EPILOGUE to TAMERLANE. On the Suppression of the REBELLION.
Spoken by Mrs. Pritchard, in the Character of the COMICK MUSE, Nov. 4, 1746.
1 BRITONS, once more in annual joy we meet,
2 This genial night in Freedom's fav'rite seat:
3 And o'er thez z two great empires still I reign
The two great empires of the world I know,
This of Peru, and that of Mexico.Indian Emperor.
4 Of Covent-Garden, and of Drury-Lane.
5 But ah! what clouds o'er all our realm impended!
6 Our ruin artless prodigies portended.
7 Chains, real chains, our Heroes had in view,
8 And scenes of mimick dungeons chang'd to true.
9 An equal fate the Stage and Britain dreaded,
10 Had Rome's young missionary Spark succeeded.
11 But Laws and Liberties are trifling treasures:
12 He threaten'd that grave property, your Pleasures.
13 For me, an idle Muse, I ne'er dissembled
14 My fears; but ev'n my tragick Sister trembled:
15 O'er all her sons she cast her mournful eyes,
16 And heav'd her breast more than dramatick sighs;[Page 97]
17 To eyes well tutor'd in the trade of grief,
18 She rais'd a small and well lac'd handkerchief;
19 And then with decent pause — and accent broke,
20 Her buskin'd progeny the Dame bespoke:
21 "Ah! Sonsb b our dawn is over-cast, and all
The dawn is over-cast, the morning lours,
And heavily in clouds brings on the day,
The great, th' important day, big with the fate
Of Cato and of Rome.CATO.
22 "Theatrick glories nodding to their fall;
23 "From foreign realms a bloody Chief is come,
24 "Big with the work of Slav'ry and of Rome.
25 "A general ruin on his sword he wears,
26 "Fatal alike to Audience and to Play'rs.
27 "For ah! my Sons, what freedom for the Stage,
28 "When Bigotry with Sense shall battle wage?
29 "When monkish Laureats only wear the bays,
30 "c c Inquisitors Lord Chamberlains of plays?
Cibber preside Lord Chancellor of Plays.
31 "Plays shall be damn'd that 'scap'd the Critick's rage,
32 "For Priests are still worse Tyrants to the Stage.
33 "Cato, receiv'd by audiences so gracious,
34 "Shall find ten Caesars in one St. Ignatius:
35 "And godlike Brutus here shall meet again
36 "His evil Genius in a Capuchin.
37 "For heresy the fav'rites of the pit
38 "Must burn, and excommunicated wit;
39 "And at one stake we shall behold expire
40 "My Anna Bullen, and the Spanish Fryar.
d Tamerlane is always acted on the 4th and 5th of November, the Anniversaries of King William's birth and landing. Tamerlane, whose sainted name appears
42 "Red-letter'd in the calendar of play'rs,
43 "Oft as these festal rites attend the morn
44 "Of Liberty restor'd and WILLIAM born —
45 "But at That Name, what transports flood my eyes?
46 "What golden vision's this I see arise?
47 "What Youth is he with comeliest conquest crown'd,
48 "His warlike brow with full-blown laurels bound?
49 "What wreaths are these that Vict'ry dares to join,
50 "And blend with trophies of my fav'rite Boyn?
51 "Oh! if the Muse can happy aught presage
52 "Of new deliv'rance to the State and Stage;
53 "If not untaught the characters to spell
54 "Of all who bravely fight or conquer well;
55 "e e Thou shalt be WILLIAM — like the Last design'd
Tu Marcellus eris.
56 "The tyrant's scourge, and blessing of mankind;
57 "Born civil tumult and blind zeal to quell,
58 "That teaches happy subjects to rebel.
59 "Nassau himself but half our vows shall share,
60 "Divide our incense and divide our pray'r;
61 "And oft as Tamerlane shall lend his fame
62 "To shadow His, thy rival Star shall claim
63 "f f Th' ambiguous laurel and the double name.
Conditor Iliados cantabitur atque Maronis
Altisoni dubiam facientia carmina palmam.JUV.