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John Dryden (1631–1700).  The Poems of John Dryden.  1913.
 
Prologues and Epilogues
Prologue to Arviragus and Philicia, revived
 
WITH 1 sickly Actors and an old House too,
We’re match’d with glorious Theatres and new,
And with our Ale-house scenes and Cloaths bare worn
Can neither raise old Plays nor new adorn.
If all these Ills could not undo us quite,        5
A brisk French Troop is grown your dear delight;
Who with broad bloudy Bills call you each day
To laugh and break your Buttons at their Play;
Or see some serious Piece, which we presume
Is fall’n from some incomparable plume;        10
And therefore, Messieurs, if you’ll do us Grace,
Send Lacquies early to preserve your Place.
We dare not on your Priviledge intrench,
Or ask you why you like ’em? They are French.
Therefore some go with Courtesie exceeding,        15
Neither to hear nor see, but show their Breeding:
Each Lady striving to out-laugh the rest;
To make it seem they understood the Jest.
Their Countrymen come in, and nothing pay,
To teach us English where to clap the play:        20
Civil, Igad; Our Hospitable Land
Bears all the Charge, for them to understand:
Mean time we languish, and neglected lye,
Like Wives, while you keep better Company;
And wish for our own sakes, without a Satyr,        25
You’d less good Breeding or had more good Nature.
 
Note 1. Text from the Miscellanies of 1684. The play is by Carlell. [back]
 
 
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