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Yet still he fills affection's eye,
Obscurely wise and coarsely kind; Nor, letter'd arrogance, deny
Thy praise to merit unrefin'd. When fainting nature call'd for aid,
And hovering death prepar'd the blow, His vigorous remedy display'd
The power of art without the show.
His useful care was ever nigh,
And lonely want relir'd to die.
No petty gain disdain'd by pride;
The toil of every day supply'd.
Nor made a pause, nor left void;
The single talent well employ'd.
Unfelt, uncounted, glided by;
Though now his eightieth year was nigh.
No cold gradations of decay,
And forc'd his soul the nearest way.
PROLOGUE. Spoken by Garrick, at the Opening of the Theatre.
Royal, Drury-Lane, 1747. WHEN Learning's triumph o'er her barbarous foes
Firstrear'd the stage,immortalShakespeare rose; Each change of many-colour'd life he drew, Exhausted worlds, and then imagin'd new:
Existence saw him spurn her bounded reign,
Then Jonson came, instructed from the school,
The wits of Charles found easier ways to fame, Nor wish'd for Jonson's art, or Shakspeare's flame. Themselves they studied; as they felt, they writ : Intrigue was plot, obscenity was wit. Vice always found a sympathetic friend; They pleas'd their age, and did not aim to mend. Yet bards like these aspir'd to lasting praise, And proudly hop'd to pimp in future days. Their cause was general, their supports were strong; Their slaves were willing, and their reign was long: Till shame regain'd the post that sense betray'd, And virtue call'd oblivion to her aid.
Then crush'd by rules, and weaken'd as refin'd, For years the pow's of Tragedy declin'd; From bard to bard the frigid caution crept, Till declamation roar'd whilst passion slept; Yet still did Virtue deign the stage to tread, Philosophy remaiu'd though Nature fled. But forc'd, at length, her ancient reign to quit, She saw great Faustus lay the ghost of wit; Exulting folly hail'd the joyous day, And pantomime and song confirm'd her sway. .
But who the coming changes can presage, And mark the future periods of the stage? Perhaps, if skill could distant times explore, New Behns, new Durfeys, yet remain in store; Perhaps where Lear has rav'd, and Hamlet died, On flying cars new sorcerers may ride;
Perhaps (for who can guess the effects of chance?) Here Hunt may box, or Mahomet may dance.
Hard is his lot that here by fortune plac'd, Must watch the wild vicissitudes of taste; With every meteor of caprice must play, And chase the new-blown bubbles of the day. Ah! let not censure term our fate our choice, The stage but echoes back the public voice; The drama's laws, the drama's patrons give, For we that live to please, must please-to live.
Then prompt no more the follies you decry, As tyrants doom their tools of guilt to die; 'Tis yours, this night, to bid the reign commence of rescued nature, and reviving sense ; To chase the charms of sound, the pomp of show, For useful mirth and salutary woe; Bid scenic virtue form the rising age, And truth diffuse her radiance from the stage.
A PROSPECT OF SOCIETY.
Or by the lazy Scheld, or wandering Po;
Eternal blessings crown my earliest friend,
But me, not destin'd such delights to share, My prime of life in wandering spent and care: Impelld with steps unceasing to pursue Some fleeting good, that mocks me with the view: That like the circle bounding earth and skies, Allures from far, yet, as I follow, flies; My fortune leads to traverse realms alone, And find no spot of all the world my own.
E'en now, where Alpine solitudes ascend, I sit me down a pensive hour to spend; And plac'd on high above the storm's career, Look downward where a hundred realms appear. Lakes, forests, cities, plains extending wide, The pomp of kings, the shepherd's humbler pride.
When thus Creation's charms around combine, Amidst the store, should thankless pride repine ? Say, should the philosophic mind disdain That good which makes each humbler bosom vain ? Let school-taught pride dissemble all it can, These little things are great to little man; And wiser he, whose sympathetic mind Exults in all the good of all mankind. Ye glittering towns, with wealth and splendor
crown'd; Ye fields, where summer spreads profusion round; Ye lakes, whose vessels catch the busy gale; Ye bending swains, that dress the flowery vale! For me your tributary stores combine: Creation's heir, the world, the world is mine. As some lone '
miser, visiting his store,
But where to find that happiest spot below,