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When fortune favours, none but fools will So far I'm sure 'tis rhyme—that needs no grantdally:
[are wanting. Would any of you, sparks, if Nan or Mally And, if my verses' feet stumble--you see myown Tipp'd you th' inviting wink, stand, Shall I, Our young poet has brought a piece of work, shall I?
In which tho' much of art there does not lurk, A trimmer criedl (that heard me tell the story) It may hold out three days—and that's as long Fie, Mistress Cook! 'faith you're too rank a as Cork *. Tory!
(cases; But for this play—(which till I have done we Wish not Whigs hang’d, but pity their hard
show not) You women love to see men make wry faces.
be its fortune-by the Lord I know Pray, Sir, said I, don't think me such a Jew; This I dare swear, no malice here is writ: [not. I say no more, but give the devil his due. 'Tis innocent of all things—even of wit. Lenitives, says he, best suit with our condition. He's no high-flyer-he makes no sky-rockets, Jack Ketch, says 1, 's an excellent physician. His squibs are only levell’d at your pockets : love no blood. Nor I, Sir, as I breathe;
And if his crackers light among your pell, But hanging is a fine dry kind of death. Ye are blown up; if not, then he's blown up We trimmers are for holding all things even.
[fluster'd madness: Yes, just like him that bung 'twist hell and By this time I'm something recover'd of my heaven.
And now, a word or two in sober sadness. Have we not had men's lives enough already? - Ours is a common play; and you pay down Yes, sure; but you're for holding all things A conmon harlot's price—just half a crown. steady.
[brother, You'll say, I play the pimpon my friend's score; ; Now, since the weight hangs all on one side, But since 'tis for a friend, your gibes give o'er; You trimmers should, to poise it, hang on For many a mother has done that before. t'other.
How's this? you cry: an actor write! we Damn'd neuters, in their middle way of steering,
know it; Are neither fish nor flesh, nor good red-herring: But Shakspeare was an actor and a poet. Not Whigs nor Tories they, nor this nor that; Has not great Jonson's learning often fail'd, Nor birds, nor beasts, but just a kind of bat; While Shakspeare's greater genius still prevail'd? A twilight animal, true to neither cause, Hlave not soine writing actors, in this ige, With Tory wings, but Whiggish teeth and Deserv'd and found success upon the stage? claws.
To tell the truth, when our old wits are tir’d,
Let your kind presence grace our homely cheer; § 10. Prologue to The Mistakes, a Play writ- Peace and the butt, is all our bus'ness here; ten by Joseph Harris, comedian. 1690. So much for that, and the devil take small beer.
§ 11. Prologue to the Old Buchelor. 1693.
CONGREVE. here's no prologue to be had to-day; our new play is like to come on without a frontispiece; How this vile world is chang'd! In former days as bald as one of you young beaux without your Prologues were serious speeches before plays; periwig. I left our young poet snivelling and Grave, solemn things (as graces are to feasts), sobbing behind the scenes, and cursing some- Where poets begg'd a blessing from their guests. body that has deceived him,
But now no more like suppliants we come!
Arm'd with keen satire, and with pointed wit,
We threaten you, who do for judges sit, Hold your prating to the audience; here is To save our plays; or else we'll damn your pit. honest Mr. Williams just come in, half mellow, But for your comfort, it falls out to-day, froin the Rose Tavern. He swears he is inspir- We've a young author, and his first-born play: ed with claret, and will come on, and that ex- So, standing only on his good behaviour, tempore too, either with a prologue of his own, He's very civil, and entreats your favour. or something like one. O, here he comes to his Not but the man has inalice, would he show it: trial, at all adventures : for my part I wish him But, on my conscience, he's a bashful poet ; a good deliverance.
You think that strangem-no matter; he'll out[Exeunt Mr. Bright and Mr. Bowen.
Well, I'm his advocate by me he prays you, Enter Mr. Williams.
(I don't know whether I shall speak to please you)
He prays–O bless me! what shall I do now? Save ye, Sirs, save ye! I'm in a hopeful way, Hang me if I know what he prays, or how ! I should speak something, in rhyme, now,
And 'twas the prettiest prologue as he wrote it: the play:
Well, the deuce take me if I ha'n't forgot it. But the deuce take me if I know what to say. I'll stick to my friend the author, that I can tell To the last drop of claret in my belly. [ye, * The siege of the city of Cork.
