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EPILOGUE TO MR. ROWE'S JANE SHORE.
DESIGNED FOR MRS. OLDFIELD.
PRODIGIOUS this! the frail one of our play
From her own sex should mercy find to-day!
You might have held the pretty head aside,
I can't-indeed now-I so hate a whore
Just as a blockhead rubs his thoughtless skull,
Our sex are still forgiving at their heart;
There are, 'tis true, who tell another tale,
Scolds with her maids, 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:
And sure such kind good creatures may be living.
In days of old, they pardon'd breach of vows,
Plu-Plutarch, what's his name that writes his life?
Though with the Stoic chief our stage may ring,
'Faith, let the modest matrons of the town
Come here in crowds, and stare the strumpet down.
PROLOGUE TO THE THREE HOURS AFTER
[Brought on the stage, and condemned, the first night, 1716.]
UTHORS are judged by strange capricious rules;
The great ones are thought mad, the small ones fools:
Yet sure the best are most severely fated,
For fools are only laugh'd at, wits are hated.
Cry, "Damn not us, but damn the French who made it.”
Dash'd by these rogues, turns English common draught.
And teach dull harlequins to grin in vain.
They pall Molière's and Lopez' sprightly strain,
How shall our author hope a gentler fate,
Who dares most impudently not translate?
To fetch his fools and knaves from foreign climes,
Spaniards and French abuse to the world's end,
Let him hiss loud, to show you all, he's hit.
A common blessing! now 'tis yours, now mine.
To keep this cap, for such as will, to wear,
Of course resign'd it to the next that writ:)
PROLOGUE DESIGNED FOR MR. D'URFEY'S LAST PLAY.3
GROWN old in rhyme, 'twere barbarous to discard
Damnation follows death in other men,
Who strives to please the fair against her will :
Be kind, and make him in his wishes easy,
Who in your own despite has strove to please ye.
You modern wits, should each man bring his claim,
Have desperate debentures on your fame;
If all your debts to Greece and Rome were paid.
1 Shows a cap with ears.
2 Flings down the cap, and exit.
From his deep fund our Author largely draws;
Let ease, his last request, be of your giving,
PROLOGUE TO THOMSON'S SOPHONISBA.
[Dr. Johnson, in his Life of Pope, says, "I have been told by Savage, that of the Prologue to Sophonisba, the first part was written by Pope, who could not be persuaded to finish it, and that the concluding lines were added by Mallet"]:
HEN learning, after the long Gothic night,
Fair o'er the western world, renew'd its light,
The Tragic Muse, returning wept her woes.
What foreign theatres with pride have shown,
Britain, by juster title, makes her own.
To-night our homespun author would be true
Well pleased to give our neighbours due applause,
'Tis to his British heart he trusts for fame.
If France excel him in one freeborn thought,
Whose force alone can raise or melt the heart,
OCCASIONED BY SOME VERSES OF HIS GRACE THE DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM.
USE, 'tis enough: at length thy labour ends,
And thou shalt live, for Buckingham commends.
Let crowds of critics now my verse assail,
Let Dennis write, and nameless numbers rail:
This more than pays whole years of thankless pain,
[The lines by Buckingham compliment Pope on his Iliad, and also on his worth as a companion and friend. For a notice of Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham, by Pope, see Essay on Criticism, vol. ii. p. 214. This nobleman lived in great state in Buckingham House, St. James's Park. He built the mansion in 1703, and in a letter to the Duke of Shrewsbury describes minutely its fine gardens, noble terrace, park, and canal, with its magnificent apartments, pictures, sculpture, and other decorations. He dwells with pleasure on the avenues to the house along St. James's Park, "through rows of goodly elms on one hand, and gay flourishing limes on the other;" and on his book-closet at the end of the green-house, under the windows of which was a little wilderness, full of blackbirds and nightingales. Pope said the stately mansion was a country house in the summer, and a town house in the winter. Buckingham House, it is well known, was purchased by George