Poems, chiefly consisting of satyrs and satyrical epistles by Robert Gould.
Gould, Robert, d. 1709?
How to cite | |
THE PLAY-HOUSE. A SATYR.
OF all the things which at this guilty time,
Have felt the honest Satyr's wholsome Rhime,
The Play-house has scap't best, been most forborn,
Though it, of all things, most deserves our scorn.
I then, inspir'd with bold, Satyrick rage,
A sworn Foe to the mercenary Stage,
(And yet a Foe no further than to show
The World what weed in that rank Soil does (grow)
Will strip it bare of all the gay attire
Which Women love, and Fools so much admire.
Ye biting Scorpions (for I've heard of such,
And as for Spleen I cannot have too much)
Aid me, I beg you, with inveterate spite,
Instruct me how to stab, each word I write;
Page 162Or, if my Pen's too weak this Tyde to stem,
Lend me your Stings, and I will write with them:
Each home-set thrust shall pierce Vice to the heart,
And draw the blood out in the mortall'st part.
That the proud Mimicks, who now Lord it so,
May be the publick scorn where e'r they go,
Their Trade decay, and they unpity'd starve;
A better Fate than most of 'em deserve.
First to the Middle-Gallery we'll go,
(The Prologue to the Vice you'll find below)
Where reeking Punks like Summer Insects swarm,
And stink like Pole-cats when they're hunted warm:
Their very Scents cause Apoplectick Fits,
And yet they're thought all Civet by the Cits.
(But that's not much, for, the plain truth to tell,
They're without Brains, why not without their Smell?)
Here, every Night, they sit three hours for Sale,
With dirty Night-rail, and a dirtier Tayl:
If any Gudgeon bites, they have him sure,
For nothing Angles Blockheads like a Whore.
To keep their Masks on is their only way,
For going barefac't wou'd but spoil their Play;
Their Noses sharp as Needles, Eyes sunk in,
A wrinkl'd Forehead, and a parchment Skin:
A Breath as hot as Aetna's sulph'rous Fire,
And yet not half so hot as their desire.
The Physick each, at times, has swallow'd up
Wou'd stock the King's Apothecary's Shop.
Page 163Who e're does grapple with these Fire-ships,
May tast the Mercury upon their Lips.
Wonder no longer that, in France and Rome,
They have the knack to poison with perfume;
Our Strumpets now, those Factresses for death,
Will do't with one puff of their morning breath.
If drunk with Nants (as, by their smell, you'd think
They never tasted any other drink)
It mainly adds to what I've said before,
And makes 'em glory in their guilt the more;
Then let 'em have their will, and you shall see
How wild a thing unbounded Bitch will be:
No Pen can write, no human wit can think
The lewdness of a Play-House Punk in drink;
Inspir'd by Lust's Enthusiastick rage,
She'd prostitute her self ev'n on the Stage,
Strip naked, and, without a thought of shame,
Do things Hell's blackest Fiend wou'd blush to name.
Yet such as these our brawny Fops admire;
The fittest fewel for so hot a fire.
A Woman's ne're so wicked, but she can
Find one as wicked, or much worse, in man,
To satisfy her Lust, obey her will,
And, at her beck, perform the greatest ill:
These ride not Strumpets, but are Strumpet-rid,
Like Dogs, they'll fetch and carry if they're bid.
But now I talk of Dogs, did you e're meet
A proud Bitch and her Gallants in the street,
Mungrel, Shock, Mastiff, Spaniel, blithe and gay,
And mind how they foam, pant and lick their prey,
Page 164How ceremonious, with what courtly Art
They make address? each tenders down his heart,
And if Bitch snarles, they take it in good part:
This is an Emblem of our Gallery Ware,
The Scene you may see, nightly, acted here.
How e'r I must give Dog and Bitch their due,
They are the better Creatures of the two,
But Bawdy only for a Season; here
The Leach'rous Commerce does hold all the Year.
About one Iilt a hundred Fops shall crowd,
So talkative, impertinent and loud,
That who e'r hither comes to see the Play,
For what they hear, might as well stay away.
