firft Professor of our Art,
At Country Wakes, sung Ballads from a Cart.
To prove this true, if Latin be no Trespass,
Dicitur & Plauftris vexile Poemata Thespis.
But Æschylus, says Horace in fome Page,
Was the first Mountebank that trod the Stage :
Yet Athens never knew your learned Sport
Of tossing Poets in a Tennis-Court.
But 'tis the Talent of our English Nation,
Still to be plotting some new Reformation:
And few Years hence, if Anarchy goes on,
Jack Presbyter shall here erect his Throne,
Knock out a Tub with Preaching once a Day,
And ev'ry Pray'r be longer than a Play.
Then all your Heathen Wits shall go to pot,
For disbelieving of a Popilb-plot :
Your Poets shall be us'd like Infidels,
And worft the Author of the Oxford Bells :
Nor should we 'scape the Sentence, to depart,
E'en in our first Original, a Cart.
No Zealous Brother there wou'd want a Stone,
To maul us Cardinals, and pelt Pope Joan :
Religion, Learning, Wit, wou'd be fuppreft,
Rags of the Whore, and Trappings of the Beast:
Scot, Suarez, Tom of Aquin, must go down,
As chief Supporters of the Triple Crown;
And Aristotle's for destruction ripe ;
Some say, he call'd the Soul an Organ-pipe,
Which, by some fittle help of Derivation,
Shall then be prov'd a Pipe of Pnspiration.
PROLOGUE to the University of
HE fam'd Italian Muse, whose Rhymes advance
Orlando, and the Paladins of France, Records, that, when our Wit and Sense is flown, 'Tis lodg'd within the Circle of the Moon, In Earthen Jars, which one, who thither foar'd, Set to his Nose, snuff'd up, and was restor’d. Whate'er the Story be, the Moral's true; The Wit we lost in Town, we find in you. Our Poets their Aled Parts may draw from hence, And fill their windy Heads with sober Sense. When London Votes with Southwark's disagree, Here may they find their long-lost Loyalty. Here busy Senates, to th' old Cause inclin'd, May snuff the Votes their Fellows left behind: Your Country Neighbours, when their Grain grows deat,, May come, and find their last Provision here: Whereas we cannot much lament our Loss, Who neither carry'd back, nor brought one Cross. We look'd what Representatives wou'd bring; But they help'd us, just as they did the King. Yet we despair not; for we now lay forth The Sibyls Books to those who know their Worth ; And tho' the first was Sacrific'd before, These Volumes doubly will the Price restore. Our Poet bade us hope this Grace to find, To whom by long Prescription you are kind. He, whose undaunted Muse, with Loyal Rage, Has never spar'd the Vices of the Age, Here finding nothing that his Spleen can raise, Is forc'd to turn his Satire into Praise.
PROLOGUE to bis ROYAL HIGH
NESS, upon his first Appearance at the
Duke's Theatre, after his Return from
those cold Regions which no Summers chear,
Where brooding Darkness covers half the Year,
To hollow Caves the shiv'ring Natives go ;
Bears range abroad, and hunt in Tracks of Snow :
But when the tedious Twilight wears away,
And Stars grow paler at th' approach of Day,
The longing Crowds to frozen Mountains run ;
Happy who first can see the glimm'ring Sun:
The surly favage Offspring disappear,
And curse the bright Successor of the Year.
Yet, though rough Bears in Covert seek Defence,
White Foxes stay, with seeming Innocence :
That crafty Kind with Day-light can dispense.
Still we are throng'd fo full with Reynard's Race,
That Loyal Subjects scarce can find a Place :
Thus modelt Truth is caft behind the Croud:
Truth speaks too low; Hypocrisy too loud.
Let 'em be firit to flatter in Success ;
Duty can stay, but Guilt has need to press.
Once, when true Zeal the Sons of God did call,
To make their folemn Shew at Heav'n's Whitehall, • The fawning Devil appear'd among the rest,
And made as good a Courtier as the best.
The Friends of Job, who rail'd at him before,
Came Cap in hand when he had three times more.
Yet late Repentance may, perhaps, be true ;
Kings can forgive, if Rebels can but sue :
A Tyrant's Pow'r in Rigour is expreft ;
The Father yearns in the true Prince's Breast.
We grant, an o'ergrown Whig no Grace can mend ;
But most are Babes, that know not they offend,
The Croud, to restless Motion still inclin'd,
Are Clouds, that tack according to the Wind.
Driv'n by their Chiefs they Storms of Hailftones pour ;
Then mourn, and soften to a filent Show'r.
welcome to this much-offending Land,
The Prince that brings Forgiveness in his Hand!
Thus Angels on glad Messages appear :
Their first Salute commands us not to fear:
Thus Heav'n, that cou'd constrain us to obey,
(With Rev'rence if we might presume to say)
Seems to relax the Rights of sov'reign Sway:
Permits to Man the Choice of Good and Ill,
And makes us Happy by our own Free.will.
PROLOGUE to the EARL of Essex.
( By Mr. J. BANKS. 1682.)
Spoken to the King and the Qucen at their coming.
to the House.
Hen first the Ark was landed on the Shore,
And Heav'n had vow'd to curse the Ground no
When tops of Hills the longing Patriarch saw,
And the new Scene of Earth began to draw ;
The Dove was sent to view the Waves decrease,
And first brought back to Man the pledge of Peace.
'Tis needless to apply, when those appear,
Who bring the Olive, and who plant it here.
We have before our Eyes the Royal Dove,
Still innocent, as Harbinger to Love :
The Ark is open'd to dismiss the Train,
And people with a better Race the Plain.
Tell me, ye Pow'rs, why shou'd vain Man pursue,
With endless Toil, each Object that is new,
And for the seeming Substance leave the True ?
Why shou'd he quit for hopes his certain Good,
And loath the Manna of his daily Food?
Must England Itill the Scene of Changes be,
Taft and tempestuous, like our ambient Sea ?
Muft ftill our Weather and our Wills
Without our Blood our Liberties we have:
Who that is free wou'd fight to be a Slave?
Or, what can Wars to after-times affure,
Of which our present Age is not secure ?
All that our Monarch wou'd for us ordain,
Is but t' enjoy the Blessings of his Reign.
Our Land's an Eden, and the Main's our Fence;
While we preserve our State of Innocence :
That loft, then Beasts their brutal force employ,
And firft their Lord, and then themselves destroy
What Civil Broils have cost, we know too well;
Oh! let it be enough that once we fell !
And ev'ry Heart conspire, and ev'ry Tongue,
Ssill to have such a King, and this King long..