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TH E time has been when plays were not so plenty,
And a less number, new, would well content ye.
New plays did then like almanacks appear,
And one was thought sufficient for a year:
Though they are more like almanacks of late;
For in one year, I think, they're out of date.
Nor were they, without reason, join'd together;
For just as one prognosticates the weather,
How plentiful the crop, or scarce the grain,
What peals of thunder, or what showers of rain;
So to other can foretel, by certain rules,
What crops of coxcombs, or what floods of fools.
In such like prophecies were poets shill'd,
Which now they find in their own tribe fulfill’d.
The dearth of wit they did so long presage,
Isfallen on us, and almost starves the stage.
Were you not griev'd, as often as you saw
Poor adors thresh such empty sheafs of straw P
Toiling and laboring at their lungs' expence,
To start a jest, or force a little sense?
Hard fate for us, still harder in th' event:
Our authors sin, but we alone repent.
Still they proceed, and, at our charge, write worse,
*Twere some amends, if they could reimburse;
But there's the devil, tho’ their cause is lost,
There's no recovering damages or cost.
Good wits, forgive this liberty we take,
Since custom gives the losers leave to speak.
But if, provok'd, your dreadful wrath remains,
Take your revenge upon the coming scenes:
For that damn'd poet's spar'd, who damns a brother,
As one thief 'scapes that executes another.
Thus far alone does to the wits relate;
But from the rest we hope a better fate.
To please, and move, has been our poet's theme,
Art may direči, but nature is his aim ;
And nature miss'd, in vain he boasts his art,
For only nature can affect the heart.
Then freely judge the scenes that shall ensue;
But as with freedom, judge with candour too.
He would not lose, thro’ prejudice his cause;
Nor would obtain, precariously, applause.
Impartial censure he requests from all,
Prepar’d by just decrees to stand or fall,
Garcia, son to Gonsalez , - - Mr. Barrymore.
PE REz, captain of the guards ... - Mr. Wilson.
Alonzo, an §: creature to Gonsalez Mr. Phillimore.
Osmyn, a noble prisoner . . - Mr. Kemble.
HEL1, a prisoner, bis friend - Mr. Benson.
SE LIM, an eunuch, - - - Mr. Fawcett.
AlMER1a, the princess of Granada Mrs. Ward.
ZARA, a captive queen - - Mrs. Siddons.
LEoNora, chief attendant on the princess Miss Tidswell.
MANUEL, the king of Granada - Mr. Hull.
Gonsalez, his favourite - - Mr. Gardner.
GARc1A, son to Gonsalez - Mr. Powell.
PEREz, captain of the guards - Mr. Thompson.
Alonzo, an #. creature to Gonsalez Mr. Fearon.
Osm YN, a noble prisoner - - Mr. Holman.
HE L1, a prisoner; his friend - Mr. Cubit.
SELiM, an eunuch - - - Mr. Macready.
Almer 1A, the princess of Granada Miss Brunton.
ZARA, a captive queen - - Mrs. Pope.
Leonora, chief attendant on the princess Mrs. Platt.
A room of state. The curtain rising slowly to soft music, discovers AlMERIA in mourning, LeonorA waiting in mourning. After the music, ALMERIA rises from her chair, and comes forward.
Music has charms to sooth a savage breast
To soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.
I've read, that things inanimate have mov’d,
And, as with living souls, have been inform'd
By magic numbers and persuasive sound.
What then am I? Am I more senseless grown
Than trees or flint O, force of constant woe!
'Tis not in harmony to calm my griefs. -
Anselmo sleeps, and is at peace; last night -
The silent tomb receiv'd the good old king;
He and his sorrows now are safely lodg’d --
Within its cold, but hospitable, bosom.
Why am not I at peace
Leon. Dear Madam, cease,
Or moderate your grief; there is no cause—