A Prologue to a Play for Mr. Dennis's Benefit, in 1733, when He Was Old, Blind, and in Great Distress, a Little before His Death

To a Play for Mr D ENNIS 's Benefit, in 1733, when he was old, blind, and in great Distress, a little before his Death

As when that Hero, who in each Campaign,
Had brav'd the Goth , and many a Vandal slain,
Lay Fortune-struck, a spectacle of Woe!
Wept by each Friend, forgiv'n by ev'ry Foe:
Was there a gen'rous, a reflecting mind,
But pitied B ELISARIUS old and blind?
Was there a Chief but melted at the Sight?
A common Soldier, but who clubb'd his Mite?
Such, such emotions should in Britons rise,
When press'd by want and weakness D ENNIS lies;
Dennis , who long had warr'd with modern Huns ,
Their Quibbles routed, and defy'd their Puns;
A desp'rate Bulwark, sturdy, firm, and fierce
Against the Gothic Sons of frozen verse:
How chang'd from him who made the boxes groan,
And shook the stage with Thunders all his own!
Stood up to dash each vain Pretender 's hope,
Maul the French Tyrant, or pull down the P OPE !
If there's a Briton then, true bred and born,
Who holds Dragoons and wooden shoes in scorn;
If there's a Critic of distinguish'd rage;
If there's a Senior, who contemns this age;
Let him to night his just assistance lend,
And be the Critic's, Briton's, Old Man's Friend.
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