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And thinks a secret to all humankind,)
Till mightily in love, yet half afraid,
He first attempts the gentle dairymaid.
Succeeding there, and led by the renown
Of Whetstone's Park, he comes at length to

town, Where enter'd, by some school-fellow or

friend, He grows to break glass windows in the

end: His valor too, which with the watch began, Proceeds to duel, and he kills his man. By such degrees, while knowledge he did

want, Our unfletch'd author writ a Wild Gallant. He thought him monstrous lewd (I 'll lay

IO

see

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my life)

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Because suspected with his landlord's wife; But, since his knowledge of the town be

gan, He thinks him now a very civil man; And, much asham'd of what he was be

fore, Has fairly play'd him at three wenches

more. T is some amends his frailties to confess: Pray pardon him his want of wickedness. He's towardly, and will come on apace; His frank confession shows he has some

grace. You balk'd him when he was a young be

ginner, And almost spoil'd a very hopeful sinner; But, if once more you slight bis weak in

deavor, For anght I know, he may turn tail for

To make regalios out of common meat. But, in your diet, you grow salvages: Nothing but human flesh your taste can

please; And, as their feasts with slaughter'd slaves

began, So you, at each new play, must have a Hither you come, as to see prizes fought; If no blood 's drawn, you cry, the prize is

naught. But fools grow wary now; and, when they A poet eyeing round the company, Straight each man for himself begins to

doubt; They shrink like seamen when a press comes

out. Few of 'em will be found for public use, Except you charge an oaf upon each house, Like the trainbands, and every man ingage For a sufficient fool, to serve the stage. And when, with much ado, you get him

there, Where he in all his glory should appear, Your poets make him such rare things to

say, That he's more wit than any man i' th’

play; But of so ill a mingle with the rest, As when a parrot's taught to break a

jest. Thus, aiming to be fine, they make a show, As tawdry squires in country churches

do. Things well consider'd, 't is so hard to make A comedy which should the knowing take, That our dull poet, in despair to please, Does humbly beg, by me, his writ of ease. 'T is a land tax, which he's too poor to pay; You therefore must some other impost

lay. Would

you but change, for serious plot and

verse, This motley garniture of fool and farce, Nor scorn a mode, because 't is taught at

home, Which does, like vests, our gravity become, Our poet yields you should this play re

fuse: As tradesmen, by the change of fashions,

lose, With some content, their fripperies of

France, In hope it may their staple trade advance.

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ever.

EPILOGUE

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Of all dramatic writing, comic wit,
As 't is the best, so 't is most hard to hit,
For it lies all in level to the eye,
Where all may judge, and each defect may

spy.
Humor is that which every day we meet,
And therefore known as every public street;
In which, if e'er the poet go astray,
You all can point, 't was there he lost his

way. But, what's so common, to make pleasant

too, Is

more than any wit can always do. For 't is like Türks, with hen and rice to

treat;

10

PROLOGUE, EPILOGUE, AND SONGS FROM SIR MARTIN MAR-ALL

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OR, THE FEIGN'D INNOCENCE [This comedy is an adaptation of Molière's L'Étourdi. Downes states that the Duke of Newcastle gave Dryden a bare translation from Molière, which our poet adapted for the English stage. Popys saw the play on August 16, 1667, when he terms it “the new play acted yesterday ... made by my Lord Duke of Newcastle, but, as everybody says, corrected by Dryden." It was entered on the Stationers' Register June 24, 1668 (Malone, I, 1, 93), as the Duke's play, and published anonymously in that year. Dryden's name did not appear on the title-page until 1691.

The first song is printed also in Westminster Drollery; or, a Choice Collection of the Newest Songs and Poems, 1671.]

A jury of the wits who still stay late,
And in their club decree the poor play's

fate: Their verdict back is to the boxes brought; Thence all the town pronounces it their

thought. Thus, gallants, we like Lilly can foresee; But

you ask us what our doom will

be, We by to-morrow will our fortune cast, As he tells all things when the year is

past.

SONGS

I

PROLOGUE

I

MAKE ready, fair lady, to-night,

And stand at the door below;
For I will be there
To receive you with care,

And to your true love you shall go.

