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TO “THE GOOD-NATURED MAN."
As puffing quacks some caitiff wretch procure,
To swear the pill, or drop, has wrought a cure ;
Thus on the stage, our play-wrights still depend,
For Epilogues and Prologues, on some friend,
Who knows each art of coaxing up the town,
And makes full many a bitter pill go down.
Conscious of this, our bard has gone about,
And teased each rhyming friend to help him out.
“ An Epilogue, things can't go on without it ;
It could not fail, would you but set about it."
“ Young man,” cries one (a bard laid up in clover),
“ Alas ! young man, my writing days are over ;
Let boys play tricks, and kick the straw, not I;
Your brother doctor there, perhaps may try.”-
“ What, I, dear sir?” the doctor interposes ;
What, plant my thistle, sir, among his roses !
No, no; I've other contests to maintain
To-night I head our troops at Warwick Lane.
Go, ask your manager."—“ Who, me ? your pardon ;
Those things are not our forte at Covent Garden.
Our author's friends, thus placed at happy distance,
Give him good words indeed, but no assistance.
As some unhappy wight, at some new play,
At the pit-door stands elbowing away,
While oft, with many a smile, and many a shrug,
He eyes the centre, where his friends sit snug ;
His simpering friends, with pleasure in their eyes,
Sink as he sinks, and as he rises rise :
He nods, they nod; he cringes, they grimace;
But not a soul will budge to give him place.
Since, then, unhelp'd, our bard must now conform,
To 'bide the pelting of this pitiless storm ;
Blame where you must, be candid where you can,
And be each critic the Good-natured Man.
Well, having stoop'd to conquer, with success,
And gain'd a husband without aid from dress;
Still as a barmaid, I could wish it too,
As I have conquer'd him, to conquer you :
And, let me say, for all your resolution,
That pretty barmaids have done execution.
Our life is all a play, composed to please,
“ We have our exits and our entrances."
The First Act shows the simple country maid,
Harmless and young, of everything afraid ;
Blushes when hired, and with unmeaning action,
I hopes as how to give you satisfaction.
Her Second Act displays a livelier scene,-
Th' unblushing barmaid of a country inn,
Who whisks about the house, at market caters,
Talks loud, coquets the guests, and scolds the waiters.
Next, the scene shifts to town, and there she soars,
The chop-house toast of ogling connoisseurs.
On squires and cits she there displays her arts,
And on the gridiron broils her lovers' hearts-
And as she smiles, her triumphs to complete,
Even common-councilmen forget to eat.
The Fourth Act shows her wedded to the squire,
And madam now begins to hold it higher ;
Pretends to taste, at operas cries Caro,
And quits her Nancy Dawson for Che Faro ;
Doats upon dancing, and in all her pride,
Swims round the room, the Heinel of Cheapside :
Ogles and leers with artificial skill,
Till having lost in age the power to kill,
She sits all night at cards, and ogles at spadille.
Such, through our lives, th'eventful history,
The Fifth and Last Act still remains for me.
The barmaid now for your protection prays,
Turns female barrister, and pleads for bays.
INTENDED FOR MRS BULKLEY.
THERE is a place, so Ariosto sings,
A treasury for lost and missing things :
Lost human wits have places there assign'd them,
And they who lose their senses, there may find them
But where's this place, this storehouse of the age ?
The Moon, says he :- but I affirm, the Stage :
At least in many things, I think I see
His lunar and our mimic world
Both shine at night, for, but at Foote’s alone,
We scarce exhibit till the Sun goes down.
Both prone to change, no settled limits fix,
And sure the folks of both are lunatics.
But in this parallel my best pretence is,
That mortals visit both to find their senses.
To this strange spot, rakes, macaronies, cits,
Come thronging to collect their scatter'd wits.
The gay coquette, who ogles all the day,
Comes here at night, and goes a prude away.
Hither th' affected city dame advancing,
Who sighs for operas, and doats on dancing,
Taught by our art her ridicule to pause on,
Quits the ballet, and calls for Nancy Dawson.
The gamester too, whose wit's all high or low,
Oft risks his fortune on one desperate throw,
Comes here to saunter, having made his bets,
Finds his lost senses out, and pays his debts.
The Mohawk too—with angry phrases stored,
As “ Dam'me, sir,” and, “Sir, I wear a sword ;"
Here lesson'd for a while, and hence retreating,
Goes out, affronts his man, and takes a beating. ફ0
Here come the sons of scandal and of news,
But find no sense—for they had none to lose.
Of all the tribe here wanting an adviser,
Our author's the least likely to grow wiser ;
Has he not seen how you your favour place
On sentimental queens and lords in lace ?
Without a star, or coronet, or garter,
How can the piece expect or hope for quarter ?
No high-life scenes, no sentiment—the creature
Still stoops among the low to copy. nature.
40 Yes, he's far gone ;—and yet some pity fix, The English laws forbid to punish lunatics.1
This Epilogue was given in MS. by Dr Goldsmith to Dr Percy (afterwards Bishop of Dromore); but for what comedy it was intended is not remembered.
END OF GOLDSMITH'S POEMS.