Page images

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 stumblemyou see my own 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 cried (that heard me tell the story) It may hold out three days and that's as long Fie, Mistress Cook! 'faith you're loo 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 inen make wry faces. What may 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-eren of wit. Lenitives, says he, best suit with our condition. He's no high-flyer-he inakes no sky-rockets, Jack Ketch, says I, 's an excellent physician. His squibs are only levell'd at your pockets: I love no blood. Nor I, Sir, as I breathe; And if his crackers light among your pelf, But hanging is a fine dry kind of death. Ye are blown up; if not, then he's blown up We triminers are for holding all things even.


(Auster'd madness: Yes, just like him that hung 'twixt 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 common 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 faild, Nor birds, vor beasts, but just a kind of bat; While Shakspeare's greater genius still prevail'd? A twilight animal, true io neither cause, Have not some writing actors, in this age, With Tory wings, but Whiggish teeth and Deserv'd and found success upon the stage? claws.

To tell the truth, when our old wiss are tir’d,
Not one of us but means to be inspir'd.

presence grace our homely cheer; $ 10. Prologue to The Mistakes, « 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.

Enter Mr. Bright.
GENTLEMEN, we must beg your pardon;

§ 11. Prologue to the Old Buchelor. 1693.

Congreve. here's no prologue to be had 10-day; our new play is like to coine on without a frontispicce ; How this vile world is chang'd! In formerdays as balt! 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!
A play makes war, and prologue is the drum.

Arm'd with keen satire, and with pointed wit,
Enter Mr. Bowen.

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. Willianis just come in, half mellow, But for your comfort, it falls out to-day, from 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 be 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 strange-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- 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, for 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.

grow it.

it pass,

O Lord! for Heaven's sake excuse the play, Howe'er, to constancy the prize she gives, Because, you know, if it be damn'd to-day, And though the sister dies, the brother lives. I shall be hang'd for wanting what to say..

Blest with success, at last he mounts a throne, For

my sake then—but I'm in such confusion, Enjoys at once his mistress and a crown. I cannot stay to hear your resolution. [Runs off Learn, ladies, then, from Libaraxa's fate,

What great rewards on virtuous lovers wait.
Learn too, if Heaven and fate should adverse

prove, $ 12. Prologue, spoken by Lord Buckhurst, at (For fate and Heaven don't always smile on love)

Westminster School, at a Representation of Learn with Zelinda to be still ihe same, Mr. Dryden's Cleomenes, the Spartan Nor quit your first for any second Aame: Hero, at Christmas, 1695. Prior. Whatever fate, or death or life, be given, Pish! Lord, I wish this prologue was but Dare to be true, submit the rest to Heaven.

Greek, Then young

Cleonidas would boldly speak : But can Lord Buckhurst in poor English say, $ 14. Prologue to Love and a Bottle. 1699. Gentle spectators, pray excuse the play?

FARQUHAR. No, witness all ye gods of ancient Greece, Rather than condescend to terms like these,

[Servant attending 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 dying day; Who tremble when they see a critic frown;

So in their pangs most authors, rack'd with fears, Poor rogues, that smart, like fencers, for their Implore your mercy in our suppliant prayers. bread,

But our new author has no cause maintain'd, And if they are not wounded, are not fed.

Let him not lose what he has never gain'd:

Love and a bottle are his peaceful arms;
But, sirs, our labor has more noble ends,
We act our tragedy to see our friends :

Ladies and gallants, have not those some charms?
Our gen’rous scenes are for pure love repeated, For love, all mankind to the fair must sue:
And if you are not pleas'd, at least you're treated. And, sirs, the boitle he presents to you.
The candles and the clothes ourselies

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 Cleoinenes 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? To drink. Praise undeserv'd; we know ourselves and you: Come on then; foot to foot be boldly set,

[Drinks. Resolu'd to stand or perish by our cause, We neither censure fear, nor beg applause,

And our young author's new commission wet.

He and his bottle here attend their doom, For those are Westminster and Sparta's laws. Yet if we see some judgement well inclin'd,

From you the poet's Helicon must come; To young desert and growing rirtue kind,

If he has any foes, to make amends That 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 he provoke to fight;
Not Cleomenes' more than Dorset's spirit.