After a long, insipid, vain Amour
Between some flutt'ring Officer and Whore,
To some Hedge-Tavern they direct their way,
(Known only to such Customers as they)
To end th' Intrigue agreed on at the Play:
There they roar, swear, huff, eat and drink at large,
And all at the Heroick Cully's charge;
Till, drain'd both Purse and back, he does retire,
And within three days find his Blood on Fire.
This is the sum of all the Play-House Jobs,
Begin in Punk and end in Mr. Hobs.
If he wou'd find the Nymph that caus'd his moan,
He toyls in vain, the Bird of night is flown;
For, by the way, so sharp they are at sinning,
They change their Lodging oftner than their Linnen.
Page 165Yet not this warning makes the Sot give o'er;
He must repeat the dangerous Bliss once more,
But still finds harder usage than before.
Hence 'tis our Surgeons and our Quacks are grown
To make so great a Figure in the Town;
They heap up an Estate by our Debauches;
Our keeping Strumpets makes them keep their Coaches:
Their Consorts are so splendid and so gay,
You'd think 'em Queens, for they're as 〈◊〉 as they:
None go so 'Expensive as such Vermi•• Wives▪
For the worst Gown they wear 〈◊〉 Lives.
What horrid things are these? 〈…〉 the Stage
That makes these Insects gain upon the Age.
There 'tis offenders sow that fertile crime
Of which these reap the harvest in short time
There's many of 'em, for their single share,
Pocket at least five hundred pound a year;
Nor is it strange, so spreading is this Crime,
They'll have seven score a fluxing at a time;
Of which, perhaps, by Heav'nly Providence,
Seven may Recover, and creep faintly thence,
So lean, thin, pale and meagre, you'd swear
Ghosts have more Substance, though they're nought but air.
So cunning too are these Pox-Emp'ricks grown,
Live ye, or dy, they'l make the Cash their own,
Expensive Malady! where people give
More to be kill'd than many wou'd to live!
Some get Estates by other deaths, but here
The very dying does undo the Heir.
Page 166O that the custom were again return'd,
That Bodies might on Funeral Piles be burn'd;
For I believe the Poison that the Sun
Sucks from the ground, and through the air does run,
Giving all catching Plagues and Fevers birth,
Are Steams that are exhal'd from Pocky Earth:
From whence the Town may be concluded curst,
For here few dy but are half rotten first.
But e're from this Bitch-Gallery I descend,
I've more to say, and beg you to attend.
For 'tis of late found a notorious truth,
Court-Ladies, in their heat of Lust and Youth,
Sail hither, muffl'd up in a disguise;
And by pert carriage and their sharp replies,
Set all the Men agog, who streight agree
They must be Harlots of great Quality;
So lead 'em off to give their Leachery vent,
For 'tis presum'd they came for that intent:
Indeed, if they're examin'd, they will say,
They only meant to take a strict survey,
If Whores cou'd be so lewd as they report: —
And that they might as well have known at Court▪
But they're but flesh, and 'tis in vain to rail,
Since any thing that's flesh, we know, is frail.
Keep, keep you Citizens your Wives from hence,
If you'd preserve their Native Innocence:
You else are sure to live in Cuckold's row:
What Precedent is there that lets you know,
Our Wives by coming hither Vertuous grow!
That Plays may make 'em vitious, truth assures;
Especially, if they're so prone as yours.
Page 167The London-Cuckolds they all flock to see,
Are pleas'd with their own Infidelity.
In vain you counsel give; what can reclaim
A Woman wholly given up to shame,
In whom there is no Faith, no Truth, no trust,
And whose chief care is to indulge her Lust?
For when once tainted, once enclin'd that way,
The Devil may as soon recant as they;
To sure Destruction willfully they run,
See the vast Precipice, and yet go smiling on.
Tyr'd with the Gallery, 'twill now be fit
To steer down to the Boxes and the Pit:
Where such a flood of Vice invades my Eyes,
Such a fantastick fry of Vanities,
I know not on what one to fasten first,
No more than I can tell which of 'em's worst.
