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No tricking here, to blunt the edge of law,
Or, damn’d in equity, escape by flaw:
But judgment given, your sentence must remain ;
No writ of error lies—to Drury-lane ;

Yet when so kind you seem, 'tis past dispute
We gain some favour, if not costs of suit.
No spleen is here! I see no hoarded fury ;-
I think I never faced a milder jury !
Sad else our plight! where frowns are transportation,
A hiss the gallows, and a groan damnation !
But such the public candour, without fear
My client waives all right of challenge here.
No newsman from our session is dismiss'd,
Nor wit nor critic we scratch off the list ;
His faults can never hurt another's ease,
His crime, at worst, a bad attempt to please :
Thus, all respecting, he appeals to all,
And by the general voice will stand or fall.

PROLOGUE

BY THE AUTHOR

Spoken on the Tenth Night, by Mrs. Bulkley

GRANTED our cause, our suit and trial o'er,
The worthy serjeant need appear no more :
In pleasing I a different client, choose,
He served the Poet-I would serve the Muse ;
Like him, I'll try to merit your applause,
A female counsel in a female's cause.

Look on this form,*—where humour, quaint and sly,
Dimples the cheek, and points the beaming eye ;
Where gay invention seems to boast its wiles
In amorous hint, and half-triumphant smiles ;
While her light mask or covers satire's strokes,
Or hides the conscious blush her wit provokes.
Look on her well-does she seem form'd to teach ?
Should you expect to hear this lady preach ?
Is grey experience suited to her youth?
Do solemn sentiments become that mouth ?

* Pointing to the figure of Comedy.

Bid her be grave, those lips should rebel prove
To every theme that slanders mirth or love.

Yet thus adorn'd with every graceful art
To charm the fancy and yet reach the heart-
Must we displace her? And instead advance
The goddess of the woful countenance-
The sentimental Muse 1-Her emblems view,
The Pilgrim's Progress, and a sprig of rue !
View her—too chaste to look like flesh and blood-
Primly portray'd on emblematic wood !
There, fix'd in usurpation, should she stand,
She'll snatch the dagger from her sister's hand :
And having made her votaries weep a flood,
Good heaven! she'll end her comedies in blood
Bid Harry Woodward break poor Dunstal's crown!
Imprison Quick, and knock Ned Shuter down;
While sad Barsanti, weeping o'er the scene,
Shall stab herself-or poison Mrs. Green.

Such dire encroachments to prevent in time, Demands the critic's voice-the poet's rhyme. Can our light scenes add strength to holy laws ! Such puny patronage but hurts the cause : Fair virtue scorns our feeble aid to ask, And moral truth disdains the trickster's 'mask, For here their favourite stands,* whose brow severe And sad, claims youth's respect and pity's tear ; Who, when oppress'd by foes her worth creates, Can point a poniard at the guilt she hates.

* Pointing to Tragedy.

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Enter THOMAS; he crosses the Stage ; FAG follows,

looking after him

Fag. What I Thomas ! sure 'tis he ?—What I Thomas ! Thomas !

Thos. Hey 1-Odd's life! Mr. Fag |-give us your hand, my old fellow-servant.

Fag. Excuse my glove, Thomas : I'm devilish glad to see you, my lad. Why, my prince of charioteers, you look as hearty but who the deuce thought of seeing you in Bath ?

Thos. Sure, master, Madam Julia, Harry, Mrs. Kate, and the postillion, be all come.

Fag. Indeed!

Thos. Ay, master thought another fit of the gout was coming to make him a visit ;-so he'd a mind to gi't the slip, and whip! we were all off at an hour's warning.

Fag. Ay, ay, hasty in every thing, or it would not be Sir Anthony Absolute !

Thos. But tell us, Mr. Fag, how does young master ? Odd! Sir Anthony will stare to see the captain here !

Fag. I do not serve Captain Absolute now.
Thos. Why, suret
Fag. At present I am employed by Ensign Beverley.

Thos. I doubt, Mr. Fag, you ha'n't changed for the better.

Fag. I have not changed, Thomas.

Thos. No! Why didn't you say you had left young master ?

Fag. No.-Well, honest Thomas, I must puzzle you no further :-briefly then Captain Absolute and Ensign Beverley are one and the same person.

Thos. The devil they are !

