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A PROLOGUE,

SPOKEN BY THE POET LABERIUS, A ROMAN KNIGHT.

From the Latin, preserved by Macrobius. What! no way left to shun th' inglorious stage, And save from infamy my sinking age ? Scarce half alive, oppress'd with many a year, What in the name of dotage drives me here ? A time there was, when glory was my guideNor force nor fraud could turn my steps aside; Unaw'd by power, and unappallid by fear, With honest thrift I held my honour dear: But this vile hour disperses all my store, And all my hoard of honour is no moreFor, ah! too partial to my life's decline, Cæsar persuades, submission must be mine! Him I obey, whom heaven itself obeys; Hopeless of pleasing, yet inclin'd to please. Here then at once I welcome every shame, And cancel at threescore a life of fame; No more my titles shall my children tell; The old buffoon will fit my name as well; This day beyond its term my fate extends, For life is ended when our honour ends.

1 J. Decimus Laberius was a Roman knight famous for his talents in writing pantomimes. Julius Cæsar compelled him to act one of his characters on the stage; the poet, with great reluctance, consented, but showed his resentment during the acting of the piece, by throwing severe asper. sions on Cæsar, and warning the audience against his tyranny. Laberius was sixty years old when this occurrence took place. He seems to have had no alternative left, and acted in obedience to the commands of the dictator, who wished to make the Romans forget their civil dissensions amidst the amusements of scenic exhibitions. The office of comedian was regarded at Rome as disgraceful for a freeman, above all for a knight. Laberius, in thus assuming a revolting character, addressed to the audience a justification of his conduct in this prologue, which may be regarded as one of the finest monuments of Roman literature, and makes us deeply regret the loss of his mimes. But a few fragments of his poetry remain.

This translation was first printed in one of Goldsmith's earliest works, “ The present State of Learning in Europe,” 12mo, 1759.

PROLOGUE TO ZOBEIDE.

A TRAGEDY, BY JOSEPH CRADOCK.

In these bold times, when learning's sons explore
The distant climates, and the savage shore
When wise astronomers to India steer,
And quit for Venus many a brighter here-
While botanists, all cold to smiles and dimpling,
Forsake the fair, and patiently go simpling-
When every bosom swells with wondrous scenes,
Priests, cannibals, and hoity-toity queens-
Our bard into the general spirit enters,
And fits his little frigate for adventures.
With Scythian stores, and trinkets, deeply laden,
He this way steers his course, in hopes of trading
Yet ere he lands he 'as order'd me before,
To make an observation on the shore.
Where are we driven ? our reckoning sure is lost !
This seems a barren and a dangerous coast.
Lord! what a sultry climate am I under!
Yon ill-foreboding cloud seems big with thunder;

[Upper gallery. There mangroves spread, and larger than I've seen them

[Pit. Here trees of stately size and turtles in them

[Baiconies. Here ill-condition'd oranges abound

[Stage. And apples, bitter apples, strew the ground. The inhabitants are cannibals I fear: I heard a hissing-there are serpents here: 0, there the people are-best keep my distance; Our captain (gentle natives) craves assistance; Our ship’s well stor'd-in yonder creek we've laid her: His honour is no mercenary trader: This is his first adventure; lend him aid, And we may chance to drive a thriving trade. His goods, he hopes, are prime, and brought from farEqually fit for gallantry and war. What, no reply to promises so ample ? I'd best step back, and order up a sample.

EPILOGUE,

WRITTEN FOR MR. CHARLES LEE LEWES, TO BE SPOKEN IN

THE CHARACTER OF HARLEQUIN, AT HIS BENEFIT.

HOLD! prompter, hold! a word before your nonsense;
I'd speak a word or two_to ease my conscience,
My pride forbids it ever should be said,
My heels eclips'd the honours of my head;
That I found humour in a piebald vest,
Or ever thought that jumping was a jest.

