Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE FUNERAL: PROLOGUE, by RICHARD STEELE

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THE FUNERAL: PROLOGUE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Nature's deserted,and dramatic art
Last Line: And for the fellow-soldier, save the poet.

Nature's deserted, and dramatic art,
To dazzle now the eye, has left the heart;
Gay lights and dresses, long extended scenes,
Demons and angels moving in machines,
All that can now, or please, or fright the fair,
May be performed without a writer's care,
And is the skill of carpenter, not player.
Old Shakespeare's days could not thus far advance;
But what's his buskin to our ladder dance?
In the mid region a silk youth to stand,
With that unwieldly engine at command!
Gorged with intemperate meals while here you sit,
Well may you take activity for wit:
Fie, let confusion on such dulness seize;
Blush, you're so pleased, as we that so we please.
But we, still kind to your inverted sense,
Do most unnatural things once more dispense.
For since you're still preposterous in delight,
Our Author made, a full house to invite,
A funeral a Comedy to night.
Nor does he fear that you will take the hint,
And let the funeral his own be meant;
No, in old England nothing can be won
Without a faction, good or ill be done;
To own this our frank Author does not fear;
But hopes for a prevailing party here;
He knows he's numerous friends; nay, knows they'll show it,
And for the fellow-soldier, save the poet.

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