British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan

By George Henry Nettleton; Arthur Eillicot Case | Go to book overview
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EPILOGUE

BY DR. GARTH1

SPOKEN BY MRS. PORTER2

What odd fantastic things we women do!
Who would not listen when young lovers woo?
But die a maid, yet have the choice of two!

Ladies are often cruel to their cost;

To give you pain, themselves they punish most. 5
Vows of virginity should well be weighed; Too oft they're cancelled, though in convents made.

Would you revenge such rash resolves -- you may:
Be spiteful -- and believe the thing we say;
We hate you when you're easily said nay.
10

How needless, if you knew us, were your fears!
Let love have eyes, and beauty will have ears.
Our hearts are formed, as you yourselves would choose,
Too proud to ask, too humble to refuse:

We give to merit, and to wealth we sell; 15
He sighs with most success that settles well. The woes of wedlock with the joys we mix;
'Tis best repenting in a coach and six
Blame not our conduct, since we but pursue
Those lively lessons we have learned from you: 20
Your breasts no more the fire of beauty warms, But wicked wealth usurps the power of charms;
What pains to get the gaudy thing you hate,
To swell in show, and be a wretch in state!
At plays you ogle, at the Ring' you bow; 25
Even churches are no sanctuaries now: There, golden idols all your vows receive,
She is no goddess that has nought to give.
Oh, may once more the happy age appear,
When words were artless, and the thoughts sincere; 30
When gold and grandeur were unenvied things, And courts less coveted than groves and springs.
Love then shall only mourn when truth complains,
And constancy feel transport in its chains.
Sighs with success their own soft anguish tell, 35
And eyes shall utter what the lips conceal: Virtue again to its bright station climb,
And beauty fear no enemy but time,
The fair shall listen to desert alone,
And every Lucia find a Cato's son. 40

____________________
1
Whig physician and minor poet; best known for his burlesque poem, The Dispesary.
2
In the part of Lucia.
3
A promenade in Hyde Park.

-503-

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British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan
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