(Takes off his mask.
Whence, and what art thou, visionary birth ?
Nature disowns, and reason scorns thy mirth;
In thy black aspect every passion sleeps-
The joy that dimples, and the woe that weeps.
How hast thou fill'd the scene with all thy brood
Of fools pursuing, and of fools pursued !
Whose ins and outs no ray of sense discloses ;
Whose only plot it is to break our noses;
Whilst from below the trap-door demons rise
And from above, the dangling deities.
And shall I mix in this unhallow'd crew ?
May rosin'd lightning blast me, if I do!
No, I will act— I'll vindicate the stage:
Shakspere himself shall feel my tragic rage.
Oft! off! vile trappings! a new passion reigns !
The madd’ning monarch revels in my veins.
Oh! for a Richard's voice to catch the theme:
“Give me another horse! bind up my wounds !--soft-

'twas but a dream.” Ay, 'twas but a dream-for now there's no retreating, If I cease Harlequin, I cease from eating.

'Twas thus that Æsop's stag—a creature blameless, Yet something vain, like one that shall be nameless Once on the margin of a fountain stood, And cavillid at his image in the flood. “The deuce confound,” he cries, “ these drumstic shanks They neither have my gratitude nor thanks; They're perfectly disgraceful! strike me dead! But for a head-yes, yes, I have a head.

How piercing is that eye! how sleek that brow!
My horns !- I'm told horns are the fashion now.”
Whilst thus he spoke, astonishid: to his view,
Near, and more near, the hounds and huntsmen drew.
“ Hoicks! hark forward !" came thundering from behind,
He bounds aloft, outstrips the fleeting wind;
He quits the woods, and tries the beaten ways;
He starts, he pants, he takes the circling maze.
At length his silly head, so prized before,
Is taught his former folly to deplore;
Whilst his strong limbs conspire to set him free,
And at one bound he saves himself-like me.

[Taking a jump through the stage door.

EPILOGUE

TO

THE SISTER,” A COMEDY, BY MRS. CHARLOTTE LENNOX. WHAT! five long acts—and all to make us wiser ! Our authoress sure has wanted an adviser. Had she consulted me, she should have made Her moral play a speaking masquerade ; Warm’d up each bustling scene, and in her rage Have emptied all the green-room on the stage: My life on't, this had kept her play from sinking; Have pleas'd our eyes, and sav'd the pain of thinking. Well, since she thus has shown her want of skill, What if I give a masquerade !-I will. But how ? ay, there's the rub! [pausing]—I've got my The world's a masquerade! the maskers, you, you, you.

[To Boces, Pit, and Gallery. Lud! what a group the motley scene disclosesFalse wits, false wives, false virgins, and false spouses ! Statesmen with bridles on; and, close beside them, Patriots in party-colour'd suits that ride them. There Hebes, turn'd of fifty, try once more To raise a flame in Cupids of threescore. These in their turn, with appetites as keen, Deserting fifty, fasten on fifteen.

cue:

Miss, not yet full fifteen, with fire uncommon,
Flings down her sampler, and takes up the woman;
The little urchin smiles, and spreads her lure,
And tries to kill, ere she's got power to cure.
Thus 'tis with all-their chief and constant care
Is to seem everything but what they are.
Yon broad, bold, angry spark, I fix my eye on,
Who seems to have robb’d his vizor from the lion;
Who trowns, and talks, and swears, with round parade,
Looking, as who should say, damme! who's afraid ?

[Mimicking.
Strip but this vizor off, and sure I am
You'll find his lionship a very lamb.
Yon politician, famous in debate,
Perhaps, to vulgar eyes, bestrides the state;
Yet, when he deigns his real shape to assume,
He turns old woman, and bestrides a broom.
Yon patriot, too, who presses on your sight,
And seems to every gazer all in white,
If with a bribe his candour you attack,
He bows, turns round, and whip—the man's in black !
Yon critic, too—but whither do I run ?
If I proceed, our bard will be undone !
Well, then, a truce, since she requests it too:
Do you spare her, and I'll for once spare you.

EPILOGUE,

SPOKEN BY MRS. BULKLEY AND MISS CATLEY.

Enter Mrs. Bulkley, who curtsies very low as beginning to

speak. Then enter Miss Catley, who stands full before her, and curtsies to the audience.

MRS. BULKLEY.

HOLD, Ma'am, your pardon. What's your business here?

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