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HE editor of the following comedy always
considered it as one of the principal duties of a director of a theatre, to atone in fome measure, for the mummery which his situation obliges him to exhibit, by bringing forward the productions of our most esteemed writers. The alterations he hazarded for this purpose having been generally approved, it is needless to point out or enforce their propriety; much less can he think it necefsary to vindicate the established reputation of the author. Writers of the most distinguished taste and genius have honoured the SILENT WOMAN of BEN JONSON with the most lavish encomiums; but the criticks of our day, unawed by authority, and trusting to the light of their own understanding, have discovered that there is neither ingenuity nor contrivance in the fable, nature in the characters, nor wit nor humour in the dialogue. The present editor, however, cannot pay them so high a compliment, as to suppose it incumbent on him to defend the author and his admirers, or to make any apology for having, with the kind assistance of Mr. Garrick, promoted the
revival of Epicone; the perusal of which he recommends in the closet, to those few acute spirits who thought it unworthy of the stage.
We think our fathers fools, so wife we grow ! :
APPY the soaring bard who boldly wooes,
And wins the favour of, the tragick muse! He from the grave may call the mighty dead, In buskins and blank verse the stage to tread; On Pompeys and old Cæsars rise to fame, And join the poet's to th' historian's name. The comick wit, alas ! whose eagle eyes Pierce nature thro', and mock the time's disguise, Whose pencil living follies brings to view, Survives those follies, and his portraits too ; Like ftar-gazers, deplores his luckless fate, For last year's almanacks are out of date.
“The Fox, the Alchemist, the Silent Woman,
“Done by Ben Jonson, are out-done by no man." Thus sung in rough, but panegyrick, rhimes, The wits and criticks of our author's times. But now we bring him forth with dread and doubt, And fear his learned focks are quite worn out. The subtle Alchemist grows obsolete, And Drugger's humour scarcely keeps him sweet.
Tg-night, if you would feast your eyes and ears, Go back in fancy near two hundred years ; A play of Ruffs and Farthingales review, Old English fashions, such as then were new! Drive not Tom Otter's Bulls and Bears
away ; Worse Bulls and Bears disgrace the present day. On fair Collegiates let no critick frown! A Ladies' Club ftill holds its rank in town. If modern cooks, who nightly treat the pit, Do not quite cloy and surfeit you with wit, From the old kitchen please to pick a bit! If once, with hearty stomachs to regale On old Ben Jonson's fare, tho’somewhat stale, A meal on Bobadil you deign’d to make, Take Epicæne for his and Kitely's sake!
А с т
An apartment in Clerimont's house.
SO O NG
Still to be neat, still to be drest,