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PROLOGUE,

Spoken the First Day of the KING'S HOUSE Acting after the Fire of London.

O fhipwreck'd paffengers efcape to land,

So look they, when on the bare beach they ftand Dropping and cold, and their firft fear fcarce o'er, Expecting famine on a defart fhore.

From that hard climate we must wait for bread,
Whence e'en the natives, forc'd by hunger, fled.
Our stage does human chance prefent to view,
But ne'er before was feen fo fadly true:
You are chang'd too, and your pretence to fee
Is but a nobler name for charity.

Your own provifions furnish out our feasts,
While you the founders make yourfelves the guests.
Of all mankind befide fate had fome care,
But for poor Wit no portion did prepare,
'Tis left a rent-charge to the brave and fair.
You cherish'd it, and now its fall you mourn,
Which blind unmanner'd zealots make their fcorn,
Who think that fire a judgment on the stage,
Which spar'd not temples in its furious rage.
But as our new-built city rises higher,
So from old theatres may new aspire,
Since fate contrives magnificence by fire.
Our great metropolis does far surpass
Whate'er is now, and equals all that was:
Our wit as far does foreign wit excel,
And, like a king, should in a palace dwell.
But we with golden hopes are vainly fed,
Talk high, and entertain you in a shed :
Your prefence here, for which we humbly fue,
Will grace old theatres, and build up new.

Q4

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PRO

PROLOGUE

Spoken at the Opening of the NEW HOUSE, March 26, 1674.

A

Plain built houfe, after fo long a stay,
Will fend you half unfatisfy'd away;

When, fall'n from your expected pomp, you find
A bare convenience only is defign'd.

You, who each day can theatres behold,
Like Nero's palace, fhining all with gold,
Our mean ungilded stage will scorn, we fear,
And, for the homely room, difdain the cheer.
Yet now cheap druggets to a mode are grown,
And a plain fuit, fince we can make but one,
Is better than to be by tarnish'd gawdry known.
They, who are by your favours wealthy made,
With mighty fums may carry on the trade :
We, broken bankers, half deftroy'd by fire,
With our small stock to humble roofs retire;
Pity our lofs, while you their pomp admire.
For fame and honour we no longer strive,
We yield in both, and only beg to live:
Unable to fupport their vast expence,
Who build and treat with fuch magnificence;
That, like th' ambitious monarchs of the
They give the law to our provincial stage.
Great neighbours enviously promote excess,
While they impose their splendor on the less.
But only fools, and they of vast estate,
Th' extremity of modes will imitate,

age,

The dangling knee-fringe, and the bib-cravat,

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1 This Prologue was wrote for the King's company, who had juft opened their house in Drury-lane.

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