Here painted Ladies, there gay-Coxcombs throng,
Who, in a soft Voice, charm 'em with a Song;
Their own, you may be sure, for none but such
Can write what cou'd delight that Sex so much.
Some few French words (which plainly does express
Their Wit is as much borrow'd as their dress)
Does set 'em up for Poets; their whole time
Is but one dull Fatigue of Love and Rhime.
These are the Womens Men, their Demy Gods,
For Ladies and Fop-Authors never are at odds.
Not far from hence, another whining Beast,
While he makes love, does make himself a jest;
With a low cringe, for that he knows will please;
Grins out his Passion in such terms as these:
Page 168Madam! By Heav'ns you have an air so fine,
It renders the least thing you do divine!
We dare not say you were created here,
But dropt an Angel from th' Aetherial Sphere!
Ten thousand Cupids on your Forehead sit,
And shoot resistless Darts through all the Pit:
Before your Feet, see, your Adorers ly,
Live, if you smile, and if you frown, they dy!
Ev'n I, your true predestinated Slave,
Rather than meet your hate wou'd meet my Grave:
Ah pity then, bright Nymph, the wound you gave!
Thus sighs the Sot, thus tells his am'rous tale,
And thinks his florid nonsense must prevail:
Bows and withdraws; and streight, to prove his love,
Steals up and courts the Fulsom Punks above.
Mean while the Nymph, proud of her Conquest, looks
Big as wreath'd Poets in the Front of Books;
Surveys the Pit with a Majestick Grace,
To see who falls a Victim to her Face;
Does in her Glass her self with wonder view,
And thinks all that the Coxcomb said was true.
Hence 'tis that every vain, fantastick chit,
Does get the better still of Men of Wit;
For they can't Flatter as these Triflers do,
And without that, without Success they woe.
Speak truth to our fine Ladies now adays,
You'l meet with Indignation, not with praise,
For they hate nothing more; it calls 'em plain,
Deceitful, idle, foolish, fond and vain.
Page 169Wit, in a lover, they of all things fear,
For witty Men well know what trash they are:
But a starch't, whiffling, pert, dull, noisy Ass,
With them for Courtly, airy, wise does pass,
Courageous, generous, affable, what not?
Though Heav'n, at first, design'd him for a Sot.
Such little Insects still are swarming here,
Buzzing dull Jests each in his Ladies Ear;
Then laugh aloud, which now is grown a part
Of janty breeding, and of Courtly art:
The true sign of the modish Beau Garson,
Is chatt'ring like a Lady's lewd Baboon;
Shewing their teeth to charm some pretty Crea∣ture;
For grinning, among Fops, is held a Feature.
Nor is this all; they are so oddly drest,
You'd think God meant 'em for a standing Jest,
Ap't into Men for pastime to the rest:
Observe 'em well, you'l think their Bodies made
To wait upon the motion of the Head:
Their Cravat-strings and Perukes so refin'd,
They dare not tempt their Enemy, the Wind:
Of the least slender puff each Sot afraid is,
It kills the Curls design'd to kill the Ladies.
So stiff they are, in all parts ty'd so strait,
'Tis strange to me the blood shou'd circulate.
But leaving these Musk-cats to publick shame,
I'l turn my Head, and seek out other Game.
In the Side-box Moll H—n you may see,
Or Coquet Moll, who is as lewd as she:
That is their Throne; for there, they best survey
All the salt Sots that flutter to the Play.
Page 170So known, so courted, in an hour, or less,
You'l see a hundred of 'em make address;
Bow, cringe and leer as supple Poets do,
When Patron's Guineas first appear in view:
While they, promiscuously, their smiles let fall,
And give the same incouragement to all.
Harlots, of all things, shou'd be most abhorr'd,
And in the Playhouse nothing's more ador'd:
In that lewd Mart the rankest trash goes off,
Though they're so rotten that 'tis death to cough;
Though on their Lungs Vlcers as thick take place,
As fiery Pimples on a Drunkard's Face.
