And they who pay the taxes bear the rule :
Thus thou, sometimes, art forc'd to draw a foolj
But so his follies in thy posture sink.
The senseless idiot seems at last^to tliink.
Good Heaven ! that sots and knaves should be so
To wish their vile resemblance may remain!
And stand recorded, at their own request.
To future days, a libel or a jest !
Else should we see your nobfe pencil trace
Our unities of action, time, and place ;
A whole compos'd of parts, and those the best,
With every various character exprest:
Heroes at large, and at a nearer view;
Less, and at distance, an ignobler crew;
While all the figures in one action join,
As tending to complete the main design.
More cannot be by mortal Art exprest;
But venerable Age shall add the rest:
For Time shall with his ready pencil stand,
Retouch your figures with his ripening hand,
Mellow your colours, and imbrown the teint.
Add every grace which Time alone can grant;
To future ages shall your fame convey.
And give more beauties than he takes away.
SPOKEN THE FIRST DAY OF THE
KING'S HOUSE ACTING AFTER THE
So shipwreck'd passengers escape to land,
So look they, when on the bare beach they stand
Dropping and cold, and, their first fear scarce o'er,
Expecting famine on a desert shore.
From that hard climate we must wait for bread.
Whence e'en the natives, forc'd by hunger, fled.
Our stage does human chance present to view,
But ne'er before was seen so sadly true :
You are chaug'd too, and your pretence to see
Is but a nobler name for charity.
Your own provisions furnish out our feasts.
While you, the founders, make yourselves the guests.
Of all mankind beside, Fate had some care, ^
But for poor Wit no portion did prepare; >
'Tis left a rent-charge to the brave and fair. J
You cherish'd it, and now its fall you mourn,
Which blind unmanner'd zealots make their scorn;
Who think that fire a judgment on the stage,
Which spar'd not temples in its furious rage.
But as our new-built City rises higher,
So from old theatres may new aspire,
Since Fate contrives magnificence by fire.
Our great Metropolis does far surpass
Whate'er is now, and equals all that was :
Our wit as far does foreign wit excel,
And, like a king, should in a palace dwell.
But we with golden hopes are vainly fed.
Talk high, and entertain you in a shed:
Your presence iiere, for which we humbly sue,
Will grace old theatres, and build up new.
SPOKEN AT THE
OPENING OF THE NEW HOUSE,
MARCH 26, 1674.
A PLAIN-BUILT house, after so long a stay.
Will send you half unsatisfied away ;
When, fall'n from your expected pomp, you find
A bare convenience only is design'd.
You, who each day can theatres behold,
Like Nero's palace, shining all with gold,
Our mean ungilded stage will scorn, we fear,
And, for the homely room, disdain the cheer.
Yet now cheap druggets to a mode are grown, "^
And a plain suit (since we can make but one) ^
Is better than to be by tarnish'd gawdry known. J
They who are by your favours wealthy made
With mighty sums, may carry on the trade:
We, broken bankers, half destroy'd by fire,
With our small stock to humble roofs retire;
Pity our loss, while you their pomp admire.
For fame and honour we no longer strive,
We yield in both, and only beg to live:
Unable to support their vast expense,
Who build and treat with such magnificence;
That, like the' ambitious monarchs of the age,
They give the law to our provincial stage.
Great neighbours enviously promote excess,
While they impose their splendour on the less :
But only fools, and they of vast estate, "^
The' extremity of modes will imitate, >
The dangling knee-fringe, and the bib-cravat. 3
Yet if some pride with want may be allow'd.
We in our plainness may be justly proud :
Our Royal Master will'd it should be so ;
Whate'er he's pleas'd to own, can need no show :
That sacred name gives ornament and grace,
And, like his stamp, makes basest metals pass.
'Twere folly now a stately pile to raise,
To build a playhouse, while you throw down plays;
While scenes, machines, and empty operas reign,
And for the pencil you the pen disdain ;
While troops of famish'd Frenchmen hither drive.
And laugh at those upon whose alms they live ;
Old English authors vanish, and give place
To these new conquerors of the Norman race :
More tamely than your fathers you submit;
You're now grown vassals to them in your wit.
Mark, when they play, how our fine fops advance
The mighty merits of their men of France
Keep time, cry Bon, and humour the cadence,
VOL. III. E
Well, please yourselves ; but sure 'tis understood,
That French machines have ne'er done England
I would not prophesy our House's fate ;
But while vain shows and scenes you over-rate,
'Tis to be fear'd â€”
That as a fire the former House o'erthrew.
Machines and tempests will destroy the New.
