[Page 283]

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.
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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.
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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.

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    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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    Source edition

    A Collection of Poems in Six Volumes. By Several Hands. Vol. V. London: printed by J. Hughs, for R. and J. Dodsley, 1763 [1st ed. 1758], pp. 283-285. 6v.: music; 8⁰. (ESTC T131163)

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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.