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MARRY a Turk! a haughty, tyrant king!
Who thinks us women born to dress and sing
To please his fancy! see no other man !
Let him persuade me to it—if he can;
Besides, he has fifty wives; and who can bear
To have the fiftieth part, her paltry share?
'Tis true, the fellow's handsome, straight, and tall, But how the devil should he please us all ! My swain is little—true—but, be it known, My pride's to have that little all my own. Men will be ever to their errours blind, Where woman's not allow'd to speak her mind. I swear this eastern pageantry is nonsense, And for one man--one wife's enough in conscience.
In vain proud man usurps what's woman's due ; For us, alone, they honour's paths pursue : Inspir'd by us, they glory's heights ascend; Woman the source, the object, and the end. Though wealth, and pow'r, and glory, they receive, These are all trifles to what we can give. For us the statesman labours, hero fights, Bears toilsome days, and wakes long tedious nights; And, when blest peace has silenc'd war's alarms, Receives his full reward in beauty's arms.
SPOKEN BY MR. GARRICK, APRIL 5, 1750, BEFORE
THE MASQUE OF COMUS.
Acted at Drury lane theatre, for the benefit of Milton's granddaughter*.
Ye patriot crowds, who burn for England's fame,
Ye nymphs, whose bosoms beat at Milton's name;
Whose gen'rous zeal, unbought by flatt'ring rhymes,
Shames the mean pensions of Augustan times;
Immortal patrons of succeeding days,
Attend this prelude of perpetual praise ;
Let wit, condemn’d the feeble war to wage
With close malevolence, or publick rage ;
Let study, worn with virtue's fruitless lore,
Behold this theatre, and grieve no more.
This night, distinguish'd by your smiles, shall tell,
That never Britain can in vain excel;
The slighted arts futurity shall trust,
And rising ages hasten to be just.
At length, our mighty bard's victorious lays
Fill the loud voice of universal praise ;
And baffled spite, with hopeless anguish dumb,
Yields to renown the centuries to come ;
With ardent haste each candidate of fame,
Ambitious, catches at his tow'ring name;
He sees, and pitying sees, vain wealth bestow
Those pageant honours, which he scorn'd below;
While crowds aloft the laureate bust behold,
Or trace his form on circulating gold.
Unknown, unheeded, long his offspring lay,
And want hung threatning o'er her slow decay.
What, though she shine with no Miltonian fire,
No fav'ring muse her morning dreams inspire;
Yet softer claims the melting heart engage,
Her youth laborious, and her blameless age;
Her's the mild merits of domestick life,
The patient sufferer, and the faithful wife.
Thus, grac'd with humble virtue's native charms,
Her grandsire leaves her in Britannia's arms;
Secure with peace, with competence, to dwell,
While tutelary nations guard her cell.
Yours is the charge, ye fair, ye wise, ye brave!
'Tis yours to crown desert-beyond the grave.
PROLOGUE TO THE COMEDY OF THE GOOD-NATUR'D MAN, 1769.
PREST by the load of life, the weary mind
Surveys the gen'ral toil of human kind;
With cool submission joins the lab'ring train,
And social sorrow loses half its pain :
Our anxious bard, without complaint, may share
This bustling season's epidemick care ;
Like Cæsar's pilot, dignify'd by fate,
Tost in one common storm with all the great;
Distrest alike the statesman and the wit,
When one a borough courts, and one the pit.
The busy candidates for pow'r and fame
Have hopes, and fears, and wishes, just the same;
Disabled both to combat or to fly,
Must hear all taunts, and hear without reply.
Uncheck'd on both loud rabbles vent their rage,
As mongrels bay the lion in a cage.
Th’ offended burgess hoards his angry tale,
For that blest year, when all that vote may rail ;
Their schemes of spite the poet's foes dismiss,
Till that glad night, when all that hate may hiss.
“ This day the powder'd curls and golden coat,”
Says swelling Crispin, “ begg'd a cobbler's vote.”
“ This night our wit,” the pert apprentice cries,
“ Lies at my feet; I hiss him, and he dies.”
The great, 'tis true, can charm th' electing tribe;
The bard may supplicate, but cannot bribe.
Yet, judg’d by those whose voices ne'er were sold,
He feels no want of ill persuading gold ;
But, confident of praise, if praise be due,
Trusts, without fear, to merit and to you,
TO THE COMEDY OF A WORD TO THE WISE".
Tous night presents a play, which publick rage,
Or right, or wrong, once hooted from the stage'.
From zeal or malice, now, no more we dread,
For English vengeance wars not with the dead.
A gen'rous foe regards, with pitying eye,
The man whom fate has laid, where all must lie.
To wit, reviving from its author's dust,
Be kind, ye judges, or at least be just.
For no renew'd hostilities invade
Th’ oblivious grave's inviolable shade.
Let one great payment ev'ry claim appease;
And him, who canvot hurt, allow to please ;
To please by scenes, unconscious of offence,
By harmless merriment, or useful sense.
Where aught of bright, or fair, the piece displays,
Approve it only—'tis too late to praise,
b Performed at Covent garden theatre in 1777, for the benefit of Mrs. Kelly, widow of Hugh Kelly, esq. (the author of the play,) and her children.
e Upon the first representation of this play, 1770, a party assembled to damn it, and succeeded.
If want of skill, or want of care appear,
Forbear to hiss—the poet cannot hear.
By all, like him, must praise and blame be found,
At best a fleeting gleam, or empty sound.
Yet, then, shall calm reflection bless the night,
When lib'ral pity dignify'd delight;
When pleasure fir'd her torch at virtue's flame,
And mirth was bounty with an humbler name.
Stern winter now, by spring repress'd,
Forbears the long-continued strife;
And nature, on her naked breast,
Delights to catch the gales of life.
Now o'er the rural kingdom roves
Soft pleasure with the laughing train,
Love warbles in the vocal groves,
And vegetation plants the plain.
Unhappy! whom to beds of pain,
Arthritick d tyranny consigns ;
Whom smiling nature courts in vain,
Though rapture sings, and beauty shines.
Yet though my limbs disease invades,
Her wings imagination tries,
And bears me to the peaceful shades,
Where 's humble turrets rise ;
Here stop, my sonl, thy rapid flight,
Nor from the pleasing groves depart,
Where first great nature charm'd my sight,
Where wisdom first inform'd my heart.
Here let me through the vales pursue
A guide-a father-and a friend,
Once more great nature's works renew,
Once more on wisdom's voice attend.
The author being ill of the gout.