The Works of John Dryden, Vol. II
Edited by Walter Scott
Part 10 out of 10
_Cel_. Pish, thee! a young raw creature; thou hast ne'er been
under the barber's hands yet.
_Flo_. No, nor under the surgeon's neither, as you have been.
_Cel_. 'Slife, what would'st thou be at? I am madder than thou
_Flo_. The devil you are! I'll tope with you; I'll sing with you;
I'll dance with you;--I'll swagger with you--
_Cel_. I'll fight with you.
_Flo_. Out upon fighting; 'tis grown so common a fashion, that
a modish man condemns it; a man of garniture and feather is above the
dispensation of the sword.
_Olin_. Uds my life! here's the queen's music just going to us;
you shall decide your quarrel by a dance.
_Sab_. Who stops the fiddles?
_Cel_. Base and treble, by your leaves, we arrest you at these
_Flo_. Come on, sirs, play me a jig; you shall see how I'll
_Flo_. Your judgment, ladies.
_Olin_. You, sir; you, sir: This is the rarest gentleman! I could
live and die with him--
_Sab_. Lord, how he sweats! please you, sir, to make use of my
_Olin_. You and I are merry, and just of an humour, sir;
therefore we two should love one another.
_Sab_. And you and I are just of an age, sir; and therefore,
methinks, we should not hate one another.
_Cel_. Then I perceive, ladies, I am a castaway, a reprobate,
with you: Why, 'faith, this is hard luck now, that I should be no less
than one whole hour in getting your affections, and now must lose 'em
in a quarter of it.
_Olin_. No matter, let him rail; does the loss afflict you, sir?
_Cel_. No, in faith, does it not; for if you had not forsaken me,
I had you: So the willows may flourish, for any branches I shall rob
_Sab_. However, we have the advantage to have left you; not you
_Cel_. That's only a certain nimbleness in nature, you women
have, to be first inconstant; but if you had not made the more haste,
the wind was veering too upon my weathercock: The best on't is,
Florimel is worth both of you.
_Flo_. 'Tis like she'll accept of their leavings.
_Cel_. She will accept on't, and she shall accept on't: I think I
know more than you of her mind, sir.
_Mel_. Daughters, there's a poor collation within, that waits for
_Flo_. Will you walk, musty sir?
_Cel_. No, marry, sir, I will not; I have surfeited of that old
woman's face already.
_Flo_. Begin some frolic, then; what will you do for her?
_Cel_. Faith, I am no dog, to show tricks for her; I cannot come
aloft to an old woman.
_Flo_. Dare you kiss her?
_Cel_. I was never dared by any man. By your leave, old madam--
[_He plucks off her ruff_.
_Mel_. Help! help! do you discover my nakedness?
_Cel_. Peace, Tiffany! no harm! [_He puts on the ruff_.]
Now, Sir, here's Florimel's health to you. [_Kisses her_.
_Mel_. Away, sir!--A sweet young man as you are, to abuse the
gift of nature so!
_Cel_. Good mother, do not commend me so; I am flesh and blood,
and you do not know what you may pluck upon that reverend person of
yours.--Come on, follow your leader.
[_Gives_ FLORIMEL _the ruff; she puts it on_.
_Flo_. Stand fair, mother--
_Cel_. What, with your hat on? Lie thou there;--and thou, too--
[_Plucks off her hat and peruke, and discovers_ FLORIMEL.
_Flo_. My kind mistresses, how sorry I am, I can do you no
further service! I think I had best resign you to Celadon, to make
amends for me.
_Cel_. Lord! what a misfortune it was, ladies, that the gentleman
could not hold forth to you?
_Olin_. We have lost Celadon too.
_Mel_. Come away; this is past enduring. [_Exeunt_ MEL.
_Sab_. Well, if ever I believe a man to be a man, for the sake of
a peruke and feather again.--
_Flo_. Come, Celadon, shall we make accounts even? Lord! what
a hanging-look was there? indeed, if you had been recreant to your
mistress, or had forsworn your love, that sinner's face had been but
decent; but, for the virtuous, the innocent, the constant Celadon!
