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John Dryden (1631–1700).  The Poems of John Dryden.  1913.
 
Prologues and Epilogues
Epilogue to Mithridates, King of Pontus
 
YOU’VE 1 seen a Pair of faithful Lovers die:
And much you care, for most of you will cry,
’Twas a just Judgment on their Constancy.
For, Heaven be thank’d, we live in such an Age,
When no man dies for Love, but on the Stage:        5
And ev’n those Martyrs are but rare in Plays;
A cursed sign how much true Faith decays:
Love is no more a violent desire;
’Tis a meer Metaphor, a painted Fire.
In all our Sex, the name examin’d well,        10
Is Pride to gain, and Vanity to tell.
In Woman, ’tis of subtil int’rest made;
Curse on the Punk that made it first a Trade!
She first did Wits Prerogative remove,
And made a Fool presume to prate of Love.        15
Let Honour and Perferment go for Gold,
But glorious Beauty is not to be sold;
Or, if it be, ’tis at a rate so high,
That nothing but adoring it shou’d buy.
Yet the rich Cullies may their boasting spare;        20
They purchase but sophisticated Ware.
’Tis Prodigality that buys deceit,
Where both the Giver, and the Taker cheat.
Men but refine on the old Half-Crown way;
And Women fight, like Swizzers, for their Pay.        25
 
Note 1. 1678. The play is by Lee. [back]
 
 
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