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Happy that Play'r, whose skill can chace the spleen,
And leave no worse inhabitant within.
'Mongst friends, our Author is a modeft man,
But wicked Wits will cavil at his plan.
Damn it (says one) this stuff will never pass,
The Girl wants nature, and the Rake's an ass.
Had I, like BELMONT, heard a damsel's cries,
I wou'd have pink'd her keeper, seiz'd the prize,
Whipt to a coach, no: valu'd tears a fardin,
But drove away like smoketo Covent-Garden ;
There to some house convenient would have carry'd her,
And then-dear soul!--the devil Thou'd have married her.
But this our Author thought too hard
Besides, his fpark, forsooth, must have some honour !
The fool's a Fabulift !-and deals in fiction ;
Or he had giv'n him vice-without restriction,
Of fable, all his characters partake,
Sir CHARLES is virtuous--and for virtue's fake;
Nor vain, nor bluft'ring is the SOLDIER writ,
His Rake has conscience, modefty, and wit.
The Ladies too-how oddly they appear !
His Prude is chaste, and his Coquet fincere :
In short, so strange a group, ne'er trod the Atage,
At once to please, and satirize the age !
For you, ye FAIR, his Muse has chiefly fung,
'Tis you, have touch'd his heart, and cun’d his tongue ;
The Tex's champion, let the sex defend,
A soothing Poet is a charming friend :
Your favours, here beftow'd, will meet reward,
So as you love dear fact'ry-save your BARD.
N these distracted times, when each man dreads
The bloody stratagems of busy heads;
When we have fear'd three years we know not what,
Till witnesses begin to die o' th rot,
What made our Poet meddle with a plot?
Was't that he fancy'd for the very fake
And name of Plot, his triling play might take?
For there's not in't one inch-broad evidence,
But’is, he says, to reason plain and sense,
And that he thinks a plausible defence.
Were truth by sense and reaion to be try'd ;,
Sure all our swearers might be laid aside.
No, of such tools, our Author has no need;
To make his Plot, or make his Play Succeed;
He, of black bills has no prodigious tales,
Or Spanish pilgrims cast alhore in Il'ales;
Here's not one murther'd magistrate at least :
Kept rank like ven’son for a city feast :
Grown four days stiff, the better to prepare
And fit his pliant limbs to ride in chair:
Yet here's an army rais'd, though under ground,
But no man seen, nor one commission found :
Here is a traitor too, that's very old,
Turbulent, subtle, mischievous, and bold,
Bloody, revengeful, and io crown his part,
Loves fumbling with a wench, with all his heart ;.
Till after having many changes palt,
In spight of age (thanks t'Heav'n) is hang’d at lasta
Next is a Senator that keeps a whore ;
In Venice none a higher ofice bore;
To lewdness every night the letcher ran :
Shew me, ail London, such another man,
Match him at Mother Crewold's if you can.
O Poland! Poland ! had it been thy lot,
T'have heard in time of this Venetian plot,
Thou surely chosen hadit one king from thence,
And honour'd them as thou hast England since.
P R O L 0 G UE
CA I US M A RI. U S.
Spoken by Mr. BETTERTON.
N ages paft, (when will those times renew?).
When Empires flourish'd, so did Poets too.
When Great Auguftus the world's empire held,
Horace and Ovit's happy verse excell'd.
Ovid's soft genius, and his tender arts
Of moving nature, melted hardest hearts.
It did th' imperial beauty, Julia, move
To listen to the language of his love.
Her father honour'd him : and on her breast,
With ravish'd fense in her embraces preit,
He lay transported, fancy-full and bleit.
Horace's lofty genius boldlier rear'd
His manly head, and through all nature keer'd;
Her richest pleasures in his verse refin'd,
And wrought 'em to the relih of the mind.
He lash'd, with a true Poet's fearless rage,.
The villanies and follies of the age.
Therefore Mecænas, that great fav’rite, rais'd
Him higli, and by him was he highly prais'd.
Our Shakespeare wrote too in an age as blest,
The happiest Poet of his time, and best ;
A gracious Prince's favour chear'd his Muse,
A constant favour he ne'er fear'd to lose.
