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O wake art,
To raise the genius, and to mend the heart; To make mankind, in conscious virtue bold, Live o’er each scene, and be what they betold: For this the Tragic Muse first trod the stage, 5 Commanding tears to stream thro' ev'ry age; Tyrants no more their savage nature kept, And foes to virtue wonder'd how they wert. Our author shuns by vulgar springs to move The hero's glory, or the virgin's love; In pitying Love, we but our weakness show, And wild Ambition well deserves its woe. Here tears shall flow from a more gen'rous cause, Such tears as Patriots fhed for dying Laws :
breast with ancient ardour rif,
And calls forth Roman drops from British eyes.
Virtue confess'd in human shape he draws,
What Plato thought, and godlike Cato was:
No common object to your sight displays,
Put what with pleasure Heav'n itself surveys,
A brare man struggling in the storms of fate,
And greatly falling with a falling ftate.
While Cato gives his little Senate laws,
What bosom beats not in his Country's cause ?
Who sees him act, but envies ev'ry deed ?
Who hears him groan, and does not wish to bleed?
Ev'n when proud Cæfar 'midit triumphal cars,
The spoils of nations, and the pomp
Ignobly vain and impotently great,
Show'd Rome her Cato's figure drawn in flate ; 30
As her dead Father's rev'rend image past,
The pomp was darken'd, and the day o'ercalt ;
The Triumph ceas'd, tears gush'd from ev'ry eye;
The World's great Vietor pafs’d unheeded by;
Her last good man dejected Rome ador’d, 35
And honour'd Cæsar's less than Cato's sword.
Britons, attend : be worth like this approv'd,
And show, you have the virtue to be mov'd.
With honeft scorn the first fam'd Cato view'd
Rome learning arts from Greece, whom she subdu'd ;
Your scene precariously subfifts too long
On French translation, and Italian fong.
Dare to have sense yourselves ; assert the stage,
Be justly warm d with your own native rage :
Such Plays alone should win a British ear, 45
As Cato's self had not disdain'd to hear,
Design'd for Mrs. OLDFIEL D.
Rodigious this! the Frail-one of our Play
From her own Sex should mercy find to day!
You might have held the pretty head afide,
Peep'd in your fans, been serious, thus, and cry'd,
The Play may pass—but that strange creature, Shore,
I can't-indeed now I so hate a whore
6 Just as a blockhead rubs his thoughtless skull, And thanks his stars he was not born a fool; So from a fifter finner you shall hear, “ How strangely you expose yourself, my dear?" But let me die, all raillery apart, Our fex are still forgiving at their heart; And, did not wicked custom so contrive, We'd be the best, good-natur'd things alive.
There are, 'tis true, who tell another tale, 15 That virtuous ladies envy while they rail ; Vol. I.
Such rage without betrays the fire within ;
In some close corner of the foul, they fin;
Still hoarding up most scandalously nice,
Amidst their virtues a reserve of vice.
The godly dame, who fleshly failings damns,
Scolds with her maid, or with her chaplain crams.
Would you enjoy soft nights and solid dinners ?
Faith, gallants, board with faints, and bed with
Well, if our Author in the Wife offends,
He has a Husband that will make amends:
He draws him gentle, tender, and forgiving,
And sure such kind good creatures may be living.
In days of old, they pardon'd breach of vows,
Stern Cato's self was no relentless fpouse : 30
Plu--Plutarch, what's his name, that writes his life?
Tells us, that Cato dearly lov'd his Wife:
Yet if a friend, a night or so, should need her,
He'd recommend her as a special breeder.
To lend a wife, few here would scruple make, 35
But, pray, which of
all would take her back? Tho' with the Stoic Chief our stage may ring, 'The Stoic Husband was the glorious thing. The man had courage, was a fage, 'tis true, And lov'd his country—but what's that to you ? Those strange examples ne'er were made to fit ye, But the kind cuckold might instruct the City: There, many an honest man may copy Cato, Who ne'er saw naked sword, or look'd in Plato.