Prologue -

If lavish Dryden so profusely writ,
That ev'n his Prologues too were cramm'd with Wit:
'Tis not for us in this our first Essay
To waste in Prologue what might starve the Play :
Lest we be found, like Marriages in Fashion,
With nothing good besides the Preparation.
So then, like antient Bards, 'tis now our Care,
Only to read his little Bill of Fare.
He draws his Characters from Chaucer 's Days.
On which our Grandsires are profuse of Praise;
When all mankind, — (if we'll believe Tradition,)
Jogg'd on in settled Conjugal Fruition:
Then, as Old Wives with serious Nod will tell us,
The wise contented Husband ne'er was jealous;
The youthful Bride no sep'rate Trading drives,
Ev'n Citizens could — — — satisfy their Wives.
The cautious Virgin, ignorant of Man,
No Glances threw, nor exercis'd the Fan;
Found Love a Stranger to her easy Breast,
And 'till the Wedding-Night — — — enjoy'd her Rest.
No gilded Chariot drew the Ladies eyes,
Ensnar'd their Hearts, and bore away the Prize;
Then the strict Father no hard Bargains drove
For Jointures: — All the settlement was Love.
Believe all this who will: — — — For let me die!
They knew the World as well as You and I.
Lovers would Then, as now-a-days, forswear;
Seize the soft Moment, and surprize the Fair,
And many a modest, knowing Bride was led
With artful Blushes to the Nuptial Bed.
This Picture, tho' in former Ages known,
Points out some Frailties which are still our own:
The Wife of Bath in our weak Wives we find;
And Superstition runs through all the Kind:
We but repeat our Grandsires Actions o'er,
And copy Follies which were theirs before.
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