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LOGICIANS have but ill defin'd
As rational the human mind;
Reason they say, belongs to man,
But let them prove it if they can.
Wise Aristotle and Smiglesius,
By Ratiocinations specious,
Have strove to prove with great precision,
With definition and division,
Homo est ratione preditum ;
But for my soul I cannot credit 'em.
And must in spite of them maintain,
That man and all his ways are vain ;
And that this boasted lord of nature
Is both a weak and erring creature.
That instinct is a surer guide,
Than reason, boasting mortals' pride;
And that brute beasts are far before 'em,
Deus est anima brutorum.
Whoever knew an honest brute,
At law his neighbor prosecute,
Bring action for assault and battery,
Or friend beguile with lies and flattery.
O'er plains they ramble unconfin'd,
No politics disturb their mind;
They eat their meals, and take their sport,
Nor know who's in or out at court;
They never to the levee go
To treat as dearest friend, a foe:
They never importune his Grace,
Nor ever cringe to men in place:
Nor undertake a dirty job,
Nor draw the quill to write for Bob :
Fraught with invective they ne'er go,
To folks at Pater-Noster Row:
No judges, fiddlers, dancing masters,
No pickpockets, or poetasters,
Are known to honest quadrupeds,
No single brute his fellow leads,
Brutes never meet in bloody fray,
Nor cut each others throats for pay.
Of beasts, it is confessed, the ape
Comes nearest us in human shape,
Like man he imitates each fashion,
And malice is his ruling passion :
But both in malice and grimaces,
A courtier any ape surpasses.
Behold him humbly cringing wait
Upon the minister of state :
View him soon after to inferiors
Aping the conduct of superiors :
He promises with equal air,
And to perform takes equal care,
He in his turn finds imitators,
At court, the porters, lacquies, waiters,
Their master's manners still contract,
And footmen, lords and dukes can act.
Thus at the court, both great and"small,
Behave alike, for all ape
WHEN I undertook to write a Comedy, I confess I was strangely prepossessed in favor of the poets of the last age, and strove to imitate them. The term, genteel comedy, was then unknown amongst us, and little more was desired by an audience, than nature and humor, in whatever walks of life they were most conspicuous. The author of the following scenes never imagined that more would be expected of him, and therefore to delineate character has been his principal aim. Those who know any thing of composition, are sensible, that, in pursuing humor, it will sometimes lead us into the recesses of the mean ; I was even tempted to look for it in the master of a spunging house : but in deference to the public taste, grown of late, perhaps, too delicate, the scene of the bailiffs was retrenched in the representation. In deference also to the judgment of a few friends, who think in a particular way, the scene is here restored. The author submits it to the reader in his closet; and hopes that too much refinement will not banish humor and character from ours, as it has already done from the French theatre. Indeed the French comedy is now become so very elevated and sentimental, that it has not only banished humor and Moliere from the stage, but it has banished all spectators too.