BAYES. Now, sirs, I'll show you a scene indeed; or rather, indeed, the scene of scenes. 'Tis an heroic scene.
SMITH. And pray, sir, what is your design in 290 this scene?
BAYES. Why, sir, my design is gilded truncheons,1
forced conceit, smooth verse, and a rant: in fine,
if this scene do not take, 'y gad, I'll write no more. Come, come in, Mr. -- a -- nay, come in 295 as many as you can. Gentlemen, I must desire you to remove a little, for I must fill the stage.
SMITH. Why fill the stage?
BAYES. Oh, sir, because your heroic verse never sounds well but when the stage is full. 300
Enter PRINCE PRETTY-MAN and PRINCE VOLSCIUS.
BAYES. Nay, hold, hold! pray, by your leave a little. -- Look you, sir, the drift of this scene is somewhat more than ordinary; for I make 'em both fall out because they are not in love with the same woman. 5
SMITH. Not in love? You mean, I suppose, because they are in love, Mr. Bayes?
BAYES. No, sir; I say not in love. There's a new conceit for you. Now, speak.
PRETTY-MAN. Since fate, Prince Volscius, now has found the way 10
For our so longed-for meeting here this day, Lend thy attention to my grand concern.
VOLSCIUS. I gladly would that story from thee learn; But thou to love dost, Pretty-man, incline: Yet love in thy breast is not love in mine. 15
BAYES. Antithesis! -- thine and mine.
PRETTY-MAN. Since love itself's the same, why should it be
Diff'ring in you from what it is in me?
BAYES. Reasoning! 'y gad, I love reasoning in verse.
VOLSCIUS. Love takes, chameleon-like, a various dye 20 From every plant on which itself does lie.
PRETTY-MAN. Let not thy love the course of nature fright: Nature does most in harmony delight.
VOLSCIUS. How weak a deity would nature prove 25 Contending with the pow'rful god of love?
BAYES. There's a great verse!
VOLSCIUS. If incense thou wilt offer at the shrine Of mighty love, burn it to none but mine. Her rosy lips external sweets exhale; 30 And her bright flames make all flames else look pale.
BAYES. 'Y gad, that is right.
PRETTY-MAN. Perhaps dull incense may thy love suffice;
But mine must be adored with sacrifice. All hearts turn ashes which her eyes control: 35 The body they consume as well as soul.
VOLSCIUS. My love has yet a power more divine; Victims her altars burn not, but refine: Amidst the flames they ne'er give up the ghost, But, with her looks, revive still as they roast. 40 In spite of pain and death, they're kept alive: Her fiery eyes makes 'em in fire survive.
BAYES. That is as well, 'y gad, as I can do.
VOLSCIUS. Let my Parthenope at length prevail.
BAYES. Civil, 'y gad. 45
PRETTY-MAN. I'll sooner have a passion for a whale, In whose vast bulk, though store of oil doth lie, We find more shape, more beauty, in a fly.
SMITH. That's uncivil, 'y gad.
BAYES. Yes; but as far a fetched fancy 50 though, 'y gad, as ever you saw.
VOLSCIUS. Soft, Pretty-man, let not thy vain pretence Of perfect love defame love's excellence. Parthenope is sure as far above All other loves as above all is love. 55
BAYES. Ah! 'y gad, that strikes me.
PRETTY-MAN. To blame my Cloris, gods would not pretend.
BAYES. Now mark.
VOLSCIUS. Were all gods joined, they could not hope to mend My better choice; for fair Parthenope 60 Gods would, themselves, un-god themselves to see.
BAYES. Now the rant's a-coming.
PRETTY-MAN. Durst any of the gods be so uncivil, I'd make that god subscribe himself a devil.3
BAYES. Ah, godsookers, that's well writ! 65
(Scratching his head, his peruke falls off.)
VOLSCIUS. Couldst thou that god from heav'n to earth translate, He could not fear to want a heav'nly state. Parthenope, on earth, can heav'n create.
PRETTY-MAN. Cloris does heav'n itself so far excel, She can transcend the joys of heav'n in hell. 70
BAYES. There's a bold flight for you now! -- 'Sdeath, I have lost my peruke! -- Well, gentlemen, this is that I never yet saw anyone could write but myself. Here's true spirit and flame all through, 'y gad. So, so; pray clear the stage. 75
(He puts 'em off the stage.)
*JOHNSON. I wonder how the coxcomb has got the knack of writing smooth verse thus.
*SMITH. Why, there's no need of brain for this; 'tis but scanning; the labor's in the finger. But where's the sense of it? 80____________________