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Our brethren are from Thames to Tweed departed,
And of our sisters, all the kinder-hearted,
To Edinburgh gone, or coach'd, or carted.
With bonny bluecap there they act all night
For Scotch half-crown, in England three-pence hight.
One nymph, to whom fat Sir John Falstaff 's lean,
There with her single person fills the scene.
Another, with long use and age decay'd,
Dived here old woman, and rose there a maid.
Our trusty doorkeepers of former time
There strut and swagger in heroic rhyme.
Tack but a copper-lace to drugget suit,
And there's a hero made without dispute:
And that, which was a capon's tail before,
Becomes a plume for Indian emperor.
But all his subjects, to express the care
Of imitation, go, like Indians, bare:
Laced linen there would be a dangerous thing;
It might perhaps a new rebellion bring;
The Scot, who wore it, would be chosen king.
But why should I these renegades describe,
When you yourselves have seen a lewder tribe?
Teague has been here, and, to this learned pit,
With Irish action slander'd English wit:
You have beheld such barbarous Macs appear,
As merited a second massacre :
Such as, like Cain, were branded with disgrace,
And had their country stamp'd upon their face.
When strollers durst presume to pick your purse,
We humbly thought our broken troop not worse.
How ill soe'er our action may deserve,
Oxford's a place where wit can never starve.
TO THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD.
THOUGH actors cannot much of learning boast,
Of all who want it, we admire it most:
We love the praises of a learned pit,
As we remotely are allied to wit.
We speak our poet's wit, and trade in ore,
Like those, who touch upon the golden shore:
Betwixt our judges can distinction make,
Discern how much, and why, our poems take:
Mark if the fools, or men of sense, rejoice;
Whether the applause be only sound or voice.
When our fop gallants, or our city folly,
Clap over-loud, it makes us melancholy:
We doubt that scene which does their wonder raise,
And, for their ignorance, contemn their praise.
Judge then, if we who act, and they who write,
Should not be proud of giving you delight.
London likes grossly; but this nicer pit
Examines, fathoms all the depths of wit;
The ready finger lays on every blot;
Knows what should justly please, and what should not.
Nature herself lies open to your view;
You judge by her, what draught of her is true,
Where outlines false, and colours seem too faint,
Where bunglers daub, and where true poets paint.
But, by the sacred genius of this place,
By every Muse, by each domestic grace,
Be kind to wit, which but endeavours well,
And, where you judge, presumes not to excel.
Our poets hither for adoption come,
As nations sued to be made free of Rome.
Not in the suffragating tribes to stand,
But in your utmost, last, provincial band.
If his ambition may those hopes pursue,
Who with religion loves your arts and you,
Oxford to him a dearer name shall be,
Than his own mother-university.
Thebes did his green, unknowing, youth engage;
He chooses Athens in his riper age.
TO "ALBION AND ALBANIUS."
FULL twenty years and more, our labouring stage
Has lost, on this incorrigible age:
Our poets, the John Ketches of the nation,
Have seem'd to lash ye, even to excoriation;
But still no sign remains; which plainly notes,
You bore like heroes, or you bribed like Oates.
What can we do, when mimicking a fop,
Like beating nut-trees, makes a larger crop?
'Faith, we 'll e'en spare our pains! and, to content you,
Will fairly leave you what your Maker meant you.
Satire was once your physic, wit your food;
One nourish'd not, and t' other drew no blood :
We now prescribe, like doctors in despair,
The diet your weak appetites can bear.
Since hearty beef and mutton will not do,
Here's julep-dance, ptisan of song and show :
Give you strong sense, the liquor is too heady;
You 're come to force,-that's asses' milk, already.
Some hopeful youths there are, of callow wit,
Who one day may be men, if Heaven think fit;
Sound may serve such, ere they to sense are grown,
Like leading-strings, till they can walk alone.
But yet, to keep our friends in countenance, know,
The wise Italians first invented show ;
Thence into France the noble pageant pass'd:
'Tis England's credit to be cozen'd last.
