Verse > John Dryden > Poems
John Dryden (1631–1700).  The Poems of John Dryden.  1913.
Prologues and Epilogues
Epilogue to Henry II, King of England, with the Death of Rosamond
THUS 1 you the sad Catastrophe have seen,
Occasion’d by a Mistress and a Queen.
Queen Eleanor the proud was French, they say;
But English Manufacture got the Day.
Jane Clifford was her Name, as Books aver:        5
Fair Rosamond was but her Nom de Guerre.
Now tell me, Gallants, wou’d you lead your Life
With such a Mistress, or with such a Wife?
If one must be your Choice, which d’ye approve,
The Curtain-Lecture or the Curtain-Love?        10
Wou’d ye be godly with perpetual Strife,
Still drudging on with homely Joan your Wife,
Or take your Pleasure in a wicked way,
Like honest Whoring Harry in the Play?
I guess your Minds; The Mistress wou’d be taking, 2        15
And nauseous Matrimony sent a packing.
The Devil’s in ye all; Mankind’s a Rogue,
You love the Bride, but you detest the Clog:
After a Year, poor Spouse is left i’ th’ lurch;
And you, like Haynes, return to Mother-Church.        20
Or, if the Name of Church comes cross your mind,
Chapels of Ease behind our Scenes you find.
The Play-house is a kind of Market-place;
One chaffers for a Voice, another for a Face;
Nay, some of you, I dare not say how many,        25
Would buy of me a Pen’ worth for your Peny.
Even this poor Face (which with my Fan I hide)
Would make a shift my Portion to provide,
With some small Perquisites I have beside.
Though for your Love, perhaps, I should not care,        30
I could not hate a Man that bids me fair.
What might ensue, ’tis hard for me to tell;
But I was drench’d to day for loving well,
And fear the Poyson that would make me swell.
Note 1. 1693. The play is by John Bancroft, published in 1693. [back]
Note 2. taking] Some editions wrongly give taken. [back]

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