O Lord! for Heaven's sake excuse the play, Howe'er, 10 constancy the prize she gives,
sake then-but I'm in such confusion, Enjoys at once his inistress and a crown.
What great rewards on virtuous losers wait.
too, if Heaven and fate should adverse
Westminster School, at a Representation of Learn with Zelinda to be still ihe saine,
§ 14. Prologue lo Love and a Bottle. ifgg.
FARQUHAR. No, witness all ye gods of ancient Greece, Rather than condescend to terms like these,
[Serrant allerding with a Bottle of Wine. ] I'd go to school six hours on Christmas-day, Or construe Persius while my comrades play.
As stubborn atheists who disdain to pray, Such work by hireling actors should be done, Repent, though late, upon their dviig day; Who tremble when they see a critic frown;
So in their pangs most authors, rack with lears, Poor rogues, that smart, like fencers, for their Implore your mercy in our suppliani prayers. bread,
Bui our new author has no cause maintain'd,
Let him not lose what he has never gaind: And if they are not wounded, are not fed. But, sirs, our labor has more noble ends,
Love and a bottle are his peaceful arms; We act our tragedy to see our friends :
Ladies and gallants, have not those some charms. Our gen'rous scenes are for pure
For love, all mankind io the fair must sue;
love repeated, And if you are notpleas’d, at least you're treated! And, sirs, the bottle he presents to you. The candles and the clothes ourselves we bought,
Health to the play I toast [Drinks. ]-e'en let Our tops neglected, and our balls forgot. To learn our parts we left our midnight bed,
Sure none sit here that will refuse their glass! Most of you snor'd whilst Cleomenes read.
O there's a damning soldier-let me thinkNot that from this confession we would sue
He looks as he were sworn to what? Todrink. Praise undeserv’d, we know ourselves and you: Come on then; foot to foot be boldly set,
[Drinis. Resoly'd to stand or perish by our cause, We neither censure fear, nor beg applause,
And onr young author's new comunisien wet. For those are Westminster and Sparta's laws.
He and his boitle here attend their dooin, Yet if we see some judgement well inclin'd,
From you the poet's Helicon must come; To young desert and growing virtue kind,
If he has any foes, to make amends Thát critic by ten thousand marks should know, He gives his service [Drinks.)-Sure you now That greatest souls to goodness only bow;
are friends; And that your little hero does inherit
No critic here will be provoke to fight;
The day be theirs, he only begs his night.
Then name the health you love, let none refuse. $ 13. Prologue to the Royal Mischief. 1696.
PRIOR. LADIES, to you with pleasure we submit This early offspring of a virgin-wit.
§ 15. Prologue to the Constant Couple. 1:00. From your good-nature nought our authoress
Poets willthink nothing so checks their fury, Sure you'll indulge, if not the muse, her years; | Aswits, cits, beaux, ani women, for their jury. Freely, the praise she may deserve, bestow; Our spark's hall-dead to think wbut medleys Pardon, not censure, what you can't allow;
hile on the work, be to her merits kind, With blended judgements, to pronounce his And to her faults, whate'er they are, be blind.
doom. Let critics follow rules; she boldly writes 'Tis all false fear; for in a mingled pit,
a What Nature dictates, and what Love indites. Why, what yourgravedon thinks boidulle writ, By no dull forms her queen and ladies move, His neighbour i'ih' great win may take for usit. But couri their heroes, and ignize their love. Some authors court the few, the wise if any: Poor maid! she'd have (what e'en no wife Our youth's content, if he can reach the many, would crave)
Whogowith much like ends to church and play,
The ladies safe may smile, for here's no slander, | An opera, like an oglio, nicks the age; No smut, no lewd-tongued beau, no double en- Farce is the lasty-pudding of the stage: tendre.
For when you're treated with indifferent cheer, 'Tis true, he has a spark just come from France, You can dispense with slender stage-coach fare. But then, so far from beau-why, he talks sense, A pastoral's whipt-cream; stage-whims, mere Like coin, oft carried out, but-seldom brought from thence.
