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P R O L O OG U: E,

GUE

Spoken the First Day of the King's House

Acting after the Fire of London.

S , ftand

O shipwreck'd passengers escape to land,

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Dropping and cold, and their first fear scarce o'er,
Expecting famine on a desart shore.
From that hard climate we must wait for bread,
Whence e'en the natives, forc'd by hunger, fed.
Our stage does human chance present to view,
But ne'er before was seen so sadly true:
You are chang’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.
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 here, for which we humbly sue,
Will
grace old theatres, and build up new.

PRO

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Q 4

P R O L OG UE

Spoken at the Opening of the New House,

March 26, 1674.

A ,

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Will send you half unsatisfy'd 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, thining 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 fuit, since we can make but one,
Is better than to be by tarnish'd gawdry known.
They, who are by your favours wealthy made,
With mighty sums may carry on the trade :
We, broken bankers, half deftroy'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 expence,
Who build and treat with such magnificence s
That, like th’ambitious monarchs of the

age,
They give the law to our provincial stage.
Great neighbours envioufly promote excess,
While they impose their splendor on the lesse
But only fools, and they of vast eftate,
Th'extremity of modes will imitate,
The dangling knee-fringe, and the bib-cravat.

• This Prologue was wrote for the King's company, who hud just opened their house in Drury-lane,

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