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WRITTEN AND SPOKEN BY THE
A ROMAN KNIGHT, WHOM CÆSAR FORCED UPON THE STAGE.
Preserved by Macrobius.*
WHAT! no way left to shun th' inglorious stage,
And save from infamy my sinking age!
Scarce half-alive, oppress'd with many a year,
What in the name of dotage drives me here?
A time there was, when glory was my guide,
Nor force nor fraud could turn my steps aside.
Unaw'd by power, and unappall'd by fear,
With honest thrift, I held my honour dear:
But this vile hour disperses all my store,
And all my hoard of honour is no more;
*This translation was first printed in one of our Author's earliest works, 'The Present State of Learning in Europe,' 12mo. 1759.
For Ah! too partial to my life's decline,
Cæsar persuades, submission must be mine;
Him I obey, whom Heaven itself obeys,
Hopeless of pleasing, yet inclin'd to please.
Here then at once I welcome every shame,
And cancel at threescore a life of fame;
No more my titles shall my children tell,
'The old buffoon' will fit my name as well;
This day beyond its term my fate extends,
For life is ended when our honour ends.
HERE lies poor Ned Purdon, from misery freed,
Who long was a bookseller's hack;
He led such a damnable life in this world,
I don't think he'll wish to come back.
*This gentleman was educated at Trinity College, Dublin; but, having wasted his patrimony, he enlisted as a foot-soldier. Growing tired of that employment, he obtained his discharge, and became a scribbler in the newspapers. He translated Voltaire's Henriade
THE COMEDY OF THE SISTERS.
WHAT! five long acts and all to make us wiser !
Our authoress sure has wanted an adviser.
Had she consulted me, she should have made
Her moral play a speaking masquerade;
Warm'd up each bustling scene, and in her rage
Have emptied all the green-room on the stage.
My life on't this had kept her play from sink-
Have pleas'd our eyes, and sav'd the pain of thinking.
Well, since she thus has shown her want of skill,
What if I give a masquerade ?—I will.
But how? aye, there's the rub! [pausing]-
I've got my cue:
The world's a masquerade; the masquers, you,
[To Boxes, Pit, and Gallery.
Lud! what a group the motley scene discloses, False wit, false wives, false virgins, and false
Statesmen with bridles on; and close beside 'em,
Patriots in party-colour'd suits that ride 'em.
There Hebes, turn'd of fifty, try once more
To raise a flame in Cupids of threescore.
These in their turn, with appetites as keen,
Deserting fifty, fasten on fifteen.
Miss, not yet full fifteen, with fire uncommon,
Flings down her sampler, and takes up the wo-
The little urchin smiles, and spreads her lure, And tries to kill, ere she's got power to cure, Thus 'tis with all their chief and constant
Is, to seem every thing but what they are.
Yon broad, bold, angry spark, I fix my eye on,
Who seems t' have robb'd his vizor from the
Who frowns, and talks and swears, with round
Looking, as who should say, Dam'me who's afraid?
Strip but this vizor off, and sure I am
You'll find his lionship a very lamb.
Yon politician famous in debate,
Perhaps, to vulgar eyes, bestrides the state;
Yet, when he deigns his real shape t' assume,
He turns old woman, and bestrides a broom.
Yon patriot too, who presses on your sight,
And seems to every gazer, all in white,
If with a bribe his candour you attack,
He bows, turns round, and, whip-the man's in
Yon critic too-but whither do I run?
If I proceed, our bard will be undone.
Well, then, a truce, since she requests it too :
Do you spare her, and I'll for once spare you.
WEEPING, murmuring, complaining,
Lost to every gay delight;
Mira, too sincere for feigning,
Fears th' approaching bridal night.
Yet why impair thy bright perfection,
Or dim thy beauty with a tear?
Had Mira follow'd my direction,
She long had wanted cause of fear.