And tragi-comedy, half fish and flesh. There's yet a gang to whom our spark submits, But comedy, that, that's the darling cheer; Your elbow-shaking fool that lives by’s wits, This night, we hope, you'll an Inconstant bear; That's only witty though, just as he lives, by fits: Wild-fowl is lik'd in play-house all the year. Who, lion-like, through bailiffs scours away, Yet since each mind betrays a diff'rent taste, Hunts, in the face of dinner, all the day, And ev'ry dish scarce pleases ev'ry guest, At night with empty bowels grumbles o'er the If aught you relish, do not damn the rest. play:
This favor crav’d, up let the music strike: And now the modish prentice he implores, You're welcome all-now fall to where you like. Who, with his master's cash, stol'n out of doors, Employs it on a brace of-honorable whores: While their good bulky mother pleas'd sits by, Bawd-regent of the bubble gallery.
$ 17. Prologue on the proposed Union of the Next to our mounted friends we humbly move,
Two Houses. 1703. FARQUHAR. Who all your side-box tricks are much above, Now all the world's ta'en up with state affairs, And never fail to pay us with your love. Some wishing peace, some calling out for wars, Ah, friends! poor Dorset Garden-house is gone; | 'Tis likewise fit we should inform the age, Our merry meetings there are all undone : What are the present politics o'th' stage: Quite lost to us, sure for some strange misdeeds, Two diff'rent states, ambitious both, and bold, That strong dog Samson's pull'd ito'er our heads, All free-born souls, the New House and the Old, Snaps rope like thread; but when his fortune's Have long contended, and made stout essays, told him,
Which should be monarch absolute in plays. He'll hear perhaps of rope willoneday hold him: Long has the battle held with bloody strife, At least, I hope that our good-naturd town Where many ranting heroes lost their life ; Will find a way to pull his prices down. Yet such their enmity, that e'en the slain
Well, that's all! Now, gentlemen, for the play: Do conquer death, rise up, and fight again. On second thoughts, I've but iwo words to say; Whilst from the gallery, box, the pit, and all, Such as it is, for your delight design’d,
The audience look'd, and shook its awful head, Hear it, read, try, judge, and speak as you find. Wond'ring to see so many thousands fall,
And then look'd pale to see us look so red. For force of numbers, and poetic spell,
We've rais'd the ancient heroes too from hell, $ 16. Prologue to The Inconstant, 1702.
To lead our troops; and on this bloody field FARQUHAR.
You've seen great Cæsar fight, great Pompey
yield. Like hungry guests a sitting audience looks: Vast sums of treasure too we did advance, Plays are like suppers; poets are the cooks: To draw some mercenary troops from France; The founders you: the table is the place: Light-footed rogues, who, when they got their The carvers we: the prologue is the grace:
pay, Each aci a course; cach scene a diff'rent dish: Took to their hcels-Allons--and ran away. Though we're in Lent, I doubt you're still for Here you have seen great Philip's conqu’ring son, flesh.
Who in twelve years did the whole world o’errun; Satire's the sauce, high-season'd, sharp, and Here has he fought, and found a harder job rough;
To beat one play-house, than subdue the globe; Kind masks and beaux, I hope you're pepper- All this from emulation for the bays: proof.
You lik’d the coniest, and bestow'd your praise, Wit is the wine ; but 'lis so scarce the true, But now (as busy heads love something new) Poes, like vintners, balderdash and brew. They would propose an union-0 mort dieu ! Your surly scenes, where rant and bloodshed If it be so, lei Cæsar hide his head, Are butcher's meat, a battle's a sirloin: (join, And fight no more for glory, but for bread. Your scenes of love, so flowing, soft, and chaste, Let Alexander mourn, as once before, Are water-gruel, without salı or taste.
Because no worlds are left to conquer more. Bawdy's fat venison, which, though stale, can But if we may judge small from greater things, please:
The present times may show what union brings, Your rakes love haut-gouts, like your damn'd You feel the danger of united kings. French cheese.
If we grow one, then slav'ry must ensue Your rarity, for the fair guest to gape on,
To poets, players, and, my friends, to you: Is nice squeaker, or Italian capon ; For, to one house confin'd, you then must praise Or your French virgin-pullet, garnish'd round Both cursed actors, and confounded pound.