Discharg'd of these, let's look another way,
And mind those Fops that seldom mind the Play.
A harmless jest, an accidental blow,
Touching their Cuffs, or treading on their Toe,
With many other things, too small to name,
Does blow the Sparks of Honour to a flame;
For such vile trifles, or 〈…〉Drab,
They roar, they swear 〈◊◊〉, lug out and stab,
No mild perswasion 〈◊〉 these bruits reclaim;
'Tis thus to night, to morrow 'tis the same.
Murder's so rife, with like concern we hear
Of a Man kill'd as baiting of a Bear.
All people now (the Age is grown so ill)
Before they go to a Play shou'd make their Will;
For with much more security, a Man
Might make a three years Voyage to Iapan.
Page 171Here others, who, no doubt, believe they're witty,
Are hot at Repartee with Orange-Betty;
Who, though not blest with half a grain of sense,
To leven her whole lump of Impudence,
Aided by that, she always is too hard
For the vain things, and beats 'em from their guard:
When fearing that the standers by may carp,
They laughing, cry, egad the Jade was sharp;
Who wou'd ha' thought we shou'd have come off thus?
Or that she shou'd out-pun, out-banter us?
Yet these vain Ophs wou'd think it an offence,
More than all human Wit cou'd recompence,
If, in the least, we doubt their having sense.
Were self-conceited Coxcombs what they thought,
They wou'd be Gods, and be with Incense sought;
But 'tis a truth, fix't in the standard Rules,
Your wou'd-be-wits are but the Van of Fools.
Were such e're ballanc't to the Worth they bore,
A Game-Cock's Feather wou'd outweigh a score.
But I am tedious, and that fault I'd shun;
With these wise Fools 'tis time then to have done.
Next we attack those tuneful Owls of night,
That in vain Masquerade place all delight.
Here, wisp'ring, into close consults they run,
To know where best to meet when Farce is done:
Th' agree; and out one of 'em steals before
To bespeak Musick, Supper, Wine and Whore.
There they all soak till Midnight; when they're drunk,
They sally forth, each Puppy with his Punk,
Page 172Top-ful of mischief, through the Town they run,
And no ill thing they can do, leave undone.
If Tradesman and his Consort walk the street,
And with these Bullies and their Harlots meet,
He must give place, or else be sure to feel,
Deep in his Lungs, some Villain's fatal Steell:
Villain, I say, that for a cause so small
As not t' uncap, or taking of the Wall; —
But ah! much oftner for no cause at all,
Can those poor Innocents of Life disarm,
That neither thought, design'd, or wish't 'em harm.
Like any Hero these will foam and fight,
When they're urg'd on by Strumpet, or by spite;
But if the King, or Country claim their aid,
The Rascal Cowards hide and are afraid:
Not one will move, not one his Prowess show;
They stand stock still when Honour bids 'em go.
But back, my Muse, let's to the Play-House steer,
We have not yet half done our business there.
A thousand crimes already w'ave expos'd,
A thousand more remain, not yet disclos'd:
On boldly then, nor fear to miss your aim;
Don't want for rage, and we can't want for Theme.
Here a Cabal of Criticks you may see,
Discoursing of Dramatick Poesie;
While one, the wittiest too of all the Gang,
(By whom you'll guess how fit they're all to hang)
Shall entertain you with this learn'd Harangue.
They talk of ancient Plays, that they are such,
So good, they cannot be admir'd too much: —
I think not so. — But in our present days,
I grant w' ave many worthy of that praise:
The Cheats of Scapin, one, a noble thing;
What a throng'd Audience does it always bring?
The Emp'rour of the Moon, 'twill never tire;
The same Fate has the fam'd Alsatian Squire.
Ev'n Ievon's learned piece ha'nt more pretence
Than these to Fancy, Language, and good Sense.
And here, my Friends, I'd have it understood
W' ave a nice Age, what pleases must be good:
Again, for Instance, that clean piece of wit,
The City Heiress, by chast Sappho writ,
Where the lewd Widow comes, with brazen face,
Just reeking from a Stallion's rank embrace,
T' acquaint the Audience with her slimy case.
