Prologue To "Arvirgus And Philicia Revived."

A poem by John Dryden

BY LODOWICK CARLELL, ESQ., 1690.

SPOKEN BY MR HART.


With sickly actors and an old house too,
We're match'd with glorious theatres and new;
And with our alehouse scenes, and clothes bare worn,
Can neither raise old plays, nor new adorn.
If all these ills could not undo us quite,
A brisk French troop is grown your dear delight;
Who with broad bloody bills call you each day
To laugh and break your buttons at their play;
Or see some serious piece, which we presume
Is fallen from some incomparable plume;
And therefore, Messieurs, if you'll do us grace,
Send lackeys early to preserve your place.
We dare not on your privilege intrench,
Or ask you why you like them? they are French.
Therefore some go, with courtesy exceeding,
Neither to hear nor see, but show their breeding:
Each lady striving to out-laugh the rest;
To make it seem they understood the jest.
Their countrymen come in, and nothing pay,
To teach us English where to clap the play:
Civil, egad! our hospitable land
Bears all the charge, for them to understand:
Mean time we languish and neglected lie,
Like wives, while you keep better company;
And wish for your own sakes, without a satire,
You'd less good breeding, or had more good nature.

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