_Cel_. This is not very heroic in you now, to insult over a
man in his misfortunes; but take heed, you have robb'd me of my two
mistresses; I shall grow desperately constant, and all the tempest of
my love will fall upon your head: I shall so pay you!--
_Flo_. Who, you pay me! you are a bankrupt, cast beyond all
possibility of recovery.
_Cel_. If I am a bankrupt, I'll be a very honest one; when I
cannot pay my debts, at least I'll give you up the possession of my
_Flo_. No, I'll deal better with you; since you are unable to
pay, I'll give in your bond.
_Enter_ PHILOCLES _with a commanders staff in his hand,
_Phil_. Cousin, I am sorry I must take you from your company
about an earnest business.
_Flo_. There needs no excuse, my lord; we had despatched our
affairs, and were just parting.
_Cel_. Will you be going, sir? sweet sir,--damn'd sir!--I have
but one word more to say to you.
_Flo_. As I am a man of honour, I'll wait on you some other time.
_Cel_. By these breeches,--
_Flo_. Which, if I marry you, I am resolved to wear; put that
into our bargain, and so adieu, sir.
_Phil_. Hark you, cousin,--[_They whisper_. You'll see it
exactly executed; I rely upon you.
_Cel_. I shall not fail, my lord; may the conclusion of it prove
happy to you. [_Exit_ CEL.
Wheree'er I cast about my wandering eyes,
Greatness lies ready in some shape to tempt me.
The royal furniture in every room,
The guards, and the huge waving crowds of people,
All waiting for a sight of that fair queen,
Who makes a present of her love to me:
Now tell me, Stoick!
If all these with a wish might be made thine,
Would'st thou not truck thy ragged virtue for 'em?
If glory was a bait, that angels swallow'd,
How then should souls allied to sense resist it?
Ah poor Candiope! I pity her,
But that is all.--
_Cand_. O my dear Philocles!
A thousand blessings wait on thee!
The hope of being thine, I think, will put
Me past my meat and sleep with ecstasy,
So I shall keep the fasts of seraphims,
And wake for joy, like nightingales in May.
_Phil_. Wake, Philocles, wake from thy dream of
'Tis all but shadow to Candiope:
Canst thou betray a love so innocent? [_Aside_.
_Cand_. What makes you melancholick? I doubt,
I have displeased you.
_Phil_. No, my love, I am not displeased with you,
But with myself, when I consider,
How little I deserve you.
_Cand_. Say not so, my Philocles; a love so true as yours,
That would have left a court, and a queen's favour,
To live in a poor hermitage with me,--
_Phil_. Ha! she has stung me to the quick!
As if she knew the falsehood I intended:
But, I thank heaven, it has recall'd my virtue;
Oh! my dear, I love you, and you only; [_To her_.
Go in, I have some business for a while;
But I think minutes ages till we meet.
_Cand_. I knew you had; but yet I could not chuse,
But come and look upon you. [_Exit_ CANDIOPE.
_Phil_. What barbarous man would wrong so sweet a virtue!
_Enter the Queen in black, with_ ASTERIA.
Madam, the states are straight to meet; but why
In these dark ornaments will you be seen?
_Queen_. They fit the fortune of a captive queen.
_Phil_. Deep shades are thus to heighten colours set;
So stars in night, and diamonds shine in jet.
_Queen_. True friends should so in dark afflictions shine,
But I have no great cause to boast of mine.
_Phil_. You may have too much prejudice for some,
And think them false, before their trials come.
But, madam, what determine you to do?
_Queen_. I came not here to be advised by you:
But charge you, by that power which once you owned,
And which is still my right, even when unthroned,
That whatsoe'er the states resolve of me,
You never more think of Candiope.
_Phil_. Not think of her! ah, how should I obey!
Her tyrant eyes have forced my heart away.
_Queen_. By force retake it from those tyrant eyes,
I'll grant you out my letters of reprise.
_Phil_. She has too well prevented that design,
By giving me her heart, in change for mine.
_Queen_. Thus foolish Indians gold for glass forego;
'Twas to your loss you prized your heart so low.
