صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

EPILOGUE.

COULD poets but foresee how plays would take, The vizor masks that are in pit and gallery, Then they could tell what epilogues to make; Approve or damın the repartee and raillery. Whether to thank or blame their audience most: The lady critics, who are better read, But that late knowledge does much hazard cost, Inquire if characters are nicely bred; 'Till dice are thrown, there's nothing won, nor if the soft things are penned and spoke with lost.

grace : So till the thief has stolen, he cannot know They judge of action too, and time and place; Whether he shall escape the law or no.

In which we do not doubt but they're discerning, But poets run much greater hazards far, For that's a kind of assignation learning. Than they who stand their trials at the bar ; Beaux judge of dress; the witlings judge of songs ; The law provides a curb for its own fury, The cuckoldom, of ancient right, to cits belongs. And suffers judges to direct the jury.

Thus poor poets the favour are denied, But in this court, what difference does appear ! Even to make exceptions, when they're tried. For every one's both judge and jury here; 'Tis hard that they must every one admit: Nay, and what's worse, an executioner.

Methinks I see some faces in the pit, All have a right and title to some part,

Which must of consequence be foes to wit. Each choosing that in which he has most art. You who can judge, to sentence may proceed; The dreadful men of learning all confound, But though he cannot write, let him be freed, Unless the fable's good and moral sound. At least, from their contempt who cannot read. LOVE FOR LOVE.

BY

CONGREVE.

PROLOGUE.

The husbandman in vain renews his toil, We hope there's something that may please each To cultivate each year a hungry soil ;

taste, And fondly hopes for rich and generous fruit, And though of homely fare we make the feast, When wbat should feed the tree devours the Yet you will find variety at least. root:

There's humour, which for cheerful friends we Th’unladen boughs, he sees, bode certain dearth,

got, Unless transplanted to more kindly earth. And for the thinking party there's a plot. So, the poor busbands of the stage, who found We've something too to gratify ill-nature, Their labours lost upon ungrateful ground, (If there be any here)—and that is satire ; This last and only remedy have proved, Though satire scarce dares grin, 'tis grown so And hope new fruit from ancient stocks removed.

mild, Well may they hope, when you so kindly aid, Or only shews its teeth, as if it smiled. Well plant a soil which you so rich have made. As asses thistles, poets mumble wit, As Nature gave the world to man's first age, And dare not bite, for fear of being bit. So from your bounty we receive this stage; They hold their pens, as swords are held by fools, The freedom man was born to, you've restored, and are afraid to use their own edge-tools. And to our world such plenty you afford,

Since the Plain Dealer's scenes of manly rage, It seems like Eden, fruitful of its own accord. Not one has dared to lash this crying age. But since in paradise frail flesh gave way,

This time, the poet owns the bold essay. And when but two were made, both went astray; Yet hopes there's no ill-manners in his play: Forbear your wonder, and the fault forgive, And he declares by me, he has designed If, in our larger family, we grieve

Affront to none; but frankly speaks his mind. One falling Adam, and one tenipted Eve. And, should the ensuing scenes not chance to We who remain would gratefully repay,

hit, What our endeavours can, and bring this day He offers but this one excuse—'twas writ The first-fruit offering of a virgin play:

Before your late encouragement of wit.

DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

BUCKRAN.

MEN.
Sir SAMPSON LEGEND.
VALENTINE.
SCANDAL:
TATTLE.
BEN.
FORESIGHT.
JEREMY.
TRAPLAND.

WOMEN.
ANGELICA.
Mrs FORESIGHT.
Mrs FRAIL.
Miss PRUE.
Nurse.
JENNY.

A Steward, Officers, Sailors, and several Serdants.

SCENE,-London.

[ocr errors][merged small]

Val. Well! and now I am poor, I have an opSCENE I.–VALENTINE in his Chamber read- portunity to be revenged on them all; I'll puring; Jeremy waiting. Several Books upon pear more notoriously her admirer in this re

sue Angelica with more love than ever, and apthe Table

straint, than when I openly rivalled the rich fops Val. Jeremy!

that made court to her. So shall my poverty be Jer. Sir.

a mortification to her pride, and perhaps make Val. Here, take away! I'll walk a turn, and di- her compassionate the love, which has princigest what I have read.

pally reduced me to this lowness of fortune. And Jer. You'll grow devilish fat upon this paper for ihe wits, I'm sure I am in a condition to be diet! (Aside, and taking away the books. even with them.