Freedom and zeal have choused you o'er and o'er ;
Pray give us leave to bubble you once more;
You never were so cheaply fool'd before :
We bring you change, to humour your disease ;
Change for the worse has ever used to please:
Then, 'tis the mode of France; without whose rules,
None must presume to set up here for fools.
In France, the oldest man is always young,
Sees operas daily, learns the tunes so long,
Till foot, hand, head, keep time with every song:
Each sings his part, echoing from pit and box
With his hoarse voice, half harmony, half pox.
Le plus grand roi du monde is always ringing,
They show themselves good subjects by their singing:
On that condition, set up every throat;
You Whigs may sing, for you have changed your note. Cits and citesses, raise a joyful strain,
'Tis a good omen to begin a reign;
Voices may help your charter to restoring,
And get by singing, what you lost by roaring.
TO "ARVIRAGUS AND PHILICIA" REVIVED.
[BY LODOWICK CARLELL, ESQ.] SPOKEN BY MR. HART.
WITH sickly actors and an old house too,
We're match'd with glorious theatres and new,
And with our alehouse scenes, and clothes bare worn,
Can neither raise old plays, nor new adorn.
If all these ills could not undo us quite,
A brisk French troop is grown your dear delight;
Who with broad bloody bills call you
To laugh and break your buttons at their play;
Or see some serious piece, which we presume
Is fall'n from some incomparable plume;
And therefore, Messieurs, if you'll do us grace,
Send lackeys early to preserve your place.
We dare not on your privilege intrench,
Or ask you why you like them? they are French.
Therefore some go with courtesy exceeding,
Neither to hear nor see, but show their breeding :
Each lady striving to out-laugh the rest;
To make it seem they understood the jest.
Their countrymen come in, and nothing pay,
To teach us English where to clap the play:
Civil, egad! our hospitable land
Bears all the charge, for them to understand:
Meantime we languish, and neglected lie,
Like wives, while you keep better company;
And wish for your own sakes, without a satire,
You'd less good breeding, or had more good-nature.
THE judge removed, though he 's no more my lord,
May plead at bar, or at the council-board:
So may cast poets write; there's no pretension
To argue loss of wit from loss of pension.
Your looks are cheerful; and in all this place
I see not one that wears a damning face.
The British nation is too brave, to show
Ignoble vengeance on a vanquish'd foe.
At last be civil to the wretch imploring;
And lay your paws upon him, without roaring.
Suppose our poet was your foe before,
Yet now, the business of the field is o'er;
"Tis time to let your civil wars alone,
When troops are into winter-quarters gone.
Jove was alike to Latian and to Phrygian;
And you well know a play's of no religion.
Take good advice and please yourselves this day;
No matter from what hands you have the play.
Among good fellows every health will pass,
That serves to carry round another glass:
When with full bowls of Burgundy you dine,
Though at the mighty monarch you repine,
You grant him still Most Christian in his wine.
Thus far the poet; but his brains grow addle,
And all the rest is purely from this noddle.
You have seen young ladies at the senate-door
Prefer petitions, and your grace implore;
However grave the legislators were,
Their cause went ne'er the worse for being fair.
Reasons as weak as theirs, perhaps, I bring;
But I could bribe you with as good a thing.
I heard him make advances of good-nature;
That he, for once, would sheathe his cutting satire.
Sign but his peace, he vows he'll ne'er again
The sacred name of fops and beaus profane.
Strike up the bargain quickly; for I swear,
As times go now, he offers very fair.
Be not too hard on him with statutes neither;
Be kind; and do not set your teeth together,
To stretch the laws, as cobblers do their leather.
Horses by Papists are not to be ridden,
But sure the Muses' horse was ne'er forbidden;
For in no rate-book it was ever found
That Pegasus was valued at five pound;
Fine him to daily drudging and inditing:
And let him pay his taxes out in writing.