I set its value when you were advanced,
And as my favours grew, its rate enhanced.
_Phil_. The rate of subjects' hearts by yours must go,
And love in yours has set the value low.
_Queen_. I stand corrected, and myself reprove;
You teach me to repent my low-placed love:
Help me this passion from my heart to tear!--
Now rail on him, and I will sit and hear.
_Phil_. Madam, like you, I have repented too,
And dare not rail on one, I do not know.
_Queen_. This, Philocles, like strange perverseness shews,
As if whate'er I said you would oppose;
How come you thus concerned for this unknown?
_Phil_. I only judge his actions by my own.
_Queen_. I've heard too much, and you too much have said.
O heavens, the secret of my soul's betrayed!
He knows my love, I read it in his face,
And blushes, conscious of his queen's disgrace.
Hence quickly, hence, or I shall die with shame.
_Phil_. Now I love both, and both with equal flame.
Wretched I came, more wretched I retire:
When two winds blow it, who can quench the fire?
_Queen_. O my Asteria! I know not whom to accuse;
But either my own eyes, or you, have told
My love to Philocles.
_Ast_. Is't possible that he should know it, madam?
_Queen_. Methinks, you ask that question guiltily.
[_Lays her hand on_ ASTERIA'S _shoulder._
Confess, for I will know, what was the subject
Of your long discourse i'th' antichamber with him.
_Ast_. It was business to convince him, madam,
How ill he did, being so much obliged,
To join in your imprisonment.
_Queen_. Nay, now I am confirmed my thought was true;
For you could give him no such reason
Of his obligements, as my love.
_Ast_. Because I saw him much a malecontent,
I thought to win him to your interest, madam,
By telling him it was no want of kindness,
Made your refusal of Candiope.
And he, perhaps--
_Queen_. What of him now?
_Ast_. As men are apt, interpreted my words,
To all the advantage he could wrest the sense,
As if I meant you loved him.
_Queen_. Have I deposited within thy breast
The dearest treasure of my life, my glory,
And hast thou thus betrayed me!
But why do I accuse thy female weakness,
And not my own, for trusting thee!
Unhappy queen, Philocles knows thy fondness,
And needs must think it done by thy command.
_Ast_. Dear madam, think not so.
_Queen_. Peace, peace, thou should'st for ever hold thy tongue:
For it has spoke too much for all thy life. [_To her_.
Then Philocles has told Candiope,
And courts her kindness with his scorn of me.
O whither am I fallen!
But I must rouse myself, and give a stop
To all these ills by headlong passion caused.
In hearts resolved weak love is put to flight,
And only conquers, when we dare not fight.
But we indulge our harms, and, while he gains
An entrance, please ourselves into our pains.
_Ast_. Prince Lysimantes, madam.
_Queen_. Come near, you poor deluded criminal;
See how ambition cheats you:
You thought to find a prisoner here,
But you behold a queen.
_Lys_. And may you long be so! 'tis true, this act
May cause some wonder in your majesty.
_Queen_. None, cousin, none; I ever thought you
Ambitious, proud, designing.
_Lys_. Yet all my pride, designs, and my ambition,
Were taught me by a master,
With whom you are not unacquainted, madam.
_Queen_. Explain yourself; dark purposes, like yours,
Need an interpretation.
_Lys_. 'Tis love, I mean.
_Queen_. Have my low fortunes given thee
This insolence, to name it to thy queen?
_Lys_. Yet you have heard, love named without offence.
As much below you as you think my passion,
I can look down on yours.
_Queen_. Does he know it too!
This is the extremest malice of my stars! [_Aside_.
_Lys_. You see that princes' faults,
(Howe'er they think them safe from public view)
Fly out thro the dark crannies of their closets:
We know what the sun does,
Even when we see him not, in t'other world.
_Queen_. My actions, cousin, never feared the light.
_Lys_. Produce him, then, your darling of the dark.
For such an one you have.
_Queen_. I know no such.
_Lys_. You know, but will not own him.
_Queen_. Rebels ne'er want pretence to blacken kings,
And this, it seems, is yours: Do you produce him,
Or ne'er hereafter sully my renown
With this aspersion:--Sure he dare not name him.