Val. And, d’ye hear? go you to breakfast, Jer. Nay, your condition is pretty even with There's a page

doubled down in Epictetus, that theirs, that's the truth on't. is a feast for an emperor.

Val. I'll take some of their trade out of their Jer. Was Epictetus a real cook, or did he only hands. write receipts?

Jer. Now Heaven of mercy continue the tax Val. Read, read, sirrah, and refine your ap- upon paper !-- You don't mean to write ? petite ; learn to live upon instruction ; feast your Val. Yes, I do; I'll write a play. mind, and mortify your flesh. Read, and take Jer. Hem !-Sir, if you please to give me a your nourishment in at your eyes; shut up your small certificate of three lines only to certify mouth, and chew the cud of understanding. So those whom it_may concern, That the bearer Epictetrs advises.

hereof, Jeremy Fetch by name, has, for the space Jer. O Lord! I have heard much of him, of seven years, truly and faithfully served Valenwhen I waited upon a gentleman at Cambridge. tine Legend, Esquire; and that he is not turned Pray what was that Epictetus?

away for any misdemeanour, but does voluntaVal. A very rich man-not worth a groat. rily dismiss his master from any future authority Jer. Humph! and so he has made a very fine

over him feast, where there is nothing to be eaten.

Val. No, sirrah ; you shall live with me still. Val. Yes.

Jer. Sir, it's impossible-I may die with you, Jer. Sir, you're a gentleman, and probably un- starve with you, or be damned with your works : derstand this fine feeding: but, if you please, I but to live, even three days, the life of a play, I had rather be at board wages. Does your Epic- no more expect it, than to be canonized for a tetus, or your Seneca here, or any of these poor muse after my decease. rich rogues, teach you how to pay your debts Val. You are witty, you rogue, I shall want without money? Will they shut up the mouths your help-I'll have you learn to make couplets, of your creditors ? Will Plato be bail for you? | to tag the ends of acts. D'ye hear? get the maids or Diogenes, because he understands confine- to crambo in an evening, and learn the knack of ment, and lived in a tub, go to prison for you? rhyming; you may arrive at the height of a song

Slife, sir, what do you mean to mew yourself up sent by an unknown hand, or a chocolate-house here with three or four musty books in com- lampoon. mendation of starving and poverty ?

jer. But, sir, is this the way to recover your Val. Why, sirrah, I have no money, you know father's favour? Why, Sir Sampson will be irreit; and therefore resolve to rail at all that have: concileable. If your younger brother should come and in that I but follow the examples of the from sea, he'd never look upon you again. You're wisest and wittiest men in all ages-these poets undone, sir; you're ruined; you won't have a and philosophers, whom you naturally hate, for friend left in the world, if you turn poet--Ah, just such another reason ; because they abound pox confound that Will's coffee-house, it has in sense, and you are a fool.

ruined more young men than the Royal Oak lotJer. Ay, sir, I ain a fool, and I know it: and tery ! - Nothing thrives that belongs to it. The yet, Heaven help me, I'm poor enough to be a man of the house would have been an alderinan wit. But I was always a fool, when I told you by this time, with half the trade, if he had set up what your expences would bring you to; your in the city:—for my part, I never sit at the door, coaches and your liveries; your treats and your that I don't get double the stomach that I do at balls ; your being in love with a lady that did not a horse-race. The air upon Banstead Downs is care a farthing for you in your prosperity; and nothing to it for a whetter; yet I never see it, but keeping company with wits, that cared for no- the spirit of famine appears to me---sometimes thing but your prosperity, and now, when you are like a decayed porter, worn out with pimping, poor, hate you as much as they do one another. and carrying billet-doux and songs; not like other porters for hire, but for the jest's sake.- Now, on the stage.- Nay, I am not violently bent like a thin chairman, melted down to half his on the trade.—One knocks.] Jeremy, see who's proportion, with carrying a poet upon tick, to there. (JER. goes to the door.}-But tell me what visit some great fortune ; and his fare to be paid you would have me do?-What do the world him, like wages of sin, either at the day of mar- say of me, and my forced confinement ? riage, or the day of death.

