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The Tragic Muse, sublime, delights to show

Knees distress'd, and scenes of royal woe;

In awful pomp, majestic, to relate

The fall of nations, or some hero's fate;

That scepter'd chiefs may, by example, know

The strange vicissitudes of life below;

What dangers on security attend,

How pride and cruelty in ruin end;

Hence providence supreme to know, and own

Humanity adds glory to a throne.

In every former age, and foreign tongue,

With native grandeur thus the goddess sung.

Upon our stage, indeed, with wish'd success,

You've sometimes seen her in an humbler dress;

Great only in distress, when she complains.

In Southern's, Rowe's, orOtway's moving strains,

The brilliant drops that fall from each bright eye,

The absent pomp with brighter gems supply.
Forgive us, then, if we attempt to shew,
In artless strains, a tale of private woe.
A London 'prentice ruin'd is our theme,
Drawn from the fara'd old song that bears his name.
We hope your taste is not so light to scorn
A moral tale esteem'd ere you were born;
Which, for a century of rolling years,
Has fill'd a thousand thousand eyes with tears.
If thoughtless youth, to warn and shame the age
From vice destructive, well becomes the stage;
If this example innocence insure,
Prevent our guilt, or by reflection cure;
If Millwood's dreadful crimes, and sad despair,
Commend the virtue of the good and fair;
Though art be wanting, and our numbers fail,
Indulge the attempt, in justice to the tale.

DRAMATIS PERSONS.

MEN.

TflOROWGOOD, a Merchant. Barnwell, Uncle to George. George Barnwell. Trueman, Friend to Barnwell, BLUNT, Milluovd's Footman.

WOMEN.

MARIA, Daughter to Thorowgood.
Millwood, Mistress to Barnwell.
LucT, Millwood's Maid.
Officers, with their Attendants, Keeper,
and Footman.

Scene,London, and an adjacent Village.

ACT I.

SCENE I.—A Room in Thorowgood's Home.

Enter Thorowgood and TRUEMAX.

True. Sir, the packet from Genoa is arrived.

[Gires Ifttrrs. Thor. Heaven be praised! The storm that threatened our royal mistress, pure religion, liberty, and laws, is, for a time, diverted. The haughty and revengeful Spaniard, disappointed of the loan on which he depended from Genoa, must now attend the slow returns of wealth from his new world, to supply his empty coffers, ere he can execute his proposed invasion of our happy island. By this means, time is gained to make such preparations, on our part, as may. Heaven concurring, prevent his malice, or turn the meditated mischief on himself.

True. He must be insensible indeed, who is Dot affected when the safety of his country is concerned. Sir, may I know by what means?

If I am not too bold

Thor. Your curiosity ie laudable; and I gratify it with the greater pleasure, because from theme you may learn, bow honest merchants, as such, •may sometimes contribute to the -safety ot their country, as they do at all times to its happiness; that if' hereafter you ahauld be tempted to any action that has the appearance of vice or meanness in it, upon eeflecting on the dignity of our profession, you mav, with honest scorn, refect v hatever is unworthy of it.

True. Should Barnwell, or I, who have the benefit of your example, by our ill conduct, bring any imputation on that honourable name, we must be left without excuse.

Thor. You compliment, youag man. [trueMan '..wj rcajtecljuitit.} Nay, I am not onended. As the name of merchant never degrades the gentleman, so, by no means docs it exclude him; only take heed not to purchase the character of complaisant at the expencc of vour sincerity.— But, to answer your question: The bank of'Genoa had agreed, at an excessive interest, and on good security, to advance the king of Spain a sum of money sufficient to equip his vast Armada; of which our peerless Elizabeth (more than in name the mother of her people) being well informed, sent Walsinghiui), her wide and faithful secretary, to consult the merchants of this loyal city; who all agreed to direct their several agents to influence, if possible, the Genoese to break their contract with the Spanish court. It is done: the state and uankof Genoa having maturely weighed, and rightly judged of their true interest, prefer the friendship of the merchants of London to that of the monarch, who proudly styles himself king of both Indies.

