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 public 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


As tyrants dgom 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 scenic virtue form the rising age,
And truth diffuse her radiance from the stage.



Before the MASQUE of COMUS, Acted at DRURY LANE THEATRE, for the

Benefit of Milton's Grand-daughter. YE

E patriot crowds who burn for England's fame, Ye nymphs whose bosoms beat at Milton's name, Whofe generous zeal, unbought by flatt'ring rhymes, Shames the mean penfions of Augustan times;


Immortal patrons of succeeding days,
Attend this prelude of perpetual praise ;
Let wit condemn’d the feeble war to wage,
With close malevolence, or public 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 excell;
The slighted arts futurity shall trust,
And rising ages haften to be just.

At length our mighty bard's vi&torious lays-
Fill the loud voice of universal praise ;
And baffled spite, with hopeless anguish dumb,
Yields to renown the centuries to come ;
With ardent halte each candidate of fame,
Ambitious catches at his tow'ring name ;
He sees, and pitying fees, vain wealth bestow
Those pageant honours which he scorn'd below,
While crowds aloft the laureat bust 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 blamelefs age ;
Hers the mild merits of domestic life,
The patient sufferer, and the faithful wife,


Thus grac'd with humble virtue's native charnis,
Her grandfire leaves her in Britannia's arms;
Secure with peace, with competence to dwell,
While tutelary nations guard her cell.
Yours is the charge, ye fair, ye wise, ye brave !
'Tis yours to crown defert-beyond the grave.



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Prest by the load of life, the weary mind,
Surveys the general toil of human kind,
With cool submission joins the lab’ring train,
And social forrow loses half its pain ;
Our anxious bard without complaint may share
This bustling season's epidemic care ju,
Like Cæsar's pilot dignify'd by fate,
Toft in one common storm with all the great";
Distreft alike the statesman and the wit,
When one a Borough courts, and one the Piť.
The busy candidates for power and fame
Have hopes, and fears, and wishes just the same;
Disabled both to combat, or to fly,
Must hear all taunts, and hear without reply:



Uncheck'd on boih, loud rabbles vent their rage,
As mongrels bay the lion in a cage.
Th' offended Burgess hoards his angry tale,
For that blest year when all that vote may rail
Their schemes of spite the poet's foes dismiss,
Till that glad night when all that hate may hiss.

“ This day the powder'd curls and golden coat,"
Says swelling Crispin," begg'd a cobler's vote;"
This night our wit," the pert apprentice cries,
Lies at my feet; I hiss him, and he dies.”
The great, 'tis true, can charm th' electing tribe,
The bard may fupplicate, but cannot bribe.
Yet judg’d by those whose voices ne'er were sold,
He feels no want of ill persuading gold ;
But confident of praise, if praise be due,
Trufts without fear-to merit and to you.

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Spoken by Mr. HULL.
This night presents a play which public rage,
Or right, or wrong, once hooted from the fage.fi

* Perform'd at Covent Garden Theatre for the benefit of Mrs. Kelly, widow of Hugh Kelly, Esq. (the author of the play) and her children, 1777.

* Upon the first representation of this play, 1770, it was damned from the violence of party.


From zeal, or malice, now no more we dread,
For English vengeance wars not with the dead.
A generous foe regards with pitying eye
The man whom fate has laid, where all must lie.

To wit reviving from its author's duft,
Be kind, ye judges, or at least be just.
For no renew'd hoftilities invade
Th'oblivious grave's inviolable shade.
Let one great payment every claim appease,
And him who cannot hurt, allow to please ;
To please by scenes unconscious of offence,
By harmless merriment, or useful fense.
Where aught of bright, or fair the piece displays,
Approve it only

'Tis too late to praise,
If want of skill, or want of care appear,
Forbear to hiss—the poet cannot hear.
By all like him must praise and blame be found,
At best a fleeting gleam, or empty sound.
Yet then shall calm reflection bless the night,
When liberal pity dignified delight;
When pleasure fir'd her torch at virtue's flames
And mirth was bounty with an humbler name.


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