Scan. The world behaves itself, as it uses to Ful. Very well, sir ; can you proceed? do on such occasions. Some pity you, and con

Jer. Sometimes like a bilked bookseller, with demn your father; others excuse him and blame a meagre terrified countenance, that looks as if you. Only the ladies are merciful, and wish you he had written for himself

, or were resolved to well: since love and pleasurable expence have turn author, and bring the rest of his brethren been your greatest faults. into the same condition. And, lastly, in the form of a worn-out punk, with verses in her hand,

JEREMY returns. which her vanity had preferred to settlements, Val. How now? without a whole tatter to her tail, but as ragged Jer. Nothing new, sir. I have dispatched as one of the muses; or as if she was carrying some half a dozen duns with as much dexterity her linen to the paper-mill, to be converted into as an hungry judge does causes at dinner-time. folio books of warning to all young maids, not Val. What answer have you given them? to prefer poetry to good sense ; or lying in the Scan. Patience, I suppose the old receipt? arms of a needy wit, before the embraces of a Jer. No, faith, sir: I have put them off so long wealthy fool.

with patience and forbearance, and other fair

words, that I was forced to tell them in plain Enter SCANDAL.

downright English Scan. What ! Jeremy holding forth?

Val. What? Val. The rogue has (with all the wit he could Jer. That they should be paid. muster up) been declaiming against wit.

Val. When? Scan. Ay? Why then I'm afraid Jeremy has Jer. To-morrow. wit; for, wherever it is, it's always contriving its Val. And how the devil do you mean to keep own ruin.

your word? Jer. Why so I have been telling my master, Jer. Keep it! not at all: it has been so very sir. Mr Scandal, for Heaven's sake, sir, try if you much stretched, that I reckon it will break of can dissuade him from turning poet!

course by to-morrow, and nobody be surprised at Scan. Poet! He shall turn soldier first, and ra- the matter !—{Knorking.–Again, sir ! If you ther depend upon the outside of his head, than don't like my negociation, will you be pleased to the lining! Why, what the devil! has not your answer these yourself? poverty made you enemies enough? must you Val. See who they are. (Exit JEREMY.) By needs shew your wit to get more?

this, Scandal, you may see what it is to be great. Jer. Ay, more indeed: for who cares for any Secretaries of state, presidents of the council, body that has more wit than himself?

and generals of an army, lead just such a life as Scun. Jeremy speaks like an oracle. Don't I do; have just such crowds of visitants in a you see how worthless great men, and dull rich morning, all soliciting of past promises; which rogues, avoid a witty man of small fortune: are but a civiller sort of duns, that lay claim to Why, he looks like a writ of inquiry into their voluntary debts. titles and estates; and seems commissioned by Scan. And you, like a truly great man, having Heaven to seize the better balf.

engaged their attendance, and promised more Val. Therefore I would rail in my writings, than ever you intended to perform, are more and be revenged.

perplexed to find evasions, than you would be to Scan. Rail ? at whom? the whole world? Im- invent the honest means of keeping your word, potent and vain! Who would die a martyr to and gratifying your creditors. sense, in a country where the religion is folly? Val. Scandal, learn to spare your friends, and You may stand at bay for a while; but, when do not provoke your enemies. This liberty of the full cry is against you, you sha'n't have fair your tongue will one day bring confinement on play for your life. If you cann't be fairly run down your body, my friend. by the hounds, you will be treacherously shot by the huntsmen. No, turn pimp, flatterer, quack,

Enter JEREMY. lawyer, parson, be chaplain to an atheist, or Jer. O, sir, there's Trapland the scrivener, stallion to an old woman, any thing but poet. with two suspicious fellows like lawful pads, that A modern poet is worse, more servile, timorous, would knock a man down with pocket tipstaves! and fawning, than any I have named, without And there's your father's steward, and you could retrieve the ancient honours of the the nurse, with one of your children from Twitname, recal the stage of Athens, and be allowed 'nam. the force of open honest satire.

Val. Pox on her! could she find no other time Val. You are as inveterate against our poets, to fling my sins in my face? Here! give her this, as if your character had been lately exposed up [Gides money.) and bid her trouble me no more;

a thoughtless, two-handed whore! She knows buxom black widow in the Poultry-Eight hunmy condition well enough, and might have over- dred pounds a-year jointure, and twenty thoulaid the child a fortnight ago, if she had any sand pounds in money. Ahah ! old Trap ! forecast in her.

Val. Say you so, i'faith? Come we'll rememScan. What, is it bouncing Margery with my ber the widow: I know whereabouts you are ; god-son?

come, to the widow, Jer. Yes, sir.

