Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PROLOGUE INTENDED FOR 'THE OLD BACHELOR', by ANTHONY CARY

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First Line: Most authors on the stage at first appear
Last Line: If he holds out to please you the third night.
Alternate Author Name(s): Falkland, 4th Viscount
Subject(s): Congreve, William (1670-1729)

MOST authors on the stage at first appear
Like widows' bridegrooms, full of doubt and fear;
They judge from the experience of the dame,
How hard a task it is to quench her flame:
And who falls short of furnishing a course,
Up to his brawny predecessor's force,
With utmost rage from her embraces thrown,
Remains convicted, as an empty drone.
Thus often, to his shame, a pert beginner
Proves, in the end, a miserable sinner.
As for our youngster, I am apt to doubt him,
With all the vigour of his youth about him,
But he, more sanguine, trusts in one-and-twenty,
And impudently hopes he shall content you;
For though his Bachelor be worn and cold,
He thinks the young may club to help the old;
And what alone can be achieved by neither,
Is often brought about by both together.
The briskest of you all have felt alarms,
Finding the fair one prostitute her charms,
With broken sighs, in her old fumbler's arms.
But for our spark, he swears he'll ne'er be jealous
Of any rivals, but young lusty fellows.
Faith, let him try his chance, and if the slave,
After his bragging, prove a washy knave,
May he be banished to some lonely den,
And never more have leave to dip his pen;
But if he be the champion he pretends,
Both sexes sure will join to be his friends;
For all agree, where all can have their ends.
And you must own him for a man of might,
If he holds out to please you the third night.

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