UNIVERSITY OF OXFORO,
SPOKEN BY MR. HART.
Poets, your subjects, have their parts assign'd
To' unbend, and to divert their sovereign's mind:
When, tir'd with following Nature, you think fit
To seek repose in the cool shades of Wit,
And, from the sweet retreat, with joy survey
What rests, and what is conquer'd, of the way.
Here, free yourselves from envy, care, and strife.
You view the various turns of human life :
Safe in our scene, through dangerous courts you go.
And, undebauch'd, the vice of cities know.
Your theories are here to pratice brought.
As in mechanic operations wrotlght;
And man, the little world, before you set,
As once the sphere of crystal show'd the great.
Blest, sure, are you above all mortal kind,
If to your fortunes you can suit your mind ;
Content to see, and shun those ills we show,
And crimes on theatres alone to know.
With joy we bring what our dead authors writ,
And beg from you the value of their wit ;
That Shakspeare's, Fletcher's, and great Jonson's
May be renew'd from those who gave them fame.
None of our living poets dare appear ;
For Muses so severe are worshipp'd here,
That, conscious of their faults, they shun the eye.
And, as profane, from sacred places fly,
Rather than see the' offended God, and die.
We bring no imperfections but our own;
Such faults as made are by the makers shown :
And you have been so kind, that we may boast,
The greatest judges still can pardon most.
Poets must stoop, when they would please our pit,
Debas'd ev'n to the level of their wit;
Disdaining that, which yet they know will take,
Hating themselves what their applause must make :
But when to praise from you they would aspire,
Though they like eagles mount, your Jove is higher.
So far your knowledge all their power transcends,
As what should be beyond what is extends.
BY DR. DAVENANT, 1675.
Were you but half so wise as you're severe,
Our youthful poet should not need to fear:
To his green years your censures you would suit,
Not blast the blossom, but expect the fruit.
The sex, that best does pleasure understand,
Will always choose to err on the' other hand.
They check not him that's awkward in delight,
Butclap the young rogue's cheek, and set him right:
Thus hearten'd well, and flesh'd upon his prey,
The youth may prove a man another day.
Your Ben and Fletcher, in their first young flight,
Did no Volpone, nor no Arbaces write ;
But hopp'd about, and short excursions made ")
From bough to bough, as if they were afraid, 5-
And each was guilty of some slighted maid. J
Shakspeare's own Muse her Pericles first bore;
The Prince of Tyre was elder than the Moor.
'Tis miracle to see a first good play:
All hawthorns do not bloom on Christmas-day.
A slender poet must have time to grow.
And spread and burnish as his brothers do.
Who still looks lean, sure with some p â€” x is curst;
But no man can be Falstaff-fat at first.
Then damn not, but indulge his rude essays.
Encourage him, and bloat him up with praise,
That he may get more bulk before he diesj
He's not yet fed enough for sacrifice.
Perhaps, if now your grace you will not grudge,
He may grow up to write, and you to judge.
TO CMSAR BORGIA,
BY N. LEE, 1680.
The' unhappy man, who once has trail'd a pen,
Lives not to please himself, but other men;
Is always drudging, wastes his life and blood.
Yet only eats and drinks what you think good.
What praise soe'er the poetry deserve.
Yet every fool can bid the poet starve.
That fumbling letcher to rev3nge is bent,
Because he thinks himself, or whore, is meant;
Name but a cuckold, all the City swarms;
From Leaden-hall to Ludgate is in arms.
Were there no fear of Antichrist or France,
Li the blest time poor poets live by chance.
Either you come not here, or, as you grace ^
Some old acquaintance, drop into the place, ^
Careless and qualmish, with a yawning face: 3
You sleep o'er wit, and, by my troth, you may;
Most of your talents lie another way.
You love to hear of some prodigious tale,
The bell that toU'd alone, or Irish whale.
News is your food, and you enough provide.
Both for yourselves, and all the world beside.
One theatre there is of vast resort,
Which, whilom, of Requests was call'd the Court :
But now the great Exchange of News 'tis hight,
And full of hum and buz from noon till night.
Up stairs and down you run, as for a race,
And each man wears three nations in his face.
So big you look, though claret you retrench,
That, ann'd with bottled ale, you huflf the French.
But all your entertainment still is fed
By villains in your own dull island bred.
Would you return to us, we dare engage
To show you better rogues upon the stage.
You know no poison but plain ratsbane here;
Death's more refin'd, and better bred elsewhere.
They have a civil way in Italy,
By smelling a perfume, to make you die;
A trick would make you lay your snuff-box
Murder's a trade so known and practis'd there.
