Epilogue To "Mithridates, King Of Pontus;" By Nathan Lee, 1678.

A poem by John Dryden

You've seen a pair of faithful lovers die:
And much you care; for most of you will cry,
'Twas a just judgment on their constancy.
For, heaven be thank'd, we live in such an age,
When no man dies for love, but on the stage:
And even those martyrs are but rare in plays;
A cursed sign how much true faith decays.
Love is no more a violent desire;
'Tis a mere metaphor, a painted fire.
In all our sex, the name examined well,
Tis pride to gain, and vanity to tell.
In woman, 'tis of subtle interest made:
Curse on the punk that made it first a trade!
She first did wit's prerogative remove,
And made a fool presume to prate of love.
Let honour and preferment go for gold;
But glorious beauty is not to be sold:
Or, if it be, 'tis at a rate so high,
That nothing but adoring it should buy.
Yet the rich cullies may their boasting spare;
They purchase but sophisticated ware.
'Tis prodigality that buys deceit,
Where both the giver and the taker cheat.
Men but refine on the old half-crown way;
And women fight, like Swissers, for their pay.

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