Where can you find a Scene deserves more praise,
In Shakespear, Iohnson, or in Fletcher's Plays?
They were so modest they were always dull;
For what is Desdemona but a Fool?
Our Plays shall tell you, if the Husband's ill,
Wives must resolve to make him be so still;
If Iealous, they must date revenge from thence,
And make 'em Cuckolds in their own defence.
A hundred others I cou'd quickly name,
Where the Success and the design's the same;
For the main hinge they turn on is t' entice,
Enervate goodness, and incourage Vice;
And that the Suffrage of both Sexes wins: —
But see the Curtains rise, the Play begins.
Thus the vain Sot holds forth; the other Sparks
Hug and applaud him for his wise remarks;
Swear that such things must make the Audience smile: —
By Heav'n 'tis a fine Audience the while!
How much has Farce of late took on the Stage?
But Farce suits best with the fantastick Age:
If Farce made Poets which 'twill never do,
Ev'n Hains and Ho—d might be Poet's too.
In short, our Plays are now so loosely writ,
They've neither Manners, Modesty, or Wit.
How can those things to our Instruction lead
Which are unchast to see, a Crime to read?
The Youth of either Sex this Path shou'd shun,
Or they may be, insensibly, undone:
'Tis hard for th' unexperienc't to escape
Destruction, drest in such a pleasing shape:
It gilds their Ruin with a specious bait,
And shews 'em not their Crime till 'tis too late;
Too late to turn their vain Carere, and find
Their Ancient Innocence and Peace of mind,
Compar'd to which all Worldly Ioys are Wind.
Yet I'd not have you think I'm so severe
To damn all Plays; that wou'd absurd appear:
I love what's excellent, hate what is ill,
Let it be compos'd by whom it will.
Though a Lord write, if bad, I cannot praise;
Nor flatter Dr—dn, though he wear the Bays.
Or court fair Sappho in her wanton fit,
When she'd put luscious Bawdry off for Wit.
Page 175Or pity B—ks in tatters, when I know
'Twas his bad Poetry that cloath'd him so.
Or commend Durf—y to indulge his Curse;
Fond to write on, yet scribble worse and worse.
Nor Cr—n for blaming Coxcombs, when I see
Sir Courtly's not a nicer Fop than he.
Or think that Ra—ft for wise can pass,
When Mother Dobson says he is an Ass;
That damn'd, ridiculous, insipid Farce!
Or write a Panegyrick to the Fame
Of Sh—dl, or of starving Set—'s name,
Who have abus'd, unpardonable things,
The best of Governments and best of Kings —
But thee, my Otway, from the Grave I'll raise,
And crown thy memory with lasting praise:
Thy Orphan, nay thy Venice too shall stand,
And live long as the Sea defends our Land.
The Pontick King and Alexander, Lee
Shall, spite of madness, do the same for thee.
But truth I love, and am oblig'd to tell
Your other Tragick Plays are not so well,
Not with that Judgment, that exactness writ,
With less of Nature, Passion, Fancy, Wit:
Yet this, ev'n in their praise, can't be deny'd,
They are, a' most worth all our Plays beside:
Excepting the Plain Dealer (nicely writ,
And full of Satyr, Iudgment, Truth and Wit:
In all the Characters so just and true,
It will be ever lov'd, and ever new! —)
And we must do the Laureat Justice too:
For OEdipus (of which, Lee, half is thine,
And there thy Genius does with Lustre shine)
Page 176Does raise our Fear and Pity too as high
As, almost, can be done in Tragedy.
His all for love, and most correct of all,
Of just and vast applause can never fail,
Never; but when his Limberham I name,
I hide my Head and almost blush with shame,
To think the Author of both these the same:
So bawdy it not only sham'd the Age,
But worse, was ev'n too nauseous for the Stage.
If Witty 'tis to be obscene and lewd,
We grant for Wit in some esteem it stood;
But what is in it for Instruction good?