Therefore he wrote with fancy unconfin'd,
And thoughts that were immortal as his mind.
And from the crop of his luxuriant pen
E'er since fucceeding Poets humbly glean.
Though much the moft unworthy of the throng,
Our this day's Poet fears h’has done him wrong.
Like greedy beggars that steal fheaves away,
You'll find h'has rifl'd him of half a play.
Amidit this baser drofs you'll see it shine
Most beautiful, amazing, and divine.
To such low shifts of late are Poets worn,
Whilst we both wit's and Cæfar's ab'ence mourn.
Oh! when will he and poetry return ?
' we there again b hold him fit
'Midit shining boxes and a courtly pit,
The Lord of hearts, and President of wit ?
When that bleft day (quick may it come) appears,
His cares once banithd, and his nation's fears,
The joyful Muses on their hills shall sing
Triumphant fongs of Britain's happy king.
Plenty and peace shall Apurith in our isle,
And all things, like the English beauty, smile.
You, Criticks, shall forget your natural spite,
And Poets with unbounded fancy write.
Ev'n this day's Poet shall be alter'd quite :
His thoughts more loftily and freely Aow;
And he himself, whilft you his verse allow,
As much transported as he's humble now.
P R O L OG U E.
A L F R E D.
WRITTEN BY JOHN, EARL OF CORKE.
Spoken by Mr. GARRICK.
N arms renown'd, for arts of peace ador’d,
A Britih Author has presum'd to draw,
Struck deep, even now, with reverential awe!
And sets the godlike figure fair in view-
O may discernment find the likeness true.
When Danish fury, with wide.walting hand,
Had spread pale fear, and ravage o'er the land,
This prince arising bade confufion cease;
Bade order shine, and bleft his ille with peace ;
Taught liberal hearts to humanize the mind,
And heaven-born science to sweet freedom join'd.
United thus, the friendly fifters Thone,
And one secur'd, while one adorn'd, his throne.
Amidst these honors of his happy reign,
Each Grace and every Muse compos'o his train :
As grateful servants, all exulting Itrove,
At once to spread his fame, and share his love.
To night, if aught of fiction you behold,
Think not, in virtue's cause, the Bard too bold.
If ever angels from the skies descend,
It must be truth and freedom to defend.
Thus would our Author please be it your part,
If not his labors, to approve his heart.
True to his country's, and to honor's cause,
He fixes, there, his fame, and your applause;
Wilhes no failing from your fight to hide,
But, by free BUXTONS, will be freely try'd.
H A U N T E D.HOUSE
N this grave age, when Comedies are few,
We crave your patronage for one that's new;
Tho''were poor stuff, yet bid the Author fair,
And let the scarceness recommend the ware.
Long have your ears been filld with tragic parts,
Blood and Blank Verse have harden'd all your hearts;
If e'er you smile, 'tis at some party strokes,
Round heads and wooden fooes are standing jokes ;
The same conceit gives claps and hiffes birth,
You're grown such politicians in your mirth!
For once we try (tho’ 'tis, I own, unsafe,)
To please you all, and make both parties laagh.
Our Author, anxious for his fame to-night,
And bashful in his first attempt to write,
Lies cautiously obscure and unreveal'd,
Like antient Actors in a masque conceal'd,
Censure, when no man knows who writes the play,
Were much good malice merely thrown away.
The mighty Criticks will not blaft, for shame,
A raw young thing, who dares not tell his name :
Good-natur'd judges will th' unknown defend,
And fear to blame, left they shou'd hurt a friend :
Each wit may praise it, for his own dear fake,
And hint he writ it, if the thing thou'd take.
But if you're rough, and use him like a dog,
Depend upon it. He'll remain incog.
If you thou'd hiss, he swears he'll hiss as high,
And, like a Culprit, join the hue-and-cry.
If cruel men are still averse to fpare
These scenes, they fly for refuge to the fair.
Tho with a Ghost our Comedy be heighten'd,
Ladies, upon my word, you shan't be frighten'd;
O, 'ris a Ghost that scorns 10 be uncivil,
A well-Spread, lufty., jointure-hunting devil ;