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With ardent haste each candidate of faine,
TO THE COMEDY OF
THE GOOD-NATUR’D MAN, 1769.
Prest by the load of life, the weary
share This bustling season's epidemic care;
Like Cæsar's pilot dignify'd by Fate,
" This day the powder'd curls and golden coat,' Says swelling Crispin, “ begg'd a cobler's vote.” “ This night our wit," the pert apprentice cries, “ Lies at my feet; I hiss him, and he dies.” The great, 'tis true, can charm th' electing tribe; The bard may supplicate, but cannot bribe. Yet, judg’d by those whose voices ne'er were sold, He feels no want of ill-persuading gold ; But, confident of praise, if praise be due, Trusts without fear to merit and to you,
This night presents a play which public rage,
To wit reviving from its author's dust
* Performed at Covent-Garden theatre in 1777, for the benefit of Mrs. Kelly, widow of Hugh Kelly, Esq. (the author of the play) and her children.
t l'pon the first representation of this play, 1770, a party assembled to damn it, and succeeded.
Yet then shall calm reflection bless the night,
STERN Winter now, by Spring repress'd,
Forbears the long-continued strife: And Nature on her naked breast
Delights to catch the gales of life. Now o'er the rural kingdom roves
Soft pleasure with the laughing train, Love warbles in the vocal groves,
And vegetation plants the plain. Unhappy! whom to beds of pain,
Arthritic * tyranny consigns ; Whom smiling nature courts in vain,
Though rapture sings and beauty shines.
Her wings Imagination tries,
Where 's humble turrets rise.
Nor from the pleasing groves depart, Where first great nature charm’d my sight, Where wisdom first inform'd
heart. Here let me through the vales pursue
A guide-a father and a friend, Once more great Nature's works renew,
Once more on Wisdom's voice attend.
* The author being ill of the gout,
From false caresses, causeless strife,
Wild hope, vain fear, alike remov'd; Here let me learn the use of life,
When best enjoy’d-when most improv'd. Teach me, thou venerable bower,
Cool meditation's quiet seat,
silent grandeur of retreat.
Or raging factions rush to war, Here let me learn to shun the crimes
I can't prevent, and will not share. But lest I fall by subtler foes,
Bright Wisdom, teach me Curio's art, The swelling passions to compose,
And quell the rebels of the heart.
O PICBUS! down the western sky,
Far hence diffuse thy burning ray, Thy light to distant worlds supply,
And wake them to the cares of day, Come, gentle Eve, the friend of care,
Come, Cynthia, lovely queen of night! Refresh me with a cooling air,
And cheer me with a lambent light, Lay me, where o'er the verdant ground
Her living carpet Nature spreads : Where the green bower, with roses crown'd,
In showers its fragrant foliage sheds ;