II

Fools, which each man meets in his dish

each day, Are yet the great regalios of a play; In which to poets you but just appear, To prize that highest which cost them so

dear. Fops in the town more easily will pass; One story makes a statutable ass: But such in plays must be much thicker

sown, Like yolks of eggs, a dozen beat to one. Observing poets all their walks invade, As men watch woodcocks gliding thro' a

glade; And when they have enough for comedy, They stow their several bodies in a pie: The poet's but the cook to fashion it, For, gallants, you yourselves have found

the wit. To bid you welcome would your bounty

wrong; None welcome those who bring their cheer

along

THE LADY'S ANSWER And when the stars twinkle so bright,

Then down to the door will I creep; To my love will I fly, Ere the jealous can spy,

And leave my old daddy asleep.

IO

II

I

Blind love, to this hour, Had never, like me, a slave under his

power. Then blest be the dart That he threw at my heart,

For nothing can prove A joy so great as to be wounded with love.

EPILOGUE

II

As country vicars, when the sermon 's

done, Run huddling to the benediction; Well knowing, tho' the better sort may

stay, The vulgar rout will run unblest away:

My days and my nights Are fill’d to the purpose with sorrows and

frights: From my heart still I sigh, And my eyes are ne'er dry;

10

So that, Cupid be prais'd, I am to the top of love's happiness rais'd.

III

My soul 's all on fire, So that I have the pleasure to dote and de

sire; Such a pretty soft pain That it tickles each vein;

T is the dream of a smart, Which makes me breathe short when it

beats at my heart.

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IV

Springs up and buds a new reviving play: Shakespeare, who taught by none) did first

impart To Fletcher wit, to laboring Jonson art. He, monarch-like, gave those, his subjects,

law; And is that nature which they paint and

draw. Fletcher reach'd that which on his heights

did

grow, Whilst Jonson crept, and gather'd all below. This did his love, and this his mirth digest: One imitates him most, the other best. If they have since outwrit all other men, 'T is with the drops which fell from Shake

speare's pen. The storm which vanish'd on the neigh

b’ring shore, Was taught by Shakespeare's Tempest first

to roar. That innocence and beauty which did smile In Fletcher, grew on this Enchanted Isle. But Shakespeare's magic could not copied

be; Within that circle none durst walk but he. 20 I must confess 't was bold, nor would you

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That liberty to vulgar wits allow,
Which works by magic supernatural things;
But Shakespeare's pow'r is sacred as a

king's. Those legends from old priesthood were re

ceiv'd, And he then writ, as people then believ'd. But if for Shakespeare we your grace im

plore, We for our theater shall want it more: Who by our dearth of youths are forc'd

temploy One of our women to present a boy; And that's a transformation, you will say, Exceeding all the magic in the play. Let none expect in the last act to find Her sex transform'd from man to woman

kind. Whate'er she was before the play began, All you shall see of her is perfect man. Or if your fancy will be farther led To find her woman, it must be abed.

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EPILOGUE

PROLOGUE As, when a tree's cut down, the secret root Lives underground, and thence new branches

shoot; So from old Shakespeare's honor'd dust,

GALLANTS, by all good signs it does appear That sixty-seven 's a very damning year, For knaves abroad, and for ill poets here.

this day

was.

9

30

Among the Muses there 's a gen'ral rot: Like an unrighteous conqueror he reigns, The rhyming Mounsieur and the Spanish Yet rules that well, which he unjustly gains. plot,

But this our age such authors does afford, Defy or court, all 's one, they go to pot. As make whole plays, and yet scarce write

one word; The ghosts of poets walk within this place, Who, in this anarchy of wit, rob all, And haunt us actors wheresoe'er we pass, And what's their plunder, their possession In visions bloodier than King Richard's

call; Who, like bold padders, scorn by night to

prey, For this poor wretch he has not much to say, But rob by sunshine, in the face of day: 20 But quietly brings in his part o'th' play, Nay, scarce the common ceremony use And begs the favor to be damn’d to-day. Of: “Stand, sir, and deliver up your

Muse; He sends me only like a sh’riff's man here, But knock the poet down, and, with a To let you know the malefactor 's near,

grace, And that he means to die en cavalier. Mount Pegasus before the owner's face.