True. Happy success of prudent counsels! Wliat an expence of blood and treasure is here

saved! Excellent queen! 0 how unlike those princes, who make the danger of foreign enemies a pretence to oppress their subjects by taxes great, and grievous to be borne!

Thor. Not so our gracious queen; whose richest exchequer is her people's love, as their happiness her greatest glory.

True. On these terms to defend us, is to make our protection a benefit worthy her who confers it, and w ell worth our acceptance. Sir, have you any commands for me at this time?

Thor. Only look carefully over the files, to see whether there are any tradesmen's bills unpaid ; if there are, send and discharge them. We must not let artificers lose their time, so useful to tile public and their families, in unnecessary attendance. [Exit Trueman.

Enter Maria.

Well, Maria, have you given orders for the entertainment? I would have it in some measure worthy the guests. Let there be plenty, and of the best,ttliat the couruer* may at least commend our hospitality.

Mar. Sir, I hare endeavoured net te wrong your well-known generosity by an ill-tkited parsimony.

Thor. Nay, it was e needless caution: I have no cause to doubt your prudence.

Mir. Sir, I find myself unfit for conversation; I should but increase the number of the company, without adding to tlw>ir satisfaction.

Thor. Nay, my child, this melancholy must not be indulged.

Mar. Company will but increase it: I wish vou would dispense with my absence. Solitude best suits my present temper.

Thor. You are not insensible, that it is chiefly on your account these noble lords do me the honour so frequently to grace my board. Should you be absent, tile disappointment may make them repent of their condescension, and think their labour lost.

Mar. He, that shall think his time or honour lost in visiting you, can set no real value on your daughter's company, whose only merit is, that she is yours. The man of quality, who chooses to converse with a gentlouian and merchant of your worth and character, may confer honour by so doin?, but he loses none.

Thor. Come, come, Maria, I need not tell you, that a young gentleman may prefer your conversation to mine, and yet intend me ao disrespect at all; for though he may lose no honour in my company, it is very natural for him to expect more pleasure in yours. I remember the time when the company of the greatest and wisest men in the kingdom would have been insipid and tiresome to me, if it had deprived me of an op. portunity of enjoying your mother's.

Alar. Yours, no doubt, was as agreeable to ker; for generous minds know no pleasure in society but where it is mutual.

Thar. Thou knowest I have no heir, no child, but thee; the fruits of many years successful industry must all be thine. Now, it would give nic pleasure, great as my love, to 6ee on whom you will bestow it. I am daily solicited, by men of the greatest rank and merit, for leave to address you: but I have hitherto declined it, in hopes that, by observation, I should learn which way your inclinations tend; for, as 1 know love to be essential to the married state, I had rather my approbation should confirm your choice, than direct it.

Mar. What can I say? How shall I answer, as I ought, this tenderness, so uncommon even in the best of parents? But you are without example; yet, had you been less indulgent, I had been most wretched. That I look on the crowd of courtiers that visit here, with equal esteem, but equal indifference, you have observed, and I must needs confess; yet, had you asserted your authority, ami insisted on a parent's right to be obeyed, I had submitted, and to my duty sacrificed my peace.

Ttor. From your perfect obedience, in every ether instance, 1 feared an much: and therefore would leave you, without a bias, in an affair wherein your happiness is so immediately conceraed.

Mmr. Whether from a want of that just ambition that would become your daughter, or from sosie other cause, I know not; but I find high birtJi aad titles don't recommend the man, who owns them, to my affections.

Thur. I would not that they should, unless his merit recommends him more. A noble birth and fortune, though they make not a bail man good, yet they are a real advantage to a worthy one, and place his virtues in the fairest light.

Mar. I cannot answer for my inclinations; but thev shali ever be submitted to your wisdom and authority. And as you will not compel me to marry where I cannot love, love shall never make me act contrary to my duty. Sir, have I your permission to retire?

