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MR. ROWE'S JANE SHORE.
(Designed for Mrs. Oldfield.)
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-
How strangely you expose yourself, my dear!' But let me die, all raillery apart,
Our sex are still forgiving at their heart;
There are, 'tis true, who tell another tale,
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?
In all the rest so impudently good;
PROLOGUE TO SOPHONISBA.
BY POPE AND MALLET '.
WHEN learning, after the long Gothic night,
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,
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.
Nature! informer of the poet's art,
Whose force alone can raise or melt the heart,
The Memory of an unfortunate Lady.
WHAT beckoning ghost along the moonlight shade
Who bade ye else, ye powers! her soul aspire
Like eastern kings a lazy state they keep,
From these, perhaps, (ere nature bade her die) Fate snatch'd her early to the pitying sky. As into air the purer spirits flow,
And separate from their kindred dregs below,
But thou, false guardian of a charge too good, Thou, mean deserter of thy brother's blood! See on those ruby lips the trembling breath, These cheeks now fading at the blast of Death; Cold is that breast which warm'd the world before, And those love-darting eyes must roll no more. Thus, if eternal Justice rules the ball,
Thus shall your wives, and thus your children fall:
What can atone (oh, ever-injured shade!) Thy fate unpitied, and thy rites unpaid? No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear, Pleased thy pale ghost, or graced thy mournful bier. By foreign hands thy dying eyes were closed, By foreign hands thy decent limbs composed, By foreign hands thy humble grave adorn'd, By strangers honour'd, and by strangers mourn'd!