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PROLOGUE

TO THE COMEDY OF

A WORDTO THE WISE*.

SPOKEN BY MR. HULL.

This night presents a play which publick rage,
Or right, or wrong, once hooted from the stage f.
From zeal or malice, now no more we dread,

For English vengeance wars not with the dead. ", А

A gen'rous foe regards with pitying eye
The man whom fate has laid where all must lie.

To wit reviving from its author's dust,
Be kind, ye judges, or at least be just.
For no renew'd hostilities invade
Th' oblivious grave's inviolable shade.
Let one great payment ev'ry claim appease,
And him, who cannot hurt, allow to please;
To please by scenes unconscious of offence,
By harmless merriment, or useful sense.
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.

* Performed at Covent-Garden theatre in 1777, for the benefit of Mrs. Kelly, widow of Hugh Kelly, Esq. (the author of the play), and her children.

+ Upon the first representation of this play, 1770, a party assembled to damn it, and succeeded.

Yet then shall calm reflection bless the night,
When liberal pity dignify'd delight ;
When Pleasure fir'd her torch at Virtue's flame,
And Mirth was bounty with an humbler name.

SPRING,

AN ODE.

Stern Winter now, by Spring repressid,

Forbears the long-continued strife ; And Nature on her naked breast

Delights to catch the gales of life. Now o'er the rural kingdom roves

Soft pleasure with the laughing train, Love warbles in the vocal groves,

And vegetation plants the plain. Unhappy! whom to beds of pain,

Arthritic * tyranny consigns ; Whom smiling nature courts in vain,

Though rapture sings and beauty shines.
Yet though my limbs disease invades,

Her wings Imagination tries,
And bears me to the peaceful shades,

Where —_'s humble turrets rise.
Here stop, my soul, thy rapid flight,

Nor from the pleasing groves depart, Where first great nature charm’d my sight, Where wisdom first inform'd

my

heart.

* The author being ill of the gout.

Here let me through the vales pursue

A guide-a father—and a friend, Once more great nature's works renew,

Once more on wisdom's voice attend.

From false caresses, causeless strife,

Wild hope, vain fear, alike remov'd; Here let me learn the use of life,

When best enjoy'd—when most improv'd. Teach me, thou venerable bower,

Cool meditation's quiet seat, The gen'rous scorn of venal

power, The silent grandeur of retreat. When pride by guilt to greatness climbs,

Or raging factions rush to war, Here let me learn to shun the crimes

I can't prevent, and will not share. But lest I fall by subtler foes,

Bright Wisdom, teach me Curio's art, The swelling passions to compose,

And quell the rebels of the heart.

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MIDSUMMER;

AN ODE.

O PHeBus! down the western sky,

Far hence diffuse thy burning ray, Thy light to distant worlds supply,

And wake them to the cares of day.

Come, gentle Eve, the friend of care,

Come, Cynthia, lovely queen of night! Refresh me with a cooling air,

And cheer me with a lambent light. Lay me, where o'er the verdant ground

Her living carpet Nature spreads ; Where the green bower, with roses crown'd,

In showers its fragrant foliage sheds ; Improve the peaceful hour with wine,

Let musick die along the grove; Around the bowl let myrtles twine,

And ev'ry strain be tun'd to love. Come, Stella, queen of all my heart !

Come, born to fill its vast desires ! Thy looks perpetual joys impart,

Thy voice perpetual love inspires. Whilst all my wish and thine complete,

By turns we languish and we burn, Let sighing gales our sighs repeat,

Our murmurs-murmuring brooks return. Let me when nature calls to rest,

And blushing skies the morn foretell, Sink on the down of Stella's breast,

And bid the waking world farewell.

AUTUMN,

AN ODE.

ALAS! with swift and silent pace,

Impatient time rolls on the year; The seasons change, and nature's face

Now sweetly smiles, now frowns severe.

'Twas Spring, 'twas Summer, all was gay,

Now Autumn bends a cloudy brow; The flowers of Spring are swept away,

And Summer-fruits desert the bough. The verdant leaves that play'd on high,

And wanton'd on the western breeze, Now trod in dust neglected lie,

As Boreas strips the bending trees. The fields that wav'd with golden grain,

As russet heaths, are wild and bare; Not moist with dew, but drench'd in rain,

Nor health, nor pleasure, wanders there. No more while through the midnight shade,

Beneath the moon's pale orb, I stray, Soft pleasing woes my heart invade,

As Progne pours the melting lay. From this capricious clime she soars,

O! would some god but wings supply! To where each morn the Spring restores,

Companion of her flight I'd fly. Vain wish! me fate compels to bear

The downward season's iron reign, Compels to breathe polluted air,

And shiver on a blasted plain. What bliss to life can Autumn yield,

If glooms, and showers, and storms prevail ; And Ceres flies the naked field,

And flowers, and fruits, and Phæbus fail ?. Oh! what remains, what lingers yet,

To cheer me in the darkening hour? The

grape remains ! the friend of wit, In love, and mirth, of mighty power.

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