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So may your midnight fcowrings happy prove,
And morning batt'ries force
your way to love;
So may not France your warlike hands recal,
But leave you by each other's fwords to fall :
As you come here to ruffle vizard punk,
When fober, rail, and roar when you are drunk.
But to the wits we can fome merit plead,
And urge what by themselves has oft been faid:
Our house relieves the ladies from the frights
Of ill-pav'd streets, and long dark winter nights;
The Flanders horfes from a cold bleak road,
Where bears in furs dare scarcely look abroad;
The audience from worn plays and fustian stuff,
Of rhime, more naufeous than three boys in buff.
Tho in their house the
poets heads appear,
We hope we may prefume their wits are here.
The best which they referv'd they now will play,
For, like kind cuckolds, tho w'have not the way
To please, we'll find you abler men who may.
If they should fail, for laft recruits we breed
A troop of frifking Monfieurs to fucceed:
You know the French fure cards at time of need.
UNIVERSITY of OXFORD, 1674.
OETS, your subjects, have their parts affign'd
T'unbend, and to divert their fov'reign's mind:
When tir'd with following nature, you think fit
To feek repofe in the cool fhades of wit,
And, from the fweet retreat, with joy furvey
What refts, and what is conquer'd, of the
Here, free yourselves from envy, care, and ftrife,
You view the various turns of human life:
Safe in our scene, thro dangerous courts you go,
And, undebauch'd, the vice of cities know.
Your theories are here to practice brought,
As in mechanic operations wrought;
And man, the little world, before you fet,
As once the sphere of chrystal fhew'd the great.
Bleft fure are you above all mortal kind,
you can fuit your mind:
Content to fee, and thun, thofe ills we fhow,
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 Shakespear's, Fletcher's, and great Johnson's
May be renew'd from those who gave them fame.
None of our living poets dare appear;
For mufes fo fevere are worshipp'd here,
That, confcious of their faults, they shun the eye,
And, as prophane, from facred places fly,
Rather than fee 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 ftill can pardon most.
Poets must stoop, when they would please our pit,
Debas'd even to the level of their wit;
Difdaining that, which yet they know will take,
Hating themselves what their applause must make.
But when to praise from you they would aspire,
Tho they like eagles mount, your Jove is higher.
So far your knowlege all their power tranfcends,
As what should be beyond what Is extends.
but half fo wife as you're severe,
Our youthful poet should not need to fear:
To his green years your cenfures you would fuit,
Not blast the bloffom, but expect the fruit,
The fex, that beft does pleasure understand,
Will always choose to err on t'other hand.
They check not him that's aukward in delight,
But clap the young rogue's cheek, and fet him
Thus hearten'd well, and flesh'd upon his prey,
The youth may prove a man another day.
Your Ben and Fletcher, in their firft young flight,
Did no Volpone, nor no Arbaces write;
But hopp'd about, and fhort excurfions made
From bough to bough, as if they were afraid,
And each was guilty of fome flighted maid.
Shakespear's own mufe her Pericles first bore;
The prince of Tyre was elder than the Moore:
'Tis miracle to fee a firft good play;
All hawthorns do not bloom on Christmas-day.
A flender poet must have time to grow,
And spread and burnish as his brothers do.
Who still looks lean, fure with fome pox is curft;
But no man can be Falftaff-fat at first.
Then damn not, but indulge his rude effays,
Encourage him, and bloat him up with praise,
That he may get more bulk before he dies:
He's not yet fed enough for facrifice.
Perhaps, if now your grace you will not grudge,
He may grow up to write, and you to judge.
Intended to have been spoken by
The Lady HEN. MAR. WENTWORTH2
When CALISTO was acted at Court.
S Jupiter I made my court in vain ;
I'll now affume my native shape again,
I'm weary to be fo unkindly us'd,
And would not be a God to be refus'd.
State grows uneafy when it hinders love;
A glorious burden, which the wife remove.