Trap. No more indeed. Scan. My blessing to the boy, with this token Val. What! the widow's health ? Give it him (Gives money.) of my love. And, d’ye hear, bid -off with it. (They drink.)- A lovely girl, i’faith; Margery put more flocks in her bed, shift twice black sparkling eyes, soft pouting ruby lips ! Bet. a week, and not work so hard, that she may not ter sealing there than a bond for a million, ha! smell so vigorously. I shall take the air short- Trup. No, no, there's no such thing; we'd

better mind our business-You're a wag! Val. Scandal, don't spoil my boy's milk.- Bid Val. No faith, we'll mind the widow's busiTrapland come in. If I can give that Cerberus a ness : fill again. - Pretty round heaving breasts, sop, I shall be at rest for one day.

a Barbary shape, and a jut with her bum, would (JEREMY goes out, and brings in TRAP- stir an anchorite ; and the prettiest foot! Oh, LAND.

if a man could but fasten his eyes on her feet as Val. O, Mr Frapland ! my old friend! welcome, they steal in and out, and play at bo-peep under -Jeremy, a chair quickly: a bottle of sack and her petticoats-ha! Mr Trapland ! a toast-fly-a chair first.

Trap. Verily, give me a glass-you're a wage Trap. A good morning to you, Mr Valentine; and here's to the widow.

[Drinks. and to you, Mr Scandal.

Scan. He begins to chuckle-ply him close, or Scan. the morning's a very good morning, if he'll relapse into a dun. you don't spoil it. Val. Come, sit you down; you know his way.

Enter Officer. Trap. (Sits.] There is a debt, Mr Valentine, of fifteen hundred pounds, of pretty long stand-land, if we must do our office, tell us. We have

Offi. By your leave, gentlemen. Mr Traping. Val. I cannot talk about business with a thirsty and Covent-garden ; and if we don't

make haste,

half a dozen gentlemen to arrest in Pall-mall palate. Sirraḥ! the sack ! Trap. And I desire to know what course you chocolate-houses; and then our labour's lost.

the chairmen will be abroad, and block up the have taken for the payment. Vul. Faith and troth, I am heartily glad to see mirth;" but business must be done ; are you

Trap. Odso, that's true. Mr Valentine, I love you-my service to you! fill, fill, to honest Mr

ready to Trapland-fuller! Trap. Hold! sweetheart—this is not our busi

Jer. Sir, your father's steward says he comes

to make proposals concerning your debts. ness.- My service to you, Mr Scandal-{Drinks.] -i have forborn as long

Val. Bid him come in : Mr Trapland, send Val. T'other glass, and then we'll talk, Fill, away your officer; you shall have an answer Jeremy.

presently. Trap. No more, in truth–I have forborn, I

Trap. Mr Snap, stay within call.

(Erit Officer. say

Val. Sirrah! fill when I bid you.—And how does your handsome daughter?—Come, a good

Enter Steward, who whispers VALENTINE. husband to her.

[Drinks. Scan. Here's a dog now, a traitor in his wine ! Trap. Thank you-1 bave been out of this Sirrah, refund the sack: Jeremy, fetch him some money

warm water ; or I'll rip up his stomach, and go Val. Drink first. Scandal, why do you not the shortest way to his conscience. drink?

(They drink. Trap. Mr Scandal, you are uncivil. I did not Trop. And, in short, I can be put off no longer. value your sack; but you cannot expect it again,

Val. I was much obliged to you for your sup when I have drunk it. ply: it did me signal service in my necessity. Scun. And how do you expect to have your But you delight in doing good. Scandal, drink money again, when a gentleman has spent it? to me, my friend Trapland's health. An ho- Val. You need say no more. I understand nester man lives not, nor one more ready to serve the conditions: they are very hard, but my nehis friend in distress, though I say it to his face. cessity is very pressing : I agree to them. Take Come, fill each man his glass.

Mr Trapland with you, and let him draw the Scan. What! I know Trapland has been a writing=Mr Trapland, you know this man? he whore-master, and loves a wench still. You ne- shall satisfy you. ver knew a whore-master that was not an honest Trap. Sincerely, I am loth to be thus pressing; fellow.

but my necessity— Trap. Fie, M: Scandal, you never knew Val. No apology, good Mr Scrivener, you Scan, What don't I know? I know the shall be paid.

« السابقةمتابعة »