Faith, if you have such country Toms For if you should be gracious to his pen,

abroad, Th' example will prove ill to other men, 'T is time for all true men to leave that And you 'll be troubled with 'em all again.

road. Yet it were modest, could it but be said,

They strip the living, but these rob the VPROLOGUE TO ALBUMAZAR,

dead;
REVIV'D

Dare with the mummies of the Muses play,
And make love to them the Egyptian

way;
[This play was written by Thomas Tomkis,
of Trinity College, Cambridge, where it was

Or, as a rhyming author would have said, acted March 9, 1615, on the occasion of a visit

Join the dead living to the living dead. by King James I. Pepys saw a revival of it, Such men in poetry may claim some part: doubtless that for which Dryden wrote this They have the license, tho’ they want the prologue, on February 22, 1668. The prologue

art; is printed anonymously in the Covent Garden And might, where theft was prais’d, for Drollery, 1672; and with Dryden's name in

Laureats stand, Miscellany Poems, 1684, from which this text

Poets, not of the head, but of the hand. is taken.

They make the benefits of others' studySince The Alchemist was acted in 1610, there

ing, is no possible truth in Dryden's assertion in lines 5-10.]

Much like the meals of politic Jack-Pud

ding, To say, this comedy pleas'd long ago, Whose dish to challenge no man has the Is not enough to make it pass you now.

courage; Yet, gentlemen, your ancestors had wit; 'T is all his own, when once h’ bas spit i’ When few men censur'd, and when fewer th' porridge. writ.

But, gentlemen, you 're all concern'd in And Jonson, of those few the best, chose

this; this,

You are in fault for what they do amiss: As the best model of his masterpiece. For they their thefts still undiscover'd Subtle was got by our Albumazar,

think, That Alchymist by his Astrologer;

And durst not steal, unless you please to Here he was fashion'd, and we may sup

wink. pose

Perhaps, you may award by your decree, He lik'd the fashion well, who wore the They should refund; but that can never be. clothes.

For should you letters of reprisal seal, But Ben made nobly his what he did mold; These men write that which no man else What was another's lead becomes his gold:

would steal.

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My part being small, I have had time to

day To mark your various censures of our play: First, looking for a judgment or a wit, Like Jews I saw 'em scatter'd thro' the pit; And where a knot of smilers lent an ear To one that talk'd, I knew the foe was

there. The club of jests went round; he who had

none

Borrow'd o'th' next, and told it for his

Own.

warm

WHEN first our poet set himself to write, Like a young bridegroom on his wedding

night He laid about him, and did so bestir him, His Muse could never lie in quiet for him: But now his honeymoon is gone and past, Yet the ungrateful drudgery must last, And he is bound, as civil husbands do, To strain himself, in complaisance to you; To write in pain, and counterfeit a bliss Like the faint smackings of an after-kiss. 10 But you, like wives ill-pleas'd, supply his

want: Each writing Monsieur is a fresh gallant; And tho', perhaps, 't was done as well be

fore, Yet still there's something in a new amour. Your several poets work with several tools: One gets you wits, another gets you fools; This pleases you with some by-stroke of

wit, This finds some cranny that was never hit. But should these jaunty lovers daily come To do your work, like your good man at

home, Their fine small-timber'd wits would soon

decay: These are gallants but for a holiday. Others you had who oft'ner have appear'd, Whom for mere impotence you have

cashier'd: Such as at first came on with pomp and

glory, But, over-straining, soon fell flat before

ye. Their useless weight with patience long was

borne, But at the last you threw 'em off with

20

Among the rest they kept a fearful stir
In whisp'ring that he stole th’ Astrologer; 10
And said, betwixt a French and English plot
He eas'd his half-tir'd Muse, on pace and

trot. Up starts a Mounsieur, new come o'er and In the French stoop, and the pull-back o'

th' arm: “ Morbleu,dit-il, and cocks, “ I am a rogue, But he has quite spoil'd The Feign’d Astro

logue.“ Pox,” says another," here's so great a stir With a son of a whore farce that's regular; A rule, where nothing must decorum

shock ! Damme 'ts as dull as dining by the clock. 20 An evening! Why the devil should we be

vex'd Whether he gets the wench this night or

next?" When I heard this, I to the poet went, Told him the house was full of discontent, And ask'd him what excuse he could in

vent. He neither swore nor storm'd as poets do, But, most unlike an author, vow'd 't was

true; Yet said, he us’d the French like enemies,

scorn.

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