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John Dryden (1631–1700).  The Poems of John Dryden.  1913.
 
Prologues and Epilogues
Prologue and Epilogue to Amphitryon, or the Two Sosias
 
PROLOGUE.
Spoken by Mrs. BRACEGIRDLE.

THE LAB’RING 1 Bee, when his sharp Sting is gone,
Forgets his golden Work, and turns a Drone:
Such is a Satyr, when you take away
That Rage in which his Noble Vigour lay.
What gain you, by not suffering him to teize ye?        5
He neither can offend you now, nor please ye.
The Honey-Bag and Venome lay so near,
That both, together, you resolv’d to tear;
And lost your Pleasure, to secure your Fear.
How can he show his Manhood, if you bind him        10
To box, like Boys, with one hand ty’d behind him?
This is plain Levelling of Wit; in which
The Poor has all th’ advantage, not the Rich.
The Blockhead stands excus’d, for wanting Sense;
And Wits turn Blockheads in their own defence.        15
Yet, though the Stages Traffick is undone,
Still Julian’s interloping Trade goes on:
Though Satyr on the Theatre you smother,
Yet in Lampoons, you Libel one another.
The first produces still, a second Jig;        20
You whip ’em out, like School-boys, till they gig:
And, with the same Success, we 2 Readers guess,
For ev’ry one still dwindles to a less;
And much good Malice is so meanly drest,
That we wou’d laugh, but cannot find the Jest.        25
If no Advice your Rhiming Rage can stay,
Let not the Ladies suffer in the Fray.
Their tender Sex is priviledg’d from War;
’Tis not like Knights, to draw upon the Fair.
What Fame expect you from so mean a Prize?        30
We wear no murd’ring Weapons, but our Eyes.
Our Sex, you know, was after yours design’d;
The last Perfection of the Makers Mind;
Heav’n drew out all the Gold for us, and left your Dross behind.
Beauty, for Valours best Reward, He chose;        35
Peace, after War; and after Toil, Repose.
Hence, ye Prophane, excluded from our sights;
And, charm’d by Day, with Honour’s vain delights,
Go, make your best of solitary Nights.
Recant betimes, ’tis prudence to submit;        40
Our Sex is still your Overmatch in Wit:
We never fail, with new, successful Arts,
To make fine Fools of you, and all your Parts.
 
EPILOGUE
Spoken by PHÆDRA, Mrs. MOUNTFORT.

I’m thinking (and it almost makes me mad)
How sweet a time those Heathen Ladies had.        45
Idolatry was ev’n their Gods’ own trade:
They Worshipt the fine Creatures they had made.
Cupid was chief of all the Deities;
And Love was all the fashion, in the Skies.
When the sweet Nymph held up the Lilly hand,        50
Jove, was her humble Servant, at Command.
The Treasury of Heav’n was ne’re so bare,
But still there was a Pension for the Fair.
In all his Reign, Adultry was no Sin;
For Jove the good Example did begin.        55
Mark too, when he usurp’d the Husband’s name,
How civilly he sav’d the Ladies fame.
The secret Joys of Love he wisely hid;
But you, Sirs, boast of more than e’er you did.
You teize your Cuckolds; to their face torment ’em:        60
But Jove gave his, new Honours to content ’em,
And, in the kind Remembrance of the Fair,
On each exalted Son, bestowed a Star.
For these good deeds, as by the date appears,
His Godship flourish’d full Two thousand Years.        65
At last, when He and all his Priests grew old,
The Ladies grew in their devotion cold;
And that false Worship would no longer hold.
Severity of Life did next begin;
(And always does, when we no more can Sin.)        70
That Doctrine, too, so hard, in Practice, lyes,
That the next Age may see another rise.
Then, Pagan Gods may, once again, succeed;
And Jove, or Mars, be ready, at our need,
To get young Godlings; and, so, mend our breed.        75
 
Note 1. 1690. Published in 1691. The original text has many false stops. [back]
Note 2. we] Some editors wrongly give our. [back]
 
 
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