Prologues

Original

Gentlemen, inductions are out of date, and a Prologue in verse is as stale as a black velvet cloak and a bay garland; therefore you shall have it in plain prose, thus: If there be any amongst you that come to hear lascivious scenes, let them depart; for I do pronounce this, to the utter discomfort of all two-penny gallery-men, you shall have no bawdry in it: Or if there be any lurking amongst you in corners, with table-books, who have sonic hope to find fit matter to feed his——malice on, let them clasp them up, and slink away, or stay and be converted. For he that made this play means to please auditors so, as he may be an auditor himself hereafter, and not purchase them with the dear loss of his ears. I dare not call it comedy or tragedy; 'tis perfectly neither: A play it is, which was meant to make you laugh; how it will please you, is not written in my part: For though you should like it to-day, perhaps yourselves know not how you should digest it to-morrow. Some things in it you may meet with, which are out of the common road: A duke there is, and the scene lies in Italy, as those two things lightly we never miss. But you shall not find in it the ordinary and over-worn trade of jesting at lords, and courtiers, and citizens, without taxation of any particular or new vice by them found out, but at the persons of them: Such, be, that made this, thinks vile, and for his own part vows, That he did never think, but that a lord, lord-born, might be a wise man, and a courtier an honest man.

at the Revival.

Ladies, take't as a secret in your ear,
Instead of homage, and kind welcome here,
I heartily could wish you all were gone;
For if you stay, 'good faith, we are undone.
Alas! you now expect the usual ways
Of our address, which is your sex's praise
But we to-night, unluckily, must speak
Such things will make your lovers' heart-strings break,
Be-lie your virtues, and your beauties stain,
With words, contrived long since, in your disdain,
'Tis strange you stir not yet; not all this while
Lift up your fans to hide a scornful smile;
Whisper, or jog your lords to steal away,
So leave us to act, unto ourselves, our play:
Then sure, there may be hope, you can subdue
Your patience to endure an act or two;
Nay more, when you are told our poet's rage
Pursues but one example, which that age
Wherein he lived produced; and we rely
Not on the truth, but the variety.
His Muse believed not what she then did write;
Her wings were wont to make a nobler flight
Soar'd high, and to the stars your sex did raise:
For which, full twenty years he wore the bays.
'Twas he reduced Evadne from her scorn,
And taught the sad Aspatia how to mourn;
Gave Arethusa's love a glad relief;
And made Panthea elegant in grief.
If those great trophies of his noble muse
Cannot one humour 'gainst your sex excuse,
Which we present to-night, you'll find a way
How to make good the libel in our play:
So you are crual to yourselves; whilst he
(Safe in the fame of his integrity)
Will be a prophet, not a poet thought,
And this fine web last long, though loosely wrought.