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TO MY FRIEND D'AVENANT, UPON HIS EXCELLENT PLAY, 'THE JUST ITALIAN', by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: I'll not mis-spend in praise the narrow room
Last Line: Wise men, that govern fate, shall entertain.
Subject(s): D'avenant, William (1606-1668); Plays & Playwrights ; Dramatists

I'LL not mis-spend in praise the narrow room
I borrow in this leaf; the garlands bloom
From thine own seeds, that crown each glorious page
Of thy triumphant work; the sullen age
Requires a satire. What star guides the soul
Of these our froward times, that dare control,
Yet dare not learn to judge? When didst thou fly
From hence, clear candid Ingenuity?
I have beheld when, perch'd on the smooth brow
Of a fair modest troop, thou didst allow
Applause to slighter works; but then the weak
Spectator gave the knowing leave to speak.
Now noise prevails, and he is tax'd for drouth
Of wit, that with the cry spends not his mouth.
Yet ask him reason why he did not like,
Him, why he did, their ignorance will strike
Thy soul with scorn and pity. Mark the places
Provoke their smiles, frowns, or distorted faces;
When they admire, nod, shake the head: they 'll be
A scene of mirth, a double comedy.
But thy strong fancies (raptures of the brain,
Dress'd in poetic flames) they entertain
As a bold impious reach; for they 'll still slight
All that exceeds Red Bull and Cockpit flight.
These are the men in crowded heaps that throng
To that adulterate stage, where not a tongue
Of th' untun'd kennel can a line repeat
Of serious sense, but like lips meet like meat:
Whilst the true brood of actors, that alone
Keep natural unstrain'd action in her throne,
Behold their benches bare, though they rehearse
The terser Beaumont's or great Jonson's verse.
Repine not thou, then, since this churlish fate
Rules not the stage alone; perhaps the State
Hath felt this rancour, where men great and good
Have by the rabble been misunderstood.
So was thy play, whose clear yet lofty strain
Wise men, that govern Fate, shall entertain.

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