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PROLOGUE,

WRITTEN AND SPOKEN BY

THE PO E T L A B E RIU S,

A ROMAN KNIGHT, WHOM CÆSAR FORCED

UPON THE STAGE.

PRESERVED BY MACROBIUS. *

W HAT! no way left to fhun th’inglorious stage,
And fave from infamy my finking age !
Scarce half-alive, oppress’d with many a year,
What in the name of dotage drives me here ?
A time there was, when glory was my guide,
Nor force nor fraud could turn my steps aside;
Unaw'd by power, and unappal'd by fear,
With honest thrift I held my honour dear:

* This translation was first printed in one of our Au. thor's earliest works, “ The Present State of Learning in “ Europe.” 12mo. 1759. B 2

Bus

But this vile hour disperses alt my store,
And all my hoard of honour is no more;
For ah! too partial to my life's decline,
Cæsar persuades, submission must be mine;
Him I obey, whom Heaven itself obeys,
Hopeless of pleasing, yet inclin'd to please.
Here then at once I welcome every shame,
And cancel at threescore a life of fame;
No more my titles shall my children tell
The old buffoon will fit my name as well ;
This day beyond its term my fate extends,
For life is ended when our honour ends.

THE

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SECLUDED from domestic strife,
Jack Book-worm led a college life ;
A fellowship at twenty-five,
Made him the happiest man alive ;
He drank his glass, and crack'd his joke,
And freshmen wonder'd as he spoke.

Such pleasures, unallay'd with care,
Could any accident impair?
Could Cupid's saft at length transfix
Our swain arriv'd at thirty-fix ? ,
O had the archer ne'er come down
To ravage in a country town!
Or Flavia been content to stop
At triumphs in a Fleet-street shop.
O had her eyes forgot to blaze !
Or Jack had wanted eyes to gaze.

B 3

O! But let exclamation cease,
Her presence banish'd all his peace.
So with decorum all things carry'd ;
Miss frown'd, and blush'd, and then was married.

Need we expose to vulgar sight
The raptures of the bridal night?
Need we intrude on hallow'd ground,
Or draw the curtains clos'd around ? .
Let it suffice, that each had charms;
He clasp'd a goddess in his arms;
And, though she felt his usage rough,
Yet in a man 'twas well enough.

The honey-moon like light’ning flew,
The second brought its transports too.
A third, a fourth, were not amiss,
The fifth was friendship mix'd with bliss:
But, when a twelvemonth pass’d away,
Jack found his goddess made of clay ;
Found half the charms that deck'd her face
Arose from powder, shreds, or lace;
But still the worst remain'd behind,
That very face had robb’d her mind.

Skill'd in no other arts was she, But dressing, patching, repartee; And, just as humour rose or fell, By turns a flattern or a belle;

'Tis

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