In these distracted times, when each man dreads
The bloody stratagems of busy heads;
When we have feared three years1 we know not what,
Till witnesses begin to die o' th' rot,
What made our poet meddle with a plot?
Was't that he fancied, for the very sake
And name of plot, his trifling play might take?
For there's not in't one inch-board2 evidence,
But 'tis, he says, to reason plain and sense,
And that he thinks a plausible defence.
Were truth by sense and reason to be tried,⌉ Sure all our swearers might be laid aside:
No, of such tools our author has no need,
To make his plot, or make his play succeed;
Or Spanish pilgrims4 cast ashore in Wales;
He, of black bills,3 has no prodigious tales, 15
Here's not one murdered magistrate at least,
Kept rank like ven'son for a city feast,
Grown four days stiff, the better to prepare
Yet here's an army raised, though underground,
And fit his pliant limbs to ride in chair.5 20
But no man seen, nor one commission found;
Here is a traitor6 too, that's very old,
Turbulent, subtle, mischievous, and bold,
Loves fumbling with a wench, with all his heart; Till after having many changes passed,
Bloody, revengeful, and to crown his part, 25
In spite of age (thanks heaven) is hanged at last.
Next is a senator that keeps a whore; ⌋
In Venice none a higher office bore; 30
To lewdness every night the lecher ran --
Show me, all London, such another man;
Match him at Mother Creswold's7 if you can.
O Poland, Poland!8 had it been thy lot,
Thou surely chosen hadst one king from thence, And honored them as thou hast England since.
T'have heard in time of this Venetian plot, 35
the Government, and the Protestant Religion, fomented fears.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan. Contributors: George Henry Nettleton - Editor, Arthur Eillicot Case - Editor. Publisher: Boston ; Houghton Mifflin company,.. Place of publication: Boston; New York. Publication year: 1939. Page number: 117.
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