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THREE POLITICAL PROLOGUES.

1682

PROLOGUE.
SPOKEN TO THE KING AND THE QUEEN AT THEIR COMING TO THE House.*

When first the Ark was landed on the shore,
And Heaven had vowed to curse the ground no more,
When tops of hills the longing patriarch saw,
And the new scene of earth began to draw,
The Dove was sent to view the waves' decrease,
And first brought back to man the pledge of peace.
'Tis needless to apply, when those appear,
Who bring the olive and who plant it here.
We have before our eyes the royal Dove,
Still Innocence is harbinger to Love. +
The Ark is opened to dismiss the train
And people with a better race the plain.
Tell me, you powers, why should vain man pursue
With endless toil each object that is new,
And for the seeming substance leave the true!
Why should he quit for hopes his certain good,
And loathe the manna of his daily food ?
Must England still the scene of changes be,
Tost and tempestuous like our ambient sea ?
Must still our weather and our wills agree?
Without our blood our liberties we have ;
Who that is free would fight to be a slave ?

* The exact date of this visit of the King and Queen to the King's Theatre in Drury Lane is not known, but it was in the beginn f 1682. The play acted on the occasion was “The Unhappy Favourite, or the Earl of Essex," by John Banks. The royal visit was on the fifth night of its representation. Another prologue, which was published with the play together with this one and with a third by the author, had been recited, it is stated, on the four previous nights by the actor Mohun, and was superseded on the fifth night by this one, “written on purpose by Mr. Dryden." This prologue indeed has no connexion with the play, and refers only to the royal visit. The epilogue for this play was written by Dryden, and will be found among the Prologues and Epilogues printed in this volume. This play was doubtless chosen for the royal visit on account of much resemblance in the story to the attitude at that time of the King's favourite and disobedient son, Monmouth, to whom the fate of Essex might be a warning. A sew corrections have been made in the text of the prologue, as given by Broughton, Derrick, and the subsequent editors, from the first edition of the tragedy, 4to, 1685. + This line was altered, without any need for change, and altered for the worse, by Broughto.i, into

“Still innocent as harbinger of love," and has been printed after Broughton by Derrick, Bell, and others.

Or what can wars to after-times assure,
Or which our present age is not secure ?
All that our Monarch would for us ordain
Is but to enjoy the blessings of his reign.
Our land's an Eden and the main's our fence,
While we preserve our state of innocence :
That lost, then beasts their brutal force employ,
And first their lord and then themselves destroy.
What civil broils have cost we knew too well ;
Oh ! let it be enough that once we fell !
And every heart conspire, with every tongue,
Still to have such a King, and this King long.

PROLOGUE.

TO HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS UPON HIS FIRST APPEARANCE AT THE DUKE'S THEATRE SINCE HIS

RETURN FROM SCOTLAND, APRIL 21, 1682. *

In those cold regions which no summers cheer,
When + brooding darkness covers half the year,
To hollow caves the shivering natives go,
Bears range abroad and hunt in tracks of snow;
But when the tedious twilight wears away
And stars grow paler at the approach of day,
The longing crowds to frozen mountains run,
Happy who first can see the glimmering sun ;
The surly savage offspring disappear,
And curse the bright successor of the year.
Yet though rough bears in covert seek defence,
White foxes stay with seeming innocence ;
That crafty kind with daylight can dispense.
Still we are thronged so full with Reynard's race
That loyal subjects scarce can find a place.
Thus modest truth is cast behind the crowd,
Truth speaks too low, hypocrisy too loud.
Let them be first to flatter in success ;
Duty can stay, but guilt has need to press.

* The Duke of York had been sent by the King out of England to Brussels in the beginning of 1679, during the first great excitement of the Popish Plot. At the close of that year he went to reside in Edinburgh, still in obedience to the desire of the King and his advisers that he should be out of the way. In a few months he returned to London, but he was again sent away to Scotland in the autumn of 1680; he remained there from that time till March 1682. Against the opinion of Halifax, who was now the leading Minister, and through an intrigue of the Duchess of Portsmouth, who wished to conciliate the Duke of York, Charles now sent for his brother. He came in the first instance alone, and, obtaining a promise from the King that he should be permitted to reside permanently in England, he went back to Edinburgh in May to fetch the Duchess and his family, and immediately returned with them. The occasion of this prologue was on the Duke of York's visiting the theatre in Dorset Gardens, called his House, on April 21, 1682, before the return of the Duchess. Otway's "Venice Preserved, or a Plot Discovered," was acted on the occasion. The play was new in that year, and was levelled at the Whig party and Shaftesbury, who is represented in the character of Antonio. Otway wrote a new epilogue expressly for this occasion of the Duke's visit, and Dryden was selected to write the prologue for the day.

