Epilogue on the Same Occasion (Princess of Cleves)

John Dryden 1631 (Aldwincle) – 1631 (London)

New ministers, when first they get in place,
Must have a care to please; and that's our case:
Some laws for public welfare we design,
If you, the power supreme, will please to join.
There are a sort of prattlers in the pit,
Who either have, or who pretend to wit;
These noisy sirs so loud their parts rehearse,
That oft the play is silenced by the farce.
Let such be dumb, this penalty to shun,
Each to be thought my lady's eldest son.
But stay; methinks some vizard mask I see,
Cast out her lure from the mid gallery:
About her all the fluttering sparks are ranged;
The noise continues, though the scene is changed:
Now growling, sputtering, wauling, such a clutter!
'Tis just like puss defendant in a gutter:
Fine love, no doubt; but ere two days are o'er ye,
The surgeon will be told a woful story.
Let vizard mask her naked face expose,
On pain of being thought to want a nose:
Then for your lacqueys, and your train beside,
By whate'er name or title dignified,
They roar so loud, you'd think behind the stairs
Tom Dove, and all the brotherhood of bears:
They're grown a nuisance, beyond all disasters;
We've none so great but—their unpaying masters.
We beg you, Sirs, to beg your men, that they
Would please to give you leave to hear the play.
Next, in the playhouse, spare your precious lives;
Think, like good Christians, on your bearns and wives:
Think on your souls; but, by your lugging forth,
It seems you know how little they are worth.
If none of these will move the warlike mind,
Think on the helpless whore you leave behind.
We beg you, last, our scene-room to forbear,
And leave our goods and chattels to our care.
Alas! our women are but washy toys,
And wholly taken up in stage employs:
Poor willing tits they are; but yet, I doubt,
This double duty soon will wear them out.
Then you are watched besides with jealous care;
What if my lady's page should find you there?
My lady knows t' a tittle what there's in ye;
No passing your gilt shilling for a guinea.
Thus, gentlemen, we have summed up in short
Our grievances, from country, town, and court:
Which humbly we submit to your good pleasure;
But first vote money, then redress at leisure.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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John Dryden

John Dryden was an English poet, literary critic, translator, and playwright who was made Poet Laureate in 1668. more…

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