, ESQ.

In her ordinary Dress.

WELL! here I am, those scenes of suff'ring o'er,
Safe among you, "a widowed thing" no more;
And though some squeamish critics still contend
That not so soon the tragic tone should end,
Nor flippant Epilogue, with smiling face,
Elbow her serious sister from the place;
I stand prepared with precedent and custom,
To plead the adverse doctrine—Wont you trust 'em?
I think you will, and now the curtain's down,
Unbend your brows, nor on my prattle frown.
You've seen how, in our country's ruder age,
Our moody lords would let their vassals rage,
And while they drove men's herds, and burnt their houses,
To some lone isle condemn'd their own poor spouses;
Their portion—drowning when the tide should serve;
Their separate aliment—a leave to starve;
And for the Scottish rights of Dower and Tierce,
A deep-sea burial, and an empty hearse.

Such was of old the fuss about this matter;
In our good times 'tis managed greatly better;
When modern ladies part with modern lords,
Their business no such tragic tale affords;
Their "Family Legends," in the Charter-chest,
In deeds of ink, not deeds of blood, consist;
In place of ruffians ambushed in the dark,
Comes, with his pen, a harmless lawyer's clerk,
Draws a long—bond, my lady packs her things,
And leaves her mate to smooth his ruffled wings.
In the free code of first enlighten'd France,
Marriage was broke for want of convenance;
No fault to find, no grievances to tell,
But, like tight shoes, they did not fit quite well.
The lady curt'sied, with "Adieu, Monsieur,"
The husband bow'd, or shrugg'd, "de tout mon coeur!"
"L'affaire est faite;" each partner free to range,
Made life a dance, and every dance a change.
In England's colder soil they scarce contrive
To keep these foreign freedom-plants alive;
Yet in some gay parterres we've seen, ev'n there,
Its blushing fruit this frail exotic bear;—
Couples make shift to slip the marriage chain,
Cross hands—cast off—and are themselves again.
(Bell rings.) But, soft! I hear the Prompter's summons rung,
That calls me off, and stops my idle tongue;
A Sage, our fair and virtuous Author's friend,
Shakes his stern head, and bids my nonsense end;—
Bids me declare, she hopes her parent land
May long this current of the times withstand;
That here, in purity and honour bred,
Shall love and duty wreath the nuptial bed;

The brave good husband, and his faithful wife,
Revere the sacred charities of life;
And bid their children, like their sires of old,
Firm, honest, upright, for their country bold,
Here, where "Rome's eagles found unvanquished foes,"
The Gallic vulture fearlessly oppose,
Chace from this favoured isle, with baffled wing,
Bless'd in its good old laws, old manners, and old King.

∗ The Prologue was spoken by Mr TERRY.



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