+ When was changed into where by Broughton, who has been followed by the subsequent editors; the change spoils the sense.

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Once, when true zeal the sons of God did call
To make their solemn show at Heaven's Whitehall,
The fawning Devil appeared among the rest
And made as good a courtier as the best.
The friends of Job, who railed at him before,
Came cap in hand when he had three times more.
Yet late repentance may perhaps be true ;
Kings can forgive, if rebels can but sue.
A tyrant's power in rigour is exprest;
The father yearns in the true prince's breast.
We grant an o'ergrown Whig no grace can mend,
But most are babes that know not they offend ;
The crowd, to restless motion still inclined,
Are clouds that rack according to the wind. *
Driven by their chiefs, they storms of hailstones pour,
Then mourn and soften to a silent shower.
Oh welcome to this much-offending land
The Prince that brings forgiveness in his hand !
Thus angels on glad messages appear ;
Their first salute commands us not to fear.
Thus Heaven, that could constrain us to obey,
(With reverence if we might presume to say,)
Seems to relax the rights of sovereign sway,
Pcrmits to man the choice of good and ili,
And makes us happy by our own free will.

PROLOGUE.

TO THE DUCHESS ON HER RETURN FROM SCOTLAND.

Whex factious rage to cruel exile drove
The Queen of Beauty, and the Court of Love,
The Muses drooped with theic forsaken arts,
And the sad Cupids broke their useless darts.
Our fruitful plains to wilds and deserts turned,
Like Eden's face when banished man it mourned :
Love was no more when Loyalty was gone,
The great supporter of his awful throne.

* The word rack of this line was changed by Broughton into tack: a ve of the text. The corresponding substantive, rack, for the light clouds, occurs in Dryden : “ The doubtful rack of heaven" (Translation of Æneid, x. 498, and again xii. 544). In the “Duke of Guise," act. 4, Sc. 2:

"The rack of clouds is driving on the winds

And shows a break of sunshine." + This is addressed to the second Duchess of York, Mary of Este, Princess of Modena. Anne, the first duchess, whom Dryden had complimented with a poem in 1665, had died in 1671. The Duke married his second wife in 1673. Dryden celebrated her beauty and virtues in the Dedication of his “ State of Innocence," adapted from " Paradise Lost," and published in 1674. The exact date of the Duchess's appearance at the theatre to receive the compliment of this prologue is not known: but it would have been soon after her return from Scotland, which was in the end of May 1682. The Duke, in his passage from London to Edinburgh to fetch her, had been shipwrecked and had narrowly escaped death. This prologue was reprinted by Dryden in 1693 in the Third Part of the “ Miscellany Poems.'

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Love could no longer after Beauty stay,
But wandered northward to the verge of day,

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As if the sun and he had lost their way.
But now the illustrious Nymph, returned again,
Brings every grace triumphant in her train :
The wondering Nereids, though they raised no storm,
Forslowed * her passage to behold her form;
Some cried a Venus, some a Thetis past,
But this was not so fair nor that so chaste.
Far from her sight flew Faction, Strife, and Pride,
And Envy did but look on her, and died.
Whate'er' we suffered from our sullen fate,
Her sight is purchased at an easy rate:
Three gloomy years against this day were set,
But this one mighty sum has cleared the debt.
Like Joseph's dream, but with a better doom ;
The famine past, the plenty still to come.
For her the weeping heavens become serene,
For her the ground is clad in cheerful green,
For her the nightingales are taught to sing,
And Nature has for her delayed the spring.
The Muse resumes her long-forgotten lays,
And Love, restored, his ancient realm surveys,
Recalls our beauties and revives our plays ;
Ilis waste dominions peoples once again,
And from her presence dates his second reign.
But awful charms on her fair forehead sit,
Dispensing what she never will admit ;
Pleasing yet cold, like Cynthia's silver beam,
The people's wonder and the poet's theme.
Distempered zeal, sedition, cankered hate
No more shall vex the Church and tear the State ;
No more shall faction civil discords move,
Or only discords of too tender love :
Discord like that of music's various parts,
Discord that makes the harmony of hearts,
Discord that only this dispute shall bring,

Who best shall love the Duke and serve the King. * Forslowed, or foreslowed (old spelling), retarded. An obsolete word which occurs again in Dryden:

“Enough already has the year forslowed
His wonted course."

Britannia Rediviva, 169, In the passage of " Britannia Rediviva,” Broughton printed foreshowed, which has been followed by Derrick and Bell. In this present passage Bell has printed foreflowed. Scott has preserved foreslowed in both passages.

"If we forslow the siege, I well foresec
From Egypt will the pagans succoured be."

Fairfax's Translation of Tasso, i. 28.
Shakespeare uses the verbs forslow intransitively :
" Forslow no longer, make we hence amain."

Henry 11. part 3, act 2, sc. 3.

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