Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, EPILOGUE ON OCCASION OF REPRESENTATION FOR DRYDEN'S BENEFIT, by JOHN DRYDEN



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EPILOGUE ON OCCASION OF REPRESENTATION FOR DRYDEN'S BENEFIT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Perhaps the parson stretched a point too far
Last Line: While you have still your oats, and we our hains.
Variant Title(s): Epilogue To The 'pilgrim,' Revived
Subject(s): England; Poetry & Poets; Theater & Theaters; English; Stage Life


Perhaps the Parson stretch'd a point too far,
When with our Theatres he wag'd a War.
He tells you, that this very Moral Age
Receiv'd the first Infection from the Stage;
But sure, a banisht Court, with Lewdness fraught,
The Seeds of open Vice returning brought.
Thus lodg'd, (as Vice by great Example thrives,)
It first debauch'd the Daughters and the Wives.
London, a fruitful Soil, yet never bore
So plentiful a Crop of Horns before.
The Poets, who must live by Courts or starve,
Were proud, so good a Government to serve;
And, mixing with Buffoons and Pimps profain,
Tainted the Stage for some small Snip of Gain;
For they, like Harlots, under Bawds profess't,
Took all the ungodly pains, and got the least.
Thus did the thriving Malady prevail;
The Court it's Head, the Poets but the Tail.
The Sin was of our Native Growth, 'tis true;
The Scandall of the Sin was wholly new.
Misses there were, but modestly conceal'd;
White-hall the naked Venus first reveal'd,
Who standing as at Cyprus in her Shrine,
The Strumpet was ador'd with Rites Divine.
E're this, if Saints had any Secret Motion,
'Twas Chamber Practice all, and Close Devotion.
I pass the Peccadillo's of their time;
Nothing but open Lewdness was a Crime.
A Monarch's Blood was venial to the Nation,
Compar'd with one foul Act of Fornication.
Now, they wou'd Silence us, and shut the Door
That let in all the barefac'd Vice before.
As for reforming us, which some pretend,
That Work in England is without an end;
Well we may change, but we shall never mend.
Yet, if you can but bear the present Stage,
We hope much better of the coming Age.
What wou'd you say, if we should first begin
To Stop the Trade of Love behind the Scene:
Where Actresses make bold with married Men?
For while abroad so prodigal the Dolt is,
Poor Spouse at Home as ragged as a Colt is.
In short, we'll grow as Moral as we can,
Save, here and there, a Woman or a Man;
But neither you, nor we, with all our pains,
Can make clean work; there will be some Remains,
While you have still your Oats, and we our Hains.





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