_Lys_. I am too tender of your frame; or else--
Nor are things brought to that extremity:
Provided you accept my passion,
I'll gladly yield to think I was deceived.
_Queen_. Keep in your error still; I will not buy
Your good opinion at so dear a rate,
And my own misery, by being yours.
_Lys_. Do not provoke my patience by such scorns.
For fear I break through all, and name him to you.
_Queen_. Hope not to fright me with your mighty looks;
Know, I dare stem that tempest in your brow,
And dash it back upon you.
_Lys_. Spite of prudence it will out:--'Tis Philocles!
Now judge, when I was made a property
To cheat myself, by making him your prisoner,
Whether I had not right to take up arms?
_Queen_. Poor envious wretch!
Was this the venom that swelled up thy breast?
My grace to Philocles mis-deemed my love!
_Lys_. Tis true, the gentleman is innocent;
He ne'er sinned up so high, not in his wishes;
You know he loves elsewhere.
_Queen_. You mean your sister.
_Lys_. I wish some Sibyl now would tell me,
Why you refused her to him.
_Queen_. Perhaps I did not think him worthy of her.
_Lys_. Did you not think him too worthy, madam?
This is too thin a veil to hide your passion;
To prove you love him not, yet give her him,
And I'll engage my honour to lay down my arms.
_Queen_. He is arrived where I would wish--
Call in the company, and you shall see what I will do.
_Lys_. Who waits without there? [_Exit_ LYS.
_Queen_. Now hold, my heart, for this one act of honour,
And I will never ask more courage of thee:
Once more I have the means to reinstate myself into my glory.
I feel my love to Philocles within me
Shrink, and pull back my heart from this hard trial.
But it must be, when glory says it must:
As children, wading from some river's bank,
First try the water with their tender feet;
Then, shuddering up with cold, step back again,
And straight a little further venture on,
Till, at the last, they plunge into the deep,
And pass, at once, what they were doubting long:
I'll make the experiment; it shall be done in haste,
Because I'll put it past my power to undo.
_Enter at one door_ LYSIMANTES, _at the other_ PHILOCLES,
CELADON, CANDIOPE, FLORIMEL, FLAVIA, OLINDA, SABINA, _the three
deputies, and soldiers_.
_Lys_. In arms! is all well, Philocles?
_Phil_. No, but it shall be.
_Queen_. He comes, and with him
The fever of my love returns to shake me.
I see love is not banished from my soul;
He is still there, but is chained up by glory.
_Ast_. You've made a noble conquest, madam.
_Queen_. Come hither Philocles: I am first to tell you,
I and my cousin are agreed; he has
Engaged to lay down arms.
_Phil_. 'Tis well for him he has; for all his party,
By my command, already are surprised,
While I was talking with your majesty.
_Cel_. Yes, 'faith, I have done him that courtesy;
I brought his followers, under pretence of guarding
it, to a strait place, where they are all coupt up
without use of their arms, and may be pelted to
death by the small infantry o'er the town.
_Queen_. 'Twas more than I expected, or could hope;
Yet still I thought your meaning honest.
_Phil_. My fault was rashness, but 'twas full of zeal:
Nor had I e'er been led to that attempt,
Had I not seen, it would be done without me:
But by compliance I preserved the power,
Which I have since made use of for your service.
_Queen_. And which I purpose so to recompence--
_Lys_. With her crown, she means: I knew 'twould come to it.
_Phil_. O heavens, she'll own her love!
Then I must lose Candiope for ever,
And, floating in a vast abyss of glory,
Seek and not find myself!--
_Queen_. Take your Candiope; and be as happy
As love can make you both:--How pleased I am,
That I can force my tongue
To speak words, so far distant from my heart!
_Cand_. My happiness is more than I can utter!
_Lys_. Methinks I could do violence on myself, for taking arms
Against a queen, so good, so bountiful:
Give me leave, madam, in my ecstasy
Of joy, to give you thanks for Philocles:--
You have preserved my friend, and now he owes not
His fortunes only to your favour; but,
What's more, his life, and, more than that, his love.