Bravely to break the tie 'twixtSpain and France.
§ 18. Prologue to Love's Contrivance. 1703. To please you then shall be our chief endeavour
CENTLivre. And all we ask is but your smiles for ever. Poets like mushroonis rise and fall of late,
[Going. Or as the uncertain favorites of state;
Hold—I forgot—the author bid me say, Invention's rack'd to please both
She humbly begs protection for her play: eye
'Tis But no scene takes without the moving play'r:
yoursshe dedicates it to you all, Daily we see plays, pamphlets, libels, rhymes, And you're too gen'rous, sure, to let it fall;
She Become the falling-sickness of the times;
hopes the ladies will her cause maintain, So fev'rish is the humor of the town,
Since virtue here has been her only aim. It surfeits of a play ere three days' run.
The beaux, she thinks, won't fail to do her right, At Locket's, Browne's,and at Pontack's, inquire. Since here they're taught with safety how to What modisii kick-shaws the nice beaux desire, She's sure of favor from the men of war,
fight. What fam'd ragouts, what new-invented salad, Has best pretensions to regale the palate.
A soldier is her darling character:
To fear their murmurs then would be absurd, If we present you with a medley here, A hodge-podge dish serv'd up in china ware,
They only mutiny when not preferr'd. We hope 'twill please, 'cause, like your bill of But yet, I see, she does your fury dread, fare,
And, like a pris'ner, stands with fear half-dead,
While To please you all we should attempt in vain :
you, her judges, do her sentence give; In diff'rent persons diff'rent humors reign.
If you're not pleas’d, she says, she cannot live. The soldier's for the ratiling scenes of war,
Let my petition then for once prevail, The peaceful beau hates shedding blood so near.
And let your gen'rous hands her pardon seal. Courtiers in comedy place their chief delight, 'Cause love's the proper business of the night. The clown for past'ral his half-crown bestows, $ 20. Prologue to Love makes a Man. 1704.
CIBBER. But t’other house by sad experience knows, This polish'd town produces few of those.
Since plays are but a kind of public feasts, The merchant is for traffic ev'ry where,
Where tickets only make the welcome guests; And values not the best, but cheapest ware.
Methinks, instead of grace, we should prepare Since various humors are pleas'd various ways, Your tastes in prologue, with your bill of fare. A critic's but a fool to judge of plays.
foreknow each course, though this Fool, did I say? "Tis difficult to know
may tease you, Who 'tis that's so indeed, or is not so:
"Tis five to one but one o' th' five may please you. If that be then a point so hard to gain,
First, for the critics, we've your darling cheer, Wit's sure a mosi profound unfathou'd main. Faults without number, morethan sensecan bear; He that sits judge, the trident ought to sway,
You're certain to be pleas'd where errors are. To know who's greatest fool or wit to-day,
From your displeasure I dare vouch we're safe; The audience, or the author of the play.
You never frown but where your neighbours
laugh. Now, you that never knowwhat spleen or hate is, Who for an act or two are welcome gratis,
That tip the wink, and so sneak out with nur§ 19. Epilogue to the Beau's Duel. 1703.
For your smart tastes we've toss'd you up a fop, You see, gallants, 't has been our poet's care, We hope the newest that's of late come up; To show what beaux in their perfection are ; The fool, beau, wit, and rake,so mix'd he carries, By nature cowards, foolish ; useless tools,
He seems a ragout piping-hot from Paris. Niade men by tailors, and by women, fools : But, for the softer sex, whom most we'd more, A fickle, false, a singing, dancing crew; We've what the fair and chaste were form'd Nay, now we hear they've smiling-master o.
for-love: Just now a Frenchman, in the dressing-room, An artless passion, fraught with hopes and fears, From teaching of a beau to smile, was come. And nearest happy when it most despairs. He show'd five guineas—Wasn't he rarely paid? | For masks, we've scandal, and for beaux, Thus all the world by smiles are once betray'd.
