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His cause ne'er fails; for whatsoe'er he spends, There's ftill God's plenty for himself and friends. Should men be rated by poetic rules,

Lord! what a poll would there be rais'd from fools! Mean time poor wit prohibited must lie,

As if 'twere made fome French commodity. Fools will have, and rais'd at vaft expence ;

you

And yet, as foon as seen, they give offence.

Time was, when none would cry, That oaf was me;
But now you strive about your pedigree.

Bauble and cap no fooner are thrown down,
But there's a mufs of more than half the town.
Each one will challenge a child's part at least;
A fign the family is well increaft.

Of foreign cattle there's no longer need,
When we're fupply'd so fast with English breed.
Well! flourish, countrymen, drink, fwear, and roar;
Let ev'ry free-born fubject keep his whore,
And wand'ring in the wilderness about,
At end of forty years not wear her out.
But when you fee these pictures, let none dare
To own beyond a limb or single share :
For where the punk is common, he's a fot,
Who needs will father what the parish got.

PROLOGUE

то

CESAR BORGIA.

TH

[By Mr. N. LEE, 1680.]

men;

think good.

H'unhappy man, who once has trail'd a pen, Lives not to please himself, but other Is always drudging, wastes his life and blood, Yet only eats and drinks what you What praise foe'er the poetry deserve, Yet ev'ry fool can bid the poet ftarve. That fumbling letcher to revenge is bent, Because he thinks himself or whore is meant: Name but a cuckold, all the city fwarms; From Leadenhall to Ludgate is in arms: Were there no fear of Antichrift or France, In the bleft 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: You fleep o'er wit, and by my troth you may; Moft of your talents lie another You love to hear of fome prodigious tale,

way.

The bell that toll'd alone, or Irish whale.

}

News is your food, and you enough provide,
Both for yourselves, and all the world befide.
One theatre there is of vast resort,

Which whilome of Requests was called the Court;
But now the great Exchange of News 'tis hight,
And full of hum and buz from noon 'till night.
Up ftairs and down you run, as for a race,
And each man wears three nations in his face.
So big you look, tho claret you retrench,
That, arm'd with bottled ale, you huff the French.
But all your entertainment still is fed

By villains in your own dull ifland bred.
Would you return to us, we dare engage
To fhew you better rogues upon the flage.
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 or by

A trick would make you lay your fnuff-box Murder's a trade, fo known and practis'd there, That 'tis infallible as is the chair.

But, mark their feast, you shall behold such pranks; The pope fays grace, but 'tis the devil gives thanks.

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PROLOGUE

то

SOPHONIS BA, at OXFORD, 1680.

HESPIS, the first profeffor of our art,

TH

At country wakes, fung ballads from a cart.
Το prove this true, if Latin be no trefpafs,
Dicitur & plauftris vexiffe Poemata Thefpis.
But Æfchylus, fays Horace in fome page,
Was the first mountebank that trod the stage:
Yet Athens never knew your learned sport
Of toffing poets in a tennis-court.

But 'tis the talent of our English nation,
Still to be plotting fome new reformation:
And few years hence, if anarchy goes on,
Jack Prefbyter fhall here erect his throne,
Knock out a tub with preaching once a day,
And ev'ry prayer be longer than a play.
Then all your heathen wits fhall go to pot,
For difbelieving of a Popish-plot:
Your poets fhall be us'd like infidels,

And worst the author of the Oxford bells:
Nor fhould we 'fcape the fentence, to depart,
E'en in our firft original, a cart,

No zealous brother there would want a stone,
To maul us cardinals, and pelt pope Joan :
Religion, learning, wit, would be supprest,
Rags of the whore, and trappings of the beaft:
Scot, Suarez, Tom of Aquin, must
go down,
As chief supporters of the triple crown ;
And Ariftotle's for deftruction ripe;
Some fay, he call'd the foul an organ-pipe,
Which, by fome little help of derivation,
Shall then be prov'd a pipe of infpiration.

A PROLOGUE.

F

yet there be a few that take delight

In that which reasonable men fhould write;

To them alone we dedicate this night.
The reft may fatisfy their curious itch
With city-gazettes, or fome factious fpeech,
Or whate'er libel, for the public good,
Stirs up the fhrove-tide crew to fire and blood.
Remove your benches, you apoftate pit,
And take, above, twelve pennyworth of wit;
Go back to your dear dancing on the rope,
Or fee what's worfe, the devil and the

pope.

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