Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

EPILOGUE.

COULD

poets but foresee how plays would take, Then they could tell what epilogues to make ; Whether to thank or blame their audience most : But that late knowledge does much hazard cost, 'Till dice are thrown, there's nothing won, nor lost, So 'till the thief bas stol'n, he cannot know Whether he sball escape the law, or no. But poets run much greater bazards far, Than they who stand their trials at the bar; The law provides a curb for its own fury, And suffers judges to direct the jury. But in this court, what dif'rence does appear! For every one's both judge and jury here; Nay, and what's worse, an executioner. All have a right and title to some part, Each choosing that in which be bas most art. The dreadful men of learning all confound, Unless the fable’s good and moral sound. The vizor-masks that are in pit and gallery, Approve or damn the repartee and raillery. The lady critics, who are better read, Inquire if characters are nicely bred; If the soft things are penn'd and spoke with grace : They judge of action too, and time and place; In which we do not doubt but they are discerning

For that's a kind of assignation learning,
Beaus judge of dress; the witlings judge of songs;
The cuckoldom, of ancient right, to Cits belongs.
Thus poor poets the favour are deny'd,
Even to make exceptions, when they 're try'd.
'Tis hard that they must every one admit :
Methinks I see some faces in the pit,
Which must of consequence be foes to wit.
You who can judge, to sentence may proceed;
But tho he cannot write, let him be freed,
At least, from their contempt who cannot reail.

[ocr errors]

THE

OLD BATCHELOR.

А

COMEDY,

BY WILLIAM CONGREVE, Esq.

ADAPTED FOR

THEATRICAL REPRESENTATION,

AS PERFORMED AT THE

THEATRE-ROYAL, COVENT-GARDEN.

REGULATED FROM THE PROMPT-BOOK,

By Permission of the Manager.

The Lines distinguished by inverted Commas, arc omitted in the Representation

LONDON:

Printed for the Proprietors, under the Direction of

John Bell, British Library, STRAND, Bookseller to His Royal Highness the PRINCE of WALIS

MDCCXCY.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

How this vile world is chang'd! in former days,
Prologues were serious speeches before plays;
Grave solemn things, as graces are to feasts ;
Wbere poets begg’d a blessing from their guests :
But now, no more like supplicants we come ;
A play makes war, and prologue is the drum ;
Arm'd with keen satire, and with pointed wit,
We threaten you who do for judges sit,
To save our plays, or else we'll damn your pit.
But for

your comfort, it falls out to-day,
We've a young author, and his first-born play ;
So, standing only on his good behaviour,
He's very civil, and intreats your favour.
Not but the man has malice, would be shew it,
But, on my conscience, he's a bashful poet ;
You think that strangeno matter, he'll out-grow it. »
Well, I'm his advocate --by me he prays you,
(I do’nt know whether I shall speak to please you)
He prays

- bless me! what shall I do now?
Hang me if I know what be prays, or how !
And t was the prettiest prologue as he wrote it!
Well, the deuce take me if I han't forgot it.
O Lord! for heaven's sake, excuse the play,
Because, you know, if it be damn’d to-day,
I shall be hang'd for wanting what to say.
For
my

sake then But l'm in such confusion,
I cannot stay to hear your resolution.

[Runs off.

7

« VorigeDoorgaan »