I am convinced, she never loved him now;
Since by her free consent, all force removed,
She gives him to my sister.
Flavia was an impostor, and deceived me. [_Aside_.
_Phil_. As for me, madam, I can only say,
That I beg respite for my thanks; for, on a sudden,
The benefit's so great, it overwhelms me.
_Ast_. Mark but the faintness of the acknowledgement.
[_To the Queen, aside_.
_Queen to Ast_.] I have observed it with you, and am pleased,
He seems not satisfied; for I still wish
That he may love me.
_Phil_. I see Asteria deluded me,
With flattering hopes of the queen's love.
Only to draw me off from Lysimantes:
But I will think no more on't.
I'm going to possess Candiope,
And I am ravished with the joy on't!--ha!
Not ravished neither.
For what can be more charming than that queen!
Behold how night sits lovely on her eye-brows,
While day breaks from her eyes! then a crown too:
Lost, lost, for ever lost; and now 'tis gone,
_Ant_. How he eyes you still! [_To the queen._
_Phil_. Sure I had one of the fallen angels' dreams;
All heaven within this hour was mine! [_Aside_.
_Cand_. What is it, that disturbs you, dear?
_Phil_. Only the greatness of my joy:
I've ta'en too strong a cordial, love,
And cannot yet digest it.
_Queen_. Tis done!
[_Clapping her hand on_ ASTERIA,
But this pang more, and then a glorious birth.--
The tumults of this day, my loyal subjects,
Have settled in my heart a resolution,
Happy for you, and glorious too for me.
First, for my cousin; tho', attempting on my person,
He has incurred the danger of the laws,
I will not punish him.
_Lys_. You bind me ever to my loyalty.
_Queen_. Then that I may oblige you more to it,
I here declare you rightful successor,
And heir immediate to my crown:
This, gentlemen--[_To the deputies_.
I hope will still my subjects' discontents,
When they behold succession firmly settled.
_Dep_. Heaven preserve your majesty!
_Queen_. As for myself, I have resolved
Still to continue as I am, unmarried:
The cares, observances, and all the duties
Which I should pay an husband, I will place
Upon my people; and our mutual love
Shall make a blessing more than conjugal,
And this the states shall ratify.
_Lys_. Heaven bear me witness, that I take no joy
In the succession of a crown,
Which must descend to me so sad a way.
_Queen_. Cousin, no more; my resolution's past
Which fate shall never alter.
_Phil_. Then I am once more happy;
For, since none must possess her, I am pleased
With my own choice, and will desire no more:
For multiplying wishes is a curse.
That keeps the mind still painfully awake.
Your care and loyalty have this day obliged me;
But how to be acknowledging, I know not,
Unless you give the means.
_Cel_. I was in hope your majesty had forgot me; therefore, if
you please, madam, I'll only beg a pardon for having taken up arms
once to-day against you; for I have a foolish kind of conscience,
which I wish many of your subjects had, that will not let me ask a
recompence for my loyalty, when I know I have been a rebel.
_Queen_. Your modesty shall not serve the turn; ask something.
_Cel_. Then I beg, madam, you will command Florimel never to be
friends with me.
_Flo_. Ask again; I grant that without the queen:
But why are you afraid on't?
_Cel_. Because I am sure, as soon as ever you are, you'll marry
_Flo_. Do you fear it?
_Cel_. No, 'twill come with a fear.
_Flo_. If you do, I will not stick with you for an oath.
_Cel_. I require no oath till we come to church: and then after
the priest, I hope; for I find it will be my destiny to marry thee.
_Flo_. If ever I say a word after the black gentleman for thee,
_Cel_. Then, I hope, you'll give me leave to bestow a faithful
_Flo_. Ay, but if you would have one, you must bespeak it, for I
am sure you have none ready made.
_Cel_. What say you, shall I marry Flavia?
_Flo_. No, she'll be too cunning for you.
_Cel_. What say you to Olinda, then? she's tall, and fair, and
_Flo_. And foolish, and apish, and fickle.
