Prologue To The Indian Queen.

A poem by John Dryden

As the music plays a soft air, the curtain rises slowly and discovers an Indian boy and girl sleeping under two plantain-trees; and, when the curtain is almost up, the music turns into a tune expressing an alarm, at which the boy awakes, and speaks:


BOY. Wake, wake, Quevira! our soft rest must cease,
And fly together with our country's peace!
No more must we sleep under plantain shade,
Which neither heat could pierce, nor cold invade;
Where bounteous nature never feels decay,
And opening buds drive falling fruits away.

QUE. Why should men quarrel here, where all possess
As much as they can hope for by success?--
None can have most, where nature is so kind,
As to exceed man's use, though not his mind.

BOY. By ancient prophecies we have been told,
Our world shall be subdued by one more old;--
And, see, that world already's hither come.

QUE. If these be they, we welcome then our doom!
Their loots are such, that mercy flows from thence,
More gentle than our native innocence.

BOY. Why should we then fear these, our enemies,
That rather seem to us like deities?

QUE. By their protection, let us beg to live;
They came not here to conquer, but forgive.
If so, your goodness may your power express,
And we shall judge both best by our success.

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