Fag. So it is indeed, Thomas ; and the ensign half of my master being on guard at present—the captain has nothing to do with me. Thos. So, sok-What, this is some freak, I warrant !

Lanquis

* kich

-Do tell us, Mr. Fag, the meaning o't-you know I ha'
trusted you.

Fag. You'll be secret, Thomas ?
Thos. As a coach-horse.
Fag. Why then the cause of all this is–Love, Love,
Thomas, who (as you may get read to you) has been a
masquerader ever since the days of Jupiter.

Thos. Ay, ay ;-I guessed there was a lady in the case :but pray, why does your master pass only for ensign ?Now if he had shammed general indeed

Fag. Ah! Thomas, there lies the mystery o’ the matter. Hark’ee, Thomas, my master is in love with a lady of a very singular taste : a lady who likes him better as a halfpay ensign than if she knew he was son and heir to Sir Anthony Absolute, a baronet of three thousand a year,

Thos. That is an odd taste indeed 1-But has she got the stuff, Mr. Fag? Is she rich, hey ?

Fag. Rich | Why, I believe she owns half the stocks ! Zounds? Thomas, she could pay the national debt as easily as 'I could my washerwoman! She has a lap-dog that eats out of gold,-she feeds her parrot with small pearls,—and all her thread-papers are made of bank-notes !

Thos. Bravo, faith 1-Odd! I warrant she has a set of thousands at least ;-but does she draw kindly with the captain ?

Fag. As fond as pigeons.
Thos. May one hear her name?

Fag. Miss Lydia Languish.—But there is an old tough aunt in the way; though, by-the-bye, she has never seen my master—for we got acquainted with miss while on a visit in Gloucestershire.

Thos. Well—I wish they were once harnessed together in matrimony.-But pray, Mr. Fag, what kind of a place is this Bath ?-I ha' heard a deal of it-here's a mort o' merry-making, hey?

Fag. Pretty well, Thomas, pretty well—'tis a good lounge ; in the morning we go to the pump-room, though neither my master nor I drink the waters ; after breakfast we saunter on the parades, or play a game at billiards ; at night we dance; but damn the place, I'm tired of it : their regular_hours stupefy me—not a fiddle nor a card after eleven -However, Mr. Faulkland's gentleman and I keep it up a little in private parties ;-—I'll introduce you there, Thomas-you'll like him much.

Thos. Sure I know Mr. Du Peigne--you know his master is to marry Madam Julia.

Fag. I had forgot.-But, Thomas, you nust polish a little-indeed you must.—Here now-this wig What the devil do you do with a wig, Thomas ?—None of the London whips of any degree of ton wear wigs now.

Thos. More's the pity! more's the pity! I say. Odd's life ! when I heard how the lawyers and doctors had took to their own hair, I thought how 'twould go next :-odd rabbit it ! when the fashion had got foot on the bar, I guessed 'twould mount to the box k-but 'tis all out of character, believe me, Mr. Fag: and look'ee, I'll never gi' up mine-the lawyers and doctors may do as they will.

Fag. Well, Thomas, we'll not quarrel about that.

Thos. Why, bless you, the gentlemen of the professions ben't all of a mind—for in our village now, thoff Jack Gauge, the excisemán, has ta'en to his carrots, there's little Dick the farrier swears he'll never forsake his bob, though all the college should appear with their own heads !

Fag. Indeed ! well said, Dick --But hold-mark ! mark! Thomas.

Thos. Zooks'tis the captain.--Is that the lady with him ?

Fag. No, no, that is Madam Lucy, my master's mistress's maid. They lodge at that house--but I must after him to tell him the news.

Thos. Odd! he's giving her money |--Well Mr. Fag

Fag. Good-bye, Thomas. I have an appointment in Gyde's Porch this evening at eight; meet me there, and we'll make a little party.

[Exeunt severally

SCENE II.-A Dressing-room in MRS. MALAPROP's Lodgings LYDIA sitting on a sofa, with a book in her hand. LUCY,

as just returned from a message Lucy. Indeed, ma'am, I traversed half the town in search of it: I don't believe there's a circulating library in Bath : I ha'n't been at.

Lyd. And could not you get The Reward of Constancy ?
Lucy. No, indeed, ma'am.
Lyd. Nor The Fatal Connexion ?

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