That 'tis infallible â€” as is the Chair.
But, mark their feast, you shall behold such pranks ;
The Pope says grace, but 'tis the Devil gives thanks.
AT OXFORD, 1680.
Thespis, the first professor of our art,
At country-wakes sung ballads from a cart.
To prove this true, if Latin be no trespass,
Dicttur et plaustris vixisse poemata Thespis.
But .Eschylus, says Horace, in some page,
Was the first mauntebauk that trod the stage;
Yet Athens never knew your learned sport
Of tossing poets in a tennis-court.
But 'tis the talent of our English nation.
Still to be plotting some new reformation :
And few years hence, if anarchy goes on,
Jack Presbyter shall here erect his throne,
Knock out a tub with preaching once a day,
And every prayer be longer than a play.
Then all your Heathen-wits shall go to pot,
For disbelieving of a Popish-plot :
Your poets shall be usd like Infidels,
And worst, the author of the Oxford Bells:
Nor should we 'scape the sentence, to depart,
E'en in our first original, â€” a cart.
No zealous brother there would want a stone.
To maul us cardinals, and pelt Pope Joan :
Religion, learning, wit, would be suppress'd,
Rags of the Whore, and trappings of the Beast:
Scot, Suarez, Tom of Aquin, must go down,
As chief supporters of the Triple crown;
And Aristotle's for destruction ripe ;
Some say, he call'd the soul an Organ-pipe,
Which, by some little help of derivation,
Shall then be prov'd a pipe of inspiration.
If yet there be a few that take delight ">
In that which reasonable men should write, >-
To them alone we dedicate this night. 3
The rest may satisfy their curious itch
With city Gazettes, or some factious speech.
Or whate'er libel, for the public good.
Stirs up the Shrove-tide crew to fire and blood.
Remove your benches, you apostate pit.
And take, above, twelve pennyworth of wit ;
Go back to your dear dancing on the rope,
Or see, what's worse, the Devil and the Pope.
The plays that take on our corrupted stage,
Methinks resemble the distracted age ;
Noise, madness, all unreasonable things,
That strike at sense, as rebels do at kings.
The style of Forty-one our poets write,
And you are grown to judge like Forty-eight.
Such censures our mistaking audience make^
That 'tis almost grown scandalous to take.
They talk of fevers that infect the brains;
But nonsense is the new disease that reigns.
Weak stomachs, with a long disease opprest.
Cannot the cordials of strong wit digest :
Therefore, thin nourishment or Farce ye choose.
Decoctions of a barley-water Muse;
A meal of Tragedy would make you sick,
Unless it were a very tender chick.
Some scenes in sippets would be w orth your time ;
Those would go down; some love that's poach'd
If these should fail
We must lie down, and after all our cost,
Keep holiday, like watermen in frost :
While you turn players on the world's great stage.
And act yourselves the farce of your own s^e.
UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD, 1681.
The fam'd Italian Muse, whose rhymes advance
Orlando, and the Paladins of France,
Records, that when our wit and sense is flown^
^ris lodg'd within the circle of the moon,
In earthen jars, which one, who thither soar'd,
Set to his nose, snuff 'd up, and was restoi'd.
Whate'er the story be, the moral's true ;
The wit we lost in Town, we find in you.
Our poets their fled parts may draw from hence,
And fill their windy heads with sober sense.
When London votes with Southwark's disagree,
Here may they find their long-lost loyalty.
Here busy senates, to the' old cause inclin'd.
May snuff the votes their fellows left behind:
Your country neighbours, when their grain grows
May come, and find their last provision here :
Whereas, we cannot much lament our loss.
Who neither carried back nor brought one cross.
We look'd what Representatives would bring.
But they help'd us just as they did the King.
Yet we despair not; for we now lay forth
The sibyls' books to those who know their worth ;
And though the first was sacrific'd before.
These volumes doubly vpill the price restore.
Our poet bade us hope this grace to find,
To whom by long prescription you are kind.
He, whose undaunted Muse, with loyal rage,
Has never spar'd the vices of the age.
Here finding nothing that his spleen can raise.
Is forc'd to turn his satire into praise.
TO HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS,
UPON HIS FIRST APPEARANCE AT THE DUKe's THE-
ATRE, AFTER HIS RETURN FROM SCOTLAND, 1682.
In those cold regions which no summers cheer,
Where brooding Darkness covers half the year,
To hollow caves the shivering natives go;
Bears range abroad, and hunt in tracks of snow ;
But when the tedious twilight wears away.