Tkor. I'll see you to your chamber. [Exeunt.

SCENE Us—A Room in Millwood's House.

Enter MILLWOOD and LUCY.

Mill. How do I look to-day, Lucy?

Lucy. Ob, killingly, madam! A little more red, and you'll be irresistible. But why this more than ordinary care of your dress and complexion? What new conquest are you aimiug at?

Mill. A conquest would be new indeed.

Lury. Not to you, who make them every day ——but to me—Well, it is what I am never to expect, unfortunate as 1 am; but your wit and beauty

Mill. First made me a wretch, and still continue me so. Men, however generous or sincare to one. another, are all. selfish hypocrites in their

affairs with us; we are no otherwise esteemed or regarded by them, but as we contribute to their satisfaction.

Lucy. You are certainly, madam, on the wrong side in this argument. Is not the expence all theirs? And, I am sure, it is our own fault if we have not our share of the pleasure.

Mill. We are but slaves to uien.

Lucy. Nay, it is they that are slaves, most cer tainly; for we lay them under contribution.

MM. Slaves have no property; no, not even in themselves: all is the victor's.

.Lury. You are strangely arbitrary in your principles, madam.

Mm. I would haw ray conquest complete, like those of the Spaniards in the new world; who first plundered the natives of all tlic wealth they had, and then condemned the wretches to the mines for life, to work for mote.

.Lury. WclL I shall never approve of your scheme of government; I should think it much more politic, as well as just, to find my subjects an easier employment

MM. It is a general maxim among the knowing part of mankind, that a woman without virtue, like a man without honour or honesty, is capable of any action, though never so vile: and yet what pains will they not take, what arts not use, to seduce us from our innocence, and make us contemptible and wicked, even in their owu opinion > '1 hen, is it not just, the villains, to thencost, should find us so? But guilt makes them suspicious, and keeps them on their guard; there* fore we ran take advantage only of the young and innocent part of the sex, who, hnving never injured women, apprehend no injury from them.

Lucy. Ay, they must be young indeed.

Mill. Such a one, I think, I have found. As I have passed through the city, I have often obr served him receiving and paying considerable sums of money ; from thence 1 conclude, that he is employed in affairs of consequence.

Lucy. Is he handsome?

Mm. Ay, ay, the stripling is well mode, and lias a good face.

Lury. About

Mill. Eighteen.

Lucy. Innocent, handsome, and ahout eighteen !—You will be vastly happy. Why, if you manage well, you may keep him to yourself these two or three years.

Mill. If I manage well, I shall have dona with him much sooner. . Having long had a design on him, and meeting him yesterday, I made a full stop, and, gazing wishfully in his face, asked his name. He blushed, and, bowing very low, answered, George Barnwell. I begged his pardon for the freedom I had taken, and told him, that he was the person I had long wished to see, and to whom I had an affair of importance to communicate at a proper time and place. He named a tavern; I talked of honour and reputation, and invited him to my house. He swallowed the bait, promised to come, and this is the time I expect him. [Knocking at the door. Somebody knocks D'ye hear; I am at home 1

to nobody to-day but him. [Exit Lucy.] Less affairs must give way to those of more consequence; and I am strangely mistaken if this does not prove of great importance to me, and him too, before I nave done with him. Now, after vi hat manner shall I receive him? Let me con

rider What manner of person am 1 to re

ceive? He is young, innocent, and bashful; therefore I must take care not to put him out of countenance at first. But then, if I have any skill in physiognomy, he is amorous; and, with a little assistance, will soon get the better of his modesty. I will even trust to nature, who does wonders in these matters. If to seem what one is not, in order to be the better liked for what one really is; if to speak one thing, and mean the direct contrary, be art in a woman—I know nothing of nature.

Enter Barnwell, boxing very low. LUCY at a distance.

Hill. Sir, the surprise and joy—

Barn. Madam!

Mill. This is such a favour— [Advancing.

Barn. Pardon me, madam.

