Written by a Friend.
Too long has fame, neglecting nature's laws, Debased the stage and wronged the comic cause. To raise a laugh has been her sole pretense, Though dearly purchased at the price of sense. This child of folly gained increase with time, Fit for the place, succeeded pantomime; Revived her honors, joined her motley band, And song and low conceit o'erran the land.
More gen'rous views inform our author's breast, From real life his characters are dressed;10 He seeks to trace the passions of mankind, And while he spares the person, paints the mind. In pleasing contrast he attempts to show The vap'ring bully and the frib'ling beau Cowards alike--that full of martial airs, And this as tender as the silk he wears.
Proud to divert, not anxious for renown, Oft has the bard essayed to please the town. Your full applause out-paid his little art; He boasts no merit but a grateful heart.20 Pronounce your doom, he'll patiently submit, Ye sovereign judges of all works of wit! To you the ore is brought a lifeless mass; You give the stamp and then the coin may pass.
Now whether judgment prompt you to forgive, Whether you bid this trifling offspring live,____________________