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EPILOGUE

TO THE

HUSBAND HIS OWN CUCKOLD.

This play was written by John Dryden, Junior, son to our poet. See the preface among our author's prose works. It was dedicated to Sir Robert Howard, and acted in 1696.

LIKE some raw sophister that mounts the pulpit,
So trembles a young poet at a full pit.
Unused to crowds, the parson quakes for fear,
And wonders how the devil he durst come there;
Wanting three talents needful for the place,
Some beard, some learning, and some little grace.
Nor is the puny poet void of care;

For authors, such as our new authors are,
Have not much learning, nor much wit to spare ;
And as for grace, to tell the truth, there's scarce one,
But has as little as the very parson:

Both say, they preach and write for your instruction;
But 'tis for a third day, and for induction.
The difference is, that though you like the play,
The poet's gain is ne'er beyond his day;
But with the parson 'tis another case,
He, without holiness, may rise to grace ;

The poet has one disadvantage more,
That if his play be dull, he's damn'd all o'er,
Not only a damn'd blockhead, but damn'd poor.
But dulness well becomes the sable garment;
I warrant that ne'er spoiled a priest's preferment;
Wit's not his business, and as wit now goes,
Sirs, 'tis not so much yours as you suppose,
For you like nothing now but nauseous beaux.
You laugh not, gallants, as by proof appears,
At what his beauship says, but what he wears;
So 'tis your eyes are tickled, not your ears.
The tailor and the furrier find the stuff,
The wit lies in the dress, and monstrous muff.
The truth on't is, the payment of the pit
Is like for like, clipt money for clipt wit.
You cannot from our absent author* hope,
He should equip the stage with such a fop.
Fools change in England, and new fools arise;
For, though the immortal species never dies,
Yet every year new maggots make new flies.
But where he lives abroad, he scarce can find
One fool, for million that he left behind.

#

Young Dryden was then in Rome with his brother Charles, who was gentleman-usher to the Pope.

MAC-FLECNOE,

A SATIRE

AGAINST

THOMAS SHADWELL.

MAC-FLECNOE.

THE enmity between Dryden and Shadwell at first probably only sprung from some of those temporary causes of disgust, which must frequently divide persons whose lives are spent in a competition for public applause. That they were occasionally upon tolerable terms is certain, for Dryden has told us so; and Shadwell, in 1676, when expressing his dissent from one of our author's rules of theatrical criticism, industrionsly and anxiously qualifies his opinion, with the highest compliments to our author's genius. They had formerly even joined forces, and called in the aid of another wit, to overwhelm the reputation of no less a person than Elkanah Settle. † But, between the politics of the stage and of the nation, the friendship of these bards, which probably never had a very solid foundation, was at length totally overthrown. It is not very easy to discover who struck the first blow; but it may be suspected, that Dryden was displeased to see Shadwell not only dispute his canons of criticism in print, but seem to establish himself as an imitator of the old school of dramatic composition, and particularly of Jonson, on whom Dryden had thrown some censure in his epilogue to "The Conquest of Grenada," and in the Defence of these verses. It seems certain, that the feud had broke out in 1675-6; for Shadwell has not only made some invidious allusions to the success of "Aureng-Zebe," which was represented that season, but has plainly intimated, that he needed only a pension to enable him to write as well as Dryden himself. ‡

See the whole passage, Vol. VII. p. 141. note.

+ See the Remarks on the Empress of Morocco, written in conjunction by Dryden, Crown, and Shadwell. They were printed in 1674.

These circumstances of offence occur in the prologue, epilogue, and preface to the "Virtuoso," which must have been acted in the same season with "Aureng-Zebe," as the dedication is dated 26th June, 1676. The prologue commences with an irreverend allusion to that play, and to our author's theatrical engagements:

You came with such an eager appetite

To a late play, which gave so great delight,

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