Mill. So unhoped for! [Still advances,

[barnwell salutes her, and retira as in confusion. To see you here—Excuse the confusion—

Barn. I fear I am too bold—

Mill. Alas, sir, I may justly apprehend you think me so. Please, sir, to sit. 1 am as much at a loss how to receive this honour as I ought, as I am surprised at your goodness in conferring it.

Barn. I thought you had expected me; I promised to come.

Mill. That is the more surprising; few men are such religious observers of their word.

Barn. All who arc honest arc.

Mill. To one another; but we simple women are seldom thought of consequence enough to gain a place in their remembrance.

[Laying her hand on his, us by accident.

Barn. Her disorder is so great, she don't perceive she has laid her hand on mine. Heavens! How she trembles !—What can this mean?

[Aside.

Mill. The interest I have in all that relates to you (the reason of which you shall know hereafter) excites my curiosity; and, were I sure you would pardon my presumption, I should desire to know your real sentiments on a very particular subject.

Burn. Madam, you may command my poor thoughts on any subject I have none that I would conceal.

Mill. You will think me bold.

Barn. No, indeed.

Mill. What, then, are your thoughts of love?

Barn. If you mean the love of women, I have not thought of it at all. My youth and circumstances make such thoughts improper in me yet. But ifyou mean the general love we owe to mankind., I think po one has more of it in his temper

than myself. I do not know that person in the world, whose happiness I do not wish, and would not promote, were it in my power. In an especial manner I love my uncle, and my master; but, above all, my friend.

Mill. You have a friend, then, whom you love?

Barn. As he does me, sincerely.

Mill. He is, no doubt, often blessed with your company and conversation?

Bam. We live in one house, and both serve the same worthy merchant.

Mill. Happy, happy youth! Whoever thou art, I envy thee, and so must all, who see and know tliis youth. What have I lost, by being formed a woman! I hate my sex, myself. Had I been a man, I might, perhaps, have been as happy in your friendship, as he who now enjoys it is: but as it is—Oh!—

Barn. I never observed woman before; or this is, sure, the most beautiful of her sex. [Aside.} You seem disordered, madam—May I know the cause?

Mill. Do not ask me—I can never speak it. whatever is the cause. I wish for things impossible. I would be a servant, bound to the same master, to live in one house with you.

Barn. How strange, and yet now kind, her words and actions are ! And the effect they have on me is as strange. I feel desires I never knew before. I must be gone, while I have power to go. [Aside.] Madam, I humbly take my leave.

Mill. You will not, sure, leave me so soon!

Barn. Indeed I must.

Mill. You cannot be so cruel! I have prepared a poor supper, at which I promised myself your company.

Barn. I am sorry I must refuse the honour you designed me; but my duty to my master calls me hence. I never yet neglected his service. He is so gentle, and so good a master, that, should I wrong him, though he might forgive me, I should never forgive myself.

Mill. Am I refused," by the first man, the second favour I ever stooped to ask ? Go then, thou proud hard-hearted youth; but know, you are the only man that could be found, who would let me sue twice for greater favours.

Barn. What shall I do? How shall I go, or stay?

Mill. Yet do not, do not leave me. I with my sex's pride would meet your scorn; but when I look upon you, when I behold those eyes—Oh! spare my tongue, and let my blushes—this flood of tears too, that will force its way, declare— what woman's modesty should hide.

Barn. Oh, heavens f she loves me, worthless as I am. Her looks, her words, her flowing tears confess it. And can I leave her then ? Oh, never, never!—Madam, dry up your tears: you shall command me always; I will stay here for ever, ifyou would have me.

Lucy. So: she has wheedled him out of his virtue of obedience already, and will strip hira of all the rest, one after another, till she has left him as few as her ladyship, or myself. [Aside.

Mill. Now you are kind indeed! but I mean \ not to detain you always: I would have you shake off all slavish obedience to your master; but you mav serve him still.

