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Must no dislike alarm, no wishes rise,
No cries invoke the mercies of the skies ?
Enquirer, cease, petitions yet remain,
Which heav'n may hear, nor deem religion vain.
Still raise for good the supplicating voice,
But leave to heav’n the measure and the choice.
Safe in his pow'r, whose eyes discern afar
The secret ambush of a specious pray’r.
Implore his aid, in his decisions rest,
Secure whate'er he gives, he gives the best.
Yet when the sense of sacred presence fires,
And strong devotion to the skies aspires,
Pour forth thy fervours for a healthful mind,
Obedient passions, and a will resign'd;
For love, which scarce collective man can fill ;
For patience, fov'reign o'er transmuted ill;
For faith, that panting for a happier seat,
Counts death kind Nature's signal of retreat :
These goods for man the laws of heav'n ordain,
These goods he grants, who grants the pow'r to gain ;
With these celestial Wisdom calms the mind,
And makes the happiness she does not find.
At the Opening of the Theatre Royal, Drury-LANE,
1747 W! HEN Learning's triumph o'er her barbarous
First rear'd the stage, immortal Shakespeare rose;
Each change of many-colour'd life he drew,
Exhausted worlds, and then imagin'd new :
Existence saw him spurn her bounded reign,
And panting time toil'd after him in vain.
His powerful strokes presiding truth impress'd,
And unrefifted passion storm'd the breast.
Then Jonson came, instructed from the school,
To please in method, and invent by rule ;
His studious patience and laborious art,
By regular approach essay'd the heart :
Cold approbation gave the lingering bays ;
For those who durst not censure, scarce could praise.
A mortal born, he met the gen’ral doom,
But left, like Egypt's kings, a lasting tomb.
The wits of Charles found easier ways to fame, Nor wilh'd for Jonson's art, or Shakespeare's flame. Themselves they studied; as they felt, they writ: Intrigue was plot, obscenity was wit.
Vice always found a sympathetick friend;
They pleas'd their age, and did not aim to mend.
Yet bards like these aspir'd to lasting praise,
And proudly hop'd to pimp in future days.
Their cause was gen’ral, their supports were strong ;
Their slaves were willing, and their reign was long :
Till shame regain'd the post that sense betray'd,
And virtue call'd oblivion to her aid.
Then cruth'd by rules, and weaken'd as refin'd,
For years the pow'r of tragedy declin'd;
From bard to bard the frigid caution crept,
Till declamation roar'd whilst passion slept ;
Yet ftill did virtue deign the stage to tread,
Philosophy remain'd tho' nature Aed.
But forc'd, at length, her ancient reign to quit,
She saw great Faustus lay the ghost of wit ;
Exulting folly hail'd the joyous day,
And pantomime and fong confirm'd her sway.
But who the coming changes can presage, And mark the future periods of the stage ? Perhaps if skill could distant times explore, New Behns, new Durfeys, yet remain in store ; Perhaps where Lear has ravid, and Hamlet dy'd, On flying cars new forcerers
may Perhaps (for who can guess th' effects of chance) Here Hunt may box, or Mahomet * may
Hard is his lot that here by fortune plac’d,
Muft watch the wild vicissitudes of taste;
With every meteor of caprice must play,
And chase the new-blown bubbles of the day.
Ah ! let not censure term our fate our choice,
The stage but echoes back the publick voice;
The drama's laws, the drama's patrons give,
For we that live to please, must please to live.
Then prompt no more the follies you decry
As tyrants doom their tools of guilt to die ;
'Tis yours, this night, to bid the reign commence
Of rescu'd nature, and reviving sense ;
To chase the charms of sound, the pomp of show,
For useful mirth and falutary woe ;
Bid scenick virtue form the rising age,
And truth diffuse her radiance from the stage.
SPOKEN by Mr. GARRICK, April 5, 1750,
Before the MASQUE of COMUS,
Acted at Drury-LANE Theatre, for the Benefit of
E patriot crowds who burn for England's fame,
Ye nymphs whose bosoms beat at Milton's name, Whose generous zeal, unbought by flatt'ring rhymes, Shames the mean pensions of Augustan times; VOL, LXXII.
Immortal patrons of succeeding days,
Attend this prelude of perpetual praise ;
Let wit condemn'd the feeble war to wage,
With close malevolence, or publick rage;
Let study, worn with virtue's fruitless lore,
Behold this theatre, and grieve no more.
This night, distinguish'd by your smiles, fhall tell
That never Britain can in vain excel;
The flighted arts futurity shall traft,
And rising ages haften to be juft.
At length cur mighty bard's victorious lays.
Fill the loud voice of universal praise ;
And baffled spite, with hopeless anguish dumb,
Yields to renown the centuries to come;
With ardent haste each candidate of fame,
Ambitious catches at his tow'ring name ;
He fees, and pitying fees, vain wealth bestow
Those pageant honours which he scorn'd below,
While crowds aloft the laureat buft behold,
Or trace his form on circulating gold.
Unknown-unheeded, long his offspring lay,
And want hung threat’ning o'er her flow decay.
What tho’ she shine with no Miltonian fire,
No favouring muse her morning dreams inspire ?
Yet softer claims the melting heart engage,
Her youth laborious, and her blameless age ;
Hers the mild merits of domestick life,
The patient sufferer, and the faithful wife.
Thus grac'd with humble virtue's native charms,
Her grandfire leaves her in Britannia's arms;