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To the PRINCESS of CLEVES.
ADIES! (I hope there's none behind to hear)
I long to whisper fomething in your ear :
A secret, which does much my mind perplex:
There's treason in the play against our sex.
A man that's false to love, that vows and cheats,
And kisses every living thing he meets.
A rogue in mode, I dare not fpeak too broad,
One that does something to the very bawd.
Out on him, traytor, for a filthy beast;
Nay, and he's like the pack of all the reft:
None of them stick at mark; they all deceive.
Some Jew has chang'd the text, I half believe ;
There Adam cozen'd our poor grandame Eve.
To hide their faults they rap out oaths, and tear :
Now, tho'we lye, we're too well-bred to swear.
So we compound for half the fin we owe,
But men are dipt for soul and body too;
And, when found out, excuse themselves, pox cant them,
With Latin stuff, Perjuria ridet Amantûm.
I'm not book-learn'd, to know that word in vogue,
But I suspect 'tis Latin for a rogue.
I'm sure, I never heard that scritch-owl hollow'd
In my poor ears, but separation follow'd.
How can such perjur’d villains e'er be saved ?
Achitophel's not half so false to David.
With vows and soft expressions to allure,
They stand, like foremen of a shop, demure :
No sooner out of fight, but they are gadding,
And for the next new face ride out a padding.
Yet, by their favour, when they have been kifling,
We can perceive the ready money miffing.
Well! we may rail; but ’tis as good e'en wink';
Something we find, and something they will sink.
But since they're at renouncing, 'tis our parts,
To trump their diamonds, as they trump our hearts.
Qualm of conscience brings me back again,
To make amends to you bespatter'd men. We women love like cats, that hide their joys, By growling, squalling, and a hideous noise. I rail'd at wild young sparks; but, without lying, Never was man worse thought on for high-flying. The prodigal of love gives each her part, And squand'ring shows, at least, a noble heart: I've heard of men, wito, in fome lewd lampoon, Have hir'd a friend, to make their valour known: That accusation straight this question brings ; What is the man that does such naughty things? The spaniel lover, like a sneaking fop, Lies at our feet : he's scarce worth taking up. 'Tis true, such heroes in a play go far; But chamber-practice is not like the bar. When men such vile, such faint, petitions make, We fear to give, because they fear to take; Since mo:iesty's the virtue of our kind, Pray let it be to our own sex confin'd. When men usarp it from the female nation, 'Tis but a work of fupererogation
We shew'd a princess in the play, 'tis true,
her Cæsar more than all his due;
Told her own faults : but I should much abhor
To choose a husband for my confeffor.
You see what fate follow'd the saint-like fool;
For telling tales from out the nuptial school.
Our play a merry comedy had prov'd,
Had the confess’d so much to him she lov’d.
True Presbyterian wives the means would try;
But damn'd confessing is flat Popery.
ITH sickly actors and an old house too,
And with our alehouse scenes, and cloaths bare worn,
Can neither raise old plays, nor new adorn.
If all these ills could not undo us quite,
A brisk French troop is grown your dear delight;
Who with broad bloody bills call you each day,
To laugh and break your buttons at their play;
Or see some serious piece, which we presume
Is fall’n from some incomparable plume ;
And therefore, Meffieurs, if you'll do us grace,
Send lacquies early to preserve your place.
We dare not on your privilege intrench,
Or ask you why you like them ? they are French.
Therefore some go with courtesy exceeding,
Neither to hear nor see, but show their breeding :
Each lady striving to out-laugh the rest;
To make it seem they understood the jeft.
Their countrymen come in, and nothing pay,
To teach us English were to clap the play :
Civil Igad! our hospitable land
Bears all the charge, for them to understand :
Mean time we languith, and neglected lie,
Like wives, while you keep better company ;
And wish for your own fakes, without a satire,
You'd less good breeding, or had more good-nature.
HAT Nostradame, with all his art can guess
The fate of our approaching Prophetess ?
A play, which like a perspective fet right,
Presents our vast expences ciose to fight;
But turn the tube, and there we sadly view
Our distant gains ; and those uncertain too:
i This prologue was forbid by the Earl of Dorset, then Lord Chamberlain, after the first day of its being spoken. Colley Cibber says, it had some familiar Ineers at the Revolution; and as the poetry of it was good, the oflence was the less pardonable.
A sweeping tax, which on ourselves we raise,
And all, like you, in hopes of better days
When will our loffes warn us to be wise
Our wealth decreases, and our charges rise.
Money, the sweet allurer of our hopes,
Ebbs out in oceans, and comes in by drops,
We raise new objects to provoke delight;
But you grow fated, ere the second fight.
Falle men, e'en so you
They rise three stories in their tow'ring dress ;
And, after all, you love not long enough
To pay the rigging, ere you leave them off.
Never content with what you had before,
But true to change, and English men all o'er.
Now honour calls you hence; and all your care
Is to provide the horrid pomp of war.
In plume and scarf, jack-boots, and Bilbo blade,
Your silver goes, that should support our trade.
Go, unkind heroes 2, leave our stage to mourn;
'Till rich from vanquish'd rebels you return;
And the fat spoils of Teague in triumph draw,
His firkin-butter, and his ufquebaugh.
Go, conquerors of your male and female foes ;
Men without hearts, and women without hose.
Each bring his love a bogland captive home;
Such proper pages will long trains become;
With copper collars, and with brawny backs,
Quite to put down the fahion of our blacks.
Then shall the pious Muses pay
And furnish all their laurels for
Their tuneful voice Mall raise for your delights ;
We want not poets fit to sing your flights.
But you, bright beauties, for whose only fake
Those doughty knights such dangers undertake,
2 King William was at this time prosecuting the war in Ireland, which is alluded to in these lines.