P R O L O G U E
To the Squire of Alſatia. Spoken by Mr. Mountfort.
How have we in the ſpace of one poor Age,
Beheld the Riſe and Downfal of the Stage !
When, with, our King reſtord, it firſt aroſe,
They did each day ſome good old Play expoſe;
And then it flouriſh'd. Till, with Manna tir'd,
For wholeſome Food ye nauſeous Traſh deſir'd.
Then roſe the whiffling Scribblers of thoſe days,
Who ſince have liv'd to bury all their Plays ;
And had their iſſue full as rum'rous been
As Priams, they the Fate of all had ſeen.
With what prodigious ſcarcity of Wit
Did the new Authors ſtarve the hungry Pit ?
Infected by the French, you muſt have Rhime,
Which long, to pleaſe the Ladies ears, did chime.
Soon after this came Ranting Fuſtian in,
And none but Plays upon the fret were ſeen:
Such Roaring Bombaſt ſtuff, which Fops would praiſe,
Tore our beſt Actors Lungs, cut ſhort their days.
Some in ſmall time did this diſtemper kill,
And had the ſavage Authors gone on ſtill,
Fuſtian had been, a new Diſeaſe i'th' Bill.
When Time, which all things trys, had laid Rhime dead,
The vile Uſurper Farce reign'd in its ſtead.
Then came Machines, brought from a Neighbour Nation,
Oh how we ſuffer'd under Decoration!.
If all this fluff has not quite ſpoyl'd your taſte,
Pray let a Comedy once more be grac'd:
Which does not Monſters repreſent, but Men,
Conforming to the Rules of Maſter Ben.
Our Author, ever having him in 'view,
At humble diſtance would his ſteps purſue.
He to correct, and to inform did write :
If Poets aim at nought but to delight,
Fidlers have to the Bays an equal right.
Our Poet found your gentle Fathers kind,
And now ſome of his works your favour find.
Hell treat you ſtill with ſomewhat that is new,
But whether good or bad, he leaves to you.
Baudy the niceſt Ladies need not fear,
The quickeſt fancy ſhall extract none here.
We will not make 'em bluſh, by which is ſhown
How much their bought Red differs from their own.
No Fop no Beau ſhall juſt exceptions make,
'None but abandon'd Knaves- offence ſhall take:
Such Knaves as he induſtriouſly offends,
And ſhould be very loth have his' Friends.
For you who bring good humour to the Play,
Well do our beſt to make yon laugh to day.
E P I.
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