Epilogue To "The Man Of Mode; Or, Sir Fopling Flutter;" By Sir George Etherege, 1676.

A poem by John Dryden

Most modern wits such monstrous fools have shown,
They seem not of Heaven's making, but their own.
Those nauseous harlequins in farce may pass;
But there goes more to a substantial ass:
Something of man must be exposed to view,
That, gallants, they may more resemble you.
Sir Fopling is a fool so nicely writ,
The ladies would mistake him for a wit;
And, when he sings, talks loud, and cocks, would cry,
I vow, methinks, he's pretty company:
So brisk, so gay, so travell'd, so refined,
As he took pains to graff upon his kind.
True fops help nature's work, and go to school
To file and finish God Almighty's fool.
Yet none Sir Fopling him, or him can call;
He's knight o' the shire, and represents ye all.
From each he meets he culls whate'er he can;
Legion's his name, a people in a man.
His bulky folly gathers as it goes,
And, rolling o'er you, like a snow-ball grows.
His various modes from various fathers follow;
One taught the toss, and one the new French wallow:
His sword-knot this, his cravat that design'd;
And this the yard-long snake he twirls behind.
From one the sacred periwig he gain'd,
Which wind ne'er blew, nor touch of hat profaned.
Another's diving bow he did adore,
Which with a shog casts all the hair before,
Till he, with full decorum, brings it back,
And rises with a water-spaniel shake.
As for his songs, the ladies' dear delight,
These sure he took from most of you who write.
Yet every man is safe from what he fear'd;
For no one fool is hunted from the herd.

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