_Cel_. But Sabina there's pretty, and young, and loving, and
_Flo_. And dwarfish, and childish, and fond, and flippant: If you
marry her sister, you will get may-poles; and if you marry her, you
will get fairies to dance about them.
_Cel_. Nay, then, the case is clear, Florimel; if you take 'em
all from me, 'tis because you reserve me for yourself.
_Flo_. But this marriage is such a bugbear to me! much might be
if we could invent but any way to make it easy.
_Cel_. Some foolish people have made it uneasy, by drawing the
knot faster than they need; but we that are wiser will loosen it a
_Flo_. 'Tis true, indeed, there's some difference betwixt a
girdle and a halter.
_Cel_. As for the first year, according to the laudable custom of
new-married people, we shall follow one another up into chambers,
and down into gardens, and think we shall never have enough of one
another. So far 'tis pleasant enough, I hope.
_Flo_. But after that, when we begin to live like husband and
wife, and never come near one another--what then, sir?
_Cel_. Why, then, our only happiness must be to have one mind,
and one will, Florimel.
_Flo_. One mind, if thou wilt, but pr'ythee let us have two
wills; for I find one will be little enough for me alone. But how, if
those wills should meet and clash, Celadon?
_Cel_. I warrant thee for that; husbands and wives keep their
wills far enough asunder for ever meeting. One thing let us be sure to
agree on, that is, never to be jealous.
_Flo_. No; but e'en love one another as long as we can; and
confess the truth when we can love no longer.
_Cel_. When I have been at play, you shall never ask me what
money I have lost.
_Flo_. When I have been abroad, you shall never enquire who
_Cel_. _Item_, I will have the liberty to sleep all night,
without your interrupting my repose for any evil design whatsoever.
_Flo_. _Item_, Then you shall bid me goodnight before you
_Cel_. Provided always, that whatever liberties we take with
other people, we continue very honest to one another.
_Flo_. As far as will consist with a pleasant life.
_Cel_. Lastly, whereas the names of husband and wife hold forth
nothing, but clashing and cloying, and dulness and faintness, in their
signification; they shall be abolished for ever betwixt us.
_Flo_. And instead of those, we will be married by the more
agreeable names of mistress and gallant.
_Cel_. None of my privileges to be infringed by thee, Florimel,
under the penalty of a month of fasting nights.
_Flo_. None of my privileges to be infringed by thee, Celadon,
under the penalty of cuckoldom.
_Cel_. Well, if it be my fortune to be made a cuckold, I had
rather thou should'st make me one, than any one in Sicily; and, for my
comfort, I shall have thee oftener than any of thy servants.
_Flo_. Look ye now, is not such a marriage as good as wenching,
_Cel_. This is very good; but not so good, Florimel.
_Queen_. Now set we forward to the assembly.--You promise,
cousin, your consent?
_Lys_. But most unwillingly.
_Queen_. Philocles, I must beg your voice too.
_Phil_. Most joyfully I give it.
_Lys_. Madam, but one word more;--
Since you are so resolved,
That you may see, bold as my passion was,
'Twas only for your person, not your crown;
I swear no second love
Shall violate the flame I had for you,
But, in strict imitation of your oath,
I vow a single life.
_Queen_. Now, my Asteria, my joys are full;
The powers above, that see
The innocent love I bear to Philocles,
Have given its due reward; for by this means
The right of Lysimantes will devolve
Upon Candiope: and I shall have
This great content, to think, when I am dead,
My crown may fall on Philocles's head.
A PERSON OF HONOUR.
Our poet, something doubtful of his fate,
Made choice of me to be his advocate,
Relying on my knowledge in the laws;
And I as boldly undertook the cause.
I left my client yonder in a rant,
Against the envious, and the ignorant,
Who are, he says, his only enemies:
But he condemns their malice, and defies
The sharpest of his censurers to say,
Where there is one gross fault in all his play.
The language is so fitted for each part,
The plot according to the rules of art,
And twenty other things he bid me tell you;
But I cried, e'en go do't yourself for Nelly.[A]
Reason with judges, urged in the defence
Of those they would condemn, is insolence;
I therefore wave the merits of his play,
And think it fit to plead this safer way.
