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Dauntless they enter, Cymon at their head,
And find the feast renew'd, the table spread :
Sweet voices, mix'd with instrumental sounds,
Ascend the vaulted roof, the vaulted roof rebounds :
When, like the harpies, rushing through the hall
The sudden troop appears, the tables fall
Their smoking load is on the pavement thrown ;
Each ravisher prepares to seize his own :
The brides, invaded with a rude embrace,
Shriek out for aid, confusion fills the place:
Quick to redeem the prey their plighted lords
Advance, the palace gleams with shining swords.
But late is all defence, and succour vain ;
The rape is made, the ravishers remain :
Two sturdy slaves were only sent before,
To bear the purchased prize in safety to the shore.
The troop retires, the lovers close the rear,
With forward faces not confessing fear :
Backward they move, but scorn their pace to mepd;
Then seek the stairs, and with slow haste descena.
Fierce Pasimond, their passage to prevent,
Thrust full on Cymon's back in his descent;
The blade return'd unbathed, and to the handle bent :
Stout Cymon soon remounts, and cleft in two
His rival's head with one descending blow:
And as the next in rank Ormisda stood,
He turn'd the point; the sword, inured to blood,
Bored his upguarded breast, which pour'd a purple flood
With vow'd revenge the gathering crowd pursues,
The ravishers turn head, the fight renews;
The hall is heap'd with corpse; the sprinkled gore
Besmears the walls, and floats the marble floor
Dispersed at length the drunken squadron flies,
The victors to their vessel bear the prize,
And hear behind loud groans, and lamentable cries.
The crew with merry shouts their anchors weigh,
Then ply their oars, and brush the buxom sea ;
While troops of gather'd Rhodians crowd the quay.
What should the people do when left alone?
The governor and government are gone.
The public wealth to foreign parts convey'd ;
Some troops disbanded, and the rest unpaid.
Rhodes the sovereign of the seas no more;
Their ships unrigg'd, and spent their naval store;
They neither could defend, nor can pursue,
But grind their teeth, and cast a helpless view:
In vain with darts a distant war they try;
Short, and more short, the missive weapons fly.
Meanwhile the ravishers their crimes enjoy,
And flying sails and sweeping oars employ;
The cliffs of Rhodes in little space are lost,
Jove's isle they seek, nor Jove denies his coast.
In safety landed on the Candian shore,
With generous wines their spirits they restore:
There Cymon with his Rhodian friend resides;
Both court, and wed, at once the willing brides.
A war ensues, the Cretans own their cause,
Stiff to defend their hospitable laws :
Both parties lose by turns; and neither wins,
Till peace propounded by a truce begins.
The kindred of the slain forgive the deed,
But a short exile must for show precede;
The term expired, from Candia they remove,
And happy each, at home, enjoys his love.
TO “ THE RIVAL LADIES." 'Tis much desired, you judges of the town Would pass a vote to put all prologues down; For who can show me, since they first were writ, They e'er converted one hard-hearted wit? Yet the world's mended well ; in former days Good prologues were as scarce as now good piays. For the reforming poets of our age, In this first charge, spend their poetic rage : Expect no more when once the prologue's done ; The wit is ended ere the play's begun. You now have habits, dances, scenes, and rhymes ; High language often; ay, and sense, sometimes. As for a clear contrivance, doubt it not ; They blow out candles to give light to th' plot. And for surprise, two bloody-minded men Fight till they die, then rise and dance again. Such deep intrigues you're welcome to this day : But blame yourselves, not him who writ the play ; Though his plot's dull, as can be well desired, Wit stiff as any you have e'er admired : He's bound to please, not to write well; and knows, There is a mode in plays as well as clothes ; Therefore, kind judges
A SECOND PROLOGUE ENTERS. 2.
admit For judges all you see within the pit ?
1. Whom would he then except, or on what score ?
2. All who (like him) have writ ill plays before ; For they, like thieves condemn’d, are hangmen made, To execute the members of their trade. All that are writing now he would disown, But then he must except—even all the town; All choleric, losing gamesters, who, in spite, Will damn to-day, because they lost last night;
All servants, whom their mistress' scorn upbraids ;
All maudlin lovers, and all slighted maids;
All, who are out of humour, or severe ;
All, that want wit, or hope to find it here.
TO “ THE INDIAN QUEEN.” As the music plays a soft air, the curtain rises slowly, and discovers an
Indian boy and girl sleeping under two plantain-trees; and, when the curtain is almost up, the music turns into a tune expressing an alarm, at which the boy awakes, and speaks:
WAKE, wake, Quevira ! our soft rest must cease,
And fly together with our country's peace!
No more must we sleep under plantain shade,
Which neither heat could pierce, nor cold invade ;
Where bounteous nature never feels decay,
And opening buds drive falling fruits away.
Why should men quarrel here, where all possess
As much as they can hope for by success ?-
None can have most, where nature is so kind,
As to exceed man's use, though not his mind.
By ancient prophecies we have been told,
Our world shall be subdued by one more old ;-
And, see, that world already's hither come.
If these be they, we welcome then our doom !
Their looks are such, that mercy flows from thence,
More gentle than our native innocence.
Why should we then fear these, our enemies,
That rather seem to us like deities ?
By their protection, let us beg to live ;
They came not here to conquer, but forgive.-
If so, your goodness may your power express,
And we shall judge both by our success.
TO “ SIR MARTIN MARR-ALL.” 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 through 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.
As when a tree's cut dowli, the secret root
Lives under ground, and thence new branches shoot;
So from old Shakspeare's honour'd dust, this day
Springs up and buds a new-reviving play:
Shakspeare, who (taught by none) did first impart
To Fletcher witmato labouring Jonson art.
He, monarch-like, gave those, his subjects, law;
Aud is that nature which they paint and draw.
Fletcher reach'd that which on his heights did grow,
While Jonson crept, and gather'd all below.
This did his love, and this his mirth, digest:
Oue imitates him most, the other best.
If they have since outwrit all other men,
'Tis with the drops which fell from Shakspeare's pen.
The storm, 'which vanish'd on the neighbouring short,
Was taught by Shakspeare's Tempest first to roar.
That innocence and beauty, which did smile
In Fletcher, grew on this enchanted isle.
But Shakspcare's magic could not copied be;
Within that circle none durst walk but be.