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Ogles and leers with artificial skill,

Till, having lost in age the power to kill,
She sits all night at cards, and ogles at spadille.
Such, through our lives, the eventful history -
The fifth and last act still remains for me:
The bar-maid now for your protection prays;
Turns female barrister, and pleads for Bayes.

35

EPILOGUE

WRITTEN FOR

MR. CHARLES LEE LEWES.'

Hold! prompter, hold ! a word before your nonsense ; I'd speak a word or two— to ease my conscience: My pride forbids it ever should be said My heels eclips'd the honors of my head;

' From The Poetical and Dramatic Works, 1780. — This epilogue was spoken by Mr. Lewes at Covent-garden theater, on the occasion of his benefit, the 7th of May, 1773. The play was Lady Jane Grey; the after-piece, Harlequin Sorcerer—a pantomimic entertainment which had been revived with extraordinary success. – Mr. Lewes acted Young Marlow in She Sloops to Conquer; but he was more celebrated as a harlequin, to which character the epilogue is adapted. Mr. Lewes wrote Comic Sketches, and Memoirs of himself. He died in 1803. – Line 18. May rosin'd lightning blast me, if I do! An allusion to the composition of stage-lightning — not a profane imprecation. As Sir Walter Scott observes : “THE WREATH OF GOLDSMITH IS UNSULLIED."

That I found humor in a piebald vest ;
Or ever thought that jumping was a jest.

[Takes off his mask.
Whence, and what art thou, visionary birth?
Nature disowns, and reason scorns thy mirth ;
In thy black aspect every passion sleeps –
The joy that dimples, and the woe that weeps.
How hast thou fillid the scene with all thy brood
Of fools pursuing, and of fools pursu'd !
Whose ins and outs no ray of sense discloses ;
Whose only plot it is to break our noses ;
While from below, the trap-door demons rise
And from above, the dangling deities.
And shall I mix in this unhallow'd crew?
May rosin'd lightning blast me, if I do!
No-I will act; I'll vindicate the stage:
Shakspeare himself shall feel my tragic rage.
Off! off! vile trappings! a new passion reigns !
The maddening monarch revels in my veins.
Oh! for a Richard's voice to catch the theme:
“Give me another horse! bind up my wounds !--soft ;

't was but a dream."

24

G G

Ay, 't was but a dream — for now there's no retreating ; If I cease Harlequin, I cease from eating. ’T was thus that Æsop's stag—a creature blameless, Yet something vain, like one that shall be namelessOnce on the margin of a fountain stood. And cavild at his image in the flood. “The deuse confound," he cries, “these drum-stick

shanks

They never have my gratitude nor thanks;
They're perfectly disgraceful! strike me dead !
But for a head — yes, yes, I have a head:
How piercing is that eye! how sleek that brow!
My horns ! I'm told horns are the fashion now.”
While thus he spoke, astonish'd, to his view,
Near, and more near, the hounds and huntsmen drew.
" Hoicks! hark forward !" came thundering from be-

hind,

He bounds aloft, outstrips the fleeting wind;
He quits the woods, and tries the beaten ways;
He starts, he pants, he takes the circling maze.
At length his silly head, so priz'd before,
Is taught his former folly to deplore ;

While his strong limbs conspire to set him free,
And at one bound he saves himself -- like me.

[Taking a jump through the stage-door.

46

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