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PROLOGUE

TO THE GOOD-NATUR’D MAN

WRITTEN BY DR. JOHNSON

SPOKEN BY MR. BENSLEY

PREST by the load of life, the weary mind
Surveys the general toil of human kind;
With cool submission joins the lab’ring train,
And social sorrow loses half its pain :
Our anxious bard, without complaint, may share
This bustling season's epidemic care,
Like Cæsar's pilot, dignified by fate,
Tost in one common storm with all the great ;
Distrest alike, the statesman and the wit,
When one a borough courts, and one the pit.
The busy candidates for power and fame,
Have hopes, and fears, and wishes, just the same;
Disabled both to combat, or to fly,
Must hear all taunts, and hear without reply.
Uncheck'd, on both loud rabbles vent their rage,
As mongrels bay the lion in a cage.
Th' offended burgess hoards his angry tale,
For that blest year when all that vote may rail ;
Their schemes of spite the poet's foes dismiss,
Till that glad night, when all that hate may hiss.
* This day the powder'd curls and golden coat,'
Says swelling Crispin, “ begg'd a cobler's vote.'
* This night, our wit,' the pert apprentice cries,
• Lies at my feet, I hiss him, and he dies.'
The great, 'tis true, can charm the electing tribe ;

The bard may supplicate, but cannot bribe.
Yet judg’d by those, whose voices ne'er were sold,
He feels no want of ill-persuading gold;
But confident of praise, if praise be due,
Trusts without fear, to merit, and to you.

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THE GOOD-NATUR'D MAN

ACT I

SCENE, AN APARTMENT IN YOUNG HONEYWOOD's

HOUSE.

Enter Sir William Honeywood, Jarvis. Sir Will. Good Jarvis, make no apologies for this honest bluntness. Fidelity like yours is the best excuse for every

freedom. Jarv. I can't help being blunt, and being very angry too, when I hear you talk of disinheriting so good, so worthy a young gentleman as your nephew, my master. All the world loves him.

Sir Will. Say rather, that he loves all the world ; that is his fault.

Jarv. I am sure there is no part of it more dear to him than you are, though he has not seen you since he was a child.

Sir Will. What signifies his affection to me; or how can I be proud of a place in a heart, where every sharper and coxcomb find an easy entrance ?

Jarv. I grant you that he is rather too good-natur'd; that he's too much every man's man; that he laughs this minute with one, and cries the next with another : but whose instructions may he thank for all this?

Sir Will. Not mine, sure ? My letters to him during my employment in Italy, taught him only that philosophy which might prevent, not defend his errors.

Jarv. Faith, begging your honour's pardon, I'm sorry

they taught him any philosophy at all; it has only sery'd to spoil him. This same philosophy is a good horse in the stable, but an arrant jade on a journey. For

my own part, whenever I hear him mention the name on't, I'm always sure he's going to play the fool.

Sir Will. Don't let us ascribe his faults to his philosophy, I entreat you. No, Jarvis, his good nature arises rather from his fears of offending the importunate, than his desire of making the deserving happy.

Jarv. What it arises from, I don't know. But to be sure, every body has it that asks it.

Sir Will. Ay, or that does not ask it. I have been now for some time a concealed spectator of his follies, and find them as boundless as his dissipation.

Jarv. And yet, faith, he has some fine name or other for them all. He calls his extravagance, generosity; and his trusting every body, universal benevolence. It was but last week he went security for a fellow whose face he scarce knew, and that he called an act of exalted mu-mu -munificence ; ay, that was the name he gave

it. Sir Will. And upon that I proceed, as my last effort, though with very little hopes to reclaim him. That very fellow has just absconded, and I have taken up the security. Now, my intention is to involve him in fictitious distress, before he has plung'd himself into real calamity. To arrest him for that very debt, to clap an officer upon him, and then let him see which of his friends will come to his relief.

Jarv. Well, if I could but any way see him thoroughly vexed, every groan of his would be music to me; yet faith, I believe it impossible. I have tried to fret him myself every morning these three years; but instead of being angry, he sits as calmly to hear me scold, as he does to his hair-dresser.

Sir Will. We must try him once more, however, and

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