Lucy. Serve him still! Ay, or he'll have no opportunity of fingering his cash; and then he'll not serve your end, I'll be sworn. [Aside.

Enter Blunt.

Blunt. Madam, supper's on the table.

Mill. Come, sir, you'll excuse all defects. My thoughts were too much employed on my guest, to observe the entertainment.

[Exeunt Barnwell and Millwood.

Blunt. What! is all this preparation, this elegant supper, variety of wines, and music, for the entertainment of that young fellow i

Lucy. So it seems.

Blunt. How! is our mistress turned fool at last? She's in love with him, I suppose.

Lucy. I suppose not. But she designs to make him in love with her, if she can.

Blunt. What will she get by that? He seems under age, and cannot be supposed to have much money.

Lucy. But his master has, and that's the same thing, as she will manage it.

Htitnt. I do not like this fooling with a handsome young fellow : while she is endeavouring to ensnare him, she may be caught herself.

Lucy. Nay, were she like me, that would certainly be the consequence; for, I confess, there is something in youth and innocence that moves me mightily.

Blunt. Yes; so does the smoothness and plumpness of a partridge move a mighty desire in the hawk to be the destruction of it.

Lucy. Why, birds are their prey, and men are ours; though, as you observed, we are sometimes caught ourselves. But that, I dare say, will never be the case of our mistress.

Blunt. I wish it may prove so; for you know we all depend upon her. Should she trifle away her time with a young fellow that there is nothing to be got by, we must all starve.

Lucy. There is no danger of that; for I am sure she has no view in this affair but interest.

Blunt. Well, and what hopes are there of success in that?

Liny. The most promising that can be. It is true the youth has his scruples; but she will soon teach him to answer them, by stifling his conscience. Oh, the lad is in a hopeful way, depend upon it. [Exeunt.

SCENE III.

Draws, and discovers Barnwell and MillWood at supper. An entertainment of music and singing. After which they come J'orzeard.

Barn. What can I answer? All that I know is, that you are fair, and I am miserable.

Mill. We are both so, and yet the fault is in ourselves.

Barn. To ease our present anguish by plunging into gnilt, is to buy a moment s pleasure with an age of pain.

Mill. I should have thought the joys of love as lasting as they are great; if ours prove otherwise, it is vour inconstancy must make them so.

Barn. The law of Heaven will not be reversed, and that requires us to govern our passions.

Mill. To give us sense of beauty and desires, and yet forbid us to taste and be happy, is a cruelty to nature. Have we passions only to torment us?

Barn. To hear you talk, though in the cause of vice; to gaze upon your beauty, press your hand, and see your snow-white bosom heave and fall, inflame my wishes; my pulse beats high, my senses all are in a hurry, and I am on the nick

of wild desire. Yet, for a moment's guilty

pleasure, shall I lose my innocence, my peace of mind, and hopes of solid happiness i

Mill. Chimeras all!

Barn. I would not yet must on

Reluctant thus the merchant quits his ease,
And trusts to rocks and sands, and stormy seas I
In hopes some unknown golden coast to find,
Commits himself, though doubtful, to the wind-,
Longs much for joys to come—yet mourns these
left behind.
Mill. Along with me, and prove
No joys like woman-kind, no heaven like love.

[Exeunt.

ACT II.

SCENE t.—A Room in Thorowgood's House.

Enter Barnwell.

Barn. How strange are all things round me! Like some thief who treads forbidden ground, and fain would lurk unseen, fearful I enter each apartment of this well-known house. To guilty love, as if that were too little, already have I added breach of trust A thief! Can I

know myself that wretched thing, and look my

honest friend and injured master in the face ?— Though hypocrisy may a while conceal my guilt, at length it will lie known, and public shame and ruin must ensue. In the mean time, what must be my life i Ever to speak a language foreign to my heart; hourly to add to the number of my crimes, in order to conceal them. Sure such was the condition of the grand apostate, wlicii first he lost his purity. Like me, disconsolate he wandered; and, while yet in heaven, bore all his future hell about him.

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