And stars grow paler at the' approach of day.
The longing crowds to frozen mountains run,
Happy who first can see the glimmering sun :
The surly, savage offspring disappear,
And curse the bright successor of the year.
Yet, though rough bears in covert seek defence, ^
White foxes stay, with seeming innocence; ^
That crafty kind with day-light can dispense. 3
Still we are throng'd so full with Reynard's race.
That loyal subjects scarce can find a place.
Thus modest truth is cast behind the crowd :
Truth speaks too low ; Hypocrisy too loud.
Let them be first to flatter in success;
Duty can stay, but Guilt has need to press.
Once, when true zeal the sons of God did call,
To make their solemn show at Heaven's Whitehall,
The fawning Devil appear'd among the rest,
And made as good a courtier as the best.
The friends of Job, who rail'd at him before.
Come cap in hand, when he had three times more.
Yet late repentance may, perhaps, be true ;
Kings can forgive, if rebels can but sue.
A tyrant's power in rigour is exprest;
The father yearns in the true prince's breast,
We grant an o'ergrown Whig no grace can mend:
But most are babes that know not they offend.
The crov/d, to "estless motion still inclin'd,
Are clouds that tack according to the wind.
Driven by their chiefs, they storms of hailstones
Then mourn, and soften to a silent shower.
O welcome to this much-offending land,
The prince that brings forgiveness in his hand !
Thus angels on glad messages appear ;
Their first salute commands us not to fear :
Thus Heaven, that could constrain us to obey,
(With reverence, if we might presume to say)
Seems to relax the rights of sovereign sway ;
Permits to man the choice of good and ill.
And makes us happy by our own free-will.
TO THE EARL OF ESSEX.
BY J. BANKS, 16Â«2.
SPOKEN TO THE KING AND QUEEN, AT THEIR
COMING TO THE HOUSE.
When first the ark was landed on the shore.
And Heaven had vow'd to curse the ground no mo re ;
When tops of hills the longing patriarch saw.
And the new scene of earth began to draw,
The dove was sent to view the waves' decrease,
And first brought back to man the pledge of peace.
'Tis needless to apply, when those appear
Who bring the olive, and who plant it here.
We have before our eyes the Royal dove,
Still innocent as harbinger of Love:
The ark is open'd to dismiss the train,
And people with a better race the plain.
Tell me, ye Powers, why should vain man pursue,
With endless toil, each object that is new,
And for the seeming substance leave the true?
Why should he quit for hopes his certain good.
And loath the manna of his daily food ?
Must England still the scene of changes be, ^
Tost, and tempestuous, like our ambient sea? ^
Must still our weather and cur wills agree? -^
Without our blood our liberties we have :
Who that is free would fight to be a slave?
Or, what can wars to after-times assure,
Of which our present age is not secure?
All that our IMonarch would for us ordain,
Is but to' enjoy the blessings of his reign.
Our land's an Eden, and the main's our fence,
While we preserve our state of innocence :
That lost, then beasts their brutal force employ.
And first their lord, and then themselves destroy.
What civil broils have cost we know too well;
Oh! let it be enough that once we fell ;
And every heart conspire, and every tongue,
Still to have such a King, and this King long.
THE LOYAL BROTHER;
OR, THE PERSIAN PRINCE.
BY SOUTHERN, l682.
Poets, like lawful monarchs, rul'd the stage,
Till Critics, like damn'd Whigs, debauch'dour age.
Mark how they jump : Critics would regulate
Our theatres, and Whigs reform our state
Both pretend love, and both (plague rot them!
The Critic humbly seems advice to bring ;
The fawning Whig, petitions to the King:
But one's advice into a satire slides;
T'other's petition a remonstrance hides.
These will no taxes give, and those no pence;
Critics would starve the poet, Whigs the prince.
The Critic all our troops of friends discards ;
Just so the Whig would fain pull down the guards.
Guards are illegal, that drive foes away,
As watchful shepherds, that fright beasts of prey.
Kings, who disband such needless aids as these.
Are safe â€” as long as e'er their subjects please;
And that would be till next Queen Bess's night,
AÂ¥hich thus grave penny chroniclers indite.
Sir Edmund Bury first, in woful wise,
Leads up the show, and milks their maudlin eyes.
There's not a butcher's wife but dribs her part,
And pities the poor pageant from her heart ;
Who, to provoke revenge, rides round the fire.
And, with a civil cong6, does retire.
But guiltless blood to ground must never fall ;
There's Antichrist behind, to pay for all.
