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PROLOGUES AND EPILOGUES.

PROLOGUE TO THE RIVAL LADIES.

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'Tis much desir'd, you judges of the town
Would pass a vote to put all prologues down:
For who can show me, since they first were writ,
They e'er converted one hard-hearted wit?
Yet the world's mended well; in former days 5
Good prologues were as scarce as now good plays.
For the reforming poets of our age,
In this first charge, spend their poetic rage :
Expect no more when once the prologue's done;
The wit is ended ere the play's begun.
You now have habits, dances, scenes, and rhymes;
High language often; ay, and sense, sometimes.
As for a clear contrivance, doubt it not;
They blow out candles to give light to th' plot.
And for surprise, two bloody-minded men
Fight till they die, then rise and dance again.
Such deep intrigues you 're welcome to this day :
But blame yourselves, not him who writ the play ;
Though his plot’s dull, as can be well desired,
Wit stiff as any you have e'er admired:
He's bound to please, not to write well ; and knows
There is a mode in plays as well as clothes;
Therefore, kind judges

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A SECOND PROLOGUE ENTERS.

you admit

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2. Hold; would For judges all you see within the pit?

1. Whom would he then except, or on what score?

2. All who (like him) have writ ill plays before; For they, like thieves condemn'd, are hangmen

made, To execute the members of their trade. All that are writing now he would disown, But then he must except - even all the town; All choleric, losing gamesters, who, in spite, Will damn to-day, because they lost last night; All servants, whom their mistress’ scorn upbraids; All maudlin lovers, and all slighted maids ; All, who are out of humour, or severe; All, that want wit, or hope to find it here.

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PROLOGUE TO THE INDIAN QUEEN.

As the music plays a soft air, the curtain rises slowly, and

discovers an Indian boy and girl sleeping under two plantain-trees; and, when the curtain is almost up, the music turns into a tune expressing an alarm, at which the boy awakes, and speaks:

Boy. WAKE, wake, Quevira! our soft rest must

cease, And fly together with our country's peace ! No more must we sleep under plantain shade,

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Which neither heat could pierce, nor cold invade;
Where bounteous nature never feels decay,
And opening buds drive falling fruits away.
QUE. Why should men quarrel here, where all

possess
As much as they can hope for by success ?.
None can have most, where nature is so kind,
As to exceed man's use, though not his mind.

Boy. By ancient prophecies we have been told,
Our world shall be subdued by one more old ;-
And, see, that world already 's hither come.
QUE. If these be they, we welcome then our

doom ! Their looks are such, that mercy flows from thence, More gentle than our native innocence. Boy. Why should we then fear these, our ene

mies, That rather seem to us like deities?

QUE. By their protection, let us beg to live; They came not here to conquer, but forgive. If so, your goodness may your power express, And we shall judge both best by our success.

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EPILOGUE TO THE INDIAN QUEEN.

SPOKEN BY MONTEZUMA.

You see what shifts we are enforc'd to try,
To help out wit with some variety ;

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Shows may be found that never yet were seen,
'Tis hard to find such wit as ne'er has been:
You have seen all that this old world can do,
We, therefore, try the fortune of the new,
And hope it is below your aim to hit
At untaught nature with your practis'd wit:
Our naked Indians, then, when wits appear,
Would as soon choose to have the Spaniards here.
'Tis true, you have marks enough, the plot, the

show,
The poet's scenes, nay, more, the painter's too;
If all this fail, considering the cost,
'Tis a true voyage to the Indies lost:
But if you smile on all, then these designs,
Like the imperfect treasure of our minds,
Will pass for current wheresoe'er they go,
When to your bounteous hands their stamps they

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owe.

EPILOGUE TO THE INDIAN EMPEROR.

BY A MERCURY.

To all and singular in this full meeting,
Ladies and gallants, Phoebus sends ye greeting.
To all his sons, by whate'er title known,
Whether of court, or coffee house, or town;
From his most mighty sons, whose confidence
Is plac'd in lofty sound, and humble sense,

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Even to his little infants of the time,
Who write new songs, and trust in tune and rhyme;
Be 't known, that Phoebus (being daily grieved
To see good plays condemn’d, and bad received)
Ordains your judgment upon every cause,
Henceforth, be limited by wholesome laws.
He first thinks fit no sonnetteer advance
His censure farther than the song or dance.
Your wit burlesque may one step higher climb, 15
And in his sphere may judge all doggerel rhyme;
All proves, and moves, and loves, and honours too;
All that appears high sense, and scarce is low.
As for the coffee wits, he says not much;
Their proper business is to damn the Dutch:
For the great dons of wit -
Phoebus gives them full privilege alone,
To damn all others, and cry up their own.
Last, for the ladies, 'tis Apollo's will,
They should have power to save, but not to kill:
For love and he long since have thought it fit,
Wit live by beauty, beauty reign by wit.

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PROLOGUE TO SIR MARTIN MARR-ALL.

Fools, which each man meets in his dish each day,
Are yet the great regalios of a play;
In which to poets you but just appear,
To prize that highest, which cost them so dear:

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