Verse > John Dryden > Poems
John Dryden (1631–1700).  The Poems of John Dryden.  1913.
Prologues and Epilogues
Prologue and Epilogue to Marriage-à-la-Mode
LORD, 1 how reform’d and quiet are we grown,
Since all our Braves and all our Wits are gone:
Fop-corner now is free from Civil War,
White-Wig and Vizard-Mask 2 no longer jar.
France, and the Fleet have swept the Town so clear,        5
That we can Act in peace, and you can hear.
Those that durst fight are gone to get renown;
And those that durst not, blush to stand in Town. 3
’Twas a sad sight, before they march’d 4 from home,
To see our Warriours, in Red Wastecoats, come,        10
With hair tuck’d up, into our Tireing-room.
But ’twas more sad to hear their last Adieu
The Women sob’d, and swore they would be true;
And so they were, as long as e’re they cou’d;
But powerful Guinnee cannot be withstood,        15
And they were made of Playhouse 5 flesh and bloud.
Fate did their Friends for double Use ordain;
In Wars abroad, they grinning Honour gain,
And Mistresses, for all that stay, maintain.
Now they are gone, ’tis dead Vacation here,        20
For neither Friends nor Enemies appear.
Poor pensive Punk now peeps ere Plays begin,
Sees the bare Bench, and dares not venture in;
But manages her last Half-crown with care,
And trudges to the Mall, on foot, for Air.        25
Our City Friends so far will hardly roam, 6
They can take up with Pleasures nearer home;
And see gay Shows with 7 gaudy Scenes elsewhere:
For we presume they seldom come to hear.
But they have now ta’n up a glorious Trade,        30
And cutting Moorcraft 8 struts in Masquerade.
There’s all our hope, for we shall show to day
A Masquing Ball, to recommend our Play;
Nay, to endear ’em more, and let ’em see
We scorn to come behind in Courtesie,        35
We’ll follow the new Mode which they begin,
And treat ’em with a Room, and Couch within:
For that’s one way, how e’re the Play fall short,
T’ oblige the Town, the City, and the Court.
Thus have my Spouse and I inform’d the Nation,
And led you all the way to Reformation;
Not with dull Morals, gravely writ, like those
Which men of easy Phlegme with care compose,
Your Poets, of stiff Words and limber sense,
Born on the confines of indifference:        45
But by Examples drawn, I dare to say,
From most of you who hear, and see the Play
There are more Rhodophils in this Theatre,
More Palamedes, and some few Wives, I fear:
But yet too far our Poet would not run;        50
Though ’twas well offer’d, there was nothing done.
He would not quite the Woman’s frailty bare,
But stript ’em to the waste, and left ’em there:
And the men’s faults are less severely shown,
For he considers that himself is one.        55
Some stabbing Wits, to bloudy Satyr bent,
Would treat both Sexes with less complement:
Would lay the Scene at home; of Husbands tell,
For Wenches taking up their Wives i’ th’ Mell;
And a brisk bout, which each of them did want,        60
Made by mistake of Mistris and Gallant.
Our modest Authour thought it was enough
To cut you off a Sample of the stuff:
He spared my shame, which you, I’m sure, would not,
For you were all for driving on the Plot:        65
You sigh’d when I came in to break the sport,
And set your teeth when each design fell short.
To Wives, and Servants all good wishes lend,
But the poor Cuckold seldom finds a friend.
Since therefore, Court and Town will take no pity,        70
I humbly cast myself upon the City.
Note 1. 1672. Printed in Covent Garden Drollery, 1672, and with the play. 1673. [back]
Note 2. Vizard-Mask] Christie: Vizard Masks 1672: Vizard make 1673. [back]
Note 3. 7–8 omitted 1673. [back]
Note 4. march’d] 1673: went 1672. [back]
Note 5. Playhouse] Play house 1673. [back]
Note 6. roam] 1672: come 1673. [back]
Note 7. with] 1672: and 1673. [back]
Note 8. Moorcraft] Morrcraft 1673. [back]

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