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Have we for this increas' Apollo's race ?
wits embrace ?
And borne you many chopping babes of grace?
Some ugly toads we had, and that 's the curse,
They were so like you, that you far’d the worse;
For this to-night, we are not much in pain,
Look on ’t, and if you like it, entertain :
If all the midwife says of it be true,
There are some features too like some of you:
For us, if you think fitting to forsake it,
We mean to run away, and let the parish take it.
At the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane, April the 7th,
1709, at her playing in Love for Love with Mrs. Bracegirdle, for the benefit of Mr. Betterton. S some brave knight, who once with spear and
Had fought renown in many a well-fought field;
But now no more with sacred fame inspir'd,
Was to a peaceful hermitage retir'd :
There, if by chance disastrous tales he hears,
Of matrons wrongs, and captive virgins tears,
He feels foft pity urge his generous breast,
And vows once more to succour the distress'd.
Buckled in mail, he fallies on the plain,
And turns him to the feats of arms again.
So we, to former leagues of friendship true,
Have bid once more our peaceful homes adieu,
To aid Old Thomas, and to pleasure you,
Like errant damsels, boldly we engage,
Arm'd, as you see, for the defenceless stage.
Time was when this good man no help did lack,
And scorn'd that any she should hold his back;
fo age and frailty have ordain’d,
two at once he's forc'd to be sustain'd,
You see what failing nature brings man to;
And yet let none insult, for ought we know,
She may not wear so well with some of you.
Though old, yet find his strength is not clean past,
But true as steel he's metal to the last.
If better he perform'd in days of yore,
Yet now he gives you all that 's in his power ;
What can the youngest of you all do more ?
What he has been, though present praise be dumb, Shall haply be a theme in times to come, As now we talk of Roscius, and of Rome. Had you withheld your
favours on this night,
Old Shakespeare's ghost had ris'n to do him right.
With indignation had you seen him frown
Upon a worthless, witless, tasteless town;
Griev'd and repining, you had heard him say,
Why are the Muse's labours cast away ?
Why did I write what only he could play?
* Mrs. Barry and Mrs. Bracegirdle clasp him round
But since, like friends to wit, thus throng'd you meets
Go on, and make the generous work compleat :
Be true to merit, and dill own his cause,
Find something for him more than bare applause.
In just remembrance of your pleasures past,
Be kind, and give him a discharge at last ;
In peace and ease life's remnant let him wear,
And hang his confecrated Buskin * there.
EPILOGUE TO THE CRUEL GIFT.
A TRAGEDY. BY MRS. CENTLIVRE.
AS IT WAS ACTED AT THE THEATRE-ROYAL IN
ELL-'twas a narrow 'scape my Lover made,
That Cup and Message--I was sore afraid Was that a Present for a new-made Widow, All in her dismal dumps, like doleful Dido? When one peep'd in—and hop'd for something good, There was-Oh! Gad! a nasty Heart and Blood t,
Pointing to the top of the stage, # This tragedy was founded upon the story of Segismonda and Guiscardo, one of Boccace's novels; wherein the Heart of the Lover is sent by the Father to his Daughter, as a present.
If the old man had shewn himself a father,
His Bowl should have inclos'd a Cordial rather,
Something to chear me up amidst my trance,
L'Eau de Bardè-or comfortable Nants * !
He thought he paid it off with being smart,
And, to be witty, cry'd, he'd send the heart.
I could have told his gravity, moreover
Were I our sex's feciets to discover,
'Tis what we never look'd for in a Lover.
Let but the Bridegroom prudently provide
All other Matters fitting for a Bride,
So he make good the Jewels and the Jointure,
To miss the Heart, does seldom disappoint her.
Faith, for the fashion Hearts of late are made in,
They are the vilert Baubles we can trade in.
Where are the tough brave Britons to be found,
With Hearts of Oak, fo much of old renown'd?
How many worthy gentlemen of late
Swore to be true to Mother-Church and State ;
When their falfe Hearts were fecretly maintaining
Yon trim king Pepin, at Avignon reigning ?
Shame on the canting crew of Soul-Insurers,
The Tyburn Tribe of speech-making Non-jurors;
Who, in new-fangled Terms, old Truths explaining,
Teach honest Englishmen, damn'd Double-Meaning.
Oh! would you lost integrity restore
And boast that Faith your plain fore-fathers bore;
* i.e. Citron-Water and good Brandy,
What surer pattern can you hope to find,
Than that dear pledge * your Monarch left behind !
See how his Looks his honest Heart explain,
And speak the bleffings of his future Reign !
In his each feature, truth and candour trace,
And read Plain-dealing written in his Face.
PROLOGUE TO THE NON-JUROR:
A COMEDY. BY MR. CIBBER.
AS IT WAS ACTED AT THE THEATRE-ROYAL IN
SPOKEN BY MR. WILKS,
"O-night, ye Whigs and Tories, both be safe,
We mean to souse old Satan and the Pope ;
They've no relations here, nor friends, we hope.
A tool of theirs supplies the comic stage
With just materials for satiric rage :
Nor think our colours may too strongly paint
The stiff Non-Juring Separation Saint.
Good-breeding ne'er commands us to be civil-
To those who give the nation to the devil;
Who at our surest, best foundation strike,
And hate our monarch and onr church alike;
Our church-which, aw'd with reverential fear,
Scarcely the Muse presumes to mention here.
Long * The prince of Wales then present.