Prologue, Epilogue, and Songs from Amphitryon




The lab'ring bee, when his sharp sting is gone,
Forgets his golden work, and turns a drone:
Such is a satire, when you take away
That rage in which his noble vigor lay.
What gain you by not suffering him to tease ye?
He neither can offend you, now, nor please ye.
The honey-bag and venom lay so near,
That both together you resolv'd to tear;
And lost your pleasure, to secure your fear.
How can he show his manhood, if you bind him
To box, like boys, with one hand tied behind him?
This is plain leveling of wit, in which
The poor has all th' advantage, not the rich.
The blockhead stands excus'd for wanting sense,
And wits turn blockheads in their own defense.
Yet, tho' the stage's traffic is undone,
Still Julian's interloping trade goes on:
Tho' satire on the theater you smother,
Yet, in lampoons, you libel one another.
The first produces still a second jig;
You whip 'em out, like schoolboys, till they gig,
And with the same success, we readers guess,
For ev'ry one still dwindles to a less;
And much good malice is so meanly dress'd,
That we would laugh, but cannot find the jest.
If no advice your rhyming rage can stay,
Let not the ladies suffer in the fray:
Their tender sex is privileg'd from war;
'T is not like knights, to draw upon the fair.
What fame expect you from so mean a prize?
We wear no murd'ring weapons but our eyes.
Our sex, you know, was after yours design'd;
The last perfection of the Maker's mind:
Heav'n drew out all the gold for us, and left your dross behind.
Beauty for valor's best reward he chose;
Peace, after war; and after toil, repose.
Hence, ye profane, excluded from our sights;
And, charm'd by day with honor's vain delights,
Go, make your best of solitary nights.
Recant betimes, 't is prudence to submit;
Our sex is still your overmatch in wit:
We never fail with new, successful arts,
To make fine fools of you, and all your parts.



I' M thinking (and it almost makes me mad)
How sweet a time those heathen ladies had.
Idolatry was ev'n their gods' own trade;
They worship'd the fine creatures they had made.
Cupid was chief of all the deities,
And love was all the fashion in the skies.
When the sweet nymph held up the lily hand,
Jove was her humble servant at command.
The treasury of heav'n was ne'er so bare,
But still there was a pension for the fair.
In all his reign adult'ry was no sin,
For Jove the good example did begin.
Mark, too, when he usurp'd the husband's name,
How civilly he sav'd the lady's fame.
The secret joys of love he wisely hid;
But you, sirs, boast of more than e'er you did.
You tease your cuckolds; to their face torment 'em:
But Jove gave his new honors to content 'em;
And, in the kind remembrance of the fair,
On each exalted son bestow'd a star.
For those good deeds, as by the date appears,
His godship flourish'd full two thousand years.
At last, when he and all his priests grew old,
The ladies grew in their devotion cold,
And that false worship would no longer hold.

Severity of life did next begin,
(And always does, when we no more can sin.)
That doctrine, too, so hard in practice lies,
That the next age may see another rise.
Then pagan gods may once again succeed,
And Jove or Mars be ready, at our need,
To get young godlings, and so mend our breed.





C ELIA , that I once was blest,
Is now the torment of my breast,
Since, to curse me, you bereave me
Of the pleasures I possess'd:
Cruel creature, to deceive me!
First to love, and then to leave me!


Had you the bliss refus'd to grant,
Then I had never known the want;
But possessing once the blessing
Is the cause of my complaint:
Once possessing is but tasting;
'T is no bliss that is not lasting.


Celia now is mine no more;
But I am hers, and must adore,
Nor to leave her will endeavor:
Charms that captiv'd me before
No unkindness can dissever;
Love that's true, is love forever.




F AIR Iris I love, and hourly I die,
But not for a lip, nor a languishing eye:
She's fickle and false, and there we agree,
For I am as false and as fickle as she.
We neither believe what either can say;
And, neither believing, we neither betray.


'T is civil to swear, and say things of course;
We mean not the taking for better for worse.
When present, we love; when absent, agree:
I think not of Iris, nor Iris of me.
The legend of love no couple can find,
So easy to part, or so equally join'd.



I Thyrsis.

F AIR Iris and her swain
Were in a shady bow'r;
Where Thyrsis long in vain
Had sought the shepherd's hour:
At length his hand advancing upon her snowy breast,
He said: " O kiss me longer,
And longer yet and longer,
If you will make me blest. "

II Iris.

An easy yielding maid
By trusting is undone;
Our sex is oft betray'd
By granting love too soon.
If you desire to gain me, your suff'rings to redress,
Prepare to love me longer,
And longer yet, and longer,
Before you shall possess.

III Thyrsis.

The little care you show
Of all my sorrows past
Makes death appear too slow
And life too long to last.
Fair Iris, kiss me kindly, in pity of my fate;
And kindly still, and kindly,
Before it be too late.

IV Iris.

You fondly court your bliss,
And no advances make;
'Tis not for maids to kiss,
But 't is for men to take.
So you may kiss me kindly, and I will not rebel;
And kindly still, and kindly,
But kiss me not and tell.



Thus at the height we love and live,
And fear not to be poor:
We give, and give, and give, and give,
Till we can give no more;
But what to-day will take away,
To-morrow will restore.
Thus at the heighth we love and live,
And fear not to be poor.
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