If when too many in the purchase share,
Robbing's not worth the danger nor the care;
The men of business must, in policy,
Cherish a little harmless poetry,
All wit would else grow up to knavery.
Wit is a bird of music, or of prey;
Mounting, she strikes at all things in her way.
But if this birdlime once but touch her wings,
On the next bush she sits her down and sings.
I have but one word more; tell me, I pray,
What you will get by damning of our play?
A whipt fanatic, who does not recant,
Is, by his brethren, called a suffering saint;
And by your hands should this poor poet die,
Before he does renounce his poetry,
His death must needs confirm the party more,
Than all his scribbling life could do before;
Where so much zeal does in a sect appear,
'Tis to no purpose, 'faith, to be severe.
But t'other day, I heard this rhyming fop
Say,--Critics were the whips, and he the top;
For, as a top spins more, the more you baste her,
So, every lash you give, he writes the faster.
[Footnote A: The epilogue appears to have been spoken by Nell Gwynn.]
SPOKEN BY MRS BOUTELL TO THE MAIDEN QUEEN, IN MAN'S CLOTHES.
_The following prologue and epilogue occur in the "Covent-Garden
Drollery" a publication which contains original copies of several
of Dryden's fugitive pieces. They appear to have been spoken
upon occasion of the male characters in "The Maiden Queen" being
represented by female performers. From our author's connection both
with the play and with Mrs Reeves, who spoke the epilogue, it is
probable he wrote both that and the prologue; and therefore (although
not much worth preserving) we have here added them. From the reference
to Ravenscroft's play of "The Citizen turned Gentleman," in the last
line of the epilogue, it would seem the prologue and epilogue were
written and spoken in 1672_.
Women, like us, (passing for men,) you'll cry,
Presume too much upon your secrecy.
There's not a fop in town, but will pretend
To know the cheat himself, or by his friend;
Then make no words on't, gallants, 'tis e'en true,
We are condemn'd to look and strut, like you.
Since we thus freely our hard fate confess,
Accept us, these bad times, in any dress.
You'll find the sweet on't: now old pantaloons
Will go as far as, formerly, new gowns;
And from your own cast wigs, expect no frowns.
The ladies we shall not so easily please;
They'll say,--What impudent bold things are these,
That dare provoke, yet cannot do us right,
Like men, with huffing looks, that dare not fight!--
But this reproach our courage must not daunt;
The bravest soldier may a weapon want;
Let her that doubts us still send her gallant.
Ladies, in us you'll youth and beauty find:
All things--but one--according to your mind:
And when your eyes and ears are feasted here,
Rise up, and make out the short meal elsewhere.
SPOKEN BY MRS REEVES TO THE MAIDEN QUEEN, IN MAN'S CLOTHES.
What think you, sirs, was't not all well enough?
Will you not grant that we can strut and huff?
Men may be proud; but faith, for aught I see,
They neither walk, nor cock, so well as we;
And, for the fighting part, we may in time
Grow up to swagger in heroic rhyme;
For though we cannot boast of equal force,
Yet, at some weapons, men have still the worse.
Why should not then we women act alone?
Or whence are men so necessary grown?
Our's are so old, they are as good as none.
Some who have tried them, if you'll take their oaths,
Swear they're as arrant tinsel as their clothes.
Imagine us but what we represent,
And we could e'en give you as good content.
Our faces, shapes,--all's better then you see,
And for the rest, they want as much as we.
Oh, would the higher powers behind to us,
And grant us to set up a female house!
We'll make ourselves to please both sexes then,--
To the men women, to the women men.
Here, we presume, our legs are no ill sight,
And they will give you no ill dreams at night:
In dreams both sexes may their passions ease,
You make us then as civil as you please.
This would prevent the houses joining too,
At which we are as much displeased as you;
For all our women most devoutly swear,
Each would be rather a poor actress here,
Then to be made a Mamamouchi [A] there.
[Footnote A: Alluding to Ravenscroft's play of the "Citizen turned
Gentleman," acted at the Duke's House in 1672 See Vol. IV. pp. 346,
END OF THE SECOND VOLUME.
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