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PROLOGUE to the University of Oxford, Spoken by Mr. HART, at the Acting of the
7 Hat Greece, when learning flourish'd, only knew,
Athenian Judges, day renew. Here too are Annual Rites to Pallas done, And here Poetick Prizes loft or won. Methinks I see you, crown'd with Olives, fit, And strike a sacred Horror from the Pit. A Day of Doom is this of your Decree, Where even the Best are but by Mercy free: (see. A Day, which none but Johnson durst have wish'd to Here they, who long have known the useful Stage, Come to be taught themselves to teach the Age. As your Commissioners our Poets go, To cultivate the Virtue which you sow ; In your Lyceum first themselves refin'd, And delegated thence to Human-kind. But as Ambassadors, when long from home, For new Instructions to their Princes come; So Poets, who your Precepts have forgot, Return, and beg they may be better taught: Follies and Faults elsewhere by them are shown, But by your Manners they correct their own. Th’ illiterate Writer, Emperick like, applies To Minds diseas'd, unsafe, chance, Remedies : The Learn'd in Schools, where Knowledge first began, Studies with Care th' Anatomy of Man ; Sees Virtue, Vice, and Passions in their Cause, And Fame from Science, not from Fortune, draws.
So Poetry, which is in Oxford made
An Art, in London only is a Trade.
There haughty Dunces, whose unlearned Pen
Could ne'er spell Grammar, would be reading Men.
Such build their Poems the Lucretian way;
So many huddled Atoms make a Play;
And if they hit in Order by some Chance,
They call chat Nature, which is Ignorance.
'To such a Fame let mere Town-Wits aspire,
Nonsense their own Cits admire.
Our Poet, could he find Forgiveness here,
Would with it rather than a Plaudit there.
He owns no Crown from those Prætorian Bands,
But knows that Right is in the Senate's Hands.
Not impudent enough to hope your Praise,
Low at the Muses Feet his Wreath he lays,
And, where he took it up, resigns his Bays.
Kings make their Poets whom themselves think fit,
But 'tis your Suffrage makes authentick Wit.
EPILOGU E, Spoken by the fame.
O poor Dutch Peasant, wing’d with all his Fear,
Flies with more hatte, when the French Arms
Then we with our Poetick Train come down,
For refuge hither, from th' infected Town :
Heav'n for our Sins this Summer has thought fic
To visit us with all the Plagues of Wit.
A French Troop first swept all things in its way;
But those hot Monfieurs were too quick to stay :
Yet, to our Cost, in what short time, we find
They left their Itch of Novelty behind.
Th' Italian Merry-Andrews took their place,
And quite debauch'd the Stage with lewd Grimace :
Instead of Wit, and Humours, your Delight
Was there to see two Hobby-horses fight ;
Stout Scaramoucha with Run Lance rode in,
And ran a Tilt at Centaur Arlequin.
For Love you heard how amorous Affes bray'd,
And Cats in Gutters gave their Serenade.
Nature was out of Count'nance, and each Day
Some new-born Monster shewn you for a Play.
But when all faild, to strike the Stage quite dumb,
These wicked Engines call'd Machines are come.
Thunder and Lightning now for Wit are play'd,
And shortly Scenes in Lapland will be laid :
Art Magick is for Poetry profeft;
And Cats and Dogs, and each obscener Beast,
To which Ægyptian Dotards once did bow,
Upon our English Stage are worshipp'd now.
Witchcraft reigns there, and raises to Renown
Macbeth, and Simon Magus of the Town,
Fletcher's despis'd, your Johnson's out of Fashion,
And Wit the only Drug in all the Nation.
In this low Ebb our Wares to you are shown ;
By you those staple Authors worth is known ;
For Wit's a Manufacture of your own.
When you, who only can, their Scenes have prais’d,
We'll boldly back, and say, their Price is rais'd.
EPILOGU E, Spoken at OXFORD
By Mrs. MARSHALL.
FT has our Poet wilh'd, this happy Seat
I wonder'd at his Wilh, but now I find
He sought for quiet, and content of Mind;
Which noiseful Towns, and Courts can never know,
And only in the shades like Laurels grow.
Youth, ere it sees the World, here ftudies Reit,
And Age returning thence concludes it beft.
What wonder if we court that Happiness
Yearly to share, which hourly you poffefs,
Teaching e'en you, while the vext World we show,
Your Peace to value more, and better know?
'Tis all we can return for favours past,
Whose holy Memory fhall ever laft,
For Patronage from him whose care presides
O’er ev'ry noble Art, and every Science guides :
Bathurs, a name the learn'd with reverence know,
And scarcely more to his own Virgil owe;
Whose Age enjoys but what his Youth deserv'd,
To rule those Muses whom before he serv'd.
His Learning, and untainted Manners too,
We find, Athenians, are deriv'd to you:
Such antient Hospitality there rests
In yours, as dwelt in the first Grecian Breasts,
Whose kindness was Religion to their Guests.
Such Modesty did to our Sex appear,
As, had there been no Laws, we need not fear,
Since each of you was our Protector here.
Converse so chafte, and so strict Virtue Town,
As might Apollo with the Muses own.
Till our return, we must despair to find
Judges so juft, so knowing, and so kind.
PROLOGU E to the University of
Iscord, and Plots, which have undone our Age,
With the same ruin have o’erwhelm'd the Stage.
Our House has suffer'd in the common Woe,
We have been troubled with Scotch Rebels too.
Our Brethren are from Thames to Tweed departed,
And of our Sisters, all the kinder-hearted,
To Edinborough gone, or Coach'd, or Carted.
With Bonny Blewcap there they act all Night
For Scotch half Crown, in English Three-pence hight.
One Nymph, to whom fat Sir John Falsaf's lean,
There with her single Person fills the Scene.
Another, with long Use and Age decay'd,
Div'd here old Woman, and rose there a Maid.
Our Trusty Door-keepers of former time
There strut and swagger in Heroick Rhime.
Tack but a Copper-lace to Drugget Suit,
And there's a Hero made without dispute :
And that, which was a Capon's Tail before,
Becomes a Plume for Indian Emperor.
But all his Subjects, to express the Care
Of Imitation, go, like Indians, bare:
Lac'd Linen there would be a dangerous thing ;
It might perhaps a new Rebellion bring;
The Scot, who wore it, wou'd be chosen King.