PROLOGUE to COMUS,
Perform'd for the Benefit of the General Hospital at BATH, 1756.
She enters with a Number of Tickets in her Hand.
1 WELL, I've been beating up for volunteers,
2 But find that — charity has got no ears.
3 I first attack'd a colonel of the guards —
4 Sir, charity — consider its rewards.
5 With healing hand the saddest sores it skins,
6 And covers — oh! — a multitude of sins.
7 He swore, the world was welcome to his thoughts:
8 'Twas damn'd hypocrisy to hide one's faults;
9 And with that sin his conscience ne'er was twitted —
10 The only one he never had committed.
11 Next, to my knight I plead. He — shook his head;
12 Complain'd the stocks were low — and trade was dead.
13 In these Bath-charities a tax he'd found
14 More heavy than — four shillings in the pound.[Page 284]
15 What with the play-house, hospital, and abbey,
16 A man was strip'd — unless he'd look quite shabby.
17 Then such a train, and such expence to fit!
18 My lady, all the brats, and cousin Kit —
19 He'd steal, himself — perhaps — into the pit.
20 Old lady Slipslop, at her morning cards,
21 Vows that all works of genus she regards;
22 Raffles for Chinese Gods, card-houses, shells,
23 Nor grudges to the music, or the bells,
24 But has a strange antiquity to nasty ospitels.
25 I hope your lordship — then my lord replies —
26 No doubt, the governors are — very wise;
27 But, for the play, he — wonder'd at their choice.
28 In Milton's days such stuff might be the taste,
29 But faith! he thought it was damn'd dull and chaste.
30 Then swears, he to the charity is hearty,
31 But can't, in honour, break his evening party.
32 When to the gouty alderman I sued,
33 The nasty fellow, ('gad!) was downright rude.
34 Is begging grown the fashion, with a pox!
35 The mayor should set such housewives in the stocks.
36 Give you a guinea! z—ds! replied the beast,
37 'Twou'd buy a ticket for a turtle-feast.
38 Think what a guinea-a-head might set before ye —
39 Sir — mullet — turbot — and a grand John Dorey,
40 I'll never give a groat, as I'm a sinner,
41 Unless they gather 't in a dish, at dinner.
42 I trust, by art and more polite address,
43 You fairer advocates met more success;
44 And not a man compassion's cause withstood,
45 When beauty pleaded for such general good.
About this text
Title (in Source Edition): PROLOGUE to COMUS, Perform'd for the Benefit of the General Hospital at BATH, 1756.
Author: John Hoadly
Themes: poetry; literature; writing; women; female character; charity
Genres: heroic couplet; prologue
References: DMI 27748
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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.
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