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O fay, this Comedy pleas'd long ago,
Is, not enough to make it
Yet, gentlemen, your ancestors had wit;
When few men cenfur'd, and when fewer writ.
And Jonfon, of those few the best, chose this,
As the best model of his master-piece :
Subtle was got by our Albumazar,
That Alchymift by this Aftrologer;
Here he was fashion'd, and we may fuppofe
He lik'd the fashion well, who wore the clothes.
But Ben made nobly his what he did mould;
What was another's lead, becomes his gold:
Like an unrighteous conqueror he reigns,
Yet rules that well, which he unjustly gains.
By this our age fuch authors does afford,
As make whole plays, and yet scarce write one word:
Who, in his anarchy of wit, rob all,
And what's their plunder, their poffeffion call :
Who, like bold padders, fcorn by night to prcy,
But rob by fun-fhine, in the face of day:
Nay fcarce the common ceremony use
Of, Stand, Sir, and deliver up your Muse;
But knock the Poet down, and, with a grace,
Mount Pegafus before the owner's face.
Faith, if you have fuch country Toms abroad,
Tis time for all true men to leave that road.
Yet it were modeft, could it but be faid,
They ftrip the living, but these rob the dead;
I An old play from which Ben Jenfon took the hint of his Alchymift,
Dare with the mummies of the Mufes play,
And make love to them the Egyptian way;
Or, as a rhiming author would have faid,
Join the dead living to the living dead.
Such men in Poetry may claim some part:
They have the license, tho' they want the art;
And might, where theft was prais'd, for Laureats stand,
Poets, not of the head, but of the hand.
They make the benefits of others ftudying,
Much like the meals of politic Jack-Pudding,
Whofe difh to challenge no man has the courage;
"Tis all his own, when once he has fpit i' th' porridge.
But, gentlemen, you're all concern'd in this;
You are in fault for what they do amifs:
For they their thefts ftill undifcover'd think,
And durft not fteal, unless you pleafe to wink.
Perhaps, you may award by your decree,
They fhould refund; but that can never be.
For fhould you letters of reprifal seal,
These men write that which no man else would fteal.
OU faw our wife was chafte, yet throughly try'd And, without doubt, y' are hugely edify'd; For, like our hero, whom we fhew'd to-day, You think no woman true, but in a play. Love once did make a pretty kind of show: Efteem and kindness in one breaft would grow: But 'twas Heav'n knows how many years ago. Now fome fmall chat, and guinea expectation, Gets all the pretty creatures in the nation: In Comedy your little felves you meet; 'Tis Convent Garden drawn in Bridges-ftreet.
Smile on our author then, if he has fhown
A jolly nut-brown baftard of your own.
Ah! happy you, with eafe and with delight,
Who act thofe follies, Poets toil to write!
The fweating Mufe does almost leave the chace;
She puffs, and hardly keeps your Protean vices pace.
Pinch but in one vice, away you fly
To fome new frisk of contrariety.
You rowl like fnow-balls, gathering as you run,
And get feven devils, when difpoffefs'd of one.
Your Venus once was a Platonic queen;
Nothing of love befide the face was feen;
But every inch of her you now uncafe,
And clap a vizard-mafk upon the face,
For fins like thefe, the zealous of the land,
With little hair, and little or no band,
Declare, how circulating peftilences
Watch, every twenty years, to fnap offences.
Saturn, e'en now, takes doctoral degrees;
He'll do your work this fummer without fees.
Let all the boxes, Phoebus, find thy grace,
And, ah, preserve the eighteen-penny place!
But for the pit confounders, let 'em go,
And find as little mercy as they show:
The Actors thus, and thus thy Poets pray;
For ev'ry critic fav'd, thou damn'st a play.
To the HUSBAND his own CUCKOLD.
[By Mr. JOHN DRYDEN, Jun', 1696.]
IKE fome raw fophifter that mounts the pulpit,
So trembles a young Poet at a full pit.
Unus'd to crowds, the Parfon quakes for fear,
And wonders how the devil he durft come there;
Wanting three talents needful for the place,
Some beard, fome learning, and fome little grace:
Nor is the puny Poet void of care;
For authors, fuch as our new authors are,
Have not much learning, nor much wit to spare:
And as for grace, to tell the truth, there's fcarce one,
But has as little as the very Parfon :
Both fay, they preach and write for your inftruction:
But 'tis for a third day, and for induction.
The difference is, that tho' you like the play,
The Poet's gain is ne'er beyond his day.
But with the Parfon 'tis another cafe,
He, without holiness, may rife to grace;
The Poet has one disadvantage more,
That if his play be dull, he's damn'd all o’er,
Not only a damn'd blockhead, but damn'd poor,
But dulnefs well becomes the fable garment;
I warrant that ne'er spoil'd a Prieft's preferment:
Wit's not his business, and as wit now goes,
Sirs, 'tis not so much yours as you fuppofe,
For you like nothing now but naufeous beaux.
You laugh not, gallants, as by proof appears,
At what his beaufhip fays, but what he wears;
So 'tis your eyes are tickled, not your ears:
The taylor and the furrier find the stuff,
The wit lies in the dress, and monftrous muff,
The truth on't is, the payment of the pit
Is like for like, clipt money for clipt wit.
You cannot from our abfent author hope
He should equip the ftage with fuch a fop:
Fools change in England, and new fools arife,
For tho' the immortal species never dies,
Yet ev'ry year new maggots make new flies.
But where he lives abroad, he fcarce can find
One fool, for million that he left behind.
[By BEAUMONT and FLETCHER.]
Revived for our Author's Benefit, Anno 17co.
WOW wretched is the fate of thofe who write!
Brought muzzled to the ftage, for fear they bite. Where, like Tom Dove, they ftand the common foe; Lugg'd by the critic, baited by the beau.
Yet worse, their brother Poets damn the play,
And roar the loudeft, tho' they never pay.
The fops are proud of fcandal, for they cry,
At every lewd, low character, -That's I.
He, who writes letters to himfelf, would fwear,
The world forgot him, if he was not there.
What should a Poet do? 'Tis hard for one
To pleasure all the fools that wou'd be shown:
And yet not two in ten will pafs the town.