And that's one end for which our Bards shou'd write,
When they do that, 'tis then they hit the white;
For Plays shou'd as well profit, as delight.
His Fancy has a wond'rous Ebb and Flow,
Oft above Reason, and as oft below.
His Plays in Rhime (which Fools and Women prize)
May be call'd Supernatural Tragedies:
His Hero still outdoes all Homer's Gods,
For 'tis a turn of State when e'r he nods.
Thus, though they prate of Time and Place, and Skill,
For five good Plays you'l find five hundred ill.
Fly then the reading this vain Jingling stuff,
Such fulsom Authors we can't loath enuff.
But, if in what's sublime you take delight,
Lay Shakespear, Ben and Fletcher in your sight:
Where Human Actions are with Life exprest,
Vertue extoll'd, and Vice as much deprest.
Page 177There the kind Lovers modestly complain,
So passionate, you see their inmost pain,
Pity and wish their Love not plac'd in vain.
There Wit and Art, and Nature you may see
In all their stateliest Dress and Bravery:
None e'r yet wrote, or e'r will write again
So lofty things, in such a Heav'nly strain!
When e'r I Hamlet, or Othello read,
My Hair starts up, and my Nerves shrink with dread:
Pity and fear raise my concern still higher,
Till, betwixt both, I'm ready to expire!
When cursed Iago, cruelly, I see
Work up the noble Moore to Jealousie,
How cunningly the Villain weaves his sin,
And how the other takes the Poison in;
Or when I hear his God-like Romans rage,
And by what just degrees he does asswage
Their fiery temper, recollect their Thoughts,
Make 'em both weep, make 'em both own their Fau'ts;
When these and other such-like Scenes I scan,
'Tis then, great Soul, I think thee more than Man!
Homer was blind, yet cou'd all Nature see;
Thou wer't unlearn'd, yet knew as much as He!
In Timon, Lear, The Tempest, we may find
Vast Images of thy unbounded mind;
These have been alter'd by our Poets now,
And with success too, that we must allow;
Third days they get when part of thee is shown,
Which they but seldom do when all's their own.
Nor shall Philaster, the Maids Tragedy,
Thy King and no King, Fletcher, ever dy,
But stand in the first rank that claim Eternity:
Yet they are damn'd by a pert, modern Wit;
But he shou'd not have censur'd, or not writ:
To blame good Plays, and make his own much worse,
Though I shall spare him, does deserve a Curse:
'Tis true, he can speak Greek, but what of that?
It makes men no more wise than Riches fat.
This Maxim then ought ne'r to be forgot,
An arrant Scholar is an arrant Sot.
Thee, mighty Ben! we ever shall affect,
Thee ever mention with profound Respect;
Thou most Judicious Poet! most correct!
I know not on what single Play to fall;
Thou did'st arrive t' an Excellence in all.
Yet we must give thee but thy just desert;
Thou'd'st less of nature, though much more of Art:
The Springs that move our Souls thou did'st not touch:
But then thy Iudgment, care and pains were such,
We ne'r yet, nor e'r shall an Author see,
That wrote so many perfect Plays as thee:
Not one vain humour thy strict view escapes,
All Follies thou hadst drest in all their proper shapes.
Hail, sacred Bards! Hail, you Immortal three!
Y'ave won the Goal of vast Eternity,
Page 179And built your selves a Fame, where you will live
While we have Wits to read, and they have praise to give.
'Tis somewhere said, our Courtiers speak more wit
In Conversation than these Poets writ:
Unjust detraction, like it's Author, base,
And it shall here stand branded with disgrace.
Not but they had their failings too, but then
They were such Fau'ts as only spoke 'em men,
Errors which Human Frailty must allow;
But ah! who can forgive our Errors now?
If Plays you love, let these your Thoughts employ,
It is a Banquet that will never cloy;
Chast, Moral Writers, such as wisely tell
The happy, useful Art of living well:
How you may chuse a Mistress, or a Friend,
On which the comfort of our lives depend:
How you may Flatt'rers, Knaves and Bawds avoid,
By which so vast a portion of Mankind's destroy'd.
