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EPILOGUE TO MR. ROWE'S
DESIGNED FOR MRS. OLDFIELD.
RODIGIOUS this! the Frail-one of our Play
From her own Sex should mercy find to-day! You might have held the pretty head aside, Peep'd in your fans, been serious, thus, and cry'd, The Play may pass--but that strange creature, Shore, I can't-indeed now I so hate a whore
6 Just as a blockhead rubs his thoughtless skull, And thanks his stars he was not born a fool; So from a fister finner you shall hear, “ How strangely you expose yourself, my dear ?" But let me die, all raillery apart, Our fex are still forgiving at their heart; And, did not wicked custom fo contrive, We'd be the best, good-natur'd things alive. There are, 'tis true, who tell another tale,
15 That virtuous ladies envy while they rail ; Such
rage without betrays the fire within ; In some close corner of the soul, they fin; Still hoarding up, most scandalously nice, Amidst their virtues a reserve of vice.
20 The godly dame, who fleshly failings damns, Scolds with her maid, or with her chaplain crams.
Would you enjoy foft nights and solid dinners ?
Well, if our Author in the Wife offends,
39 And lov'd his country, ---but what's that to you? Those strange examples ne'er were made to fit
ye, But the kind cuckold might instruct the City: There, many an honest man may copy, Cato, Who ne'er faw naked sword, or look'd in Plato, If, after all, you think it a disgrace,
45 That Edward's Miss thus perks it in
* Ver. 44. Who ne'er faw] A ly and oblique stroke on the suicide of Cato; which was one of the reasons, as I have been informed, why this epilogue was not spoken.
VER. 46. Edward's Miss ] Sir Thomas More says, the bad one accomplifhment uncommon in a woman of that time; she could read and write.
To see a piece of failing flesh and blood,
Thomson in his Epilogue to Tancred and Sigismunda severely censures the flippancy and gaiety of modern Epilogues, as contrary to those impressions intended to be left on the mind by a well-written tragedy. The last new part Mrs. Oldfield took in tragedy was in Thomson's Sophonisba ; and it is recorded that she spoke the following line ;
Not one base word of Carthage for thy foul, in so powerful a manner, that Wilkes, to whom it was addressed, was astonished and confounded. Mrs. Oldfield was admitted to visit in the best families. George II. and Queen Caroline, when Princess of Wales, condescended sometimes to converse with her at their levees. And one day the Princess asked her if she was married to General Churchill; “ So it is said, may it please your Highness, but we have not owned it yet.” Her Lady Betty Modish, and Lady Townly, have never yet been equalled. She was universally allowed to be well-bred, sensible, witty, and generous. She gave poor Savage an annual pension of fifty pounds. And it is strange that Dr. Johnson seems rather to approve of Savage’s having never celebrated his benefactress in any of his
END OF THE FIRST VOLUME.