Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PROLOGUE TO THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD, 1681 (2), by JOHN DRYDEN

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PROLOGUE TO THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD, 1681 (2), by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Discord and plots, which have undone our age
Last Line: Oxford's a place where wit can never sterve.
Subject(s): England; Oxford University; Plays & Playwrights ; English; Dramatists

DISCORD and Plots, which have undone our Age,
With the same ruine have o'erwhelmed the Stage.
Our House has suffered in the common Woe,
We have been troubled with Scotch Rebels too.
Our brethren are from Thames to Tweed departed,
And of our Sisters all the kinder-hearted
To Edenborough gone, or coached or carted.
With bonny Blewcap there they act all night
For Scotch half-crown, in English Threepence hight.
One Nymph, to whom fat Sir John Falstaff's lean,
There with her single Person fills the Scene.
Another, with long Use and Age decay'd,
Div'd here old Woman, and rose there a Maid.
Our trusty Door-keepers of former time
There strut and swagger in Heroique Rhyme.
Tack but a copper Lace to drugget Suit,
And there's a Heroe made without Dispute;
And that which was a Capon's tayl before
Becomes a plume for Indian emperor.
But all his Subjects, to express the Care
Of Imitation, go, like Indians, bare;
Lac'd Linen there would be a dangerous Thing;
It might perhaps a new Rebellion bring;
The Scot who wore it wou'd be chosen King.
But why should I these Renegades describe,
When you yourselves have seen a lewder Tribe?
Teag has been here, and to this learned Pit
With Irish Action slandered English Wit;
You have beheld such barbarous Macs appear
As merited a second Massacre;
Such as like Cain were branded with Disgrace,
And had their Country stampt upon their Face.
When Strollers durst presume to pick your purse,
We humbly thought our broken Troop not worse.
How ill soe'er our Action may deserve,
Oxford's a place where Wit can never sterve.

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