Unlike the Authors that have lately writ;
Who in their Plays such Characters admit,
So vile, so wicked, they shou'd punish't be
Almost as much as Oates for Perjury:
Between 'em both they have half-spoil'd the Age,
He has disgrac't the Pulpit, they the Stage.
Think ye vain scribling Tribe of Shirley's fate,
You that write Plays, and you, too, that translate;
Think how he lies in Duck-lane Shops forlorn,
And ne'r so much as mention'd but with scorn;
Page 180Think That the end of all your boasted skill,
As I presume to prophesie it will,
Justly, for many of you write as ill.
Change, change your Bias, and write Satyr all,
Convert the little Wit you have to Gall:
Care not to what a Bulk your Writings swell,
What matter is't how little, so 'tis well?
Then turn your chiefest strength against the Stage,
Which you have made the Nusance of the Age;
Strive that judicious way to get applause,
And remedy some of the ills you cause:
Lash the lewd Actors — but first stop your nose,
It is a stinking Theme, may discompose
All but your selves — almost as bad as those.
Let this thought screw you to the highest pitch;
They keep you poor, and you have made them rich;
Toil'd night and day t' encrease their ill got store,
And who do they despise and laugh at more?
But make you dance attendance, Cap in hand,
That once, like Spaniels, were at your Command;
Wou'd cringe and fawn, and who so kind as they,
If you but promis'd they should have their Play▪
But since Hart dy'd, and the two Houses join'd,
What get ye? what incouragement d'ye find?
Yet still you write and sacrifice your ease;
Your Plays too shall be acted, if they please.
Let nothing then your sense of wrong asswage,
The Muses Foes shou'd feel the Muses rage:
But still confine your self to truth, for that
Is the main mark Satyr shou'd level at,
Page 181Go not beyond; no base thing must be done,
Let justice and not malice lead you on:
To please, for once, I'll give you an Essay,
And in so good a cause am proud to lead the way.
Prepare we then to go behind the Scenes,
And take a turn among the copper Kings and Queens.
Here 'tis our Callow Lords are fond of such,
Which their own Footmen often scorn to touch.
Are these fit to be lov'd, to be embrac't?
Goats are more sweet, and Monkeys are more chast.
Yet, by denyal, they'l enflame desire,
Till the hot Youth burns in his am'rous fire,
Then wantonly into their Shifts retire;
Spur'd on by lust, the Dunce pursues the Dame,
Where, nightly, they repeat the fulsom Game.
But talking of their shifts I mourn, my Friend,
I mourn thy sad, unjust, disasterous end;
Here 'twas thou did'st resign thy worthy Breath,
And fell the Victim of a sudden Death:
The shame, the guilt, the horror and disgrace,
Light on the Punk, the Murderer and the Place.—
How well do those deserve the general hiss,
That will converse with such a thing as this?
A ten times cast off Drab, in Venus Wars
Who counts her Sins, may as well count the Stars:
So insolent! it is by all allow'd
There never was so base a thing, so proud:
Yet Covetous, she'l prostitute with any,
Rather than wave the getting of a penny;
Page 182For the whole Harvest of her youthful Crimes
She hoards, to keep her self in future times,
That by her gains now she may then be fed,
Which, in effect's to damn her self for bread.
Yet in her Morals this is thought the best;
Imagine then the lewdness of the rest.
An Actress now so fine a thing is thought,
A Place at Court less eagerly is sought:
When once in that Society enroll'd,
Streight by some Reverend Bawd you'l hear 'em told:
Now is the time you may your Fortune raise,
And spark it, like a Lady, all your days:
But the true meaning's this. Now is the time,
Now in your heat of youth, and Beauty's prime,
With open Blandishment and secret Art,
To glide into some keeping Cully's heart,
Who neither sense nor Manhood understands,
And jilt him of his Patrimonial Lands;
Others this way have grown both great and rich:
Preferment you can't miss and be a Bitch. —
This is the train that sooths her swift to Vice,
So she be fine, she cares not at what price;
Though her lewd Body rot, and her good name
Be all one blot of Infamy and shame;
For with good rigging, though they have no skill,
They'l find out Keepers, be they ne'r so ill.
