We might well call this short mock-play of ours
A posy made of weeds instead of flowers;
Yet such have been presented to your noses,
And there are such, I fear, who thought 'em roses.
Would some of 'em were here, to see, this night, 5 What stuff it is in which they took delight. Here, brisk, insipid rogues, for wit, let fall
Sometimes dull sense; but oft'ner, none at all:
There, strutting heroes, with a grim-faced train,
Shall brave the gods, in King Cambyses' vein.110 For (changing rules, of late, as if men writ In spite of reason, nature, art, and wit)
Our poets make us laugh at tragedy,
And with their comedies they make us cry.
Now, critics, do your worst, that here are met; 15 For, like a rook, I have hedged in my bet.2
If you approve, I shall assume the state
Of those high-flyers whom I imitate:
And justly too, for I will show you more
Than ever they would let you know before: 20 I will not only show the feats they do, But give you all their reasons for 'em too.
Some honor may to me from hence arise;
But if, by my endeavors, you grow wise,
And what you once so praised shall now despise,
Then I'll cry out, swelled with poetic rage,
'Tis I, John Lacy,3 have reformed your stage.