Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A BOLD STROKE FOR A WIFE: PROLOGUE, by SUSANNA (FREEMAN) CENTLIVRE

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

A BOLD STROKE FOR A WIFE: PROLOGUE, by                    
First Line: To-night we come upon a bold design
Last Line: Keep english credit up, and english plays.
Alternate Author Name(s): Carroll, Susanna

To-night we come upon a bold design,
To try to please without one borrowed line:
Our plot is new and regularly clear,
And not one single tittle from Moliere.
O'er buried poets we with caution tread,
And parish sextons leave to rob the dead.
For you, bright British fair, in hopes to charm ye,
We bring to-night a lover from the army.
You know the soldiers have the strangest arts,
Such a proportion of prevailing parts,
You'd think that they rid post to women's hearts.
I wonder whence they draw their bold pretence;
We do not choose them sure for our defence:
That plea is both impolitic and wrong,
And only suits such dames as want a tongue.
Is it their eloquence and fine address?
The softness of their language? -- Nothing less.
Is it their courage, that they bravely dare
To storm the sex at once? -- Egad! 'tis there:
They act by us as in the rough campaign;
Unmindful of repulses, charge again:
They mine and countermine, resolv'd to win,
And if a breach is made, they will come in.
You'll think by what we have of soldiers said,
Our female wit was in the service bred:
But she is to the hardy toil a stranger;
She loves the cloth, indeed, but hates the danger:
Yet to this circle of the brave and gay
She bids one, for her good intentions, say
She hopes you'll not reduce her to half-pay.
As for our Play, 'tis English humour all;
Then will you let our manufacture fall?
Would you the honour of our nation raise,
Keep English credit up, and English plays.

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