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Heaven for our fins this summer has thought fit
To visit us with all the plagues of wit.
A French troop first swept all things in its way;
But those hot Monsieurs were too quick to stay:
Yet, to our cost, in that short time, we find
They left their itch of novelty behind.
Th’Italian merry-andrews took their place,
And quite debauch'd the stage with lewd grimace:
Instead of wit, and humors, your delight
Was there to see two hobby-horses fight;
Stout Scaramoucha with rush lance rode in,
And ran a tilt at centaur Arlequin.
For love you heard how amorous asses bray'd,
And cats in gutters gave their serenade.
Nature was out of countenance, and each day
Some new-born monster shewn
for a play. But when all fail'd, to strike the stage quite dumb, Those wicked engines call'd machines are come. Thunder and lightning now for wit are play'd, And shortly scenes in Lapland will be laid : Art magic is for poetry profest ; And cats and dogs, and each obscener beast, To which Ægyptian dotards once did bow, Upon our English stage are worshipp'd now: Witchcraft reigns there, and raises to renown Macbeth and Simon Magus of the town,
Fletcher's despis’d, your Jonson's out of fashion,
And wit the only drug in all the nation.
In this low ebb our wares to you are shown;
By you thofe staple authors worth is known;
For wit's a manufacture of your own.
When you, who only can, their scenes have prais’d,
We'll boldly back, and say, their price is rais’d.
FT has our poet with’d, this happy seat
Might prove his fading Muse's last retreat :
I wonder'd at his wish, but now I find
He fought for quiet, and content of mind;
Which noiseful towns, and courts can never know,
And only in the shades like laurels grow.
Youth, ere it sees the world, here studies relt,
And age returning thence concludes it best.
What wonder if we court that happiness
Yearly to share, which hourly you possess,
Teaching e'en you, while the vext world we show,
Your peace to value more, and better know?
'Tis all we can return for favors past,
Whose holy memory shall ever last,
For patronage from him whose care prefides
Q’er every noble art, and
science guides : Bathurst, a name the learn'd with reverence know, And scarcely more to his own Virgil owe ; Whose age enjoys but what his youth deserv'd, To rule those Muses whom before he fery'd. His learning, and untainted manners too, We find, Athenians, are deriv'd to you: Such antient hospitality there refts In yours, as dwelt in the first Grecian breasts, Whose kindness was religion to their guests. Such modesty did to our sex appear, As, had there been no laws, we need not fear, Since each of you was our protector here. Converse so chaste, and so strict virtue fhown, As might Apollo with the Muses own. Till our return, we must despair to find Judges fo just, so knowing, and so kind.
Iscord, and plots, which haveundone our age,
With the fame ruin have o'erwhelm'd the
Our house has suffer'd in the common woe,
We have been troubled with Scotch rebels too.
Our brethren are from Thamesto Tweed departed,
And of our fifters, all the kinder-hearted,
To Edinburgh gone, or coach'd, or carted.
With bonny bluecap there they act all night
For Scotch half-crown, in English three-pence
One nymph, to whom fat Sir John Falstaff's lean,
There with her single person fills the scene.
Another, with long use and age decay'd,
Div'd here old woman, and rose there a maid.
Our trusty door-keepers of former time
There strut and swagger in heroic rhime.
Tack but a copper-lace to drugget suit,
And there's a hero made without dispute :
And that, which was a capon's tail before,
Becomes a plume for Indian emperor.
But all his subjects, to express the care
Of imitation, go, like Indians, bare :
Lac'd linen there would be a dangerous thing;
It might perhaps a new rebellion bring ;
The Scot, who wore it, would be chosen king.
But why should I these renegades describe,
When you yourselves have seen a lewder tribe?
Teague has been here, and, to this learned pit,
With Irish action Nander'd English wit:
You have beheld such barb'rous Macs
As merited a second massacre:
as, like Cain, were branded with disgrace, And had their country stamp'd upon their face. When strolers durst presume to pick your purse, We humbly thought our broken troop not worse. How ill foe'er our action Oxford's a place where wit can never starve.