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Ou'd Poets but foresee how Plays would take ;

Then they cou'd tell whai Epilogues to make ; Whether to thank or blame their Audience most :

But that late Knowledge does much Hazard cost,
'Til Dice are thrown, there's nothing won, nor lost.
So 'til the Thief has stoll'n, he cannot know
Wherher he shall elcape the Law, or no.
But Poets run much greater Hazards far,
Than then, who stand their Trials at the Barr ;
The Law provides a Curb for its own Fury,
And suffers fudges to direct the Jury.
But in this court, what Diff'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 !0 fome Part ,
Each chusing that in which he has most Art.
The dreadful Men of Learning all Confound,
Unless the Fable's good, and Moral found.
The Vizor-Masks, that are in Pit and Gallery,
Approve, or Damn, the Repartee and Raillery.
The Lady Criticks , who are better read,
Enquire it 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're discerning,
For that's a kind of Asignation Learning.
Beans judge of Dreds; 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 Trgjod.
'Tis hard that they must ev'ry 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 Read.


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