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EPILOGUE

EPILOGUE TO MR. ROWE'S

JANE SHORE.

DESIGNED FOR MRS. OLDFIELD.

PRODIGIOUS this! the Frail-one of our Play

From her own Sex fhould mercy find to-day! You might have held the pretty head aside, Peep'd in your fans, been ferious, thus, and cry'd, The Play may pass—but that strange creature, Shore, I can't-indeed now-I fo hate a whore Just as a blockhead rubs his thoughtless skull, And thanks his stars he was not born a fool; So from a fifter finner you fhall hear,

G

"How strangely you expose yourself, my dear?"
But let me die, all raillery apart,

Our fex are still forgiving at their heart;
And, did not wicked custom so contrive,
We'd be the beft, good-natur'd 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 fome close corner of the foul, they fin;
Still hoarding up, moft fcandalously nice,
Amidst their virtues a referve of vice.
The godly dame, who fleshly failings damns,
Scolds with her maid, or with her chaplain crams.

Would

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15

20

Would you enjoy foft nights and folid dinners?
Faith, gallants, board with faints, and bed with finners.
Well, if our Author in the Wife offends,
25
He has a Hufband that will make amends:
He draws him gentle, tender, and forgiving,
And fure fuch kind good creatures may be living.
In days of old they pardon'd breach of vows,
Stern Cato's felf was no relentless spouse:
Plu-Plutarch, what's his name, that writes his life?
Tells us, that Cato dearly lov'd his Wife:

30

Yet if a friend, a night or fo, fhould need her,
He'd recommend her as a special breeder.

To lend a Wife, few here would fcruple make, 35
all would take her back?
But, pray, which of you
Tho' with the Stoic Chief our stage may ring,
The Stoic Husband was the glorious thing.
The man had courage, was a fage, 'tis true,
And lov'd his country,-but what's that to you?
Those strange examples ne'er were made to fit ye,
But the kind cuckold might inftruct the City:
There, many an honeft man may copy Cato,
Who ne'er faw naked fword, or look'd in Plato.
If, after all, you think it a disgrace,
That Edward's Mifs thus perks it in your face;

39

45

To

NOTES.

VER. 44. Who ne'er faw] A fly and oblique ftroke on the fuicide of Cato; which was one of the reafons, as I have been informed, why this epilogue was not spoken.

VER. 46. Edward's Mifs] Sir Thomas More fays, she had one accomplishment uncommon in a woman of that time; she could read and write.

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 crouds, and ftare the ftrumpet down.

49

Thomfon in his Epilogue to Tancred and Sigifmunda feverely cenfures the flippancy and gaiety of modern Epilogues, as contrary to thofe impreffions intended to be left on the mind by a well-written tragedy. The laft new part Mrs. Oldfield took in tragedy was in Thomfon's Sophonisba; and it is recorded that fhe spoke the following line;

Not one bafe word of Carthage for thy foul,

in fo powerful a manner, that Wilkes, to whom it was addressed, was aftonifhed and confounded. Mrs. Oldfield was admitted to vifit in the beft families. George II. and Queen Caroline, when Princess of Wales, condefcended fometimes to converse with her at their levees. And one day the Princess asked her if he was married to General Churchill; "So it is faid, may it please your Highness, but we have not owned it yet." Her Lady Betty Modifh, and Lady Townly, have never yet been equalled. She was univerfally allowed to be well-bred, fenfible, witty, and generous. She gave poor Savage an annual penfion of fifty pounds. And it is ftrange that Dr. Johnson seems rather to approve of Savage's having never celebrated his benefactress in any of his poems.

END OF THE FIRST VOLUME.

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