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Prologue to Theodosius: Spoken by Athenais at the Theatre in Dublin, when Lord and Lady Carteret were in Ireland.

1 You look surpriz'd, in this deriding Age,
2 To find that Love dares venture on the Stage;
3 Where you, of late seem nothing to approve,
4 But what, in Men of Sense, Contempt must move;
5 That after all your Concerts, Farces, Shows,
6 You must attend a dying Lover's Woes.
7 I know you'll be amaz'd at what I mean,
8 In all my Height of Fortune to complain:
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9 Ador'd by Monarchs, and an Emp'rot's Bride,
10 You'll say, I need not in a Fret have dy'd.
11 Forbear; nor witless Jests on Love employ,
12 Alike unknowing in its Pain and Joy:
13 When you despise its Happiness or Woe,
14 You but your Want of Sense, or Virtue, show:
15 Be humane then; be touch'd with Scenes refin'd,
16 Which, while they raise the Passions, mend the Mind:
17 And, by your Pity of my Woes To night,
18 Convince the World, your Hearts are form'd aright.
19 Or, if you scorn to hear what I advise,
20 Let great Examples teach you to be wise.
21 Lovers are not so out of Fashion here,
22 That Athenais blushes to appear:
23 As fam'd
* Lord and Lady Carteret.
a Pair adorns this Isle and Age,
24 As ever could each other's Heart engage;
25 Endow'd with ev'ry Grace of Form and Mind,
26 To raise the Love and Wonder of Mankind:
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27 Tho' bless'd with ev'ry Gift to merit Fame,
28 Their highest Glory is their mutual Flame:
29 A Flame, like that my tender Bosom fir'd;
30 But rul'd by Reason, and by Heav'n inspir'd:
31 Their Love like mine, but diff'rent far their Fate;
32 As happy they, as I unfortunate.
33 But my Distress had never reach'd the Stage,
34 Had Heav'n reserv'd me to the present Age:
35 None would have dar'd my Fondness to abuse,
36 Had I from beauteous Worsley learnt to chuse;
37 Nor I my Heart on rash Varanes set,
38 Had I, like her, but known a Carteret.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): Prologue to Theodosius: Spoken by Athenais at the Theatre in Dublin, when Lord and Lady Carteret were in Ireland.
Themes: marriage; theatre
Genres: heroic couplet; prologue
References: DMI 11634

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Source edition

Barber, Mary, ca. 1690-1757. Poems on Several Occasions [poems only]. London: Printed for C. Rivington, at the Bible and Crown in St. Paul's Church-Yard, 1735, pp. 250-252. lx, 290,[14]p.; 8⁰. (ESTC T42623; DMI 519; Foxon p. 45)

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