SPOKEN BY THE WIDOW BLACKACRE
To you, the judges learnèd in stage-laws,
Our poet now, by me, submits his cause;
For with young judges, such as most of you,
The men by women best their bus'ness do:
And, truth on't is, if you did not sit here, 5 To keep for us a term throughout the year, We could not live by'r tongues; nay, but for you,
Our chamber-practice would be little too.
And 'tis not only the stage-practiser
Who by your meeting gets her living here; 10 For as in Hall of Westminster
Sleek sempstress vents amidst the courts her ware;
So, while we bawl, and you in judgment sit,
The visor-mask sells linen too i' th' pit.
Oh, many of your friends, besides us here, 15 Do live by putting off their several ware. Here's daily done the great affair o' th' nation;
Let love and us then ne'er have long-vacation.
But hold! like other pleaders I have done
Not my poor client's bus'ness, but my own. 20 Spare me a word, then, now for him. First know, Squires of the long robe, he does humbly show
He has a just right in abusing you,
Because he is a brother-Templar too:
For at the bar you rally one another; 25 Nay, 'fool' and 'knave' is swallowed from a brother: If not the poet here, the Templar spare,
And maul him when you catch him at the bar.
From you, our common modish censurers,
Your favor, not your judgment, 'tis he fears: 30
Of all loves begs you then to rail, find fault;
For plays, like women, by the world are thought,
When you speak kindly of 'em, very naught.