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IN the first rise and infancy of Farce,
When fools were many, and when plays were scarce,
The raw unpractis'd authors could, with ease,
A young and unexperienc'd audience please :
No single character had e'er been shown,
But the whole herd of fops was all their own;
Rich in originals, they set to view,
In every piece, a coxcomb that was new.
But now our British theatre can boast
Drolls of all kinds, a vast unthinking host !
Fruitful of folly and of vice, it shows
Cuckolds, and cits, and bawds, and pimps, and beaux.
Rough country knights are found of every shire;
Of every fashion gentle fops appear;
And punks of different characters we meet,
As frequent on the stage as in the pit.
Our modern wits are forc'd to pick and cull,
And here and there by chance glean up a fool :
Long ere they find the necessary spark,
They search the town, and beat about the Park :
A comedy written by Sir Richard Steele.
To all his most frequented haunts resort,
Oft dog him to the ring, and oft to court;
As love of pleasure, or of place invites :
And sometimes catch him taking snuff at White's.
Howe'er, to do you right, the present age,
Breeds very hopeful monsters for the stage ;
That scorn the paths their dull forefather's trod,
And wo'n't be blockheads in the common road.
Do but survey this crowded house to-night :-
Here's still encouragement for those that write.
Our author, to divert his friends to-day, Stocks with variety of fools his play; And that there may be something gay and new, Two ladies-errant has expos’d to view : The first a damsel, travell’d in romance ; The tother more refin'd; she comes from France : Rescue, like courteous knights, the nymph from dan
ger; And kindly treat, like well-bred men, the stranger.
WHEN Orpheus tun'd his lyre with pleasing wo,
Rivers forgot to run, and winds to blow,
While list'ning forests cover'd, as he play'd,
The soft musician in a moving shade.
That this night's strains the same success may find,
The force of magic is to music join'd :
Where sounding strings and artful voices fail,
The charming rod and mutter'd spells prevail.
Let sage Urganda wave the circling wand
On barren mountains, or a waste of sand,
The desert smiles; the woods begin to grow,
The birds to warble, and the springs to flow.
The same dull sights in the same landscape mix'd,
Scenes of still life, and points for ever fix'd,
A tedious pleasure on the mind bestow,
And pall the sense with one continu'd show:
But as our two magicians try their skill,
The vision yaries, though the place stands still,
While the same spot its gaudy form renews,
Shifting the prospect to a thousand views.
Thus (without unity of place transgress'd)
Th'enchanter turns the critic to a jest.
But howsoe'er, to please your wand'ring eyes, Bright objects disappear and brighter rise: There's none can make amends for lost delight, While from that circle we divert your sight.
Augustus had a design to rebuild Troy, and make it the Metropolis of
the Roman Empire, having closeted several Senators on the project :
Horace is supposed to have written the following Ode on this occasion.
THE man resolv'd, and steady to his trust,
Inflexible to ill, and obstinately just,
May the rude rabble's insolence despise,
Their senseless clamours and tumultuous cries;
The tyrant's fierceness he beguiles,
And the stern brow, and the harsh voice defies,
And with superior greatness smiles.
Not the rough whirlwind, that deforms
Adria's black gulf, and vexes it with storms,
The stubborn virtue of his soul can move;
Not the red arm of angry Jove,
That flings the thunder from the sky,
And gives it rage to roar, and strength to fly.
Should the whole frame of nature round him break
In ruin and confusion hurl'd,
He, unconcern'd, would hear the mighty crack,
And stand secure amidst a falling world.
Such were the godlike arts that led
Bright Pollux to the blest abodes;
Such did for great Alcides plead,
And gain'd a place among the gods;
Where now Augustus, mix'd with heroes, lies,
And to his lips the nectar bowl applies :
His ruddy lips the purple tincture show,
And with immortal strains divinely glow.
By arts like these did young Lyæus rise :
His tigers drew him to the skies;
Wild from the desert and unbroke,
In vain they foam’d, in vain they star'd,
In vain their eyes with fury glar'd;
He tam'd them to the lash, and bent them to the yoke.
Such were the paths that Rome's great founder trod,
When in a whirlwind snatch'd on high,
He shook off dull mortality,
And lost the monarch in the god.
Bright Juno then her awful silence broke,
And thus th' assembled deities bespoke :
Troy, says the goddess, perjur'd Troy has felt
The dire effects of her proud tyrant's guilt ;
The tow’ring pile, and soft abodes,
Wall'd by the hand of servile gods,
Now spreads its ruins all around,
And lies inglorious on the ground.
An umpire, partial and unjust,
And a lewd woman's impious lust,
Lay heavy on her, and sink her to the dust.
Since false Laomedon's tyrannic sway,
That durst defraud th' immortals of their pay,
Her guardian gods renounc'd their patronage,
Nor would the fierce invading foe repel;
To my resentment, and Minerva's rage,
The guilty king and the whole people fell.
And now the long protracted wars are o'er,
The soft adult'rer shines no more ;
No more does Hector's force the Trojan's shield,
That drove whole armies back, and singly cleard the
My vengeance sated, I at length resign [field
To Mars his offspring of the Trojan line ;
Advanc’d to godhead let him rise,
And take his station in the skies;
There entertain his ravish'd sight
With scenes of glory, fields of light ;