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To you, great judges in this writing age,
The sons of wit, and patrons of the stage,
With all those humble thoughts, which still have sway'd
His pride much doubting, trembling and afraid
Of what is to his want of merit due,
And aw'd by ev'ry excellence in you,
The author sends to beg you will be kind,
And spare those many faults you needs must find.
You, to whom wit a common foe is grown,
The thing ye scorn and publicly disown.
Though now, perhaps, ye're here for other ends,
He swears to me ye ought to be his friends:
For he ne'er call'd ye yet insipid tools;
Nor wrote one line to tell ye you were fools:
But says of wit ye have so large a store,
very much you never will have more.
He ne'er with libel treated yet the Town,
The names of honest men bedaub'd and shewn.
Nay, never once lampoon'd the harmless life,
Of suburb virgin, or of city wife.
Satire's th' effect of poetry's disease,
Which, sick of a lewd age, she vents for ease,
But now her only strife should be to please ;
Since of ill fate the baneful cloud's withdrawn,
And happiness again begins to dawn;
Since back with joy, and triumph he is come,
That always drew fears hence, ne'er brought 'em home.
Oft has he plough'd the boist'rous ocean o'er,
Yet ne'er more welcome to the longing shore,
Not when he brought home victories before.
For then fresh laurels flourish'd on his brow;
And he comes crown'd with olive-branches now:
Receive him-Oh, receive him as his friends;
Embrace the blessing which he recommends:
Such quiet as your foes shall ne'er destroy ;
Then shake off fears, and clap your hands for joy.
ACASTO, a nobleman retired from the court, and living privately in the country, CASTALIO,
ERNESTO, PAGE, CHAPLAIN, SERVANT,
CHAMONT, a young soldier of fortune, bro
ther to Monimia
Mr. Packer. Mr. Kemble. Mr. Barrymore.
Mr. Bannister, jun. Mr. Chaplin. Miss De Camp.
Miss Collins. Miss Tidswell.
Mr. Fennel. Mr. Farren.
Mr. Thompson. Master Simmons. Mr. Powell.
Enter PAULINO and ERNESTO.
"'Tis strange, Ernesto, this severity
"Should still reign powerful in Acasto's mind, "To hate the court where he was bred and liv'd, "All honours heap'd on him that pow'r could give. "Ern. 'Tis true, he hither came a private gentleman,
"But young and brave, and of a family
"Ancient and noble, as the empire holds.
"The honours he has gain'd are justly his;
"He purchas'd them in war: thrice has he led
"An army 'gainst the rebels, and as often
"Return'd with victory. The world has not
"A truer soldier, or a better subject.
"Paul. It was his virtue at first made me serve him;
"He is the best of masters and of friends: "I know he has lately been invited thither;