The punk of Babylon in pomp appears,
A lewd old gentleman of seventy years,
Whose age in vain our mercy would implore,
For few take pity on an old cast whore.
The devil, who brought him to the shame, takes
Sits cheek by jowl, in black, to cheer his hean
Like thief and parson in a Tyburn-cart.
The word is given, and, with a loud huzza.
The mitred puppet from his chair they draw :
On the slain corpse contending nations fall :
Alas ! what's one poor Pope among them all !
He burns; now all true hearts your triumphs ring;
And next (for fashion) cry, ' God save the King.'
A needful cry in midst of such alarms.
When forty thousand men are up in arms.
But after he's ouce sav'd, to make amends, "^
In each succeeding health they damn his friends : >
So God begins, but still the Devil ends. J
What if some one, inspir'd with zeal, should call,
* Come, let's go cry â€” God save him, at Whitehall?'
His best friends would not like this over-care,
Or think him e'er the safer for this prayer.
Five praying saints are by an act allow'd;
But not the whole church-militant in crowd.
Yet, should Heaven all the
Of Presbyterians, who would
Of forty thousand, five would scarce remain.
11111 laui 111 Â»^iu^iu.
true petitions drain ^
lid kings maintain, /
lid scarce remain. J
DUKE OF GUISE, 1683.
Our play's a parallel: the holy league
Begot our covenant : Guisards got the Whig :
Whate'er our hot-brain'd sheritfs did advance
Was, like our fashions, first produc'd in France;
And when worn out, well scourg'd, and banish'd
Sent over, like their godly beggars, here.
Could the same trick, twice play'd, our nation gull?
It looks as if the devil were grown dull.
Or serv'd us up in scorn, his broken meat,
And thought we were not worth a better cheat.
The fulsome covenant, one would think, in reason,
Had given us all our bellies full of treason ;
And yet, the name but chang'd, our nasty nation
Cliaws its own excrement, the' association.
'Tis true, we have not learn'd their poisoning way,
For that's a mode but newly come in play :
Besides, your drug's uncertain to prevail; "^
But your true protestant can never fail, >
With that compendious instrument â€” a flail. 3
Go on : and bite, e'en though the hook is bare ;
Twice in one age expel the lawful heir :
Once more decide religion by the sword j
And purchase for us a new tyrant-lord.
Pray for your king; but yet your purses spare;
Make him not two-pence richer by your prayer.
To show you love him much, chastise him more;
And make him very great, and very poor.
Push him to wars, but still no pence advance ;
Let him lose England, to recover France.
Cry freedom up, with popular noisy votes;
And get enough to cut each others' throats.
Lop all the rights that fence your monarch's throne;
For fear of too much power, pray leave him none.
A noise was made of arbitrary sway ;
But, in revenge, you Whigs have found a way
An arbitrary duty now to pay.
Let his own servants turn, to save their stake ;
Glean from his plenty, and his wants forsake ;
But let some Judas near his person stay,
To swallov/ the last sop, and then betray. '
Make London independent of the crown:
A realm apart ; the kingdom of the town.
Let ignoramus-juries find no traitors ;
And ignoramus-poets scribble satires.
And, that your meaning none may fail to scan, "^
Do, what in coffee-houses you began,
Pull down the master, and set up the man.
UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD.
SPOKEN BY MR. HART, AT THE ACTING OF THE
What Greece,when learning flourish'd,only knew,
Athenian judges! you this day renew.
Here, too, are annual rites to Pallas done,
And here poetic prizes lost or won.
Methinks I see you, crown'd with olives, sit,
And strike a sacred horror from the pit.
A day of doom is this of your decree,
Where ev'n the best are but by mercy free :
A day which none but Jonson durst have wisli'
Here they, who long have known the useful stage,
Come to be taught themselves, to teach the age.
As your commissioners, our poets go
To cultivate the virtue which you sow ;
In your Lycaeum first themselves refin'd,
And delegated thence to humankind.
But as ambassadors, when long from home.
For new instructions to their princes come j
So poets, who your precepts have forgot,
Return, and beg they may be better taught :
Follies and faults elsewhere by them are shown^
But by your manners they correct their own.
The' illiterate writer, emp'ric-like, applies
To minds diseas'd, unsafe, chance remedies :
The learn'd in schools, where knowledge first began ,
Studies with care the' anatomy of man ;
Sees virtue, vice, and passions in their cause,
And fame from science, not from fortune, draws.
So poetry, which is in Oxford made
An art, in London only is a trade.
There haughty dunces, whose unlearned pen
Could ne'er spell grammar, would be reading men.