Verse > John Dryden > Poems
John Dryden (1631–1700).  The Poems of John Dryden.  1913.
Prologues and Epilogues
Prologue and Epilogue to Amboyna, or the Cruelties of the Dutch to the English Merchants
AS 1 needy Gallants in the Scriv’ners hands
Court the rich Knave that gripes their Mortgag’d Lands,
The first fat Buck of all the Season’s sent,
And Keeper takes no Fee in Complement;
The doteage of some Englishmen is such.        5
To fawn on those who ruine them, the Dutch.
They shall have all rather than make a War
With those who of the same Religion are.
The Streights, the Guiney Trade, the Herrings too,
Nay, to keep friendship, 2 they shall pickle you.        10
Some are resolv’d not to find out the Cheat,
But Cuckold-like, love him who does the Feat:
What injuries soe’r upon us fall,
Yet still the same Religion answers all:
Religion wheedled you to Civil War,        15
Drew English Blood, and Dutchmens now wou’d spare.
Be gull’d no longer; for you’l find it true,
They have no more Religion, faith—then you;
Interest’s the God they worship in their State;
And you, I take it, have not much of that.        20
Well, Monarchys may own Religions name,
But States are Atheists in their very frame.
They share a sin, and such proportions fall
That, like a stink, ’tis nothing to ’em all.
How they love England, you shall see this day:        25
No Map shows Holland truer then our Play:
Their Pictures and Inscriptions well we know;
We may be bold one Medal sure to show.
View then their Falshoods, Rapine, Cruelty;
And think what once they were they still would be:        30
But hope not either Language, Plot, or Art;
’Twas writ in haste, but with an English Heart:
And lest hope Wit; in Dutchmen that would be
As much improper as would Honesty.
A Poet once the Spartan’s led to fight,
And made ’em conquer in the Muses right:
So would our Poet lead you on this day,
Showing your tortur’d Fathers in his Play.
To one well born th’ affront is worse and more,
When he’s abus’d and baffled by a Bore:        40
With an ill Grace the Dutch their mischiefs do,
They’ve both ill Nature and ill Manners too.
Well may they boast themselves an antient Nation,
For they were bred e’re Manners were in fashion:
And their new Common wealth has set ’em free,        45
Onely from Honour and Civility.
Venetians do not more uncouthly ride,
Than did their Lubber-State Mankind bestride;
Their Sway became ’em with as ill a Meen,
As their own Paunches swell above their Chin:        50
Yet is their Empire no true Growth but Humour,
And onely two Kings’ touch can cure the Tumor.
As Cato did his Affricque Fruits display,
So we before your Eies their Indies lay:
All loyal English will like him conclude,        55
Let Cæsar Live, and Carthage be subdu’d!
Note 1. 1673. [back]
Note 2. keep friendship] Christie, I do not know from what source, gives preserve them. [back]

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