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But turn the tube, and there we sadly view
Our distant gains, and those uncertain too;
A sweeping tax, which on ourselves we raise,
And all, like you, in hopes of better days.
When will our losses warn us to be wise?
Our wealth decreases, and our charges rise.
Money, the sweet allurer of our hopes,
Ebbs out in oceans, and comes in by drops.
We raise new objects to provoke delight,
But you grow sated ere the second sight.
False men, even so you serve your mistresses;
They rise three stories in their towering dress;
And, after all, you love not long enough
To pay the rigging, ere you leave them off.
Never content with what you had before,
But true to change, and Englishmen all o'er.
Now honour calls you hence; and all your care
Is to provide the horrid pomp of war.

In plume and scarf, jack-boots, and Bilbo blade,
Your silver goes, that should support our trade.
Go, unkind heroes! leave our stage to mourn,
Till rich from vanquish'd rebels you return;
And the fat spoils of Teague in triumph draw,
His firkin butter, and his usquebaugh.
Go, conquerors of your male and female foes;
Men without hearts, and women without hose.
Each bring his love a Bogland captive home;
Such proper pages will long trains become;
With copper collars, and with brawny backs,
Quite to put down the fashion of our blacks.*

* It was the fashion, at this time, to have black boys in attendance, decorated with silver collars. See the following advertisement: "A black boy, about fifteen years of age, named John White, ran away from Colonel Kirke, the 15th instant; he has a silver collar about his neck, upon which is the Colonel's arms and cipher." Gazette, March 18, 1685.

Then shall the pious Muses pay their vows,
And furnish all their laurels for your brows;
Their tuneful voice shall raise for your delights;
We want not poets fit to sing your flights.
But you, bright beauties, for whose only sake
Those doughty knights such dangers undertake,
When they with happy gales are gone away,
With your propitious presence grace our play,
And with a sigh their empty seats survey;
Then think,-On that bare bench my servant sat!
I see him ogle still, and hear him chat;
Selling facetious bargains, and propounding
That witty recreation, call'd dum-founding.*
Their loss with patience we will try to bear,
And would do more, to see you often here;
That our dead stage, revived by your fair eyes,
Under a female regency may rise.

* Selling bargains, a species of wit common, according to Swift, among Queen Anne's maids of honour, consisted in leading some innocent soul to ask a question, which was answered by the bargain-seller's naming his, or her, sitting part, by its broadest appellation. Dum-founding is explained by a stage direction in Bury-Fair, where " Sir Humphrey dum-founds the Count with a rap betwixt the shoulders." The humour seems to have consisted in doing this with such dexterity, that the party dum-founded should be unable to discover to whom he was indebted for the favour.




This play was brought forward by Joseph Harris, a comedian, as his own, although it is said to have been chiefly written by another person. It was acted in 1690.

Enter Mr BRIGHT.

GENTLEMEN, we must beg your pardon; here's no prologue to be had to-day. Our new play is like to come on, without a frontispiece; as bald as one of you young beaux without your periwig. I left our young poet, snivelling and sobbing behind the scenes, and cursing somebody that has deceived him.

Enter Mr BOWEN.

Hold your prating to the audience; here's honest Mr Williams just come in, half mellow, from the Rose-Tavern. He swears he is inspired with claret,

This was quite in character. Cibber says of Williams, that his industry was not equal to his capacity, for he loved his bottle better than his business. Apology, p. 115.

and will come on, and that extempore too, either with a prologue of his own, or something like one. 'O here he comes to his trial, at all adventures; for my part, I wish him a good deliverance.

[Exeunt Mr BRIGHT and Mr BOWEN.


Save ye, sirs, save ye! I am in a hopeful way. I should speak something, in rhyme, now, for the play;

But the deuce take me, if I know what to say.
I'll stick to my friend the author, that I can tell ye,
To the last drop of claret in my belly.

So far I'm sure 'tis rhyme-that needs no granting; And, if my verses' feet stumble--you see my own are wanting.

Our young poet has brought a piece of work,
In which though much of art there does not lurk,
It may hold out three days-and that's as long
as Cork.*

But, for this play-(which till I have done, we shew not)

What may be its fortune-by the Lord-I know not.
This I dare swear, no malice here is writ;
"Tis innocent of all things-even of wit.
He's no high-flyer-he makes no sky-rockets,
His squibs are only levell'd at your pockets;
And if his crackers light among your pelf,

You are blown up; if not, then he's blown up himself.

* The taking of Cork was one of the first exploits of the renowned Marlborough. The besieging army was disembarked on the 23d September, 1690, and the garrison, amounting to four thousand men, surrendered on the 28th of the same month.

By this time, I'm something recover'd of my fluster'd madness;

And now, a word or two in sober sadness.
Ours is a common play; and you pay down
A common harlot's price-just half-a-crown.
You'll say, I play the pimp, on my friend's score;
But since 'tis for a friend, your gibes give o'er,
For many a mother has done that before.
How's this? you cry: an actor write?-we know it;
But Shakespeare was an actor, and a poet.
Has not great Jonson's learning often fail'd?
But Shakespeare's greater genius still prevail'd.
Have not some writing actors, in this age,
Deserved and found success upon the stage?
To tell the truth, when our old wits are tired,
Not one of us but means to be inspired.
Let your kind presence grace our homely cheer;
Peace and the butt* is all our business here;
So much for that-and the devil take small beer.

* A phrase in the "Tempest," as altered by Dryden, which seems to have become proverbial.

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