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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,
Peep'd in your fans, been serious thus, and cried,
The play may pass-but that strange creature Shore,

I can't-indeed now-I so hate a whore

Just as a blockhead rubs his thoughtless skull,
And thanks his stars he was not born a fool;
So from a sister-sinner you shall hear,
"How strangely you expose yourself, my dear!"
But let me die, all raillery apart,

Our sex are still forgiving at their heart;
And, did not wicked customs so contrive,
We'd be the best good-natured things alive.

There are, 'tis true, who tell another tale,
That virtuous ladies envy while they rail;
Such rage without betrays the fire within;
In some close corner of the soul they sin;
Still hoarding up, most scandalously nice,
Amidst their virtues, a reserve of vice.
The godly dame, who fleshly failings damns,

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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,

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He has a husband that will make amends:
He draws him gentle, tender, and forgiving;

And sure such kind good creatures may be living.

In days of old, they pardon'd breach of vows,
Stern Cato's self was no relentless spouse:

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Plu-Plutarch, what's his name that writes his life?
Tells us, that Cato dearly loved his wife:
Yet, if a friend a night or so should need her,
He'd recommend her as a special breeder.
To lend a wife, few here would scruple make;
But, pray, which of you all would take her back?


Though with the Stoic chief our stage may ring,
The Stoic husband was the glorious thing.
The man had courage, was a sage, 'tis true,
And loved his country-but what's that to you?
Those strange examples ne'er were made to fit ye,
But the kind cuckold might instruct the city :
There, many an honest man may copy Cato,
Who ne'er saw naked sword, or look'd in Plato.
If, after all, you think it a disgrace,
That Edward's miss thus perks it in your face;
To see a piece of failing flesh and blood,
In all the rest so impudently good;



'Faith, let the modest matrons of the town

Come here in crowds, and stare the strumpet down.




[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.
Blockheads with reason men of sense abhor;
But fool 'gainst fool is barbarous civil war.
Why on all authors then should critics fall?
Since some have writ, and shown no wit at all.
Condemn a play of theirs, and they evade it,


Cry, "Damn not us, but damn the French who made it.”
By running goods, these graceless owlers gain;
These are the rules of France, the plots of Spain :
But wit, like wine, from happier climates brought,


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?
It had been civil in these ticklish times,


To fetch his fools and knaves from foreign climes,


Spaniards and French abuse to the world's end,
But spare old England, lest you hurt a friend.
If any fool is by our satire bit,

Let him hiss loud, to show you all, he's hit.
Poets make characters, as salesmen clothes,
We take no measure of your fops and beaus,
But here all sizes and all shapes you meet,
And fit yourselves, like chaps in Monmouth-street.
Gallants! look here, this Fools-cap1 has an air,
Goodly and smart, with ears of Issachar.
Let no one fool engross it, or confine,

A common blessing! now 'tis yours, now mine.
But poets in all ages had the care

To keep this cap, for such as will, to wear,
Our author has it now, (for every wit

Of course resign'd it to the next that writ:)
And thus upon the stage 'tis fairly 2 thrown;
Let him that takes it, wear it as his own.


GROWN old in rhyme, 'twere barbarous to discard
Your persevering, unexhausted bard:

Damnation follows death in other men,
But your damn'd poet lives, and writes again.
The adventurous lover is successful still,

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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.
He scorn'd to borrow from the wits of yore;
But ever writ, as none e'er writ before.


You modern wits, should each man bring his claim,

Have desperate debentures on your fame;
And little would be left you, I'm afraid,

If all your debts to Greece and Rome were paid.

1 Shows a cap with ears.

2 Flings down the cap, and exit.
8 [Tom D'Urfey died in 1723.]

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From his deep fund our Author largely draws;
Nor sinks his credit lower than it was.
Though plays for honour in old time he made,
'Tis now for better reasons-to be paid.
Believe him, he has known the world too long,
And seen the death of much immortal song.
He says, poor poets lost, while players won,
As pimps grow rich, while gallants are undone.
Though Tom the poet writ with ease and pleasure,
The comic Tom abounds in other treasure.
Fame is at best an unperforming cheat;
But 'tis substantial happiness to eat.

Let ease, his last request, be of your giving,
Nor force him to be damn'd to get his living.

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[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,
With arts arising Sophonisba rose;

The Tragic Muse, returning wept her woes.
With her the Italian scene first learn'd to glow,
And the first tears for her were taught to flow:
Her charms the Gallic Muses next inspired;
Corneille himself saw, wonder'd, and was fired.

What foreign theatres with pride have shown,

Britain, by juster title, makes her own.
When freedom is the cause, 'tis hers to fight,
And hers, when freedom is the theme, to write.
For this a British author bids again
The heroine rise to grace the British scene:
Here, as in life, she breathes her genuine flame,
She asks, what bosom has not felt the same?
Asks of the British youth-is silence there?
She dares to ask it of the British fair.




To-night our homespun author would be true
At once to nature, history, and you.

Well pleased to give our neighbours due applause,
He owns their learning, but disdains their laws,
Not to his patient touch, or happy flame,

'Tis to his British heart he trusts for fame.

If France excel him in one freeborn thought,
The man, as well as poet, is in fault.
Nature! informer of the poet's art,

Whose force alone can raise or melt the heart,
Thou art his guide; each passion, every line,
Whate'er he draws to please, must all be thine.
Be thou his judge: in every candid breast
Thy silent whisper is the sacred test.

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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,
Time, health, and fortune, are not lost in vain.
Sheffield approves, consenting Phoebus bends,
And I and Malice from this hour are friends.


[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

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