Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, AURENG-ZEBE, OR THE GREAT MOGUL: PROLOGUE, by JOHN DRYDEN

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AURENG-ZEBE, OR THE GREAT MOGUL: PROLOGUE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Our author by experience finds it true
Last Line: And see us play the tragedy of wit.
Subject(s): Plays & Playwrights ; Poetry & Poets; Shame; Theater & Theaters; Dramatists; Stage Life

Our author by experience finds it true,
'Tis much more hard to please himself than you;
And out of no feign'd modesty, this day,
Damns his laborious trifle of a play;
Not that it's worse than what before he writ,
But he has now another taste of wit;
And, to confess a truth (though out of time,)
Grows weary of his long-loved mistress Rhyme.
Passion's too fierce to be in fetters bound,
And Nature flies him like enchanted ground:
What verse can do he has perform'd in this,
Which he presumes the most correct of his;
But spite of all his pride, a secret shame
Invades his breast at Shakespear's sacred name:
Aw'd when he hears his godlike Romans rage,
He in a just despair would quit the stage;
And to an age less polish'd, more unskill'd,
Does with disdain the foremost honours yield.
As with the greater Dead he dares not strive,
He wou'd not match his verse with those who live:
Let him retire, betwixt two ages cast,
The first of this, and hindmost of the last.
A losing gamester, let him sneak away;
He bears no ready money from the play.
The fate which governs poets, thought it fit,
He shou'd not raise his fortunes by his wit.
The clergy thrive, and the litigious bar;
Dull heroes fatten with the spoils of war:
All southern vices, heav'n be prais'd, are here;
But wit's a luxury you think too dear.
When you to cultivate the plant are loath,
'Tis a shrewd sign 'twas never of your growth:
And wit in Northern climates will not blow,
Except, like orange-trees, 'tis hous'd from snow.
There needs no care to put a play-house down,
'Tis the most desart place of all the Town:
We and our neighbours, to speak proudly, are
Like monarchs, ruin'd with expensive war;
While, like wise English, unconcern'd you sit,
And see us play the Tragedy of Wit.

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