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John Dryden (1631–1700).  The Poems of John Dryden.  1913.
 
Prologues and Epilogues
Epilogue to The Husband his own Cuckold
 
Spoken by Mrs. BRACEGIRDLE.

LIKE 1 some raw Sophister that mounts the Pulpit,
So trembles a young Poet at a full Pit.
Unus’d to Crowds, the Parson quakes for fear,
And wonders how the Devil he durst come there;
Wanting three Talents needful for the Place,        5
Some Beard, some Learning, and some little Grace.
Nor is the Puny Poet void of Care;
For Authors, such as our new Authors are,
Have not much Learning, nor much Wit to spare;
And as for Grace, to tell the Truth, there’s scarce one,        10
But has as little as the very Parson:
Both say they Preach and Write for your Instruction;
But ’tis for a Third Day, and for Induction.
The difference is, that tho’ you like the Play,
The Poet’s Gain is ne’er beyond his Day.        15
But with the Parson ’tis another Case,
He, without Holiness, may rise to Grace;
The Poet has one disadvantage more,
That if his Play be dull, he’s Damn’d all o’er,
Not only a damn’d Blockhead, but damn’d Poor.        20
But Dullness well becomes the Sable Garment;
I warrant that ne’er spoil’d a Priest’s Preferment:
Wit’s not his Business, and as Wit now goes,
Sirs, ’tis not so much yours as you suppose,
For you like nothing now but nauseous Beaux.        25
You laugh not, Gallants, as by proof appears,
At what his Beauship says, but what he wears;
So ’tis your Eyes are tickled, not your Ears.
The Taylor and the Furrier find the Stuff,
The Wit lies in the Dress and monstrous Muff.        30
The Truth on’t is, the Payment of the Pit
Is like for like, Clipt Money for Clipt Wit.
You cannot from our absent Author hope
He should equip the Stage with such a Fop
Fools Change in England, and new Fools arise;        35
For, tho’ th’ Immortal Species never dies,
Yet ev’ry Year new Maggots make new Flies.
But where he lives abroad, he scarce can find
One Fool, for Million that he left behind.
 
Note 1. 1696. The play is by John Dryden the younger. [back]
 
 
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