How great a Brute is Man! a Nymph that's true,
Lovely and Wealthy, nay and Vertuous too,
(Of which, alas! we know there are but few)
Ev'n such they can despise, throw from their Arms,
And think a thrice fluxt Player has more Charms.
Page 183A greater Curse for these I cannot find,
Than wishing they continue in that mind.
Now for the Men, and those, too, we shall find
As vile, as vain, as vitious in their kind.
Here one who once was, as an Author notes,
A Hawker, sold old Books, Gazets and Votes,
Is grown prime Vizier now, a Man of parts,
The very load-stone that attracts all Hearts,
In's own conceit that is, for ne'r was Elf
So very much Enamor'd of himself:
But 'tis no matter, let him be so still,
It gives us the more scope to think him ill.
No Parts, no Learning, Sense, or Breeding, yet
He sets up for th' only Judge of Wit.
If all cou'd judge of Wit that think they can,
The arrant'st Ass wou'd be the Wittiest Man.
In what e'r Company he does engage,
He is as formal as upon the Stage,
Dotard! and thinks his stiff comportment there
A Rule for his Behaviour every where.
To this we'll add his Lucre, Lust and Pride,
And Knav'ry, which, in vain, he strives to hide,
For through the thin disguise the Canker'd heart is spy'd.
Let then his acting ne'r so much be priz'd,
'Tis sure his converse is much more despis'd.
Another you may see, a Comick Spark,
Aims to be *Lacy, but ne'r hits the mark.
Yet that he can make sport must be confest,
But, Echo-like, he but repeats the Jest.
Page 184To be well laught at is his whole delight,
And, 'faith, in that we do the Coxcomb right:
Though the Comedian makes the Audience roar,
When off the Stage the Booby tickles more.
When such are born, sure some soft Planet rules;
He is too dull ev'n to converse with Fools.
A third, a punning, drolling, Bant'ring Ass,
Cocks up and fain wou'd for an Author pass.
His Face for Farce nature at first design'd,
And matcht it too with as Burlesque a mind,
Made him pert, vain, a Maggot, vile, ill-bred,
And gave him heels of Cork, and brains of lead.
To speak 'em all were tedious to discuss,
But if you'l take 'em by the Lump, they're thus:
A pack of idle, pimping, spunging Slaves,
A Miscellany of Rogues, Fools and Knaves;
A Nest of Leachers, worse than Sodom bore,
And justly merit to be punish't more:
Diseas'd, in Debt, and every moment dun'd;
By all good Christians loath'd, and their own Kindred shun'd.
To say more of 'em wou'd be loss of time;
For it, with Justice, may be thought a Crime
To let such Rubbish have a place in Rhime.
Now hear a wonder that will well declare
How extravagantly lewd some Women are:
For ev'n these men, base as they are and vain,
Our Punks of highest Quality maintain;
Page 185Supply their daily wants (which are not slight)
But 'tis, that they may be supply'd at night.
These in their Coaches they take up and down,
Publish their foul disgrace o'er all the Town,
And seem to take delight it shou'd be known;
And known it shall be, in my pointed Rhimes
Stand Infamous to all succeeding Times.
It wou'd be endless to trace all the Vice
That from the Play-House takes immediate rise
It is the unexhausted Magazin
That stocks the Land with Vanity and Sin:
As the New River does, from Islington,
Through several Pipes supply ev'n half the Town▪
So the Luxurious lewdness of the Stage,
Drain'd off, feeds half the Brothels of the Age.
Unless these ills, then, we cou'd regulate,
It ought not to be suffer'd in the State.
More might be said; but by what's said, we see
'Tis the sum total of all Infamy,
And thence conclude, by flourishing so long
It has undone Numbers, both Old and Young;
That many hundred Souls are now unblest,
Which else had dy'd in Peace, and found eternal rest.
The End of the Satyr against the Play-House▪