Verse > John Dryden > Poems
John Dryden (1631–1700).  The Poems of John Dryden.  1913.
Prologues and Epilogues
Epilogue to Constantine the Great
OUR 1 Hero’s happy in the Plays Conclusion;
The holy Rogue at last has met Confusion;
Though Arius all along appeared a Saint,
The last Act showed him a true Protestant.
Eusebius (for you know I read Greek Authors)        5
Reports, that, after all these Plots and Slaughters,
The Court of Constantine was full of Glory,
And every Trimmer turn’d Addressing Tory.
They follow’d him in Herds as they were mad:
When Clause was King, then all the World was glad.        10
Whiggs kept the places they possest before,
And most were in a way of getting more;
Which was as much as saying, Gentlemen,
Here’s Power and Money to be Rogues again.
Indeed, there were a sort of peaking Tools,        15
Some call ’em Modest, but I call ’em Fools;
Men much more Loyal, tho’ not half so loud;
But these poor Devils were cast behind the Croud.
For bold Knaves thrive without one grain of Sense,
But good Men starve for want of Impudence.        20
Besides all these, there were a sort of Wights,
(I think my Author calls them Teckelites),
Such hearty Rogues against the King and Laws,
They favour’d even a foreign Rebel’s Cause,
When their own damn’d Design was quash’d and aw’d;        25
At least they gave it their good Word abroad.
As many a Man, who for a quiet Life
Breeds out his Bastard, not to nose 2 his Wife,
Thus ore their Darling Plot these Trimmers cry,
And, tho’ they cannot keep it in their Eye,        30
They bind it Prentice to Count Teckely.
They believe not the last Plot; may I be curst,
If I believe they e’er believ’d the first.
No wonder their own Plot no Plot they think,
The Man that makes it never smells the Stink.        35
And now it comes into my Head, I’ll tell
Why these damn’d Trimmers lov’d the Turks so well.
The Original Trimmer, though a Friend to no Man,
Yet in his Heart ador’d a pretty Woman;
He knew that Mahomet laid up for ever        40
Kind Black-eyed Rogues for every true Believer;
And, which was more than mortal Man e’er tasted,
One Pleasure that for threescore Twelve-months lasted.
To turn for this, may surely be forgiven:
Who’d not be circumcis’d for such a Heaven?        45
Note 1. 1684. The play is by Lee. [back]
Note 2. nose] noise 1702 and edd. till Christie. [back]

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