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Literature & Theatre

Prologue to the University of Oxford


            TO THE

       Univerſity of OXFORD.

Written by Mr. Steel, and ſpoken by Mr.Wilks.

AS wandring Streams by ſecret Force return
To that capacious Ocean whence they're born ;
So for their Doom their Toils our Poets bring
To the great OXFORD—where they learnt to ſing;
Then let the Learn'd their Viſit not refuſe,
Since what from you they gain, from us they looſe.
For when around the Sacred Place we range,
Our Admiration we for Knowledge change.
We leſs adore their more exalted Vein,
And muſt expect a Blenheim or Campaign.
Such happy Seats wou'd rudeſt Minds inſpire.
And all that ſee muſt feel Poetick Fire.
Aſpiring Columns here, here beauteous Fields,
Here all that Art, here all that Nature yields ;
Groves, Theatres, high Domes, and humble Shades,
Bright Palaces, and intermingl'd Glades
Make the admiring Traveller debate,
Whether they're form'd for Solitude or State:
While empty Pomp th' Inhabitants deſpiſe,
With whom alone—'tis Greatneſs to be Wiſe.
Oh happy ! and your Happineſs who ſee !
Where Innocence and Knowledge can agree !
Ye calm Spectators of a guilty Age,
Pity the Follies of the World and Stage ;
Free from what either act or repreſent,
Weigh both the Character and the Intent,
And know— Men as they are, our Authors drew,
But what they ſhou'd be we muſt learn from you.

London, Printed for BERNARD LINTOTT at the Croſs-Keys next
      Nando's Coffee-Houſe near Temple-Bar. 1706.
                                 price 2d.

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