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John Dryden (1631–1700).  The Poems of John Dryden.  1913.
 
Prologues and Epilogues
Epilogue to Calisto, or the Chaste Nymph
 
Intended to have been spoken by the LADY HENRIETTA MARIA WENTWORTH, when Calisto was Acted at Court.

AS 1 Jupiter I made my Court in vain;
I’ll now assume my Native shape again.
I’m weary to be so unkindly us’d,
And would not be a God to be refus’d.
State grows uneasie when it hinders Love;        5
A glorious Burden, which the wise remove.
Now, as a Nymph, I need not sue, nor try
The force of any lightning but the Eye.
Beauty and Youth more than a God command;
No Jove could e’er the force of these with-stand.        10
’Tis here that Sovereign Power admits dispute,
Beauty sometimes is justly absolute.
Our sullen Catoes, whatsoe’er they say,
Even while they frown and dictate Laws, obey.
You, mighty Sir, our bonds more easie make,        15
And gracefully what all must suffer take;
Above those forms the Grave affect to wear,
For ’tis not to be wise to be severe.
True wisdom may some gallantry admit,
And soften business with the charms of wit.        20
These peaceful Triumphs with your Cares you bought,
And from the midst of fighting Nations brought.
You only hear it thunder from afar,
And sit in peace the Arbiter of War:
Peace, the loath’d Manna, which hot Brains despise,        25
You knew its worth, and made it early prize:
And in its happy leisure sit and see
The promises of more felicity.
Two glorious Nymphs of your one God-like line,
Whose Morning Rays like Noontide strike and shine;        30
Whom you to suppliant Monarchs shall dispose,
To bind your Friends and to disarm your Foes.
 
Note 1. Printed in 1684 but not assigned to Dryden till 1704. The play is by Crowne. [back]
 
 
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