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What tender passions take their turns,
What home-felt raptures move!
Fires that scorch, yet dare not shine.
Sacred Hymen! these are thine.
TO MR. ADDISON'S CATO. To wake the soul by tender strokes of art, : To raise the genius, and to mend the heart; To make mankind, in conscious virtue bold, Live o'er each scene, and be what they behold; For this the tragic Muse first trod the stage, Commanding tears to stream through every age: Tyrants no more their savage nature kept, And foes to virtue wonder'd how they wept. Our author shuns by vulgar springs to move The hero's glory, or the virgin's love; In pitying love, we but our weakness show, And wild ambition well deserves its woe. Here tears shall flow from a more generous cause, Such tears as patriots shed for dying laws :
He bids your breasts with ancient ardour rise,
Britons! attend: be worth like this approved, And show you have the virtue to be moved. With honest scorn the first famed Cato view'd Rome learning arts from Greece, whom she sub
dued : Your scene precariously subsists too long On French translation and Italian song. Dare to have sense yourselves; assert the stage, Be justly warm’d with your own native rage: Such plays alone should win a British ear, As Cato's self had not disdain'd to hear.
(Designed for Mrs. Oulfield.) PRODIGIOUS this! the frail one of our play From her own sex should mercy find to-day! You might have held the pretty head aside, Peep'd in your fans, been serious, thus, and cried, • The play may pass—but that strange creature,
Shore, I can't-indeed now-I so hate a whoreJust as a blockhead rubs his thoughtless skull, And thanks his stars he was not born a fool; So from a sister sinner you shall hear, • How strangely you expose yourself, my dear!' But let me die, all raillery apart, Our sex are still forgiving at their heart; And, did not wicked custom so contrive, We'd be the best good-natured things alive.
There are, 'tis true, who tell another tale, That virtuous ladies envy while they rail ; Such rage without betrays the fire within ; In some close corner of the soul they sin; Still hoarding up, most scandalously nice, Amidst their virtues a reserve of vice. The godly dame, who fleshly failings damns, Scolds with her maid, or with her chaplain crams. Would you enjoy soft nights, and solid dinners ? Faith, gallants ! board with saints, and bed with
Well, if our author in his wife offends, He has a husband that will make amends: He draws him gentle, tender, and forgiving; And sure such kind good creatures may be living.. In days of old, they pardon'd breach of vows, Stern Cato's self was no relentless spouse: Plu—Plutarch, what's his name, that writes his life? Tells us, that Cato dearly loved his wife: Yet if a friend, a night or so, should need her, He'd recommend her as a special breeder. To lend a wife, few here would scruple make; But, pray, which of you all would take her back? Though with the stoic chief our stage may ring, The stoic husband was the glorious thing. The man had courage, was a sage, 'tis true, And loved his country-but what's that to you? Those strange examples ne'er were made to fit ye, But the kind cuckold might instruct the city: There, many an honest man may copy Cato, Who ne'er saw naked sword, or look’ in Plato.
If, after all, you think it a disgrace, . That Edward's miss thus perks it in your face; , To see a piece of failing flesh and blood, In all the rest so impudently good; Faith, let the modest matrons of the town Come here in crowds, and stare the strumpet down.
PROLOGUE TO SOPHONISBA.
BY POPE AND MALLET'. When learning, after the long Gothic night, Fair, o'er the western world, renew'd its light, With arts arising, Sophonisba rose: The tragic Muse, returning, wept her woes. With her the Italian scene first learn’d to glow; And the first tears for her were taught to flow. Her charms the Gallic Muses next inspired: Corneille himself saw, wonder’d, and was fired.
What foreign theatres with pride have shown, Britain, by juster title, makes her own. When freedom is the cause, 'tis hers to fight; And hers, when freedom is the theme, to write. For this a British author bids again The heroine rise, to grace the British scene. Here, as in life, she breathes her genuine flame: She asks, what bosom has not felt the same? Asks of the British youth---Is silence there? She dares to ask it of the British fair.
To-night our homespun author would be true, At once, to nature, history, and you. Well pleased to give our neighbours due applause, He owns their learning, but disdains their laws. Not to his patient touch, or happy flame, "Tis to his British heart be trusts for fame. If France excel him in one freeborn thought, The man, as well as poet, is in fault.
1 I have been told by Savage, that of the Prologue to Sophonisba, the first part was written by Pope, who could not be persuaded to finish it; and that the concluding lines were written by Mallet.-Dr. Johnson.