Prologue to the Duke of Guise, 1683

Our play's a parallel: the holy league
Begot our covenant: Guisards got the Whig:
Whate'er our hot-brain'd sheriffs did advance
Was, like our fashions, first produc'd in France;
And when worn out, well scourg'd, and banish'd there,
Sent over, like their godly beggars, here.
Could the same trick, twice play'd, our nation gull?
It looks as if the devil were grown dull,
Or serv'd us up in scorn, his broken meat,
And thought we were not worth a better cheat.
The fulsome covenant, one would think, in reason,
Had given us all our bellies full of treason:
And yet, the name but chang'd, our nasty nation
Chaws its own excrement, the' association.
'Tis true, we have not learn'd their poisoning way,
For that's a mode but newly come in play:
Besides, your drug's uncertain to prevail;
But your true protestant can never fail,
With that compendious instrument — a flail.
Go on: and bite, e'en though the hook is bare;
Twice in one age expel the lawful heir:
Once more decide religion by the sword;
And purchase for us a new tyrant lord.
Pray for your king; but yet your purses spare;
Make him not two-pence richer by your prayer
To show you love him much, chastise him more;
And make him very great, and very poor.
Push him to wars, but still no pence advance;
Let him lose England, to recover France.
Cry Freedom up, with popular noisy votes;
And get enough to cut each others' throats.
Lop all the rights that fence your monarch's throne;
For fear of too much power, pray leave him none.
A noise was made of arbitrary sway;
But, in revenge, you Whigs have found a way
An arbitrary duty now to pay.
Let his own servants turn, to save their stake;
Glean from his plenty, and his wants forsake;
But let some Judas near his person stay,
To swallow the last sop, and then betray.
Make London independent of the crown:
A realm apart; the kingdom of the town.
Let ignoramus juries find no traitors;
And ignoramus poets scribble-satires.
And, that your meaning none may fail to scan,
Do, what in coffee-houses you began,
Pull down the master, and set up the man.
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