The day be theirs, he only begs his night.
Pray pledge him now, secur’d from all abuse;

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. 1700. From your good-nature nought our authoress

FARQUHAR. feais;

Poets will think nothing so checks their fury, Sure you'll indulge, if not the muse, her years; As wits, cits, beaux, and women, for their jury. Freely, the praise she may deserve, bestow ;- Our spark's half-dead to think what medleys Pardon, not censure, what you can't allow; Smile 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, What Nature dictates, and what Love indites. Why, what your gravedon thinks butdully writ, By no dull forms her queen and ladies move, His neighbour i' th' great wig may take for wit. But court their heroes, and agnize 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)

Who go with much like ends to church and play, A husband love his spouse beyond the grave : Not to observe what priests or poets say, And, from a second marriage to deter, No, no! your thoughts, like theirs, lie quite Shows you what horrid things step-mothers are.


another way

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 hasty-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 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 trash; from thence.

And tragi-comedy, half fish and Alesh. 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 ihe 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

ne strange misdeeds, Two diff’rent states, ambitious both, and bold, That strong dog Samson's pull dito'erour 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 will one day hold him: Long has the battle held with bloody strife, At least, I hope that our good-natur'd 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 two words to say; | Whilst from the gallery, box, the pit, and all, Such as it is, for your delight desigu’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 nuinbers, 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


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 act a course; each scene a diff'rent dish: Took to their heels-Allonsand ran away. Though we're in Lent, I doubt you're still for Here you have seen great Philip's conqu’ring son, flesh.

Whoin twelve years did the whole worldo'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 contest, and bestow'd your praise, W Vit is the wine ; but 'tis so scarce the true, But now (as busy heads love something new) Poets, 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 salt or taste.

Because no worlds are left to conquer inore. 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 your 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 plays. And dress’d with sauce of some--four hundred Then leave us as we are, and next advance pound.

Bravely to break the tie 'twixt Spainand France.

§ 18. Prologie !o 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 inushrooms rise and fall of late,

[Going. Or as the uncertain favorites of state;

Hold I forgot--the anthor bid me say, Invention's rack'd to please both eye and car,

She humbly begs protection for her play: But no scene takes without the moving play'r: And you're too gen'rous, sure, to let it fall;

'Tis yours--she dedicates it to you all, Daily we see plays

, pamphlets, libels, rhymes, She hopes the ladies will her cause maintain, Become the falling-sickness of the times ; 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, What modisha kick-shaws the nice beaux desire, She's sure of favor from the men of war, At Locket's, Browne's

, and at Pontack's, inquire Since here they're taught with safety how to 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 preferrd. 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, To please you all we should atternpt in vain :

While 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 rattling 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 coinedy place their chief delight, 'Cause love's the proper business of the night. $ 20. Prologue to Love makes a Man. 1704. The clown for past'ral his half-crown bestows,

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.


you 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 most profound unfathomi'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 Rus$ 19. Epilogue to the Beau's Duel. 1703.


quam satis;

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 mis'd he carries, By nature cowards, foolish; useless tools,

He seems a ragout piping-hot from Paris. Made 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 yuineas_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 PiaThe 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'r. 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 martial prologue should alarm the stage.

live by you.


New plays-ere acted, a full audience here, And now let-
Seem towns invested, when a siege they fear. The poor pit see how Pinkey's voice commands.
Prologues are like a forlorn hope, sent out Silence-Now raitle 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,

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 longdebates 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.


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 re. Your 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 'uis

your coaches. sharp, Fresh foes crowd on, at your remissness carp, And desp'rate, though unskill'd, insult our

$ 23. Prologue to the Busy body. 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; But what your resolution can withstand? To men of sense I'll prophesy anew, You master all, and awe the sea and land. And tell you wondrous things that will prove In war-your valor makes the strong submit; Undaunted colonels will to camps repair, (true. Your judgement humbles all attempts in wit. Assur'd there'll be no skirmishes this year; What play, what fort, what beauty, can endure Onour own terms will flow the wish'd-for peace, All fierce assaults, and always be secure? All wars,except’twixt nian and wife, shall cease. Then grant'em gen'rous terms who dare to write, TheGrand Monarque may wish his son a throne, Since now-that seems as desp'rate as to fight. But hardly will advance to lose his own. If we must yield—yet, ere the day be fix’d, This season most things bear a smiling face; Let us hold out the third, and, if we may, the But play’rs in summer have a dismal case, sixth.

Since your appearance only is our act of grace.

Court-ladies will to country seats be gone, $ 22. Prologue to the Basset-Table. 1706. Where wanting operas, basset, and a play,

My lord can't all the year live great in towo : 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 ale. How often have we known your noise com- | At all assemblies rakes are up and down, 1mpose on your inferior masters' understanding! And gamesters, when they think they are not

Therefore, dear brethren, since I'nı one of you, known.
Whether adorn'd in grey, green, brown, or blue, Should I denounce our author's fate to-day,
This day stand all by me, as I will fall by you. To cry down prophecies, you'd damn the play;

« PreviousContinue »