French airs. The statesman smiles on them he would undo, To please all tastes, we'll do the best we can; The courtier's smiles are very seldom true, For the galleries, we've Dicky and Will PinThe lover's smiles too many do believe,
[fare; And women smile on them they would deceive. Now, sirs, you're welcome, and you know your When tradesmen smile, they safely cheat with But pray, in charity, the founder spare, ease;
Lest you destroy at once the poet and the play's. And smiling lawyers never fail of fees. The doctor's look the patient's pains beguiles, The sick man lives if the physician smiles.
$ $ 21. Prologue to the Twin Rivals. 1706. Thus smiles with interest hand in hand do go,
FARQUHAR. He surest strikes, that smiling gives the blow.
[An alarm sounded.] Poets, with us, this proverb do defy:
Withdrumsandtrumpets, in thiswarring age, We live by smiles, for if you frown we die. A inartial prologue should alarm the stage.
live by you.
New plays-ere acted, a full audience here, And now let-
The poor pit see how Pinkey's voice commands: Prologues are like a forlorn hope, sent out Silence-Now rattle all your sticks, and clap Before the play, to skirmish and to scout:
your grimy hands. Our dreadful foes, the critics, when they spy, I greet your love, and let the rainest author They cock, they charge, they fire--then back show they fly:
Half this command on cleaner hands below: The siege is laid-there gallant chiefs abound, Nay more, to prove your interest, let this play Here-foes intrench'd, there-glitt'ring troops around,
So may you share good claret with your masters, And the loud batt’ries roar-from yonder rising Still free in your amours from their disasters ; ground.
Free from poor house-keeping, where peck is In the first act, brisk sallies (miss or hit),
under locks; With volleys of small shot, or snip-snap wit, Free from cold kitchens, and no Christmas-box; Attack, and gall the trenches of the pit. So may no long debates i'th' House of Commons The next--the fire continues, but at length Make you i'th' lobby starve, when hunger Grows less, and slackens like a bridegrooni's summons ; strength,
But may your plenteous vails come fowing in, The third--feints, mines, and countermines, Give you a lucky hit, and make you gentlemen: abound;
And, thus preferr’d, ne'er fear the world's reYour critic engineers, safe under ground,
proaches, Blow up our works, and all our art confound. But shake your elbows with my lord, and keep The fourth-brings on most action, and 'ris
sharp, Fresh foes crowd on, at
carp, And desp’rate, though unskill'd, insult our
$ 23. Prologue to the Busybody. 1708. counterscarp.
CENTLIVRE. Then comes the last; the gen'ral storm is near, The poet-governor now quakes for fear; Though modern prophets were expos’d of Runs wildly up and down, forgets to huff,
late, And would give all he's plunder d-to get off. The author could not prophesy his fate : So-Don, and Monsieur Bluff, before the If with such scenes an audience had been fir'd, siege,
The poet must have really been inspir’d. Were quickly tam'd—at Venlo, and at Liege: But these, alas! are melancholy days 'Twas Viva Spagnia ! Viva France ! before; For modern prophets, and for modern plays. Now, Quartier, Monsieur ! Quartier ! Ah, Yet since prophetic lies please fools of fashion, Senor !
And women are so fond of agitation ;
Since your appearance only is our act of grace.
My lord can't all the year live great in town: § 22. Prologue to the Basset-Talle. 1706. Where wanting operas, basset, and a play,
Spoken by Mr.Pinkethman. CENTLIVRE. They'll sigh, and stitch a gown to pass the time In all the faces that to plays resort,
away. Whether of country, city, mob, or court, Gay city-wives at Tunbridge will appear, I've always found, that none such hopes inspire Whose husbands long have wished for an heir; As you, dear brethren of the upper tier. Where many a courtier may their wants relieve, Poets in prologues may both preach and rail, But by the waters only they conceive. Yet all their wisdom nothing will avail ; [fail
. The Fleet-street sempstress, toast of Temple Who writes not up to you, 'tis ten to one will sparks,
[clerks, Your thund'ring plaudit'tis that deals out fame; That runs spruce neckcloths for attorneys You.make plays run, though of themselves but At Cuper's gardens will her hours regale, lame.
(manding, Sing Fair Dorinda, and drink bottled alé. How often have we known your noise com- At all assemblies rakes are up and down, Impose on your inferior masters' understanding! And gamesters, when they think they are not
Therefore, clear brethren, since I'm one of you, known.