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You, who each day can theatres behold,
Like Nero's palace, thining all with gold,
Our mean ungilded stage will scorn, we fear,
And, for the homely room, disdain the chear.
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.
They, who are by your favors 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
For fame and honor we no longer strive,
We yield in both, and only beg to live :
Unable to support their vast expence,
Who build and treat with such magnificence;
That, like th'ambitious monarchs of the age,
They give the law to our provincial stage.
Great neighbors enviously promote excess,
While they impose their splendor on the less.
But only fools, and they of vast estate,
Th'extremity of modes will imitate,
The dangling knee-fringe, and the bib-cravat.
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 facred 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
While troops of familh'd Frenchmen hither drive,
And laugh at those upon whose alms they live :
Old English authors vanish, and give place
To these new conqu’rors of the Norman race,
More tamely than your
you submit; You're now now grown
vafsals 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 humor the cadence.
Well, please yourselves ; but sure 'tis understood,
That French machines have ne'er done England
I would not prophesy our house's fate :
But whiļe vain shows and scenes you over-rate,
Tis to be fear'd
That as a fire the former house o'erthrew,
Machines and tempests will destroy the new.
HO what our Prologue said was sadly true,
Yet, gentlemen, our homely house is new, A charm that seldom fails with, wicked, you. A country lip may have the velvet touch ; Tho she's no lady, you may think her such : A strong imagination may do much. But you, loud firs, who thro
curls look big, Critics in plume and white vallancy wig, Who lolling on our foremost benches fit, And still charge first, the true forlorn of wit ; Whose favors, like the sun, warm where Yet you,
like him, have neither heat nor soul; So may your
hats your foretops never press, Untouch'd your ribbons, sacred be
your dress; So
may you slowly to old age advance,
And have th'excuse of youth for ignorance:
So may fop-corner full of noise remain,
And drive far off the dull attentive train
So may your midnight scowrings 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 swords to fall :
As you come here to ruffle vizard punk,
When sober, rail, and roar when you are drunk.
But to the wits we can some merit plead,
urge what by themselves has oft been said :
Our house relieves the ladies from the frights
Of ill-pav'd streets, and long dark winter nights;
The Flanders horses from a cold bleak road,
Where bears in furs dare scarcely look abroad;
The audience from worn plays and fustian stuff,
Of rhime, more nauseous than three boys in buff.
Thoin their house the
We hope we may prefume their wits are here.
The best which they reserv'd they now will play,
For, like kind cuckolds, tho w’have not the
way To please; we'll find
abler men who
If they should fail, for last recruits we breed
A troop of frisking Monfieurs to succeed :
You know the French fure cards at time of need.
POETS, your subjects, have their
parts assign'd T'unbend, and to divert their sov'reign'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, 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 chryftal shew'd the great. Blest sure are you above all mortal kind,