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First Day of the KING'S HOUSE Acting after the FIRE.
O fhipwreck'd paffengers escape to land,
So look they, when on the bare beach they
Dropping and cold, and their firft fear scarce o'er,
Expecting famine on a defart shore.
From that hard climate we must wait for bread,
Whence e'en the natives, forc'd by hunger, fled,
Our stage does human chance present to view,
But ne'er before was feen fo fadly true:
You are chang'd too, and your pretence to fee
Is but a nobler name for charity.
Your own provifions furnish out our feasts,
While you the founders make yourselves the guests. Of all mankind befide fate had fome care,
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 rifes higher,
So from old theatres may new afpire,
Since fate contrives magnificence by fire.
Our great metropolis does far furpass
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 fhed:
Your prefence here, for which we humbly fue,
Will grace old theatres, and build up new.
Opening of the NEW HOUSE, March 26, 1674.
Plain built house, after fo long a stay,
Will fend you half unfatisfy'd away; When, fall'n from your expected pomp, you find A bare convenience only is defign'd.
You, who each day can theatres behold,
Like Nero's palace, fhining 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, fince 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 fums may carry on the trade:
We, broken bankers, half destroy'd by fire,
With our small stock to humble roofs retire;
Pity our lofs, while you their pomp admire.
For fame and honor we no longer strive,
We yield in both, and only beg to live:
Unable to fupport their vast expence,
Who build and treat with fuch 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 vaft eftate,
Th'extremity of modes will imitate,
The dangling knee-fringe, and the bib-cravat.
Yet if fome pride with want may be allow'd,
We in our plainnefs may be justly proud:
Our royal mafter 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 baseft 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 the pen difdain:
While troops of famifh'd Frenchmen hither drive,
And laugh at thofe upon whofe alms they live:
Old English authors vanish, and give place
To these new conqu'rors of the Norman race,
More tamely than your fathers you fubmit,
You're now grown vaffals 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 fure 'tis understood,
That French machines have ne'er done England
I would not prophefy our house's fate :
But while vain shows and fcenes you over-rate, 'Tis to be fear'd
That as a fire the former house o'erthrew,
Machines and tempefts will destroy the new.
HO what our Prologue faid was fadly true,
Yet, gentlemen, our homely house is new,
A charm that feldom fails with, wicked, you.
A country lip may have the velvet touch;
Tho she's no lady, you may think her fuch:
A strong imagination may do much.
But you, loud firs, who thro your 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;
Whofe favors, like the fun, warm where
Yet you, like him, have neither heat nor foul;
So may your hats your foretops never prefs,
Untouch'd your ribbons, facred be your drefs;
So may you flowly to old age advance,
And have th’excufe of youth for ignorance:
So may fop-corner full of noife remain,
And drive far off the dull attentive train;