Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE TENDER HUSBAND: EPILOGUE, by RICHARD STEELE

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THE TENDER HUSBAND: EPILOGUE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Britons, who constant war, with factious rage
Last Line: And english be the language of mankind.

BRITONS, who constant war, with factious rage,
For liberty against each other wage,
From foreign insult save this English stage.
No more th' Italian squalling tribe admit,
In tongues unknown; 'tis popery in wit.
The songs (theirselves confess) from Rome they bring,
And 'tis high mass, for ought you know, they sing.
Husbands take care, the danger may come nigher,
The women say their eunuch is a friar.

But is it not a serious ill to see
Europe's great arbiters so mean can be;
Passive, with an affected joy to sit,
Suspend their native taste of manly wit;
Neglect their comic humour, tragic rage,
For known defects of nature, and of age?
Arise, for shame, ye conquering Britons rise,
Such unadorned effeminacy despise;
Admire (if you will dote on foreign wit)
Not what Italians sing, but Romans writ.
So shall less works, such as to-night's slight play,
At your command with justice die away;
Till then forgive your writers, that can't bear
You should such very tramontanes appear,
The nations which contemn you to revere.

Let Anna's soil be known for all its charms;
As famed for liberal sciences, as arms:
Let those derision meet, who would advance
Manners or speech, from Italy or France.
Let them learn you, who would your favour find,
And English be the language of mankind.

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